Last season was one that the Los Angeles Lakers wish they could forget. They battled through constant injuries to nearly everyone on their roster. They struggled to incorporate Russell Westbrook into the system that had helped them win a championship in 2020. These things led to them missing the playoffs, despite having LeBron James on their roster.
Usually, having LeBron on your team is enough to get your team to the playoffs, especially when he averages 30 points a game like he did last season. The Lakers surely had no doubt when you pair James with Anthony Davis, a top ten player in the league, and Russell Westbrook, a former MVP.
Despite the talent on the roster, things went south for the Lakers last season. They hope they can turn things around this season. However, after an 0-5 start, the Lakers already have some new challenges to face. Are they already in danger of missing the playoffs again this season?
Everyone that has watched LeBron James play over his career knows that he has the most success when he is surrounded by sharpshooters. Everyone who has watched Russell Westbrook over his career knows that he is a historically poor outside shooter.
The Lakers do not need Russ to suddenly turn into an elite shooter in order for him to play alongside LeBron. However, they do need many other players on the roster that can shoot the ball.
Unfortunately, the Lakers do not really have any shooting on the roster right now. It has been hard to watch the Lakers in their first few games, as many players are missing wide open three-pointers. The Lakers are currently shooting 23.7 percent from three as a team.
The Lakers only have a few shooters on their team, and none of those players would be considered a sharpshooter. One bright spot so far has been Matt Ryan. However, he doesn’t provide much value anywhere other than shooting, so he doesn’t play too many minutes.
The Lakers also have Kendrick Nunn, who played more of a shot creating role for the Miami Heat but has transitioned to a catch and shoot shooter for LA. Either way, Nunn has had a mix of hot and cold streaks during his career. It becomes nearly impossible to predict his efficiency for a given game.
The other major issue is that Russell Westbrook has continued his poor efficiency from the field. He is currently averaging 12 points on 31 percent shooting from the field and 12.5 percent from three. If these issues continue for the Lakers, they are going to have a hard time winning games.
It hasn’t been all bad for the Lakers so far. The good news is that LeBron James and Anthony Davis are both healthy. When they are healthy, they are both elite top ten talents in the league. That has been evident so far, as both have played like true superstars.
The Lakers also seem to have more energy defensively compared to last season. Everyone seems to be buying into Darvin Ham’s philosophies. It just hasn’t translated to winning because they miss too many shots.
Another bright sign for the team was their performance against the Clippers. Although they lost the game and although the Clippers weren’t at full strength, the Lakers looked competitive throughout the whole game. They fought a close battle with one of the best teams in the NBA. The Clippers have a serious chance to win the NBA championship this year. If the Lakers can compete with a team like that, it should be a sign that they will have a better season this year.
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