My quick take after tonight’s preseason game. You can see what it is that the Lakers want to do defensively. It definitely looks different than the principals that they were employing last year defensively. There were moments that the things they were doing, were working on defense, but they were plagued by a bit of inconsistency throughout the game.
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The team as a whole shot the ball from 3 pretty poorly. Those shots should start falling as the team continues to improve on offense and develop chemistry. 5-30 from behind the arc for the entire game.
Brandon Ingram did not shoot the ball well finishing 4-15. But as odd as it may sound, I liked the shots he took, and the aggression he showed on offense. He looked very confident in his game, and it didn’t look like a false or fabricated confidence. He has definitely put on some much needed weight and that should help him moving forward, if he plans on shouldering the burden offensively. Although his shot was not falling tonight, I liked the way he approached the game and hope he keep that mentality and approach.
Lonzo Ball did not shot the ball well tonight, but he definitely had an impact while he was out there, and you can see how his passing can be contagious at times. He didn’t shoot well, but played solid and showed a knack for knowing where the ball is coming off the rebound, and getting the break started. When he gets his shot to start falling consistently he is going to be a problem in this league.
Julius Randall looked very good offensively, when he wasn’t shooting awkward looking three pointers. He showed an ability to finish around the rim in a variety of ways, which we knew he could to do, but he did it very efficiently, and with a lot of control over what he was doing. When Randall shot the ball from mid-range he looked a lot more comfortable, and was able to hit a few of them. But that three point shot that he has allegedly been working on over the summer definitely did him no favors tonight. There were times on defense he struggled, but he was usually guarding Karl Anthony Towns during those times, so he gets a pass defensively tonight, we will have to see how he plays against average talent in the league.
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I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Kyle Kuzma, aka KOOOOOOOOOOZZZZZEEEEEEE. Kuzma was very impressive tonight, leading the Lakers in scoring with 19 points, and again, he did it in a variety of ways just like he did during summer league. He was able to hit a couple open jumpers, he filled the lane and finished on the break. However in the third quarter he hit 3 straight shots, using a variety of post moves to get off hook shots, that had the crowd in a frenzy. He has all the ingredients to become a fan favorite and if he continues to play like this that will only become more prevalent.
Zubac also impressed, he played 19 minutes, and put up 9 points on 4-6 shooting, and looked very strong and agile. He also managed to contribute 5 boards, 2 assist, and 2 blocks in his limited action. Maybe Zubac is ready to atone for a poor pre-season and continue to fulfill the promise and potential he showed in flashes last year.
Final Thoughts: This was an uneven performance, but a very encouraging performance from the Lakers. I think they have created a solid foundation in which to build on. KCP looked very unsure of himself on offense, didn’t look comfortable at all. Tyler Ennis looked like he might be a viable option at backup. He played very well, and actually kind of reminded me of a better version of Kendall Marshall. He also looks like a younger version of Derron Williams if he had a normal looking head of hair. As long as the Lakers don’t get discouraged on nights like this, when their shots just won’t fall, they should be good. I still feel good in my prediction of them making the playoffs, and I look forward to seeing what they do next game.