Why the Los Angeles Lakers should fear the Memphis Grizzlies

Photo by Brandon Dill/Getty Images
Photo by Brandon Dill/Getty Images /
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Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports
Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports /

Why the Los Angeles Lakers’ turnover problem is a big deal vs Memphis:

The jaws of defeat are only getting stronger as the Lakers are turning the ball over 18 times per game, more than any other team these past three games. They rank 24th overall in turnovers per game this season. Turnovers is a big reason why the Lakers are unable to put basement dwellers like Detroit or Oklahoma City away early in games.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope had the right idea on this possession; he just had the wrong place, the wrong time, and the wrong move. There were two Oklahoma City players already positioned to deflect his backhand pass to LeBron James. He had to expertly thread the needle to hit LeBron for the easy dunk.

This was not even that bad of a turnover. The window KCP had was less than a split second, so this turnover is more attributable to OKC’s great defense than KCP’s mistakes.

KCP should have squared his shoulders as if he intended to shoot the ball. OKC’s Lou Dort dropped back because KCP was telegraphing the pass to LeBron.

On a positive note, KCP at least passed it towards the basket. Many of the Lakers turnovers are errant passes from the middle to the sideline. These turnovers are more focus-based as opposed to execution-based turnovers as seen above. When the speed of the game is so fast, tiny little mistakes end up being easy baskets on the other end.

Why turnovers matter a lot vs Memphis:

Memphis forces turnovers on about 16% of their possessions on defense, ranking third. Detroit, another team the Lakers had problems with, ranked second in forcing turnovers per game. The Lakers struggle with young, athletic teams this season.

Not good against Memphis, who are fourth in fast-break points per game. Even with Ja Morant missing several weeks of action, Memphis likes to run in transition. If the Lakers gave up 22 points to Detroit’s Delon Wright, imagine what Morant can do.

It does not require much imagination to suggest the Lakers will finally succumb to the jaws of defeat if they keep turning the ball over as they have been over the past few games.

Next. Why the Jazz are not a threat to the Lakers. dark


However, the Lakers really are 20-6 in spite of their turnover woes. They actually do have LeBron James, the best player in the NBA. Turnovers will be an issue for the Lakers going forward, but it is crucial to take care of the ball against Memphis.