EL SEGUNDO — For a team that envisions scoring at a rapid pace, there’s one significant thing beyond age slowing the Lakers down.
The Lakers rank 29th out of 30 NBA teams when it comes to that area, averaging 16.49 of them per game. In the 10 games under Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni, the Lakers’ numbers have looked pretty much the same (16).
“We’re not playing really well offensively,” D’Antoni said. “We’re not in sync.
D’Antoni told his players during morning shootaround that plenty of the team’s offensive struggles reflect its inconsistency in making what he called “team-produced points,” including baskets coming off pick-and-rolls, passing and proper spacing. Just as much as the offense reflects around Kobe Bryant (28.4 points) and Dwight Howard (18.8 points), the turnovers largely point to the Lakers’ two main stars. Bryant averages 3.85 turnovers per game, while Howard averages 3.25 per contest.
“I get a lot of turnovers from three seconds and offensive fouls,” Howard said. “That’s not me turning the ball over or me getting the ball stolen from me. That’s something that I can’t really help, an offensive foul or three seconds. That’s in the game. But I think for the most part, when we force plays, we get a lot of turnovers instead of making the easy plays. Sometimes we do make the game hard on ourselves by not playing team basketball.”
That’s why D’Antoni spent most of the morning shootaround open to the media having the Lakers work on pick-and-roll sets, hinging on timely passes, sharp cutting and spacing.
Under D’Antoni, The Lakers may rank seventh in total offense (101.4 points per game). But they only rank 15th in field-goal percentage (44.9 percent). Meanwhile, the Lakers’ turnovers have resulted in opponents averaging a league-high 16.4 fast-break points per game.
“We’re not even close,” D’Antoni said regarding the offense. “We haven’t scratched the surface yet.”
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