Los Angeles Lakers: Three areas the team will excel in next season

(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /
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LAS VEGAS, NV – JULY 07: Brandon Ingram (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV – JULY 07: Brandon Ingram (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images) /

2.Stealing the basketball

Stealing the basketball is already something that the Los Angeles Lakers thrived in last season. Although they did lose their biggest ball thief in D’Angelo Russell, the pieces they added made up for that deficit and will still lead to success in forcing turnovers. Again, we have seen what makes teams successful in today’s NBA; stealing the ball and forcing turnovers is one of them.

Last year the Lakers ranked fifth in steals per game, taking away the rock 8.2 times. The four teams ahead of them were the Raptors (8.3), 76ers (8.4), Wizards (8.5) and Warriors (9.6). Outside of the 76ers, the teams ranked ahead of the Lakers were all playoff teams that put together very solid seasons with the Warriors convincingly winning the NBA Championship.

This doesn’t mean that the Lakers’ steals will instantly put them into title contention, but it will be a huge factor in their success. Let’s take two games for example. The Lakers defeated both the Warriors and Rockets last season. In those two games, Los Angeles combined for 19 steals.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope directly makes up for the loss of Russell in the steals department. Russell averaged just under 1.4 steals per game last season, Caldwell-Pope has averaged 1.3 over his last two seasons.

Then, again, another big piece of this puzzle is Lonzo Ball. While some may question his defensive ability against the physical stars of the NBA, he did show promise in taking away the basketball. The former UCLA Bruin averaged 2.5 steals per game in the Summer League. Again, not NBA level of play, but still a great sign.