The Lakers short season has seen them get off to a 2-3 start against a tough schedule. There have been a few positives, but many more negatives from this team so far. So what are they?
- Beating the Clippers on opening night! The Lakers didn’t beat the Clippers last season nor did they win their season opener, so this was a double win for the Lakers. This game showed the trend of the Lakers being competitive at home, which needs to be a story throughout the season for them to possibly challenge for a playoff spot.
- The Bench. I had figured the Lakers bench would improve without the likes of Chris Duhon, Darius Morris and Devin Ebanks, but I never expected this. The Lakers bench is averaging over 60 points per game! This is an incredible turn around from the Lakers awful second unit last season. The youth and effort to embrace Mike D’Antoni’s system has really helped the Lakers second unit succeed. Jordan Hill and Jordan Farmar has been particularly great, with Nick Young starting to shoot a little better once returning to his bench role.
- Ball movement. The Lakers are top 12 in points and assists so far, which shows that even with some subpar talent, the Mike D’Antoni system is working. The offense looks much better than it did at any point last season, and watching some of these younger athletes play together is refreshing. Thus far the three point shooting has benefited, with the Lakers shooting 39.2% from beyond the arc.
- Road woes. The Lakers can’t seem to compete on the road right now, with a matchup against the Rockets tonight looming it could get worse. It is possible the Lakers won’t get their first road win until November 26th when they travel to face the Wizards.
- The end of games. The Lakers gave away a possible win against the Spurs by lacking any execution in the final moments of the game and almost did the same against the Hawks. Without Kobe, the Lakers don’t have that guiding force at the end of games. If anyone thought the Lakers would be better off without Kobe, this is perfect evidence for why they would be wrong. He may take too many shots at times and play outside of the offense, but he can be counted on to get makeable looks when the defense clamps down.
- The FG%. The Lakers are only shooting 41.7% from the field. Pau Gasol is only shooting 40.9%, Xavier Henry is at 38.8%, and the only two Lakers to shoot over 50% are Chris Kaman and Jordan Hill (not counting Ryan Kelly who has hit the only shot he took). Right now this ranks as 24th in the league. Last season the Lakers shot 45.8% and the Bobcats were last in the league at 42.5%. This bodes well for the Lakers, as it is almost impossible for the offense to continue shooting this poorly.
- The Defense. The Lakers are allowing 109 points per game, which ranks 29th in the league. In two road games, the Lakers have allowed 123 and 125 points. If this is a sign of things to come on the road, the Lakers have virtually no chance of making the playoffs. If the offense gets out of rhythm, the defense tends to follow. Players like Nick Young and Steve Nash have clearly been liabilities, and Pau isn’t putting in the necessary effort on that end.
- Steve Nash. I really hate to put him in this category, but just look at the numbers. He currently has a 7.87 PER, while averaging 6.5 points and 5 assists on 28.1% shooting from the floor, and only 0.8 threes made per game. To go with this his defense has been abysmal. For all the talk of Nash getting healthy this offseason, it looks like he may be done. He has clearly been outplayed by Jordan Farmar, and may be more effective at this time coming off the bench.
Tags: Los Angeles Lakers