Stephen A. Smith says Lakers roster is full of players that have ‘betrayed’ LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Jeanie Buss and Rob Pelinka

Peter Dewey
3 Min Read
Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

ESPN analyst Stephen A. Smith had some harsh criticism of the Los Angeles Lakers, starting that the team’s roster is full of players that have “betrayed” LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Jeanie Buss and Rob Pelinka.

“They are an absolute mess,” said Smith of the Lakers. “As far as I’m concerned, they’ve got a roster rife with individuals who have betrayed LeBron James. They have betrayed Anthony Davis. They have betrayed Jeanie Buss and Rob Pelinka.”

The Lakers have not played well as of late, losing at home to the Miami Heat on Wednesday – the team’s third consecutive loss.

Los Angeles has won just two of its last 10 games, slipping to the No. 10 seed in the Western Conference with a 17-18 record. Smith seems to believe that the issue with the Lakers is the team’s supporting cast and not the star players in James and Davis.

While James did not play well against Miami, scoring just 12 points on 6-of-18 shooting from the field, his body of work this season has been stellar. Despite being in his 21st season in the NBA, James is averaging 25.0 points, 7.3 rebounds and 7.4 assists per game while shooting 52.8 percent from the field and 39.5 percent from beyond the arc.

James’ 3-point percentage is the highest that it has been since the 2012-13 season when he shot 40.6 percent from 3 with the Heat.

Davis has also played well, as he put up 29 points, 17 rebounds, six assists, three steals and five blocks against Miami. The Lakers big man is averaging 25.2 points, 12.5 rebounds and 2.7 blocks per game this season.

The Lakers have been dealing with injuries all season, with guards Gabe Vincent and D’Angelo Russell, as well as forward Rui Hachimura, missing Wednesday’s game against Miami.

The team started Austin Reaves, Cam Reddish and Taurean Prince alongside James and Davis in Wednesday’s loss. While Reaves scored 24 points and dished out eight assists, the other two starters did not score.

The Lakers brought in Prince, Reddish, Vincent, Christian Wood and Jaxson Hayes this offseason, but the team hasn’t been able to take the next step after making the Western Conference Finals last season.

Even though the Lakers won the league’s In-Season Tournament, the team is in danger of missing the playoffs, sitting in the final play-in tournament spot ahead of Thursday’s NBA action.

If the Lakers are as big of a mess as Smith seems to think they are, the team may need to entertain some trade offers ahead of this year’s trade deadline to upgrade the roster around James and Davis.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.