A few stats for the guards

Kurt —  June 2, 2006

Since I got a few compliments on the Synergy-based stats for the forwards (and my oversized ego needs all the watering from complements it can get), here are some stats for the Lakers key guards.

Kobe: The first thing you have to say, when you look down the list of shots Kobe took (whether going left or right, off picks or spot ups, shooting from the midrange or three, single covered or doubled) there was almost no category he didn’t rate “good,” “very good” or “excellent” in (compared to the NBA averages). That’s what makes him so tough to defend, you can’t push him toward much of a weakness.

Isolation plays accounted for 38.5% of his offense (11 possessions per game), being the ball handler in a pick-and-roll another 14.9% 4 possessions). What makes it tough to stop him on isolations (or other times) is that he drove right 51% of the time and left 49%, and whichever way he went he shot well by NBA standards (44% right, 43% left).

He pulled up for jumpers on a lot of those drives (58% of the time going right and 63% going left). In total he had about 13.5 possessions per game that ended in a jumper, on which he shot 46.5% eFG%). However, remember how fast teams were on rotations to Kobe, fearing him getting in close, which likely led to higher incidents of jumpers. He did get to the rim to finish about 8 possessions a game, and he shot 60% on those (considered excellent).

Also, 15% of Kobe’s points came in transition, 7.3% on spot ups. One thing that concerned me and I want to see changed next year, Kobe averaged 2.6 possessions per game where he shot from a post up spot, while Lamar Odom did that just 1.8 times per game. Odom needs to be posted up more when the match up favors him.

Smush Parker: The two big parts of his offense were spot up shots (25% of his offense) and scoring in transition (22%). He also got a decent amount of isolation (13%) and pick-and-roll plays where he was the ball handler (12%). What that meant is he took about 5 jump shots a game (48% eFG%, considered very good) but also got to the rim for 4 possessions a game (62.5%).

My perception of him was streaky as a shooter, but his overall catch and shoot numbers were excellent, shooting 56% (eFG%). That was because he took a lot of threes (318 this season) and shot 36.5% on those.

However, there were holes in his game. First, don’t let him take the three but let him take the long two — he shot 25.3% from 17 feet out to the three point line. Also effective was getting him to put the ball on the floor but then clog the lane and make him shoot the jumper off the dribble, he shot 27.2% doing that.

Smush wants to drive to the right, he did that 71% of the time and shot 51.7% when he did. Make him go left (29% of the time) and he was less effective, shooting 47.6% (which isn’t bad). Either way he goes he knows he doesn’t shoot off the dribble well so expecting to go all the way to the hoop, he does that 71% of the time he goes right and 51% going left.

Sasha Vujacic: He was pretty much a spot up guy, he got 46% of his offense on the spot-up jumper. Another 15.9% came in transition, another 8% in shots off screens.

Interestingly, Sasha was better on catch-and-shoots when he had a guy in his face (47.5% eFG%) than unguarded (45.6%). He is considered a good jump shooter, shooting 45.4% overall. However, he can’t create his own shot, and when he finished the rim he shot a poor 40% on the season. In short jump shots, inside 17 feet, he shot 33% on the season (worse than he shot from three point range, 34.7%).

(The more I think about Sasha, and those numbers hint at it, the more I wonder if he would do better in another offensive system, one that is more open where he can run, use those passing skills and catch-and-shoot at the three point line.)