The Los Angeles Lakers have struggled mightily to shoot well in the Walt Disney World bubble.
Despite being one of the NBA’s most efficient offenses during the regular season, Frank Vogel’s team simply cannot seem to make shots with any sort of consistency. And although they’ve been able to clinch the Western Conference’s No. 1 seed despite it, they’re just 2-3 in the NBA restart thus far.
What’s even more concerning is the fact that the Lakers are the only team in the bubble — of 22 teams — to average fewer than 100 points per game and have an offensive rating of under 100. In addition, their 3-point percentage is particularly abysmal.
At 23.4%, the Lakers sit a full 7% behind the next worst team. L.A. is also second to last in assists per game. On the shooting front, Vogel has drills and various techniques in mind to help the team emerge from their slump, but that has its own challenges.
“We just haven’t had practice time. We’ve got to continue to work through it,” he said. “Again, we’ve got a lot of guys going in and out, we’re watching tape each day, trying to learn from the types of shots we’re trying to create.
“I thought we took less bad shots from the perimeter [against the Rockets]. That usually helps your percentages. It didn’t, but it did create more attacks to the basket, more free throw attempts and more points in the paint, so there’s some positives there.”
Although the Lakers collectively have struggled from deep, Vogel is confident the track record of players will ultimately shine through. “One thing I know is I do believe in percentages, I do believe in guys trusting the work they’ve put in and there’s always a reversion to the mean,” he said.
“The law of averages plays out. I’m OK with getting all these misses out of the way right now. We’ll definitely find practice time. Not before the next game, but these guys will be in the gym working on their shots, we’ll be teaching in film sessions about the executions.
“If we commit to shot quality and continue to do our work in the gym, the percentages will come around.”
While Vogel is right that a 23.4% mark from three is almost unsustainable given how bad it is, the Lakers must find some way to address the issue rather than just hoping for a regression to the mean.
That law of percentages can only help so much, and while a figure closer to 30% would be a significant improvement, it may not necessarily be enough to win in the postseason.
Vogel asking more from Kyle Kuzma, Anthony Davis
While LeBron James has done an incredible job as the Lakers initiator on the offensive end, he shouldn’t be relied on to make everything happen. Vogel recognized this and is looking to other places for offensive creation, particularly without Avery Bradley and Rajon Rondo.
“More will be needed in that regard from Alex and Quinn Cook. We have the ability to use our bigs with Kuz and in particular A.D. having the ability to bring it up and initiate offense,” Vogel recently said. “But I also like the prospects of seeing what Dion Waiters can do.”
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