On Friday, January 20, the Los Angeles Lakers became the latest team to experience the braggadocious swagger of the Memphis Grizzlies, leading the game to get chippy both on the court and on the sidelines.
Speaking to the media following the game, Dillion Brooks took a shot at LeBron James, noting how he believes his style of guarding the superstar is the best way to limit his impact throughout a full 48 minutes.
“He doesn’t want to go left. I was just making him go left all game. Then he would settle or he would pass the ball. And then play physical with him. Continuously bump him all of the time. And don’t let him take easy shots,” Brooks said.
LeBron ended the game with 23 points, 9 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals, and 2 blocks, so while Brooks may feel that he limited the superstar’s impact, it would appear LeBron was controlling the game on both sides of the floor.
LeBron James Could Be Getting Punished By Lakers
According to former NBA champion Kendrick Perkins, who was speaking on a January 19 episode of ESPN’S NBA Today, the Lakers could be using their reluctance to improve this season’s roster as a means of punishing LeBron for his role in the acquisition of Russell Westbrook.
“It almost feels like, in my opinion, that Rob Pelinka and Jeanie Buss is punishing LeBron for the Russell Westbrook trade, meaning, ‘You played a huge part in getting Russell Westbrook here, and we know we have these two draft picks and we’re not going to trade them because you wanted him. You wanted him, Bron. So now you have to deal with it. You made your bed, you have to lay in it,’” Perkins said.
The Lakers currently sit 13th in the Western Conference and face an uphill battle to make the post-season, putting them at risk of missing out for the second straight season.
Lakers Unlikely To Trade Austin Reaves
Despite the Lakers experiencing a torrid season thus far, Austin Reaves has been a rare bright spot within the rotation, as the sophomore guard continues to improve and make an impact on both sides of the floor.
Recently, Heavy On Sports Sean Deveney spoke with a Western Conference executive, under the condition of anonymity, regarding Austin Reaves’ future with the Lakers and whether they would consider trading him before the February 9 trade deadline.
“They have to pay him in free agency, and we will have to see how that goes. And if the time comes when they get some big offer for a blockbuster, and they have to include Reaves or the deal falls apart, you bet they’re going to go ahead and include him. But they love the guy, LeBron loves the guy, they’re not trading him now,” The executive said.
Reaves is averaging 10.8 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 2.2 assists while shooting 48.8% from the field and 36% from deep over his first 36 games of the season, and now Lakers fans will be hoping he can sustain that level of impact and help their team climb the Western Conference rankings.