Bynum on the Boards

Kurt —  December 17, 2009

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Andrew Bynum, all seven feet of him with that 7’6” wingspan, had three rebounds in the win over the Bucks. That’s the same number he had in the game against Chicago the night before. He had four against Utah to start this road trip.

Those numbers are, um, to be kind, unimpressive. There are some mitigating factors, starting with Phil Jackson saying Bynum has not felt well recently. Then there was Brad Miller pulling him away from the post in Chicago and the jumpshooting Bucks leaving long rebounds in Milwaukee. But that is not all of the problems.

To see what is really going on, I tracked Bynum’s rebound chances through the Bucks game, and the results showed that it’s not just one thing, but a lot of little things adding up. What follows is Bynum’s chances in the second half and overtime in the game against Milwaukee. (Not every missed shot is included, there were times Bynum was in a good position on one side of the rim and the ball just bounced another, and listing all those becomes a lesson in tediousness.)

11:04 Third Quarter: This has happened a fair amount in this game, Bynum was defending on Bogut (who was faced up on him 10 feet out). He did his primary job, contesting the shot, then turned to rebound but several steps away from the basket. The missed shot fell right off uncontested to Gasol (who did not have to jump to get it).

10:43 Third Quarter: Ilyasova takes a 20 foot jumper, and Bynum does a solid job boxing out Bogut on the left (weak) side, with Bynum’s feet on the charge circle so he is close to the basket, and Ron Artest slides right up behind Bogut. The problem for Drew is the long shot means a long rebound so while he jumps it goes over his head. It almost goes over Bogut, too, but he is just long enough to grab the board (Artest knocks the ball out of bounds).

10:05 Third Quarter:
Ilyasova gets the ball 20 feet out and Gasol goes out to cover, so Ilyasova drives right past him into the lane. Fisher and Bynum rotate to take away the shot, and the result was Ilyasova trying a floater that was not a real quality shot. But when Bynum stepped out nobody (and it was Artest’s job, although he had a long way to go) picked up Bogut, who had sort of hidden on the baseline then stepped out for good position and the easy putback.

9:20 Third Quarter: Lakers have the ball and Fisher takes a 15-footer from the wing, which he misses. As the shot goes up, Bynum puts a body on Bogut and clears out a good sized space for himself to get the board, but Bynum jumps too early and Bogut, moving around the Bynum box out, jumps later and gets the offensive board. This one is on Drew, that could have been an offensive rebound.

7:52 Third Quarter:
This happened a lot, too, both against the Bucks and the Bulls. Bynum was out contesting a 19-footer off the pick and roll, so he was in no position to get the rebounds. That is the right play (unless said shooter sucks).

7:18 Third Quarter:
Bynum is in good position but the ball bounces over to where Kobe is. (Just wanted to put one of these in.)

5:46 Third Quarter: Again Bynum comes out to the middle of the key to challenge penetration, so he is out of position for the rebound but was making the right play. Gasol gets the board.

5:24 Third Quarter: Apparently princes from Cameroon cannot consistently hit the 15-foot baseline jumper, and the Bucks have nobody underneath to go get the rebounds. Bynum and Kobe are the only two in the area, Bynum grabs the uncontested rebound.

4:40: Third Quarter: Lakers with the ball and Gasol takes a 16-footer straight away. Bynum is in position to fight if it comes off to the left. It goes right. But what is interesting here is Ron Artest was also on the left, slides under the basket and does fight, all the way to the baseline with Bogut for the ball (it goes out off Artest). Ron-Ron showed passion, he wanted it. Bynum’s rebounds tended to come because the ball went to him, not because he fought for it.

11:44 Fourth Quarter: Kobe with a elbow fade away from the right side and Bynum is in position for the offensive board, but with Warrick and Ilyasova right with him. Bynum’s length forces Warrick to overextend, and it goes out of bounds off Warrick to the Lakers.

11:23 Fourth Quarter:
Little thing here, but part of the larger point. Redd misses the second of his two free throw. The man next to Bynum just clears out back in transition defense, so Bynum has nobody to box out. But rather than step in and get the board, he kind of slides up the key to a no mans land, Odom steps in and grabs the easy board.

4:46 Overtime: Bogut has the ball and is working on Bynum on the left block. He fakes a move to his right into the lane then makes a quick spin move back to his preferred left and tries a five foot jump-hook he misses. Bynum contests but then watches the shot while Bogut busts around him to get the rebounds and when it comes off Bogut is inside Bynum, gets the board to keeps the play alive.

3:55 Overtime: Redd takes the patented Joel Meyer short corner three, this time Bynum finds a man (Ilyasova) to put a body on and gets good inside position, so good that even the charging in Bogut could not get the ball, although they did knock it away from Drew to Gasol. This may have been Bynum’s most energetic play of the night, not sure if he got credit for the official board but he made it possible holding off two men.

2:20 Overtime: Charlie Bell with the 17 footer and both Bynum and Gasol are in position, along with Bogut. Still it is the Australian who fights though two Lakers to control the ball and reset their offense.

to Bynum on the Boards

  1. Interesting post.. those sequence of plays are clear justification of Drew’s board numbers, if only just for the Milwaukee game IMO.

    Still, don’t think we should get all complacent about it in the following games I guess. He’ll bounce again, I’m sure… not every game is going to have long rebounds fall calmly into someone’s else hands, not unless Drew decides to mug his own teammates.


  2. I am getting tired of reading posts (at other websites) saying that the Refs influenced this game.

    I need to know how the refs caused the missed free throw by Bogut at the end of regulation. That would have won the game for the Bucks. No one can seem to explain how the refs (or the Lakers) caused him to miss.


  3. One thing that has hurt Bynum is his role as defensive stopper in the lane. Every time Fish or someone else gets blown by, Bynum has to leave his man to contest. If there is a missed shot he is not in position to get the rebound.

    Although, the same analysis could be applied to Gasol ….


  4. Bynum with his rebounding (or lack thereof) is slowly becoming Chris Kaman… he will never be an elite center if he didn’t work his buttttt off with atleast 9 per game. That’s my barometer.


  5. Pretty much the same thing I noticed last night. Drew is the designated “jump shot contester,” leaving Pau, Ron Ron, and Kobe to grab the defensive board. However, it is pretty obvious that Drew could move his feet more to get in position and grab more offensive rebounds.

    Also, this made me LOL:


  6. just a little bit more hustle and desire on nights like these could put andrew on 6 – 8 boards and that would be somewhat respectable considering all the factors, contesting jumpshots and what-not.

    and why is pau not in the league leaders of rebounding?! it says on pace to play 70 games or grab 800 boards. pau has missed 11 games and he could theoretically play 71. and on his average, even if he plays only 63, he’s on pace to get 800!


  7. Fascinating post.

    I’ve always thought that the Rebounds stat should be replaced by a Contested Rebounds stat.

    In a similar vein (and I know this is a minority opinion), I really am not a fan of the slam dunk contest. I admit the Superman/Krypto-nate theatrics were fun, but basically I think the whole concept is flawed. Back in the 80s people were still pushing the envelope of what dunks could look like, but now it’s kind of maxed out and it’s all about gimmicks now.

    I would much rather give a prize to the best IN-GAME dunks, and in particular in-game CONTESTED dunks. So for instance, last year I would nominate Shannon’s dunk on Birdman in Game 5 of the Nuggets series as Best Dunk 08-09. (And in this category, I put Kobe’s round-the-back 360 reverse dunk right at the top all-time, over Carter’s jump over the Frenchman, due to greater relevance.)

    So anyway, I am one of the few who does not care if they Let Shannon Dunk. I find his in-game dunks explosive but not particularly aesthetic. But his in-game dunks are the real things worth celebrating and are worth any ten dunk contest championships.


  8. #6, DreDawg, I think Pau hasn’t played in the minimum number of games yet. Once he hits the minimum, he should show up.

    Kurt, if possible, it be interesting to see something similar when Drew is healthy. How many lack of effort chances is he missing.

    Seems like most of Bynum’s lack of effort chances were later in the game. With his illness, I can see how that would affect it.

    That said, he definitely doesn’t have that high motor that born rebounders have. In this lineup configuration, I’d guess a normal night for him would be in the 6-8 range.

    I think another thing to add to the list of things that will be fun to watch in his development is how he does rebounding. That and passing out of double teams seem to be the two biggest issues.

    Last couple of years, it was defending without foulding. He’s been avoiding foul trouble so far this year. On to the next checklist.


  9. Check out Abbott’s latest Kobe slander piece:

    Shouldn’t Henry just title all his posts “I Hate Kobe Bryant,” just to do away with the formalities?

    The “stathead” argument drives me crazy. You can make any argument you want with stats (heck, Mark Cuban massaged stats to show Jason Kidd was the 3rd best player in the NBA).


  10. Thanks for this, as I’m not able to watch games. Drew definitely needs to hustle more – this analysis makes that clear. However, as inwit and The Dude note above, if he is the primary rim protector rotating to contest/block shots, and is showing hard on screens (probably a good idea with Brandon Jennings at the point and D. Fisher guarding him), he is going to be out of position for many rebounds. I’d rather he play defense. Running back to establish good position on offense also limits rebounding opportunities.

    That said, he does sometimes lack effort and good anticipation – both of those can be fixed.

    Also, it seems that it isn’t unusual for power forwards to gobble up huge numbers of rebounds. Many teams have left primary rebounding duty to their PF while the C is second. Drew will pick back up but I doubt he is going to be boarding hugely with Pau/LO out there.


  11. I’m curious if Bynum’s supposed lack of effort in rebounding has to do with his fear of reinjuring either of his knees (or even a fear of injuring himself in any part of his body)? Maybe its a psychological thing.


  12. Simonoid – read the posts first!! Sorry I was off-duty last night.

    I think this clearly shows, as others have said, that Bynum’s defensive responsibilities are a huge factor in his rebounding numbers.

    Here’s my question though – why is this unique to Bynum? Aren’t all big men primary help defenders? Don’t they all have to defend the PnR (except Shaq)? Why is this affecting his rebounding numbers so much?

    Is it because the Lakers allow that much more dribble than other teams over the years? Or is it because he isn’t putting in the effort to get back into position? Or something else?

    To be clear, if we have to choose between Bynum’s help D and rebounding, I’ll take his D any day.


  13. Thanks for the link, lakergirl! I was wondering what that argument in the huddle was all about! 🙂

    I’m going to start subscribing to the theory that Andrew’s rebound numbers are a combination of where and how he plays, and simple psychology. Every play he goes out to contest a shot, is play where he’s very unlikely to get the rebound. Not only will he be out of position, the ones better positioned to get the board are exceptional rebounders (Pau, Lamar, Kobe). If faced with the choice of playing effective defense or getting a rebound, I want him to get out there and defend, and let Pau grab the call.

    Also, Andrew had two season ending injuries in two straight years, and he’s still young, both in years and to pro basketball. Whether consciously or subconsciously, that has lingering effects… Andrew might simply by shy/nervous/afraid to elbow his way into a crowd and hustle, because he’s scared to re-injure his knees. While that’s inconvenient and something that he needs to work at over-coming, it’s certainly understandable.


  14. who hates kobe more? abbott or simmons?

    10. that stat is ridiculous. oh yeah we can argue that ronny turiaf and samuel dalembert are big time clutch players at 70 percent from the field. ya, the only shots they take in the clutch are putbacks.
    what the stat doesnt account for is crucial buckets in the game within that last 5 minutes.
    when does your team really really really need that bucket and how often do you deliver. we all know fish is clutch and he’s at the bottom of the FG list at 25 percent. (i’m not gonna bother counting where, wonder if abbott counted all the way down to 92 for kobe)…



  15. The Dude Abides wrote on December 17, 2009 at 9:15 am

    Pretty much the same thing I noticed last night. Drew is the designated “jump shot contester,” leaving Pau, Ron Ron, and Kobe to grab the defensive board. However, it is pretty obvious that Drew could move his feet more to get in position and grab more offensive rebounds.

    I wonder how much of this intrigue and misconception is related to Bynum’s bad knee in a brace? Isn’t that to be considered, the fact that Bynum’s mobility isn’t as great as other players on the floor. Love or hate Bynum, the kid is trying regardless of what we or sportswriters continue to express in black and white.


  16. @#15

    I don’t know if Abbott or Simmons dislikes Kobe more (I think Abbott) but either way, I find Simmons much more palatable simply because he at least has the self awareness to admit his bias is greatly rooted in his love for the Celtics and his antipathy for the Lakers. Abbot tries to pretend he’s simply being objective and ignorant hatred is always worse.


  17. Honestly, I woke expecting Henry to have something disparaging about Kobe to say, veiled in a way where it appears he is being objective. So tired of him referring to stat geeks and there numbers which tell me Kobe isnt clutch.


  18. I think Bynum’s rebounding problems are two fold. One is that he is not a WIDE 7 footer, but a LONG 7 footer. This means, that he doesn’t clear out enough space around him to secure rebound comfortably using his body as Shaq, Barkley, and Oakley did. Of course, Pau is in the same mold, but Pau has an advantage of higher basketball IQ and better awareness and hand.

    Another problem is that a some rebounds can be had only when the rebounder is jumping sideways not straight up. This is something Andrew rarely does as he is still cautious of reinjuring his knee. I’m not sure if he’ll ever get over this fear, but it should get better overall.

    We have strong rebounders in Gasol and Odom, but Drew can turn our team into a dominating rebounding team if he chooses to focus on that aspect of the game as he has done with posting up on offense. He’s only 22 years old, and he’s done well rebounding pre-injury. I think we could be a bit more patient and just glad that he’s back and playing.

    BTW, that Abbott article was just lame. What was the point?


  19. 1- These posts are the reason I love this site. People notice something in the numbers, so Kurt (or one of the other great commenters) hits the tape to get to the bottom of it. Invaluable.

    2- It does seem to conform to what I’ve been thinking- Bynum is defending away from the basket and his activity isn’t what it could be. Maybe this has to do with him not feeling well. 2 further questions I have about this:

    – Bynum’s drop off in rebounding has corresponded with Pau’s surge. Was his illness or whatever known enough to prep Pau that he’d have to rebound? Specifically, it seems as though Bynum has been assigned to defend the perimeter guys that I’d normally assume Pau would guard, and Drew has done well and been active enough in that capacity. But is this a conscious choice by the coaches or happenstance due to opponents. And if conscious, is it because of his illness or is this the new paradigm?

    -Complete speculation here, but I wonder if Drew is a “think first, act second” kind of guy. Some people are very good at acting immediately without thought. This is great for sports. I am bad at this. I have to consciously recognize a situation before I react. If I was on the court I would react like Drew, knowing I had to contest the shot, I would, but unless I thought, “Now get the rebound!” I’d watch it sail over my head as my man looped around me for position. I wonder if Drew’s mind works like this. Not a criticism, and correctable with experience, but its something that gets worse for me as I am more tired.

    3- Abbott dislikes Kobe more than Simmons. Simmons discusses what he thinks deep down inside about Kobe very openly and has come out pretty pro-kobe recently. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Henry offer even a token gesture that the man might actually be great. He may include some blurb someone else wrote in his links but otherwise he only ever weighs in trying to “set the record straight” (as he sees it) in a negative way.

    Having said that (Curb reference), Henry’s a good guy and very good at what he does. He’s just a Blazer fan who is contractually obligated to feel this way.


  20. Great post, Kurt.
    My immediate reaction was ‘ imagine if Andrew played with the energy of Noah..’ My next thought was ‘imagine if Drew’s offense was like Noah’s..’ I’ll take Andrew’s O, and his D – the boards will come – he is a really good player now and look how much room he has to grow – not a bad problem to have.

    After reading Abbott I am always amazed that Kobe has somehow managed to hang around in the NBA for as long as he has. I would have thought he had washed out by now…


  21. Thanks to the video stream last night I was able to catch another game. Off topic I know, but where do these “streams” come from? And how is it that readers of this site normally know where the link is?


  22. Great post. The one play that really frustrated me in the Bucks game was in OT when Bynum did a good job of contesting Bogut shot, but then let Bogut outhustle him for the rebound.


  23. That Abbott article really set me off. I thought I had gotten used to it by now, but his article cut so much deeper than most.

    My thoughts (in no particular order).

    First, how did “stat geeks” get what they wanted out of last nights game? Kobe didn’t break some statistical record (Pau came closest with the 78 rebounds over 4 games, 1 shy of the record), his shots didn’t count for more than the traditional 2 or 3 points, and there was no out-of-the-ordinary reference to his “stats” after the game. Clearly an excuse to bring up some anti-Kobe numbers.

    Second, his choice of stats was ridiculous. “Crunch-time stats?” What do those tell us about a player? Not a whole lot other than how they have shot in a particular 5 minute span of time. Apparently Kobe finished 92nd in the league last year, according to his gorilla math. Why didn’t he give us more? He could have told us how he fared against players who shoot the most in “crunch-time.” He’s not 92nd on that list. He could have compared Kobe’s “crunch-time” shooting percentage numbers against his non-crunch-time shooting numbers to tell us if pressure affects his game. He didn’t do that because Kobe shoots in crunch time (46%) about the same as he shoots every other minute of the game. He even could have looked at how many times players have hit multiple win it or lose it shots within 2 weeks of each other (that would have been an interesting statistic, more interesting than this crunch-time BS).

    Third, he conveniently brings up big names to imply that they are better “crunch-time” shooters than Kobe is; names like Brandon Roy, Tim Duncan, Carmello Anthony, and Pau Gasol (he even says Eric Gordon is better). But who didn’t he name? Lebron wasn’t on his list. Neither was Paul Pierce. Steve Nash wasn’t there either. Dwight Howard, Dirk Nowitzki, and Dwyane Wade weren’t mentioned either. Are they not trustworthy shooters in “crunch-time?” Would you rather have Zach Randolph or Kobe on your team in a tight game with 5 minutes to go? Looking at the people that weren’t named, it’s clear that amongst the go-to guys on their respective teams, Kobe finishes very high on that list. But Abbott wouldn’t want you to know that, would he?

    Fourth, his attempt to discount Kobe’s highlight plays as a way to impugn people’s credibility if they don’t watch every minute of every Laker game and are Kobe supporters, is ridiculous. Not everyone has NBA League Pass and/or has the time to watch all of the games. What a jerk.

    Fifth, the language he uses to describe Kobe’s “crunch-time” play is borderline offensive to an intelligent NBA fan. He calls 57% shooting when the game is on the line merely “healthy.” Shooting 57% over the most critical 10 minutes of the game is outstanding. Better than healthy. It’s terrific. But what makes it worse is his consideration if Kobe missed one more, it would put him at 50%. We wouldn’t be talking about it (And surely there would be no article about it) if he missed one because we would have lost the game. His logic is ridiculous. Further, he told us to consider Kobe making 1 less shot. Why? What does that add to his argument? Nothing, but he put it in there anyway.

    Sixth, the casual mention of his broken finger was really irritating. Saying that he “account[ed]” for it when he hit the game winner is such an understatement. Apparently shooting 57% with a broken index finger on the shooting hand doesn’t deserve to be mentioned in the same sentence. It would make Kobe seem too good and Lord knows we can’t have that.

    Sixth, the title. “Kobe in a Nutshell.” Yeah, because 20 years from now when we summarize Kobe’s career it will involved conspiracy theories, Zach Randolph being better in “crunch-time,” and other players being “bigger and stronger.” This isn’t Kobe in a nutshell. And to say argue that it is is ridiculous.

    These are just a few reasons why I hated his column. I know there are more, but I have a final exam tomorrow that I’m not ready for yet.

    How does ESPN let this man keep his job?


  24. The biggest flaw with the whole clutch argument is the degree of difficulty. For example…how often does Kobe get to go one on one with defender like last night again Bell?


  25. On the Abbott piece. The basis for the measurement is flawed. The last 5 minutes of regulation, when neither team is leading by more than 5 points? Why not when your team is down by 5 points with less than 2 minutes to play? Or tied with 30 sec or less on the clock? The point is that the “geeek” definition hardly defines clutch shooting. Clutch = #24


  26. 25 and 26. exactly. i would hardly consider a missed jumper by kobe up 5 with 4:58 to go a clutch shot and as far as the degree of difficutly, yeah. you’ve got michael beasley atop kobe but his shots i bet are primarily wide open jumpers off of a pick and roll or double on wade as opposed to kobe’s contested shots. so that linked chart on the column has no merit whatsoever. it should not even exist.

    what kobe should do in the last 3 minutes of close games is play within the offense more and do less live by kobe, die by kobe. its worked so far (3-0 in overtime)… haven’t lost a close game so far. but one of these days, we’ll run out of last minute heroics. we shouldn’t be putting ourselves in that situation.

    20. curb rocks.


  27. lakersfansincemagic December 17, 2009 at 12:49 pm

    Regarding this article:

    Does anyone have the huddle video?


  28. “Kobe Bryant in a Nutshell” – and he conveniently leaves out any mention of Kobe driving into the lane, drawing the defense to him, and passing to an open Fisher.

    How does Kobe compare to others when it comes to getting someone else the ball for a “good look” in “crunch time”? (“Good look” being relative to who the recipient of the pass is, and their position on the court.) That’s as significant a skill as being able to make pressure shots.

    Maybe he meant to title this one “Kobe’s right nutshell”, and he intends to follow it up with “Kobe’s left nutshell”, where he will discuss Kobe’s crunchtime passes and defense.


  29. Usually Abbott’s work doesn’t bother me that much, but this one is just a blatant attack. “Oh look, Kobe hit another game winner, ho hum, NOW let me show you how bad he actually is in crunch time!” It’s funny how year after year, poll after poll, players, coaches and GMs regularly pick Kobe as the go to guy for game ending situations. Obviously they’ve all been duped, right Henry? He neglects to mention how Kobe ranks no. 1 in PP48 in crunch time (56.7), no. 2 in +/- (+100), and no. 8 in +/- per 48mins (+34). He wants to stick by FG% and FG% alone (raw by the way, not eFG% or TS%), but also fails to mention that the top 10 in FG% are all big men (put backs anyone!?). You’d be hard pressed to find anyone who knows anything about basketball who’d rather have Turiaf, Dalembert, Collison or Varejao (4 out of the top 5) taking crunch time shots over Kobe.

    Oh, and by the way, the dude has a fractured index finger on his SHOOTING HAND, but managed to score 42 points at Chicago at 59.6eFG% / 64.6TS%, then 39 points at Milwaukee at 48.2eFG% / 56.6TS% on a back to back.

    Sigh…. “selective statsism”


  30. Off topic but I posed this question to Kurt a week ago. Will the Lakers and Jerry Buss be willing to acquire a starting PG with a long term contract or do they think they can slide by without one?

    Adam Morrison’s Expiring Contract (AMEC) (LA)

    Where do I end up in February?
    John Hollinger (3:53 PM)

    We have an Acronym of the year candidate. AMEC will be in play only if Dr. Buss approves taking on more future salary to address the point guard situation, but I wonder if he’ll just think “we can win even without a point guard, so why bother?” and prevent such a deal.


  31. /rant

    Now to the topic at hand, just some numbers to digest:

    In the 9 games Bynum started alongside Odom, AB averaged 11.8rpg, while LO averaged 9.2rpg.

    In the 9 games Bynum started alongside Gasol, AB averaged 7.1rpg while Pau averaged 9.6rpg.

    The 9 game cut off is the point (Dec 10) when the first all star ballot returns came in. Following that announcement (Bynum behind Amare for centers, Gasol behind Melo and Dirk for forwards) we’ve played 4 games…

    In those 4 games AB has averaged 3.5rpg, while Pau has averaged 19.5rpg. WOW

    Coincidence? Maybe. Or we see who sulks and we see who gets fired up.

    Sidenote: Mbenga started alongside LO for two games and averaged 12.5rpg and 4bpg. Go DJ, thats my DJ!


  32. 28. i love that phil drew it up for a backcourt inbound. game 4 @ orlando, anyone? i’m curious, when is this decision made and when are the refs informed? is it just right out of the timeout or at the start of the timeout? does the opposing team know where the ball will be inbouded?


  33. 24 –

    Yes, if you take more crunch time shots than everybody else you are going to miss quite a few of them. If Kobe shoots three times more than, say, player “x”, and is 5% less efficient, does this mean that player “X” is a better crunch time player?


  34. Guys like Abbot keep their jobs because A) He is pretty good at what he does (the True Hoop network is darn good, the venue provides more meaningful musings by the columnists, and many of the links Henry provides are useful to readers such as ourselves) and B) because fools like us keep feeding the troll by clicking on the articles designed to excite automatic responses.

    If we stopped clicking on these links (and that includes the Tiger, Balloon Boy, Micheal Jackson, Governor Whatshisname, Celebrity Reality Show, blah, blah, blah) then most media members would lose their jobs and the very talented media members, like Henry, would adapt to writing more meaningfully pieces that cover the sport, or the culture, or politics, rather then hype them. Clicking on a link is like voting and when we click on links to articles such as those I listed, we are voting for a dumber media and ignorant population.

    We are free to do as we please, but why feed the trolls?


  35. Does Abbots numbers take into account the number of shots Kobe takes down the stretch? He takes a large percentage of our shots down the stretch, so he will inevitably miss a lot of them, too. Even Abbot shows that he shoots in the 45-55% range in crunch time. That’s better than most teams. I’ll take it.


  36. RE: 24

    Excellent post. Hiding behind statistics is just lazy as a writer. Saying Zach Randolph is a better “clutch” scorer than Kobe is ridiculous. You just need a pair of eyeballs to know the difference, and apparently, Abbott refuses to use his.

    Listen, I know Simmons hates on Kobe, but at least he’s entertaining (and lately, he’s finally come around and admits he respects Kobe…and by the way, he’s upfront about being a homer).

    Abbott is a hack writer who makes stupid points and tries to defend them.

    The reason Abbott still has a job is because there are a lot of Kobe haters out there who love to wallow with him, even if his “arguments” are ill-founded and hackneyed.

    And by the way, P. Ami, I am in no way a troll – and that’s a fairly ridiculous statement to make. I saw this article on ESPN, got PO’ed and decided to share it with other Laker fans to see if I was over-reacting. That certainly doesn’t make me a troll.

    And Abbott isn’t a good writer – he’s a hack like a lot of the blogosphere writers. Guys like Kurt, Darius, Zephid, Bill Bridges, and the other contributers who actually talk about X and O’s and discuss topics intellectually are rare. Most are irrational homers who use dumb statistics to back up their stupid points like Abbott..


  37. To say that Drew doesnt get rebounds because of his help defense on players driving to the paint is an excuse. Its as if your saying that all shot blocking, help defending big man in the league should average the same. Its all about want and moving your feet to gain postion when the ball goes up. If Drew put the same amount of tenacity and energy he uses to try to score into rebounding, then he could post better numbers and could get some easy points on offensive putbacks.

    He was averaging about 10 rebounds a game before Pau came back from his injury. The kid goes as his offensive game goes and thats the bottom line. When he is scoring and getting touches in the paint his confidence level is at an all time high, when not getting those touches he seems to drift and become less active. You cant make excuses for a kid 7 foot tall and not posting more than 3 rebounds a game.


  38. Snoopy2006,
    I suspect that our need for Bynum to ‘come out’ on defense more than other big men has something to do with Fish being a position, instead of an athletic defender. Our defense funnels people into the middle and Andrew is designated to patrol the middle, not Gasol. Pau mostly relys on athletic blocks, not maintaining position, so quicker guards can put up shots around his outstretched arms. Andrew forces people to change direction and this influences %FG made more.

    Since we have other people who rebound well, our system would seem to be designed to use Andrew where he is most valuable – on defense – and let others compete for rebounds.

    I do agree that he could be more active, but he does move his feet quite well for a 22yr old center.


  39. Was just listening to Brad Turner of LA times and Mychal right now on the radio as I was running errands. Listening to those two really illustrates the difference in quality of thought and analysis between this site and even a beat writer like Brad.

    The topic on hand was Bynum’s lack of rebounds. Brad, who was there at the game and on the road with the team was spewing the same old tired cliches. He kept on repeating how Bynum had no desire for rebounds. That he must be in some kind of funk lately and need to snap out of it if he wanted to be considered an all star. It was like a broken record.

    Remarklby for a guy who is supposedly near the team, he didn’t mention one word Bynum’s head cold. Heck, sitting at home I caught Phil referring to it. And this beat writer couldn’t even notice it or bring it up?

    Also I wouldn’t expect the drawn out analysis of this post, but you’d think either he or Mychal would have at least touched upon the possibility of how Bynum is used to defend shooters and how he would be drawn from the hoop. The closest mention was Brad Miller pulling him out.

    It’s this type of talking heads that set up an echo chamber of people harping on one fault without taking a deeper look. Just completely asinine.


  40. You have to remember who the lakers have on their team. The lakers average about 45 boards a game.The lakers have Pau Gasol who will get his 8-12 rebounds a night (lets just say 10 for an average.) Then there is Odom who if starting would be getting also anywhere from 10+, but since hes coming off the bench we will give him 8. Artest isnt too shabby of a rebounder himself, he gets 5. And kobe gets 6. The laker gaurds are pretty good rebounders (shannon and farmer b/c they have hops and fisher just always seems to snag sum boards) so they get a combined 8. That leaves only so many more rebounds left- Which is why Bynum is “only” averaging 8.5 rpg.


  41. There are two main problems with “crunch time” stats that I have yet to see anyone truly address.

    1. The sample size is just too small. There are only 5 guys in the NBA who had 30 or more FGA in the defined “crunch time” last season. I don’t care what the percentages are. I’m not judging a player by that small of a sample. According to this metric Ronny Turiaf was the most clutch player in the entire NBA last year with a FG% of .727 in “crunch time” . I love Ronny but I think that says a lot more about looking at small samples than real world performance. I therefore don’t take much stock in Kobe having lower “crunch time” FG% than other superstars who take a similar load. Kobe had 28 FGA in the Bucks game last night. He had 39.1 FGA in “crunch time” last season. Even if you add up his career numbers you don’t have enough FGA to be truly meaningful. Let’s take his last year FGA number of 39.1 and multiply it by the number of seasons he’s played including this season, 14. That gets a 546 FGA in “crunch time” number. (Which is probably too high as he wasn’t taking those shots the first few years.) Kobe had around 1700 FGA in last season. So career numbers in this area for a guy who’s taken quite a few is less than 1/3 of a normal season of shooting.

    2. But let’s assume that small sample size doesn’t matter. The other “crunch time” component that is not taken into account is degree of difficulty for the FGA. Of course this means I also have no numbers on this. It’s possible Kobe wouldn’t fare well here but my gut says no. However the point is that no one looks at this factor and I think you would have to in order to have a true understanding of “clutchness”. To put it another way, does a home run in the ninth off of Octavio Dotel mean as much as one off of Mariano Rivera?


  42. im not sure if anyone’s mentioned but i cant even begin to explain how amazing it is to completely change your grip a day before a game and proceed to score 39


  43. Since this blog originally is about our still growing and developing young center, this might be a good thread to post a link to this video I found on YouTube:

    Kareem vs Wilt, 1972. Fear the sideburns!


  44. If you actually check the stats Truehoop link to they are positive about kobe. He was in the top ten in net +/- per 48 last year.

    If you really look at the list its a great statement about late game execution, actually. It’snot about Kobe or Lebron, its about last years Cavs and Lakers. The only member of the top 10 NOT on the Cavs or Lakers was Josh Howard. That means that basically those 2 teams’ closing units were the best crunchtime units in the league.

    Furthermore, looking at the details of those stats, you get something of a recipe for crunchtime success. You have 1 guy who can make his own shot as evidenced by a low assisted % and ridiculously high scoring numbers (Both lebron and Kobe average over 50 points per 48 minutes in crunch time), then everyone else has pretty high assisted rates.

    Basically, the superstar shot creator forces defenses to commit and whether they get the assist or not (Lebron has typical higher assist production here because Kobe is more likely to pass to someone who passes…), they create improved offense.

    The numbers Henry used show what we believe: The Lakers were damn good in crunchtime last year, Kobe among them. The Cavs were better, but not by so much as to prove anything definitively.


  45. #30 has hit it on the head. Actually, I don’t think we should put THAT much stock in the GMs poll, etc.

    But the fact is that (1) basketball is a hard game to analyze for individual performance using box-score stats and (2) the stats (FG%?!) that Abbott uses to judge Kobe do not pass the laugh test as a check on who the clutchest players are. Turiaf is simply not the most “clutch” player in the NBA by any serious meaning of “clutch”. I love Ronny, but come on.

    A more plausible stat would be +/- per 48 of clutch, but even that one has obvious defects. (1) You can see that the stats clump by team, so basically CLE’s crunch time lineup is the top 4, LAL’s crunch lineup is most of 6-10, all with the same +/- (of course, since they are playing together). (2) People’s crunch production does not dictate *who makes the plays happen*. Varejao is +46, Kobe is +34. So in crunch time, we should clear out for Varejao?!?

    Abbott often writes good stuff, but this column is a real embarrassment to stat nerds and non-nerds alike.

    My guess is that the clutch stuff won’t be settled statistically, and there will have to be some kind of human-grading of end of game plays.

    I agree with Phil in this case – I am not sure if Kobe is the “clutchest” whatever that means, but he is likely the best bad-last-shot taker of all time.

    #42. Add to the amazement that he used his old grip for the end of regulation and switched it for OT. Kobe’s unreal at adjustments.


  46. Burgundy,

    I wasn’t calling you a troll and was making no reference to you at all. Sorry that you got that impression. I was saying that articles like Abbot’s are the troll. We feed them by raising their click counts.

    I disagree that Abbot is a hack. He’s written plenty of good articles and has organized a darn good NBA forum where one can find links to all sorts of NBA and basketball related musings and facts. In his Kobe and Lakers related pieces, Abbot is looking for stats that align with how he feels about Kobe (as a Laker and as a player). Maybe he does the same with his Blazers and other teams but it’s not as egregious because his feelings about the Lakers and Kobe are “personal” rather then based on basketball. Maybe he falls into the trap that Simmons discussed with Walton in the epilogue of his book. At least Simmons has come around to Kobe as well as one can expect from a fan of a bitter rival. I hope we find out how many rings it takes for Kobe to enter Simmons’ top 5 in the pyramid and that it would take at least 3 more rings to do so. Abbot on the other hand has a weakness in that direction, where his personal feelings about Kobe and the Lakers cloud his judgment, but I don’t think that qualifies him for hack status.


  47. As practically all previous comments have mentioned, the main issue is Bynum’s lack of effort in rebounding. I doubt anyone blames him for not getting rebounds that (1) bounce to another Laker or (2) that he has no chance of grabbing because he is out of position due to the defensive rotation. What is annoying is that, like #6 DreDawg said, there are often enough misses that had Drew showed enough effort and determination, he would still get 6-8 rebounds.

    And, yes,’s definition of “crunch time” is laughable. The meaning of “clutch” has been distorted, in my opinions. For example, it doesn’t take “crunch time” freethrows into account. Is there any debate on who is a better clutch freethrow shooter between Kobe or LeBron? And people seem to forget that the Lakers also have another guy regarded as one of the clutchest player of all time in Derek Fisher.


  48. P. Ami – no sweat. Sorry I misunderstood you. To be honest, I used to like Abbott as a writer, but his anti-Kobe/Laker slant got to be too much for me to handle. I came across the article above because it was linked on the NBA front page, not because I went to Truehoop specifically.

    It’s weird, because Simmons is just as anti-Kobe/Lakers, but he doesn’t hide under the cloak of “journalism” like Abbott does, so it’s easier to stomach.

    Especially, because Simmons is a zillion times more entertaining/funny (except for the column he wrote after last year’s finals that he should have titled, “Maybe Kobe won the title, but he’s still a phony.”


  49. Abbot is a good writer when he doesn’t write about the Blazers or Kobe.

    When he does, he loses all credibility, although with the Blazers at least he’s aware of what he’s doing.

    I mean, regarding clutchness, did he not notice who scored the last 7 points for the Lakers when we were down 100-106? And after watching all those games, does he know that OT points are worth their weight in gold?

    As for the crunchtime clutchness, you want somebody who can create his own shot, launch it, and practices hard enough so it has a good chance of going in.

    Whether it actually does or not really doesn’t matter much because it is indeed a small sample size.


  50. Booboo, appreciate the lead to Fish being clutch and would have to agree that Laker fans some times disregard his play or overlook his timeliness to make shots. Discussed with a fellow Lakerfan, and his points are valid when complimenting Fisher. But the biggest question I have and will have as a die-hard is whether or not we will fully appreciate what Fish has done for the organization? How instrumental is he when compared to the other Laker greats or great championship teams/organizations?


  51. lakersfansincemagic December 17, 2009 at 4:23 pm

    Little off topic here.. but what about Odom’s retarded fouls? He makes the most obvious fouls sometimes out of frustration(like the hip check on Ridnour)… does the coaching staff see this? How can they fix it?


  52. Like most other facets of the game, it’s best to not let statistics stand on their own – they must be coupled with what you actually see with your own eyes. And in a way, I think that’s what Henry was saying in his post. He’s making the point (although many have already pointed out that he’s not doing it very well) that stat heads and Kobe fans alike can say that last night’s performance gives them takeaways that reinforce what their prior conceptions are.

    Like I said earlier though, it’s never advisable to say “oh, look at the stats, that tells me *everything* I need to know” because that’s likely not true (unless you’re looking at something from a pure numbers standpoint – i.e. how many rebounds does a player avg. a game). And on the flipside of that, stats can be very useful in revealing what else is going on that may not be obvious to the naked eye. These perspectives should be paired more often to get a more complete synopsis of what is actually happening.

    Many good points can be made on both sides of this debate – stat heads aren’t wrong when they say that Kobe is not as efficient a player in the clutch as his reputation suggests & Kobe fans aren’t wrong when they say that Kobe is one of the best finishers in the game and a player that they’d want taking the last shot (or making the play) at the end of a close game.

    All that said, I’d lean towards wanting Kobe over almost any player put in that last second situation – stats be damned. And it’s not because I don’t think the stats are valid, I think they are. I just think, in this case, the stats are limited and they don’t take into account so many other factors that have a bearing on the the actual game. Like, for example, the attention that Kobe draws and how that attention creates openings for teammates so that even when he misses he’s drawing defenders and creating second chance opportunities for teammates (or in last nights game how he drew the attention of Fish’s defender just enough to create the opening for Derek to hit his big shot). If I’ve learned anything from watching Kobe for all these years, it’s that he’s a tactician – he sets up the game in the way that a chess player sets up his opponent for the kill in 10 more moves. And it’s because I see Kobe in this way that a forced jumper with two minutes left makes so much more sense when with 30 seconds left he makes a successful play that is a derivative of that previously unsuccessful one. Said more simply, you take the good with the bad, but I know that some of that bad is strictly a set up to make the game changing play 5 possesions from now (in the same way you may sacrifice your Queen to earn checkmate later in the match).


  53. That linkfrom lakergirl doesn’t make any sense. Why did Kobe argue against the full court plan when it worked perfectly fine last year against Orlando with the Fisher shot? He remembers it working in th 91 finals for Jordan but not last year for Fish? Weird..


  54. This is why Chick Hearn used to say some players rebound, some get rebounds. Bynum is somewhat like Elden Campell. A good kid with god-given talent and amazing physique, but lacks the desire and passion. Because he is 7-1 with long arms, he will get some rebounds, but he is not going to develop that intuition about how the ball bounces, and anticipate where on the court to get the rebound. He is a good kid, but don’t expect him to rebound like Rodman, and shoot or move like Olajuwon.


  55. I’m not even going to bother clicking that TrueHoop link. P. Ami is right: when it comes to posts about Kobe and the Lakers, Abbott is basically a troll, and reactions like this are exactly what he wants.

    Regarding Bynum, I seem to remember him having a similar stretch last year when he was just anemic on the glass. I agree with Sanchez – Bynum seems to be a lot more proactive as a rebounder when he’s scoring and getting lots of touches. That to me is more of a concern than his passing.


  56. thats because pau’s getting all the rebounds..averaging about 20 in the last, it doesnt matter coz theyre teammates…but individually, i guess it affects him being an all star this feb,