Only three games into the 2015 – 2016 NBA, the Lakers are apparently intent on proving that last year’s 21-61 record was no fluke.
The Lakers are looking bad. Really bad.
Their offense is bad. The Lakers shot selection and shooting percentage are terrible. They shot 37.6% against the Minnesota Timberwolves and 35.6% against the Dallas Mavericks. They did shoot a respectable 46.1% against Sacramento, but also gave up an alarming 74 points in the first half and lost by 18. And that game wasn’t nearly as close as the final score would indicate.
The offense is stagnant, the ball doesn’t move, and the is no movement or cutting. The Lakers have had 18, 20, and 18 assists in the first three games. Assisting on far less than 50% of their baskets is proof the Lakers are mostly playing one on one and just jacking up three pointers. That’s not an NBA caliber offense, that’s playground chaos at the local YMCA.
Their defense is bad. The Lakers don’t get back on defense quickly enough, don’t rotate on defense, and generally seem to be lost when defending. They are a step slow physically, and two steps slow mentally. Over the first three games, their opponents have shot 45.8%, 51.5%, and 46.0%.
It’s not like the Lakers are playing against the elite teams in the West. None of the teams they played in the first three games are expected to make the NBA playoffs. These are the teams the Lakers must beat to qualify for the playoffs themselves. These were supposed to be the easy games. The games they were supposed to win if they want to make the playoffs.
If the Lakers can’t win games against the weaker teams in the NBA, how can they possibly win games against the NBA’s elite teams like the Golden State Warriors, the San Antonio Spurs, the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Houston Rockets, the Memphis Grizzlies, and their neighbors down the hall, the Los Angeles Clippers? If they play like this, they can’t.
Byron Scott repeatedly said that defense was going to be the focus of this year’s team. But there is no evidence of that so far. Scott insisted two a day practices and constant running were the key to his defensive schemes. Instead his players have complained they were tired and worn out after only two games.
Brandon Bass told Scott he was tired after the Lakers were blown out by Sacramento. Other Lakers have also said they were fatigued after a grueling preseason of old school two a day practices filled with constant running. Conversely, the Warriors decided to forego two a day practices altogether this year and the Warriors look sharp, fresh, rested, and ready to challenge for the NBA Championship again.
Scott has been out coached in all three games. His team had a seven point lead going into the fourth quarter against Minnesota and then managed to score only 16 points in the quarter against a team many have picked to finish near the bottom of the Western Conference. The Lakers were destroyed by the Kings, trailing by 23 points, 33 – 10, in the first quarter as the Kings scored at will and shredded the Lakers defense.. Against Dallas the Lakers trailed by 15 – 0 at the start of the first quarter. The game was over before most of the crowd had even sat down.
The Lakers have already been booed by their own fans in their first two home games. Something that has never happened before. They would have been booed in all three games, but thankfully the Kings game was a road game in Sacramento.
The Lakers have started the season by losing three games in a row. The question now is how long will their losing streak last before they win their first game.