With LeBron James and Anthony Davis both sidelined because of lower-leg injuries, the Los Angeles Lakers have to discover an alternative method to find reliable offense to compensate for the production the two stars have left behind. Point guard Dennis Schroder may have a solution.
The Lakers started off the season torching teams from 3-point range, but as injuries and health and safety protocols have eviscerated their roster, the hot shooting has significantly cooled off. Los Angeles currently ranks 25th in 3-point attempts (30.3) and 22nd in percentage (35%).
In a league where 3-point shooting has become invaluable, placing in the bottom half of those categories isn’t an optimistic land to be situated in. In the last two games — where James hasn’t played the entirety of — the numbers decline further. The Lakers are 27th in attempts (25.5) and 29th in percentage (25.5%).
Schroder explained how the team’s playstyle is different without James and Davis and provided a possible solution to improve the offense.
“How we played before with them two on the court it’s totally opposite now,” Schroder said. “I think we’ve got to move the ball, play with more pace and on the defensive end, we’ve got to be more scrappy. Everybody who is coming on the floor got to be confident to knock down a shot or impact the game on the defensive end.
“I think we’ve got to shoot more threes while they’re out. Me driving and kicking out for open threes. I think it’s just good offense and THT, Alex Caruso and all them guards who can get to the rim or in the paint then find the extra pass for open threes. That’s how we’ve got to play right now.”
In the absence of the two stars, Schroder’s workload is set to increase along with everyone else, as the Lakers will need production from every single player to have a chance at winning. Schroder explained how shooting more threes is a solid way for everyone to step up.
“We’ve got to shoot more threes like I said. There’s 15 guys in the locker room, but big presences in LeBron and AD is out. It starts with me, KCP, Trezz, Kuz. Everybody who is in this locker room has got to step up and that’s what we need to do. We’ve got to shoot more threes.”
The Lakers aren’t expecting Davis and James to return soon, so more opportunities are available for the taking, according to Schroder.
“It’s great for everyone else. Everybody gets to touch the court and prove themselves for teammates and the organization can play. That’s how you’ve got to take it. Compete and try to get some wins.”
Lakers not closing door to re-sign Damian Jones
An already thin roster was reduced further as the Lakers opted not to sign center Damian Jones to a contract for the remainder of the season. Jones signed and played through two 10-day contracts, but after the second expired, L.A. either had to sign him for the remainder of the season or let him go.
The Lakers chose the latter, but head coach Frank Vogel is adamant that Jones may still have a future with L.A. depending on how things shake out with the trade deadline and buyout market.
“With D.J, the door is not closed, but we’re going to use this window of time approaching the trade deadline and the buyout market and we’re going to maintain our flexibility during this stretch to see what’s ahead of us,” Vogel said. “He did a good job for us and the door is not closed.”
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