Week At A Glance

Darius Soriano —  November 2, 2013

This post was written by FB&G contributor, Andre Khatchaturian. 

When the NBA schedule was released this past summer and you looked at the Lakers’ opponents during the first week, you probably scratched your head and said, “Wow, it looks like we’re starting 0-3.”

The Lakers have dealt with three NBA Finals contenders and they came away with a win. Heck, they almost came away with two wins. Because of the high expectations of the past, it’s hard to say this, but the Lakers have to be content with where they’re at after the first three games of the 2013-14 regular season.

They stepped up in a huge way against their in-house rival on opening night and went toe to toe with the defending Western Conference champions until the fourth quarter. As for the Golden State game, it was a back-to-back situation on the road, a night after an emotional victory, against a superior team who was playing their home opener. I’ll give a pass for that.

The Lakers have shown great promise after the first three games. Despite being 1-2, Laker fans have to be happy with the way the bench and other role players have performed. Scoring 76 points off the bench on opening night would have been unheard of last year. That probably won’t happen with Kobe in the lineup, but the team has depth, something they’ve lacked in the last few years.

Jordan Farmar, Jordan Hill, and Xavier Henry have been three players who have contributed in big ways. In fact, the lineup combination of Farmar-Hill-Henry-Johnson-Meeks has been the most productive so far, averaging a +4.3 point differential per game.

Speaking of Farmar, the two-time champion leads the team in touches and has a field goal percentage of 48.3%. He’s also dishing the ball well with five assists per game. After three games, he has been the most effective Laker.

The only other member of the 2009 and 2010 championship teams, Pau Gasol, has been up and down. He’s grabbing over 10 boards per game and averaging close to 16 points, but he has a -11.7 per game point differential – worst on the team. He hasn’t been effective defensively and this may be a cause for concern going forward.

The Lakers lead the league in shots allowed from between 0-8 feet. These shots are highly efficient and teams have been shooting over 53% against the Lakers from this range. The second most efficient shooting range is three point land. The Lakers have also allowed the most threes in the NBA and teams are shooting 41% from this distance.

Interestingly, the Lakers also lead the league in threes taken and shots taken from 0-8 feet and they’ve been fairly efficient from both ranges. So essentially, the Lakers are doing what we expected they would do: score a lot and struggle defensively.

This week, the Lakers have a busy schedule as they play four games. After a home affair against the Hawks, they hit the road for a difficult three-game road trip at Dallas, Houston, and the newly named New Orleans Pelicans.

Atlanta has lost several key pieces from past seasons and the Lakers are at home. If they play the way they played against the Clippers and Spurs, they should be able to take that one. In fact, they need to win on Sunday because the next three after that are brutal.

Dallas is coming off a year where they missed the playoffs, Houston has a certain center who is going to wake up against his former team, and the Pelicans game is a back-to-back affair.

The Lakers could breathe a little bit after the road trip, though, as six of their seven games after the trip is at Staples.

Darius Soriano

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13 responses to Week At A Glance

  1. The Lakers lead the league in shots allowed from between 0-8 feet. These shots are highly efficient and teams have been shooting over 53% against the Lakers from this range. The second most efficient shooting range is three point land. The Lakers have also allowed the most threes in the NBA and teams are shooting 41% from this distance.
    ____
    yikes

  2. That three-pointer statistic is a classic small sample size problem. Golden State shot 55.6% on a ton of attempts so it distorts it upward quite a bit. The Clippers shot a respectable (but not stratospheric) 38% and the Spurs shot 23.8% (on 21 attempts!). That number will fall a bit after a few games, but will unfortunately remain close to 40% until they get better at defending shooters.

  3. Purple: “Yikes” I could give you the obvious reason why we can’t defend the area close to the basket, but this might set off a series of posts as to why we never needed that guy and why we are glad he is gone : )
    0-3 : I do not think anyone with playoff aspirations could have projected 0-3 automatically.
    “If they play the way they played against the Clippers and Spurs, they should be able to take that one. (Atlanta)” Yes – Again if it is playoffs we are after then a game like this is a must win.
    Pundits: Interestingly enough – after 3 games – we are in exactly 12th place in the West. Then again -optimists like me predicted higher than 12th : )

  4. Farmar only 16 minutes last game…Hill not playing till the 4th quarter…Coach needs to do better with his rotation then that…

  5. Pau’s inflated point differential is alarming but I’m not worrying about that just yet. Him playing with possibly the worst starting 5 in the league and his own well known deficiencies make that up. Some tinkering with lineups and more coaching and continuity will get that lowered. I put some blame on D’Antoni about him not using Pau how he used Lee but some blame also goes on Pau. Since we all know the offense will not be post heavy it’s Pau’s job to make post opportunities out of the plays he’s given. We see it all the time where Kobe will break off a play or quickly kick out the ball to get deeper position and post up. It’s time for Pau to do some of that and quit expecting to get plays that get him near the basket if he’s not fighting for position. He’s also stopped using his legs to get deep post position. That goes for all players, they shouldn’t always take the jumper take the ball to the hole and get to the line.

    Everybody has mentioned players that concern them but my main concern is fundamentals. The team doesn’t box out, don’t play sound position defense, rarely cut, look but don’t move, and on and on…. Ever since the Dallas playoffs loss it always seemed like it’s 5 players out there and not a team. They’ll have good games and maybe a week long stretch of togetherness. But it’s never sustained to make a serious winning streak. All the players have to do the small things to win with this squad. When you box out you position yourself but also give a teammate space to get a rebound. When you are positioned well defensively you don’t leave Pau/Hill/Kaman out to dry under the basket. When you cut you draw defenders that opens up the floor and more times than not gets a teammate open. Small things that can help one another out need to be done. Definitely no need to panic, the team has to do the small things and be in sync with one another.

  6. Start the Bench Mob;)

  7. Hey Darius, great post. No one is talking about the Laker’s defense in two of these games. Against the Clippers and Spurs their defense I thought was pretty exceptional overall. I think with the addition of Kurt Rambis we are seeing a little bit of evolution in D’Antoni’s philosophy. I don’t believe we have the most experienced or talented roster but with a healthy kobe and gasol I think this team can go to the WCF. I believe we’ve added enough athleticism, youth, and we have players who are all playing for something and there is obvious chemistry. Kaman and Pau already play better then Dwight and Pau did. We have flexibility with the roster. The better news is that once players like Henry, Johnson, Hill, are all settled into their rolls and comfortable their production will increase and Farmar looks like a pros pro now. He’s still only 26 and I can see him taking over the Laker’s starting spot for a while settling in as a 12-15ppg 5-8asst 1-3stl player for the next 5 years. I’m also encouraged by our chances next year because I believe Kobe and Gasol will take significant pay cuts, we will retain almost all of our young players, and we will sign two more max free agents. What are your thoughts on all those possibilities next summer.

  8. The bench has outscored the starters every single game, outside Pau every single one if them has been just terrible, not that Pau has been burning the league, he needs to step up his production, i mean over 20 a game range, can he do it at this stage? I dont know, Williams has been a huge dissapointment i dont know how long they can keep him starting, i rather put Hill there that should help our rebounding at least. Defensively we look like a team that lost MWP and HE who should not be named.However the depth of the team is real, we need to hold on,hopefully hover around 500 and pray that Kobe comes back close to what he was last season and maybe make some noise. Im really encouraged about our depth and whatever happens this season this is something that should be mantain next summer.

  9. Funny. Why would someone take the time to complain if they don’t like a site? Either email the party direct or just go somewhere else. I hate the Kardasian show so I don’t watch it.

    I am very hard to please and have strong opinions yet I enjoy this site. Guessing that Johnson-Odom poster is angry about his life in general.

  10. I hate to say it but unless the Lakers plan on pressing more often I think they are going to have to shorten the rotation taking Shawne Williams out of it…it seems like he is livinig off of what he did in New York 2 or 3 years ago….

    I havent seen Ryan Kelly play…I’m not sure how good he is but if he can shoot like he I’ve heard then we should give him a look if D’Antoni is committed to the stretch 4….I’ve heard people say he is like a Dirk but I’m probably thinking unless he can create his own shot he may be more of an Ryan Anderson…

    Nash 2 for 11 this year? Yikes.

  11. Kevin-Excellent observation!

  12. http://probasketballtalk.nbcsports.com/2013/11/03/xavier-henry-to-replace-nick-young-in-lakers-starting-lineup/

    I like the change. I’m sure this year will be up and down for both of them – at times Young will have a better stretch than Henry, and vice versa. But as of now, Henry deserves the start. Someone – I believe rr – pointed this out in a earlier thread, but Henry is quite good at creating contact going to the rim. It’s a facet of his skillset than Young does not share, and that may be the difference between the two long-term.

  13. Meh – to me the young benching seems to be very much similar to the Gasol benching last year – you don’t want to start out by killing your chemistry with your main players and that seems to be what Dantoni is doing again but with young this time.

    This also still doesn’t solve the real issue which is putting kaman or hill in the starting line up over williams which is what we were all thinking when Dantoni said he would tinker with the starting line up.

    To me it looks like he now sees henry as his new pet project like Lin and is trying to prop him up as his guy.

    Henry has been ok and I too like his attacking style I’d still prefer young.