The 2019-20 NBA season is still extremely new, but the Los Angeles Lakers have the best record in the league through seven games.
It’s quite a turnaround considering the last six seasons of struggles and while it certainly won’t be smooth sailing for the entire season, it’s hard not to be optimistic based on what fans have seen so far.
On this episode of the Lakers Nation Podcast, host Trevor Lane takes a look at what Los Angeles has going for them and part of that is a stability that comes from a veteran-heavy roster that knows how to close out games. It hasn’t always been pretty, but these Lakers have figured out ways to win even when they aren’t playing at their best, which is the mark of a true contender.
Watching the team and their poise during crunch time, it’s easy to be reminded of great Lakers teams of the past. It’s certainly early and there is a long way to go for this season’s team to be mentioned among those who have won championships, but there is still some familiarity for fans that have been pining for the Lakers to return to glory.
Advanced stats have helped fans shine a light on just how the Lakers have been able to find success this season.
The bottom line is that they have been dominant on the defensive end, currently ranking second in the league in defensive rating. Their ability to shut down scoring in the paint has been incredibly good thanks to Anthony Davis, Dwight Howard, and JaVale McGee. In fact, they have been so good at protecting the rim that they rank seventh in the league in giving up points in the paint despite ranking 29th in fast-break points given up (fast-break scoring typically turns into points in the paint).
In other words, the Lakers have been so good at stopping scoring in the paint with their half-court defense that even their extremely poor transition defense doesn’t completely sink them in that area. Should they start to limit fast-break opportunities (even just to the point of being an average team there), fans could be looking at a historically good defense.
To wrap up the show, Lane opened up the live chat to fan questions and addresses a number of topics including the potential addition of Andre Iguodala, whether the Lakers should have put their foot down and kept Brandon Ingram, Rajon Rondo‘s role when he returns, and a ton more.
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