Perhaps Steve Nash should receive some MVP love this season, because after a lackluster 9-11 start, it‘s evident the Lakers miss their two-time MVP floor general. Nash, who is set to return next week after being sidelined with a slight leg fracture, will attempt to fix a turnover-plagued Laker offense. The Lakers rank 26th in the NBA in turnover percentage, and without Nash, have difficulty adjusting to D’Antoni’s up-tempo offense. Further, by turning the ball over so much, the Lakers have trouble getting back on defense - surrendering 26 fast break points to the Thunder on Friday night.
With Utah, the Lakers face one of the best fast break teams in the league, but might be playing without forwards Al Jefferson and Derrick Favors to injury. For the Lakers to get into double-digit wins on the year, they’ll be best served to slow the game down, get quality shots in the half-court offense, and limit Utah’s fast break.
Slow the Pace Down
The Lakers like to play a run-and-gun style offense, but with this personnel, are they equipped to do it? They rank third in the NBA in pace factor at 94.3, but at the cost of committing nearly 16 turnovers a game.
And to their fans’ dismay, the Lakers look out of sync at times trying to run D’Antoni’s up-tempo style with Darius Morris or Chris Duhon running the point. No offense to Morris or Duhon, but they’re no Steve Nash. Against the Jazz tonight, the Lakers will be best served to slow the game down, and look for Dwight Howard to have a big game inside without the likes of Jefferson or Favors.
LA will have to limit their turnovers tonight because they’re going up against one of the best transition offenses in basketball. Utah scores about 16 fast break points/game ranking ninth in the NBA. But they’re not just efficient on the fast break- the Jazz also have a 108 offensive rating (seventh in the NBA) and a 31.5% offensive rebounding percentage (third in the NBA).
On the flip side, the Lakers surrender more points than any other NBA team at roughly 16 points/game in transition. The Lakeshow are a decent halfcourt defensive team, so if they can sure up their transition defense and protect the glass, then they should rack up their 10th win on the season.