The Los Angeles Lakers are expected to come back with a vengeance next season, after falling to the Phoenix Suns in the first round of the playoffs. LeBron James will be 37 years old at some point next season, and Anthony Davis is struggling with injuries. But in terms of pure talent on the roster, the Lakers are still the team to beat in the West when healthy.
When looking at their starting lineup, each player has played a significant number of games and is an experienced professional in the NBA. That also means each starter has run into their “Kryptonite” on more than a few occasions and holds losing records against them. It is time to uncover the players the Lakers starters have the worst career record (minimum of 10 games played against each opponent) by taking into account regular-season and playoff matchups. Spoiler: there might be some unexpected names with records against big-time players.
Dennis Schroder vs. Andre Iguodala 2-10 Record
Starting point guard for the Lakers Dennis Schroder has struggled to win games against Andre Iguodala over his career. In 12 games against the Warriors and Heat, Schroder was on the losing end of an Andre Iguodala matchup 10 separate times. It wasn’t for a lack of trying, as Schroder put up solid numbers at 17.5 PPG, 3.2 RPG, and 5.9 APG as the starting point guard. Schroder also has a game-high of 32 points, 8 rebounds, and 14 assists against the former Finals MVP.
But Iguodala always had the edge thanks to the amount of talent on his team. Iguodala was average in head-to-head matchups with Schroder by averaging 9.1 PPG and 3.9 APG but has a strong 24-point performance against Schroder and the Atlanta Hawks. Schroder has been the better player, but Iguodala has had the better teams with the Warriors over 11 of the matchups which greatly helped his record.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope vs. Klay Thompson 2-13 Record
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is a solid two-way shooting guard who is effective at playing on-ball defense while also nailing open shots when he has space. In 606 total games, Caldwell-Pope has career averages of 11.4 PPG and 1.1 SPG on 35.5% 3-PT shooting. He has played for 2 franchises over his career and is currently a member of the Lakers. His particular Kryptonite is Klay Thompson, a 3-time NBA champion.
Thompson is one of the most underrated stars of his generation and he tends to have an edge on the Lakers’ current starting shooting guard. Thompson is also regarded as one of the best shooters in history, averaging 19.5 PPG on 41.9% shooting from deep over his career. Caldwell-Pope is a nice shooter and defender, but Klay does both skills at an elite level which is why the latter has dominated this matchup.
LeBron James vs. Danny Green 8-17 Record
LeBron James has been in many battles throughout his Hall of Fame career against top superstars such as Dirk Nowitzki, Tim Duncan, Stephen Curry, and Kevin Durant among many others. But LeBron’s kryptonite seems to be Danny Green, a two-way swingman who has defeated LeBron as a member of the Spurs, Raptors, and 76ers. For whatever reason, Danny Green seems to win games against The King. The reason could be the fact that Green has played for championship teams including the Spurs and Raptors, and a contender with the 76ers.
LeBron is the much better player in these head-to-head matchups, averaging 26.2 PPG, 8.0 RPG, and 6.6 APG. Green has played his role well by putting up 11.4 PPG and 3.3 RPG, but his impact comes on the defensive end where he contests shots and plays tight on-ball coverage. Even if LeBron is the better player and often the best player on the floor, Green always finds himself playing for top teams in the NBA because he is the epitome of a championship role player. Green was a nemesis for LeBron when the Miami Heat were battling the Spurs in the playoffs, and the former often came out on top.
Anthony Davis vs. Stephen Curry 3-25 Record
Stephen Curry often dominates most matchups he is in, but his incredible winning record against Anthony Davis is shocking to see. Davis has lost to Curry 25 times out of their 28 appearances, as the superstar player for the New Orleans Pelicans and also the Los Angeles Lakers. Davis has played his part in the paint by averaging 26.1 PPG, 13.0 RPG, and 2.2 BPG but was still outplayed by Curry (29.3 PPG, 6.4 APG, 1.7 SPG).
Curry also has a 53-point game against Davis on his resume, while Davis has a 45-point game registered against the best shooter in NBA history. Out of those 25 losses, 7 of them came in the postseason when Davis was playing for the Hornets/Pelicans. More interestingly, Davis has only played against Curry twice when he was a Laker and has gone 1-1 in those games.
Andre Drummond vs. Paul Goerge 3-20 Record
The Kryptonite of 4-time rebounding champion Andre Drummond is 7-time All-Star Paul George. Davis has outplayed Drummond across those 12 games against each other, putting up 29.2 PPG, 11.2 RPG, and 3.6 BPG. George tends to attack the rim often when he is not settling for threes and even the defensive presence of Andre Drummond was not effective in slowing him down. Drummond held his own averaging 16.3 PPG, 15.7 RPG, and 1.8 BPG but only has one win as a member of the Detroit Pistons.
11 out of those 12 games came when Drummond was on the Pistons, and the other coming in a loss this season with Drummond on the Cavaliers. To further accentuate the fact that Davis has had tremendous success against Drummond, the 2020 NBA champion put up a monster 59-point and 20-rebound performance against Drummond and the Pistons on February 21, 2016.
Kyle Kuzma vs. Pascal Siakam 1-7 Record
The Lakers' 6th man Kyle Kuzma is constantly in trade rumors because he has not lived up to his potential as a scoring forward. He has time to get there, but his putrid record against 2019 NBA champion Pascal Siakam doesn’t help his case. In 8 total games against Siakam, Kuzma has averaged 14.5 PPG and 5.4 RPG while losing 7 of the meetings. On the flip side, Siakam has put up 20.3 PPG and 6.9 RPG to go along with 1.6 SPG and 1.3 BPG.
It is hard to match up with Siakam due to the Cameroonian’s skill and size, and Kuzma has struggled against him so far. Siakam is stronger, quicker, and has a better all-around game than Kuzma and it has shown in their 8 matchups together. In terms of Kuzma’s Kryptonite, it has certainly been Siakam because no player has dominated the 2018 All-Rookie Team member like the Raptors’ forward has.