Pregame Shoot Around: Lakers vs. Pistons
Shooting – The Lakers have been dreadful shooting the three pointer this year, they are dead last in the league in efficiency at 27.8% so far this season. The Lakers must improve on this in order to beat the Pistons, but who are you going to rely on? Outside of Jordan Clarkson who is shooting 37.8 nobody has shown the ability to hit a three pointer with any consistency. Lonzo Ball has been good at penetrating and kicking the ball out to open shooters. At some point those shots need to go down for the Lakers.
Defense – Does the defense continue to show that it is improved? If you have watched the Lakers the last few years, its hard not to notice the improvement they have shown thus far on defense. After being ranked at or near the bottom of the league the last 4 years, they are currently sitting at 10th in defensive efficiency. The Lakers could definitely improve their consistency, which would help them out immensely when they go on a cold streak as a team. But you have to be encouraged with the leaps they have made on that side of the ball. The renewed emphasis on defense definitely seems to be paying off for the Lakers. If they could do a little more to turn those defensive stops into points on offense they would see even more benefits from their improved defensive play. Getting stops and getting out on the break to get easy scores is a must, as the Pistons will look to slow it down and keep the game contained to the half court.
Drummond and Tobias – How do the Lakers deal with Andre Drummond and Tobias Harris. Drummond has been beastly in the paint, where the Lakers have struggled for the most part. They give up the most paints in the league, when it comes to allowing points in the paint, giving up 54 points a night. Couple that with the fact that they are the 3rd worst team and stopping the fast break, and it seems to blow that whole defensive efficiency stats right out the water. In addition to the problems presented by Drummond, Tobias Harris has been on fire this season now that he is the full time power forward for the Pistons. He is averaging 21 points, scoring over 30 in both of his last two games. He has also been hot from three point land as he is hitting over 41% of his shots from out there. It will be up to Larry Nance to deal with him tonight, good luck to that man.
The Lakers have shown improvements in some areas, and regression in others. Luke seems to be honing in on a rotation he likes, but look for him to shuffle lineups and adjust minutes as the Lakers look to find the winning chemistry. In addition I’m really interested to see how the Laker backcourt handles dealing with the defensive pressure applied by both Reggie Jackson and Avery Bradley in the backcourt. Both are known to be really good defenders, and could make it hard for the Lakers to start running smoothly on offense. Unfortunately I see a Pistons victory on the horizon as they are riding a three game win streak over three really good teams, and are playing with a lot of confidence and purpose. I also don’t think the Pistons are going to take them lightly. I got the Pistons winning this one 108-98.