On Friday night, the Los Angeles Lakers host the Sacramento Kings in a winnable game at Staples Center. Sure, every game is winnable, but this game is especially tilted in the Lakers’ favor due DeMarcus Cousins' one-game suspension.
Cousins is, without a doubt, the best player on the Kings’ roster. Sure, the Lakers could make that same argument that they are without their best player (Kobe Bryant), but the point is, the Lakers should win Friday’s game.
However, even a win over the second-worst team in the Western Conference would not elevate the Lakers out of last place in the West. Currently, the Lakers are fourth from the bottom in the NBA, and that is where they will remain regardless of Friday’s outcome. Unfortunately, the only race worth watching these days is the Lakers’ lottery chase.
That, ladies and gentlemen, is where the Lakers are 58 games into the season. This is the talent evaluation segment of the program, and well, the newest talents acquired by the Lakers appear to be worth keeping an eye on.
Kent Bazemore has only played four games with the Lakers, and the 24-year-old led the team in scoring over that stretch. Along with setting three new career-highs in points, Bazemore is averaging a team-best 17.3 points per game.
MarShon Brooks, who was also acquired alongside Bazemore in a trade for Steve Blake, is averaging 11.5 points per game on 55.9 percent from the field and 83.3 percent from behind the arc. That three-point percentage should come down, but Brooks has already shown the ability to make shots with the lights on.
Xavier Henry and Nick Young, both suffering with knee injuries, are still not back with the Lakers for Friday. Henry was assigned to the Lakers’ NBA Development League affiliate, Los Angeles D-Fenders, and played in a game on Thursday.
Given that Henry is playing games at a lower level, he is likely healthy enough to come back. However, the Lakers have a good idea of what the 22-year-old can provide given his performances with the team earlier in the season. Barring any further setbacks, Henry should re-join the Lakers after he returns from the D-Fenders’ road trip.
Even without Young and Henry, the Lakers should have enough in the tank to snap a three-game losing streak on Friday. Playing at home against the second-worst team in the conference missing its best player, the Lakers really have no excuse.
Tip-off at Staples Center is 7:30 pm Pacific Time.