Dennis Schröder

International Notes: Wembanyama, Darlan, Schröder, Yao

Victor Wembanyama‘s overwhelming popularity is creating a lot of new basketball fans in France, writes Sam Borden of ESPN. Borden notes that it has long been a “niche sport,” far behind soccer in the French sporting landscape, but Wembanyama has been drawing massive crowds, especially as his time in the French league nears its end.

Nearly 16,000 people attended his most recent game in Accor Arena — the largest venue in Paris, which has been hosting Metropolitans 92 games in light of Wembanyama’s celebrity status — and tickets were selling for hundreds of dollars on the resale market. The Wembanyama phenomenon figures to create a huge crop of new NBA fans in France when he begins playing for the Spurs in the fall.

“We’ve had this traditional setup in France — you are going to play the sport your dad played, or the sport he watches,” said Maxime Raynaud, who plays at Stanford. “And so for the past 100 years, everyone just picked up a soccer ball. Now, we have access to basketball. We have role models for basketball. And Victor is going to be the face of that.”

Wembanyama has a crucial playoff game today as his team’s best-of-three series with Cholet is tied at 1-1. Beyond winning an LNB Pro A title and making an impact in the NBA, he has his eyes on the 2024 Olympics, which will take place in Paris.

“My goal,” he said, “is to beat Team USA in the final.”

There’s more international news to pass along:

  • After officially signing with G League Ignite, Thierry Darlan hopes to prove that Africa can produce NBA-level guards as well as big men, per Marc J. Spears of Andscape. Darlan hails from the Central African Republic and graduated from the NBA Academy Africa. “When they talk about basketball in Africa, they always talk about the center, the big,” Darlan said. “It’s a big challenge to change that to talking about (a) point guard. In Africa, we’re not just known to run the floor and get rebounds. We can do many things, too. We can pass the ball. Create for others. That is my mission to show that African players can do more.”
  • Lakers guard Dennis Schröder, who is entering free agency, said he plans to play for Germany this summer in the FIBA World Cup, tweets Dave McMenamin of ESPN.
  • Hall of Famer Yao Ming has stepped down as head of the Chinese Basketball Association, according to an Associated Press report. No official explanation was given, but the league has been plagued by allegations of corruption, including match fixing.

Lakers Notes: Role Players, Russell, Bamba, KCP, James

Among the many issues the Lakers face as they try to dig themselves out of a 3-0 hole in the Western Conference Finals is the lack of production from their role players, Janis Carr of the Orange County Register writes.

Beyond their two superstars and Austin Reaves, the Lakers got modest contributions from the remaining members of the rotation in Game 3 against the Nuggets. D’Angelo Russell (three points), Dennis Schröder (five points) and Jarred Vanderbilt (two points) were non-factors offensively.

“I thought they did the best they could, all of them,” coach Darvin Ham said. “They competed. I’m disappointed but I’m not upset. Yeah, it sucks to lose, but those guys, they fought their hearts out. They tried to do it. They tried to execute what we gave them.”

We have more on the Lakers:

  • Russell admitted he’s baffled by his ineffective play, according to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin. Russell, who’s headed to free agency, shot just 1-for-8 from the field on Saturday. “I really don’t. I don’t know,” he said when asked about how his approach needs to change. “I’ll try to figure it out.” He’s averaging just 7.0 points in the series after contributing 14.7 PPG in the second round against Golden State.
  • The Lakers will have another frontcourt option for Game 4 on Monday. Mohamed Bamba is expected to be available, Ham told Chris Haynes of TNT (Twitter link). Bamba, who has appeared in only three postseason games due to a left ankle injury, hasn’t played since Game 6 in the first round against Memphis.
  • Kentavious Caldwell-Pope‘s defensive contributions and 3-point shot-making were often taken for granted during the Lakers’ 2020 title run at the Orlando bubble. His all-around contributions for the Nuggets in this series are a painful reminder of the ill-fated Russell Westbrook trade in 2021, which included Caldwell-Pope as part of the package, Ramona Shelburne of ESPN notes. KCP is averaging 15.3 points on 51.4% shooting in the series.
  • LeBron James is showing his age by his inability to carry the Lakers in this series, Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times opines. James played well enough in Game 3 but wasn’t great, and he needed to be great to bridge the gap that exists between the Nuggets and Lakers.

Lakers Notes: LeBron, Davis, Bamba, Reaves, Hachimura

General manager Rob Pelinka reshuffled the Lakers‘ roster to give LeBron James and Anthony Davis their best shot at another NBA title, but the two stars haven’t lived up to expectations so far in the Western Conference Finals, writes Sam Amick of The Athletic.

L.A. trails the series 2-0 after letting a pair of winnable games slip away in Denver. James missed a layup and botched a wide-open dunk in the second quarter Thursday, while Davis shot just 4-of-15 from the field after a 40-point night in Game 1. Amick notes that neither player is as dominant as they were when L.A. defeated Denver in the 2020 conference finals, which is understandable with James considering that he’s 38, but it’s more puzzling for Davis, who should still be in his prime at age 30.

“I got the same looks,” Davis told reporters after Game 2. “… I liked all the looks that I got today. Just a lot of them (were) short. I’m going to continue to shoot those shots and I’ve got to be better, more efficient, (to) help the team win. So, I’ll be better.”

There’s more on the Lakers:

  • James isn’t concerned about his three-point shooting, even though he’s off to an 0-for-10 start in the series, per Dave McMenamin of ESPN. James shot 32.1% from beyond the arc this season, his lowest figure in seven years, but his teammates are encouraging him to keep shooting whenever he’s open. “It’s LeBron James. I don’t think anybody bats an eye when he shoots a shot or questions his shot,” Austin Reaves said. “We want him taking whatever he feels comfortable with, just because he’s a winning basketball player for his whole career and that’s all he wants to do, he wants to win.”
  • Coach Darvin Ham altered his starting five for Game 2, but the change he made wasn’t the one he needed, contends Kevin Pelton of ESPN. There was speculation that Rui Hachimura might start after he did an effective job guarding Nikola Jokic late in Game 1, but Ham opted to replace Dennis Schröder with Jarred Vanderbilt instead. Although Vanderbilt controlled Jamal Murray early on, he bogged down the offense due to his lack of shooting range. Pelton argues that Ham should consider starting Hachimura and Schröder while bringing D’Angelo Russell off the bench.
  • Mohamed Bamba, who hasn’t played since April 28 because of left ankle soreness, may be able to return in Game 4 or 5, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
  • The Lakers are virtually certain to match any offer sheets signed by Reaves or Hachimura, who are both restricted free agents, Wojnarowski states on the latest edition of his podcast (hat tip to Silver Screen and Roll). “I don’t see any scenario where the Lakers would not match on both,” Wojnarowski said. “They have to. … They’ve proved themselves to be win-now players with LeBron and Anthony Davis on their timeline (and) these are both starting-level players.”

Lakers Notes: James, Davis, Bamba, Schröder, Vanderbilt

Despite his age and two decades as an NBA player, Lakers superstar LeBron James continues to defy Father Time with his All-Star level performances. Teammate D’Angelo Russell has a simple explanation for why James continues to excel at an age when most NBA players have already retired, according to Greg Beacham of The Associated Press.

”Bron’s niche has always been preparedness,” Russell said. ”A lot of guys’ niches is shooting the ball, working hard, outworking guys. LeBron is a film junkie, a basketball junkie, a leadership junkie. To be able to watch it all from the front row, it’s almost like a cheat code.”

James has played in a league-record 278 postseason games, and his 7,912 career postseason points are nearly 2,000 more than Michael Jordan (5,987) atop the NBA’s career playoff scoring list, Beacham adds.

We have more on the Lakers:

  • The team’s Game 1 injury report didn’t have any surprises. James and Anthony Davis were both listed as probable for Tuesday’s game, as they were for much of the Warriors series, Harrison Wind of DNVR Sports tweets. Both have been playing through right foot ailments. Mohamed Bamba is listed as out due to left ankle soreness.
  • Bamba wasn’t at Monday’s practice in Denver because he’s back in Los Angeles after getting a PRP injection in his ankle earlier this postseason, Jovan Buha of The Athletic tweets. He has a follow-up appointment there on Tuesday and will rejoin the team afterward, Buha adds. Bamba has only made three cameo appearances during this postseason.
  • Coach Darvin Ham tweaked his lineup in the series finale against the Warriors, inserting guard Dennis Schröder in favor of small forward Jarred Vanderbilt, Elliott Teaford of the Orange County Register notes. Will Ham stick with the lineup switch for the Nuggets’ series? That’s TBD, though Ham liked how Schröder hounded Stephen Curry, which could lead to a similar defensive assignment against Jamal Murray. “Dennis came in and set an unbelievable tone defensively,” Ham said.

Schröder Replacing Vanderbilt In Lakers’ Game 6 Starting Lineup

Guard Dennis Schröder is replacing forward Jarred Vanderbilt in the Lakers‘ starting lineup for Friday’s Game 6 versus Golden State, tweets Marc J. Spears of Andscape.

It will be the first change head coach Darvin Ham has made to L.A.’s starting lineup in the 2022/23 postseason. Vanderbilt had gotten the nod in the previous 11 playoff games.

After a solid first-round series against Memphis and a strong defensive performance in Game 1 against the Warriors, Vanderbilt has struggled mightily over the past four games against the defending champions, averaging just 2.5 PPG and 3.8 RPG and going a combined 2-of-15 from the field in 14.4 MPG.

He has been particularly ineffective over the past two contests, recording a minus-23 plus/minus in his 22 minutes of action after the Warriors went small by inserting Gary Payton II into the starting lineup. Now the Lakers will match the guard-heavy approach with one of their own.

Schröder, on the other hand, had a quiet first-round series against the Grizzlies, but has come to life against the Warriors, averaging 11.8 PPG, 2.6 APG and 1.0 SPG on .476/.333/.778 shooting over five games. The team is plus-28 in his 64 minutes over the past two contests.

The Lakers currently lead the series 3-2 and have a chance to eliminate Golden State tonight at home. In case you missed it, Warriors forward Andrew Wiggins will be active despite dealing with a left costal cartilage fracture.

Lakers Notes: Davis, Pelinka, Schröder, Bamba

LeBron James and Stephen Curry represent the marquee matchup in the Lakers-Warriors series, but Game 1 belonged to Anthony Davis, writes Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports. Davis posted 30 points, 23 rebounds and five assists Tuesday night as L.A. picked up a road victory in the series opener. He also had five blocks and provided a deterrent to Golden State shooters on numerous other attempts.

“He’s one of the few guys that can defend laterally and vertically,” coach Darvin Ham said. “By that I mean he can get down in a stance and move his feet, keep a guard in front of him, force a tough, contested shot. I knew watching him during his days in New Orleans, watching him in the bubble, he’s an elite defender.”

Davis’ most significant number on Tuesday may have been the nearly 44 minutes that he played. He had a few days of rest after the Lakers closed out their first-round series on Friday, so Ham felt comfortable leaving him in the game longer than usual, including the entire second half.

Goodwill notes that the injuries that limited Davis to 56 games this season prevented him from making the All-Star Game and will likely keep him from earning an All-NBA spot. But when he’s healthy, Davis has always been recognized as one of the league’s best talents.

“He’s doing exactly what I anticipated him to do,” Ham said. “He’s playing like the top-five NBA player that he is.”

There’s more on the Lakers:

  • Rob Pelinka’s 11th-place finish in the Executive of the Year voting doesn’t reflect the job he did in turning the team around at midseason, states Sam Amick of The Athletic. L.A. got off to a miserable start and wasn’t able to reach .500 until the end of March, but Pelinka’s rebuilt roster now looks like it can compete with anyone in the league. “I mean, we went 2-10 to start the year,” Austin Reaves said. “Darv wrote it on the board the other day, where I think they gave us like a 0.3 percent chance of making the playoffs at that time. For us to really just keep our head down and grind through it, like you said — it’s felt like a long year. But you look up, and you’re 1-0 against the defending champs. Anybody in the world would take that scenario.”
  • Dennis Schröder made several clutch plays late in Game 1 to help the Lakers hold off a Golden State rally, per Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times. Schröder, who’s headed back into free agency this summer, said he’s feeling good after being slowed by an Achilles issue in the first-round series.
  • Mohamed Bamba missed Tuesday’s game with soreness in his left ankle, tweets Dave McMenamin of ESPN. The backup big man received an injection to help ease the pain before the start of the series, McMenamin adds.

Lakers Notes: Schröder, Hachimura, Vanderbilt, Reaves

A starter in 50 of his 66 games this season, Lakers point guard Dennis Schröder came off the bench in Tuesday’s play-in game, but proved to be a difference-maker in Los Angeles’ overtime win. Schröder scored 21 points and was a team-high plus-22 in his 33 minutes. And while it didn’t end up being the game-winner, his three-pointer with 1.4 seconds left in regulation was the biggest clutch shot of the night.

“Whatever the team needs right now, I just try to get it done,” Schröder said of shifting to a reserve role, per Elliott Teaford of The Orange County Register (subscription required). “I didn’t even know before I got here. I see my name, that I’m not starting. End of the day, to play with those guys is easy, whether I’m coming off the bench or I’m starting. So, we are just competing on the highest level. We showed it again, and I’m glad we got the win.”

A free agent last summer, Schröder had to settle for a minimum-salary contract with the Lakers. That deal only covered one season, meaning he’ll be back on the market this offseason, and he’s making a strong case for a larger payday this time around. Since the Lakers will only hold his Non-Bird rights, it’ll be tricky for them to give the veteran guard much of a raise, but head coach Darvin Ham sounds like someone who’d like to see the team figure something out.

“Yeah, man, the kid is just – his heart, his competitive spirit, just his ability to make big plays and take tough matchups in the biggest of moments, his attitude, his confidence,” Ham said after Tuesday’s victory. “He’s unbelievable, extraordinary.”

Here’s more on the Lakers:

  • Fourth-year forward Rui Hachimura, a restricted free agent this July, played nearly the entire fourth quarter against Utah on Sunday and has showed that he’s capable of handling a larger role as the postseason begins, writes Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times. Hachimura, who averaged 22.4 minutes per game in 33 regular season appearances with L.A., played 27 minutes in Tuesday’s play-in win — the Lakers outscored Minnesota by 20 points with Hachimura on the floor.
  • Since joining the Lakers two months ago in a deadline trade, Jarred Vanderbilt has established a reputation as the team’s “Energizer Bunny” capable of making “Dennis Rodman plays” with his defense and energy, writes Jovan Buha of The Athletic. Unsurprisingly, Buha says the Lakers fully intend to exercise their team-friendly option worth $4.7MM on Vanderbilt for the 2023/24 season.
  • In a Q&A with Shams Charania of Stadium (Twitter video link), Lakers guard Austin Reaves discusses a handful of topics, including his upcoming restricted free agency. “I want to be a Laker, so hopefully we can get this done and I can stay there for hopefully my whole career,” Reaves said.

Injury Notes: Zion, J. Brown, Middleton, Schröder, Biyombo

Pelicans executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin announced on Thursday that Zion Williamson would remain out indefinitely as he continues to deal with a right hamstring strain that has kept him sidelined since January 2.

According to Christian Clark of, Griffin clarified on Friday that Williamson will not suit up for the play-in tournament, and he might miss a potential first-round playoff series as well.

I would just say that if you looked at the logistics of where we are at, it’s not possible to get the work in that would put him in a 5-on-5 workout in time for any play-in,” Griffin said. “Based on today, our best possible outcome would be if everything lined up perfectly, maybe you’re in a position to practice prior to a first round. Or maybe during a first round. But it’s going to take more than one, right? It’s really hard. We may never get to that point, either. If it’s not a situation where those things align and he feels the way he needs to feel, we’re not going to let him go to the next phase.”

Williamson had a setback in February, which delayed his return to the court. Griffin said the All-Star forward hasn’t experienced another setback since then, but he lacks confidence in the hamstring.

Here are a few more injury notes from around the NBA:

  • Celtics guard/forward Jaylen Brown cut his right hand and had to get five stitches as he was picking up a glass vase he broke while watering his plants on Thursday night, tweets Jared Weiss of The Athletic. Brown expects to be ready for the playoffs, Weiss adds.
  • Bucks forward Khris Middleton had an MRI on Thursday after he aggravated a right knee injury, sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic. Nothing showed up on the imaging and Middleton is expected to rehab for the next week “in hopes of being ready” for the postseason, according to Charania. While it’s a positive development that the MRI was clean, Charania’s wording suggests it’s no lock that Middleton will be healthy when the playoffs start on April 15.
  • Lakers guard Dennis Schröder was ruled out of Friday’s matchup with Phoenix due to “extreme neck soreness” that stemmed from “general wear and tear,” head coach Darvin Ham told reporters, including Dave McMenamin of ESPN (Twitter link). The team had previously listed Schröder as questionable due to neck spasms.
  • Suns center Bismack Biyombo was in a lot of pain and needed assistance to leave the court after taking knee-to-knee contact in Friday’s matchup with the Lakers. He was later ruled out for the remainder of the contest with a right knee injury, as Gerald Bourguet of PHNX Sports relays (All Twitter links).

Free Agent Stock Watch: Los Angeles Lakers

For the rest of the regular season and postseason, Hoops Rumors is taking a closer look at players who will be free agents or could become free agents during the 2023 offseason. We consider whether their stock is rising or falling due to their performance and other factors. Today, we’re focusing on a handful of Lakers players.

Note: We also covered a couple other Lakers earlier this month.

Dennis Schröder, G

  • 2022/23: Minimum salary
  • 2023/24: UFA
  • Stock: Up

Before the 2022/23 season started, Schröder said he had “unfinished business” with the Lakers after reportedly being unwilling to discuss a lucrative extension in his first stint with the team a couple of seasons ago. The rumored four-year, $80MM offer was never signed, and Schröder instead inked a one-year, $5.9MM contract with Boston in 2021 free agency.

Despite a tepid market in ’21, I was surprised it took Schröder so long to find a team last offseason. He didn’t sign until September, when he was running the show for Germany during EuroBasket, helping lead his national team to a bronze medal.

A reunion with the Lakers has worked out well for both sides, as Schröder has been one of the league’s better bargains on his minimum-salary contract.

The Lakers had an abysmal start this season in part due to injuries to Schröder and Thomas Bryant, who both underwent thumb surgeries right before the season began. The team went just 3-10 in the 13 games they missed (Bryant was traded to Denver at last month’s deadline).

Since he returned, Schröder has only missed one game and the Lakers have gone 34-28 with him in the lineup. He leads L.A. in total minutes played and the team has been better on both ends of the court when he’s playing — and significantly worse when he’s not. He only trails LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Austin Reaves in net rating differential among players with a large sample size.

I’ve been impressed with Schröder’s point-of-attack defense this season. He has also cut down on his turnovers and has generally just been willing to do the little things necessary to win games. He’s not a great three-point shooter (33.8%), but he remains extremely quick and is a very good ball-handler who can create shots and draw fouls. Schröder is also highly accurate on free throws, converting 87% of his looks this season – an important factor when trying to close out games.

The Lakers only have his Non-Bird rights, so they will be limited to offering the 29-year-old 120% of the veteran’s minimum, which would amount to $3.8MM. If the two sides go that route, it would almost certainly be a one-year deal or a two-year pact with a player option. That would give him Early Bird rights in 2024 and make it easier for the Lakers to give him a more lucrative longer-term contract, if they’re so inclined. They could also give him a bigger raise this summer by using one of their exceptions (either the bi-annual or the mid-level).

Rui Hachimura, F

  • 2022/23: $6.26MM
  • 2023/24: RFA
  • Stock: Down

When the Lakers traded three second-rounders (and Kendrick Nunn) to acquire Hachimura, I don’t think they envisioned him averaging 9.2 points and playing just 22.3 minutes per night, but that’s what he’s put up through 27 games.

The former lottery pick is a talented mid-range scorer, but he’s sort of a one-trick pony in that his game isn’t very well-rounded. His three-point accuracy (33.9%) has been virtually identical to what it was with the Wizards this season (33.7%), which is disappointing.

Hachimura has looked better on defense than I’ve seen in the past, but it’s still merely passable, and he doesn’t always play with a lot of energy. His role has been reduced of late, as he received one healthy scratch and averaged 5.3 PPG and 2.5 RPG in the six contests (16.0 MPG) he did play over the past seven games.

Hachimura’s $7,744,600 qualifying offer isn’t prohibitive, and he’s only 25 years old. Are the Lakers really gung-ho about bringing him back? Maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t see a huge market for him in restricted free agency based on his relative lack of development over his first four NBA seasons. One report said he might get something around the full mid-level exception, which is projected to start at $11.37MM — I would wish him luck and let him walk at that price.

Troy Brown, G/F

  • 2022/23: Minimum salary
  • 2023/24: UFA
  • Stock: Up

There’s nothing about Brown’s game that really jumps out at you, nor do his modest numbers — he’s averaging 7.3 PPG, 4.1 RPG and 1.2 APG in 70 games (45 starts, 24.9 MPG).

What Brown provides is prototypical size on the wing at 6’6″ and 215 pounds and a strong understanding of the game. He can do a little bit of everything, but doesn’t stand out in any one particular area. The 23-year-old is shooting a career-high 37.3% from deep, tries hard on defense, and is an unselfish passer.

Despite giving forth solid effort, Brown isn’t the greatest athlete by NBA standards, and is only around league average on defense. He hasn’t been much of a scoring threat, but the Lakers only really ask him to shoot when he’s open.

As with Schröder, Brown is another player the Lakers added on a minimum deal last summer, so unless they use one of their exceptions, they can only offer him 120% of the minimum using his Non-Bird rights – that would be about $2.77MM.

Could he get more than that from another team? I think something in the $3-6MM range could be in play, but I’m not sure. Either way, he has provided positive value considering his compensation this season, and I would imagine there’s motivation from both sides to bring him back – he’s getting regular minutes, which wasn’t the case the past couple seasons.

Malik Beasley, G/F

  • 2022/23: $15.49MM
  • 2023/24: $16.52MM team option
  • Stock: Down

Beasley is a long-range shooting specialist and the Lakers rank just 26th in the league in three-point percentage, which is why they traded for him. The problem is, he’s only shooting 35.6% from deep in 2022/23 (34.7% in 20 games with the Lakers), which is his worst conversion rate since he became a rotation regular in ‘18/19.

The 26-year-old is extremely streaky, and perhaps more than any other player on the team’s roster, he was negatively impacted by James’ absence due to a foot injury. LeBron has always been great at finding open shooters and Beasley has by far the best track record on the team as a high-volume outside shooter, despite his down season and inconsistency.

Free agents D’Angelo Russell and Reaves will likely higher on the team’s priority list this offseason than Beasley, and they won’t be cheap. However, it’s convenient to have mid-size contracts like Beasley’s on the roster, and his specialty is certainly more valuable than Hachimura’s.

How Beasley fares for the rest of the season will likely determine whether the Lakers exercise their team option on his deal, because it’s a hefty price tag considering he doesn’t provide a whole lot else beyond shooting and floor spacing. One report indicated the Lakers were likely to pick the option. They could potentially bring him back at a lower annual cost if they decline it, though there’s always a risk another team could swoop in with a better offer in that scenario.

L.A. Notes: Batum, Morris, Powell, D-Lo, Lakers, Schröder

Nicolas Batum is replacing Marcus Morris as the Clippers‘ starting forward and will stay in the role for the rest of the season, head coach Tyronn Lue told reporters, including Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times.

It was nothing that Marcus did wrong, just trying something different,” Lue said. “And when you’re not playing well, you want to try something different, and Marcus was all for it. We have to sacrifice if we want to win at a high level.”

As Greif writes, there’s less clarity about who will back up Batum. Morris and Robert Covington are the two primary options, and Lue was noncommittal on which player might have the edge. At least for the immediate future, Covington should receive playing time, as Morris has entered the league’s health and safety protocols and has been ruled out of Wednesday’s game in Memphis (Twitter link via ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk).

Here’s more on the two Los Angeles-based teams:

  • Clippers guard Norman Powell, who is questionable for Wednesday’s contest after missing the past 11 games with a left shoulder subluxation, will be reinserted into the rotation once he returns, Greif writes in the same piece. “We need him back. We need his juice. We need his scoring,” Lue said of Powell.
  • Lakers guard D’Angelo Russell (hip) and big man Anthony Davis (foot) are probable to play in Wednesday’s game at Chicago, tweets Mark Medina of Forward LeBron James (foot) is questionable. Russell missed the past two games with his injury, while James just returned Sunday after a 13-game absence.
  • Guard Dennis Schröder, who is playing on a veteran’s minimum contract in his second stint with the Lakers, has provided a valuable spark all season long, according to Dan Woike of The Los Angeles Times. “It’s a lot of energy, man. He plays with such a good passion. He’s energetic,” Davis said. “That’s how he plays, he’s scrappy and he saves a fastbreak, comes back down and draws a foul. He’s kind of another spark. Got the crowd into it. But that’s Dennis. That’s how he plays. … He’s leaving it all on the floor. Everyone is. I mean, the position that we’re in, you got to be able to leave it all on the floor, give 110%. And he’s giving like 150. He’s leaving it all on the floor, laying everything out on the line for us to get a win. And it’s contagious.”
  • Mirjam Swanson of the Southern California News Group is skeptical the Clippers and Lakers can make deep playoff runs in the West, noting that injuries have played a role in the two teams’ inconsistency. She believes the Nuggets, Grizzlies and even the Kings should be favored over the two L.A. teams due to their continuity.