Breaking Down What L.A. Lakers Second Unit Must Do to Succeed in 2012-13

The Los Angeles Lakers second unit needs a lot to go right for them this season. Fortunately for the new additions, they can’t possibly be worse than the abysmal bench the Lakers had last season. At least, so we think.

Last season, the Lakers bench scored just 20.5 points per game. That ranked their second unit dead last in the entire NBA in bench scoring.  The Denver Nuggets more than doubled that scoring amount off the bench with 41.5 points per game. Last season’s Sixth Man of the Year award winner, James Harden, rivaled that total by himself, scoring 16.8 points per game off the bench.

From an offensive standpoint, the Lakers bench was just flat-out bad. They leaned on the contributions of Matt Barnes (7.8 points per game) and Steve Blake (5.2 points per game) to lead the bench offensively, which is not a recipe for success. The offense off the sidelines was dreadful, but the second unit’s defense may have been worse.

The Lakers bench averaged a minuscule 1.8 steals per game last season. That also ranked them 30th out of 30 teams. In addition, the second unit’s point differential of minus-9.4 was only “better” than the Sacramento Kings and Orlando Magic.

The Lakers bench from a season ago didn’t make a meaningful impact. They were nearly outscored by 10 points per game when they were out on the floor last year. Too much pressure was put on the starters because the bench didn’t perform, but the second unit didn’t get many opportunities to prove their worth.

Now, former Sixth Man of the Year award winner Antawn Jamison, joined by Jodie Meeks, Jordan Hill and Chris Duhon (among others) aim to change the negative stereotype associated with the words “Lakers bench.”

In order to succeed during the 2012-13 season, the second unit has to weather the storm when the superstar starters take a breather. Getting outscored b...

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