In poker, no one comes up and throws a bomb, and in basketball, teams mostly save their ace lineup and moves for crunch time. But the Nets and lakers aren’t going to hold back this season, and they’re going to throw out their ace lineup from game 1.
Last season, the Nets stuck with DeAndre Jordan or Claxton as the starting center during the regular season, but went with Blake Griffin as the starting center in the playoffs. The Lakers stick with Drummond or pau gasol regularly and play Anthony Davis at center in crunch time. For both teams, small ball is their trump card. During the first two days of training camp, both teams were ready to use the ace as a regular play.
Neither Steve Nash nor Frank Vogel has announced their starting lineups for the new season, but the big three of both teams will definitely take the starting lineups, and focusing on small ball is the established policy, the only question is who will play alongside the big three.
The first two days of practice, barring accidents, the two teams will start the new season like this:
Nets: James Harden, Kyrie Irving, Joe Harris, Kevin Durant, Blake Griffin
Lakers: Russell Westbrook, Kent Bazemore, Trevor Ariza, lebron James, Anthony Davis
These two linups are undoubtedly luxury battleship level, nets five tigers total salary of up to $140 million, only Griffin is a minimum salary contract. The Big three accounted for $121 million of the lakers’ $126 million payroll, with Bazemore and Ariza both on minimum salaries.
Regardless of the risk of injury and the possibility that Kyrie irving will miss a home game due to a vaccination issue, who is better than the Nets or the Lakers when it comes to the strength of the starting lineup? Next we from two sets of lineup style, lineup configuration, advantages and disadvantages and other aspects to compare.
The Nets and lakers started with five small ball lineups, but the two teams have very different styles. The Nets’ starting five are more modern in their setup and play, while the Lakers, nominally small ball, are more traditional in their setup and play.
In this era of increasing emphasis on 3-point shooting, the Starting five tigers of the Nets undoubtedly walk in the forefront of The Times, they all have 3-point shooting ability, the big three and Harris of course, even the former dunk griffin has become a 3-point expert, he has expanded his range to beyond the 3-point line, He shot nearly 39 percent from 3-point range in both the regular season and playoffs last season.
Harden is already the league’s top ball-handling core, Irving and Durant also have the organization ability, coupled with the high post excellent Griffin, the Nets have four players who are both passing threats and scoring threats, they can go the ultimate offensive route, Most nights this lineup builds an advantage on offense alone. Also, while the Nets were poorly defended in the regular season last season, they played great defense in the playoffs, and the defensive problems with this lineup were not as great as they might have been in the endless rotation.
There is no doubt that the lakers’ five tigers are more retro from the configuration to the style of play, westbrook is a typical rush point guard, shooting ability is its weakness. To serve Westbrook, the Lakers moved Davis to the fifth and James to the fourth, with two 3-D players on the wings to spread the floor and play defense. In an era of multi-position shooting, the lakers’ lineup is a bit of an anomaly, dictated by the style of the Big Three.
Stylistically, the lakers, who were weak on offense and strong on defense last season, learned the lesson that “defense wins championships” doesn’t go out of style, but you can’t win championships with the league’s no. 1 defensive line and a mid-to-low offense. So the lakers are going to go for a balanced offensive/defensive approach this season, with Davis at the no. 5 position as a defensive base, James helping to scour the floor, bazemore and Trevor Ariza supporting the wings while trying to maintain defensive efficiency while taking advantage of better spacing and creating opportunities for shooters.
Each team coach will emphasize the “balance between offense and defense,” but considering that the Lakers have this lineup of unknowns has not yet reached the degree of “both offense and defense,” and the Nets this lineup has been tested, established the basic chemistry, and has a historical level of offensive efficiency, the net first five tigers advantage.
Big Three vs. role players
The three giants of the Lakers and nets are the top stars of the league with distinctive characteristics. The three giants are the foundation of their own. The playing methods, advantages and disadvantages of the three giants of the two teams basically cover the characteristics and advantages and disadvantages of the two teams’ playing methods.
With harden, Irving and Durant scoring more than one point per possession last season, the Nets’ big three are among the league’s top scorers. Their play doesn’t depend on circumstances, they can score regardless of circumstances. Irving and Durant shot 40.2 percent and 45 percent from 3-point range last season, respectively. Harden’s efficiency dropped late in the game due to increased load, but his 3-point percentage was 36.6 percent, higher than his career average.
One of the reasons the Nets had record offensive efficiency last season was because they had Durant as the glue in the big Three. His combination of ball-handling and off-ball offense was the root of the big three’s coexistence, and his presence directly solved the ball distribution problem among the big three. At the same time, Durant in the fourth position of the ability to assist defense, defense ability to directly alleviate the basket nets defensive pressure.
The lakers’ big three are individually the top three, so the question is, how do they split the ball? Westbrook was supposed to be the lakers’ anchor, but James hasn’t been effective off the ball over the years, and he had some great matchups with Pau Gasol last season, but playing off the ball as a whole isn’t something James is used to.
The Lakers’ big Three aren’t nearly as good at shooting as the Nets, with 70 players taking at least 2,000 jumpers over the past five seasons, according to statistics. Westbrook’s effective percentage (41.8%) is last, and Davis is second from last.
Although the three lakers have the advantage of attacking the basket, their attacking effect is greatly affected by the space environment, and they cannot take points by force regardless of the environment. For those two reasons, ESPN ranks the Lakers in second place, behind the Nets and bucks.
The ceiling for the lakers’ big three this season will largely depend on Davis, who, in addition to his health, will be able to recapture the top-tier ball-handling efficiency he enjoyed in the 2020 playoffs. In addition, Westbrook’s defensive habits are no better than Harden’s or Irving’s, and with James and Durant both playing the mop-up 4, Davis’s ability to return to all-defensive first-team defense will be critical.
The ceiling could be even higher if Davis stays healthy and rediscovers his jump shot and free throw sharpness from his championship run. But right now, the Lakers’ big three have more problems than the Nets’ big three.
In contrast to the other two positions outside the Big Three, Harris was one of the top scorers in the league even when he was out of form in last season’s Eastern Conference semifinals, and a poor series doesn’t take away his ability to do that. Griffin’s versatility has made him indispensable, and the nets were pleased with how he defended Antetokounmpo against the Bucks last season.
From the point of view of strength, fame, characteristics, the Nets two role players are very low replaceable, and their characteristics in the current league environment belong to a very precious type. While the Lakers’ two role players are popular 3D types, they can’t reach the elite level whether they are 3-point or defensive. They are more substitutable in the Lakers lineup, and kendrick Nunn, Malik Monk, Wayne Ellington and other players on the bench may replace them at any time. So the nets have the upper hand in the other two position roles.
Key strengths and weaknesses
The Tigers’ biggest strength is their shooting ability, and their ability to shoot from no corners in the half court is one of the reasons they are favored to win the NBA championship. Last season, when the Big three missed a lot of games due to injuries, the Nets still put up a league record of offensive efficiency, when the big three played together.
The Nets’ strong shooting ability just highlights the lakers’ poor shooting ability. When James, known for his drive to the basket, becomes the lakers’ most prolific three-point shooter, it speaks to the lakers’ shooting problems. The good news is that the lakers have brought in several shooters who shot 400 percent from 3-point range last season, but that impressive 3-point shooting masks a lack of consistency and production from those players.
A team’s ceiling is always determined by its top stars, but westbrook shot 31.5 percent from 3-point range last season and Davis shot just 26 percent, and those two can’t solve the lakers’ shooting problems without improving their shooting and playing less role players.
Of course, the Nets are not without weaknesses, and the Lakers are not without strengths. The Lakers’ athleticism, size advantage, just the weakness of the nets. With Harden and Irving unable to guard a speedy point guard in the backcourt, Westbrook led the Wizards to a 2-1 record in three games in the Nets last season, scoring 41 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists in one game and scoring more than 20 points and matching double figures in the other two.
James, Davis partner frontcourt, size, confrontation is their advantage. The lakers in 2020 and the Bucks in 2021 both used their size to run the rim. The Nets lost to the Bucks in the Eastern conference semifinals, losing game 6 and Game 7 to the Bucks on second downs after giving up too many defensive rebounds because of their size. Former Laker Nick Young said he expects the Lakers to beat the Nets because of their size.
The Lakers’ strength also lies in the fact that the last two Finals have proved that size can offset or even overwhelm an opponent’s shooting advantage. In the postseason, when defense is more targeted, shooting might not work, but the advantages of height and playing against this physical talent are not easily countered.
Of course, basketball is not just about the starting five. The performance of the role players, the style of play of the coaches on both sides are also critical, and the starting lineups can change at any time because of matchups and other factors. All things considered, the Nets’ starting five have fewer question marks and higher limits, starting from a higher base than the Lakers’ starting five. As for the future cap, it depends on how much the two teams can solve.
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