The Los Angeles Lakers put in work this offseason to ensure they had a balanced roster capable of scoring from all three levels while defending at an elite level. On paper, head coach Darvin Ham’s crew should have no trouble from any spot on the floor. However, through 10 games, 3-point shooting has been one of the Lakers’ main issues.
The Lakers rank 29th in the NBA in 3-point percentage as of Tuesday, shooting an abysmal 30.5% from deep as a team. This mark actually represents an uptick from two games ago, when L.A. made NBA history by being the first team ever to make fewer threes than their opponent at a worse percentage in all of their first eight games.
This type of futility from a major aspect of the game is a cause for concern. However, Ham doesn’t see this as a long-term issue with the roster, rather a string of bad luck or an extended slump.
“Nah. Guys are still figuring out their rhythms in terms of the synergy with one another, each other’s tendencies and habits,” Ham said. “We’re encouraging our guys, if you are open, shoot it. If there’s a better play to be made then make that play. But that’ll come, that’ll come.
“The biggest thing that you can do in the meantime, though, is be good defensively, continue to work feverishly on that side of the ball in terms of your transition Dl being great on the ball, defending on the ball, communicating our coverages pick-and-rolls, DHO’s, what have you, and just being shifted and very active off the ball. So it’s going to come, and obviously finishing the possession defensively with a rebound. So it’s coming. We have a lot to clean up. We’ll have film tomorrow based on these last two games and just see what we can extract and get better at and also maintain.”
Percentages that low are undoubtedly a team-wide issue. Only three players on the entire Lakers roster are shooting above the league average 35.6% from beyond the arc, and of those three only two — Christian Wood and Rui Hachimura — are shooting more than one three per game. Anthony Davis (0.9 attempts per game) is the third.
Team-wide slumps can happen and could easily be turned around. In the meantime, the Lakers are going to need to find ways to win without the 3-ball.
Ham wants a more aggressive Hachimura
The Lakers head coach is looking for more aggression from the team’s second-best 3-point shooter by percentage, Hachimura.
“I just think having Rui [Hachimura] on the floor and aggressive and with an aggressive mentality is the Rui we all prefer. I don’t know if it’s a difference,” Ham said. “He’s had big games off the bench, he’s had big games when he’s asked to be a starter. So I just think the common denominator is him being aggressive and assertive and active on both sides of the ball. Really locking in defensively, coming back, getting big rebounds offensively, not settling, playing with force, shooting the ball when he’s open when it’s swung to him, playing downhill. He’s a multifaceted player that’s incredible. Still young, still developing. He’s come a long way. But even still, there’s a lot of things you can get better at, but we just want an aggressive and assertive Rui Hachimura.”
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