What’s wrong with the Los Angeles Lakers’ offense?: Inside the numbers

LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers (Photo by Ashley Landis-Pool/Getty Images)
LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers (Photo by Ashley Landis-Pool/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) – Los Angeles Lakers
(Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) – Los Angeles Lakers /

The Los Angeles Lakers do not look right offensively.

It doesn’t take the most discerning NBA mind to conclude that the Los Angeles Lakers have struggled offensively in the Orlando Bubble. That much is patently obvious.

What was once a high-flying, fast-paced juggernaut has become a team starved for point creation — a development few could have foreseen in early March when LeBron James and company were ripping through the Bucks and the Clippers in back-to-back games en route to the top seed in the superior Western Conference.

Unfortunately for the Lakers and their fans, those glory days of pre-shutdown March feel increasingly like a distant memory, as the offense’s ability to execute has fluctuated, if not completely disappeared, at the worst possible time — as evidenced by the crushing Game 1 loss to the eighth-seeded Portland Trail Blazers.

In fact, according to NBAstuffer.com, the “Bubble” Lakers possessed the second-worst offense of all 22 teams participating in the league’s eight seeding games, both in terms of points per game and offensive efficiency.

Even the injury-riddled Grizzlies and Pacers, missing Jaren Jackson Jr. and Domantas Sabonis respectively, produced better numbers than a Lakers team that’s supposed to contend for a title.

For anyone assuming that the Lakers’ struggles would magically evaporate come playoff time, the team’s opening game against the Blazers provided a disappointing dose of reality. Only able to muster 93 points against one of the league’s most porous defenses, the Lakers demonstrated that their offensive issues are pervasive, and concerning.

But it wasn’t always this way. Prior to the suspension of play, Los Angeles’ offense was among the league’s very best, with a pre-All-Star Break Offensive Rating of 113.4, good for second in the entire league.

So, those disparate splits beg the question: what precisely has gone wrong for the Lakers at the offensive end?

To this author, three separate facets of the game stand out.