Lakers

Lakers Should Feel Fine After First Five Games

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The Los Angeles Lakers entered this season as a presumed contender on the heels of last season’s Western Conference Finals appearance and impressive free agency thereafter. The Lakers are now five games into the young season with a respectable 3-2 record.

Lakers fans should be excited about this season. The front office is all in on the roster, but five games into an 82-game season isn’t much to judge a team’s success. Many fans have mixed feelings about the start because they are winning games but aren’t dominating like many thought.

Ever since Ring Night in Denver, each of LAL’s games were decided within a five point margin. Though every game has been stressful, it’s better than the 0-5 start they opened with last season.

The Lakers have shown flashes of greatness in their opening games — like fighting back from down 19 points and winning against the Clippers. However, they have also shown some low moments. Here are some things that are stopping the Lakers from dominating.

NOT ENOUGH BALL MOVEMENT

Los Angeles’ offense has looked rough during this early season, especially when LeBron James is on the bench. Despite being 23rd in the association in passes per game, the Lakers are 14th in assists per game through five games.

LA needs to move the ball with purpose if they want to score easier buckets. They aren’t a great shooting team but getting easier looks would help them improve their efficiency. Once again, though, let’s not overreact after five games.

Over the summer, LAL added Gabe Vincent, Jaxson Hayes, Taurean prince, Cam Reddish and Christian Wood who have all been involved in the rotation. It’s going to take them more time to build chemistry with the last season’s core. The more they are integrated with the returning core, the offense will hopefully run more smoothly.

POOR SHOT SELECTION

The Lakers were not expected to be a fantastic three-point shooting team, but they are currently shooting 30.2% from range which is among the worst in the league. Though that percentage will most likely go up throughout the season, what is concerning about the LA’s three-point shooting is how reliant they are on it. Nearly 37% of all of their field goals are from beyond the arc.

The Lakers weren’t a good three-point shooting team last year. And the way in which they found success last season on the offensive side of the court was because they were sixth in points in the paint with 53.9 points per game.

Los Angeles was saved by the line, leading the league in free throws per game which allowed them not to rely on shooting from deep. They finished that season 24th in three-pointers attempted. Expect the Lakers to draw more fouls as the season carries on.

DON’T SELL OUT ON AUSTIN REAVES

Austin Reaves isn’t the only Laker Player that has had a slow start to the season, but he is the biggest standout. Reaves had a fantastic season last year that carried over to the playoffs and FIBA. In Reaves’ first postseason, he averaged nearly 17 PPG on 46% from the field which helped him secure a four-year, $52 million dollar extension.

We all know that Lebron James is in his 21st year in the NBA and he is still one of the greatest players in the league, but he is 38 years old, and he needs someone to help on the offensive end when he is out. Reaves has the potential to lead while Lebron in is on the Bench.

The third-year guard is having a very rough start through five games. He is shooting 34.5% from three and 23.5% from the field, averaging 11 points per game.

Last season, Austin’s true shooting added up to 68.7%. Only one Laker had a better true shooting percentage in a season — Wilt Chamberlin in ’72-’73 season at 68.9%.

IT’S HARD TO WIN GAMES IN THE NBA

The Lakers haven’t looked like the greatest team so far this season, but they have had a tough schedule.

There have been games that were closer than they should’ve been but it’s a young season. LA needs to learn quickly how to put teams away early. They’ve entered halftime down in each of their first five games.

The NBA is the most talented it’s ever been and there wont be many easy games for the Purple and Gold. This Lakers core looked fantastic in the playoffs, but this this season’s team has to prove that they are more than just another Western Conference team.

This team has a lot of talent and players who are finally getting a chance to play on a competitive team. If Darvin Ham can control the locker room and get guys to buy into their roles while AD and Lebron keep dominating, this team is a legit contender.

About Mason Ihrke

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