Whither Webber?

Kurt —  January 12, 2007

It’s been the hot topic in the comments, but I wanted to wait until there was proven interest from the club before really delving into it. Apparently the Laker front office is interested.

The Times reported that the Lakers are one of five teams on Webber’s short list, according to his agent. Last night David Aldridge (who broke the Iverson trade story) said on the TNT broadcast the Pistons were a done deal, but then Webber himself said no deal was set.

First, lets look at the money and the roster spot. If the Lakers buy-out McKie, nobody weeps. The Lakers can offer Webber $1,178,348 according to Eric Pincus, the same amount as the Pistons. Big money offers will not be rolling in for Webber and what’s left of his knees, but my guess is someone else will offer more; Miami has its full mid-level exemption left to offer.

The bigger question, how well does Webber fit in with these Lakers?

First, how important is playing time to Webber? Because in LA he would be coming off the bench, one of the backups for Lamar Odom. That’s a crowded spot of guys who can hit the jumper, with Radmanovic and Cook getting time as well. If playing time is a priority for Webber, I doubt he’ll be a Laker.

On the floor, it’s pretty easy to picture Webber in the high post of the triangle, making smart passes to cutters and hitting the 15-foot jumper, generally being a good fit with the offense. And he is still a good passer — 18.1% of his possessions end in an assist (only Luke, Odom and Farmar have a higher percentage on the Lakers). And he can still grab rebounds, with the Sixers he grabbed 16.5% of the available boards (only Bynum at 17.6% is higher on the Lakers).

But Webber’s shot is fading — he’s shooting just 38.7% (eFG%) overall this season and 28.5% from the outside. For comparison, Radmanovic is has been off his game and is shooting 47.9%.

Then there is his defense, which is not good — opposing fours have a PER pf 17.9 and shoot 51.5% against him. Of course, those numbers are basically identical to Cook’s, and as Webber spent much of the season as a starter he likely faced a little stiffer competition. Surprisingly, Radmanovic is a little better than both of them on the season against fours (PER of 15.9, close to the league average, and opponents shoot 49.7%).

Bottom line for me — right now with all the injuries Webber sounds like a panacea, a guy who can give the team a boost. But how does he fit in longer-term with this team? Odom will be back in the next couple weeks, Kwame next month. Webber would be fighting for minutes in a crowded position, fighting with guys who are younger and, in the case of Radman, is just starting to figure out the offense.

I don’t think signing Webber is a bad move, but it’s a short-term answer. And I think if the Lakers are making moves it should be for the longer term, guys who will still be players in three years.

Kurt

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20 responses to Whither Webber?

  1. You mentioned in the last post about how the Pistons have totally reformed themselves from shutdown D to all offense (with Webber fitting that as well)…with the way the new rules are going I think it’s a pretty good call from Dumars..what good is tough and physical D if you get a foul these days from just looking at DWade wrong…
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aySGUzzxjGE

  2. Three Reasons why we should sign him

    1. Lakers need another vet to win the title Webber is the type of veteran front-court player that can take this team over the top (similar to Wallace)

    2. Webber would be our Center in the playoffs against several teams. Having this option will help Lamar on the boards and Kobe on the offensive end.

    3. Luke starting alongside Kobe is a terrible defensive fit, bringing Luke off the bench would have the two-fold effect of improving defensive efficency from the startes and offensive efficency from the bench

  3. Also, I agree Kurt we should not mortgage our future, but this move costs us nobody but Mckie or Shammond. Also, Why can’t we have a short-term solution, that’s what we used with A.C. Green in ’00, Harper in ’00 and ’01 and Ho Grant in ’01.

  4. If this were to happen wouldn’t the Lakers be essentially replacing Cook for Webber?

    Has anyone ever come to a team that runs the triangle and been effective immedaitely? Mitch Richmond, Jim Jackson, etc…

  5. I think it’s as much Flip instead of Brown as much as Dumars.

    If Webber wants to win, I think he’s better off in Detroit or Miami, two teams his 20 minutes a night could help get out of the East.

    Of course, what does that really matter. Did you see the two teams I picked in the finals for this season last night, Phoenix and Cleveland? Will the Eastern champ even take a game from the West in the finals this season?

  6. kwame a., are you suggesting Webber starts instead of Luke? Or he would once he learns the offense? Interesting, but my thought is Webber is better at 20 minutes or less a game, the 30 minutes were killing him. That said, he could start and play 20.

  7. John Hollinger’s 2 cents:

    •The Lakers are perhaps the most realistic destination, as the triangle offense could best take advantage of his high-post skills, and L.A.’s defensive system doesn’t require its big men to be particularly mobile. However, as with Detroit, the Lakers could only offer the veteran’s minimum because the team used its other exceptions to sign Vladimir Radmanovic and Shammond Williams.

  8. I thing the Lakers offensive efficency is a byproduct of how good Walton plays with the team (when his jumper is going). However, like many people have been saying, his high-post skills (remember Malone ’04) would be ideal for the triangle, so letting him take some of Walton’s minutes won’t be a bad thing. I think he could play 10-12 mins at C and 10-12 mins at PF. This would slide LO to the 3 for a bit and eat into Walton’s minutes, but not much because it would really take away mins from Vlad, Cook and Evans.

  9. Another Hollinger take via henry @ True Hoop:

    “…perhaps the worst front-court defender in the NBA.”

  10. Why not replace Cook with Webber? I mean think about it, Webber is averaging 11 points, 8 rebounds, and 3.5 assists this year. Kwame’s averaging about 8, 6, and 2. Bynum is at 8, 6, and 1. And Cook is at 7, 3.5, and 1. Even though Webber is old and slow, those are still pretty good numbers. Especially on a bad team. He would be more productive as a passer and jump shooter in the triangle (assuming he figures it out) which would probably increase his field goal percentage. Off the floor he is a veteran player who has been in some big playoff games over the years and has paid his dues. He knows how to be up for a big game and how to be composed. He would be a good teammate to our younger guys later in the season much like R.Harper and Green and Ho Grant were for us before. And who knows, what if he gets as re-energized by a change of scenery as Iverson did in Denver.

  11. Obviously Hollinger hasn’t been watching Laker games, it is obvious Brian Cook is the worst-defender to ever lace up a pair of basketball sneakers.

  12. From watching games lately I’m gonna have to say the defense has been regulated to getting defensive rebounds so your opponent won’t get another shot. Weber can give that.

    Shame what’s become of the game today.

  13. c-webb is a good fit because he’s solid at the high-post in a passing offense and can shoot way better than kwame. on defense, he needs to be paired with an athletic big man which the lakers have (kwame and odom). i think the triangle would revitalize him a bit too, even if he has to come off the bench when everyone is health.

    one more vote to sign him … it’s not like mckie is contributing anything at this point.

  14. We’d be trading our water-boy for Chris Webber, and if he gets cranky or becomes a problem, he’s gone. Its a win-win situation. And don’t forget, just because we sign him doesn’t mean hes getting big minutes right away. It will be a battle for PT between Cook, VladRad, and C-Webb. Whoever earns the minutes gets the minutes.

  15. What I would do would be to trade Mihm and Smush to Seattle for Earl Watson, maybe a second round pick could be thrown there.
    Salaries match. we get our defensive PG we lack of and the Sonics, considering that Lewis might opt out his contract, will be able to start rebuilding with money to spend comming from Lewis (9.4M), Fortson (6.6M) and Mihm (4.2M). that’s 20.4M to rebuild only considering big contracts, not bad uhh.

    then, the lakers would have a free spot to land Webber.
    we offer him a one year deal, so we can solve our short-term problems, he can see if he likes team chemistry, the triangle and if they are title contenders.

    if he doesnt like his playing time he can leave in summer to an other team. but i think C-Web could play some minutes at the 4 or even at the C, ala Divac, posting ant passing if his shooting isnt as it used to be.
    he’s inteligent enought to understand the triangle and has the desire to win.

  16. I agree that I’d rather have Webber than McKie on the end of the bench. But I don’t actually WANT either of them there, so why trade “up” from one player you don’t want to another you don’t want?

    It makes more sense for our 12th man to be a big man than a guard, as you can’t teach Tall, and Webber would have 6 fouls to give (every time he reaches with his arms, instead of moving his feet… which is every time). I just think he’d be a cancer in the clubhouse. Bringing in a “me-first” player on such a young impressionable team. I know Kobe gets that bad rap, but he’s a Laker, not a hired gun. And there’s a difference.

  17. ..except “earn” isn’t in CWebb’s dictionary and is only going to a team that’s going to guarantee minutes

  18. I really don’t think Webber will be needed after Odom and Kwame return from their injuries. He can rotate instead of Cook, but will he settle for that? If he does, then he is welcome, but I don’t think he would. Oh, and I still remember him playing harder against the Lakers than against anyone else…

    Plus, the team needs a PG. Sign-and-trade or do whatever, but just get a PG who can actually guard someone.

  19. Let’s try to look at this from Webber’s point of view.

    The 76ers have collapsed and must rebuild. Chris is 34 and has been dinged a few times (like most 34 year olds in the NBA). Time is not on his side. He cuts a mutually satisfactory deal to leave Philadelphia such that any team could take him.

    What does he want? It has been a long time since Chris thought his team could win it all.

    So, he picks five teams–and they appear to be 5 that could compete for the championship this year. Surprise to some of you. One of them is the Lakers.

    With his few remaining years to put on the table, Chris may believe that the Lakers could possibly win the NBA championship this year–and he’d like to be onboard. He takes all the risks.

    Doesn’t sound like a guy with attitude problems. Sounds like a guy who already anticipates a role in the playoffs this year. Maybe even a guy who could be reborn.

    BIGS last a long time in the NBA. Webber is not a beggar–you can be sure that some of our most impressive competitors (either Dallas, Phoenix, or Detroit) would sign him.

    Whatever he decides, thank him for thinking more optimistically of our Lakers than lots of us do ourselves.

  20. any updates on where webber is headed? He’s the type of player i’ve been suggesting in furm posts since the off season. ” a 10-12yr vet that can play quality minutes and can sometimes play in late game situations should Kwame get injured or Bynum prove inconsistent. Someone with a consistent 12-17ft shot and can play some minutes at C, but primarily a PF” Sounds like Webber to me. Hope he chooses the lakers because he will get a significant role and get a lot of minutes and this is where his high-post skills will be needed