The Los Angeles Lakers are last in the NBA in total three-point attempts made, connecting on just 106 of the 365 attempts they’ve put up this season. They’re also dead last in shooting percentage from outside, a paltry 28.8 percent.
The Lakers made just three of their 27 attempts Wednesday night against the Philadelphia 76ers, one of the biggest determining factors in a game that shouldn’t have been as close it was while Joel Embiid went off for 46 points.
“It's why we keep putting a huge emphasis on attacking the paint, attacking that rim. We know what our strengths are as a team, and right now shooting three-point shots is not one of them,” Lakers head coach Luke Walton said after the game.
“Even 27 of them I think is too many as a group, but I got a commitment from each player today at practice about shooting extra threes, so I expect that number to start going up.”
Coach Luke elaborated further on his perspective of his team’s outside shooting, making it clear that improving their perimeter play is something he wants everyone focused on every day.
“There's no secret. It's working harder. Hard work is how you fix everything. We're going to continue working on them pre-practice, and after practice, and obviously we're going to let our guys shoot threes because that's part of the game,” Walton said after practice Thursday.
It’s not about the number of threes the Lakers are taking as a whole for Coach Luke. The Lakers rank 23rd in total three-point attempts, which is very low for one of the fastest-paced teams in the NBA. It comes down to the difference between knowing when a shot is good versus bad.
“The total number doesn't... I'm not as concerned with that,” Walton said. “It's just if they're good ones or bad ones. I think a lot of the threes we've taken have been good threes. There's a handful of them that are not good ones that we want to get rid of, but that's part of the process,” Walton said
It’s hurt that Lonzo Ball, the Lakers’ franchise point guard of the present and future, has been atrocious from outside to start his career. He’s attempting 4.9 shots from deep per game while shooting only 23 percent beyond the arc. Lonzo was 0-for-6 from outside before riding the bench in the fourth quarter against Philadelphia.
Ball picking his spots, and finding himself from outside, is something Walton is keeping an eye on.
“For [Ball], the good shot, bad shot comes from the time and score, is the other team on a run, is it in rhythm of stepping into the shot. He had one last night where he was just kind of holding it, then raised up to shoot it,” Walton said.
“To me that's a bad shot, because there's no movement, there's no pressure on the defense. We're not in any kind of rebounding position. But if he's going to his left, and they go under, and he's in rhythm and he wants to pull up and shoot that three, then we're good with that.”
The good news for the Lakers is that they’ve identified a problem and it’s not an overly-complicated concept. The bad news is three-point shooting doesn’t just grow on trees, even if the team is generating solid looks within the offense more often than not.
*All quotes transcribed via Lakers.com