Chuck Person breaks down the Lakers' defensive improvement
Ever since their loss Monday to Sacramento, the Lakers held Utah and New York to a combined 50 of 157 (31.8%) from the field. Part of that reflects the opponent. But it also reflects the Lakers' improved defensive effort. Below is a recent Q&A with Lakers assistant Chuck Person, whose role partly has involved teaching Mike Brown's defensive philosophies.
What's your overall evaluation on the team's defense?
Obviously it's a change on the impact of the ball. We're an aggressive team and we attack the ball on the weak side. But the responsibilities remain the same. The guys have picked it up really well. We're ahead of where we thought we would be with our guys showing like they are. They're putting forth a great effort in what we're asking them to do defensively.
In what respects are they ahead of the learning curve?
For being a team that forced pick-and-rolls down on the side for so long and dropping in the middle, to go from that to now showing on the side and the top is a big change to a body that you have to do it every time. We did it some in the past on some players, but we do it all the time through the time here.
So it's now funneling through the middle?
Yes, but there was never a funnel. It's just a matter of redirecting the ball in a certain direction from the aggressive show. We're not forcing anything middle. We're not forcing anything baseline. We are forcing things on the midcourt line so they have to veer out when they go downhill and on the side. When we play man-to-man, we influence that on the sideline. It's not to the baseline. It's to the sideline. We make sure we stay in front of them.
We didn't show as aggressively as we should have. We were worried about their shooters. Their bigs can shoot, but they roll really hard. It's a matter of getting all five players to get that ball stopped and trust their responsibility. We always say five men guard the ball and we'll take care of the next pass.
When you look at any specific players, whose defensive responsibilities are elevated under Brown's defense?
Everyone has a specific role to move along the pass of the ball. That's it. Don't go any further. With that pass of the ball, you have a certain responsibility. On the next pass of the ball, then you have another set of responsibilities. We play defense on the flight of the ball.
It's never, you go stop Carmelo Anthony. We have some lock-down defenders that are able to guard people straight up like Metta, Andrew, Pau and Kobe that they can play their man in isolations and post ups. But then you run into guys that get hot, Kevin Durant, LeBron James, that you have to give extra attention. So we may do things differently.
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Photo:: Chuck Person, left, works out with Andrew Bynum before a Lakers game last season. Credit: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times