Even though it is early in the 2019-20 NBA season, the Los Angeles Lakers have the best record in the league and it is due in large part to their defense.
The Lakers have held six of their 14 opponents under 100 points so far with another two scoring just 101 against their stingy defense. The offense hasn’t been terrible by any means, but the defense is clearly the strong suit of the team which James believes is ideal.
“We got a lot of improvement on both sides of the floor. Obviously our defense is ahead of our offense, but that’s a good thing,” James noted ahead of the team’s game against the Oklahoma City Thunder. “We would much rather our defense be ahead of our offense at this point of the season, but offensively we’re getting better and better.”
The Lakers currently rank 10th in the league in offensive rating, 15th in points per game, and third in field goal percentage. However, the Lakers are 21st in three-point percentage and 20th in free throw percentage.
As James said, the Lakers have plenty of room to improve on both ends and that is where his focus is at.
“We’re gonna continue to work our habits, watch film, see ways we can put everyone in position to be as efficient as possible and continue to share the ball.”
Even though the defense has been stellar so far, there are certain areas the Lakers could be much better. In particular, their transition defense hasn’t been great as they’re among the worst in the league in opposing fast break points due to their turnovers.
Where the Lakers do shine on both ends is in the paint. The size of the frontcourt allows for them to alter a lot of shots down low while also ranking second in points in the paint on offense.
Regardless, the mindset of James is the right one to have.
It is far too early in the season for the Lakers to become satisfied with their level of play. The rest of the league will be coming for them so if they don’t continue to improve, it is only a matter of time before things go downhill.