When Darvin Ham became the Lakers head coach, he immediately shook things up implementing the four-out-one-in motion offense. Mike Budenholzer used this system in Atlanta and Milwaukee, where Ham worked underneath him and won a ring with the Bucks in 2021.
During preseason, Ham announced that the Lakers were going to use more of the five-out offense instead of the four-out and before the game versus the Orlando Magic, he reiterated why.
“Just having more ball skill players and wanting to keep the court wider open. When you add additional shooting, you put the defense in an indecisive situation in terms of, if there’s an early pick and roll and the guy’s coming off, the guy standing at the wing ahead of the ball is a threat,” Ham said. “Now, that roller has the entire space to roll down instead of it being four out and one guy on the baseline or two guys on the baseline. Having better shooting, more ball skill players, that takes care of that part of it.”
Still *very early but with the 5-out introduction/roster makeup, the shooting will dictate a few things. So the spotlight will naturally continue to be on it.— Alex Regla (@AlexmRegla) October 30, 2023
Process wise, the quality has been there which is a good sign. Finding the right outside/inside balance is gonna be key.
While the Lakers have gotten good looks from the wings, it hasn’t resulted in better three-point shooting. In four games the Lakers are shooting 29.2% from deep. That’s the third-worst percentage in the league. One aspect of the offense that has shined is the LeBron James and Anthony Davis pick-and-roll. It was always an effective play, but its utilization in the five-out offense was crucial in both wins this season.
Ham’s confidence in Davis and how the five-out offense can unlock his maximum potential is another reason the Lakers head coach is moving in this direction.
“If (Anthony Davis) or our (other big) takes the ball out and they’re coming to trail, then that opposite big should be in the corner,” Ham said. “Or if he’s on the wing, we have actions triggered for those guys to be effective no matter where they are on the floor. Whether trail, wings, corners, there’s things within that package that can make them effective regardless of where they are.”
Ham’s logic is sound on how this roster’s construction is set up for a more spread-out offense. The five-out scheme allows shooters to get good looks and the paint is clear so Davis can begin actions near the top of the key and then impose his will downhill or come off screens and either roll to the basket or pop out and shoot more jumpers. It will take time for everything to gel, but with Ham’s experience with the offense and the personnel to execute it, we should see things improve as the season progresses.
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