Why the Lakers don’t need a third star!
How head coach Frank Vogel has used a deep and diverse 12-player rotation to complement superstars LeBron James and Anthony Davis
While the Los Angeles Lakers entered the 2019–20 season hoping to find that elusive third star to complement LeBron James and Anthony Davis, it’s looking more and more like they might not actually need that third star.
Almost a third of the way through the season, the Lakers are 21–3 with LeBron James and Anthony Davis averaging over 50 points per game and ten role players contributing more than 13 minutes and 4 points per game.
While the Lakers still hope Kuzma will emerge as the consistent third scorer they need, the third-star-by-committee strategy seems to working well with multiple role players emerging as double-digit scorers almost every game. So far this season, the Lakers have averaged 4.6 double-digit scorers per game in 24 games, including 4 or more double-digit scorers in 20 games, 3 double-digit scorers in 3 games, and 2 double-digit scorers in one game.
The Lakers’ third-star-by-committee strategy seemed to work even in their three losses. In their opening day 112–102 loss to the Clippers, Danny Green actually led the Lakers and LeBron and AD in scoring with 28 points. In their 113–104 loss to the Raptors, Kuzma had 15, Daniels 11, and McGee 10 points. But in their 114–100 loss to the Mavs, Alex Caruso with 10 points was the only third double-digit scorer besides LeBron and AD.
While the Lakers haven’t necessarily needed a third star, that doesn’t mean they wouldn’t be a better team with a third star. Right now, the hope is still that Kuzma will slowly emerge as the third star behind LeBron and AD. The good news is that Kuzma is finally healthy and has improved his three-point shooting percentage to 36% and defensive rating to an impressive 101.3. He just needs to adjust to the limited touches playing with two superstars.
Bottom line, the 12-man rotation with the third-star-by-committee strategy that head coach Frank Vogel has deployed has created a championship style chemistry that’s led to the Lakers becoming the best team in the league.
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