Driving to the basket
The Los Angeles Lakers were a great team in a lot of ways last season.
They were historically good defensively, especially in the playoffs, they had two 25PPG scorers in Anthony Davis and LeBron James. They had the assist leader in LeBron James on the roster and they rebounded and blocked at an excellent rate for the year.
One area that the Lakers finished dead last in the league was in drives to the basket.
According to NBA.com, the Utah Jazz lead the league in drives to the basket with 57.4. This is in stark contrast to the anemic 36.6 put forth by the Los Angeles Lakers.
The job of any team and especially any Championship winning team is to point out weaknesses you have, find solutions to the problems and execute said solutions.
The solution to this problem. Derrick Rose.
Derrick Rose was 8th in the league in drives to the basket with 17.6. That would equate to nearly half of all the Lakers drives last season.
Driving to the basket and having a player capable of scoring at the basket drastically changes the outlook of the opposing defense.
With players like LeBron James (22nd in the league in drives to the basket) and Derrick Rose (8th) driving to the basket and both equally capable at scoring in or around the rim, it forces the defense to collapse in on itself in order to limit the driver to the basket from scoring.
If you have a good rim protector, then teams may sag off on collapsing in and trust the big man to do his thing, but when it is a superstar in LeBron James or a wizard around the rim like Derrick Rose, defenses will collapse inwards and that’s when the perimeter guys earn their money.
LeBron or Rose could dish out to the open man around the 3-point line and give them wide-open shots.