As the Lakers prepare for Friday’s game with the Clippers, we take a look at some telling numbers.
The Lakers rank sixth in offensive efficiency (106.4 points per 100 possessions), and have the eighth-highest net differential (+3.6), despite having the NBA’s 18th-best record.
According to NBA.com, L.A. has played 18 lineups 15 or more minutes, and of those, only six lineups have failed to produce an offensive rating of 103.6, which would rank 10th in the league. So regardless of the lineup they deploy, the Lakers basically have a top-10 offense.
Not all is perfect on that end of the floor -- the Lakers are 26th in turnovers per game, 29th in free-throw percentage, and 21st in assist ratio -- but they rarely have difficulty scoring.
The Lakers rank 17th in defensive efficiency (102.7), less than a point better than the Detroit Pistons (103.6).
The Lakers are 20th in opponent points in the paint, 26th in opponent turnovers, and 24th in opponent offensive rebounding.
The Lakers rank last in transition defense and 28th in opponent points off turnovers. Contributing factors could be their age (per the Elias Sports Bureau, the Lakers are the third-oldest team when weighting minutes played) coupled with Mike D’Antoni’s high-paced system -- L.A. is third in pace factor.
The Lakers have gone 3-4 with Steve Nash in the lineup.
With Nash on the floor, the Lakers’ offensive efficiency sees an increase of 3 points, up to a 108.9 offensive rating. However, their defensive efficiency also drops by 3.1 points, down to a 105.8 defensive rating.
The 38-year-old creates easy scoring opportunities for his teammates, but his defensive limitations are plain. Per 82games.com L.A. ranks last in point-guard defense, though that’s not all on Nash, of course.
Pau Gasol’s numbers are down across the board -- he has a career-low 15.4 PER and .101 Win Shares per 48 minutes (WS/48) -- but the Lakers’ offensive efficiency increases by one point with Gasol on the court, from 105.8 to 106.8. The Lakers becomes a top-11 defensive team with Gasol, producing a whopping 101 defensive rating.
When he plays without Dwight Howard, Gasol has a +/- rating of +12.2. With Howard, that mark drops to +0.5. Howard’s rating by himself is a +/- of +1.0.
The Lakers’ offensive rating actually decreases by 4.3 points with Howard on the floor, from 109.5 to 105.2. Defensively, the Lakers’ efficiency is virtually the same either way -- 102.4 without Howard and 102.8 with him.
John Hollinger’s Playoff Odds give the Lakers only a 43.4 percent chance of making the playoffs, projecting them to finish with the eighth-seed and a 42-40 record.
The Lakers have played the 15th-most difficult schedule. They still have to play 27 road games, compared to 24 home games, and face the Los Angeles Clippers, Miami Heat, Oklahoma City Thunder, San Antonio Spurs, and Memphis Grizzlies a combined 12 times, so it’s possible a five seed is their best-case scenario.
Stats from ESPN.com and NBA.com.