The Los Angeles Lakers are off to a slow and disappointing start to the 2023-24 campaign, losing their last three en route to a 3-5 record through eight games. They have faced trouble with their defensive rebounding and a high turnover rate, but they’ve truly struggled from 3-point range, where they rank at the bottom of the NBA.
Through eight games, the Lakers are shooting an abysmal 29.6% from deep as a team, half a percent worse than the 29th-ranked Portland Trail Blazers. They have only three players — Taurean Prince, Christian Wood and Rui Hachimura — shooting above 35% from beyond the arc on greater than one attempt per game.
But the biggest sign of their difficulty from 3-point range is a record-setting inefficiency on a game-to-game level, via ESPN Stats & Info:
In each of the Lakers' games this season, they've:
– Made fewer threes than their opponent
– Shot a worse percentage from three than their opponent
They're the first team in NBA history to do that in each of the first 8 games of a season. pic.twitter.com/xLCEunO0s6
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) November 9, 2023
Typically, teams might make fewer 3-pointers than their opponent, but do it at a higher percentage because they simply take less triples than their opponent. But with this stat, the Lakers are not holding back on their volume of attempts. They’re not making the 3-pointers they’re attempting.
L.A. is tied for the fifth fewest 3-point attempts per game, but they are one of only four teams that make an average of fewer than 10 triples per game. The Lakers need this to turn around quickly, as their 3-point inefficiency — mixed with their other issues — are leading to blowout losses to teams not expected to make the postseason.
Prince not using injuries as excuse
Lakers forward Taurean Prince spoke about some of the team’s struggles, and while he recognized that the team is far from healthy, he had no interest in using that to deflect. He is not making excuses for some of the poor play fans have seen through eight games.
“So it’s like, just putting your mind around what could be or the pieces that we are missing — you don’t want to use that as an excuse but you use it as something you keep in the back of your mind where you just know certain things could be different given a certain situation,” Prince said. “But life don’t work that way.”
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