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The Los Angeles Lakers Are Better Without LeBron James

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When the world found out that the best basketball player in the world had signed with the LA Lakers everyone went into overdrive. LeBron James, the league’s biggest player, was now going to play for one of the league’s biggest teams in one of the most famous cities in the world.

Immediately every NBA fan began talking about how good the Lakers will be and if they were now able to challenge for a title. A lot of people, including me, said they wouldn’t be good enough this year but given that they had enough cap space to sign someone to a max deal next summer then next year would be their chance to push for a title.

Defense And 3PT Shooting

10 games into this season and there is a lot of work to do. The Lakers are 4-6 and have some big problems that need fixing. Their offense on the surface looks pretty good: They are 3rd in scoring at 118.9 ppg, 3rd in team FG% at 49.4%, 1st in points in the paint at 61.8 a game and 1st in fast-break points at 23.4 a game. However, there is very little balance to their attack as shown by their lack of consistent 3-point shooting. The Lakers are 20th in the league in team 3P% and only make 9.8 a game which ranks them 21st. Their 2 biggest 3-point shooters in terms of attempts per game are Kuzma and LeBron and they are only hitting 27.8% and 28.8% of their 3s respectively. Their best shooters in terms of 3P% are Rondo and Lonzo Ball who are currently both hitting above 40% from the outside. No offense to those 2 but their percentages will drop as the season continues. The Lakers have some great inside player like LeBron, Rondo and Kuzma but they lack the floor-spacing to really make their offense viable for the rest of the season and the Playoffs (if they make it). The Lakers most popular lineup of James - Ingram - Ball - Kuzma - McGee has their worst +/- and it is also their starting lineup.

LeBron James Offensive And Defensive Rating

One of the huge problems the Lakers have is, in fact, their best player. The Lakers are actually better with LeBron on the bench than on the floor. With the King on the floor, the Lakers offensive rating is 107.3 and their defensive rating is 111.0 With LeBron on the bench the Lakers have an offensive rating of 113 and their defensive rating is 105.8.

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LeBron was once one of the best defenders in the NBA, but over the past few seasons, he’s had to carry more and more of the offense which takes more energy and effort from his defense. I said before the start of the season that LeBron should be playing fewer minutes and the evidence above should point to why.

Check LeBron James' defense at crunch time against the Houston Rockets.

The Lakers are allowing 120 ppg to be scored against them right now. To solve this they need more playmaking from Rondo and Ball, more 3-point shooting from Kuzma, Ingram and Josh Hart and LeBron to only play around 30 minutes or so a night so he can put as much attention on defense as he does offense.