Los Angeles Lakers Need To Use Their Offensive Talent Better To Win Now

jeremy wrightContributor IJuly 28, 2010

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 17:  (L-R) Pau Gasol #16, Kobe Bryant #24, Derek Fisher #2 and Lamar Odom #7 of the Los Angeles Lakers run up court in Game Seven of the 2010 NBA Finals against the Boston Celtics at Staples Center on June 17, 2010 in Los Angeles, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

To restate the obvious, the Lakers offense was potent enough to win a championship this past season.  However, they never fully optimized the talents of many of their players.

Few people would argue that Lamar Odom 's diverse skill set is fully utilized in the current offense, Ron Artest has been more productive in other offenses including much more of an inside game, Kobe could benefit from more open looks, Gasol and Bynum should get more looks earlier in the shot clock .  Overall the Lakers took far too many poor quality shots late in the shot clock often as a result of mediocre ball movement.

This leads to the question, how might an offense better approach its optimum ability without disrupting what is already very good?

Here are a few ideas I would like to see attempted: 

1) Move Odom into the starting lineup at small forward for the dedicated purpose of putting pressure on the opposing defense, Artest would fall into the traditional role of defensive stopper off of the bench.  Moving Odom to the starting lineup might create offensive opportunities for the opposing small forward, but this can be compensated for in several ways.  For example Odom would over-pressure the opposing shooter/small forward on the perimeter forcing them to pass or drive towards their weak side into the interior length of the Lakers defense with Odom trailing for a possible backside block. 

Offensively  this move provides the team with near overwhelming length and skill at each position.

2) Keep the triangle as the base half court offense but run the fast break much more and get into the half court offense much earlier in the shot clock.

3) With the Odom, Bynum, and Gasol front court on the defensive end, release one of them on the break as soon as the opposition shoots the ball.  This will take some work to implement, but with two (long) members of the front court and both guards available for rebounding they should be able to hold their own while putting a lot of pressure on the defense with the running big man.  This also could be a good counter to outside shooting opposing bigs.

4) With the big man cherry-picking on the break, the ball is brought up to the front court by a guard, this can be either a fast drive or a slower break relying upon the good hands and superior length of the Laker s big to finish.  Failing a true fast break, the big man immediately posts up as deeply as possible and either gets the ball and scores or the team goes right into the triangle offense without waiting for the defense to set up and prepare for it.

5) Run most of the offense through Odom while he is on the court, this should open up more open shots for Kobe within the triangle if the ball is kept moving and Odom's integral and immediate use in each game will force him to utilize the skills which make him such a match-up nightmare for opposing teams.

6) Sub out one player at a time in order to maintain as much continuity as possible in the offense.

7)  Don't stop the break pressure, it doesn't have to be a scoring threat every play, I doesn't even have to be very fast, but it should force the defense to get back and try to set up under pressure.  This should result in many more mismatches which the team can exploit.

8) With more time available on the shot clock, run the Triangle faster.  Last year with a limited amount of time available to run the offense due to a slow set up of the half court offense, it seemed as though many players (especially Ron Artest) spent an inordinate amount of time trying to make the "perfect read" in order to make the best pass possible to get a quality shot with the limited amount of time available.  With more time available on the shot clock the offense should be able to cycle through more passing sequences within the Triangle spending less time attempting to be perfect and more time keeping things moving, thus putting more pressure on the defense with faster passes.  Make the reads, but more importantly, keep it moving.

There were few teams which could effectively guard the Lakers last year, those who could did so by putting pressure on them in the half court forcing the offense to use up the shot clock before a desperation shot.  With the team's increased depth acquired this off season they should be able to expend more effort on breaks, wearing out teams with shorter benches.  As an offense running this way doesn't rely on out-running the opposition as much as it relies on forcing the opposing defense off balance, I can see no reason that this couldn't be used into and through the playoffs.


Jeremy Wright