Diagnosing LA Lakers’ Weakest Link in 2014-15

Coming off one of their most miserable seasons in franchise history, the Los Angeles Lakers are set to have another down year in 2014-15.

The roster is tattered with holes and somewhat delusional in its construction, so much to the point where pointing out a single weakest link is almost impossible. 

The Lakers have talented players, but just about all excel on the offensive end with the ball in their hands. From aging contributors like Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash and Carlos Boozer, down to players either approaching their prime or currently prospering in it—most notably Jeremy Lin and Nick Young—Los Angeles is built to score a ton of points but allow even more.

Here’s a closer look at why overall defense will be the Lakers' weakest link this season.


They need rim protection

Let’s begin in the front court, where Boozer, Jordan Hill, Ryan Kelly, Julius Randle, Ed Davis and Robert Sacre all figure to battle for a spot in Byron Scott’s rotation.

None of these players can anchor a quality team defense on a full-time basis. Hill comes closest, and he’s a tremendous rebounder who stands 6’10” and is only 27 years old. But in five NBA seasons, he’s only started 52 games, and last season was his first averaging at least 20 minutes per game (20.8). 

Hill finished ninth among all players in total rebound percentage last year and third overall in offensive rebound rate, per Basketball-Reference.com. He’s useful and belongs on the court, but protecting the rim at center for 30 minutes each night isn’t a suitable option. 

According to SportVU, opponents shot 51.4 percent at the rim with Hill defending six attempts per game last season. He also blocked 1.5 shots per 36 minutes, which equals his career average. Again, Hill isn’t a useless chess piece, but putting him o...

About the Author