The Lakers are lucky they beat the Memphis Grizzlies.
If they commit 27 turnovers, which they did in their 90-82 win Sunday against Memphis, against any other team, the Lakers will most likely lose. They held on only because the Grizzlies shot horribly from the field, lacked frontline depth without Zach Randolph and the Lakers surprisingly featured a balanced offense. That won't happen every game.
"That's an area I didn't think we'd have a problem with," Lakers Coach Mike Brown said.
But they do. The Lakers average 16.7 turnovers, third most in the NBA, and they've provided few signs that will change. But here are a few suggestions on where to start.
1. Know offense better. The Lakers (6-4), like all NBA teams, have experienced challenges facing a compacted 66-game schedule. That includes striking a balance between practice time and rest, and processing as many new concepts as possible without falling into information overload. Brown conceded he hasn't done well in that department and hasn't been able to plan long-term.
But the Lakers' unfamiliarity with the offense will quickly become nothing more than an excuse. For now, the Lakers clearly show discomfort on where exactly to cut and pass on offense.
"We have a little ways to go before it's just instinct and you can make things happen," Lakers guard Steve Blake said. "We're in that in between phase between knowing it and reacting on instinct, and sometimes we're just thinking too much."
2. Don't make home-run plays. That's the buzzword Brown and players use for fancy passes. There's been plenty of them. Blake and Derek Fisher have thrown way too many lobs to Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol in hopes to spark the offense. A simply entry pass will do.
3. Give Kobe Bryant relief from ball-handling duties. Bryant's the main offender in turnovers, averaging 4.1, which points to problems with the torn ligament in his right wrist. That means the Lakers should keep his ball-handling in isolation sets to a minimum.
4. Andrew Bynum must learn soon how to play out of double teams. Bynum remains second on the team in turnovers, averaging 3.33. That number will go up the longer Bynum struggles passing out of double teams. Brown and Gasol suggested, however, this process will take time.
5. Take more shots. Of course, crisp ball movement and sharp cutting will create quality shots. But for the sake of minimizing losses, the Lakers should feel less guilty taking a bad shot than committing the turnover. It's more than likely either Gasol or Bynum can grab the offensive putback.
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