The Los Angeles Lakers finished off a week where they lost four straight games, the latest a 102-97 loss to the Detroit Pistons on Sunday night. The worst loss was a 40-point blowout against the San Antonio Spurs last Wednesday.
The starting lineup had arguably their worst week of the season. In each game, only one starter performed well while the rest underperformed. The Lakers are quite frankly not good enough yet to have any of the starters be inefficient on a nightly basis.
Today we take a look and what is trending up and what is trending down for the Lakers.
Ingram has been playing really well as of late. He has found his shooting touch after struggling for most of the season. Coming out of college many speculated that his lack of strength might limit his ability to make an impact on a night to night basis, but what he has shown is that he can use his other abilities to contribute. His ability to defend and create for his teammates has people believing that he can be a premier player in the future.
What the Lakers need to see is more consistency on the offensive end like his back-to-back 17-point outings against the Miami Heat and Orlando Magic earlier in the month. If he can start doing so, he gives the Lakers another go-to scorer.
Williams has been absolutely exceptional for the Lakers this season and has arguably been the most consistent player on the team. He provides instant offense off the bench and in my opinion is underrated as a distributor. He posted a 26-point game against the Detroit Pistons on Sunday and 13 points in starting role against the Clippers on Saturday.
His ability to create on his own is highly beneficial for a team that sometime struggles to find an offensive rhythm. As D’Angelo Russell and Jordan Clarkson develop and mature, Williams gives the team a much needed veteran presence that knows what it takes to win.
The Lakers started the season turning the ball over about 15 times per game, but have averaged just 11.9 over the past 10 games. D’Angelo Russell in particular has been much better as he is averaging less than two per game since the new year.
Turnovers are detrimental because it allows the opposing teams get easy baskets. By the Lakers limiting their turnovers, it gives them more of a chance to run their offense more efficiently. Although the primary ball handlers are young, they have done a much better job of protecting the ball. As the season moves along, hopefully the turnovers will continue to decrease.
Young is currently caught in a shooting slump. In his last six games he only has one game in double digit scoring, an 11-point outing against the Clippers. While there was much uncertainty about Young’s role on a team led by new coach, Luke Walton, he has exceeded expectations. Other than Williams, he is the only other player that can create for himself consistently.
If the Lakers want to have more success this season, Young needs regain his play from the beginning of the season where he was playing efficiently on the offensive end.
The Lakers are a young team that can run up and down the court so there is absolutely no reason to play sluggish at times. As stated before, the Lakers are not a good enough team yet to not give full energy every night. Walton often has to go to his bench earlier than he would like to ignite some sort of fire under his team.
That is unacceptable for such a young squad. This team has potential to do some great things but not giving good effort and energy will make the journey much more difficult.
Starting Unit Production
The starting lineup of the Lakers has not been playing good as of late. In games against the Trail Blazers, Spurs, and Pistons no more than one player scored in double figures. Much of the Lakers success depends on the production of the starting lineup and for them to struggle the way they have places a heavy burden on the bench to compensate for the lack of production.
When the starting unit is playing well, the Lakers become more competitive and have the ability to compete with any team in the NBA. Hopefully they can regroup quickly because if not, more losses are on the horizon.