NBA

Can Los Angeles Lakers overcome historically bad shooting?

The Los Angeles Lakers have shot themselves into a ditch after just one week of the NBA season. Can they shoot their way out? 

It would be an understatement to say the Lakers are off to a discouraging start under new head coach Darvin Ham. They’re 0-3 with losses to the Golden State Warriors, LA Clippers and Portland Trail Blazers. Their defeat to the Blazers on Sunday was a new low, as they blew a seven-point lead in the final two minutes.

On Monday’s edition of “Undisputed,” cohost Shannon Sharpe cited L.A.’s shot selection as the catalyst for blowing the late lead to Portland and a slow start altogether.

“The Lakers don’t run any offense,” Sharpe said. “Somehow Russell [Westbrook] shooting the ball from 28 feet, that’s part of your offense. Patrick Beverley getting the ball with the clock running down, that’s a part of your offense. LeBron [James] taking a horrible 3, that’s a part of your offense. That’s why they lost. They’re a horrible shooting team, Skip.”

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Lakers fall to 0-3

Lakers fall to 0-3

The Lakers are now 0-3 after blowing a late lead against Portland. Skip Bayless and Shannon Sharpe react.

The Lakers entered Monday last in the NBA in field-goal percentage (40.7%) and 3-point shooting (21.2%). The latter clip is the second-lowest in NBA history among teams to attempt 100 3s over a three-game span — L.A. is 25 of 118. 

The Lakers have six players who have attempted at least 10 3-pointers, and none of them are shooting above 26%. James, a career 34.6% 3-point shooter, has the best percentage of those six players at just 25.9% on 27 attempts. L.A. is also averaging 42.0 rebounds per game, which is 21st in the NBA.

Sharpe views the Lakers’ rebounding shortcomings as another reason for their 0-3 start while expressing disbelief as to how general manager Rob Pelinka got a contract extension before the season.

“Either you can rebound, or you can’t. It doesn’t matter, preseason or postseason,” Sharpe said. “Rebounding the basketball is still you go up and get it. They didn’t go up and get it. They still can’t shoot. 

“Rob Pelinka got a contract extensio. H must have a tape. Like Golden State had a tape on Draymond, and somebody leaked it. He got a tape with somebody and the GOAT. There ain’t no way in hell you leave this team as constructed like it is, and you get a contract extension. Ain’t no way.”

The Lakers could engage in trade talks next month if they continue to skid, ESPN recently reported. One option is re-engaging with the Indiana Pacers for wing Buddy Hield and big man Myles Turner. Hield is a career 39.8% 3-point shooter, while Turner is a career 34.9% shooter from said distance. 

Westbrook would be the focal point of the Lakers’ trade package to Indiana for the sake of matching salaries, as he’s in the final season of a five-year, $206.8 million deal. Through three games, Westbrook is averaging 10.3 points, 6.7 rebounds, 4.3 assists and two steals per game while shooting 28.9/8.3/80.0.

In the meantime, the Lakers hit the road to take on the Denver Nuggets (2-1) on Wednesday.


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