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Simply put, the Lakers need three-point shooting. Teams with good or great post play usually complement it with spacing.
Good shooting keeps defenses honest and allows interior players to operate against single coverage. Against one defender, Howard can beat his man and score in the paint.
However, with a second defender in the fold, it’s far more likely he gets fouled.
In this instance though, the Lakers don’t need more shots from downtown. They simply need better ones.
NBA.com’s advanced stats tool tells us the Purple and Gold has taken the third most three-pointers from above the break (all three-pointers excluding those from the corners) this season.
They have converted these shots at a league-average rate. That’s not bad, but it’s not great either.
Instead, the Lakers must devise a game plan that helps them attempt more corner three-pointers.
Granted, NBA.com’s advanced stats tool tells us they are in the top 10 in attempts.
But the Lakes can certainly do a better job creating more of these shots. Swinging the ball side to side certainly helps on this front. Also, because teams love sending an extra defender at quality big men, smart teams position their shooters in spots on the floor that lead to corner shots.
It’s worth noting that entering the April 17 contest against the Houston Rockets, the Lakers were converting 36.8 percent of their corner three-pointers, a figure that places them in the leagues bottom half.
However, their conversion mark is still superior from the corners when compared to their percentages from above the break.
Because defenses despise giving up three-pointers from the corners, it makes double-teaming the post an incredibly risky proposition.
As Stan Van Gundy proved when coaching the Orlando Magic, more treys means more Howard field goals.
Statistical support provided by NBA.com.