It’s not the record that’s most alarming but how they’ve performed that might indicate long-term concern.
The Lakers have been awful to start games and Wednesday was no exception. They were again thoroughly outplayed by Houston 32-19 in the first quarter en route to a 128-94 thrashing.
The Lakers trail 32-18 after the 1st Q. They were outscored by 61 pts in the 1st Q through their first six games -- the worst 1st Q performance through six games in league history since the 1964-65 Detroit Pistons.— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) November 9, 2023
Now, you may rebuttal that the reason for the embarrassing loss is the absence of Anthony Davis. However, Davis has played in every other first quarter this year and the results have been the same. They’ve been not just bad but historically so, with a -74 point differential in the first.
The Lakers have never been a great 3-point shooting team, but with the addition of Taurean Prince, Gabe Vincent and a couple of solid shooting performances in preseason, there was hope that this team could be one of the better shooting Lakers teams in franchise history.
They’re currently one of the worst.
In each of the Lakers' games this season, they've:— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) November 9, 2023
- Made fewer threes than their opponent
- Shot a worse percentage from three than their opponent
They're the first team in NBA history to do that in each of the first 8 games of a season. pic.twitter.com/xLCEunO0s6
Per NBA.com, the Lakers have the worst 3-point shooting percentage in the league at 29.6%. Add in the fact that L.A. is the second-worst offensive-rebounding team, averaging 7.6 boards a game, and it isn’t hard to see why the Lakers have been subpar this season.
The road record is another area Los Angeles has struggled with. They are currently on a four-game road trip and have yet to win a game away from home, going 0-5 on the season so far.
Fans may find solace in the Lakers starting 2-10 last year — and having a historically bad shooting start to the season then as well — and still making the Western Conference Finals, but these bad starts leading to successful endings are not sustainable and more so an exception to the rule than a recipe for success.
The good news for the Lakers is the next five games will be against teams that are all below .500, so maybe L.A. can build some momentum against weaker competition.
L.A. is currently without Jaxson Hayes, Gabe Vincent, Davis and Jarred Vanderbilt. However, these issues have always been present even at their healthiest this season, so it would be unwise to justify everything as “the team hasn’t been healthy.”
L.A. has to find a way to, at the very least, reach league average in these categories and address these weaknesses if they want to stay competitive in the West.
You can follow Edwin on Twitter at @ECreates88.