Darvin Ham Discusses How Lakers Can Improve Their 3-Point Defense
Austin Reaves, Stephen Curry, Lakers, Warriors
Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Among the Los Angeles Lakers’ biggest issues this season has been their struggles defending the 3-point line. Darvin Ham’s team ranks 28th in the league in opposing 3-pointers made per game and 23rd in opposing 3-point percentage.

While the Lakers are actually in the top-10 in 3-point percentage themselves, they take the fewest in the league and thus often find themselves losing the 3-point battle by a large margin.

That was a huge issue for the Lakers in their last loss against the Sacramento Kings as their struggles often led to wide open 3-pointers that ultimately sealed their fate. After their latest practice, Ham noted that improving their 3-point defense has been a focus.

“That was one of the things we touched on,” Ham said. “Once we get the ball stopped in the paint, now shifting our vision to getting into scramble mode. We got two guys on the ball or two-and-a-half, we shut the ball down in the paint so now everybody else, the other two loose guys, we got to start finding shooters. That gets done easier, nothing is easy the way offenses can play in the league now, but it makes it easier when you do your work early.

“You start in position so now you’re not playing catch up. I’m not saying oh, I got to go stop the ball but oh, they’re faster and now I got to get back out. If I start in the paint and I’m showing my chest and the ball-handler sees that there’s support behind the initial defender, once they start making passes then it’s easier to recover and get good contests or run them off the 3-point line.”

This will undoubtedly be put to the test in their contest against the Golden State Warriors, who make the second-most 3-pointers per game in the league. Obviously Stephen Curry plays a big part in that, but the Warriors have five other players who shoot 37% or better from 3-point range as well. Ham and the Lakers coaching staff will need to have a plan in place to limit the damage they can do from deep.

But this is a focus for this team overall as defense is what is supposed to carry the Lakers. Shoring that up will allow the Lakers to really become the team they hope to be as the playoffs near.

Darvin Ham calls Lakers game vs. Warriors ‘extremely important’

With the two teams practically tied in the standings, the Lakers’ Saturday night contest against the Warriors is a huge one and Darvin Ham said as much.

“Extremely important,” Ham said after practice on Friday. “I thought today was a great day, energy was high. We went through the Sacramento film and just some other things that we can work on, mixed in how we’ve been playing here as of late, some clips from Minnesota or whatever. But for the most part, it was looking at how we can slow down the generation of 3s that are being piled on us.”

Ham added that the dialogue was good for the Lakers and he feels confident about the way his team has played the Warriors and their chances of coming out victorious on Saturday.

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