3. The Los Angeles Lakers have room to grow in forcing takeaways
The Los Angeles Lakers are a really good defensive basketball team. In fact, I would argue that they are the best defensive team in the league. I’ve already broken down why the Lakers’ defense is better than given credit for, as well as highlighted how the Lakers have the two best three and D players in the league.
The Lakers allow the second-fewest points per game at 104.3, have the best defensive rating at 103.7 and have allowed the fourth-lowest eFG% to their opponents (.508).
The scary part (for other teams, of course) is that the Lakers have plenty of room to grow. Even with all of these great defensive metrics the Lakers still have not been fantastic in forcing turnovers, or at least haven’t been as good as they were last season.
The Lakers are averaging 7.0 steals (21st) per game while their opponents average 14.1 turnovers (22nd) per game.
The Lakers were better in both departments last season, proving that their ceiling in forcing turnovers is higher than they are currently playing.
The Lakers averaged 8.6 steals (5th) per game last season while their opponents averaged 15.9 (5th) turnovers per game. The Lakers were a top-five team in both departments last season while being in the bottom third of the league this season.
These numbers will only go up as the season goes along. The Lakers will likely display a tad more effort as they get into more meaningful games. Again, they will eventually bounce back towards the mean that they have already established.
So yes, the Los Angeles Lakers are not even playing their best basketball yet this season and once they do, other NBA teams better seriously watch out.
All statistics courtesy of Basketball-Reference.com.