Arguably the biggest reason the Los Angeles Lakers have a mediocre 24-23 record right now is their offense. They lack the overall firepower that the good and great teams in the NBA have, and their 3-point shooting has been a big problem.
However, they may be starting to stage a revival. They have won five of their last seven games, and while their defense hasn’t been very strong during that time, their offense has.
In their last seven games, the Lakers actually rank near the top of the NBA in several key offensive categories.
- Fifth in offensive rating
- Third in assists (31.0 per game)
- Second in scoring (126.7 points per game)
- Second in overall field-goal accuracy (51.8%)
- Sixth in free throw attempts (25.7 per game) and fourth in free throw accuracy (82.2%)
- Third in points in the paint (58.9 per game, tied with the Houston Rockets)
- First in fast-break points (24.6 per game)
In fact, L.A. has even been excelling at what has been arguably its biggest weakness this season. In its last seven games, while it has been 28th in 3-point attempts per game, it has been fourth in accuracy at 40.9%.
Granted, it isn’t a large sample space, but this offensive excellence has coincided with D’Angelo Russell’s return to the team’s starting lineup.
Russell has been the driving force behind the Lakers' recent surge
While LeBron James and Anthony Davis have been putting up roughly the same numbers that they had been putting up prior to this seven-game spurt, Russell has looked like a different player.
He is the one Lakers player who has truly stepped up his game recently. In his last eight games since becoming a starter again, he’s averaging 27.5 points and 6.4 assists a game while shooting 52.3% from the field and 54.2% from downtown.
He has effectively canceled out the horrible slump he was in for much of December and made it all but a distant memory.
In fact, Russell has been playing so well that it has reportedly given the Lakers pause as far as whether to trade him for someone such as the Atlanta Hawks’ Dejounte Murray.