Overall Team Performance
Offensively, the Lakers, led by LeBron James and Anthony Davis, were all-around a top of the line unit in the NBA. Two offensive metrics that show just how effective the Lakers were are team points per game and offensive rating. They ranked in the top-7 in both these categories, scoring over 114 points per game (7th) and holding an offensive rating of 113 (4th).
While those statistics show the high-level performance of the Lakers, it doesnít end there. Their most notable stat is that they lead the league in field goal percentage with an impressive 48.5% from the field. This efficient field goal percentage came mostly from the damage they did on the interior. They were not a particularly efficient 3-point shooting team, ranking in the bottom half of the league with a 35.5% mark from deep.
They made up for their adequate 3-point shooting by living inside the arc. The Lakers ranked 2nd in the NBA on when it came to 2-point field goals shooting a blistering 55.6% on two-pointers. This was largely due to having bigs that were dominant in the paint.
Other areas that the Lakers showed strengths in was getting to the line, crashing the offensive glass, and sharing the basketball. This is evident by the fact that they ranked in the top 10 in free throw attempts (10th), offensive rebounds (10th), and assists (9th).
While they boasted an incredibly strong offense there were some weaknesses. First off, while they got to the line at a high rate the Lakers shot a poor percentage from the charity stripe. This has long been virtually the one weakness in LeBronís game, who was second in the team in free throws attempted per game behind Davis. Along with James, their primary bigs Dwight Howard and JaVale McGee were ineffective at the line which together explains why the Lakers shot the 3rd worst percentage from the free throw line (73%).
The other significant weakness of the Lakers was their proneness to turnovers. The Lakers sat in the bottom third off the league with just over 15 turnovers per game. One last statistic that I thought was interesting was that the Lakers were the least blocked team in the league. They only had 3.7 shots blocked per game which were due to their non-small ball lineups.
Key Individual Performance
The Lakers had the luxury of having two of the best players in the NBA in LeBron James and Anthony Davis. This team was built to support those two players and LeBron and AD developed great chemistry on the court. James and Davis were two of the three Lakersí players who averaged double-digit points.
Both James and Davis averaged north of 25 points per game and formed undoubtedly the best duo in the NBA this year. James proved he is still a top-3 player in the game at a remarkable 35-years old. Davis on the other hand is right in the middle of his prime and continued to prove that he is the best power forward around (depending on what position you consider Giannis). Before I move on to their supporting cast, I did want to note one last incredible LeBron stat. James was able to notch a career-high in assists in his 17th season with an incredible 10.6 assists per game.
The two megastars were the reason the Lakers had such a fantastic season, but they also had a supporting cast behind them that was built well to maximize the teamís potential. The Lakers got good contributions from returning players Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and JaVale McGee. Pope set career highs in field goal percentage (47%) and 3-point percentage (39%) while McGee was once again a consistent rim-running big and rim protector. Alex Caruso also provided a steady presence as the backup point guard off the bench.
The Lakers filled out the rest of we the additions of Danny Green, Avery Bradley, and Dwight Howard. Green and Bradley served as perfect 3-and-D wings while a resurgent Dwight Howard was a great fit next to AD. Howard in dialed back minutes was uber-efficient shooting an astounding 73% from the field while still rebounding and filling in for McGee rim protection when he was off the floor.
Kyle Kuzma, the only other double-digit scorer on the Lakers (12.5 PPG), didnít exactly develop as the Lakers brass would have hoped. It was tough for Kuzma to find his role on the new-look Lakers which is understandable. The addition of Davis explains the volume drop off, his PPG dropped 6 points this year, but Kuzma also saw his shooting percentages fall slightly. It will be interesting to see how the Lakers proceed with Kuzma as he heads into the final year of his rookie deal.
Overall Team Performance
As impressive as the Lakers were offensively, they arguable performed better on the other side of the floor. They held a defensive rating of 105.6 and allowed opponents to score only 106.9 points per game. Both this numbers were good enough to rank 3rd in the NBA in both categories.
The Lakers impressive statistical measures defensively donít end there. They ranked in the top-10 in all of the following the calories steals (4th), blocks (1st), opponentís field goal percentage (6th), opponentís 3-point percentage (4th), opponentís total rebounds (3rd), and opponentís assists (7th). It is truly remarkable just how many defensive categories that the Lakers rank at or near the top of.
While the Lakers played undeniably well defensively there are two specific areas that they could improve on. The first is opponentís points off turnovers of which they allowed 17 per game. This weakness says more about their turnover issue which I discussed in the offensive section. The other more pressing weakness is that they were tied for allowing the most fast-break points per game with just under 17 a game. This is more concerning based off the fact that the Lakers didnít play an extremely up-tempo style of play ranking 11th in the league in pace.
Key Individual Performances
The Lakers were successful defensively by playing great team defense and having virtually no weak defenders on the floor. James, Davis, Green, Bradley, Howard, and McGee have all been plus defenders throughout their career and this season was no exception. Defensive metrics can be hit or miss but James, Davis, and Bradley all ranked in the top-50 for defensive win shares (min. 25 games played).
Los Angeles had a plethora of solid defenders all over the floor but the performance of Anthony Davis cannot be overstated. He once again put together a year worthy of the all-defensive first team. Davis was able to block 2.4 shots per game while also notching a steal and a half per game. This is something we have become accustomed to with AD as he once again served as the defensive anchor for his squad.
Their paint defense as a team was also one of the key reasons the Lakers had so much success. They ranked top-10 in both limiting opponentís points in the paint (8th) and 2nd chance points (6th). This was in large part due to the presence of Anthony Davis, but he was helped by the centers playing next to him.
JaVale McGee and Dwight Howard served as great complements alongside Davis. Both of them were able to offer good shot altering skills averaging over a blocked shot per game next to an already elite rim protector in Davis.
Throughout his career, LeBron has seen his fair share of head coaches. It has often been a theme on LBJ lead teams that the head coach must be able to coexist with James. Frank Vogel has proved to be a great fit to lead a team with the King while also continuing to show his why teams heís coached have had winning records 6 our of 9 years.
Vogel stepped into an ideal situation being able to coach the best duo in the league. He also has the luxury of having LeBron who serves as a de facto assistant coach as well as having a staff filled with previous head coach experience in Jason Kidd and Lionel Hollins. It is hard to evaluate Vogel due to him stepping right into coaching a team primed to perform regardless of the coach, but he helped them to the top of the Western Conference which is something Luke Walton never came close to.
Will we finally see LeBron James regress with his advanced age next year?
LeBron is an anomaly when it comes to aging within a sport. He has continued to get better with age even boasting a career-high in assists this year. LeBron has shown no signs of slowing down, but he will be entering his age 36 season which makes us wonder if thereís a chance that we see some regression next year.
While I am curious to see when LeBron will show some signs of ag, I don't see it being next year or anytime soon for that matter. LeBron is still a top-3 player in the NBA, and I, like most, donít see that changing for at least a couple more seasons.
Los Angeles Lakers Roster FAQ
LeBron James and Anthony Davis are the faces of the Los Angeles Lakers roster. It took some time to land these stars as the Lakers roster was not up to the organization's expectations for most of the last ten years. With Davis and James having such high salaries, it has made building the rest of the roster reasonably tight. Luckily the Lakers still have Kyle Kuzma on his initial contract, which gives them a solid player off the bench. Rajon Rondo was one of the few guards who decided to sign with the Lakers this offseason. They also brought in Danny Green, Quinn Cook, and Avery Bradley. Los Angeles likely didn't know which Dwight Howard they were going to get, but he has excelled in a backup center role. This is a plus for the Lakers as they do not have a ton of depth in the frontcourt.
Will Anthony Davis opt-in to his player option for the 2020-2021 season
Anthony Davis has a player option for next season, which is worth over $28 million dollars and it will be the last year of his current deal. It will be interesting to see how Davis goes about his potential free agency. I donít believe Davis plays anywhere else but the Lakers next year but that doesnít mean he wonít opt-out.
Should the Lakers look into moving Kyle Kuzma?
As I discussed earlier, Kuzma didnít adjusted very well to his scaled back role and seemed to regress this year. This past season makes me question whether or not they should try and move Kuzma and get some value back instead of letting him walk in free agency after next season. Iím not sure if the Lakers will have the cap space to resign Kuzma when his rookie deal ends, and they still could get some type of return if the traded him in the offseason.
Is Danny Green worth his high salary?
Danny Green was a solid three-and-D wing for the Lakers this season. Although he is definitely a good fit, I am curious if the Lakers would be better suited moving on from Green. He is currently the 3rd highest paid Laker under contract for next season carrying a salary of $15 million next year.
Can the Lakers afford to bring back Dwight Howard?
Dwight Howard signed the veteranís minimum to join the Lakers this past season and outperformed that contract. I assume the Lakers would like to have Howard back, but it is unclear what his price will be on the open market. They donít really have a ton of space to work with, especially if AD opts-out and Green isnít moved, but they still have the ability to bring him back.
Is there any needs that the Lakers need to address?
The Lakers were pretty much as complete a team as it gets this season but is there any areas of their roster that could use some improvements? Overall, I believe that the Lakers would benefit by going into next year with a similar rotation. Some potential improvements could come through moving Kuzma and replacing him with a better shooter to help space the floor more for LeBron and Davis.
Who Is The Best Player On The Lakers?
While Anthony Davis has the age advantage on LeBron James, the King is what makes this offense go. In his 17th season, he is averaging 25 points, seven rebounds, and ten assists per game. He continues to produce at his career norm.
Who Did The Lakers Recently Sign?
The Los Angeles Lakers recently signed Avery Bradley, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Danny Green JaVale McGee, Rajon Rondo, and Dwight Howard. The Lakers needed to go cheaper to fill out the roster around James and Davis with their higher salary impact.
Who Owns The Lakers?
Buss Family Trust is the majority owner of the Los Angeles Lakers. Philip Anschutz, Edward P. Roski, and Patrick Soon-Shiong are the minority owners. Jeanie Buss is the president of the Los Angeles Lakers, while Rob Pelinka is the active general manager.
Who is The Lakers Head Coach?
Frank Vogel has been a head coach in the NBA for nine seasons but was an assistant coach much longer. He is the current coach of the Los Angeles Lakers and has led them to a win percentage of over 75%.
Who Are The Lakers Assistant Coaches?
Quinton Crawford, Phil Handy, Lionel Hollins, Jason Kidd, Mike Penberthy, and Miles Simon are the Los Angeles Lakers head coach. Only Simon has been in this position for the Lakers for more than two years now. Most of the assistant coaches were signed just for this season.
How Much Are The Lakers Worth?
The Lakers were valued at $4.4 billion by Forbes Magazine in 2020. This ranked second in the NBA behind the New York Knicks. Los Angeles was purchased in 1979 for $20 million, and then again in 1998 for $268 million.
Where Do The Lakers Play?
The Lakers play at the STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, California. The arena has a capacity of 20,000, and they also share the arena with one of their rivals, the Los Angeles Clippers. The arena was constructed back in 1998.
Salary caps have been on the rise over the last few years, and the Los Angeles Lakers salary cap sits at $122,723,507. They have $10,149,026 in dead money, which is money paid to players not on the active roster, while the rest is in active contracts.
Who Is The Lakers 6th Man?
Kyle Kuzma is the Lakers 6th man, as he was bumped from the starting lineup once Anthony Davis was signed. Kuzma is currently playing 24 minutes a game and averaging 12.5 points per game. He leads the Lakers bench in scoring.
What Is The Best Lakers Roster Of All-Time?
The 1987 Los Angeles Lakers go down as one of the best teams of all time, and they did that with a stacked roster. They were starting with Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the star players. They also had James Worthy, Byron Scott, and AC Green.