ESPN Stats and info nuggets on Chris Paul and Dwight Howard

As one would expect, there's been a lot of chatter over Monday's news the Lakers are, in a perfect world, gunning to add both Dwight Howard and Chris Paul. Of course, the world is anything but perfect, which is why I agree with Brian the odds of this particular super team forming are only slightly better than my wife agreeing to me having a supermodel girlfriend on the side. (Or said supermodel getting involved with me in the first place, for that matter.)

However, I do think acquiring Howard OR Paul is a reasonable scenario, and while my first choice would be Howard, with either addition, the Lakers stand to benefit mightily. I gave my endorsement of flipping Bynum for Paul, and addressed last May the nitty gritty of Howard in L.A. But for a even statsy-ier look, I present a few numbers put forth by the good people at ESPN Stats and Info, plus a few thoughts of my own.

NEXT LEVEL: Chris Paul would greatly increase the Lakers pick & roll ball ball-handling in the half-court, something the team struggled with last season. They were one of the least-efficient teams in the league handling the ball in that situation, ranking 29th in both points per play and field goal percentage.

Pick & Roll Ball Handler, 2010-2011 Season

Chris Paul

Points per play (.981)

FG PCT (49.1)

TO percentage: 13

Lakers ball-handlers

Points per play (.762, NBA-29)

FG PCT (37.5, NBA-29)

TO percentage (15)

(AK's note: The Lakers' lousy pick and roll numbers are a bit skewed by the triangular tendency not to run it as frequently as other teams. Because this hasn't been the team's bread and butter, you wouldn't necessarily expect as much success. Still, the possibilities opened up by Paul's presence are pretty eye-opening, especially with the Lakers moving into a more traditional system, and Kobe Bryant heretofore being the only ideal ball handler for a P/R scenario.)

Highest Points Per Play , Pick & Roll Ball Handling Situations, 2010-2011 Season

Beno Udrih, SAC

PPP: 1.000

FG PCT: 53.6

LeBron James, MIA

PPP: .987

FG PCT: 49.6

Chris Paul, NO

PPP: .981

FG PCT: 49.1

>>Min: 200 plays

(AK's note: Beno Udrih??? I guess you really do learn something new every day.)

Chris Paul is one of three players to average at least 10 assists per game over the last four seasons. His 10.8 assists per game average since 2007 is tied with Steve Nash for the highest average in the NBA.

Highest Assists Per Game Average, since 2007-08 Season


Chris Paul 10.8

Steve Nash 10.8

Deron Williams 10.5

(AK's note: According to basketball-reference.com, there's only been one player in Laker history to average 10.8 assists in one season. His name was Magic Johnson. You may be familiar with his work.)

Why the Lakers would want Dwight Howard

NEXT LEVEL: Lakers management has made it clear they see Dwight Howard as an upgrade over Andrew Bynum at the center position. Howard's offensive production within 5 feet of the basket not only tops Bynum, but was one of the best in the league last season.

Offense Inside 5 Feet of Basket, 2010-2011 Season

Dwight Howard

Points: 908

PPG: 11.6: (Tie, NBA-1st)

FG PCT: 71.8

Andrew Bynum

Points: 386 (Missed 28 games)

PPG: 7.1

FG: 69.6

Dwight Howard has been one of the best shot blockers in the NBA. Since the 2007-08 season, Howard's 821 blocks are the most in the NBA. In addition, the 3-time Defensive Player of the Year winner has blocked over 200 shots in two of the last three seasons. The last Laker to block at least 200 shots in a season was Shaquille O'Neal who recorded 204 blocks in 2000-01.

Most Blocked Shots since 2007-08 Season

Dwight Howard: 821

Marcus Camby: 655

Josh Smith: 631

Samuel Dalembert: 605

(AK's note: Since the 2007-2008 season, Bynum has accumulated 362 blocks, which obviously falls short of the tallies listed. Of course, he's also missed 124 games in this period, which is a pretty remarkable stat in its own right. To speculate Drew's block count were injuries not such a factor, I multiplied each season's blocks average by the remaining number of games per season had Bynum played 75 games, which felt like a reasonably-but-not-ridiculously healthy campaign. With this math, Bynum has 550 blocks. That number still trails the afforementioned clubhouse leaders, but not by much. And when you consider he's often shared the floor with Pau Gasol, who's averaged just under 1.5 blocks during his time in L.A., the numbers are even more impressive. Howard may get more respect as a swatter, but Drew's clearly no slouch erasing shots himself.)

At least 200 Blocks in Single Season, Lakers, since 1982

Shaquille O'Neal (2000-01): 204

Shaquille O'Neal (1999-00): 239

Elden Campbell (1995-96): 212

(AK's note: Howard has two seasons (2009, 2010) with 200+ blocks.)