3 LA Lakers players who stepped up in the absence of LeBron James and Anthony Davis 

Los Angeles Lakers in action
Los Angeles Lakers in action
Arhaan Raje

The LA Lakers have had a torrid NBA season so far with countless injuries that have derailed their quest to be the best side in the league.

Nevertheless, with the likes of LeBron James and Anthony Davis nearing their return, the Purple and Gold can finally explore what their full-strength squad is capable of before the playoffs.

The LA Lakers played 15 games without either of their stars in the lineup recently, recording seven wins and eight losses during that run. They dealt with several other injury blows during that stretch, with the likes of Kyle Kuzma and Andre Drummond also missing games.

Considering the LA Lakers were without most of their key players, the results they produced were quite commendable, and there were a lot of positives to take note of. Additionally, they managed to beat the Brooklyn Nets that played with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. The Lakers also beat the Utah Jazz, the team with the best record this season.

3 Players who stepped up in the absence of LeBron and AD for the LA Lakers

Los Angeles Lakers
Los Angeles Lakers

The likes of Dennis Schroder and Montrezl Harrell delivered as expected, while Andre Drummond, Kyle Kuzma and out-of-favor big Marc Gasol also showed glimpses of what they are capable of.

However, most importantly, the LA Lakers played like a team and other players also made useful contributions.

On that note, we take a look at three such players who stepped up for the team when required the most.

#1 Kentavious Caldwell-Pope

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope #1 of the Los Angeles Lakers in action
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope #1 of the Los Angeles Lakers in action

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has been heavily criticized for his performances this season as he evidently failed to deliver for the LA Lakers when needed the most. However, he made amends for it when the team's two best players were out injured.

KCP's output has seen a significant rise in recent weeks, especially since the start of April, where he has managed to score 13.2 points per game, shooting 46.4% from downtown.

More importantly, Caldwell-Pope's best performances in that stretch came against sides like the 76ers (19 points), Miami (28 points), Nets (14 points, 66% 3-point shooting) and the Jazz (25 points).

Not only did the 28-year-old assure Vogel that he could be relied upon without AD and LeBron, but he also gave his head coach confidence that he could create a great impact in the playoffs for the LA Lakers.

#2 Talen Horton-Tucker

Talen Horton-Tucker #5 of the Los Angeles Lakers in action
Talen Horton-Tucker #5 of the Los Angeles Lakers in action

The LA Lakers were keen to sign Kyle Lowry this off-season, according to multiple reports. They were even willing to offload the likes of Dennis Schroder and KCP to complete the trade.

However, the Raptors demanded they would only be listening to offers that included Talen Horton-Tucker. But the Lakers refused to let go of their best young prospect and decided not to pursue Lowry.

Considering Horton-Tucker's recent performances, it seems like the LA Lakers were indeed right to keep hold of him and that it wasn't just a "business decision" after all.

Frank Vogel has shown a tremendous amount of belief in Talen this season and it has all paid off recently. Horton-Tucker has played close to 25 minutes per contest in the absence of AD and LeBron, averaging close to 10 points, four assists and two steals. He missed one game due to suspension but featured in all the other 14 games.

THT has improved his decision-making massively and isn't afraid to attack the paint or shoot from distance either. His playmaking has also been remarkable, giving the LA Lakers much-needed depth in the backcourt.

Some of Horton-Tucker's best performances came against the likes of the LA Clippers (16 points), Brooklyn Nets (14 points, 11 assists) and the Boston Celtics (19 points).

#3 Markieff Morris

Markieff Morris #88 of the Los Angeles Lakers in action.
Markieff Morris #88 of the Los Angeles Lakers in action.

Markieff Morris needed to step up big time for the LA Lakers and was even given a starting role recently in the absence of Anthony Davis, as Kyle Kuzma wasn't deemed too consistent. With LeBron also being ruled out after a few days, Morris became a crucial player for the side playing at 4.

In the 13 games he featured without AD and LeBron in the LA Lakers side, Morris managed to score in double-digits on 10 occasions, averaging close to 12 points and 6.4 rebounds per contest. He also shot 48.7% from the field during that stretch, making at least two shots from the three-point line.

Vogel relied heavily on Morris, giving him 30 minutes of game time on average in each of those games, and the 31-year-old did not disappoint.

Edited by Zaid Khan


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