Through seven regular season games, the Los Angeles Lakers are the best defensive team in the NBA, with a defensive rating of 97.9, their highest defensive rating since the 1999-2000 season — the season they won their first championship of the three-peat era.
On the other side of the ball, they’re still a work in progress.
With an offensive rating of 106.7 (shout out to KROQ), the Lakers are ranked 16th on offense. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it’s something they can improve on. The team’s head coach, Frank Vogel, is confident they will.
After practice on Thursday, Vogel said he expects the Lakers’ offense to look “very different than it looks right now” as the season progresses, and Vogel gets more comfortable adding things to his playbook and scheme.
“The whole year is a big evolution. If you do one thing well, the next opponent tries to take that away,” Vogel told reporters. “You’re continuously seeing different attacks on both ends of the floor all throughout the year, and so it’s going to be a continual evolution.”
Once Vogel figures out what does and doesn’t work for L.A. offensively, Avery Bradley thinks the Lakers are going to be just as good offensively as they’ve been defensively.
“The more comfortable we are playing with each other, with the sets that we’re running, you’re obviously able to figure out where you’re going to get your shots from, figure out where you’re comfortable out there. But that’s a good problem to have,” Bradley said
“A lot of teams start the year off being behind defensively, and I feel like we’re ahead even though we still have improvements we can make,” Bradley continued. “Offensively we’re still getting better every single day. It’s going to be scary when we’re all on the same page.”
The Lakers have relied heavily on their size in the front court this season, and it’s worked out for them so far. Through seven games, they’re ranked No. 5 in field goal percentage thanks in no small part to Dwight Howard and JaVale McGee, who are both shooting above 70% from the field.
It’s going to be interesting to see whether or not that changes over the course of the season, or if Vogel will start to put more of an emphasis on 3-point shooting later in the year. Right now, they’re ranked No. 23 in 3-point attempts, No. 25 in 3-point makes and No. 27 in 3-point percentage.
Vogel has lived up to his reputation defensively so far. Now it’s time to see if he and the Lakers can evolve offensively.