Ten games into the season and the Lakers are 5-5, trying to navigate through these early games amidst a tough schedule, injuries that have decimated the roster and figuring out the team's best rotations.
An aspect the Lakers have always struggled with not just this year but historically has been 3-point shooting. So far this season, the Lakers rank second to last in three-point percentage shooting at 30.4%, just 0.1 decimal point away from being the worst 3-point shooting team in the league.
Despite this abysmal ranking in one of the most valued shots in the modern NBA, head coach Darvin Ham doesn't seem alarmed with these statistics this early into the campaign.
"Like I said, guys are still figuring out their rhythms in terms of the synergy with one another, each other's tendencies and habits,” Ham said after the Lakers win versus Portland. “We're encouraging our guys 'If you're open, shoot it. If there's a better play to be made then make that play.' But that'll come. That'll come. The biggest thing you can do in the meantime, though, is be good defensively. Continue to work feverishly on that side of the ball in terms of your transition defense, be great on the ball – defending on the ball – communicating our coverages…and just being shifted and very active off the ball.
“It's going to come… It's coming."
Besides just continuing to shoot and shots eventually hitting, solutions on the roster currently are few and far to come by.
Christian Wood SPLASH.— NBA (@NBA) November 11, 2023
The Lakers have come from 14 down to lead by 5!
NBA In-Season Tournament
West Group A action on ESPN pic.twitter.com/QNwKz66O9x
The Lakers' best 3-point shooter is Christian Wood, shooting at 40% on 2.7 attempts per game. Now, while it's good that Wood can hit a trey with his moonshot, you'd like your best 3-point shooter to be one of your specialists like a Gabe Vincent.
Unfortunately, Vincent is currently out with a left knee effusion, but when he did play, his shooting left much to be desired. He's converted at an abysmal 7.1% from downtown.
Los Angeles' most aggressive shooter from deep is D'Angelo Russell, attempting 5.6 threes per game, but his percentage is sitting at 28%, well below the league average of 35%.
If L.A. never solves their three-point shooting, can they still reach their ultimate goal of a title? It's unlikely they can win it all while being near the bottom of the league from three, but fans should look at the 2019-20 championship team as a guide.
That Lakers team was 21st in the league from three but had the third-best defensive rating and pairing that with LeBron James and Anthony Davis was enough to dominate in the playoffs.
As Ham has suggested, if you keep your defense sharp, have the stars available and can improve marginally from deep, this team can still pose a serious threat of coming out of the West.
You can follow Edwin on Twitter at @ECreates88.