Six games into an NBA season is way to few to be a statistically significant. Which is just a fancy way saying it is way to early to know exactly what you’ve got with this year’s Laker team.
That has not stopped news outlets from highlighting Kobe’s shooting percentage (.377%) and points per game (27.7) through the first six. His scoring is right at the top of the league, which is just what everybody expected, and his shooting percentage has gone down now that he’s the primary target of opposing defenses, which is just what everybody expected. The obvious can pass for news these days, I guess.
But since we’re looking at stats early on, here are a few others:
The leader on the Lakers in terms of +/- (how good a team does with a player on the court versus off) is Jumaine Jones, with the team about 37.7 points per game better with him on the court (if he played all 48). He has been the only guy consistently coming off the bench and providing anything (Grant does on occasion). His presence was missed in Memphis and will be this weekend.
As for the rest of the +/- stats, Kobe comes in second, no surprise there. Third, however, is a surprise — Chucky Atkins. He provides no boost offensively, but when he is out the team gives up more points, in part because nobody else is playing good defense at the point. I expect that by the end of the season, Chucky won’t be that high on this list, however.
The bottom of that +/- tote goes to two younger players who obviously have been struggling to find their way in this system — Kareem Rush and Luke Walton.
Should be no surprise, but based on a PER stat (a complex but all-encompassing statistic) the only position the Lakers are getting positive production out of is shooting guard.
So far this season, 61% of the Lakers’ shots have been jump shots.
They are better when they get out on fast on the break — 40% of the team’s shots are taken before 10 seconds are off the 24 second clock and they are shooting a high percentage that way.
The Lakers are averaging four points less than their opponents per game, but they are shooting seven more free throws a game. Another sign that the Lakers like to drive to the hoop: They have 24 offensive penalties, to just eight committed against them.
Quote of the day, comes from Duke forward Shelden Williams, in an article in the LA Times today about the Lakers attempts to lure Coach K out of Duke last summer:
“Coach K wants his environment controlled,” Williams said. “I’m a big Laker fan, but what happened there with Kobe and Shaq, it was silly. That’s little-kid stuff. Basketball should be more professional.”