3 things the Lakers can do to keep on rolling

After some early season struggles the Los Angeles Lakers look like they’re slowly finding their groove.

With 14 games into the season, the squad, led by Lebron James, currently sits at 7th place in the Western Conference with 8 wins and 6 losses under their belt. With the addition of Tyson Chandler, as well as the continuous improvement in their standings, we now look at three things the Lakers can do to continue their positive showing moving forward

1) Maximize Tyson Chandler’s arrival

In his first game with the purple and gold, Chandler provided a big impact against Minnesota Timberwolves as his monstrous size provided solid screens on and off the ball for his teammates. He also gathered a total of eight boards on that game, which eventually gave the Lakers the needed edge over the Wolves.

Now that Luke Walton has more depth at the center position, he might as well use it to their advantage as the former Defensive Player of the Year is known to provide the goods to whichever team he plays with. Over the last four seasons with the Phoenix Suns, Chandler recorded 6.4 points, 8.7 rebounds, and 0.4 blocks per game.

With just three games with his hometown team, Chandler’s been the dominant force at the low block by averaging 6.4 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game. He also proved his worth anew after a game-winning stop against the Atlanta Hawks.

Should the Lakers want to continue their run of form, switching Chandler with Javale McGee on defense during the game’s crucial moments could give them the boost that they need.

2) Solidifying their perimeter defence

Despite the potential shown by Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart and Brandon Ingram on defense, the team has surprisingly given up a lot on the perimeter. Over the last 14 games, they have allowed their opponents to 35.5 percent from three-point range and  54.5 average points in the paint — which says a lot considering the rotational mishaps they make every game.

Instead of leaving McGee or whoever Walton plays as a center to defend the low-block, they are being forced to come out and chase those attempts, opening spaces inside the paint for the opposing side. Take a look at this play for example:

In this play, Andrew Wiggins received the ball past rainbow territory, then went for the easy lay-up. McGee had to come out, allowing Wiggins to drive straight to the hoop. Even if he did not go for the easy two, he could have easily passed the ball to Taj Gibson, who was just waiting on the wings for the assist. If Luke won’t be able to fix their switches at this early stages of the season, opposing teams will feast.

3) Problems in the clutch

With the scoring prowess of LeBron James, as well as the cerebral plays provided by Rajon Rondo, the Lakers have two great options on offense to help them finish games with a flurry. However, clutch time seems to be a curse for them as they’ve had a lot of problems in late game situations. Looking at their defeat against the Toronto Raptors, they allowed 31 of the team’s 60 points to come in the second half.

On a more specific note, late games can either be won or lost through free throw shooting. During the last minutes of their game against the Raptors, they weren’t able to get any attempts from the line as they frequently opted to shoot from the beyond the arc rather than force their way into the paint.

Currently, they are averaging at 50% from the line in the game’s last five minutes, per NBA.com. If they can hike their free throw percentage to a decent percentage, they could swing a lot of games their way.

(Art by Jokas Dasmarinas)

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