FanPost

Lakers Defensive Woes


My argument is not new, but commentators seem to regularly forget it.  All the talk about Kobe shooting too much, Gasol not being aggressive enough, Bynum being too inconsistent, etc, entirely miss the point.  The Lakers offense is doing just fine.  Better than fine, in fact.  According to Basketball Reference's Schedule Adjusted Ratings, the Lakers have the 2nd best offense in the league (arguably the top since the ratings haven't had enough time to account for Denver blowing up their team).  This is better than any of the recent run of finals teams.  

Kobe is enjoying as good an offensive season as he's had since '06-'07.  Gasol has resurrected his offense after a big lull in the middle of the season.  Bynum is starting to hit his groove inside.  Odom might be having his best season ever.  Is the triangle running a little janky?  Sure, but when hasn't it?  I can't think of a time since Jackson got to town that the triangle has run smoothly.  

They are not losing games because of their offense.  They're losing because of their defense, which is currently ranked 9th.

This places them behind every one of the other contenders for the title (I don't really consider Dallas or OKC to be true contenders at this point).  Especially worrisome is that Boston and Chicago have defenses that are crushing everybody else.  To underline how important this is, realize that the Lakers' offense was ranked 11th in the league last year!  In contrast, the defense this year is worse than the '07-'08 team that everybody berated for being "soft."

On the bright side, the numbers are skewed by the team being without two of its key defensive pieces (Bynum and Barnes) for much of the season.  That, combined with their ability to ramp up the intensity when the postseason comes, should help improve the stats down the stretch.

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