Lakers Need More ‘Big Three’ Lineup!
Time for the Lakers to feature their ‘Big Three’ lineup with Kyle Kuzma at the three, LeBron James at the four, and Anthony Davis at the five
The ‘Big Three’ lineup with Kyle Kuzma at the three, LeBron James at the four, and Anthony Davis at the five is not only the Lakers’ most lethal lineup but also the best solution for getting Kuzma needed minutes and touches.
Because of Kuzma’s injuries and the strong play of the JaVale McGee and Dwight Howard center tandem, the Lakers have only used their ‘Big Three’ lineup in 26 of the 40 games so far this season for just 5 minutes per game. But when James, Davis, and Kuzma have played together, the Lakers have an OFFRTG of 110.6, DEFRTG of 89.1, and NETRTG of 21.6, which is the best for any of their three-man lineups that have played over 145 minutes.
The big advantage of the ‘Big Three’ lineup is it offers better spacing versus opposing teams who like to pack their defense into the paint to make it hard for LeBron James and Anthony Davis to find space to attack the rim. Playing Anthony Davis at the five and replacing McGee or Howard with Kuzma also prevents opposing teams from going small and trying to use a stretch five to pull the Lakers’ rim protection away from the basket.
While Anthony Davis has made it clear he doesn’t want to play big minutes at the five during the regular season, he’s said he wouldn’t have a problem playing there during the playoffs and when there was a favorable matchup. We’re not suggesting Anthony Davis plays more minutes at the five than the four but doubling the five minutes per game he’s playing center now to ten minutes per game could give Kyle Kuzma the starter minutes he needs.
In addition to doubling the 5 minutes the James, Davis, Kuzma ‘Big Three’ lineup is playing to 10 minutes per game, the Lakers should seriously consider making that their closing lineup the rest of the regular season. Come the playoffs, the Lakers will want to close games with the most versatile, lethal lineup in their repertoire and now’s the time to start fine tuning that lineup so it’s honed and ready-to-go once the playoffs begin.
Finally, closing games is a role most players relish even more than starting games. Since we can’t start Kuzma, giving him starter minutes and the opportunity to close games should be important to keeping him happy. Whether the Lakers keep Kuzma or trade him to fill their critical need for a second playmaker or elite wing defender, it’s critical Kuzma plays to his potential the next four weeks so the Lakers can make the right decision.
Doubling the usage of the James, Davis, Kuzma ‘Big Three’ lineup and featuring it to close games are the key moves the Lakers need to make to set the stage for Kyle Kuzma to have the best possible opportunity to succeed. The best of worlds for the Lakers would be signing Darren Collision and Andre Iguodala to fill their playmaker and wing defender needs and having Kyle Kuzma prove he can be the team’s third big time scorer and closer.
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