Laker Film Room: Kyle Kuzma Is Legit

Pete Zayas —  October 11, 2017 — 

If you just woke up from a coma and saw the Los Angeles Lakers play – with no knowledge of age, experience, or draft position – you might come to the conclusion that Kyle Kuzma is the best player on the team. And that may be the case even if you didn’t. The 22-year old rookie out of Utah has been nothing short of spectacular nearly every time he has donned a Lakers jersey, both in Summer League and through five games of the preseason.

In this installment of Laker Film Room, I pick apart his isolation footwork, shooting ability, transition game, pick and roll play, and defense to determine whether or not his performance is sustainable. Look no further than the title if you want the short answer. Continue Reading…

Okay, let’s get the bad stuff out of the way first. The Lakers lost to the Jazz 105-99 to fall to 1-4 in the preseason. Down the stretch of the game they played some bad offense, led by Brandon Ingram reverting to isolation basketball while taking tough shots which he should have avoided. In a league where process matters as much as results, Ingram’s approach down the stretch was not only disappointing but damaging to the team’s chances of winning.

Here’s the thing, though, if that’s your only takeaway from this game you and I don’t watch basketball the same way. Yes, his (and the team’s) failures in the final 5 minutes were glaring and frustrating. They’re also teachable moments that happened when the team was playing 3 rookies (Kyle Kuzma, Alex Caruson, and Josh Hart), Ingram (in his 2nd season), and then either Randle or Lopez. Mistakes and bad choices are going to happen with that group on the floor. The players in decision making positions — regardless of their poise or basketball IQ — are young and will make mistakes.

That is context to how the game ended. It wasn’t pretty, but I’ll live with that. They competed hard, they just didn’t play well (or very smart) in some critical moments. I think they’ll learn to be better with time and experience. I know fans want to give them those chances…I also know fans lose patience when the scoreboard tilts in the wrong direction.

Continue Reading…

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After earning their first win of the preseason on Sunday against the Kings in Las Vegas, the Lakers are back in Los Angeles tonight to face off against the Utah Jazz. This is truly the “home stretch” of preseason, with only two games remaining before the regular season starts.

In saying that, I’d imagine the coaches are going to want to play things a bit more “straight” when it comes to lineups, personnel groupings, and rotations, some of which is evidenced by the team waiving VJ Beachem and Stephen Zimmerman on Monday. So, it could be noteworthy that the starting lineup for tonight’s game is unchanged from the one against the Kings:

Nance, of course, replaces Randle with the first 5. He’ll lineup with Ennis (I think), KCP, Ingram, and Lopez. Lonzo Ball remains out with his ankle injury. Andrew Bogut remains out with his strained groin.

Continue Reading…

Laker Film Room: Lakers 75, Kings 69

Pete Zayas —  October 9, 2017 — 

Las Vegas continued to be kind to the Los Angeles Lakers, as they got their first win of the preseason, beating the Sacramento Kings 75-69 in a contest that only early-October could love. Brook Lopez made his Lakers debut, and Luke Walton decided to start Larry Nance, Jr. in place of Julius Randle. Randle was undaunted, putting up 17 points and 10 rebounds alongside a strong defensive effort. Kyle Kuzma found ways to contribute despite his outside jumper not falling, including some big plays down the stretch to close out the Kings, continuing his fantastic preseason.

In the latest installment of Laker Film Room, I take a look at Lopez, Randle, Kuzma, Brandon Ingram’s struggles, and the team’s improved defensive effort.  Continue Reading…

For those thirsting for more Lakers news out of training camp besides how the team finally got their first win of the preseason, the team announced they have trimmed their training camp roster to 18, waiving Forward VJ Beachem and Center Stephen Zimmerman.

Continue Reading…

The Lakers earned their first preseason victory of the preseason, beating the Kings 75-69 by holding off a late game surge  from Sacramento. After controlling the scoreboard for most of the game, a rough shooting second half combined with some sloppy play put the contest in the balance but the Lakers were able to regain control and hang on.

While there were many stories of the night, it was the play of several frontcourt players which resonate most.

Continue Reading…

 

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After not playing since Wednesday — a tough loss to the Nuggets that had Luke Walton questioning the team’s effort — the Lakers preseason continues against the Sacramento Kings. The game will take place in Las Vegas and the proceeds from this game will actually be donated through the MGM Resorts Foundation to benefit the victims, their families, and first responders related to the tragic shooting that took place last week in Las Vegas.

That’s a somber note, I know, but I’m glad the Lakers, Kings, the NBA, and their business partners are doing something to help. Nothing can bring the lives lost back and the pain those people feel — to say nothing of those who are injured and live on dealing with the aftermath of having this happen to them — but doing something where you can should be applauded.

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The Lakers Preseason Offense Is Getting out in Transition at a Historic Rate

Through the first three games of preseason, LA has 26.5% of its possessions coming from transition. 13.9% was the NBA average the last three regular seasons. As I spoke about before, we can typically expect that percentage to drop 1.28% once we hit the regular season.

If that drop happens, the Lakers will still have more than a 5% edge on the next closest team in NBA history going back until the beginning of Synergy’s databases (05-06).

We’ve never seen a team play this fast, and if the Lakers can keep it up they’ll be a very entertaining team to watch and should get some easy shots from those great transition opportunities. Continue Reading…