9.11.2009

Lakers' Forecast: Cloudy with a Short Reign

2009 Lakers Playoffs Statistics
Printable

PLAYER AVERAGES







REBOUNDS
Player G GS MPG FG% 3p% FT% OFF DEF TOT APG SPG BPG TO PF PPG
Kobe Bryant 23 23 40.9 .457 .349 .883 .80 4.50 5.30 5.5 1.65 .91 2.57 2.60 30.2
Pau Gasol 23 23 40.5 .580 .000 .714 3.00 7.90 10.80 2.5 .83 1.96 1.91 3.00 18.3
Lamar Odom 23 5 32.0 .524 .514 .613 2.80 6.30 9.10 1.8 .70 1.35 1.70 3.30 12.3
Trevor Ariza 23 23 31.4 .497 .476 .563 1.00 3.30 4.20 2.3 1.57 .43 1.65 3.20 11.3
Derek Fisher 22 22 28.9 .394 .284 .861 .30 1.70 2.00 2.2 .95 .05 1.09 2.80 8.0
Andrew Bynum 23 18 17.4 .457 .000 .651 1.40 2.30 3.70 .4 .35 .91 .83 3.30 6.3
Shannon Brown 21 0 13.1 .434 .480 .792 .40 .80 1.20 .6 .48 .10 .48 1.30 4.9
Jordan Farmar 20 1 13.0 .391 .308 .737 .30 1.20 1.40 1.7 .45 .15 .90 .80 4.7
Luke Walton 21 0 15.8 .427 .313 .611 .80 1.70 2.50 2.1 .67 .14 .95 2.00 3.8
Sasha Vujacic 23 0 10.9 .264 .314 .833 .30 1.10 1.40 .5 .43 .17 .43 1.50 3.0
Josh Powell 14 0 5.2 .423 1.000 1.000 .50 .70 1.20 .3 .00 .07 .29 .60 2.1
Didier Ilunga-Mbenga 7 0 2.3 .167 .000 .000 .00 .40 .40 .0 .00 .29 .29 .00 .3
Team Averages 23 0 242.2 .465 .377 .747 11.1 30.9 42.0 19.4 7.9 6.3 13.0 23.5 102.4
Opponents 23 0 242.2 .429 .317 .747 11.0 29.9 40.9 19.8 7.7 4.3 14.5 23.1 95.2


I was reading an LA Times article (mistake #1) about the LA Lakers (mistake #2), and I found myself clicking on the comments section (yup, mistake #3). The comments were devoted exclusively to KG and Sheed. I'll be honest, they weren't totally off base. "Hey Celtics fans, I got news for you. This isn't 2004. Rasheed Wallace is 35-years-old and coming off a terrible playoff performance!" "No Way KG makes it through the whole season healthy."

I have no one to blame for my melancholy but myself. I'll own up. Still, what's the old adage about glass houses? A brief look at the Lakers' playoff statistics above and the first thing that strikes me about what the media calls the "deep Laker bench" is really, a lack thereof. Lamar Odom had a good playoff run. I'll give them that. But he was playing 32 MPG. Andrew Bynum was playing 17 MPG. In reality, then, Odom was the starter, which makes Bynum either a bad reserve or a worse starter. You could argue that Bynum will be healthy next year and back to his dominant self.

But my response is against whom will he be dominant? If you look at his two spurts of good numbers over the last two years, they came primarily against teams without a center. Those teams typically don't exist in the playoffs, and, even if they do, Bynum's style of play often runs counter to the style the Lakers choose to deploy in big games. Hence the reason he plays limited minutes against good teams.

Next up is Derek Fisher. The guy is 35 years old. Yes, he hit some big shots. But overall, his FG% was .394 and his 3p% was .284. This is awful, and he's the Lakers' starting point guard. And as the starting point guard, he averaged a measly 2.2 APG. Finally, we have Trevor Ariza. He may have been the third best player on the Lakers during the playoffs, particularly in the Finals. He shot an impressive .476 from three and averaged a steal and a half per game. He's gone. And loony tune Ron Artest is his replacement.

Bottom line, the Lakers come down to the Kobe and Gasol show. Yes, Kobe is good, and teamed with Bryant, Gasol is very good. But I'm not sure that's enough. I see this team like the 1975 Golden State Warriors, which was a two man show of Rick Barry and Jamaal Wilkes. It took a lot of things to fall into place to make 1975 Warriors champions, just as it did last year's Lakers, including Garnett's knee injury, Orlando's improbable victory over Cleveland, and a healthy 100+ games from Byrant and Gasol.

So while the Celtics certainly have their question marks, Lakers fans better enjoy the championship while they can, because barring another Gasol-for-Kwame Brown deal, the Lakers will struggle to repeat.

4 comments:

Ryan said...

I mentioned this before in another thread but it amazes me how everyone seems to forget that Pau Gasol was quite injury prone for several years. Perhaps he's done better without the burden of being the number one option the past year and a half but the law of averages would say he's due for some missed time this season.

Lex said...

Yeah, thanks, Ryan. I borrowed that thought from you. Somehow he has escaped injury. There's a number of things that can happen this year. Lots of people had the Warriors, Bullets, and Sonics repeating. Didn't happen. Barring an acquisition by the Ls, I say they have the same fate.

FLCeltsFan said...

Love the title! The Lakers lucked out last season and had very few injuries. They are going to have that bullseye on their backs this season that comes with being the champs. Teams will go at them with more intensity like they did the Celtics last season. Expect more injuries and more fatigue and Don't forget the secret weapon. They have Ron Artest on their team now all set to implode when least expected.

Lex said...

The Artest factor will be the most fun to watch

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