The Lakers are looking to add another championship this season with a freshly rested LeBron James and an especially gifted center who’s entering his prime in Anthony Davis. The Lakers were still the top contenders to win the title this basketball season, even after Kawhi Leonard decided to go to the LA Clippers. But, there are some things that the Lakers need to do to be able to become a better team.
The NBA has transitioned from a 2 superstar team, to 3 and 4 stars, and now back to 2. The LA Clippers have a bench that they feel very comfortable with and can bring in their 6 through 9 players. They have plenty of depth to go with their stars in Kawhi and Paul George.
Teams are building around one or two players and are trying to find role players for the superstars to play with that fit the chemistry, understand their role as role players, and feel comfortable in it.
We are in a different era of basketball. In this era of basketball, teams are now relying heavily on the three point shot more than ever before. Ten years ago in the 2009-10 season, all of the teams combined to hit 11,524 shots from deep. This year, teams have combined to hit 12,115 threes. We aren’t even half way done this season.
The Lakers lack consistency from behind the arc, constantly playing a two man game with James and AD. It has worked up to this point in the season, but they still need more help from their role players and need to start finding more success from deep. They currently rank 22nd in the NBA in 3PM, 24th in 3PA, and 20th in 3PT% (35.0%).
The Lakers have both Danny Green and Avery Bradley who are both known for their perimeter defense, but can also hit some much needed 3’s (especially Danny Green). Only averaging 8.4 points per game this season, Danny Green was the 3 point specialist the Lakers needed, however, they aren’t really using him on the offensive end as often as they should. During the 2018-2019 season, Bradley averaged 16.2 PPG and this season he only averages 8.2. Why do we see that huge difference? Because Bradley is mostly needed for his perimeter defense. When it is time for him to look for his shot, Bradley will more often than not miss it because of the energy spent on defense. They need to work to get these 2 players more spot up opportunities.
Kyle Kuzma has to continue getting into his grove and becoming the leader the bench needs along with Rondo. When Kuzma is in, the team needs to make sure to try to find him out on the perimeter. For Kuzma, it’s usually clear when he’s going to have a good game and when he isn’t. He’s had a few games this year where he has started to get hot yet the Lakers stop going to him.
They need to feed the hot hand!
For the Lakers to REALLY become a threat they are going to need a defender who makes a big impact. The Warriors have Draymond Green, the Clippers have Patrick Beverley, and the old school Bulls had Dennis Rodman. For the Lakers to prevail in this current NBA they need to trade for a player like Andre Iguodala, which can take pressure off of players such as Green and Bradley defensively. It would open up their offense since these 2 players will have more legs to get involved offensively.
Again, this Lakers team is playing some great ball right now. But, they can become a better team. They need to look into acquiring a defensive minded forward before the deadline and should try to get more opportunities from deep. Otherwise, we might see some stretches in the playoffs this year where they find it hard to separate themselves from their opponents.