The Los Angeles Lakers finished their annual Grammy road trip last week with a win against the Milwaukee Bucks. They finished with a record of 2-3 and overall looked like a much better team during the road trip, which hopefully will continue for the rest of the season.
Larry Nance Jr. said that the road trip helped the Lakers become a better team. It will be fun to see if the team can back up his statement.
Here is what is trending up and trending down for the Lakers.
The Lakers showed much better consistency with their play during their road trip. They gave themselves a chance to win in four of their five games. Against the Washington Wizards and Boston Celtics they trailed by double-digits but were able to climb back into those games before ultimately coming up short.
In wins against the New York Knicks and Milwaukee Bucks they jumped out to large leads and were able to sustain them for the rest of the game, which has been an issue for them this year.
Consistency has been one of the Lakers issues this season. It has often led to the Lakers looking out of rhythm on offense. But for the time being the Lakers have stringed together a few good performances that has them playing competitively. Hopefully they continue to play well for the rest of the season.
Ever since Luke Walton made the decision to bench starters, Luol Deng and Timofey Mozgov, in favor of Tarik Black and Brandon Ingram the lakers have gotten off to much better starts. It seems like the new lineup has sparked energy into the starters.
Often too many times with Deng and Mozgov the Lakers started out too sluggish and found themselves early in ballgames. It would be unfair to put that solely on the shoulders of the two veterans, but the fact remains that the Lakers were overall a plus-26 in the first quarter during their five-game trip.
With the Lakers on the outside looking in at the playoffs, it does not hurt to see what the young guys can do on the court as a starting unit.
In the game against the Detroit Pistons the Lakers finished with a 21 turnovers. That is way too many giveaways to give the other team. That also happened to be the worst game the Lakers played on their road trip, but they also had 20 turnovers in Washington and 19 in Milwaukee.
If the Lakers can limit their turnovers they would allow their offense to run more efficiently and help their defense not be as disoriented as it is much easier to stop teams in the halfcourt than in transition.
The Lakers can probably win more games if they can limit their turnovers. Hopefully D’Angelo Russell, Nick Young, Lou Williams, and Jordan Clarkson can do a better job of taking care of the basketball.
Mozgov has been the biggest victim of of Luke Walton’s lineup change. Since his benching he has not played at all. At least Luol Deng has seen the court off the bench. This is something Mozgov never thought would happen when he signed with the Lakers over the summer, but the truth of the matter is he has not produced like the coaching staff hoped for.
Even though he is a solid defensive presence, he provided minimal offensive support in the starting lineup. Also not helping the cause is the numbers game. While Brandon Ingram is the only other true small forward, allowing Deng to remain in the rotation, there are two young centers in Tarik Black and Ivica Zubac who need to get minutes.
For now, all Mozgov can do is stay ready if his number is called, but going from starter to DNP-CD is a clear indication of a downward trend.