1. The Los Angeles Lakers defense is a legitimate problem
The Los Angeles Lakers have one of the best and most dynamic defensive players in the entire league in Anthony Davis yet is still struggling immensely on the defensive side of the basketball. That should tell you all you need to know and it is a huge problem.
Outside of Davis the Lakers really don’t have very many positive defenders. Talen Horton-Tucker is the team’s best perimeter defender and while he has a ton of potential, he alone is not enough to carry the perimeter defense. Kent Bazemore was meant to be a defensive piece and he has played himself out of the rotation and Trevor Ariza has not played yet and it is unclear how big of a role he can even have.
LeBron James isn’t going to play his best defense in the regular season and DeAndre Jordan has been a massive liability at center. Russell Westbrook is awful defensively, as are the rest of the Lakers role players.
The Lakers won the 2020 championship because they had insane performances from LeBron and AD and had great defenders around them. They weren’t the best three-point shooting team in the league but they didn’t have to be.
The Lakers went for a different approach this season (because of the Westbrook trade) targeting shooters instead of defenders. This is a team that lost the perimeter defense of Alex Caruso and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and replaced it with Wayne Ellington and Malik Monk.
Heck, Kyle Kuzma would probably be the third-best defender on this Lakers team, which is saying something. You can’t win many games when you allow the fourth-most points per game.