Lakers: Can Steve Blake Revive L.A.'s Three-Point Game?

Hadarii JonesSenior Writer IAugust 12, 2010

DENVER - MARCH 05:  Steve Blake #2 of the Portland Trail Blazers takes a shot against the Denver Nuggets during NBA action at the Pepsi Center on March 5, 2009 in Denver, Colorado. The Nuggets defeated the Trail Blazers 106-90. 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 Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Lakers may be one of the most balanced teams in the NBA when it comes to production from the perimeter and the post, but that balance doesn't extend beyond the three point line.

Consistency and point guard defense may have been the Lakers' weakest areas last season, but their 34 percent average from behind the three point line is certainly a statistic that could use some attention.

34 percent is not a horrible number and with the multitude of offensive weapons at the Lakers' disposal it may seem like a minor detail, but a consistent three point game helps the team in a variety of ways.

Teams would think twice about double teaming Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum in the paint, and Kobe Bryant would probably face more single coverage if a consistent three point shooter roamed the perimeter.

The triangle offense affords the Lakers numerous open looks from the perimeter, and players such as Shannon Brown, Jordan Farmar, and Ron Artest were able to capitalize at times.

Farmar's 37 percent from beyond the arc led the Lakers, and Artest chipped in with 35 percent to lead the starters, but both players were streaky from behind the line at best and Artest had his fair share of "what was he thinking?" moments.

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Phil Jackson's Chicago Bulls teams never had the dominant post players that his Lakers' teams have had, but they always had players who could make the opposition pay for doubling Scottie Pippen and Michael Jordan.

Craig Hodges, John Paxson, and B.J. Armstrong were a few of the players who made the Bulls so deadly from beyond the arc, and the Lakers may have found their own three point threat in Steve Blake.

Blake brings size and ball-handling to the point guard position for the Lakers, but more importantly he brings a 40 percent average from the three point line, and the reputation of a consistent long distance shooter.

Derek Fisher and Artest hit critical three point shots for the Lakers during last season's playoffs, but Blake has the potential to make that more of a regular occurrence.

Laker fans would love nothing more than to see a player that gives them the feel that every time he shoots the ball it's going in, although Bryant probably resides in that neighborhood.

Blake has been draining long distance shots since his college days at Maryland, and his career percentage of 40 percent from the three point line could rise with all the potential opportunities he will receive in Los Angeles.

Sasha Vujacic was once thought to be the leading candidate for the Lakers' primary perimeter threat, but as his confidence in his shot dipped so did Jackson's confidence in Vujacic.

Vujacic is still a Laker and there is a chance that he can regain his lost shot, but for now Blake gets the opportunity to be the Lakers' newest threat from the perimeter.

If Blake can rise to the challenge he adds another element to a potent Lakers' offensive attack, and makes the NBA's most balanced team even more dangerous.

I've always wondered how good the Lakers could be if they had a player who demanded attention beyond the three point line, and next season I may just get my wish.


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