Midseason Report Cards 2016-17

2016-17 Midseason Report Card: Los Angeles Lakers

Midseason Report Card: Los Angeles Lakers

Scott Howard-Cooper

(All stats and records through Jan. 15; for report cards for all 30 teams click here.)

Offense: 103.8, 20th Overall

Defense: 110.2, 30th Overall

W-L | Pct. | GB

15-30 | .333 | 21.5

Conf.: 8-19

Div.: 4-5

Home: 10-12

Road: 5-18

FRONTCOURT: D

Julius Randle, Luol Deng and Timofey Mozgov have been close to a constant in the opening lineup, but only Randle is a possibility for the long term while center and small forward feel more like temporary solutions. Randle could be very long term.

BACKCOURT: C

While D’Angelo Russell continues to struggle with his shot, Nick Young’s swag-a-licious resurgence has been a big factor in the Lakers’ improvements. Young could go from 33.9 percent behind the arc last season to a top-10 finish in the league.

DEFENSE: F

Is F-minus an option? For all the other signs of the Lakers moving forward, there hasn’t been reason for encouragement on this side of the ball amid the possibility they could finish last in efficiency and field-goal defense.

BENCH: A

Lou Williams is a leading candidate for the Kia Sixth Man of the Year Award and a major reason, along with Jordan Clarkson, the Lakers are first in bench scoring. A reserve has led the team in scoring in more than half the games.

COACHING: C

The level of confidence in Luke Walton is, what, double the belief in Byron Scott? Triple. The defense needs to get a lot better, but Walton, doing good work fitting a lot of pieces together, is obviously part of the future.

OVERALL GRADE: D+

The season probably won’t live up to the hope/hype from the good start and it almost certainly won’t look good in the final standings, but the Lakers are, strangely, in position to feel good about a season that could end around 30 wins. The foundation, from young players to the new coach, is coming together in an important indication of progress considering where they have been.

The 10-10 start may have quickly ended up in the wind, but it was a hint at the possibilities, and .500 ball for nearly a quarter of the season, at any stage, is commendable after a 17-65 finish in 2015-16. A solid finish the second half of this campaign would get the Lakers at least close to doubling the win total from a year ago and offer yet more encouragement.

Scott Howard-Cooper has covered the NBA since 1988. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter.

The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting.