The Los Angeles Lakers are 2-8 to start the NBA season, and not everyone is surprised.
Many identified 3-point shooting as arguably their greatest weakness coming into the season, and it has certainly been the case.
The team is dead-last in 3-point shooting accuracy at 29.1 percent, which is frightfully bad. Although it has shown some signs of improvement lately in fits and spurts, outside shooting is still a huge concern.
Among their main rotation players, the Lakers have only three men shooting at least 35 percent from downtown and only two who are above 36 percent.
This huge deficiency seems to be wearing on LeBron James, who has been struggling offensively to start the schedule.
A few of his former teammates commented on the Lakers’ lack of 3-point shooting and how it is a bad environment for James.
Frye played with James during the latter’s second stint on the Cleveland Cavaliers, and the former helped space the floor for him.
When the Cavs won the NBA championship in 2016, they had ample shooting around James, which made life easy for him.
“‘Our job on that 2016 team was to make sure those fools did not get double-teamed,’ Frye told ESPN, affectionately referring to the Cavs’ primary playmakers in James and Kyrie Irving. ‘And we had the opportunity. We got the green light to shoot 50,000 3s. It was awesome.’
“Without the pressure-release valve that shooters create by keeping the defense attached to the perimeter, Frye sees James — now a 20-year veteran and turning 38 next month — forced to play a stressful brand of basketball.
“‘Right now, LeBron is thinking for everyone instead of just being LeBron,’ Frye said. ‘And it’s just like, damn. You just want to see him be able to just — I don’t want to say relax, not relax — but to be sort of one-dimensional. Do you need him as point guard? Do you need him as off guard? Where do you need him? And he does that.’
“‘Not like, “Hey, LeBron … we just need you to do a little bit of everything.”‘”
As the Lakers have struggled from beyond the arc, so has James. He is shooting a paltry 21.0 percent from that distance to start the season.
For his career, he has shot 34.5 percent from deep.
During his four seasons with the Lakers, Kuzma was an inconsistent 3-point shooter, and fans were sometimes frustrated with him.
But he did provide enough timely 3-point shooting, and he also improved his defense and rebounding while with the team.
Now a member of the Washington Wizards, the forward recently tweeted about how the pressure of playing for the Lakers can affect some players’ performance.
Some may feel new Lakers guard Patrick Beverley is an example of this. He has historically been a very good 3-point shooter, but so far this season, he has plunged all the way down to 22.7 percent from downtown.
During James’ first three seasons in L.A., Caldwell-Pope may have been the team’s best and most consistent 3-point shooter.
He was traded by the Wizards to the Denver Nuggets in July, and he recently chimed in on the Lakers’ inability to hit from deep and how it has affected James.
“‘The spacing was great,’ Caldwell-Pope told ESPN before the Oct. 26 Lakers-Nuggets game about his time with James in L.A. ‘The spacing gives driving lanes for Bron and AD, where Bron didn’t like to shoot as much 3s. So it gives him driving lanes, and when he does see the help, he’s a tremendous passer and he would find us.’
“Like Frye, Caldwell-Pope said he hopes James is set up to be the best version of himself as he goes through the twilight of his career.
“‘Just watching the games, it just looks like there’s no basketball over there,’ Caldwell-Pope said. ‘It’s just playing pickup. It’s hard to watch sometimes. So from me to him, just get the team together, and I just want to see that spark in him again. I don’t think I see that spark in Bron. So, hopefully, he can get it back.’”
The Lakers have continued to reportedly explore potential trades, although it is unlikely they will pull the trigger on any deal until at least later this month. One very solid trade could go a long way in fixing their 3-point shooting woes and making them a respectable offensive squad.
Story originally appeared on LeBron Wire