Archives For Laker Analysis

I’ve released my proposed ideal Laker playbook for next season, but it’s time to break it down. The playbook is comprised of 55 plays and grouped together in 9 chapters. I’ll be going through the playbook play by play and breaking down each of the plays I think the Lakers should run. Today is the third play of the playbook we’ll be breaking down.

Prerequisite Background Information

If you haven’t first read my earlier Forum Blue & Gold piece about Designing a Great Offense, which covers the 7 principles I think every great NBA play and offense NEEDS, check that out first. Each of those principles will be referenced in these play breakdowns, but for an explanation on the principle itself you’ll need to reference that original piece.

What This Includes

I’ll start with background info on each play, including its name, which team was seen running the play when it was diagrammed, the actions involved in the play, who (me or a FastModel contributor) diagrammed the play, and what alterations I may have made to the original play to make it #good.

After that short background, I’ll dig into how each play incorporates or could use improvement on each of my 7 principles of a great NBA offense.

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The Lakers are fun again! Or, at least, that’s what many people — including me, I should say upfront — are saying heading into the 2017-18 season. Coming off a run to the summer league championship in Las Vegas and with the infusion of Lonzo Ball’s unique talents as a lead guard, the Lakers are poised to play a style of ball that should have Staples Center buzzing.

It’s not just the addition of Ball which matters here, either. Brook Lopez offers an entirely new offensive approach from the C spot that the Lakers have not had since…well, Pau Gasol. I’m not comparing Lopez to Gasol aesthetically, but a big who can stretch the floor, get buckets in the post, and pass the ball some will be a welcomed addition to any roster, but especially this specific Lakers one. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope’s arrival should also offer a nice boost. Pope isn’t the shooter that Nick Young is, but he does take 3’s at a high volume while also being able to attack the rim in transition in ways Young did not while a Laker.

So, this is all great! The Lakers can, potentially, make a jump in offensive efficiency and be one of the league pass darlings for NBA fans this year. Fun, fun, fun.

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I’ve released my proposed ideal Laker playbook for next season, but it’s time to break it down. The playbook is comprised of 55 plays and grouped together in 9 chapters. I’ll be going through the playbook play by play and breaking down each of the plays I think the Lakers should run. Today is the second play of the playbook we’ll be breaking down.

Prerequisite Background Information

If you haven’t first read my earlier Forum Blue & Gold piece about Designing a Great Offense, which covers the 7 principles I think every great NBA play and offense NEEDS, check that out first. Each of those principles will be referenced in these play breakdowns, but for an explanation on the principle itself you’ll need to reference that original piece.

What This Includes

I’ll start with background info on each play, including its name, which team was seen running the play when it was diagrammed, the actions involved in the play, who (me or a FastModel contributor) diagrammed the play, and what alterations I may have made to the original play to make it #good.

After that short background, I’ll dig into how each play incorporates or could use improvement on each of my 7 principles of a great NBA offense.

Continue Reading…

I’ve released my proposed ideal Laker playbook for next season, but it’s time to break it down. The playbook is comprised of 55 plays and grouped together in 9 chapters. Starting today, I’ll be going through the playbook play by play and breaking down each of the plays I think the Lakers should run.

Prerequisite Background Information

If you haven’t first read my earlier Forum Blue & Gold piece about Designing a Great Offense, which covers the 7 principles I think every great NBA play and offense NEEDS, check that out first. Each of those principles will be referenced in these play breakdowns, but for an explanation on the principle itself you’ll need to reference that original piece.

What This Includes

I’ll start with background info on each play, including its name, which team was seen running the play when it was diagrammed, the actions involved in the play, who (me or a FastModel contributor) diagrammed the play, and what alterations I may have made to the original play to make it #good.

After that short background, I’ll dig into how each play incorporates or could use improvement on each of my 7 principles of a great NBA offense.

Continue Reading…

No matter your personnel’s skill or experience, there are principles about designing a schematically sound offense that are consistent everywhere. Incorporating some of these principles can make your offense good. Having most of them can make it great. Having all of them can make it elite.

I’ve been openly critical about how poor the Lakers have been in many of these areas, so I decided I’d bring some potential solutions to the table. Below is a link to a PDF of a Laker playbook that’d match their current personnel and would be much better than what they currently run. It’s comprised of plays from other teams, as well as many plays that I designed or are from plays I diagrammed that other teams run that I made adjustments to (that follow the principles below).

Link to Ideal Laker Playbook: https://goo.gl/M1iQpw

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It’s been a minute since our last podcast, so Pete and I had a little ground to cover. In our latest, we talk some of the roster moves in the last couple of weeks — specifically wondering if Tyler Ennis is really going to be the backup PG and if Vander Blue can make the final roster.

We also get into whether Lonzo can truly be a culture changer on the floor, or if he might experience some culture clash with some veterans who’s style of play to this point might not jibe as much with how Lonzo will try to play. We specifically talk Randle, Clarkson, and Lopez and how used they are to being ball dominant players.

Lastly, we get into Kyle Kuzma and whether he should get minutes at SF considering the glut of guys who will need to see minutes at PF while also understanding how shallow the team is on the wing behind Ingram. It’s a good discussion and it was good to be back talking Lakers basketball with Pete.

Click through to give the entire show a listen.

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He is a power forward who does not shoot threes (not yet, at least). He’s not especially long and is not a classic “big” defender who patrols the back line as a paint protector. He is a power player who loves his face up game. A player who, though very much left hand dominant, loves to drive hard to his right hand on initial moves. He is 6’9″ 250 pounds of down-hill, runaway train who does his best work in the open court.

In other words, Julius Randle’s game is not what you would expect. Not from a “modern” NBA power forward. Not in general. He’s unconventional in most every preconceived notion of style and game for today’s NBA at the PF position. And I love him for it. Give me Tasmanian Randle in the bunker next to me any day and let’s go to battle.

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We are roughly a month and a half from training camps opening and a 10+ weeks until the dawn of the regular season. A lot can change between now and then. Free agency (or what’s left of it at this point), trades, and injuries all can shape the trajectory of a team between now and mid-October.

We all understand this. Still, though, it’s always interesting to me to know what forecasting models and group-think projections say about how good or bad teams will be next season. I have participated in large sample group projections in the past for ESPN. I was part of the early iterations of the NBA Rank project (I stopped after the first two years) and I have offered win projections as part of their summer forecast series that has outperformed Vegas bookmakers.

This isn’t to pat anyone on the back. My point is to say that there is value in what these projections say, even if they’re not always right. And, to be clear, they’re not always right.

So, in saying all that, ESPN’s Kevin Pelton has released a stats only win projection for every team in the league for the 2017-18 season. It’s under ESPN’s Insider umbrella, so it is paid content. You can read the entire thing here, if you have a subscription. I do. So I read it. This article is actually free. So, better for you!

Before we get into the Lakers, piece, though, here’s Pelton explaining the model:

As in past seasons, I’ve put together projected playing time based on a formula that estimates games missed by taking into account the number missed over the past three seasons (adjusted for any offseason injuries/suspensions) and my own guesses at how rotations will shake out.

Most veteran players are rated using the multiyear, predictive version of RPM, adjusted for the typical aging curve. Newcomers to the league and players who played too little for an RPM rating are rated using their projected offensive and defensive ratings from my SCHOENE projection system, which incorporates translated performance in the NCAA and professional leagues besides the NBA.

For those who are not aware, RPM prefers to ESPN’s metric of Real Plus Minus — a sort of “all in one” stat which balances player production against the players he shares the court with (both teammates and opponents). It is supposed to wade through some of the noise which comes from various lineup configurations, strength/weakness of teammates and/or opponents, etc.

The top of the RPM metric often mirrors what most observers would say are the best players in the league. It also rates other players higher or lower than counting stats or the eye test might presume they should. You’ll find varying opinions on how good a metric RPM is. I have no hard opinion on RPM, but thought I should at least give a snapshot.

Now, to the Lakers.

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