Los Angeles Lakers Can Win With Better Shot Selection Without Kobe Bryant

Shot Selection Is The Lakers' Key To Winning Without Kobe

4/14/13 in NBA   |   natsaar   |   160 respect

November 18, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA;  Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard (12) and power forward Pau Gasol (16) laugh during the game against the Houston Rockets at the Staples Center. Lakers won 119-108. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY SportsNumbers never lie, but in the case of basketball they rarely tell the whole story. This isn't one of those times though.

The Los Angeles Lakers are without Kobe Bryant for the rest of the season, so they need to find a way to sustain their playoff hopes and still try to win it all.

This is very possible if they play smart.

Looking at the numbers from their last game against the Golden State Warriors, there's a lot to be learned.

In total, the Lakers took 66 shots, and only made 34 of them, which is over 50%, but they could have made a lot more of those if they'd taken better shots. They don't have speed, youth or health on their side, so the Lakers need to use what they do have: size.

They have two very able 7 footers lurking in the post who are being under utilized. The team as a whole took more three-point shots than Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol took combined, with Howard making all but one of his only eight shot attempts.

This is the part that numbers don't show: nearly every time the Lakers set up, Howard establishes position in the paint, waving and yelling, and rarely getting an easy lob. Look at his face at the end of those sequences and see if you think he's happy in LA playing in this shoot-first offense.

Against the Warriors, the Lakers missed 13 three-point attempts and 19 two-point attempts, mainly because they settled for long jump shots instead of getting the ball inside to the big men.

Out of their 32 missed shots, they grabbed only three offensive rebounds, which is because long shots create long rebounds, not easy grabs for Gasol and Howard, who are boxing out closer to the rim.

This means there were 29 missed extra possessions and chances at put-backs, which could possibly draw fouls.

In the Warrior's game, the Lakers shot 50 free throws, 38 of which they made, and 22 of which were Howard's alone.

The effect of shot selection could be seen on the other side of the court as well, since the Warriors are mainly a shooting team. Howard and Gasol, hanging out under the basket, only grabbed a combined 16 rebounds because the ball bounced too far back.

Bryant and Metta World Peace, who played around the perimeter, snagged 11 defensive rebounds collectively.

It's simple math and observation. Long jumpers make the bigs nearly irrelevant both in terms of shot attempts and rebounding. However, using them makes them a powerhouse under both circumstances.

With the absence of Kobe's average 27 points, the Lakers need to play big man basketball, leaving behind any notion that they are a shooting team (which they clearly aren't since they're they're ranked 15th in the NBA).

Smarter, easier shots will pay dividends in running the other team down, preserving their energy, scoring points, grabbing rebounds, drawing fouls and ultimately winning games. They need to play to their very tall strengths.

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