After Wednesday's game against the Philadelphia 76ers, the Los Angeles Lakers will be nearly 20 percent through the 2017-18 NBA season, so we thought this was as good a time as any to take a deep dive and launch the first "Inside the Numbers" of the 2017-18 season.
97.2 – The Los Angeles Lakers have an offensive rating of 97.2, which is most easily described as the Lakers average 97.2 points per 100 possessions. That places the Lakers as the third worst offensive team in the NBA. Of course, Lonzo Ball's shooting troubles and the team's overall lack of three-point shooting has contributed to the poor offensive start to the season.
99.7 – While the offense may be far from smooth, the Los Angeles Lakers rank fourth in the NBA in defensive efficiency. The purple and gold have a defensive rating of 99.7, which means the team allows 99.7 points per 100 possessions. While the offensive struggles have been a bit head scratching, the improved defense is probably even more surprising than the offensive struggles. Considering the attention paid to defense in training camp and multiple members of the team stating that the team's focus is on the defensive end of the court, the Lakers ranking ahead of teams like the Golden State Warriors and San Antonio Spurs on the defensive side of the ball deserves recognition. The coaching staff believes the offense will smooth out over time, but the strong defensive start has the team believing it will have a chance to compete on a nightly basis no matter the opposition.
30.2 – The Los Angeles Lakers rank dead last in the NBA in three-point shooting percentage at 30.2 percent. Thankfully, the team's defensive improvement, though, also lists the Lakers as the no. 1 team in the NBA when it comes to opponents' three-point shooting percentage, 31.3 percent. Seemingly, the Lakers know they're not a great outside shooting team, as the Lakers average only 24.1 three-point attempts per game, which is the fourth fewest of any team in the Association. The Lakers are dead last in three-pointers made per game at 7.3. For comparison's sake, the Houston Rockets lead the NBA with 44.5 three-point attempts per game and 15.1 three-pointers made per contest. Yes, the Rockets average more than twice as many three-point makes per game as the Lakers. However, the Lakers seem to understand this weakness and instead lead the NBA in points in the paint with an average of 53.9 points in the paint per game.
17.6 – The Lakers rank second in the NBA in turnovers, which is not a compliment. Only the Philadelphia 76ers turn the ball over with greater frequency, at 17.9 turnovers per game. Wednesday's game at Staples Center may be a festive occasion and feature several of the top young talents in the NBA, but the numbers suggest it will be far from the cleanest game of basketball ever played. As a point of explanation, the Lakers and Sixers have two of the three youngest rosters in the NBA. The youngest team belongs to Phoenix, and anyone who watched the Lakers beat the Suns on Monday should understand how young teams can get sloppy.
The Los Angeles Lakers host the Philadelphia 76ers at Staples Center with the official start time listed as 7:30 p.m. Pacific Time and an expected tip-off time of 7:40 p.m. Pacific Time.