The Los Angeles Lakers are off to a 0-3 start, and it seems like the issues that hounded the team last season, such as chemistry issues and lack of outside shooting, have still not been addressed. After their most recent loss to the Portland Trail Blazers, Lakers star LeBron James couldn't help but laugh after looking at their shooting stats.
Historically bad shooting
After three games, Los Angeles has been 25-of-118 from 3-point range this season. According to ESPN Stats & Info, the 21.2% shooting from outside through the first three opening games is the second-worst among all teams in league history. The only team to do worse was the 2018 Atlanta Hawks with 21.0%.
Interestingly, it is not as if opponents have been contesting a ton of their perimeter shots. For instance, Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic did not even bother closing out on Anthony Davis' 3-point attempts in at least two instances.
LeBron's recipe for success
Even though he is 37 years old, James is still clearly the best player in this Lakers team. He is currently averaging 27.3 points, 11.0 rebounds, and 7.3 assists per contest.
It makes sense then that the front office should look to surround him with players who can complement his skill set. And through the years, what has proven successful is surrounding the four-time champion with shooters.
Unfortunately, the organization has failed to do that. Of all the players who have seen action on the court for the Purple and Gold, only Max Christie and Matt Ryan have shot better than 28.6% from the 3-point land - not that being slightly under 29% is anything to write home about. However, those two players are at the bottom of the depth chart.
Do the Lakers still have a shot at making the playoffs this season? Possibly. But they must improve from the perimeter first if they want a chance. Maybe they can find shooters if they are willing to part ways with Russell Westbrook and their future first-round picks.