LeBron James Defends Alex Caruso, Lakers Role Players
Alex Caruso, LeBron James, Lakers
Adam Pantozzi-NBAE

The Los Angeles Lakers were dealt a major blow with the loss of Anthony Davis for the next few weeks, but what was completely unexpected was point guard Dennis Schroder having to enter the NBA’s health and safety protocols.

The news came less than an hour before the Lakers’ game against the Brooklyn Nets and put even more pressure on LeBron James to carry the team. Losing two starters is difficult enough, but Davis and Schroder were also the Lakers’ two best options other than James at creating offense for themselves and others.

With both gone for the time being, the Lakers are looking to their other role players to step up. The likes of Kyle Kuzma, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Wesley Matthews, Marc Gasol, Montrezl Harrell and others will have to take on bigger roles, but the results have been mixed.

Kuzma in particular has been excellent in the last couple of contests, but others have struggled, especially offensively. The likes of Caruso, Matthews and Kuzma all missed shots down the stretch of the team’s 96-94 loss to the Miami Heat, but LeBron defended his teammates after the game.

“They are doing their part. They’re doing their part and more. Every time we’re on the floor we’re all trying to protect each other and bring each other up,” James said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re making shots or not.

“We’re going to hold each other accountable, and everybody is just picking up in A.D.’s absence. Obviously it hasn’t been in wins the last two games, but we’re going to keep on working our habits and continue to be great for one another.”

When a team loses its second- and third-best scorers, it forces players into bigger roles that they likely aren’t suited for. Kuzma is the best 1-on-1 scorer of the Lakers role players and has been able to step that up, but the rest are much better playing off stars and have struggled with the extra defensive attention they are now facing.

To expect Harrell to turn into Davis, or Caruso to turn into Schroder would be unfair. But James feels that the rest of the Lakers are putting in the effort and stepping up in an unideal situation.

The most important thing for the Lakers is to be healthy once the playoffs arrive and if that happens, they will likely be the favorites against any team they come up against.

Lakers reportedly among teams that will pursue DeMarcus Cousins

There could possibly be some help on the way however as a familiar face to the franchise has unexpectedly become available. The Houston Rockets have agreed to part with DeMarcus Cousins. and the Lakers reportedly are one of the teams interested in bringing him in.

Cousins was a member of the Lakers last year, but tore his ACL before the season started and never took the floor for them. The Lakers released Cousins during the season to open up a roster spot, but still planned on giving him a championship ring.

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