Friday, March 24 2023
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The common formula behind a successful LeBron James team is to surround the four-time MVP with as much shooting as possible. All four of his championship teams were loaded with three-and-D wings that didn’t need the ball but could drill the shots James created for them. But ever since the 2020 championship, the Los Angeles Lakers have largely eschewed that formula. They’ve opted for high-usage ball-handlers that make little sense next to James, including, most notably, Russell Westbrook.

All of this culminated with an embarrassing opening night loss to the Golden State Warriors in which the Lakers, who started the game 2-of-20 from behind the arc, ultimately managed to make just 25 percent of their 3-pointers. James himself was frank about those shooting woes after the game. He knows this is not a very good shooting team. “We’re getting great looks, but it could also be teams giving us great looks,” James said. “To be completely honest, we’re not a team constructed of great shooting… It’s not like we’re sitting here with a lot of lasers on our team.”

Aside from Matt Ryan, who won a job at training camp and has hardly any professional experience, and Cole Swider, a two-way rookie, this team is almost entirely devoid of shooting. Offseason acquisition Patrick Beverley has the highest career 3-point percentage at 37.8, a figure that sits only slightly above league-average. The rest of the team is worse. 

A rumored Westbrook trade involving Buddy Hield and Myles Turner would inject badly-needed shooting into this roster, but the Lakers have thus far refused to sacrifice two first-round picks to get it done.

James has been known to publicly grumble about roster issues from time to time. Perhaps this is his way of making it known that he’d prefer the team to find more shooting. They’re going to need to if they plan to score with offenses as explosive as Golden State’s. 



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