What Laker has the best +/- number this season? When you ask what player is most often on the court when the Lakers are doing well, the standard answer is Kobe. But so far the guy leading the way this season is Kwame Brown â€” the Lakers are +11.7 (per 48 minutes) when he is on the court (Kobe is +0.2 per 48). Kwameâ€™s impact is largely on the defensive end â€“ the Lakers give up 100.9 points per 100 opponent possessions when he is on the floor, which jumps to 108.3 when he is sitting.
Or, look at tit this way, the regular starting four with Bynum at center have outscored their opposing five 53.8% of the time they have been on the floor. Sub Kwame in for Bynum, and that jumps to 71.4%.
In case you wondered why Kwame is in the starting lineup.
Not to sound like Bill Simmonsâ€¦. The Pacers come in to LA with a 9-9 record, which is the fourth best in the East. Out West, nine teams have above .500 records.
And they come in tired. Check out what the Pacer beat writer for the Indianapolis Star, Mark Montieth, said on his blog about the Pacers for tonightâ€™s game:
Theyâ€™re playing the sixth and final game of a nine-day trip, so theyâ€™re tired. The Lakers, meanwhile, havenâ€™t had to leave town for more than a week. The Lakers (11-5) also happen to be good.
In other words, the Pacers have about as much chance of winning this game as Evan Bayh has of becoming the next president.
Thanks to Henry from True Hoop for finding that.
Good glove, no bat. The Pacers have been playing pretty good defense this season, holding opponents to a defensive rating of 105.7 (points per 100 possessions) and allowing them to shoot just 48.3% (eFG%).
However, their offense is the weak point. They have an offensive rating of 103.2 (points per 100 possessions), 26th in the league. For some comparison, the Lakers are 7th in the league with a rating of 110.2. What is holding the Pacers back? Well, they shoot just 47.6% (eFG%) as a team, but to make up for that they turn the ball over on 18.8% of their possessions (28th in the league, tied with the Lakers, but at least the Lakers shoot 52.1%). As we well know, turnovers on offense can also lead to easy baskets for the other team and a tough night defensively.
Jermaine O’Neal is good. So far this season he has been by far the best thing on the Pacers, with a PER of 20.52. But his shooting has not been special (just 51.6% true shooting percentage), what he is doing well is passing out of the double teams he gets (13% of his possessions end in an assist, third best percentage on the team) and he is rebounding well, grabbing 15.5% of the available boards (or 11.1 per 40 minutes).
But maybe the biggest sign of his impact is +/-, the Pacers are +14.0 per 48 minutes when he is on the court. However, two other starters, point Jamaal Tinsley and forward Al Harrington (both who have above average PERs of higher than 16) have some of the worst +/- numbers among starters in the league at -9.2 (Tinsley) and -8.3 (Harrington). Think about that for a second, they get to play a fair amount of their minutes with the strong +/- of Oâ€™Neal, so all that drop off has to come in the limited time he sits and they play.
Stephen Jackson canâ€™t shoot. Heâ€™s hitting just 40.4% (eFG%) of his attempts, but is still taking 19.2% of his teams shot attempts when on the floor (almost one in five shots). That will slow a teamâ€™s offense. That said, this stat is just here so I could write that kicker.
Things to look for. Two teams that are near the top of the league in turnovers, so if one of them could curb that habit for a night theyâ€™d have a big advantage.
If you just look at the numbers, youâ€™ll see the Pacers playing at the fourth fastest tempo in the league right now. But that is a little misleading: The three fastest teams (Denver, Phoenix and Golden State) are way out in front of everyone else, then from the Pacers at four to the Wizards at 12th fastest, every team is within one possession a game of each other. The Lakers are in that group.
I havenâ€™t seen the Pacers play yet this season, but just looking at the numbers you would think if the Lakers can come out and play good defense (like against the Clippers the other night, although the Clips helped us there) they should get the win. The Lakers other strength, the deep bench, also could be an advantage as the Pacers lack depth.
The Pacers have won just one game against the Lakers in LA since 1992. They are tired and at the end of a long road trip. Itâ€™s a game the Lakers SHOULD win, which has me worried because the last one of these games was against Milwaukee and we all remember that disaster.
Updated note: great thought from Kwame a. in the comments, so I moved it up:
I will be looking at our perimeter defense, especially Walton on Harrington and Kobe on Jackson. Teams with two wings who can attack have hurt us (Seattle w/Allen and Lewis, Det w/Rip and Prince). This is good preparation for teams like S.A. and Dallas, who have multiple perimeter options. Hopefully we can rotate and recover, limit the number of open looks and keep our bigs out of foul trouble
If our loss to milwaukee is extrapolated over the entire season, it is a good thing that we only play two games against each eastern conference team, because man do they suck. Yes we are much better off playing the Western Powerhouses every night.
kwame a. says
Tonite I will be looking at our perimeter defense, especially Walton on Harrington and Kobe on Jackson. Teams with two wings who can attack have hurt us (Seattle w/Allen and Lewis, Det w/Rip and Prince). This is good preparation for teams like S.A. and Dallas, who have multiple perimeter options. Hopefully we can rotate and recover, limit the number of open looks and keep our bigs out of foul trouble
John R. says
We will have an interesting conclusion to the officiating situation nearer the end of this post. The numbers have collided with a first hand account and it is now perfectly clear what is happening.
FB&G man on the street review of 12/4 vs Clippers.
#1 Judging by the behavior of the Lakers fans in attendance, it is officially a rivalry. This game meant alot more to Lakers fan than it did to Clippers fan or to the players on either team. Lakers fan must be feeling severely insecure lately.
#2 Lakers fan is increasingly divergent with Clippers fan. When Simmons said the difference is Lakers fan has no soul, I knew that wasn’t true. But after hearing the potty mouths and witnessing the general threatening and violent posture of Lakers fan, I think much worse things of them than just not having a soul. Show some class Lakers fan. Clean up the language around the kids. I’d hate to hear the explitives if they lost.
#3 Speaking of class, Clippers fan shows more class than Lakers fan. I don’t know why. There was a time when the Lakers were a classy organization. Personally, I blame the Raiders for leaving town.
#4 The halftime show was the worst I’ve seen since last year vs Raptors when they had two dudes kinda slow wrestle for 5 minutes. Creepy.
#5 Lakers fan is by far more likely to A. Consider a white t-shirt to be outerwear and B. rock NBA-themed appearal that is obviously not officially licensed. C’mon Lakers fan, have some self-respect if you can’t respect the game.
#6 When they showed a guy with a UCLA shirt on the screen there was a chorus of boos. I looked around at Lakers fan who was booing, and it was clear none of them went to USC. Weird. Maybe indicative of a certain mentality? For the record I didn’t watch the football game, but the UCSB/UCLA soccer final yesterday was full of good drama, if not good soccer.
Finally the foul situation. Before the game I did not make a prediction about the foul differential due to personal illness. But if I had, 23 to 26 would have been right in line with the road situation thus far this season. 5 or 6 difference at home, 0-3 difference on the road. Pretty consistant. Impossibly so.
But strict numbers aside, the officiating was actually much worse than I would have assumed. It was terrible both in what was being called and what was not being called and the Lakers benefitted tremendously.
Kwame collides with Sam, no call. Smush jumps up and lands on Kaman’s head, no call. EB blocks Smush’s shot clean, whistle. (Smush missed them both. I believe Rasheed would say, “Ball don’t lie”.) Out of bounds foul on Sam? Awful. Kobe bodies Maggette on the perimeter, offensive hooking foul. All Lakers post defenders put both hands on Clippers, NEVER called once. Kobe on one of the last plays of the game jumps into Kaman ass first when Chris was on the far side of the basket not really doing anything, foul. Farmar throws a terrible entry pass to Kwame, ball bounces out of bounds, near official points Clippers, mystery whistle blows, foul Cassell. Awful. Sure LO fouled out, but they only got him for 6 when I counted 10. Sasha bumps and claws and scratches everyone, called… sometimes. And thats just off the top of my head. Very poorly done, unless it was done on purpose then expertly done.
And we are getting to that sometimes.
Basically, the Lakers are allowed to play defense differently, much more aggressively that is, than their opponent under certain conditions.
And that condition is amazingly important.
Sometimes the Lakers are held to normal standards. And that sometimes is when Lamar picked up all those fouls.
The difference between when the Lakers are called for fouls and when they aren’t is the penalty situation. Once the Lakers are in the penalty the refs stop calling fouls. Notice the Lakers don’t stop committing fouls, they just stop getting called. The Smush onto Kaman’s head is the best example. But it was part of a string at the end of the first half during with the Lakers committed a blatant foul on each possession with no whistle. And loose ball fouls against the Lakers while in the bonus, forget it. There is no such thing as over the back. Smush, want to dive into EB’s legs? Go right ahead.
Even that devestating revelation aside, there are two other differences. Lakers post players are allowed to put both hands on their mark. This was outlawed a few seasons back but does not apply to the Lakers. Its not hard to understand what a significant difference this makes on the interior.
The other is the “rule change” mentioned by Rob a few posts back. Except it doesn’t exist. Kobe bodying Maggette as he drives baseline will never ever be called. But even more bizarrely, why isn’t it called when Sasha “guards” Livingston as he brings it up court? He bumps him, hacks him, whatever he wants to do. No foul. There has been no “rule change” Rob. There are just different sets of rules for different teams.
For today’s overall foul discussion there is no need to update the foul totals. They are largely unchanged since last update. So I have decided for looking at certain factors that might affect the number of fouls called.
A number of people I know who are Lakers fans have suggested it is a factor of Kobe being a superstar. So I looked at the teams who have other NBA appointed superstars. I don’t think there are better examples than Miami and Cleveland. I’ll listen to suggestions for better candidates, but as far as any “rule change” it doesn’t apply to any individuals more than Lebron and Wade.
Foul differential for MIA = 0.00
Foul differential for CLE = +0.23
Foul differential for LAL = -3.81
So its not a superstar thing. Its just a rules dont apply to the Lakers thing.
Good thing I stopped reading that halfway through, as I might have died from the sheer lunacy of the comment.
kwame a. says
John R., kinda like Raja Bell, probably just needs a hug. Johnny boy, it’s alright, the Clips will somehow make it through another 4 yrs of dumbleavy.
Craig W. says
I wonder why John R. bothers to post on a Lakers blog. One of you commented to me that he just does it to bug us. After a bit is really seems like a royal waste of his time. I started reading his post before I knew who was posting it. About 1/4 of the way through I said, whoa here, let’s see who wrote this. When I saw the John R. I just skimmed the rest of the blog to see if maybe he had something that might be fact based in there. NOPE! Just the usual paranoia of an extreme anti Laker fan. This guy is worse than “Jeff from Tarzana”.
Derek Banducci says
With all due respect, I stopped reading at the part where John R. began talking about Area 51.
3. John R.:
Where are you going with this? Is there some conspiracy on the leagues (or officials) part? I can’t believe that.
My guess as to why the Lakers have a larger foul differential (assuming that that stat carries any significance, which I seriously doubt) would be that the Lakers haved played a very home-heavy schedule. It seems to my observations over the years that home teams, especailly in the NBA, get more rope from the refs.
In regards to #6, how was it so ‘clear’ that none of the Lakers fans didn’t go to USC. If its because they appeared uneducated, I’d get off the high horse if I were you. I just watched UCSB students get arrested for trying to throw a field goal into the ocean yesterday, students and alumni act stupid all the time.
… and to anyone who cares, I would’ve much rather UCLA lost on Saturday and won on Sunday, rather than the other way around. And I attend UCSB.
Checking in from Indy. Kwame a. has the key with Walton on Harrington. Al has been lighting it up on this trip and with Jackson and O’Neal battling nagging injuries he (Harrington) will have to score for the Ps to have a chance. Of course, Kobe could score enough on his own to cancel out Al and O’Neal.
I keep thinking John R IS Jeff in Tarzana.
Looks like Bynum my have made things easy on Jackson as far as deciding when to reinsert Kwame back into the starting lineup…
From the Press Telegram:
“I didn’t make that decision until game time basically the other night,” Jackson said. “He didn’t come early enough to work and my coaching staff came in and said, `Andrew was the last one out on the floor shooting and we really need to send a message to him.’ ”
Jackson said Bynum had been given the starting job “by default” because of the injuries to Brown and Chris Mihm before the season. He admitted that it made more sense to start Bynum against the Clippers but “he doesn’t deserve it right at this time.”
Bynum said was asked if Jackson had given him an explanation for not starting and said, “I didn’t get a reason.”
The players are aware that it is a good thing to MAKE most of their freethrows, right?
That was a dig at UPS, the other players did not deserve that.
Is Kobe just resting?
1 – Out of the Lakers, Cavs, and Heat, the Lakers are playing the best basketball. That usually means they’re the agressors. Agressors usually shoot more free throws.
2 – Say for example that the Lakers were the playing the worst basketball of the three, the season is less than a quarter through. Your sample size may not be large enough.
3 – My Laker halftime show is that, after I grab some nachos, I usually kickback and get a good look at all the retired jerseys and championship banners. But, you know, guys in giant animal suits doing forward flip dunks is cool too.
4 – Relax. Just, relax. If you dislike the NBA that much, UCLA isn’t a bad backup plan.
I like how many times the announcers reminded us in the second half that the lakers were playing without Kobe. Maybe once an offensive possesiion. We’ll be fine… Kobe’s super human healing powers combined with lakers have some experience (and successful at that) playing without Kobe. I do hope he is back against NO hornets though. They haven’t been playing quite as well as they started but they are still a good team.
What are the wagers? will he play? I guess it will depend a lot on how the ankle responds tomorrow.
John (Vancouver) says
It’s extremely clear NBA fans have tunnel vision when dealing with their team, while others take it to another level and have a complex against other fans. It’s clear this is what Clipper fans such as John R represent. I deal with the same thing in Vancouver from Maple Leaf/Flames fans and even our own Canucks fans sometimes pile on the self-loathing so much it is like the bathe in it. There are these fans wherever you go, and the best thing to do with them isn’t to try and argue stats against them. Any number of “stats” and “facts” can be twisted in any way to shape and form a coherent argument that seems logical to someone.
In cases like these, we just have to sit back, relax and repeat the following words: Boy do the Clippers suck.
There we go, I feel better already. Don’t you? Man I want a soft pretzel.
For real…he should take a few games off..why not? The team plays better without him anyways..I was hoping when he came back the first time the rest of the Lakers would keep up their hustle but when you know a guy is there to bail you out you’re not going to try as hard, no other way around it. Really, I’d rather have them lose to the Bucks every day for a month if it means they’ll get better in the long run..I don’t remember Jordan having to shoot the type of shots Kobe does to bail the bulls out
John (Vancouver) says
Sorry for the double post, but I was able to get some highlights of the game that weren’t involving Kobe’s injury (-_-) and wow.
Did Ralph Wiley call it or did he call it? Luke Walton really is White Magic.
Renato Afonso says
Look, I haven’t seen many Lakers games this season, mainly because we’re playing home games and the time difference from L.A. to Lisbon is about 8 hours. I’ll be seeing a lot more games once we start visiting the East coast.
Now, I have a couple of questions maybe you could answer…
I know Luke Walton has been playing the best ball in his career, but what do you think about Danny Granger? I rather enjoy his play, specially his D and all-around game, and I see him becoming really good real soon (too bad he’s sharing time with Stephen Jackson and Al Harrington). We did pass on him in the draft to take Andrew Bynum. Wouldn’t he have more impact on the Lakers in the nearby future?
It’s not like Kwame can’t handle the C job…
Regarding John R., why do you type such long messages? I have to scroll down a lot in order to read what it matters… but still…
Regarding refereeing protection I stated a LOT of times that NBA refereeing is crap. They protect superstars and the home team at all times. But I can tell you this… Kobe hardly travels when driving to the hoop. Wade, LeBron and a few others travel off the dribble and while approaching the rim. I remember seeing Wade taking FOUR STEPS on the fastbreak in last years finals. In the FIBA tournament he got whistled for travelling and didn’t get those phantom fouls called on him. Result? His efficiency plumeted. Kobe doesn’t need to get the calls to still make his shots.
And good defense is an aggressive one. That should be allowed…
I like Granger, but I’d rather have a future quality big like Bynum over a quality perimeter player just about any day of the week. Bigs are just harder to come by.