Los Angeles Lakers: Where Will Their Defense Come From?
By Tashan Reed: Staff Writer/Hoopstuff…
Defense was a major topic of discussion of the Lakers’ 2014 season, and not for a good reason. Their defense was so bad that it was almost unbearable for Lakers fans to make it through watching an entire contest. They allowed the 2nd-most points in the league with 109.2 per game, the 4th-highest field goal percentage at 46.8 and allowed the most field goals in the NBA with 3,440. It only takes one word to describe the Lakers’ defensive effort in the 2013-14 season, awful.
Mike D’Antoni was a large part of that, and he’s gone now, but the Lakers’ defensive struggles were a result of much more than him. Injuries riddled the Lakers’ roster once again, but even without them their team wouldn’t have been very good defensively. The best defender in their starting lineup for most of the season and maybe for the entire team was Jordan Hill (Ouch). The core players on the roster were either old or slow – or both. Even most of the younger players weren’t strong on defense (Nick Young, Kendall Marshall, Ryan Kelly, etc.). The Lakers had no hope to be a good defensive team last season, and the same could be said about this one.
Kobe Bryant is returning, but with his advanced age and offensive responsibility one has to wonder just how much he can give on the other end of the floor. Jeremy Lin, Steve Nash and Carlos Boozer are pathetic. Nick Young may have the physical tools, but hasn’t put them to use. Ed Davis is the only major defensive upgrade for them this offseason, and even he will share minutes with Carlos Boozer, Jordan Hill, Robert Sacre and Julius Randle. See where I’m going here? Even a defensive mind like Byron Scott can only do so much with a scheme to get solid defensive play out of this roster.
Almost certainly the Lakers will be in the bottom-half of the league defensively, the goal needs to be to avoid being one of the lowest teams. The first step to accomplishing this will be to get maximum effort out of the entire roster on the defensive end of the ball, as that’s the biggest part of it. The rest comes from picking up assignments, rotating and helping when needed. Byron Scott will surely have a solid set in place on paper, the Lakers just have to execute and try.