It is sometimes hard to focus on positives after a disappointing loss, but there was a least one that stood out for the Lakers in their one point defeat to the Bulls Christmas Day, you just had to look really hard and ignore the stat sheet.
The Lakers shot an uninspiring 4 for 16 from three point range against the Bulls Christmas Day. The 25 percent from behind the arc does not elicit great feelings of confidence from the fan base about the Lakers deep range prowess. What it did show is that there is a core group of outside specialist in the Lakers rotation that are going to be counted on to space the floor for the Lakers low post game, especially once their primary low post threat returns in 3 games, Mr. Andrew Bynum.
Troy Murphy only took one three point shot and missed, but he did knock down some mid rangers and his stroke looked good. Murphy is an established long range bomber that just experienced a set back last season with the Nets and Celtics, mainly because of injury. It appears by the way that Murphy is moving on the court that he is back to being at full health. Murphy is going to get many opportunities during the season to get shots up from deep with the amount of attention that defenses are going to be paying toKobe, Gasol and Bynum. Murphy at 6,10 and with his high release, will have no problem getting those shots up in the Lakers’ offense. If he can be anywhere near his roughly 40% career percentage from behind the arc, he will be deadly.
Steve Blake, likeTroy, had experienced regression in his game last season. Coming into last season, Blake was known as a heady playmaker with a good outside shot. Whether it was Blake’s game not fitting in the triangle offense or him just experiencing a fluke down year he just didn’t perform and was a major disappointment as a free agent acquisition for the Lakers coming into this year. Based on his preseason performance and his game against the Bulls, he appears to have renewed confidence in his outside shot. Blake shot 60 percent from behind the arc in two preseason games and went 2 for 6 on Sunday. More so than just his production thus far, Blake does not look hesitant at all when he is out on the court.
There have been a few reports from camp that Gasol has increased his range to the point of extending to behind the 3 point line. You typically don’t like your 7 footer playing so far away from the basket, but in the case with the Lakers having another 7 footer that will occupy the space in close proximity to the paint, Gasol getting offense from the perimeter will be beneficial to his game and the Lakers’ offense. From what we witnessed on Sunday, Gasol and the coaching staff appear to have confidence to take deep shots. Gasol missed both of his 3 point shots Sunday but the shots looked good and he definitely didn’t look out of place in 3 point land. If Gasol can successfully implement a 3 point shot, and improve in his mid range game, he will be able to solidify that consistent 2nd scorer to Kobe Bryant on this team and return more to the Gasol that we were accustomed to seeing in the Lakers’ two championship runs.
The Lakers in desperate need to improve their efficiency from the 3 point land after shooting just 35 percent last year, they drafted sweet shooting guard Andrew Goudelock from the College of Charleston in the second round this year. So far, Andrew Goudelock has showed that he can shoot at the NBA level as well. Goudelock only played 12 minutes Sunday against the Bulls but in that short time he was able to get 3 shots up from behind the arc and made 2 of them. More importantly, Goudelock displayed his sweet stroke and quick release in getting up his 3 shots which should provide him with more playing time. Goudelock could develop into a specialty role player in Mike Brown’s system similar to how Brown used a player with a similar skill set in Daniel Giblson inCleveland. Unlike Goudelock’s time with the College of Charleston, he wont be asked to carry an offense, just take shots from outside to help space the floor and hit them at a high success rate; Goudelock appears to have what it takes to fit that role.