The Los Angeles Lakers are still finding their most optimal rotation following the many roster changes the team went through during the offseason. Nevertheless, the defending NBA champions have already shown their potential, particularly on the offensive end of the floor.
The Lakers still grapple with consistency, which was a factor in a loss to the Portland Trail Blazers after blowing out the shorthanded Minnesota Timberwolves. The Lakers then responded with back-to-back wins over the San Antonio Spurs, the second of which was a bit of a slog fest.
In their most impressive moments, L.A. has moved the ball well and it has translated into several eye-catching plays since the start of the 2020-21 campaign. Even though the half-court offense was not their strongest suit last season, the Lakers now seem much more comfortable passing the ball around.
Particularly when Marc Gasol, known for his knowledge, is on the floor and whose impact did not escape LeBron James’ attention. “Certain guys just see plays before they happen,” James said. “Do it with their mind, do it with the pass, and Marc is one of those guys.
“His basketball IQ, there’s not many in the game like that. I’ve been privileged in back-to-back years be alongside [Rajon Rondo] and now be alongside Marc, who sees the game very similar to the way I see it.”
James added the Lakers have many good passers on the roster, pointing out the many dimes Kyle Kuzma and Alex Caruso have already dished out this season. And the four-time NBA champion claimed the team’s extra ball movement was not motivated by individual statistics.
Rather, he continued, the target is to create better scoring opportunities for teammates and limit the number of bad shots the team takes each night. “We shouldn’t take many bad shots if any at all, because we have so much player movement and guys that can just make shots,” James said.
“We’ve got guys that can make the right play, make the right pass. From Dennis to Marc, myself, we saw some unbelievable passes from Kuz and A.C., and the list goes on and on.”
James sees benefit running offense through Gasol
While plenty of discussion has centered around whether or not James would relinquish playmaking duties to Dennis Schroder, he not only has expressed a willingness to do so with the point guard but Gasol as well.
“I just think playing through him a lot more. When we do that, we’re very good because of his ability to see the floor and pass the ball,” James said of running offense through Gasol.
“He does some special things out on the floor. When he’s on the floor we have to do a better job of not playing much pick-and-roll with him setting the picks, but more just letting him play that point center position at the top of the key and letting the offense flow through him, because he makes great decisions.
“We’re going to get him more involved because he’s going to be a big part of what we do. We know that, and he showed that already this year against Minnesota. We want to continue to get him, Dennis, Trezz and Wes acclimated to what we want to do and go from there.”
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