LAS VEGAS – In recent days, ground under center Thomas and Mack – the unofficial temporary seat of the NBA for the second week of July – remained motionless. But the teams are still figuring out the new power structure of the NBA, monumentally modified by free will.
The Lakers will occupy a prominent place in this future, as would all teams composed of LeBron James and Anthony Davis. During the Summer League, front-office staff and NBA media watchers bombed their posts and generally predicted they would be one of the toughest players in the league.
But while so much attention had been paid a week ago if the Lakers could land Kawhi Leonard, they focused on the team they built around their stars. The biggest question is this: after missing the playoffs last season, did the Lakers learn their lessons?
In conversations around Las Vegas, there is at least some skepticism in this regard.
Officially, the Lakers leaned on their wounds as scapegoat. And with more than 200 games missed for various health reasons, they have fallen prey to bad luck.
But the injuries are not the cause of the lakers' deficiencies, especially since the Lakers ranked second among the worst NBA shooting teams (33.3%) – enough for Magic Johnson finally accepted responsibility for the construction of its notorious First Take maintenance.
Previous teams featuring James, especially the Cleveland Cavaliers, had managed to stack him alongside shooting and shooting threats around the perimeter. The Lakers were one of the league's worst goal-scoring teams last year, and even on shots considered open or wide open by the NBA (a defender at least four feet) they did not shoot. than 33.7%.
Hitting these shots will be even more critical next season with much of the Lakers offensive going through the field. With James and Davis as main scorers and DeMarcus' Cousins, who will likely play an important role, the Lakers will have the opportunity to capitalize on pitching attempts from the perimeter.
In this area at least, new talent brings help. Danny Green shot 45.5% to 3 points last season, second in the NBA, and Quinn Cook 40.5%. Especially in shooting situations, Green and Cook rank among the top five (with at least 100 attempts) with a percentage of 3 points, both eliminating 46% of those appearances.
According to the Cleaning the Glass statistics website, Rajon Rondo is the only Lakers rotation player to have had an above-average shot for his position from the depth. His shot was well above his career average of 31.5%. James shot 34%, which is close to his career average. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (34.7%) and Kyle Kuzma (30.3%) were the most successful shooters of the previous season, but dropped last year – they will be looking to regain their previous form.
During the rotation, other low risk signatures may help. Alex Caruso, whose signature was made official Sunday afternoon, showed promising results at the end of the year, especially as a 3-point shooter at 48%. His ability to play on and off the ball could help him take into account the rotation of the guards after spending the last two years as a third guard. Jared Dudley and Troy Daniels are two shooting threats, but with minimal contracts and relatively short minutes last season, it remains to be seen how they will break the rotation.
Beyond the hustle and bustle of speculation, the Lakers experienced a relatively quiet Sunday: the offers for Caruso, Daniels and Dudley were all officially announced. The only remaining contract that has been announced but not yet officially announced is that of Rondo, which is expected to return for a two-year contract.
The Lakers also gave up their qualifying offer to restricted free agent Johnathan Williams over the weekend, making him an unrestricted free agent. The former big player of Gonzaga played Sunday a game of the Summer League with the Houston Rockets.