The Los Angeles Lakers are currently one of the best teams in the NBA when it comes to defense. They might not have a plethora of super-skilled offensive players but most players in their roster can play hard defense when push comes to shove.
The Los Angeles Lakers are ranked 3rd in the league in defensive rating, 4th in the league in defensive efficiency and 4th in opponent points allowed. They also have some of the best rim protectors in the league and lead the NBA in blocks per game this season.
A lot of their players have been a part of NBA All-Defensive teams before, so it comes as no surprise to see a team filled with experienced professionals instill a great mentality on the defensive end of the court. Clearly, it is not an easy feat to feature among the best in the Los Angeles Lakers roster when we are talking about defense.
Let us now take a look at the 5 best defenders on the Los Angeles Lakers right now. The players will be judged by their defensive win share statistics, which is a clear indication of how much their defense contributed to wins this season. After all, numbers don't lie!
5 best defenders on the Los Angeles Lakers right now
#5 Alex CarusoAlex Caruso is all about that hustle
Defensive win share - 0.098 Defensive rating - 101
Steals - 1.1
Alex Caruso is one of those players who knows his role and plays it to perfection. The 26-year-old has played less than 20 minutes a game for the Los Angeles Lakers this season but whenever he has stepped foot on the court, he has worked tirelessly to pester the opposition guard.
Alex Caruso always plays with a lot of hustle which makes up for his lack of supreme scoring talent that some other guards in the NBA have. Although his defensive effort isn't there to be seen on paper, one can notice his impact when they watch him play.
#4 Kyle KuzmaKyle Kuzma is not known for his defense
Defensive win share - 0.102 Defensive rating - 105.2
Defensive rebounds - 3.6
Perhaps a surprise inclusion in this list given that he is known mainly as a scorer, Kyle Kuzma certainly has the potential to contribute big time on the defensive end. According to the statistics, he has done just that.
Kuzma's defensive win share of 0.102 is higher than some reputed NBA defenders like Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Jrue Holiday and his own teammate Danny Green. The fact that he plays for such a strong team like the Los Angeles Lakers helps his cause but takes no credit away from him.
The 25-year-old has shown flashes of potential to become a very good two-way player in the NBA and if he keeps honing his defensive skills, he can surely get there in the near future.
#3 Avery BradleyLos Angeles Lakers have missed Bradley in the bubble
Defensive win share - 0.108 Defensive rating - 104
Steals - 0.9
A two-time NBA All-Defensive player, Avery Bradley would make the top 5 best defenders list, irrespective of which franchise he played in. The Los Angeles Lakers were smart to pick him up to be their starting point guard this season, and alongside Danny Green, he forms one of the best defensive back-courts in the NBA right now.
Avery Bradley gets tasked with guarding the opposition's best guard on most occasions, so his defensive statistics are even more impressive than it looks like on paper. It is not easy being dominant defensively being only 6'3" tall but Bradley uses his lateral quickness to great effect in order to be a fantastic perimeter defender.
#2 Anthony DavisLos Angeles Lakers' Anthony Davis was unlucky to lose the DPOY award to Giannis Antetokounmpo
Defensive win share - 0.127Defensive rating - 106.4
Defensive rebounds - 7.0
Blocks - 2.3
Second in defensive player of the year voting and also second in the top 5 defenders for the Los Angeles Lakers list, Anthony Davis keeps coming ever so close to the top spot!
Davis ranks 21st in the NBA in defensive rebounds in a Los Angeles Lakers team that also has other brilliant rebounders like Dwight Howard, JaVale McGee, and LeBron James. He's 3rd in the league in blocks per game, behind only Hassan Whiteside and Brook Lopez.
Anthony Davis is truly one of the best defenders in the league, and it is extremely difficult to score against him in the paint. His ability to switch out on the perimeter to guard much smaller and faster players is sensational and downright ridiculous, given his own height and weight. Davis is a physical phenomenon, and the Los Angeles Lakers are lucky to have a player of his caliber.
#1 LeBron JamesLeBron James impressed everyone with his tenacity on defense for the Los Angeles Lakers
Defensive win share - 0.154 Defensive rating - 103.6
Defensive rebounds - 6.9
Steals - 1.2
Even at the age of 35, LeBron James continues to be legendary on both ends of the floor. Coming off a 2018-19 season where he was lambasted by the fans and media for showing a lack of willingness to contribute defensively, LeBron James has proven everyone wrong for the umpteenth time.
He ranks 9th in the entire NBA in defensive win shares and is the deservedly number one in the top 5 defenders on the Los Angeles Lakers.
LeBron James is still an attacker's nightmare when he decides to switch it on defensively and can erase shots off the backboard like he's an old-school center. James' physicality needs no introduction, and he's capable of matching anyone in speed and strength.
Seeing him pip Anthony Davis to the summit of this list might come as a bit of a surprise but such has been his presence on the defensive end that even the 2nd-placed player on the DPOY votings has been beaten.
Published 10 Sep 2020, 09:14 IST