Home NBA LeBron James And The Lakers Go Old School To Dominate The NBA – Forbes

LeBron James And The Lakers Go Old School To Dominate The NBA – Forbes

6 min read

If this Lakers season is to resemble a weekend party, there is bound to be a sobering moment when last call is announced. For the moment, however, everyone is three or four shots in and the DJ just played your favorite song.

The Los Angeles Lakers are rolling at the moment. And even a horrible night in Chicago ends in a win.

After seven games, LeBron James and his wild west contingent of defensive juggernauts are 6-1 and have been anointed as the favorites by Vegas to win the title this season.

Los Angeles has railed off six straight wins and have done so with an average discrepancy of 13.5 points. It’s the most fun you can have In L.A. without Mark Madsen dancing.

And it’s how the Lakers are doing it that gives hope that all of this success is sustainable, barring any health setbacks. They’ve managed to seize a singular moment amid a basketball revolution and dial things back a bit.

The Warriors are battered and beaten. The Rockets are still figuring things out and the rest of the west is getting their footing. If ever there was a time to win without shooting the three and dominate in the half court it would be now.

Los Angeles isn’t pushing the pace and trying to out score everyone they meet. While the rest of the league is content to chuck up shots in an attempt to out punch the next guy, the Lakers are stifling teams and winning games with length and paint presence.

This is a team that is 14th in offensive rating (106.7) and 17th in pace (102.12). Yet they are winning games by double digits.

Their defensive rating has them ranked second in the league (97.9) thanks to a cool 8.4 blocks per game (Rank No. 1) and three players that, as of this writing, rank in the top 10 of defensive rating leaders: Dwight Howard, 88.4; Anthony Davis, 91.6; LeBron James, 95.2.

That triumvirate, by the way, accounts for a 80.3 defensive rating and an offensive rating of 126.7 when on the court together.

The opposition is finding it difficult to match wits with a motivated LeBron, a more mature and healthy Howard and an Anthony Davis who is showing flashes of an MVP campaign.

“We want to be one of the best defensive teams, if not the best defensive team, in the league,” James recently remarked about the team’s stifling defense, via L.A. Times. “It’s up to us to take the challenge. I think from 1 [through] 15, we’ve all done that, whoever’s in the game.”

All of this is largely happening when the Lakers make teams play their brand of basketball. L.A. is scoring 47.4% of their points in the paint, fifth in the league. Meanwhile, they’re abysmal from three, the play we have been told is an indispensable part of the new NBA.

The team is shooting 31.7% from distance (No. 25), accounting for just 25.1% of their point totals per game.

The Lakers really shouldn’t be so successful with faulty shooting from three. But by holding teams to paltry outpourings they have managed to pick-and-roll their way to a pleasant and much needed fast start.

But 2020 is coming and victories now will be crucial by the time this team is making a push for playoff seeding.

Thankfully, finding success from this front court isn’t just sustainable. If health remains on the Lakers’ side, there is no reason they can’t show the NBA that this is still very much a big boy’s game.

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