Saturday, April 1 2023

LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers are still searching for answers. 

After losing their first five games, the Lakers appeared to be stabilizing themselves with back-to-back wins against the Denver Nuggets and New Orleans Pelicans. Then, they lost back-to-back games at home to the Utah Jazz and Cleveland Cavaliers, falling to 2-7.

On Monday’s edition of “Undisputed,” cohost Skip Bayless contended that James’ drop in production is the catalyst for the Lakers’ terrible start.

“In the end, it’s up to LeBron to carry a load he can no longer carry for whatever reason,” Bayless said. “Maybe he’s not right physically? Maybe he’s not into it psychologically? Maybe he’s watching what’s transpiring around him, and he’s starting to go Aaron Rodgers? … LeBron doesn’t look into it. I’ve seen spurts of it this year, but they’re 2-7. And yesterday for whatever reason — it’s an early start — he was not into the basketball game.”

LeBron shooting career worst from 3-pt range

The Los Angeles Lakers are 2-7 on the season, and LeBron James is shooting a career-worst 21% from three-point range.

James, who is about to turn 38 and signed a two-year, $97.1 million extension before the 2022-23 NBA season, is averaging 24.3 points, 8.9 rebounds, 7.1 assists and one steal per game through nine games, while shooting 44.7/21.0/68.2. His points-per-game and field-goal shooting are his lowest marks since his rookie season.  

Furthermore, James is shooting a career low from beyond the arc — by 8% — and attempting the second-most 3s per game in his 20 seasons (6.9).

As a whole, the Lakers are averaging 107.6 points per game (27th in NBA) while shooting 44% from the field (28th) and 28.4% from beyond the arc (last). Defensively, they’re surrendering 113.8 points per game (16th), while opponents shoot 45.2% from the field (eighth) and 33.7% from beyond the arc (ninth).

Free-agent signee Lonnie Walker IV has been a bright spot for head coach Darvin Ham’s rotation, averaging a career-high 15.3 points per game. On the other hand, Anthony Davis has been playing through a back injury and the team has been continually shuffling lineups.

“Undisputed” cohost Shannon Sharpe surmised that something is “wrong” with James, but also that all parties involved deserve blame for the Lakers’ struggles.

“This is a poorly constructed basketball team,” Sharpe said. “Tell me what the Lakers do well? They don’t shoot it. They don’t rebound it particularly well. Now, all of a sudden, they stopped playing defense. At least they could keep the games close somewhat when you play defense. Now they don’t play defense. … Their free-throw percentage [77.7%] is awful. 

“I’m just trying to figure out what does this team do well. I can’t just put the blame on one person. If you are associated with the Lakers, you are at fault.”

The Lakers hit the road to take on the Jazz (8-3) on Monday. James, who’s been battling a foot injury, has been ruled out.

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Source: FOX Sports


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