LOS ANGELES (News4usonline) – Thanks to a couple of acquisition pickups in February, the Los Angeles Lakers have improved their play in the second half of the 2022-23 NBA season. The Lakers flipped their once going nowhere 26-31 mark to a winning percentage and a solid chance to make the postseason.
What the Lakers have now is something the team lacked in the first half of the season, and that is having quality shooters on the floor. With the Russell Westbrook adventure having gone south, the Lakers went out and got Malik Beasley and D’Angelo Russell to fill their shooting guard needs.
The gamble has played in the Lakers’ favor. Beasley, a shooting guard the Lakers received from Utah Jazz, has given Los Angeles an edge on their offensive play.
Beasley spent one season with Utah before he made his way to LA. He had one of his best seasons last year where he averaged 13.4 points a game. Now with the Lakers, he is averaging 11.2 points a game.
Beasley’s steadiness has given the Lakers a lift on both ends of the floor. One of the keys for Beasley is just fitting in and not trying to do too much.
“I tell myself to keep doing what I’m doing,” Beasley said in a postgame press conference after a win against the New Orleans Pelicans earlier this season. “Don’t change anything up and don’t worry about the pressure of making shots.”
Beasley has positively affected the Lakers’ chances to move up the Western Conference standings and to have a shot in the play-in tournament. However, the veteran shooting guard has taken a surprising turn and his numbers have slowed down drastically.
Beasley is currently averaging 7.4 points while shooting 31.7% from the field and 35.5% outside the three-point line. Just recently, in a 125-118 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on April 5, Beasley toiled for nearly 13 minutes (12:47) and scored just seven points in the defeat.
Lakers head coach Darvin Ham addressed Beasley’s recent shooting struggles and decrease in numbers after a win against the Chicago Bulls. In the game against the Bulls, which turned out to be a Lakers 121-110 road win at United Center on March 29, Beasley finished with zero points, one rebound, one assist, and two steals and had four turnovers.
“I don’t know if he’s lost confidence. He’s probably a little frustrated,” said Ham. “Again, I’m behind him one thousand percent and he is going to continue to get his minutes. And we just got to continue to set great screens from him, encourage him to continue to shoot the ball and to continue to compete defensively. There’s no magic pill. He’s just got to keep playing ball. Every night is not going to be your night. In an 82-game season, you’re going to struggle.”
While Beasley works to get his rhythm back, the Lakers still hold on to hopes for the postseason. With two games left in the regular season, only the Phoenix Suns and Utah Jazz stand in their way. The loss to the Clippers, whom they’ve lost 11 straight games to, was a setback in the team’s playoff ambitions.
As the No.7 seed in the Western Conference, Beasley is the wild card for the Lakers. There is no time left for him to get back into the swing of things. If Beasley gets hot and catches his shooting rhythm, the Lakers have a chance to make the postseason.
If that does not happen, that’s not a good thing for the Lakers. Beasley having a couple of “off weeks” does not mean Los Angeles needs to give up on his offensive shooting skills. In their 121-107 win against the Phoenix Suns in their next-to-last game of the regular season, Ham’s patience with Beasley paid off in a big way.
Beasley scored 21 points in the team’s 42nd victory of the season.
“I put in a lot of work,” Beasley said after the win. “At some point, it’s (ball) gonna fall.”
Feature image of Los Angeles Lakers head coach Darvin Ham greeting guard Malik Beasley. Photo by Mark Hammond for News4usonline
California State University Dominguez Hills journalism major. Editor in chief of Cypress College Chronicle 2019. Born and raised in La Mirada, CA