Questions abound as to why exactly the star-studded Lakers lineup can't seem to find its rhythm and string together a winning streak. Living out west in California, I've seen the Lakers play plenty this year, but I wanted to really dig in with one of my animated play and statistical breakdowns to truly understand what's plaguing them on both ends of the court.
There is, of course, the fact that Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard aren't an ideal pairing, particularly in Mike D'Antoni's system where often times four players are stationed on the perimeter. With Gasol and Howard both on the court together, this is a nearly impossible task. Their offense has often resorted to taking contested spot up shots, and Metta World Peace leads the team in those, not exactly a recipe for success. When the ball ever does arrive down in the post, it's typically the less-skilled Howard who is attempting most of the field goals.
One of the reasons they so rarely get quality shot attempts with their bigs is the fact that they aren't particularly effective in transition, ranking just 26th in transition points. Unsurprisingly, it's Kobe Bryant who is scoring the lion's share of points out on the break. That said, he's settling for far too many three-point attempts, and hitting a mere 26 percent of those shots from downtown.
Staying on the offensive side of the ball, Steve Nash and Kobe Bryant are facilitating the pick and roll at about the same frequency, which is surprising and troubling considering Nash's long history of excellence in this department. Then again, the fact that Nash is turning the ball over so frequently in pick and roll situations can't be overlooked.
All of the struggles and lack of identity on offense has trickled over on to the defensive end. This is not exactly a shocker given D'Antoni's lack of emphasis on that end of the court. The Lakers are giving up too many easy buckets in transition, poor communication has left the opposition way too much space to finish or get off their shot, and reckless gambling hasn't helped much. Without a clear defensive philosophy, there is no semblance of team defense where five players move as one -- a hallmark of a championship club.
All of this, and more, is explained visually and graphically in the following video. Enjoy, thanks for watching, and as always, it's not a channel, it's a conversation. You In?