No doubt, it’s hard to compare this 2018-19 Lakers team with previous season Lakers (DA’s OFFSEASON RANKINGS No.2) squad. Despite huge changes in roster, my question : is this Lakers team offensive philosophy much different than last year? I will try to analyse teams’ offense after first game vs. Portland and compare it with last season tendencies as well.
- VERY YOUNG PLAYERS + VETERANS
ROSTER CHANGES. DA’s OFFSEASON RANKINGS No.2. Despite Lakers still have few of their important players of the last season they are 27th in the percentage of last year’s minutes (57 percent) played by players still on the roster.
2017./18. 3rd youngest team in NBA – 24.25 (average age) (oldest Cleveland 29.5) (herosports.com) ;
OVERALL STILL YOUNG TEAM. Despite adding few more experienced NBA players: James 33, Rondo 32, McGee 31, Beasley 29, Stephenson 28.. 2018./19 5th youngest team in NBA – 25.42 (Oldest Houston 28.6) (herosports.com) .
In age group 24-27 (of players who makes serious impact on teams’ performance), there is only Caldwell-Pope (25)… Basically there are two groups: group of very young guys and group of veterans.
It’s interesting mix of players in this years’ Lakers roster – experience & IQ mixed with quickness and energy.
Youngest head coach Luke Walton (38 years old) in the League.
2. LOW 3-POINT %. ONE OF THE WORST 3-POINT SHOOTING TEAMS LAST SEASON.
Lakers still ranked 29th in 3-point percentage overall. (34.5%).
Vs. Portland 7/30 (23.3%).
NOTHING WILL CHANGE THIS SEASON. The perimeter veterans that the Lakers added to the roster – Michael Beasley, Rajon Rondo, Lance Stephenson – shot a combined 32 percent from 3-point range last season. (Beasley has actually shot 40 percent over the last two seasons, but has taken 2.8 times as many mid-range shots as threes over those two years.)
Lakers was bad 3-point shooting team last season and it will be this season as well…
Ball shot 30.5 percent from 3-point range, the fourth worst mark among 116 players who attempted at least 250 threes last season.
Career 3-point shooting % for every Lakers player who played in the first game of the 2018-19 season.
3. FAST-PACED OFFENSE
STATS from 2017-18.
19.5 percent of their possessions, the league’s HIGHEST RATE were in TRANSITION.
% of points FAST BREAK POINTS (2nd 16.2)
PACE: 100.97 (3rd)
FAST BREAK POINTS: 17.5 (2nd) vs. Portland 34 points (!)
FIELD GOAL ATTEMPTS: 88.4 (2nd) vs. Portland 93 FGA.
LA Lakers – Portland game was the fastest game so far in this 2018-19 season.
4. PAINT. HUGE AMOUNT OF LAKERS POINTS CAME AND WILL COME FROM PAINTED AREA.
% of POINTS IN THE PAINT: 48.0 (1st)
vs, Portland 58.8% (!).
PITP 51.9 (3rd)
Vs Portland 70.
LeBron James led the league with 1,068 total points scored in the restricted area. The 75.2 percent he shot in the restricted area was the second best mark among players with at least 200 restricted area attempts and the fourth best mark of his career.
Despite being the worst free-throw shooting team.. ranked second (behind the Clippers) with 58.0 points per game in the restricted area or on free throws.
5. REBOUNDING AND TURNOVERS.
Offensive rebounding should be one of the ways that could compensate lack of successful outside shooting. Despite lack of typical PF/C position players they should be aggressive while rebounding the ball.
TOTAL REBOUNDS: 46.4 (2nd)
Vs. Portland 46.
TOP 5 last season BOTH DEFENSIVE AND OFFENSIVE REBOUNDING.
2nd Chance points 14.2 (2nd).
6. NOT TOO MANY ISO. PLAYING SLOW AND LOTS OF ISOLATIONS WON’T BE GOOD IDEA HAVING THIS KIND OF ROSTER.
Ingram scored just 0.78 points per possession on isolations, the worst mark among 30 players who averaged at least two isolation possessions per game.
James ranked second with 6.4 isolation possessions per game. 15th points per possession.
James led the league with 344 assists on 3-pointers (4.2 per game) last season, assisting on threes from 15 different teammates. Cleveland were different team with different type of players. Since Lakers don’t have great outside shooters and team plays differently, this rate won’t as high it was 2017-18 for Lebron.
Are they able to be serious title contenders this season despite being bad 3-point shooting team?
7/30 in the first game. Despite missing their first 15 (!) 3-point shots this season, they were able still be in the game playing against team who kept 11 players from last years’ roster and usually plays well at home.
Rather yes than no, only high 3pt% doesn’t guarantee successful season (Sacramento 3rd 37.5% ) although every of last seasons’ TOP 4 team (Golden State, Houston, Boston, Cleveland) were TOP 10 either 3-point attempts or TOP 10 3-point %.
LEAGUE-WIDE SHOT VALUES 2017-18.
- Free throw 1.53
- Restricted Area 1.26
- Corner 3-pointer 1.18
- Above-break 3-pointer 1.07
- Mid-range 0.81
- Other paint 0.79
All paint 1.11 > All outside paint 0.98
All 3 > All 2
Theoretically sounds simple: if you aren’t good at 3-points, find other high percentage shot opportunities – get to the free throw line and be aggressive attacking the rim instead taking too much outside shots.
YOUNG PLAYERS. Are young Lakers players ready to play alongside Lebron? Not every young player can do that as we have seen last season (Hood, Clarkson).
LOCKER-ROOM. No doubt, Lakers has talented roster and also big Egos comes with that sometimes. This roster could be described as ‘’unusual mix of players’’. When team is winning it’s different situation, but what happens when things are not happening as it should be?
TEAM CHEMISTRY. Do everyone find his role and how long ir will take? Lonzo Ball? We saw in the first game Lebron as the ball-screener much more often than last season, Ingram played PF/C position sometimes when McGee wasn’t in the game.
POINTS IN THE PAINT.
DRIVE, CUT, OFFENSIVE REBOUND, POST UP, PASS (Lob).
Examples of different ways how Lakers scored from painted area.
1.DRIVE TO THE BASKET
2. TRANSITION (defensive rebound or steal)
4. PICK-AND-ROLL. ROLLER.
7.SET-PLAY. PASS (Lob).
What type of offense Lakers should play this season and is it much different from last years’ Lakers offensive strategy?
What we saw in the first game tells that despite having few veterans joining the team, Lakers strategy won’t change that much from last year and it makes sense…
- If you have young team + veterans who are suitable for fast-paced game – play fast.
- Players rotation. Playing very fast-paced basketball demands more involvement of bench players. Lebron took only 16 of 93 FGA this game (17.2%) compared 1580/6950 (22.7%) of all FGA last season. It’s only one game but it could be tendency for Lebrons’ shot attempts to decrease a bit because of different style of basketball Lakers are playing.
- Slow basketball with lot of ISO definitely won’t be effective. (Lebron ranked 1st on ISO points but he had different type of players around him and Cavs strategy was different because of it).
- Players’ movement (screens, cuts) and ball movement in set offense necessary in order to use strengths of high IQ players with excellent passing skills – James, Rondo and Ball.
- If you can’t shoot 3-pointers well – get to the free-throw line and attack aggressive to the rim.
- Play locked-down defense to create fast break points and points off turnovers.
- Depite not having traditional center position and lot of same position players, Lakers should continue to be among leagues’ best in Second Chance points and rebounding to be successful.
- They should be ready to play against Zone defense even it’s not often played in NBA level of basketball.
Team chemistry will take a time but this Lakers team have much more potential than they showed in their first game (especially defensively…) vs. Portland who hasn’t changed their roster from last year too much.
Thanks for reading, CoachKris @ HUPU.