3. The interior defense and rebounding
Even though the Los Angeles Lakers added Brook Lopez the team is still not very good down low. Defense is already a problem to begin with for the Lakers. Lonzo Ball has struggled to guard his position and the rest of the Lakers let up 111.5 points per game last season; the third highest in the NBA.
While the Lakers have allowed just 103.3 points per game this preseason, that is still not something to write home about. Last preseason, the Lakers allowed 107.3 points per game, so expect their regular season averages to rise to about 108 per game.
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However, the biggest area of concern is the defense down low and the poor rebounding. Right now, power forward Julius Randle is the team’s best rebounder. Randle averaged 8.6 rebounds per game last season and has followed that up with 7.3 rebounds per game this preseason.
Despite being seven feet tall, Brook Lopez is not the dominant force the Lakers need at center. While his ability to stretch the floor definitely will help with the fast-paced offense and its ability to stretch the floor, his performances on the other end will only hurt the team. Last season, Lopez averaged just 5.4 rebounds per game; the 29th best amongst centers.
Lopez 110.0 defensive rating, according to Fox Sports, was the 41st best in the NBA last season. Not exactly the rank the Lakers want after already battling defensive woes. While Lopez does contribute with 1.7 blocks per game, his poor interior defense will only make the already bad Lakers defense worse.
Everyone knows the old saying; defense wins championships. While that may not be true in today’s NBA, as the three-point shot has taken over the league, the Lakers defense certainly will hold them back from success next season.