The Los Angeles Lakers have been off to a horrible start to the season, even relative to the moderately low expectations for the team heading in to the 2015-16 campaign. Their record stands at 2-12, they have the second-worst offensive efficiency in the NBA and third-worst defensive efficiency. This has lead to the second-worst net rating in the league, ahead of only the winless Philadelphia 76ers.
After the Lakers' Friday practice, head coach Byron Scott told reporters what he thought was to blame, as transcribed by Baxter Holmes of ESPN. "We don't have chemistry problems. Our guys get along. They just don't trust each other on the floor," Scott said, and then attempted to explain how a team could simultaneously not trust each other while still not having chemistry issues. "They do, I think, enjoy being around each other. They just don't trust each other completely right now. And that's a hard thing to do when you're a young team. Guys sometimes want the ball in their hands. They don't trust making passes to the other guys."
Scott is not wrong about the Lakers lack of passing. The team averages the fifth-fewest assists per game in the league and ranks 22nd in assist percentage. Making things worse, the team has not been very successful even when they do attempt to pass, ranking 24th in the league in assist to turnover ratio. So Scott's assertion that the team doesn't have chemistry problems but doesn't trust each other on the floor is not as confusing in context as it is at first glance.
But pat of the Lakers' passing issues have nothing to do with a lack of trust among players. When Kobe Bryant is given free reign to use up 28.5% of the team's possessions while tying the lowest assist per-100 possessions he's averaged since his third season in the league, you are going to have a passing problem. Bryant is on the floor for an average of just over 30 minutes per game, in addition to bench minutes for the not exactly known for their passing duo of Nick Young and Lou Williams, so it is hard to blame all of the lack of passing on being a young team that does not know how to give up the ball.
All stats per NBA.com unless otherwise indicated