Through seven games of the 2018-19 NBA season, the Los Angeles Lakers are playing at the fifth-fastest pace in the entire league.
While this is how head coach Luke Walton wants to play, the Lakers have struggled to close out possessions when they are not fouling. Along with being tied for 16th in rebounding per game (45.3), the Lakers are giving up the fifth-most offensive rebounds per game (12.6).
After giving up 20 offensive rebounds to the Minnesota Timberwolves, Walton stressed a collective effort is required to help rebound if the team is to succeed. “It just needs all five guys to do it every time,” Walton explained after Tuesday’s practice.
“Obviously, we have smaller lineups, we try to play faster, so it’s kind of what style is going to win out. But, yeah, we can compete with [bigger teams] on the glass. We just need all five every time.
With the Lakers preparing for DeAndre Jordan who is fifth in offensive rebounding per game (4.0), Walton had a simple message for his players. “We don’t want any leaking out,” he said. “We want zero leaking out. If you see someone leaking out, that’s a mistake.
“I think guys enjoy the fast-break part of the game, and we’re good at that, so it’s tempting to get out there and lead the fast break. But again, that’s one of the things that hurts us on the defensive glass. A shot goes up, we can’t start running. We have to get back into the paint, get the ball and then run from there.”
For Lonzo Ball who is one of the better rebounding guards in the league, he understands his role and what the Lakers need to do moving forward. “Bigs have got to box out, we’ve got to come in and sandwich rebound to get on the break,” Ball explained.
“Guys contesting the shot, (they) keep going (and run out early). Some of those shots are long rebounds and we don’t have anybody there to get it.”
As the Lakers are 1-5 in games decided by 10 points or less, they need to get back to the basics and it begins with closing out possessions.