“New Year, New Me.” This phrase is often echoed by everyone once the new year begins. The new year gives everyone the opportunity to reassess themselves and provide direction to their desired goals. The same can be said for NBA teams who should reflect on the past year and see what they can improve on.
For the Los Angeles Lakers, this provides an opportunity to a team that currently sits at the 6th seed in the Western Conference. The competition is fierce within the Western Conference since teams fighting for playoff contention can quickly find themselves at the bottom of the standings if they begin to lose a couple of games. The Lakers must address these issues in 2019 if they want to have any real success in the NBA playoffs. Below are my top three resolutions the Los Angeles Lakers should take note of:
This is literally the bane of the Lakers and was an issue they had in the previous NBA season. The Lakers are the WORST team in the NBA when it comes to knocking it down at the foul line. They are currently shooting 69.2% from the foul line, an even worse figure in comparison to last year where they shot 71.4% from the line. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Ivica Zubac are their only saving grace when it comes to the freebies, respectively shooting 90% and 92.3% from the line. If the Lakers want to win more games, they need to nail the easy buckets, which time after time has cost them games down the stretch.
The Lakers may be a top-ten offensive machine capable of scorching opponents in the fast-break transition, but they seem to fall apart when it comes to turning the ball over. The Lakers are averaging 15.5 turnovers a game, giving opposing teams easier opportunities to score. Their turnovers also are a contributing factor to their horrible defense, which ranks in the bottom ten of the NBA. Making smarter decisions with the basketball can help this team reach a new offensive height and limit the number of opportunities opposing teams have to score.
The Lakers need to continue making strides from three-point land as they did before since they have improved from 29th worst three-point shooting team last season to the 18th best team this season, but this is only due to their acquisitions obtained during the offseason. The young core of the Lakers consisting of Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, and Kyle Kuzma are shooting a combined 31.2% from beyond the arc. These three young players are the pillars of the Lakers’ future and they need to improve in this category if they want to see true success in the NBA. The Lakers have the potential to become an offensive juggernaut, but the lack of consistent spacing on the floor is holding them back.