Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers: What’s Stopping the Team From Dominating?

The Los Angeles Lakers by many measures are off to a decent start. The team has one of the best records in the NBA at 13-4.

No other team has been as dominant offensively as the Lakers.

For instance, Los Angeles leads the league in scoring at 110.6 ppg. The Lakers rank second in the NBA in three-point accuracy (.424), free-throw percentage (.823), assists per game (23.81) and rebounds per game (45.75).

Defensively, the team has been steadily improving from an early lackadaisical start. The Lakers currently rank first in point differential at 9.93 and third in opponents' field-goal percentage at .431.

While from many key statistical numbers the Lakers look like a team that should win 65 to 70 games this season, much of the success is due to an easy schedule. Reaching those win totals and winning another championship may not happen unless the team can improve in some key areas.


Bench Is Improved but Not Without Flaws

By all accounts, the bench of the Los Angeles Lakers is much improved from last year. Called the “Renegades” by head coach Phil Jackson, the reserve unit will only become more dominant once Andrew Bynum returns and Lamar Odom becomes another super-sub.

This season, the bench players have helped turn around many games for the Lakers by providing hustle plays and hitting key shots.

However, when the reserves go cold from the field, that shooting touch seems to be contagious and the whole team seems to struggle. It was this poor shooting by the bench that in fact squandered a 19-point lead against the Jazz on Friday night.

While Steve Blake, Matt Barnes and Shannon Brown have generally shot well from outside of the arc, they need to do a better job of getting closer shots at the basket when their three-pointers are not falling.


Key Starters Are Struggling

Ron Artest and Derek Fis...

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