Anytime a team wins a championship in sports the star players get much of the praise, and that was the case when the Los Angeles Lakers won the 2020 NBA Championship as LeBron James and Anthony Davis were at the forefront of everything. But the likes of Alex Caruso, Kyle Kuzma, Rajon Rondo, Dwight Howard and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope were absolutely massive in allowing the Lakers to hoist the Larry O’Brien Trophy.
Of course, now the only players still on the Lakers’ roster from that 2020 championship team are LeBron and Davis and with the team struggling mightily this season, many are longing for those times from just a couple of seasons ago. Meanwhile, those players are watching from afar as the franchise that brought them their championship rings struggles to get anything going this season.
Caldwell-Pope now finds himself with one of the West’s best teams in the Denver Nuggets and in an interview with Dave McMenamin of ESPN, the veteran guard says that he doesn’t see that spark in LeBron so far this season:
“Just watching the games, it just looks like there’s no basketball over there,” Caldwell-Pope said. “It’s just playing pickup. It’s hard to watch sometimes. So from me to him, just get the team together, and I just want to see that spark in him again. I don’t think I see that spark in Bron. So, hopefully, he can get it back.”
That is simply Caldwell-Pope’s opinion from the outside, though he has seen James and the Lakers up close twice already this season. There is no doubt that LeBron has struggled with his efficiency to start the season as he is shooting a career-low from 3-point range so far while also posting his worst overall field goal percentage since his rookie year.
In speaking about his time with James and the Lakers, Caldwell-Pope noted that the spacing of the team allowed plenty of driving lanes for LeBron and Davis:
“The spacing was great,” Caldwell-Pope told ESPN before the Oct. 26 Lakers-Nuggets game about his time with James in L.A. “The spacing gives driving lanes for Bron and AD, where Bron didn’t like to shoot as much 3s. So it gives him driving lanes, and when he does see the help, he’s a tremendous passer and he would find us.”
That has always been a recipe for success for LeBron James-led teams and something many hoped to see this year, but has not been possible with the lack of shooting around him. If the Lakers are able to make some changes to help out this roster, maybe that spark that Caldwell-Pope doesn’t see will reappear.
Ryan hopes to be James’ next great shooting teammate
The closest thing the Lakers do have to a sharpshooter on their roster is Matt Ryan. The second-year wing has had some huge moments including a buzzer-beating three to send the Lakers to overtime with the Pelicans in a game they would ultimately win.
Ryan recently spoke about having to always prove that he is the best shooter in the gym and he made would also add that he hopes that one day LeBron will look at him as his next great shooting teammate.
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