This game was terrible and the Lakers offense was really bad, but the defense yet again was strong for LA and helped us earn the win. The Lakers have moved up from playing like a 31 win team to 33 after the ugly win against Phoenix. If you haven’t seen the following win projections before:
- These aren’t solid projections
- These show how many games a team would be expected to win if they play how they’ve played so far
- The data used to value teams is my Points Over Expectation (POE) data
- Remaining strength of schedule is accounted for by these projections being from projecting each remaining game
- Home/away and rest days are accounted for in the projections
- All compliments can go to @JacobEGoldstein on Twitter for building the math to take my POE data to these projections
This offensive performance can look decent if you’re a glass half full kind of person. The team’s half court CPOE (Created Points Over Expectation; the points scored higher/lower than what an average team would score on the same possessions) was +3.8, the first positive half court performance since game 10 against Memphis. The last two games had half court CPOE figures of -20.7 and -18.7, making the +3.8 look even better.
If you’re not that kind of person, there’s a lot to look at and hot be happy about. Being almost 10 points below the expectation isn’t good. It’s better than the past three games, but it’s still pretty bad. We saw yet another pathetic performance from possessions out of the post. The Lakers scored just two points off of screens, an area I’ve been vocal about the team needing to expand. Somehow the team scored 13.7 points less than an average team would have scored in transition.
There’s also hope to see or despair to feel as well at what could be. The Lakers’ season CPOE is -6.4. Their DPOE is -3.5 (which is good), giving them an overall POE of -2.9. If the team were just average offensively and had a CPOE of 0 the team would be 9th in the NBA in POE instead of 22nd like they are now.
9 points is the lowest transition output of the season. Getting out into transition for 18% of your possessions doesn’t do much for the team if you’re scoring 0.429 points per possession compared to 0.968 PPP on half court possessions.
We saw a turnover form a Lonzo pass ahead. We saw zero points on five KCP transition possessions, no points from four possessions from Lonzo, none on three from Randle, zilch from two Kuzma possessions, and even Vander Blue threw in an empty possession.
The team only had three turnovers in 21 possessions, but 3/12 on 2-pointers and 1/6 on 3-pointers will kill your efficiency.
Another game of made catch and shoot jumpers leads to another win. LA was 3/6 on catch and shoot guarded 3-pointers, shot 6/14 (42.9%) on open 3s, and scored on 66% of their shots at the rim. That’s a formula for success.
How do you get a +7.5 CPOE spotting up? Shoot 8/16 from deep.
Through some good defensive execution, hustle, and terrible Phoenix offense, the Lakers had their best DPOE performance of the year. LA held the Suns to scoring 18.4 points less than an average team would be expected to score on the same possessions.
Pull Up Shooting
A big part of LA’s success, especially with pick and roll ball handler possessions, had to do with forcing pull up shots. Phoenix had a 5:3 ratio of pull up to catch & shoot jumpers on the game overall.
On their 15 catch and shoot jumpers the team shot 33% from deep (only 1/5 on open 3s) and 5/9 on 2-point jumpers.
The Suns were much less effective pulling up, which is normal. What isn’t normal is so many shots coming from this area. The Suns have about a 1:1 ratio on the year of pull ups to catch and shoot jumpers, much more reasonable to an almost 2:1 ratio.
Almost all of those pull ups were contested as well. LA’s flexibility with its bigs like Kuzma and Randle on switches helped contest shots well in iso and the pick and roll and keep Phoenix out of the paint.
LA forcing the Suns into lots of pull ups and contesting those shots played a big role on the bottom line.
Player Spotlight: Corey Brewer
This tweet had me shook.
WHO’S READY FOR THIS COREY BREWER BREAKDOWN VIDEO @CreatveDestroyr
— Laker Film Room (@LakerFilmRoom) November 14, 2017
This was a shout out to this amazing video Tom Zayas (@CreatveDestroyr) made last season that changed the fabric of the NBA landscape.
It would be amusing to have a video account of Pete ultimately losing his mind and screaming at his laptop 5 minutes into the video, but to save Pete’s health from having to go through making a 40 minute Corey Brewer video and to preserve your eyes and ears, I’ll do a quick player spotlight on our favorite chef instead.
Here’s a breakdown on how Brewer has spent his possessions, his effectiveness on those looks, and how that compares to the expectation.
Here are some rapid fire stats on Brewer:
- Corey Brewer had a 51 point game in 2014
- Brewer is on pace to score 51 points total about 20 games into this season
- Brewer is shooting 20% on open catch and shoot 3-pointers this season. He shot 21.6% on those shots last season between his times in Houston and LA.
- Brewer is in the 30th percentile of all players at scoring in transition, meaning that 70% of the league scores more points per possession than he does in that area
- Brewer is in the 1st percentile as a jump shooter
- Brewer has had 47 possessions this season and scored 10 points less than an average player would be expected to score on the same possessions
- Defensively, Brewer looks like an okay primary defender and a bad help defender. His -0.4 DPOE is in the 68th percentile among NBA players. However, his DRPM, which accounts for the help defense that DPOE doesn’t capture, has Brewer in the 23rd percentile among SFs.
Corey seems like a nice guy. I got a picture with him at Summer League with him wearing his Tune Squad shirt and me one of my ballin’ pastel shirts and he seemed like a cool dude. But he probably shouldn’t be getting any minutes this year, especially at the expense of Josh Hart. I’d prefer Hart gets all of those minutes or LA look to their D-League squad or free agents (perhaps Mindaugas Kuzminskas, who shot 41.9% on open catch and shoot 3s last season).