The Lakers data from this one isn’t pretty. The offense is nowhere near even being average, but it’s not a huge surprise considering the personnel the team is running out on the court. Tyler Ennis, Corey Brewer, Alex Caruso, Vander Blue, Ivica Zubac, and Andrew Bogut are all players you probably don’t want receiving minutes in your rotation if you’re to be a competitive team. They’re currently making up six of LA’s 12 rotation players.
Another game, another horrific half court performance. LA seems to consistently scoring double digits less than an average offense would score on the same opportunities. This time it was about 15 points the Lakers failed to score.
Pick and Miss
40% of LA’s half court offense was a pick and roll possession or possession derived from a pick and roll pass. This is an 18% augmentation from the team’s normal output from pick and roll plays. Against Minnesota, LA scored 0.676 PPP on those possessions and 0.862 PPP on all other half court possessions. Shots following pick and roll pass outs were almost always guarded and infrequently went in, and 25% of these possessions resulted in turnovers.
It seems as though Brandon Ingram is much better suited to attack a compromised defense off of a spot up than he is to dribble off a pick, cross over and weave back into the teeth of the defense, and then try to use his length. The Lakers are in a better place when Ingram is the man attacking downhill when his man helps off of him, not Corey Brewer.
Where the Lakers did find success was on their pick and pop plays with Kyle Kuzma. Kuz converted several times and has done a nice job running to the 3-point line after screening to put the defense in a tough decision. This was one of the few offensive bright spots for Los Angeles Monday, and produced their highest performing CPOE area.
LA didn’t run much in terms of set plays with off screen action, but those plays were successful. One BLOB play resulted in a nice shot for Clarkson. A simple pin gave Kuz an open catch and shoot 3 that he buried. A staggered screen for Clarkson resulted in a poor closeout and let JC get into the paint with the defense scrambling.
LA also ran the Hawk Stagger play that the Thunder run frequently to get a pick and roll going at the same time as a staggered screen. The screen setting was terrible, so the play’s effectiveness wasn’t fantastic. But it’s a good play that I’d love to see LA continue to try to use.
These possessions make me happy because they generated good shot opportunities. Unfortunately for LA, these possessions are few and far between, and the team also often executes poorly on their sets (they set bad screens), nullifying effectiveness of actions.
16 of the 20 half court catch and shoot 3-point attempts the Lakers took were contested. This is a great gauge to tell us that good offensive possessions were not being generated. Pretty much all of these were on spot up opportunities.
Play Type Frequencies
I feel like a broken record, but set plays with off screen actions, or the lack of them, has hurt this offense. The team seems to go through 3-4 game stretches where they seem to figure it out, then don’t, then do again.
This is one of those dark times, but I’m not sure Lonzo has all that much to do with it. LA had 5, 9, 8, and 7 off screen possessions in the previous four game Lonzo was absent. This game they had 3. The last time LA had fewer possessions than Monday’s game was November 3rd against Brooklyn.
The team’s handoff possessions, which had been increasing as they ran more sets, have gone back down since Lonzo went down. That continued Monday.
The defense was able to hold their ground this game after several very poor performances in a row. In fact, had the offense just scored their expected points this would be an 111-111 game. You have to be pleased with a +2 DPOE performance against a team that has been as successful as Minnesota (6th best CPOE on the year).
Here is the expected play type volume and point breakdown from the “Team Matchup” tab tool in our Forum Blue & Gold NBA data spreadsheet:
Some areas are pretty close, others not as close. LA was able to hold Minnesota from putbacks more than expected but gave up more on those putbacks as well as in iso than anticipated. I’ll be fine tuning this tool to try to produce the best projections game to game. Feel free to use the tool and see which areas area exploitable and may play a big role in each specific matchup.
I mentioned before the game that LA might have success if they could bait Andrew Wiggins, who has been incredibly inefficient so far this season in isolation, to spend some TWolves possessions in iso. Unfortunately, he only amassed one possession and converted that chance for two points. Jimmy Butler was able to go to work and convert well in iso, as did Jamal Crawford.