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The Lakers might be the worst team in the NBA*

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*Given that the 76ers are not a legitimate NBA team.

We all know the L.A. Lakers had a really rough offseason. They struck out on Carmelo Anthony, LeBron James and every major free agent they pitched. They lost Pau Gasol for nothing. They didn't win the draft lottery. Their major acquisitions were Jeremy Lin, draft pick Julius Randle and Carlos Boozer. Yes, Carlos Boozer, who the team claimed off amnesty waivers.

The Lakers lost Jodie Meeks for nothing, but brought back Jordan Hill and Nick Young on relatively expensive deals and kept Wesley Johnson and Xavier Henry. They even lost Kendall Marshall in a roster-tweaking mishap! This team won 27 games last season, and expects to do better on account of having Kobe Bryant healthy, Lin at point guard and some frontcourt depth. The team also thinks it did well by replacing Mike D'Antoni with Byron Scott.

But oh my goodness, this is worse than it looks.

Scott has decided that the Lakers will snub their collective noses at modern basketball thinking and stop taking so many three-pointers. Drew Garrison explained why this is a horrible decision. The proof is, to this point, in the pudding: the Lakers are 1-3 in the preseason with an average points margin of minus-21. They lost by 33 to the Jazz -- the Jazz! -- on Thursday, despite Kobe having a really solid game. This came after losing to the Warriors by 15 and by 41 in consecutive games.

Yes, yes: it's the preseason and it doesn't actually matter. But the last two games (again, losses by 41 and 33) have come as Scott's ideal style ideal has been used, as John Schuhmann's shot charts show.

Mid-range jumpers are the least efficient shot in basketball. Corner threes are among the most efficient. Over two games, the Lakers have taken 95 mid-range jumpers and eight threes ... none of which were in the corners. That's just incredible.

But hey, even when down 21 to the reigning Worst Team In The West, Boozer can flex on 'em. (Via @cjzero.)

Boozer Flex

Here's the thing: we know L.A.'s defense is going to be pitiful. The backcourt as presently constructed is a sieve, Boozer is an active detriment on that end and there's basically no one to play small forward, which is actually a critical defensive position. Jordan Hill is a good shot blocker and Lin will get steals. But add in Scott's horrific defensive numbers from his three seasons in Cleveland and you have a recipe for the No. 30 defense in the league. Seriously, if you figure in Nerlens Noel and at least half of a season of Michael Carter-Williams, there's reason to believe the Sixers' defense will be better than that of the Lakers.

The only way the Lakers were going to win games this season was by scoring efficiently. With Kobe -- one of the best scorers ever -- and a nice offensive cohort led by Lin, Young and Boozer, you'd think the Lakers could put up big numbers. But with this strategy? It's not happening. You can't thumb your nose at logic and succeed in this league.

It seems impossible to be worse than the Sixers, but if there's a team that can challenge even that high hurdle, it just might be the Lakers. Based on what we've seen so far, the only thing saving the Lakers from the bottom of the West -- the brutal, unforgiving West, mind you -- and perhaps the bottom of the entire NBA is Kobe's refusal to be embarrassed on a nightly basis. If he concedes or gets injured, this could very well be a 20-win team.


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