While the Los Angeles Lakers assembled a roster that had the look of a team that would see improvement from last season, there were still expected to be growing pains. Of course, that’s hardly a surprise considering the young core that’s in place.
Through the first seven weeks of the season, the Lakers’ deficiencies have become readily apparent. They turn the ball over much too frequently, which head coach Luke Walton is looking to curtail by implementing a penalty, and they struggle at the free throw line and from behind the arc.
The Lakers are the worst 3-point shooting team in the NBA, making just 31.5 percent of their attempts, and they’ve ranked last for much of the season.
That futility is partially why the team ranks 28th in the league in offensive efficiency, scoring just 99.5 points per 100 possessions. And a lack of 3-point shooting is also something Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka knows the team must address, which he spoke about during an appearance on ESPN L.A. Radio:
“We have guys that can make threes. Brook Lopez can knock down threes, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Kuz. But, Magic and I also know, for sure, that’s a thing going forward we have to continue to address. We studied it hard during the Draft and free agency,” Pelinka said.
With the additions Pelinka mentioned, the Lakers clearly did try to address their shooting needs. Caldwell-Pope fared well from 3-point territory last season, knocking down a career-best 35 percent of his threes while playing for the Detroit Pistons.
Similarly, Lopez attempted both the most threes per game (5.2) of his career last year, while also making by far the highest percentage of them he had ever hit (34.6 percent).
Despite those efforts, however, the Lakers clearly didn’t solve their spacing woes, and it’s unclear how the team will solve the issue, or if they even can this season.
Pelinka also mentioned that he believes the trade market will open up in the middle of December, which is one avenue the Lakers could use to try to improve their shooting. The team could also see if veteran shooters get bought out, or attempt to find a shooter in the G League.
All of those options have their flaws, however. The trade market by nature would require the Lakers to give something an asset or take on salary, neither of which are super appealing options as they look to horde what little young talent they have while also keeping their cap sheet clean for next summer.
It’s clear Pelinka knows they have to do something, though, so it will be worth watching what he and Magic Johnson come up with.
WANT TO PARTICIPATE IN THE DISCUSSION? CHECK OUT THE NEW FORUM CLUB