One criticism of the Los Angeles Lakers’ offense in the first quarter of the season is the lack of ball and player movement. Frank Vogel is not known for his offensive acumen, but it had to be known that taking turns playing isolation basketball was not working.
This is especially true when the team employs two of the best playmakers in league history in LeBron James and Russell Westbrook. But recently, things have started to turn around offensively. Ball movement has been significantly better, and it’s leading to fewer possessions where players look lost on that end of the floor.
This change could potentially be traced back to a challenge made by Vogel to the Lakers, imploring them to get at least 30 assists each game. “It’s excellent for us. They’re both willing passers, great setup guys,” Vogel said of James and Westbrook. “But I like how our whole team is playing.
“That’s two games in a row where they’ve reached my challenge that I’ve put out to them to really become a team-first team and sharing the basketball and getting 30 assists. Last game we had 32 and tonight we had 32, we just got ours in 48 minutes tonight instead of 63 the other night. But it’s still 30 assists two games in a row and that’s what we want from our guys is to share that rock.”
The Lakers have had 32 assists in each of their last two games, a loss to the Sacramento Kings and a win against the Detroit Pistons. However, they reached that benchmark just once in their first 20 games when they defeated the Charlotte Hornets.
It sounds oversimplified, but when the Lakers are moving the ball and trying to reach 30 assists, their offense looks less static, even if they fail to get to that number. To make up for some of the spacing issues that certain lineups have presented, the ball has to be in constant motion.
If this is the offensive philosophy for the Lakers moving forward, it could be a huge step in the right direction. It relies less on players making tough shots and puts good shooters in a position to get open shots.
Davis says he’ll continue to shoot threes despite struggles
The woes of Anthony Davis behind the 3-point line this season are well-documented. However, that hasn’t discouraged him from continuing to shoot. “Shooting. Just confidence. Staying with it. Long season,” he said. “I’m going to continue to shoot the ball from three whether it goes in or not.
“I think that opens up the floor for my teammates, for Bron, Russ, Talo [Talen Horton-Tucker] to get downhill. And it opens it up for me to get into the paint when guys are running out, closing out to the three.”
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