If the Los Angeles Lakers plan on turning things around this season, it will take the collective effort of the entire team. As outstanding as LeBron James has been, the front office brought in a number of players, all of whom are expected to contribute.
Whether due to injuries, health and safety protocols, or matchups, many players have often found themselves in and out of the rotations. But James believes that everyone on the roster has to stay prepared for whatever the team needs when they are called upon.
“Listen, whoever’s number is called, we got to all be ready to adjust and be ready to go,” James said after a recent win over the Sacramento Kings. “But I feel like we’re in a really good flow right now with certain lineups that we know we can play, certain lineups we know we can go to.”
A prime example of this in Tuesday’s victory over the Kings was center Dwight Howard. The big man hadn’t seen many minutes of late as the Lakers shifted towards the small-ball lineup, but he stepped up with a huge performance when called on against the Kings.
“Tonight, Dwight definitely came in and just gave us the effort and energy that we needed,” LeBron added. “Coming in and giving us seven offensive rebounds, seven defensive rebounds, 14 total and 14 points, he had a double-double in 21 minutes. It was everything that we needed.
“So as a professional, obviously we know it’s tough when you want to play and sometimes your number is not called, but it’s also even more of a professional when you stay ready and your number is called and you go out and produce. So game ball to Dwight tonight and we needed every second of it.”
As LeBron noted, it takes a true professional to do what Howard did and that will be needed up and down the roster. With Kendrick Nunn inching closer to returning and Anthony Davis eventually coming back, there simply won’t be rotation spots for everyone.
But there will come times for everyone on this roster to shine, they just have to, as LeBron said, be ready when their number is called.
James praises Talen Horton-Tucker after breakthrough performance
Another player who was outstanding against the Kings was Talen Horton-Tucker, and James offered the young Lakers guard a ton of praise after finally breaking out of his recent slump.
It was phenomenal, it was so rewarding,” LeBron said. “It was amazing to see Talen be himself, get back to himself once again. His ability to score the ball, his ability to get into the lane and finish, shot-making ability, we’ve been missing that and he’s been missing it in himself as well.”
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