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.