Even by the most generous of standards, the Lakers’ shooting performance from beyond the arc in Tuesday’s season-opening loss to the Warriors was abysmal. Over the whole night, the team shot 10-of-40 from the 3-point line but started the night 2-of-20 before a strong finish to the contest.
While there were a number of determining factors in the team’s 123-109 loss, it was hard not to point at that poor shooting as at least the driving force. After the game, head coach Darvin Ham talked about the team’s woes from distance and what they need to do to improve (via Spectrum SportsNet/Twitter):
“It’s a make-or-miss league,” Ham said. “We just have to continue to get the reps. Get them up in practice, get them up in shootaround, individual workouts. We just have to continue to shoot, shoot, shoot. Repetition — you become better at anything with more reps. We just have to get them up.... They’re all open looks that’s designed within the system. Guys just got to step up and knock down shots. There’s nothing to be explained in that regard.”
It’s a bit of a double-edged sword when looking at the Lakers’ shooting against the Warriors. A number of the looks did appear to come within the flow of the offense; you would expect that level of shot creation to only continue and even increase as the team becomes more familiar and comfortable with each other on the offensive end.
At the same time, it’s a roster of shaky 3-point shooters who shot from range as such. LeBron’s final line of 3-of-10 shooting will jump off the screen and odds are he won’t be that bad moving forward; however, making just one more of those shots takes him above his season average yet doesn’t account for the entirety of the 14-point deficit.
A very honest LeBron James discussed the Lakers shooting postgame and noted that opposing defenses may continue to deliberately give those great looks because the team was not “constructed of great shooting”.
LeBron James on Lakers’ poor shooting in loss to Warriors: “We’re getting great looks, but it could also be teams giving us great looks. To be completely honest, we’re not a team constructed of great shooting… It’s not like we’re sitting here with a lot of lasers on our team.” pic.twitter.com/VfqWnKcQ3D— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) October 19, 2022
Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook going a combined 1-of-6 from the 3-point line feels entirely possible any night moving forward. Patrick Beverley will likely shoot better than 1-of-5 from the 3-point line this season, as will Lonnie Walker IV and his 0-of-3 shooting. There are a number of individual players who you could point to and expect to shoot better, as Davis also noted after the game.
"Everybody had great looks. We just didn't make them. ...I think we should be fine," Anthony Davis on the Lakers' shooting.— Dan Woike (@DanWoikeSports) October 19, 2022
But, ultimately, the Lakers built a roster around inconsistent 3-point shooters and this aggregate result feels entirely possible. There will also likely be nights that swing in the opposite direction with a number of Lakers shooters knocking down shots in a big win, assuming the same open looks continue to exist.
Finding a consistent middle ground should be the goal of this team moving forward, but with this roster, don’t Hield your breath...