The Los Angeles Lakers are going to look like a very different team next season, led by a new franchise point guard in Lonzo Ball, expected starting shooting guard in Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and three-point shooting big man in Brook Lopez.
It’s that last part that has Lakers head coach Luke Walton thrilled about what the team might look like next season. Having Lopez, who shot 34.6 percent from deep while sinking 134 three-pointers, to space the floor can open up everything for the Lakers’ offense.
It’s not just about splashing threes, but creating room at the rim for a player like Julius Randle, who’s currently less of a floor spacer and more of an around-the-rim finisher, to operate in. Walton joined Zach Lowe’s The Lowe Post podcast and touched on the impressive touch of his new big man, and how it can open doors for the Lakers.
"It's exciting because the spacing, at least on paper right now, there's spacing we didn't have last year which will allow Julius (Randle) to do what he does best. It'll allow us to get a little more creative in our offense as far as using Brook (Lopez) in some three-point shooting, stretch five plays that really allow wings and other players to get to the basket because of the way he can shoot threes now,” Walton said of the new element Lopez brings to the starting lineup.
If you were wondering about Lopez’s lone season of three-point shooting being a mirage, Walton watched him splashing threes in the gym recently and was “blown away” by his form and touch.
“[Lopez] was in the gym the other day. I was blown away. I knew he could shoot threes and he hit a bunch last year, 130-something, but when you sit there and watch him shoot threes, they're beautiful. They come off his hand, they're soft, he's going seven or eight out of ten in every spot.
“Now I just need to make sure I don't fall in love with that because he's a big boy and he's got game on the block,” Walton said.
Considering Lopez put in 20.5 points per game last season, and has been good for 18.6 per game through his career, he’ll be getting plenty of touches outside and down low. Prepare for Brook and Lonzo to pick-and-pop their way to buckets.