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  • LakerTom (Publisher) 6:06 PM on October 21, 2018 Permalink |  

    JaVale has been a revelation, while Ingram and Kuzma haven’t fared as well 

    What Went Wrong: The Lakers’ success or failure this season will turn largely on the play of the young core, and in particular, on Ingram and Kyle Kuzma. Lonzo Ball is going to split time with Rondo, Josh Hart is going to share time with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and whichever combination of those players is on the court at a given moment is likely to be fine.

    But there is no back-up plan for Ingram and Kuzma, and that is perhaps the biggest concern to emerge from the first week of the regular season. Expectations were through the roof for both players this year, and if either or both does not come through in a big way, the Lakers are in trouble.

    Excluding James, they are the only players on the team with the potential to score 20 points a game, and without both of them playing at a high level as the second and third scoring options, the prospect of the Lakers making the playoffs this year will take a big hit.

     
    • LakerTom (Publisher) 6:10 PM on October 21, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Excellent article by Hannah Kulik, who is definitely better in print than video. Ingram has had the toughest time since he has had to change his game more playing alongside LeBron. Kuzma has started slow and partly because he’s playing with Lance who tends to dominate the ball and clock. Hopefully, Ingram being suspended will give Kuzma a chance to start or at least play more minutes at the 3, which is his natural position and where he creates the most mismatches.

    • mclyne32 (Director) 6:27 PM on October 21, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Sorry, it’s been two games. No need to over analyze.

  • LakerTom (Publisher) 5:52 PM on October 21, 2018 Permalink |  

    Story out of Sunday’s practice … we’re about to see more Ball, Hart, Kuzma and Lance 

    One thing we can assume: Ball will slide into the starting point guard spot. He played a very strong individual game against Houston, scoring 14 points on 5 of 10 FG’s and 4 of 8 threes, plus six boards, four assists and zero turnovers in 26 minutes. He was active defensively throughout, and looked bouncy.

    Walton has a few options to replace Ingram, whether it be Josh Hart, Kyle Kuzma or Lance Stephenson.

    Hart could be the most likely option, as he’s started very strong in averaging 15.5 points – second only to LeBron James’ 25.0 – on 52 percent shooting and 40 percent from three, playing strong defense and adding 4.5 boards per evening.

    That would allow Stephenson to take on some additional ballhandling duties that would typically be occupied by Ball or Rondo with the second unit. Meanwhile, Kuzma could still be utilized in small ball settings as a five if he maintains his rotation with the second unit.

    Of course, Walton could go in an entirely different direction. We’ll likely learn about it just prior to Monday’s game against the Spurs.

     
  • LakerTom (Publisher) 5:16 PM on October 21, 2018 Permalink |  

    Lonzo regained his rhythm against Rockets and it couldn’t have come at a better time 

     
  • LakerTom (Publisher) 4:25 PM on October 21, 2018 Permalink |  

    Lonzo Ball says the Lakers are “going to miss” Brandon Ingram and Rajon Rondo 

     
    • LakerTom (Publisher) 4:28 PM on October 21, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      No doubt Lonzo is also looking forward to the opportunity to show what he can do as Lakers starting point guard the next three games. The big question is will it be Lance or Kuz who replaces Ingram the next four games. Luke has a great opportunity now to see how Lonzo and Kuzma affect the starting lineup. I think there’s a good chance both can earn starting roles with Ingram replacing KCP or Hart when he returns. That would give us what I believe is the Lakers best starting lineup:

      PG: Lonzo Ball
      SG: Brandon Ingram
      SF: Kyle Kuzma
      PF: LeBron James
      CE: JaVale McGee

  • LakerTom (Publisher) 3:45 PM on October 21, 2018 Permalink |  

    Ingram has been suspended four games and Rondo suspended three games 

     
    • LakerTom (Publisher) 3:55 PM on October 21, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Not a good start to the season for the Lakers. Lost the game, the fight, and the penalties. Rondo may end up losing his starting point guard role, which could be a blessing in disguise, except it leaves the Lakers without a quality backup. Ingram should give Kuzma an opportunity to start at the three.

      Bottom line, if there’s a silver lining to the fight, it could be replacing Rondo and Ingram with Lonzo and Kuzma. Of course, Luke has proven not to be predictable so he just might start Lance instead of Kuzma. Anyway, I would love to see the Lakers play the next three games with this lineup:

      PG: Lonzo Ball
      SG: Josh Hart
      SF: Kyle Kuzma
      PF: LeBron James
      CE: JaVale McGee

      The beauty of this lineup is putting three players who don’t hesitate to shoot the three around LeBron. We can’t continue to lose 24 points per game in the three-point shooting wars. You just can’t get enough extra possessions via pace or offensive rebounds to make enough layups to offset all those threes.

      This entire situation could end up creating a chaotic situation for the next 3 or 4 games … or it could give Lonzo and Kuzma the opportunities they need to solve our 3-point shooting woes. Had we shot threes even at last year’s dismal 34.5% rate, we would have ended up tied in both games.

  • LakerTom (Publisher) 2:45 PM on October 21, 2018 Permalink |  

    LeBron & Lakers Running to Greatness? 

     
    • LakerTom (Publisher) 4:29 PM on October 21, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      From the above article:

      Luke Walton was not joking when he said he wanted the Lakers to play even faster than their third ranked 100.97 possessions per game from last season. This despite LeBron having never played on an NBA team top-ten in pace. Any concerns about the 34-year old LeBron embracing Luke Walton’s modern version of Showtime on steroids were quickly put to bed as James and the Lakers are leading the league with an amazing 112.00 possessions per game.

      While the Lakers are unlikely to be able to maintain this pace all season, there’s no doubt they’re breaking new ground for how fast a team can play. The Lakers’ relentless pushing of the pace even after made baskets has them averaging league-best 28 fast break points and 70 points in paint per game, huge increases over their impressive second-ranked 17.5 fast break points per game and third-ranked 51.9 points in the paint per game from last season.

    • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

      Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 5:13 PM on October 21, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Yep, the new rules and our personnel make controlling the pace essential. It’ll be interesting when we play a gum JR up and slow it down kind of team. Just need to clean up some very clean up-able things and we’re on our way.

      Hope that the guys next in line can step up and fill the void, get LBJ that first Laker W!

      • LakerTom (Publisher) 5:21 PM on October 21, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        It’s only been two games but LeBron seems like the ultimate fit to Luke’s push-it-even-off-makes offense. We haven’t even seen LeBron go into high gear yet. He’s pretty much just been fitting in. Once the team gets their game together, I expect LeBron to become more aggressive looking for his own shot. Fast as we play, he should average 30 points per game.

        • DJ2KB24

          DJ2KB24 5:43 PM on October 21, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          Hope Luke can handle this unexpected explosion. Need to calm everybody down.

          • LakerTom (Publisher) 5:55 PM on October 21, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            It’s going to be a blessing in disguise. Lonzo will take over as starter and Kuzma or Hart will get a shot to start now and maybe even later if they shine. I’d like to see Lonzo, Hart, Kuzma, LeBron, and JaVale. Luke will likely start Lonzo, KCP, Hart, LeBron, and JaVale.

            • DJ2KB24

              DJ2KB24 6:02 PM on October 21, 2018 Permalink

              Yep. Need the win, just for morale.

        • keen observer

          keen observer 5:43 PM on October 21, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          The Lakers are missing one ingredient to dominate with their style of play. What’s his name? Julius something.

  • LakerTom (Publisher) 6:57 PM on October 20, 2018 Permalink |  

    Here’s hoping Lonzo has a great shooting game tonight! 

     
    • LakerTom (Publisher) 4:20 PM on October 21, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Other than Rondo who is 1 of 2 from deep, Lonzo Ball is leading the Lakers in 3-point shooting at 41,7%, followed by Josh Hart at 40.0%. Everybody else sucks: KCP 25%, Kuzma 17%, LeBron 9%, Ingram 0%, Stephenson 0%.

  • LakerTom (Publisher) 5:36 PM on October 20, 2018 Permalink |  

    Luke explained why KCP remains the starter over Josh Hart 

    The biggest position battle was between Caldwell-Pope and Josh Hart. Both had stretches where they out-performed the other, but Hart’s hamstring injury late in training camp essentially cinched Caldwell-Pope as a starter.

     
    • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

      Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 2:32 AM on October 21, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      That might change soon. Rondo and Ingram is bound to be suspended so we’ll need to promote Lance and Ball to the starting line up. Hart not hitting threes like we know he can is all that’s holding him back right now, KCP looks hell bent on playing his way out of the starting line up. Dude is one slow starter to the season, same thing as last year. I thought it might be his legal woes but it now looks like more of a KCP thing.

      I know Luke loves him his vets, but this is quickly becoming a lopsided debate.

  • LakerTom (Publisher) 2:40 PM on October 20, 2018 Permalink |  

    5 NBA Free Agents Who Could Help LeBron James And The LA Lakers 

    1. Marreese Speights

    Speights is a very versatile big man who would form great pick and roll partnerships with LeBron and Rondo. He can hit the mid-range J and can run the floor which only adds to the potential of the Lakers fast break.

    He would also be a great practice partner for JaVale McGee as both these guys would push each other for minutes which heavily contributes to the end product we see on the floor.

     
    • LakerTom (Publisher) 2:44 PM on October 20, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I actually think Mo Speights could be a perfect fit as our 15th player and backup stretch 5 who can mentor Moe Wagner. Speights is an excellent 3-point shooter and has size and height to defend and rebound the position. He would help our bench 3-point shooting, screen setting, defense, and rebounding. And he’s played for Luke.

  • LakerTom (Publisher) 12:21 PM on October 20, 2018 Permalink |  

    Luke says he'll keep same starters tonight: LeBron, Rondo, KCP, Ingram, JaVale 

     
    • LakerTom (Publisher) 2:45 PM on October 20, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Be interesting to see if KCP, Lonzo, Ingram, and Kuzma can improve their 3-point shooting tonight. Going to need to take more than 30 threes and make more than 7. Can’t give the Rockets 18 more points via threes and think you can win the game. Let’s see what adjustments Luke has made so we can win.

  • LakerTom (Publisher) 12:18 PM on October 20, 2018 Permalink |  

    Pace and … Boards 

    On Thursday night in Portland, the Lakers were absolutely flying up and down the court, pushing what turned out to be 227 total possessions in L.A.’s 128-119 loss. Divide that number by two, and you get a pace of 113.5.

    “I thought we really, we had a good thing going,” he said after the game. “We had 70 points in the paint, something like that, 39 fast break points around there.”

    The actual number was 34, but it seemed like 39. To put it in perspective, the Warriors led the NBA last year with 18.8 fastbreak points per game, while the Lakers were second at 17.5.

    For Lonzo Ball, it’s pretty simple.

    “We are just faster than a lot of teams,” he said. “So when we get out, not that many teams can stay with us.”

    But there’s a catch, or a lack thereof, in terms of rebounding the basketball. L.A. had a boards deficit of 54-46, including a 14-8 margin in Portland’s favor on the offensive glass, which produced a 21-10 differential in second chance points.

    “We kept giving up more opportunities, that’s what I kept stressing to our guys,” Walton added. “We would get the stop, and then we’d start leaking out instead of coming in and rebounding, so we left some on the table.”

    The boarding problems sometimes came from wings leaking out too early to get in transition, and sometimes from just failing to box out, as happened to Brandon Ingram – who did plenty of other things well – late in the first quarter.

     
    • LakerTom (Publisher) 12:19 PM on October 20, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Lakers need to keep whichever guard or forward playing on weakside in for rebounds. Most rebounds go to weak side. That’s where we were getting killed by Blazers.

  • LakerTom (Publisher) 10:19 AM on October 20, 2018 Permalink |  

    Lonzo Ball will emerge as LeBron James’ most important team-mate on Lakers 

    That is according to FOX Sports pundit Cris Carter.

    The Lakers’ campaign began disappointingly on Thursday night with a 128-119 loss to Portland Trail Blazers.

    Luke Walton’s side lacked coherence in their defensive play at times and it seemed that James’ chemistry with team-mates is still a work in progress.

    The young team’s task does not get any easier as they welcome the Houston Rockets – who won the Western Conference last year – to the Staples Center.

    James and point guard Rajon Rondo played the most minutes in Oregon, but Cris Carter believes another player on the roster will prove James’ most valuable team-mate.

    “LeBron’s favorite team-mate is probably going to be Rondo,” Carter conceded on First Things First.

    “I’m just gonna tell you – it might not be his favorite team-mate, I believe the most important is Lonzo Ball.”

    Ball had his rookie season last term, averaging more minutes per game than any other Laker.

    The point guard entered the NBA with serious hype after his dad, LaVar Ball, became a national TV personality for his outlandish claims regarding what his three sons would deliver in basketball.

    Ball, 20, is expected to have a more withdrawn role this season given the signing of Rondo, who is a more experienced playmaker.

    Explaining why Ball will nevertheless be pivotal to James, Carter said: “The reason why is not only because of his skill set. A lot of it has to do with the organization.

    “If he can be the difference-maker at the point guard, it becomes even more attractive who they’re going to get in free agency beyond this season.

    “In the West, let’s not forget who you’re competing against. Chris Paul – he’s ageing, Steph Curry – he’s ageing, but these guys still got two to four years in their primes.

    “You’re gonna have to deal with those point guards. We saw the two Portland threw at them.

    “As long as the Lakers are developing, if they want to play at pace… If Lonzo develops his jump shot then he will be able to move the meter with LeBron.

    “If you have a superstar point guard who has a lot of the attributes of LeBron, I believe that to be significant.”

     
    • LakerTom (Publisher) 10:24 AM on October 20, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I thought this was a more reasonable reaction to Lonzo’s first game with LeBron than the Jalen Rose articles claiming Lonzo is a poor fit with LeBron and should be traded to Blazers for Lillard. Looking for Lonzo and Lakers to have a big bounce back game tonight.

    • Michael H (Editor)

      Michael H (Editor) 12:18 PM on October 20, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Aloha Tom,
      The media are paid to have opinions but they are worth little if they don’t look at the big picture. Zo had not played since March. And he was limited in training camp for part of it. While he maybe healthy now he still needs get his game ready conditioning back. He also needs his timing back and reps with his new teammates. Lillard is an elite scorer but we scored 119 points on an off shooting night. Lonzo fits what we want to do. We would have to modify our style on both ends of the court if we brought in Lillard. By the time we can actually make trades we will have a better idea of what our needs really are.

  • LakerTom (Publisher) 10:05 AM on October 20, 2018 Permalink |  

    Rockets’ defense must adjust quickly as LeBron James, Lakers loom 

    After several days making repairs to their defense after a blowout loss to the Pelicans to open the season, the Rockets will be unable to use many of the corrections against the Lakers.

    Though the Lakers play at a pace similar to the high-speed Pelicans, many of the Rockets’ mistakes came after double teams in the low-post on Anthony Davis. The Lakers will spread the floor, rather than post-up anyone in the style that led to many of the Rockets’ breakdowns.

    While many teams have traditionally sought to keep their defensive player best-suited to match up with James on him as much as possible, the Rockets might start with James Ennis III or P.J. Tucker on James, but will continue to switch as he makes his way around nearly every screen.

    “We’re going to switch,” D’Antoni said. “That’s what we do. You can make a case, who is our best guy? We’re comfortable with what we’re doing. We just weren’t real good at it last time.”

     
    • LakerTom (Publisher) 10:07 AM on October 20, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      If the Rockets are going to switch on LeBron, it might be the time for Lakers to try posting him up and forcing the Rockets to double him like the Pelicans did with AD. Lakers need to shoot lights out and play tough physical defense to prevent starting the LeBron era 0-2. I’m feeling a big win tonight as our shots will start falling.

  • LakerTom (Publisher) 9:33 AM on October 20, 2018 Permalink |  

    Lakers’ Blistering Pace Not Enough Against Blazers, Drop Season Opener 

    3 OBSERVATIONS:

    Setting the Pace

    Any indications that LeBron James would slow down the Lakers’ running game was nonexistent against Portland.

    The Lakers averaged only 11.5 seconds per possession on offense against the Blazers, according to Darryl Blackport. That mark was good for the fifth fastest offensive pace for a game since 1996. The Purple and Gold not only got out and ran, but did so frequently.

    Accounting for 29.5 percent (19.5 percent last season) of their offense, the team relied heavily on transition throughout the game. Arguably more promising than the frequency of the Lakers’ bolstered play in transition was their efficiency.

    Against Portland, the Lakers scored 1.16 Points Per Possession (PPP) in transition according to Synergy, notably better than last season’s 1.05 posting. To help put the number into proper context, last season’s league leader, the Houston Rockets, scored 1.12 PPP in transition.

    Owning the Paint

    The Lakers made up for their 7/30 3-point shooting performance through their aforementioned transition also with a barrage of points in the paint.

    Last season, the Lakers were second in the league with a 39.7 percent shot frequency in attempts within four feet, according to Cleaning the Glass. In their opener, the team attempted 52 percent of their shots at the rim, converting 70.8 percent of their looks.

    This conversion percentage is even more impressive considering it came against the team who was first in the league in opponent field goal percentage last season.

    Brandon Ingram’s Utilization

    It may have been subtle, but Brandon Ingram was utilized slightly differently in the Lakers’ opener.

    Ingram’s two best play types from last season according to his PPP, were: transition (1.17) and spotting up (1.08). Yet, both were far behind in terms of his frequency compared to his most commonly used play type: pick and roll ball handler (29.5% frequency / 0.78 PPP).

    Clearly Ingram was more efficient utilized as a finisher compared to an initiator when given the opportunity. With LeBron James now in tow, the Lakers may finally begin properly optimizing his talents.

    In the opener, his most commonly used play type was in transition (38.9%). Tied for his least used? Pick and roll ball handler (5.6%).

    Also worth noting was Ingram’s three corner 3-point attempts. Last season, Ingram was in the 83rd percentile in corner three percentage among wings in the NBA. Yet, was only in the 4th percentile in terms of corner frequency. Despite missing his only three attempts, the volume/non-hesistation were very encouraging, given he attempted only 30 all of last season.

     
    • LakerTom (Publisher) 9:37 AM on October 20, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Great stuff from Alex Regla for the Athletic. Alex is rapidly becoming one of my favorite Lakers’ writers for both the Athletic and BBall-Index. The Lakers pace, points in the paint, and utilization of Ingram show great promise despite concerns about the defense, 3-point shooting, and backup center.

      Here’s how Alex closed the article discussing Lakers’ shooting:

      1 PREDICTION:

      The Lakers’ shooting will improve, even if just slightly from the perimeter. The offense, despite it’s congestion and indecision, generated several quality looks but simply failed to convert.

      The trio of James, Kuzma, and Ingram specifically shot a combined 1/15 from three against Portland, one has to assume this normalizes and retraces back to the mean. Yet based on the specific players taking the threes and the openness on those shots, the Lakers would have only been expected to score 5.8 points more from deep in the game. This number is far lower than expected, but highlights the shooting talent and quality of looks generated by the team in the first game. Regardless, better shooting is ahead, as the offense takes steps forward and we see positive mean reversion.

      The Lakers did a lot of things well, and conversely did a lot poorly. Yet, with any new team comes expected growing pains during the initial stretch of the season, and the Lakers will likely be no exception.

  • LakerTom (Publisher) 6:03 PM on October 19, 2018 Permalink |  

    LeBron James’ first game with the Lakers was also fastest pace he’s ever played 

     
    • LakerTom (Publisher) 9:42 AM on October 20, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Per Alex Regla in the above article, the Lakers played at “the fifth fastest offensive pace for a game since 1996.” Now if Luke can somehow convince LeBron to play some small ball center …

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