LA Positional Analysis: PG (Trodgers)

LA Positional Analysis: PG (Trodgers)

Postby trodgers on Sat Jun 09, 2012 6:03 pm

From my bomb blog:
http://blog.travisjrodgers.com/2012/06/09/la-lakers-position-analysis-point-guard.aspx

POSITION SUMMARY: POINT GUARD
Steve Blake: 1237 minutes
Derek Fisher: 1101 minutes
Ramon Sessions: 701 minutes
Andrew Goudelock: 419 minutes
Darius Morris: 169 minutes
-Among the five players who played noteworthy minutes at the PG spot, Andrew Goudelock is the only one who is clearly not a Point Guard. It is unclear whether Morris can develop into a PG at the NBA level, but he was an excellent traditional PG at Michigan. The Lakers struggled to find a satisfactory option at PG, but it seemed that Ramon Sessions looked the best. Derek Fisher is obviously no longer with the team.

SCORING EFFICIENCY (Westbrook, by comparison, was 6.6)
Sessions 5.6
Goudelock 5.4
Morris 4.7
Fisher 4.3
Blake 4.3
-These numbers should not surprise. Neither Steve Blake nor Derek Fisher does much to create a shot. The majority of their points comes from open looks at or around the arc. Neither of their shots were falling very well from outside, so their scoring efficiency is pretty atrocious. Morris tries to score in different ways, but he was quite passive as a Guard, a trait that is common among LA ball handlers not named Kobe Bryant. Meanwhile in the top two spots, both Goudelock and Sessions did well. Goudelock has a great outside shot and a spectacular floater. He is not gun-shy. Sessions is the only PG on the roster who can routinely penetrate and breakdown a defense. Additionally, he shot the lights out from the arc (during the regular season) with LA. His scoring efficiency was better than Rondo's, and close to Chris Paul's.

PASSING EFFICIENCY (Rondo, by comparison, was 4.7)
Sessions 4.0
Blake 3.4
Fisher 3.3
Morris 3.2
Goudelock 2.1
-Traditionally, Lakers PGs have taken care of the ball, and that's about it. They don't often post high assist numbers. That changed a bit this season as the team moved away from the triangle. This allowed Steve Blake, Derek Fisher, and Darius Morris to post passing efficiency numbers that were neck and neck with Russell Westbrook. Goudelock's 2.1 was a pretty atrocious number, but he is not a Point Guard. He will likely not see too many minutes there next season. The standout is clearly Ramon Sessions. His 4.0 blew away the other LA Point Guards, and placed him very close to Derrick Rose (4.13) and not too far off Deron Williams (4.22). Even Tony Parker wasn't incredibly far ahead of him (4.27).

HUSTLE EFFICIENCY (Westbrook, by comparison, was 2.7)
Fisher 2.0
Sessions 2.0
Blake 1.9
Morris 1.4
Goudelock 1.4
-Hustle Efficiency rates a player's ability to make hustle plays (offensive boards, steals, and blocks) while avoiding making bad plays (turnovers and fouls). Point Guards do notoriously poorly at this stat, but they do incredibly well by comparison in the passing efficiency stat. All of the elite PGs in the league were between 1.94 and 2.74 in Hustle Efficiency. This means that Fisher, Sessions, and Blake all did well. Morris and Goudelock's numbers are well off pace, likely a sign that the game is a bit fast for them at this point.

OFFENSIVE RATING
Sessions 80
Blake 56
Fisher 55
Morris 51
Goudelock 40
Compare these ratings to some top PGs in the league this season: Chris Paul 104, Rondo 96, Rose 96, Williams 93, Parker 92, Westbrook 89. Two things are incredibly clear: Sessions's offensive rating is leagues ahead of any other PG on the Lakers. He is the clear cut best offensive option. Second, his 80 is not terribly close to the elites, but it might well fall into a second category, say Tier 2 starters in the NBA.

CONTRACT SITUATION
Steve Blake is the only Laker PG under contract for next season. He will earn $4 million in the penultimate year of his contract. He has proven fairly reliable, but he has also shown that he is not a starter. The Lakers have a Team Option on Andrew Goudelock. At $760k, he seems a likely bet to return (although not at the PG spot). Darius Morris has a Qualifying Offer of just under $1m. It is unclear whether the Lakers will extend that offer. He is raw compared to Goudelock, but he does have an interesting upside. The big question mark is Ramon Sessions. He has a Player Option at $4.55m for next season. This means he can choose to return and play at that rate. If he refuses, the Lakers can try to work on a long term deal with him. Supposing Sessions opts out, the Lakers will desperately need to acquire a Point Guard.

FINAL ANALYSIS
Although Derek Fisher was a fixture in the purple and gold for years, and his heart and hustle were really unquestionable, the Point Guard spot has been a weakness of the Lakers for a few seasons now. Steve Blake is a competent backup, and Ramon Sessions showed great potential in his first season with the Lakers. As rumors mount regarding blockbuster deals involving Pau Gasol, the Point Guard spot is a position that continues to be mentioned as the upgrade target. Can a Sessions/Blake rotation be good enough to take the Lakers beyond the second round? Or will the Lakers have to make some moves? Will Sessions force LA's hand by opting out? This is a position with a great deal of uncertainty going forward. Losing Fisher was just the beginning.
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Re: LA Positional Analysis: PG (Trodgers)

Postby therealdeal on Sat Jun 09, 2012 11:31 pm

Great analysis trodgers.

I think your numbers prove that Sessions can be a suitable PG for the team if they need him to be as long as the Lakers make him centerpiece of the offense. As long as they give him the keys to the offense I think the Lakers can succeed with him at the point.
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Re: LA Positional Analysis: PG (Trodgers)

Postby trodgers on Sun Jun 10, 2012 7:19 am

I think you're right. He started 19 games during the regular season. And then 12 in the postseason. If you split those games in half (I'll double count the middle game so we get an even split), you get the following:

1st half:
16 games, 208 points, 105 assists, 13 steals, 58 rebounds

2nd half:
16 games, 162 points, 60 assists, 7 steals, 54 rebounds

Those averages slump from 13.0 PPG to 10.1 PPG, from 6.6 APG to 3.8 APG, from 0.8 SPG to 0.4 SPG, while his rebounds remain about constant. It's as if Brown's "system" completely misused Sessions. You'd expect the numbers to improve as one becomes more comfortable and epxerienced in it.

On the other hand, I'm working on a defensive metric. It's clear that Sessions was not good defensively. Statistically, it looks like Blake was our best defender.
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Re: LA Positional Analysis: PG (Trodgers)

Postby therealdeal on Sun Jun 10, 2012 9:15 am

Well I'm glad your numbers really seem to prove what I've thought all along. I believe there was a point during the season where Sessions went to Brown and claimed he didn't know his role. After that he seemed to just fade into the background. The numbers from his second half here really seem to show that.

Defensively I believe he left a lot to be desired and it is what truly separates him from the elite guards in this league. Blake being our best defender is no surprise to me. I think his defense was abused on this site far more than he deserved. That's not to say he was a great defender, but he definitely seemed to be our best.

But back to Sessions I believe If we made him our Rondo he could do very well. I think he'd be more offensively capable but far less defensively capable. However, depending on the other pieces here I think that could definitely be enough.
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Re: LA Positional Analysis: PG (Trodgers)

Postby Finwë on Sun Jun 10, 2012 4:15 pm

therealdeal wrote:Great analysis trodgers.
"The first time I ever saw my uniform hanging in the locker I put it on right away, and it just felt like I was putting on golden armour. From that day forward, I just called it 'the golden armour', it just felt like there was something mystical and magical about it" - Kobe Bryant.
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Re: Positional Analysis

Postby JUST-MING on Sun Jun 10, 2012 7:42 pm

I just don’t like the efficiency analysis as only one guy on the team shot 50% and no player shot 50% in the playoffs. This isn’t what you call an “efficient” offense, but rather a grind. I don’t think Sessions is a good fit for the team, because he can’t really shoot. He hit a few big shots I’m aware of that, even Steve Blake hit a game-winner in his first game with the Lakers. Glad they got speed at the position but when the bigs don’t outlet the ball, the players walk up the court and the guy just dribbles out the clock before starting an offensive possession, his speed amounts to toilet paper.

Never onboard for Sessions because I knew this team doesn’t need a “pure” point guard, but rather a guy that can make 3-point shots. Poor man’s Rondo? Rajon Rondo just logged his second Game 7 triple double and tied Larry Bird for second All-Time in playoff triple doubles (10). He may even pass Magic (30). I was, moreso, in favor of Sessions as a contract dump.
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Re: LA Positional Analysis: PG (Trodgers)

Postby trodgers on Mon Jun 11, 2012 6:34 am

I'm not sure I see your first point. Some players clearly did better than others at the PG spot. Sessions seemed pretty obviously to be the best overall and was clearly the best offensively. He also showed the ability to penetrate and create...which was great for him, for our bigs, and for our team. And then he stopped doing those nice things.

As for making Sessions a contract dump, that seems to require a great deal of work. First off, he can choose to opt in. Then he cannot be a salary dump unless we trade him for nothing or buy him out for less. Second, if we move him, we need a PG. And if we're investing much in a starting PG, that makes Blake's backup salary even less attractive. Part of what is appealing (so far as it is) about Sessions/Blake at PG is that they combine to make less than $9m, which is something we can handle.
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Re: LA Positional Analysis: PG (Trodgers)

Postby Battle Tested20 on Mon Jun 11, 2012 1:54 pm

Fantastic job trodgers, I really enjoyed the read and analysis! Keep up the great work!
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Re: LA Positional Analysis: PG (Trodgers)

Postby Doc Brown on Mon Jun 11, 2012 2:12 pm

Looking at this analysis and watching the games this year.....

I would not want Fisher or Blake to return next season. We got rid of Fisher and we need to get rid of Blake by any means necessary (Trade or Amnesty)....

Glock is a SG so I won't clump him into the PG category.

That leaves Sessions and Morris. We have virtually no spending moves so keeping both would involved different scenarios IMO.

1.) If we acquire a big time PG (DWill, Rondo), I think we let Sessions walk and let Morris develop in the 10-13 minutes he would get every game. Not that big of a risk IMO. Keeping Sessions with a big time PG is just too much money into one position and unnecessary IMO.

2.) If we can't acquire DWill or another big time PG, we roll with Sessions, but need to acquire a similar level player so that both combined will give us a steady level of production. Morris can either sign and go to the D-League or walk.

If we roll with Sessions / Blake next season, we will suffer the similar fate we did this year.
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Re: LA Positional Analysis: PG (Trodgers)

Postby trodgers on Mon Jun 11, 2012 2:32 pm

Doc, I almost completely agree with you. The only reservations I have come in with the Sesssions/Blake scenario. Think of all the factors that conspired to make our PG play less effective than it could've been.

1. New system.
2. New coach.
3. New PG depth chart.
4. Newly acquired PG.

Because of what I saw with Sessions before he "settled into" the system, I hold out a great deal of hope for him. Because of what Blake has been shooting the three for much of his career, I hold out some hope for him (but not as much as for Sessions's overall game).
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Re: LA Positional Analysis: PG (Trodgers)

Postby trodgers on Mon Jun 11, 2012 2:32 pm

Thanks for the comments, all.
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Re: LA Positional Analysis: PG (Trodgers)

Postby Doc Brown on Mon Jun 11, 2012 3:18 pm

trodgers wrote:Doc, I almost completely agree with you. The only reservations I have come in with the Sesssions/Blake scenario. Think of all the factors that conspired to make our PG play less effective than it could've been.

1. New system.
2. New coach.
3. New PG depth chart.
4. Newly acquired PG.

Because of what I saw with Sessions before he "settled into" the system, I hold out a great deal of hope for him. Because of what Blake has been shooting the three for much of his career, I hold out some hope for him (but not as much as for Sessions's overall game).


I understand your points, but seeing the offense we are running, I think we need a PG that can run the offense and not look for Kobe ever time down the floor and be able set up everyone for the best play possible. We need a general out there, Sessions could be that guy, Blake isn't. We need someone who will dominate the ball, in a good way, in this offense, so that Kobe and everyone else can worry about one thing and that's getting open and making shots.


I really like Sessions, outside of acquiring a big time PG, we need to bring him back. He got thrust into a difficult position after the deadline, from backup PG on lottery team to leading the Lakers. I think it's good that he got thrown into the playoffs and took his lumps, it gives him things to work on and know what it takes to play to that caliber and what is expected of him. He said it himself, with the crappy teams not focusing on the little aspects of the game (pick and roll defense, boxing out, etc.). I think he will come back strong, whether it be for us or another team. But like I said, aside from getting a big time PG he needs to be back for sure.

Blake, on the other hand, I just want gone. In his tenure here he has been way too inconsistent. I thought it was the triangle in year 1, but now seeing him in a more open offense the results are just the same. We can do better than Blake, we need consistency every night, especially to pair with Sessions. Another reason, I want him gone is Brown will continue to play Blake at the 2 guard spot if no other moves are made. That will kill us. I don't trust Brown for one minute to play Glock next season over Blake. I guess we will just have to agree to disagree with Blake because I'm done with him on this team. He's had plenty of chances these two years and he's either gotten injured or was way to inconsistent.

We need scoring off the bench. If we had a solid bench with two other scorers, Blake would be fine at the backup PG spot. We don't have that luxury, we don't even have one scorer off the bench that got big time run last season. We need to upgrade that bench, by adding scorers or by adding consistent all around players, Blake is neither of those.
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Re: LA Positional Analysis: PG (Trodgers)

Postby trodgers on Wed Jun 13, 2012 3:13 pm

I know we're not really in a position to sign any outstanding FAs, but it's interesting to see where some of the big FA names stack up in comparison:

POTENTIAL FREE AGENTS
Steve Nash 95 (5.5 SCOFF, 4.8 PAFF)
Deron Williams 93 (6.2 SCOFF, 4.2 PAFF)
Andre Miller 86 (5.2 SCOFF, 4.3 PAFF)
Raymond Felton 78 (5.2 SCOFF)
Jason Kidd 70 (2.5 HUFF)
Kirk Hinrich 53
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