In multiple conversations I’ve had with Pete Zayas, he’s told me that if there’s ever a question about what position a player is you likely need to go “up” a slot. So, if you wonder if a guy is a 3 or a 4, he’s a 4. If you wonder whether he’s a 4 or a 5, he’s a 5. In a conversation Pete and I both had with Nate Duncan of the Dunc’d On Podcast, he told us an NBA personnel man once told him that if you can’t shoot in the NBA, you’re a 5 (this was an over-generalization, but I think you get the point).

What does all of this have to do with anything, you might ask? Well, I don’t know if Luke Walton believes the same things that Pete and the personnel guy Nate talked to does, but Walton has turned Julius Randle into a 5. The player who was drafted #7 overall nearly 4 years ago as a bruiser PF who flashed some real all-court game and perimeter skill is now the Lakers primary backup Center. As the kids say, life comes at you fast.

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We’ll start this Lakers data report with a quick projected standings update. These win projections are based off of how teams are playing right now and their odds to win each remaining game based on team POE, team rest days before each game, and whether the game is home or away.

The Lakers have jumped up to the ninth projected best record in the West and are projected to win 39 games. Not too long ago this projection was in the 20s, so the steady upwards trajectory (even in a loss to Portland) is a positive sign moving forward. Continue Reading…

The Lakers have forged an unlikely defensive identity early in the 2017-2018 season, as Darius & I noted in the most recent Laker Film Room Podcast. They’re long, active, and aggressive, employing a style that is intended to catalyze their transition game on the offensive end. Yet that aggression can be used against them, and the Portland Trailblazers did just that in a 113-110 win over the Lakers on Thursday night.

In this installment of Laker Film Room, I take a look at how the Blazers back cut the Lakers’ ball denial, stretched their defense out to the half court line, and continually exploited poor weak side defense in pick and roll situations. Continue Reading…

The Lakers are coming off an encouraging loss — though a 113-110 loss nonetheless — against the Trailblazers in Portland Thursday night. A game that saw the Lakers battle back from a huge deficit and take the lead, only to have Damian Lillard crush their hopes with a last second game winner. I’ll take this effort, even if the end was pretty damn disappointing. The NBA is tough sledding that way and with a game only a night later in a different city, you either need a short memory, a lot of resolve, or both.

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Several new additions have been made to the NBA and Lakers data spreadsheet that I’ve created and am updating daily.

Rookie Draft Tab

Want to quickly check and see how each draft pick has performed so far this season? Look no further than the “Rookie Draft” tab on the spreadsheet. You can sort by any of the columns, filter by team, and see just how elite Kyle Kuzma has been compared to the other rookies so far this season.


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The Lakers lost more than a game to the Blazers on Thursday night, they lost their starting power forward too. Larry Nance Jr. broke his hand when committing a foul on Portland big man Caleb Swannigan.

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It’s never a good feeling losing a game, but it’s especially bitter losing such a close game that the Lakers led for a while in the fourth quarter. We’re left with another loss, but we’re also left with some encouraging Lakers data in a couple areas.

In fact, despite losing to Portland, the team’s Points Over Expectation (POE) slightly improved, and the team is playing through eight games like it’s a 35 win team.

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In this episode of the Laker Film Room Podcast, Pete and I discuss the Lakers early season identity as a (surprisingly) good defensive team that has had trouble scoring and how that profile is inverse of what everyone thought they would be heading into the season.

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