Six games up and six games down, and Lakers preseason is over. We had a pinch of excitement, some great surprises, a tad of disappointment, a pretty boring final game, and were left with a lot of questions. Why didn’t Kyle Kuzma score 50 points a game? How come someone scored on defensive player of the century Kentavious Caldwell-Pope? Will Lonzo ever make a shot? Difficult, probing questions.
6 games of basketball has also left us with some data. Here are 25 stats from preseason that highlight some good (and bad) performances:
- Despite Lonzo Ball only playing in 2 of 6 preseason games, the Lakers had 23.2% of their offensive possessions be generated in transition. That’s higher than any team this preseason and higher than any regular season team on record.
- The team’s half court efficiency checks in at 20th and their transition efficiency a measly 26th.
- LA’s efficiency in special situations regressed from where it was the first few games, but they finished preseason 11th in BLOB (baseline out of bounds) efficiency, 6th in SLOB (sideline out of bounds) efficiency, and 4th in ATO (after timeout) efficiency.
- Accounting for both scoring and passing leading to shots, the Lakers ranked 8th in isolation efficiency, 16th in pick and roll efficiency, and 20th in post up efficiency.
- The Lakers were the 27th most efficient team in catch and shoot efficiency and 20th in pull up efficiency. This is not a good shooting team.
- Larry Nance Jr had 7 transition possessions in 6 games. Julius Randle and Kyle Kuzma each had 24, Jordan Clarkson had 19, Brandon Ingram had 17, and KCP had 16.
- Ingram shot 3 for 11 on those transition shots, which is very very bad. KCP shot 5 for 14 on his transition looks, which is also terrible.
- Julius Randle’s efficiencies in his play types are almost identical to what they were last season, but his overall efficiency has spiked. Why? Because instead of isolation being his most frequent half court play type it’s fallen to just 4.5% of his offense.
- The Lakers had zero (0) players above the 50th percentile in spot up shooting efficiency. Kuz lead the team & was exactly the 50th percentile.
- Jordan Clarkson was 9 for 14 scoring from the pick and roll (89th percentile PPP) and guys shot 7 for 12 after his PnR kickouts.
- Brook Lopez was a perfect 6 for 6 shooting as a pick and roll roller. He had 3 pops, 2 rolls, and 1 slip.
- Kuzma led the team in isolation possessions with 11, and scored 15 points on those chances. He shot 4 for 6 and drew 4 shooting fouls. His 1.364 points per possession was the second best of any preseason NBA player.
- Julius Randle shot 3 for 10 in the post, Lopez shot 4 for 9, Kuzma was 1 for 2, and Ingram was 0 for 3.
- KCP had 13 off screen possessions and scored 1.000 PPP on those chances (50th percentile). No other laker had more than 3 off screen possessions.
- Julius Randle and Larry Nance Jr. led the team with 2 putback makes each.
- The Lakers finished preseason with the 20th best defense overall, 20th in transition, and 15th in the half court.
- No team defended the pick and roll better than the Lakers… Well, sort of. The team held opponents to 0.505 points per possession from pick and roll ball handler shots, an absolutely elite number.
- However, the Lakers ranked 29th in defense of roll men, and when accounting for both spot up and roll man shots from the pick and roll along with ball handler shots, LA’s defense ranks only 16th. This is likely a sign that the team is committing too early on ball handlers in the pick and roll, and it’s costing them positioning to defend kick outs.
- The Lakers have contested 55.3% of the catch and shoot jump shots they’ve faced. That number has increased from 51.1% during the regular season last year.
- Larry Nance Jr. leads the team in fouls committed with 16. Randle and Ingram each have 13, tied for second.
- LA’s pull up defense ranks 3rd, but their catch and shoot defense ranks 32nd of the 36 teams that played during preseason (which include several international club teams). This could be a symptom of a team over helping and leaving shooters open on kick outs.
- Opponents shot 15 for 50 when Kyle Kuzma was their primary defender, and his defensive PPP of 0.645 put him in the 81st percentile among preseason players. That’s really good.
- Julius Randle’s defense was even stouter, conceding just 0.625 points per possession, placing him in the 84th percentile. He notably only had 1 shooting foul in 56 possessions, an incredibly low 1.8% rate that was lower than any player with as many defensive possessions.
- The Laker giving up the lowest FG% against is Josh Hart at 27.3% (6/22).
- Alex Caruso, who in 50 D-League games last year was in the 81st percentile defensively, finished this preseason with a PPP in the 82nd percentile. He also leads the team in steals with 10.