Defense: Artest has been chided for having lost a step defensively, and it is true that he doesn’t have quite the lateral quickness to match up with skilled speed wings who can attack the basket; he fares far better against jumpshooters or against strength matchups. He’s still a quality defender, notorious for his strong hands and great interception skills that can strip players on-the-ball or get into passing lanes; however, he lost a chunk of his steal rate last season with Houston. He can get into the grill of his man, although at times he obsesses himself with personal matchups and affects his overall mentality. Houston primarily used him as a SF last year, and he played lockdown defense against opposing SFs—their scoring and free throw rates went down significantly; as a PF, which happened more rarely with Houston, he was still decent against his matchups. The Rockets were 6.8 ppg better with him on the court.
Defense: Brown finally established a niche for himself by acting as the Lakers’ well-needed defensive ace against point guards, especially in the playoffs. He possesses good lateral quickness, reasonable strength and top-notch athleticism, and his cultivated defensive mentality has allowed him to best quite a few opposing point guards; the Lakers used him as SG but crossmatched him against PGs, where he served his role as a contain defender who played to limit his opponent’s shooting percentages—opponents had an eFG of 38.2% against him . He has also made several highlight reel blocks with the Lakers, and ultimately the Lakers were 6.7 ppg better with him on the court.
Defense: Kobe is notable for conserving his energy on defense, tending to disrespect lesser players and rising up to the challenge against more established players. When he’s motivated, he can be really good—he can hound his man in personal matchups but also aggressively chase him off screens, and he has enough deceptiveness to rank in the upper ten of SGs in steals and blocks as well. Opposing SGs actually shot quite well against him, but Bryant held down their overall efficiency by lowering their rebound and assist totals; all told the Lakers were 11.9 pointers better with him on the court.
Defense: Defensively Bynum is reasonable—his height and length allow him to contest many shots and accrue blocks at a good rate, but one gets the impression that his defensive activity depends on how many touches he receives on the offensive end. He shows reasonable ability as a team defender as well with his mobility, but tends to lapse into foul trouble by defending aggressive or quicker slashers; this foul trouble is especially most pronounced when he’s facing athletic and skilled big men. The Lakers were 0.7 points better with him off the court, and while he kept most fellow centers in check, one item of note is that big men tended to rebound better against him. Considering that he was excellent on this end of the floor during the 2007-2008 season, and with greater experience and development, he should be better on this end of the court.
Defense: Farmar’s overall defense this season was abysmal—the Lakers were 9.7 ppg better with him off the court, and opposing point guards routinely torched him, posting superior scoring and assist rates against him. While he does have the lateral quickness, he’s small and lacks the length to contest shots effectively, although he does have good anticipation skills and can intercept passes. Nonetheless, at his best, Farmar’s defense appears to be average, but his effort level on this end is dependent on his offensive success; because he was largely terrible offensively this year, he appeared to be going through the motions on this end.
Defense: Fisher is well renowned for his flopping ability, and once again he drew many offensive fouls. He applies himself on defense and can plays well against strength matchups, plus he’s hard to post because of his base. However, he suffers extremely against speed matchups—a fact Aaron Brooks laid bare in the Houston series—and tends to get lost off screens chasing them, even though his acting skills can convince the referees to call moving picks that way. He also lacks the degree of length to challenge shots truly effectively. In particular he couldn’t hold down the rebound and passing rates of the PGs he matched up against most of the time; nonetheless, his team defense was quite good, and the Lakers were 7.5 ppg better with him on the court.
Defense: Gasol is a slightly above average defender—the Lakers were 5.2 ppg better with him on the court. He possesses a good combination of height, length and mobility; the Lakers matched him up against both frontcourt positions, and he played reasonable defense against both types of players. However, in both cases the opposition outrebounded him, and shot reasonably well against him. Gasol’s basketball IQ enhances his defense—he knows how to prevent angles of entry to post players, and when posted up against he can read and react well to the moves of the opposition. Notably he developed a stronger base from the past year, and held his own more, although he can still get overpowered at times. Gasol is also a good rotation defender with his mobility, and can switch off to smaller players if necessary. Interestingly he cut his rate of blocks sharply from last season, and started a transition to playing more fundamental defense—he's reasonable at drawing charges and boxes out to draw some loose ball fouls, and although his rebound rate leaves something to be desired, he plays relatively foul-free defense, a plus for a big man.
Defense: Mbenga is athletic and long, and attempts to swat anything around him, so he accrued an extremely high rate of blocks in his limited playing time. However, in his attempt to do so, he was also a foul maniac, explaining why he couldn’t stay on the court for long periods of time. That also came with an absence of meat-and-potatoes defensive plays; Mbenga lacks the basketball IQ, even at age 29, to read and react to defenders appropriately, and opponents shot extremely well when matched up against him. More importantly, opponents rebounded extremely well against him—nearly double of Mbenga’s rebound rate, an embarrassment for an athletic 7-footer. The Lakers were ultimately 9.3 ppg better with him off the court.
Defense: Morrison didn’t really play enough to make any sort of impact defensively with the Lakers, but with the Bobcats he’s shown himself to be a real liability on this end; both SFs and PFs have shot and scored well against him with superior rebound rates. He lacks the mentality, footspeed and athleticism to make a difference on this end, and to boot he can’t get into passing lanes either. He’s not the best team defender either--his teams have always been worse with him on the court.
Defense: Odom’s defense is extremely underrated—he was not only in the top 10 of PFs in steals and blocks per game, and the Lakers were an impressive 17.8 ppg better with him on the court. In between that, amongst all Lakers, he was also first in loose ball fouls drawn and second in offensive fouls drawn, although he himself was first in shooting fouls, loose ball fouls and illegal defense violations among Lakers--so he was actively involved in the defense and subsequent rebounding of the play, which he often completed with a rebound rate in the upper half of PFs. His swiss-knife game also extends to defense—although the Lakers exclusively used him as a PF, he has the length and lateral quickness to match up against some SFs and more mobile PFs, and his height and base allow him to play good position defense against some post players; he’s also a good team defender, generally outplaying his matchup all across the board.
Defense: Powell often appears overmatched defensively—the Lakers were a whopping 21.8 ppg better with him off the court, and opposing PFs shot a scintillating 55.1% eFG against him, with high scoring and free throw rates. While Powell is mobile and possesses good length and athleticism, he’s not a shotblocker, he’s a bit undersized as a PF (and definitely at center when the Lakers chose to play him there), and he lacks the basketball IQ to tackle more skilled players and the strength and height against power players. In particular, he has a bad habit in jumping at pump fakes, allowing opponents to get him out of position or draw the foul against him. However, he does give good effort and is in the thick of it after missed shots; he can box out and draw loose ball fouls on the opposition, but due to the aforementioned limitations he's only an ordinary rebounder.
Defense: Vujacic exerts a lot of effort on the defensive side of the court, and his pesky mentality and in-your-face approach can get into the heads of some opposing players. His overaggressive approach allowed him to impressively rank in the top of SGs in steals per 48 minutes, but it also led to some bad fouls, particularly in the backcourt far away from the basket. He can move his feet, but lacks the athleticism and strength to defend more dynamic wings and the quickness to defend PGs—he defended PGs much worse than wings, a reason why the Lakers rarely crossmatch him with PGs. His attempts at defense didn’t translate to team results either—the Lakers were 8.3 ppg better with him off the court.
Defense: Walton is a middling defender at best; although he spends most of his time at SF, he matches up against both forward positions, where he did struggle somewhat in keeping the scoring rates of opponents down. While Walton has the strength to play certain PFs, he’s giving up quite a bit of height and athleticism; likewise, against SFs, he can move his feet but lacks the lateral quickness to really play SFs well. He’s a reasonable team defender and can get into passing lanes, and all told the Lakers were 1.5 ppg better with him on the court.
Last edited by rydjorker121
on Sat Aug 22, 2009 1:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.