One of the major components to the Los Angeles Lakers success early on this season has been the impressive play from their bench.
The Lakers’ reserves this year lead the league in scoring with 46.7 points per game. In Friday’s win over the Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles’ bench outscored their opponent’s reserves 44-17, which marked the 12th time in 13 games this season that they have also outscored their opponent’s second unit.
The contributions that the Lakers receive from their bench each night is a stark contrast from last season as they ranked 27th in the league in scoring with 14.3 points per game and 26th in efficiency at 29 percent. The vast improvement this season is due to the additions of Jordan Farmar and Nick Young to the bench unit.
In Friday’s game, the Southern California duo showed they could be an effective pair on the floor together as Farmar scored 14 points on 6-of-9 shooting from the field to go along with eight assists, and Young tied his best offensive output of the season by scoring 21 points on 7-of-15 shooting from the field in 31 minutes played.
Farmar and Young have been the head of the snake for the Lakers’ reserves this season. Farmar controls the pace of the second unit and has been a steady ball handler for the Los Angeles. As for Young, since he was moved to the bench in the fourth game of the season, he has averaged 17.1 points per game and has scored in the double figures in 9 of the 10 contests he has played off the bench. And before Friday’s game, the 28-year-old was ranked fourth highest in scoring among players who have come off the bench in multiple games this year.
The two have shown the great chemistry that they share when on the floor together as they feed off each other’s energy.
“He is a fun guy to play with,” Farmar said following Friday’s win. “He had the energy going and the crowd going. Once he starts smiling and feeling good about himself it’s kind of contagious. So you try to get going early and ride the wave.”
Young felt that chemistry between the two was built when both played on the same AAU team during their high school days that has helped them become an effective duo on the court.
“He has it going,” Young said of Farmar. “We’ve been playing together for awhile, so we already had that chemistry coming in. I feel comfortable when I’m out there with him.”
What is most impressive about the bench unit being the highest scoring in the league, is that they are accomplishing it without their best player in Kobe Bryant. The Lakers have found other ways to receive offensive contributions in place of Bryant as the bench has stepped up with him out for the start the season.
Without the impressive play of the bench, Los Angeles would not have a 6-7 record through 13 games but rather a far worse one. With that said, the bench has been where the Lakers have gotten their most consistent play from every night. It is going to be interesting to see if the bench can keep up their production once Bryant returns.
But that may not be something to worry about with Farmar and Young leading the way for the Lakers’ second unit.
Photo Credit: Photo Credit: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times