The Los Angeles Lakers have missed the playoffs the last four seasons, giving the franchise their worst four-year stretch in history.
A big reason for that is the team’s struggles on the defensive end of the floor, as the last four years they ranked 27th, 27th, 29th and 29th out of 30 teams in points per game allowed.
A lot of those struggles have nothing to do with talent, as the Lakers have some solid athletes that are capable of being good defenders, but instead, it could be an issue with effort and mentality.
In an interview with Mike Bresnahan of Spectrum Sportsnet, Lakers forward Larry Nance Jr. commented on the struggles on the defensive end of the floor, saying that is the main thing they have been working on this summer and they aren’t going to be the worst defensive team in the league this year:
“We’re not going to have the worst defense in the league this year. That’s something that I think we’re all working on but me especially. I’m really gonna tune in to fix that,” Nance said.
“Even in the pickup games we have, it’s really important to focus on defense. Deflections, steals, blocked shots, protecting our rim. That’s our paint, we can’t be giving up 60-70 points in the paint every night like we have before so it’s been a big talking point, it’s been a big emphasis. I for one will be on the forefront of making things change.”
Nance is one of the best defenders on the Lakers and could become a leader on that end of the floor this season as he seemed very adamant about wanting to improve.
The additions of veterans Brook Lopez and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope should also help as they both have proven track records of being good defenders.