Where Are the Lakers After 4?
So what constructive points can the Lakers take from their first 4 games within the NBA Bubble?
Perimeter Defense: Without Avery Bradley over the last 4 games, the players that Bradley would be expected to guard (Reggie Jackson, Kyle Lowry, Donovan Mitchell and Chris Paul) have averaged 24.3 points against the Lakers. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has the potential to be a good on-ball defender, but he is nowhere near the level of Bradley and it is unrealistic to expect that from him. A conundrum the Lakers may have to address with a team effort, quick switching and communication may be the only way forward.
Shooting: This is an extremely difficult problem to address for Frank Vogel and his staff. In their 4 games in the bubble, the Lakers have shot 39.8% from the field and 25.2% from 3, that puts them rock bottom of the league in both. If it was 1 or 2 games it could easily be put down to rust following the extended break, but with the Lakers now shooting horribly consistently, it seems there is something bigger at play.
Start Alex Caruso?: It is starting to become extremely clear that the Lakers need some sort of defibrillator jolt to get themselves going, this could come in the form of a change in the starting line up. Over the last 4 games, Alex Caruso has averaged 7 PPG, 3.3 APG, 2.5 RPG and 1.3 SPG. When he is on the floor with James the Lakers have a Net Rating of +18.9, by far the best 2 man pairing on the Lakers. Starting Caruso would mean more time on the floor with James, more time on the floor with James should mean more successful possessions for the Lakers.
If nothing else is clear from these 4 games, it is obvious that the Lakers would struggle to make it out of the First Round playing like this, never mind winning an NBA Championship.
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