Los Angeles Lakers: steals

More for the Lakers' drawing board

May, 16, 2012
Kamenetzky By Andy Kamenetzky
Because, you know, a 29-point drubbing by definition means you can never tweak too many things. Yesterday, Brian offered several areas in need of drastic improvement. I thought I'd add my two cents with four more suggestions. (Sadly, we likely still didn't cover everything. But hey, we only had 48 hours between Games 1 and 2, and both needed to sleep a bit.)

Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty Images
Despite Sessions' presence, sets still take forever to initiate.

1) Get the ball up the court faster to initiate the offense earlier
During the era of "Derek Fisher and Lamar Odom bringing the ball up so Kobe doesn't have to do everything," a turtle with a decent handle might have taken the place of either without anybody noticing. Whether because the directive to slow tempo was taken too literally, or because Fisher's declining speed and LO's generally laid back style, it felt like the court was covered in molasses. Eight second violations were regularly flirted with, and precious time was frittered away over the entire 24 seconds. As a result, someone was often forced to take a bad shot.

Mike Brown arrived in L.A. with the stated goal of getting into sets faster, and with Ramon Sessions eventually in the fold, that objective should have become even easier. However, slow migration end-to-end remains a habit, particularly Monday in Game 1, and it's a habit in need of immediate breaking. I'm not calling for a radically pushed tempo. The Lakers don't have the personnel to live in transition, and getting into a foot race with the Thunder is a losing proposition. This is simply a matter of milking possessions for their maximum opportunities. Any early deep position gained by Andrew Bynum or Pau Gasol gets negated if they're watching the ball handler meander upcourt for 3 seconds while a defender pushes them off a spot. The Thunder's defense is being far too much time to set in general. And should any of Game 1's offensive confusion bleed into Wednesday's proceedings, an extra four or five seconds to sort through the mess could go a long way towards salvaging possessions.

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Kobe Bryant
24.6 4.9 1.4 35.4
ReboundsJ. Hill 8.3
AssistsK. Bryant 4.9
StealsR. Price 1.4
BlocksE. Davis 1.2