The Los Angeles Lakers’ defensive problems continued on Sunday night as they fell to the New York Knicks, 118-112. The Lakers allowed the Knicks to shoot 48.8 percent from the field and 45.5 percent from three-point range, both of which are well above New York’s season averages.
This is nothing new for the Lakers, as their offense has been good throughout most of the season, even when injuries ravaged the lineup. Unfortunately, they haven’t been able to get stops consistently.
Power forward Julius Randle has had his share of issues, as have the rest of the team, and Randle made it clear after Sunday’s loss that with the number of athletic players on the roster, their defense shouldn’t be this bad:
“It’s embarrassing, and it’s embarrassing because we have too many good defenders and athletic guys on this team to be this bad on the defensive end. We can be a lot better and we will be a lot better it’s just frustrating right now.”
Randle’s attitude and confidence that the Lakers will figure things out is telling, and is something that is shared across the roster. Jordan Clarkson expressed the same belief that the Lakers will ultimately fix their problems:
“Yeah, for sure. We just have to figure it out. Communicate. Figure out what’s the right thing to do. We’re switching a lot of stuff right now so we’re definitely going to talk to the coaches and we’ll figure it out.”
It isn’t uncommon for young teams with a lot of new players to struggle on defense. That end of the floor is all about communication and everyone being on the same page, and the Lakers aren’t there yet as is evidenced by them ranking near the bottom of the league in both points allowed and defensive rating.
That being said, it is good to hear young players like Randle and Clarkson speaking out about things needing to change. D’Angelo Russell echoed a similar sentiment, even taking ownership for the struggles.
They sound determined to fix the Lakers’ defensive issues and if the entire team takes on that mindset, the defense should improve in time.
The Lakers have a number of players who are good defenders including Timofey Mozgov, Larry Nance Jr., Brandon Ingram, and Nick Young. Putting everything together would really allow this team to turn things around.
**All quotes obtained by Lakers Nation reporter Serena Winters