EL SEGUNDO – Anthony Davis sits at the left post so often, he can set up an office desk there.
A quick review shows just how favored he is on that side of the court: Statemusic shows in a shot chart that the All-Star’s big man twice in the middle of last season to the left (81 attempts) to the right (40 attempts). ), and the Lakers historically get him the quick ball there.
But an interesting thing happened last Tuesday when the Lakers battled the Golden State Warriors in their fifth of six presidential games: Davis watched Rajon Rondo run down the court from the wing, handed the ball to the point guard, then into the paint. Flipped for a sting to catch a celestial lobe.
The highlights showcased a few things: Davis’ better conditioning from the previous season; The chemistry she has with Rondo is a teammate they’ve had on several stages; And the Lakers’ desire is to shift from a predictable offense to something more kinetic.
“It’s a lot of random chaos, and we have to be able to handle it and make drama out of it,” Davis said. “And I think we’re improving each preseason game to get there.”
The offense didn’t go smoothly last season. The Lakers were hampered by injuries to Davis and LeBron James, but struggled while remaining intact, finishing 24th overall in the offensive ratings. While they were, are and will likely remain a formidable transition team, the attack has a tendency to hang in half-court sets. The Lakers led all NBA teams with post-up touches (15.2) last season, but they only scored 54.2% of the time (14th). He had the second-highest frequency of shots with four seconds or less on the play clock (10.4%), but he was just 25th in effective field goal percentage on those attempts (39.7 eFG).
With three of the best passers-by ever, the Lakers believe they can change. And while he hasn’t fully tried his hand in the preseason, off-ball movement and cutting should play a major role in his overhaul once the season begins.
“This year we are flailing in our offense,” said coach Frank Vogel. “We are encouraging more randomness, more bites – just to keep the defense close. Less predictability.”
The Lakers devoted a Friday practice to these concepts, working without defense but practicing 5-on-0 actions in sequence and learning to read more in isolation and instead of the standard drive-and-kick game they had played for years. Hooked in the past. Expect to see more cuts in the rim, something that will see some buy-in from players who have historically dominated the ball.
Simple off-ball screens can make a big difference, like when Davis screened James in Sacramento Thursday night to open for a cut in the middle. Sometimes it would be a matter of feeling, as if given to Russell Westbrook’s nifty Deandre Jordan, and to let go that he once again left while running the hoop for Jordan Dunk.
That kind of speed—highlighted by teams like the Warriors, which attempt to put opponents to death by cutting a thousand backs—is difficult. The Lakers have players who have improvisational movement and a sense of passing, and the talent to finish those plays.
“We’ve been really heavy after ISO over the past few years, and we’ll be something this year because of the weapons we have,” Vogel said. “But I think you’re seeing a lot of space and randomness throughout the league. It’s hard to guard. And we’re just trying to tap into some of that.”
Here, the biggest factor may just be Westbrook, who for years has thought basketball minds must be a natural off-ball cutter. But as the top-scoring and supporting man for his teams over the years, he’s usually the one making the pass rather than being on the receiving end of it.
His second basket in Sacramento showed just how deadly the 32-year-old can be when he chooses: Kent Bezmore set up a small screen that Westbrook D’Arron turned into a half-step advantage over Fox, which he easily eliminated. Diya Hoop after receiving a bounce pass from James.
Buy-ins are important for keeping those types of offensive plays in the deck.
“We’re asking him to be effective and aggressive without the basketball – when Braun has it, when Eddie has it – as much as we’re asking him to do it with the basketball,” Vogel said. “And I thought he picked up on that part really well.”
Precision wasn’t a great marker overall for the Lakers’ offense, which ended in the bottom five during exhibition games.
But the jump he made with 112 points in the final game against Sacramento indicates where he thinks his offense is headed: somewhere that will keep opponents guessing.
Nun for Opener, Monk Up in the Air
Vogel is still not sure how many players he will have on Tuesday during the Lakers’ opening against the Warriors at Staples Center. Malik Monk (groin strain) and Kendrick Nunn (ankle sprain), both rehearsed Sunday in the last two preseason games, but training staff are waiting to see how their respective injuries react to the workload . Both have worked on the court in recent times.
Wayne Ellington (hamstring strain) did not practice on Sunday. Vogel had previously said that Ellington could be in danger of going missing at the start of the season.