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.
The Lakers kept the offense rolling just a day after the team’s best offensive performance by Created Points Over Expectation (CPOE). The Lakers scored 12.1 points more than an average team would on the same possessions en route to their 124-112 win over Brooklyn.
LA’s 120 possessions in a game is tied for the second most in any game this season. Both teams having a combined 52 transition possessions played a large role in that.
The Lakers were a +11.5 between their solid offense and even more impressive transition defense. The Lakers got back to what they wanted to do Friday by getting 19.2% of their possessions in transition following three games where that mark was just 13.5%.
I’m not at all a fan of isolation, but it’s hard to complain when the team scores 1.5 points per possession. It wasn’t just one player either. Five different players scored in isolation for the now 9th most efficient isolation team in the league. Again, isolation isn’t ideal offense, but it’s great to see Lakers player making plays.
The Lakers nearly doubled their next best single game spot up CPOE with Friday’s lights out performance. Brook Lopez led the way with 12 points on 5 possessions, but even if you take his scoring away the team still has a positive spot up CPOE. This wasn’t just spotting up, but the Lakers converted on 4/7 open catch and shoot 3-pointers and 4/8 contested 3s. The Lakers will be hard to stop when the team is getting out in transition, scoring at will in isolation, and clicking on their jumpers.
LA’s defense went back to work Friday and had their fifth above average Defensive Points Over Expectation game in six games.
About a quarter of Brooklyn’s offense was in transition, but they scored about 30% less than expected on those opportunities. It’s a weird day when you’re allowing opponents to score about half as effectively in transition as you are in isolation, but LA will take it.
Pick and Roll
The 8th best pick and roll ball handler scoring offense clashed with the fifth worst, and the defense won out. Holding former Laker D’Angelo Russell to 6 points on 10 possessions was a big part of that effort.
Player Spotlight: D’Angelo Russell
I’ll make it quick, because I know Laker fans have read and seen enough about D’Angelo since he left the Lakers. LA shut down the former Laker and held him 8.2 points below what an average player would score if given the same number and distribution of possessions.
This isn’t at all representative of how Russell has played this season, but the 10 second highlight clips you may see on your Twitter timeline might not be either.
Russell is 11th in the NBA in possessions per game, which has helped him put up some counting stats. Playing alongside a better shooting team in a better offensive scheme has helped his passing data, but he’s still the same good passer.
Russell’s Season CPOE:
Russell’s usage this season is interesting. His expected points per possession based on his play type frequencies is the 4th lowest of any of the top 48 players with the highest possessions per game. And on the year, Russell has scored 0.4 points per game more than an average player would be expected to score. Those last two sentences are the reason why Russell is only in the 43rd percentile in efficiency in the league.
Russell scored well out of the post, was a good cutter, and was a great spot up and off screen shooter in Los Angeles. Brooklyn has made him almost exclusively a pick and roll player. Russell has grown in that area, but unless he’s much better than average in the pick and roll his overall efficiency will be capped due to so much of his offense coming from those types of possessions.