The Los Angeles Lakers are trying to build a new winning streak. They’re currently at four consecutive wins after beating the Atlanta Hawks. Their opponent this Tuesday night is another team who faced several changes in the offseason.
The Oklahoma City Thunder saw star player Paul George head to Los Angeles, unfortunately not to the team many Laker fans wanted. In exchange, they were able to bring in a promising prospect, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. OKC also saw their franchise player Russell Westbrook traded to Houston for Chris Paul. The Thunder lost a nailbiter against the Clippers on Monday night, to push their record to five wins and eight losses.
Now, with both teams having quite the overhaul, how do they look?
The Lakers have continued to play extremely well. They are top ten in both offensive efficiency (9th) and defensive efficiency (1st). The Thunder are 23rd in offensive efficiency and 13th in the defensive regard. Even though OKC is a below .500 team, they are a team that can give the Lakers problems.
I say that because the purple and gold are actually among the bottom teams in terms of defending guards. The Lakers allow 47.5 points per 100 possessions to opposing guards which ranks 27th overall.
Gilgeous-Alexander is currently leading the Thunder in scoring at 20.4 points per game to go along with 40% shooting from beyond the arc. Dennis Schroeder and the aforementioned Paul are also guards to take note of, averaging 13.7 and 16.3 points per game respectively.
This is, however, a very different Point Gawd than we’re used to. Paul is only dishing out 5.4 assists per game which would be the lowest in his career and only shooting 26.9% from outside.
The Thunder are among the best in the league at defending forwards but could face issues going against LeBron James and Anthony Davis. James is averaging 25 points to go with a league-leading 11.2 assists per game. Davis is just behind him averaging 24.5 points per game.
A Laker I wanted to note has been playing well the past few games is Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. He was important in securing the win against the Kings in the fourth quarter and continued playing well against the Hawks.
Kyle Kuzma is looking more like his past self. He’s been shooting 51.7% from beyond the arc the past five games.
Even though the Thunder are coming off of a back to back, this just reeks of a trap game.
The Lakers play the Thunder at Staples Center at 7:30 PM. Follow Lakers Outsiders for updates and more.
Thunder stats recorded prior to their loss to the Clippers.