Coming fresh off their 2020 NBA title, the Los Angeles Lakers are one of the favorites yet again this season to win it all.
After ten games, the Lakers are into the full swing of the shortened 72-game NBA season, and they were able to hold off the Chicago Bulls in a nailbiter last night, finishing with a final score of 117-115. With this victory, they claim the lead at the top of the Western Conference standings with a 7-3 record.
With the Purple & Gold atop the standings, they have been doing a lot of things right so far this season, but there are also some points for improvement to truly solidify their position as one of the best teams this season.
Let’s take a look at how the Lakers have been doing in different categories this season.
Shooting // B+
Looking at the shooting numbers of the Lakers this season, they are definitely one of the best. They are second in the league in Field Goal Percentage, at 49.1%, continuing their amazing shooting numbers from last season. They are also 6th in terms of Three-Point Percentage, at 38.9%, a huge jump from being in the bottom 10 of the league in this category last season.
Although the shooting on the field has been phenomenal so far, they could still improve, especially from the charity stripe. They are shooting only 76.6% from the free-throw line, good for only 14th in the league. But to look on the bright side, this is an improvement already from their horrendous free throw shooting last season where the Lakers were the 3rd worst in the league.
Overall, their shooting has been great, and their offseason work has been paying off as their numbers seem to keep improving.
Team Chemistry // C+
The Lakers made quite a few offseason moves. With that being said, it was kind of expected that the chemistry won’t be the best at the beginning of the season. The players are still trying to figure out their individual roles for the Lakers this season, the new guys are still understanding how to play with the two stars, Lebron and AD, and everyone is still getting used to coach Frank Vogel’s plans for this year.
The Lakers can improve their assist numbers as they are about at league average with 24.9 assists per game, and they can also improve their turnover numbers. They are in the bottom half of the league in this category averaging 15.3 turnovers a game.
However, with such a unique and short offseason, the Lakers are doing better than expected already. If they continue getting more games under their belt, the chemistry will certainly improve and they will be one cohesive team with the chance to repeat as NBA champions come closer.
Aggressiveness and Hustle // B
With the Lakers having the shortest offseason in NBA history, fans expected the Lakers to start the season quite lazy, with not much energy. But the Lakers have come out of the gates pretty strong and have shown a lot of energy, thanks to some key additions, as well as players trying to earn more minutes. The Purple & Gold have been aggressive on offense, getting into the paint every time they get, as they are in the top 10 in points in the paint. They have also been hustling to grab boards being top 5 in the league in that category with 48.1 rebounds per game.
Their hustle on the defensive end has not been the best, as they are allowing their opponents to easily get to the basket, and there were quite a number of defensive lapses throughout their first 10 games. Needless to say, the Lakers can definitely work on this as the season goes on, and look for them to have that sense of urgency when they need it.
Offense // A
This is a no brainer. The Lakers’ offense has been phenomenal this season. From their excellent shooting numbers to their execution, the Lakers are looking good on that side of the floor. There are six players, namely Lebron, AD, Harrell, Schroder, Kuzma, and KCP, who all are currently averaging double figures in scoring. Aside from this, the Lakers are 2nd in the league in terms of Offensive Rating, which shows how efficient and effective a team is on the offensive end of the floor.
If the Lakers can continue their on-point execution on the offensive side of the floor, they will definitely have a good chance of winning it all once again.
Defense // B
The offense has been great, but it’s on the defensive side of the floor that the Lakers have a lot to work on. They need to do a better job of being more disciplined on defense, forcing their opponents to take uncomfortable shots.
The team also needs to be forcing more turnovers as the Lakers are one of the worst teams in the league in this statistic, only forcing 12.4 turnovers a game. Aside from that, the Lakers are just about average or even below average in most of the defensive categories.
The Lakers seem to be struggling quite a bit on defense, but with Frank Vogel at the helm, look for him to steady the ship and get things going on the defensive end.
Overall // B+
Overall it can’t be denied that the Lakers have been performing great so far. A 7-3 record and the first seed in the West so far is good news for the faithful Laker Nation.
The Lakers just need some minor tweaks and adjustments here and there, and they will be looking like an unstoppable force as they aim to claim another NBA title.
Featured Image: Adam Pantozzi/nba.com