Records: Lakers 11-49, Last in the West; Nets 17-43, 14th in the East
Offensive ratings: Lakers 98.7, 29th in NBA; Nets 99.8 27th in the NBA
Defensive ratings: Lakers 109.5, Last in the NBA; Nets 106.4 24th in the NBA
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Russell, Clarkson, Kobe, Randle, Hibbert
Nets: Donald Sloan, Markel Brown, Bojan Bogdanovich, Thad Young, Brook Lopez
The Lakers Coming in: The Lakers have not won a game in nearly a month, losing 8 straight contests wrapped around the All-Star break. Their last win came on February 4th against the Pelicans. Since then, the team has seen their struggling defense lose even more steam, falling even further behind the rest of the league by tacking on over a point allowed per 100 possessions. Their offense has improved over that span too, but not to the point that it’s affected the team’s league worst net rating.
This team should be rested, however. Their last game was on Friday and, while they held a practice on a typical off-day on Saturday, their legs should be fresh heading into tonight. The extra practice time should also help from an execution standpoint, at least that is the hope. As we discussed after Friday’s loss to the Grizz, the Lakers are installing a new “offense”, though the phrasing there might draw the ire of head coach Byron Scott. On Saturday he disputed the team was learning a new “offense”, instead insisting it is only one new “set”. However, on Monday he noted that the set has “a ton of options” and compared it to the Princeton which is a “set” which as a “ton of options”. I’ve never heard the Princeton referred to in this way, but that’s not that important.
What is important is the Lakers having some new actions to run on offense and based on feedback from some of the players and the head coach, a goal is to inspire more ball movement and less isolation basketball. The Lakers would do well to shift in this direction regardless of labels, so I hope to see how the extra days to drill the set/options transfers from the practice court to actual games.
One player who will not be part of this new offense is Kobe Byrant. As it was on Friday, Kobe will miss this game with a sore right shoulder. It is not yet clear if he will play in Denver tomorrow, but considering how Kobe has been loathe to miss road games since announcing his retirement, my guess is that he will play that contest after taking today off. We shall see.