Over the last few days, a myriad of tweets and Facebook posts have been dedicated to harsh criticism of head coach Mike Brown and his newly installed Princeton offense. Inside the NBA analyst Charles Barkley, to no one’s surprise, also took a shot, saying:
“I’ve always said I want my accountants from Princeton, not my offense.”
Should Laker Nation really be concerned about the Lakers offense?
Through the first three games this season (ignoring last night’s blowout victory against an unimpressive Pistons team), the Lakers put up 97.3 points while attempting about 72 field goals per game. To provide some context, the Lakers have averaged at least 80 field goal attempts per game each of the past 10 seasons. While some people will immediately blame this gap on the “slow” Princeton offense, the Lakers averaging 19.7 turnovers per game over that three-game span may have something to do with the reduction in field goal attempts. Or perhaps opponents’ second-chance opportunities, created by offensive rebounds, have resulted in more possessions for opponents and less for the Lakers.
Kurt Rambis, former Lakers forward and assistant coach, suggests patience in adapting this new system. As an assistant under Phil Jackson for many years, Rambis experienced the highs and lows of the triangle offense, a system similar to the Princeton offense in terms of movement.
“Phil has always felt that it takes a good part of the year for players to feel very comfortable. They get to the point where they stop thinking about the offense and start thinking about the execution of it, so they can relax and start reading the defenses and make the proper adjustments based on how the defense plays,” said Rambis.
The Lakers have a long way to go in terms of perfecting their offensive execution and building chemistry amongst their star-studded nucleus. Every Lakers fan knows that this storied franchise plays for championship banners, not for the top spot in Marc Stein’s ESPN Power Rankings through the regular season.
With all that said, it is important for Lakers fans to remember that we are only four games into the season. Maybe the Lakers will go 79-3, to Metta’s satisfaction. You never know.