The Los Angeles Lakers shot 34.6% from beyond the arc during the 2022-2023 regular season. Through the team's first 25 games in 2023-2024, they have combined to shoot a similar 35%. In what has become a bit of a recurring theme over the years, the purple and gold have shot below league average from outside. While they have been better as of late, that brief improvement from the great beyond has been a disappointment after the squad was expected to be better in this area.
Newcomers like Christian Wood, Taurean Prince, and Gabe Vincent were brought in to improve the spacing around LeBron James and Anthony Davis. D'Angelo Russell and Austin Reaves, assumed to be the potential backcourt of this franchise's future heading into this season, had some splash bro lite potential.
The output has not been up to snuff so far, as evidenced by the team's collective hit rate from outside. The inability to hit shots consistently combined with the team's lack of volume (currently tied for second to last in the league in 3 point makes per night) may force Rob Pelinka and the front office to explore alternative assistance.
While the dreaded Lakers shooting curse has again made its presence felt, some Lakers have been more effective shooting threats than others.
Ranking the Lakers roster by shooting ability:
1. LeBron James | 54.5% FG/40.1% 3/71.4% FT
There probably were not a lot of in-tuned fans that could have predicted LeBron as the Lakers' best shooter in 2023-2024. Through December 13th, that is exactly what he has been. The 38-year-old legend has proven he has a ton of gas left in the tank, with one of his most recent examples coming in the form of a ridiculous heat check:
2. D'Angelo Russell | 47.8% FG/38.8% 3/76.8% FT
The most famous Laker trade chip has endured a smooth start to the season. While he may not be around for much more time, Russell has again been a steady source of trustworthy shooting (and secondary playmaking).
3. Rui Hachimura | 49.7%. FG/37.3% 3/77.1% FT
Hachimura has not taken a major leap thus far, but the shooting efficiency he showcased in the 2023 postseason has translated into the early stages of this regular season. If he can sustain his hot shooting from both mid and long range, he could avoid inclusion in any rumored trade chatter.
4. Taurean Prince | 44.3% FG/38.5% 3/70% FT
Prince looked like a major pickup in the preseason but struggled with his stroke to start the season. That trend has been shifting lately, however, as he has shot 31-62 (51.7%) from outside in the Lakers' last 12 games following their matchup with San Antonio last night (December 15th).
5. Austin Reaves | 47.2% FG/35.8% 3/86.2% FT
AR has overcome an atrocious shooting start to the regular season to slowly work his way back to last season's sweet shooting ways. His confidence, most notably in clutch situations, should serve to speed up his jumper's full recovery.
6. Cam Reddish | 42.1% FG/33.3% 3/85.3% FT
His numbers might not give off the impression as such, but Reddish has been labeled a "quintessential 3&D guy with a handle" by his head coach. His shooting percentages may not exactly support that claim, but he has definitely shown the ability to hit shots if dared.
7. Anthony Davis | 54.4% FG/33.3% 3/81.7% FT
AD got off to a solid start shooting the ball from outside in the preseason and first few regular season games, but has primarily avoided stepping behind the line for nearly all of his shot diet. This has been (and is) the best course of action for Davis, as he has never been renowned for his outside shot. As long as he can keep his midrange game in line, he will continue his reign of offensive dominance.
8. Max Christie | 38.7% FG/30.2% 3/71.4% FT
Christie's uber-efficient outside shooting was a pleasant surprise last season. This summer, he expanded on that shooting to display more all-around potential. Early on in 2023-2024, he has taken some time to exude the growth in comfortability he had begun showing on the NBA court. With his restricted free agency looming, he will need to return to last season's shooting form if he hopes to survive the trade deadline with the Lakers.
9. Christian Wood | 46.3% FG/27.9% 3/61.8% FT
When Christian Wood was signed by the Lakers late in the offseason, visions flooded in of him becoming the floor spacing big this team has been missing next to AD. Those visions looked to be coming true early, as the former Maverick hit 11 of his first 25 attempts (44%) from downtown through the first 9 games. He has tapered off considerably, however, as you can tell from his season-long percentages. If he is not hitting his shots, it can sometimes be tough to find minutes for him (as evidenced by his consecutive DNPs against Indiana and Dallas).
10. Maxwell Lewis | 11.1% FG/33.3% 3/0.0% FT
The rookie has only taken 9 shots, including 3 from behind the arc, and has not had a great chance to show us what he has got. However, he plays with enough confidence and enthusiasm to produce some faith in his shot mechanics.
11. Gabe Vincent | 39.3% FG/7.1% 3/50.0% FT
After suiting up in just 4 of his new team's first 24 contests, Gabe Vincent has been unable to certify the front office's decision to snag him from Miami as a valid one. He looked smooth in the preseason, and the Lakers are praying that he can re-discover his rhythm upon his upcoming return to the rotation.
12. Jalen Hood-Schifino | 22.2% FG/12.5% 3/50.0% FT
JHS was never pegged as a sharpshooter prior to the 2023 NBA draft, so his sluggish splashing should not be too concerning during his professional infancy period. He will continue to gain confidence as time goes on, and the hope is that he can at least develop into the range of league average in terms of his jump shot.
13. Jarred Vanderbilt | 20.0% FG/0.0% 3/50.0% FT
Vando has injected some much-needed energy into the rotation since returning from his heel injury recently. His defense has been dogged, while his offense has been foggy. While he may never be a consistent supplier of buckets, that should never be among his tallest tasks.
14. Jaxson Hayes | 65.2% FG/0.0% 3/56.0% FT
In his first few seasons in New Orleans, Hayes showed a few flashes of a willingness to pull from outside. That willingness has been nonexistent with the Lakers, and that is probably for the betterment of the team.