How Los Angeles Lakers are affected by NBA’s new rule

(Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
(Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The NBA has implemented some new rules. How do these rules impact the Los Angeles Lakers?

As the Los Angeles Lakers prepare to open their season on Oct. 18, a few things have changed in the NBA. Yes, LeBron James has joined the purple and gold, but other changes will send ripples throughout the league.

One of those is a rule change enacted by the NBA that will affect play in the 2018-2019 season.

The NBA elected to crack down on defensive contact made off-ball. Essentially, this means that defenders will no longer be able to hold, push or impede offensive players throughout the game.

This rule change has already been clear in the preseason as many referees have looked to call it early and often to set the tone for the rest of the season.

Rule changes like this truly do change the style of the game. When the NBA outlawed “hand-checks” in the early 2000’s, that led to increased scoring and isolation sets that allowed offensive players to take advantage of the new freedom of movement.

The impact of this new rule change will be equally impactful for the league. This change now allows quicker and freer movement for off-ball offensive players.

Offenses featuring multiple off-ball screens and cuts for shooters will benefit from defenders being forced to avoid contact. Teams likely to benefit from a rule change like this include those with rapid ball movement in their offense.

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Teams like Golden State, Boston, and Milwaukee figure to use this rule change to their advantage. Additionally, the Lakers are likely to benefit from the rule change too.

The whole team has declared their intent to push the pace with their offense this year. Per, the Lakers ranked 3rd in Pace in the NBA last season. At media day, the team brass echoed their desire to repeat last season’s trend with pace.

Through six preseason games, the whole team looks to be buying into that goal. Also, the offense now features a lot of off-ball movement since the team includes multiple playmakers. The heavy off-ball movement will certainly draw many foul calls in the early parts of the season as teams continue to adjust.

The Lakers have multiple off-ball threats now in Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma and Josh Hart. Therefore, the team should be looking to run dozens of pin-down, back and down screens to force defenders into making contact that will get whistled.

Being able to draw foul calls off-ball will help the Lakers get to the line early and often. This will also lead to early foul trouble for some players, and this tactic could be used to target the opponent’s star player on defense.

Putting pressure on the defense will now be about more than just the primary ball-handler. With this rule change, any player off-ball should be able to use the absence of defensive contact to find more open looks.

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With the Lakers offense featuring heavy loads of off-ball movement and screens, they will benefit from the new rule change as this season gets underway.