Lakers mid-season report

The first team to reach the halfway point of the NBA regular season is the Los Angeles Lakers. After an outstanding start to the season, the Lakers win-line receded and they are now 15-26. How could they be better now? Are they in touch with reality? Who are the five most efficient at each position? And, which players have defensive ratings better than the team defrtg? These are the questions we will answer in our Hoop Obsession mid-season report.

The Lakers are losing more than they win for various reasons. There are four really important reasons that stick out. First, and foremost, the Lakers have a point guard that isn't really a point guard in sophomore D'Angelo Russell. Russell has a 1.71-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio. That just isn't good enough decision making to lead a team into the winner's circle with consistency. At minimum, a starting NBA point guard should be at 2.25-to-1. Russell is clearly more of a two-guard but that position is held by the more efficient Lou Williams, and the solid Nick Young. Jordan Clarkson is more serviceable than special at this juncture of his career. The back up point guards, Jose Calderon and Marcelo Huertas have not played 300 minutes this season, showing that coach Luke Walton is not comfortable with either.

The next reason the Lakers lose is that they do not have an efficient stretch four. L.A. has five players that, in today's NBA, are all basically pivots. Julius Randle is the most talented of the bunch. But he is really an under-sized center. Randle has attempted 22 three-point shots and made just five of them (.227 3-pt.%). Thomas Robinson has been equally as efficient as Randle. He too however is an under-sized center. Tarik Black, then Larry Nance Jr., and finally Timothy Mozgov round out the Lakers stable of BIG's that Walton plays. Luol Deng is not efficient enough overall to play the four-spot with success.

Another element directly correlated to their present .366 winning percentage is their lack of perimeter defense. The Lakers have offensive minded guards. Russell, Williams, Young, and Clarkson don't put any fear into any opponent's mind.

The final reason for the Lakers poor win percentage this season is that Brandon Ingram, their prized first round draft pick (second overall) is just not ready yet, in reality, to help an NBA team win. Ingram is a 19 year-old kid playing in a man's league. Ingram, who leads the Lakers in minutes played, is shooting 36% FG, 26% 3-pt., and his Hoop Obsession efficiency rating of .287 is the lowest on the team.

Are the Lakers in touch with their reality?

The answer to the question above is more "yes" than "no". The Lakers have promise for the future in Russell, Randle, and Ingram. They have a good young coach in Luke Walton. They seem fine with sacrificing wins now to set themselves up for a brighter future. But it would behoove them to finish among the bottom three in the NBA standings. The Lakers 2017 first round pick will go to Philadelphia unless it is one of the first three selections. The Lakers presently have the seventh worst record in the NBA.

Five most efficient by position

*PG - D'Angelo Russell .520, SG - Lou Williams .593, SF - Luol Deng .397, *PF - Julius Randle .627, C Thomas Robinson .627

* Russell doesn't meet our requirements to be called a point guard. He is really a two-guard at this stage of his career.

* Randle doesn't fit the mold of a stretch four. He is more of a pivot (or center, or five-man, whatever terminology you prefer) in today's NBA.

Which players have defensive ratings better than the team defrtg?

The Lakers TEAM defensive rating is 111.8. The players with defensive ratings below that number are: Thomas Robinson 106, Larry Nance Jr., 108, Tarik Black 109, Julius Randle 110.

Conclusions

NBA related. Trade targets.

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