If you’re been a Los Angeles Lakers fan for any long stretch of time, you’ve never quite seen a season like this. The Lakers are 25-52, which comes out to a winning percentage of .325. The last time that happened? It’s never happened in Los Angeles (the Minneapolis Lakers went 19-53 in 1957-58, for a .264 percentage). Why has it been so bad? Let’s look at five numbers that tell the entire story.
16-22 — If you guessed that this was the Lakers record against teams with a .500 record or better…you’re on the right track. It’s actually the Lakers record against teams with a record that’s worse than .500. These are the teams that the Lakers have historically pounded into submission.
The Lakers are 0-2 against the Milwaukee Bucks, 1-1 against the Philadelphia 76ers and 1-2 against the Utah Jazz. Would anyone in their right minds say that these teams are juggernauts that run roughshod over the NBA? But, that’s been life for the Lakers this season. They can’t seem to get it done against teams like these that they should roll over.
4-23 — This abysmal record represents the Lakers failures on the road when they trail at the half. For a team that boasts the league’s second-best pace (98.5) and the fourth-best 3-point percentage (38 percent), you’d think they would have the kind of team that could come back from halftime deficits. You’d be sorely mistaken.
Does a lot of this have to do with the porous defense? Yes, but we’ll get to that in a minute. Could this have to do with Mike D’Antoni and his reluctance to make halftime adjustments? Absolutely. D’Antoni has been panned over the years for his stubborn refusal to adapt to individual games. Instead, he rides out his system and gets routinely out-coached by the opposing team on a regular basis.
7 — I’m not usually a guy who makes injury excuses, nor do I believe the Lakers were going to be a legit threat in the Western Conference, but injuries did more than derail the train — it flew off the cliff into a burning pile of hot garbage. The number seven represents the amount of players currently on the injury report.
Obviously, Kobe Bryant is out for the rest of the season with his left tibial plateau fracture. He played in just six games. Xavier Henry is out for the season with wrist and knee issues. Jordan Farmar‘s groin is keeping him out two weeks. Pau Gasol (vertigo), Steve Nash (nerve irritation), Kent Bazemore (foot) and Chris Kaman (calf) are all battling through problems. Would a healthy Lakers squad be a force in the West? Probably not, but they could have fought for one of those last playoff spots.
126 — This is a number that would make any coach absolutely ill. Thanks to 82games.com for this one, which shows the difference in bad pass turnovers from the Lakers (534) to their opponents (408). If you’re the less talented team on a nightly basis, you absolutely, positively cannot give the ball away.
In addition, if you’ve got the league’s No. 28 rated defense (110.5), the last thing you want is to give the opponent more opportunities to score. Gasol leads the way in total turnovers (141), with Kendall Marshall (138) and Jodie Meeks (106) not far behind. To me, this speaks to coaching. Bad passes are the result of bad chemistry or a team simply not being on the same page. A team without talent can still be coached to play together. This team just looks unprepared and that should fall on the coach.
1009 — If you’re going to have a poor defense, the best thing you can do is make sure to secure the rebounds when the opposing team misses a shot. The Lakers, apparently, have not received that memo. They have allowed 1009 offensive rebounds, worst in the NBA. They’re also dead last in allowing defensive rebounds (2756), although that’s in large part due to their pace and the amount of missed shots they throw towards the rim.
When we eliminate the pace and talk in terms of percentages, things don’t get any better. The Lakers are dead last in offensive rebound percentage (20.5) and dead last in defensive rebound percentage (70.9). It’s the pupu platter of being unable to finish defensive possessions and being unable to extend offensive ones.
Tags: Los Angeles Lakers