The Los Angeles Lakers came up short in their season opener against the Portland Trail Blazers, falling 128-119. There were positives and negatives on the night for Luke Walton’s team, but arguably the most glaring was their outside shooting struggles.
The Lakers missed their first 15 attempts from three-point range and ultimately finished just 7-for-30, justifying the fears of many coming into the season. The Lakers actually shot a better overall percentage than Portland, but their failure to knock down shots from deep was a major issue the entire night.
Despite the issues, Walton’s stance did not change as he believed the Lakers had good looks that just didn’t go in. As seen on Spectrum SportsNet, Walton wants his team to keep shooting the shots they were getting:
“They were good shots. We’re going to keep taking those. Brandon getting open-corner threes, Kuz had a couple good looks, ‘Bron had a couple. Those are shots we want. I told Lance in the first half, ‘Someone drives and kicks to you, let’s go. Let it go.’ Those are shots we’ll hit as the season goes on.”
Both LeBron James and Brandon Ingram shot 0-for-4 from behind the arc on the night while Kyle Kuzma was 1-of-7 and Lonzo Ball made one of his four attempts. Walton was right in that many of the team’s looks from deep were good, open shots that came on good passes.
The Lakers may not have a team full of prototypical shooters, but if the team doesn’t take the open looks they have, it could also have a negative effect on the offense.
It’s hard to believe they will continue to shoot as poorly as they did moving forward, especially considering the looks they got. Walton is going to encourage the Lakers to shoot their shots, but if they continue to struggle, either a rotation or strategy change may be in order.
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