Mitch Kupchak: Lakers Haven’t Made Commitment To Playing Defense
Trending Up, Trending Down: 2016-2017 Nba Season Week 13
Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Coming into this season, one of the major concerns for the Los Angeles Lakers was their defense. Head coach Luke Walton spoke about turning around the team’s fortunes on that end of the floor. To that end, general manager Mitch Kupchak brought in a couple of veterans in Timofey Mozgov and Luol Deng to help out.

Unfortunately, that hasn’t mattered for the Lakers as they rank 26th in the NBA in points allowed and 29th in defensive rating. In particular, some of the young players like D’Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson, and Julius Randle have been terrible more often than not on that end.

This has many wondering if the Lakers can ever become a good defensive team with the core players they have. In an interview with David Aldridge of NBA.com, Kupchak said that he believes they can, but the players haven’t made the commitment on that end yet:

“If you look at the stats, I think we’re close to the bottom of the barrel. You would say that it’s not possible. But if you can score in this league, you can defend. It’s just a matter of putting your mind to it and making the commitment. So we haven’t done that yet. You can point to injuries, you can point to youth. But we haven’t been able to do it yet. There’s no reason why we can’t.”

While Russell, Randle, and Clarkson have all struggled for the most part defensively, Larry Nance Jr., Brandon Ingram, and Ivica Zubac have all shown that they can make an impact on that end. Kupchak is right in that the team as a whole simply hasn’t made that commitment.

The problem for the Lakers is that they’re defense usually picks up once their offense gets going and most teams prefer it to be the other way around. The Lakers stepping up on defense will improve their offense and the team as a whole.

There are some good individual defensive pieces on the roster, but whether or not they can come together to form a good unit remains to be seen.

You May Also Like

Los Angeles Lakers Vs. Denver Nuggets NBA Highlights

The Los Angeles Lakers were back in action Wednesday night for a…

Video: Magic Johnson, Pat Riley Discuss What Made Showtime Lakers So Special

The Los Angeles Lakers of the 1980s, nicknamed “Showtime,” were perhaps the most fun team to watch in NBA history as they won five championships in a nine-year span…

Los Angeles Lakers vs. Portland Trail Blazers NBA Highlights

Coming off a tough victory over the Indiana Pacers, the Los Angeles…

Tyler Ennis On First Encounter With Kobe Bryant, His Crazy Ride From Canada To The NBA

The fan base first got to know you when you came in for pre-draft workouts at the Lakers facility in 2014 but since then, you were drafted by the Phoenix Suns then traded to Milwaukee, all within your rookie year, then you were traded to Houston, and now you’ve been traded to the Lakers…