Part of the Los Angeles Lakers’ dilemma over who to start at power forward is due to floor-spacing concerns. Brook Lopez can shoot threes, which might make it better to slot more of Larry Nance, Jr. and Julius Randle’s minutes alongside him in order to allow Kyle Kuzma’s shooting to benefit a spacing-deprived bench.
However, at least part of that concern was because Andrew Bogut is not viewed as much of a shooting threat, although to hear him tell it, that may have changed over the summer when his leg injury from last season forced him to work on skills that didn’t require running or jumping over the summer, via Roy Ward of the Sydney Morning Herald:
With his leg in a cast, Bogut went to work on his shooting, blocking out the pain in his elbow and working on his ball flight and release day in and day out.
The product of those hours of work is a softer, more European-looking shot, which Bogut showed off during his workout. Both his free throws and mid-range shots look better than they have in years.
“I just pushed through the elbow things,” Bogut said. “That changed my shot for the worst and it was something I couldn’t address. There was no excuse, I should have addressed it sooner, but this summer I did.”
No matter the reason Bogut ultimately chose to address his shooting issues, if he actually has improved his shot the Lakers will surely be happy to reap the benefits. If the Australian big man can shoot now, even just from midrange and the free throw line, it will force opponents to not hack him when he gets the ball down low.
Defenses would also have to stick with Bogut when he’s away from the basket, which would open up more opportunities for him to show his skill as a facilitator, in addition to opening up the lane for other Lakers to drive or crash the boards.
Bogut didn’t play during the preseason due to an unrelated injury, so it remains to be seen if his shot is actually improved or if this is just another preseason false promise to file away with “Jordan Clarkson is a better defender” and “Julius Randle can shoot threes now,” but Bogut’s shooting is now something to keep an eye on as the regular season begins on Thursday.