In Depth analysis of Dwight's impact on the Lakers offense

In Depth analysis of Dwight's impact on the Lakers offense

Postby The Rock on Tue Aug 21, 2012 8:15 am

http://www.forumblueandgold.com/2012/08/20/dwight-howards-offense-and-how-it-helps-the-lakers/

When comparing Howard to Bynum on the offensive end of the floor, many do not see an upgrade. In fact, many see Bynum as the better offensive player — or at least a player with a more polished and diversified attack. While I won’t get into who’s better, I can say that those critiques hold value. Over the years, Bynum has become one of the more polished pivotmen in the league. His combination of size, foot work, and touch around the rim make it so. Add in a burgeoning face up game and Bynum’s a fantastically efficient scorer with a hunger to bury his man.

But, that doesn’t mean Howard isn’t extremely effective in his own right. His game isn’t as aesthetically pleasing as Drew’s, but prettiness isn’t all that matters. Putting the ball in the basket consistently does and Howard does that quite well. Going into next season, we’ll find that Howard may do it differently than Bynum did but that he will boost the Lakers’ offense when he’s on the floor. Let’s explore how…


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Howard in the post
One of the long held beliefs in criticizing Howard is that he “doesn’t have any post moves”. I’ve often bristled at this critique because it ignores the fact that Dwight does have a steady arsenal when working from the block, just one that is more mechanical in nature; one that is built off his ability to compromise his man with a combination of quickness and power rather than technique.

Per My Synergy Sports, Howard posted up 57.5% of the time, producing .88 points per play, while shooting 49.9%. All of these numbers are very good — they ranked him 55th in the league in this category — and in comparison to Bynum (54.6% post ups, .89 points per play, 46.2% shooting) we see that Howard produces at a level that is at least equal to (and some would argue better) than the man he’s replacing.

As mentioned, Howard uses a combination of quickness and power to set up his post work. Often times he’ll turn and face when working form the post and then jab step to get his man off balance before exploding into his move. From the left block, he loves to go middle and shoot a rolling hook and will counter with a drop step/spin move to the baseline if his man cuts off his drive. Because Howard has excellent burst and underrated feet when getting going to the rim, this primary/counter attack he’s developed is more than effective.

He also offers straight post up moves as well. When working from either block Howard will turn and face but then power dribble back into a standard back to the basket position to knock his man off-balance. From here, he can turn over either shoulder to shoot a little jump hook. From the left block he’s shown that he can hit a little lefty hook going baseline and from the right block he clearly likes to turn back over his left shoulder and shoot his righty hook off the glass. To be fair, these hook shots lack touch as he shoots them more like shot puts rather than flicking his wrist like Bynum (or Gasol) shoot theirs. But, Howard has shown he can make these shots with good consistency, regardless of how they look coming off his hand.

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Overall, I liken Howard’s post up game to the boxing style of a puncher who is jab dominant but will then hurt you with his overhand right when you guard against his quick left (sort of like Lennox Lewis or Vlad Klitschko). This type of fighter doesn’t try to hurt you with a variety of punches — no upercuts, crosses, etc — he simply wears you down with his primary weapons over and over again. This may not be the most fun fight to watch, but they continue to win because they’re two trick ponies that mix up those tricks enough to do damage.

Howard in the Pick and Roll
Where Dwight is in a league of his own is as a finisher in the pick and roll. Dwight produced a staggering 1.36 points per play (2nd in the NBA) while shooting an absurd 74% in this action. If you compare this to Bynum (1.12 ppp, 57.1% shooting) you see a marked improvement, even though Bynum’s numbers are excellent. Howard’s quickness in darting into open space combined with his ability to make the difficult catch while finishing above the rim make him an absolute terror.

Beyond his finishing, however, the authority in which Howard dives into the teeth of the defense instantly draws extra defenders to him. This magnetism creates the floor spacing and passing angles his teammates feast on. With Howard on the floor the three point shooting percentages of Ryan Anderson, Hedo Turkoglu, and Jameer Nelson were all much better than when he was on the bench.

This upcoming season, I expect to see the same type of impact from Howard on his Lakers teammates. Whenever Nash and Howard share the floor, the Lakers can run a high P&R and generate a good look simply due to the fact that Howard is going to set a crushing screen and then dive to the rim where he’ll either be able to make a catch and finish/get fouled or will draw in the defense in a way that opens up his teammates. Think of the open shots that can be created for Kobe or Pau or Ron or Jamison or Meeks…I could go on and on and this only considers the Nash/Howard scenario. Change this up to Kobe/Howard or even Pau/Howard (remember the Pau/Bynum P&R that produced so many good plays?) and the options open up even more.

Simply put, the Lakers have added one of the best pick and roll finishers (and Steve Nash to help set him up) to a team that finished 27th in points per play in having the roll man finish. Howard has the ability to transform this aspect of the Lakers’ offense in a similar manner to the way we expect him to help their defense.

What about the foul shooting?

There’s no avoiding the fact that Howard is a poor foul shooter. Last season he made only 49.1% of his FT’s and is a career 58.8% shooter from the stripe. In comparison, Bynum shot 69.2% last season and is a career 68.7% shooter. In pressure situations Howard’s not someone you want at the foul line and there will be times (probably many of them) where we’re all actively rooting for Howard not to catch the ball out of fear he’ll be fouled and will have to sink meaningful free throws. There’s just no getting around the fact that Howard performs poorly in this area and as a result, the Lakers’ team percentage will be drug down by his performance at the line.

However, what’s not said enough is that one of the reasons that Howard can have such a negative impact at the line is because he gets there so often. Last year Howard shot 10.6 FT’s a game, a mark that led the league by 2 attempts a game. Furthermore, Howard also led the league in fouls drawn at a whopping 8.5 per game, a full foul and a half more than the next most hacked man. If you compare Dwight’s numbers to Bynum’s (5.6 FTA’s per game, 4.7 fouls drawn), the difference is stark in terms of who is getting pounded more.

The fouls drawn per game is particularly important here. Dwight is essentially averaging a shade over 2 fouls drawn per quarter. In the NBA, teams shoot FT’s on an opponent’s 5th team foul. By getting hacked as often as he does, Dwight not only earns himself FTA’s but does so for his teammates as well as evidenced by the fact his team’s FT rate dipped to .232 when he sat versus .327 when he was on the floor.

Dwight’s already joining a team where Kobe shot the 4th most FT’s a game (7.8 per contest). Think of how many more Kobe can shoot simply because their opponent is in the penalty and a touch foul on the perimeter or a battle with his man for post position turns into a trip to the foul line. The same can be said for Nash when he’s trying to attack off the dribble or Gasol when he’s fighting for post position or going after a defensive rebound. Or what of the cleaner opportunities these players will get due to the fact that the opponent is actively trying not to foul? Or the better shots they’ll get because the opponent’s best paint defender is saddled with fouls and on the bench?

The Lakers will surely suffer some due to Howard’s penchant for missing while taking his own FT’s. But much like when Shaq was soaking up contact a decade ago, the Lakers will also benefit in the form of extra FT’s as a team that their better shooters can feast off of.

The Big Picture
Overall, Howard won’t always look like the best offensive player. His robotic post moves will have you longing for more Pau (or wish that Bynum was still here) and his FT shooting will have you wincing at least once a game. But his work in the P&R, how he runs the floor, and his ability play above the rim are among the league’s best. Add in the fact that he grabs nearly 4 offensive rebounds a game (and will open up those chances for Pau too), is a capable passer out of the double teams he sees, and the fact that his so called deficiencies of post scoring and foul shooting still come with great value embedded, and Dwight’s going to be a great addition on the offensive side of the ball.


I looked at some highlights from the 09, 10 and 11 playoffs for Dwight and I noticed hes very similar to Ron. He has a nice hook shot going to his left and releasing it with his left hand. Got great touch with that off hand. Right hand hook shot from the middle or over the left shoulder look very awkward but yea his off hand is his bread and butter in the half court
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Re: In Depth analysis of Dwight's impact on the Lakers offense

Postby hypotenuse on Tue Aug 21, 2012 8:52 am

Eh all of this is BS speculation to me.. I'll hold off any "in depth analysis" until I see Dwight's chemistry with the team as well as the offensive and defensive schemes that they're going with.
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Re: In Depth analysis of Dwight's impact on the Lakers offense

Postby puffyusaf#2 on Tue Aug 21, 2012 9:28 am

hypotenuse wrote:Eh all of this is BS speculation to me.. I'll hold off any "in depth analysis" until I see Dwight's chemistry with the team as well as the offensive and defensive schemes that they're going with.


what makes it BS speculation?

The writer didn't go out on any limbs in any of it. The possible impact of Howard is great and the writer touched every aspect. I thought it was a good article myself.
For what it's worth, the Lakers also clinched the Pacific Division, an achievement Bryant dismissed by saying "We don't hang divisions." No, only the big NBA championship banners are considered wall-worthy for the Lakers.
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Re: In Depth analysis of Dwight's impact on the Lakers offense

Postby Kit on Tue Aug 21, 2012 9:55 am

hypotenuse wrote:Eh all of this is BS speculation to me.. I'll hold off any "in depth analysis" until I see Dwight's chemistry with the team as well as the offensive and defensive schemes that they're going with.



The article has not much to do with chemistry and schemes.
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Re: In Depth analysis of Dwight's impact on the Lakers offense

Postby therealdeal on Tue Aug 21, 2012 9:59 am

Or what of the cleaner opportunities these players will get due to the fact that the opponent is actively trying not to foul? Or the better shots they’ll get because the opponent’s best paint defender is saddled with fouls and on the bench

This was something I brought up a little while ago. Dwight's impact is going to go far farther than any of us really are prepared for. Foul drawing is just one of those things that we'll slowly realize is happening as the season wears on. Our team should simply feast offensively. There's no excuse for us not to be a juggler knot on that side of the court.
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Re: In Depth analysis of Dwight's impact on the Lakers offense

Postby puffyusaf#2 on Tue Aug 21, 2012 10:06 am

therealdeal wrote:
Or what of the cleaner opportunities these players will get due to the fact that the opponent is actively trying not to foul? Or the better shots they’ll get because the opponent’s best paint defender is saddled with fouls and on the bench

This was something I brought up a little while ago. Dwight's impact is going to go far farther than any of us really are prepared for. Foul drawing is just one of those things that we'll slowly realize is happening as the season wears on. Our team should simply feast offensively. There's no excuse for us not to be a juggler knot on that side of the court.


That would be grand but if history has told us of anything about Lakers teams in the past it is this one undeniable fact.................... Lakers teams do not capitalize on early foul trouble. We didn't in the Shaq-Kobe days, in the Kobe and scrub days, the Kobe-LO-Pau days, the Kobe-Pau-Bynum days either. To often we settle for the jumpshots. I am hoping for the change but like Stu likes to say, "The Lakers failed to capitalize on early foul trouble, again".
For what it's worth, the Lakers also clinched the Pacific Division, an achievement Bryant dismissed by saying "We don't hang divisions." No, only the big NBA championship banners are considered wall-worthy for the Lakers.
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Re: In Depth analysis of Dwight's impact on the Lakers offense

Postby therealdeal on Tue Aug 21, 2012 10:16 am

puffyusaf#2 wrote:
therealdeal wrote:
Or what of the cleaner opportunities these players will get due to the fact that the opponent is actively trying not to foul? Or the better shots they’ll get because the opponent’s best paint defender is saddled with fouls and on the bench

This was something I brought up a little while ago. Dwight's impact is going to go far farther than any of us really are prepared for. Foul drawing is just one of those things that we'll slowly realize is happening as the season wears on. Our team should simply feast offensively. There's no excuse for us not to be a juggler knot on that side of the court.


That would be grand but if history has told us of anything about Lakers teams in the past it is this one undeniable fact.................... Lakers teams do not capitalize on early foul trouble. We didn't in the Shaq-Kobe days, in the Kobe and scrub days, the Kobe-LO-Pau days, the Kobe-Pau-Bynum days either. To often we settle for the jumpshots. I am hoping for the change but like Stu likes to say, "The Lakers failed to capitalize on early foul trouble, again".

True, but those teams weren't lead by Nash on the offensive end. I have a feeling we're going to see much cleaner, smarter basketball on that end. You'll still see Kobe doing his Kobe thing, but you'll also see role players doing better role playing.
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Re: In Depth analysis of Dwight's impact on the Lakers offense

Postby trodgers on Tue Aug 21, 2012 11:11 am

When you say that a number will be "drug down" you enrage me.

Still, a pretty fascinating look at the numbers. Thanks for posting it!
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Re: In Depth analysis of Dwight's impact on the Lakers offense

Postby Alleyhoops on Tue Aug 21, 2012 12:10 pm

I'd like to see the very supportive Steve Nash, one of the NBA's all-time great FT shooters see if he can do a bit of work with Dwight to bring his FT % up a bit.

Taking instruction from coaches is one thing, taking them from a highly respected and respectful Nash might be a different story.

This is high on my wish list for this team going forward.
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Re: In Depth analysis of Dwight's impact on the Lakers offense

Postby v1n5anity on Tue Aug 21, 2012 12:13 pm

^^ Dwight will NEVER be a good FT shooter. He will always hover around 60%. Just accept it.
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Re: In Depth analysis of Dwight's impact on the Lakers offense

Postby Texas Lakers Fan on Tue Aug 21, 2012 12:37 pm

V1n5anity wrote:^^ Dwight will NEVER be a good FT shooter. He will always hover around 60%. Just accept it.

Never say never. :man12:
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Re: In Depth analysis of Dwight's impact on the Lakers offense

Postby Rooscooter on Tue Aug 21, 2012 1:18 pm

Translating stats from one situation..... one offensive system.... one group of teammates one coach to another isn't that applicable IMHO..... Just because he had a level of success in Orlando doesn't mean it's directly transferrable to the Lakers. This team isn't built to open the paint for him like Orlando's was.... The offense will be built around Kobe and run by Nash..... much different that what he had in Orlando.

He will help us offensively in "broken floor" and transition situations more than Andrew and hurt us in set offense and free throw shooting.....

In our system he'll get about 11 or 12 shots a game through 3.5 quarter and probably fade into the background down the stretch for obvious reasons..... His overall impact offensively won't be a lot different IMO because he won't get many more opportunities than Andrew got unless we really change the way are going to do things and Kobe shoots a lot less.

Nash being here will have a larger impact over Sessions/Fisher than Howard over Bynum on the offensive end anyway.....

Where Howard will provide the biggest boost is on defense and minutes on the court.....
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Re: In Depth analysis of Dwight's impact on the Lakers offense

Postby lakerfan2 on Tue Aug 21, 2012 1:32 pm

I think Dwight's overall activity around the rim, constantly moving and working for position, is more effective than Bynum's use of his length on rebounds.

Dwight will get himself some extra chances and shots with some of our missed ones.
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Re: In Depth analysis of Dwight's impact on the Lakers offense

Postby John3:16 on Tue Aug 21, 2012 1:37 pm

Good stuff. Thanks for posting Rock.
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Re: In Depth analysis of Dwight's impact on the Lakers offense

Postby Rooscooter on Tue Aug 21, 2012 1:43 pm

V1n5anity wrote:^^ Dwight will NEVER be a good FT shooter. He will always hover around 60%. Just accept it.


60%....... hell I'd settle for 50%.... He shot 49% last year.

To get to 60% he'd have to improve his shooting by nearly 20% over where it is now....

He'll shoot between 50% and 55% is my guess....
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Re: In Depth analysis of Dwight's impact on the Lakers offense

Postby lakerfan2 on Tue Aug 21, 2012 1:51 pm

Rooscooter wrote:
V1n5anity wrote:^^ Dwight will NEVER be a good FT shooter. He will always hover around 60%. Just accept it.


60%....... hell I'd settle for 50%.... He shot 49% last year.

To get to 60% he'd have to improve his shooting by nearly 20% over where it is now....

He'll shoot between 50% and 55% is my guess....


Wonder if Kobe's shooting coach is still here / Rifleman?
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Re: In Depth analysis of Dwight's impact on the Lakers offense

Postby v1n5anity on Tue Aug 21, 2012 1:54 pm

Rooscooter wrote:
V1n5anity wrote:^^ Dwight will NEVER be a good FT shooter. He will always hover around 60%. Just accept it.


60%....... hell I'd settle for 50%.... He shot 49% last year.

To get to 60% he'd have to improve his shooting by nearly 20% over where it is now....

He'll shoot between 50% and 55% is my guess....


Before this past season, Dwight shot 58-59% every year except his rookie year where he shot higher. I'm not expecting him to shoot over 60%, but expecting him to match his career average is not a stretch.
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Re: In Depth analysis of Dwight's impact on the Lakers offense

Postby Rooscooter on Tue Aug 21, 2012 1:57 pm

V1n5anity wrote:
Rooscooter wrote:
V1n5anity wrote:^^ Dwight will NEVER be a good FT shooter. He will always hover around 60%. Just accept it.


60%....... hell I'd settle for 50%.... He shot 49% last year.

To get to 60% he'd have to improve his shooting by nearly 20% over where it is now....

He'll shoot between 50% and 55% is my guess....


Before this past season, Dwight shot 58-59% every year except his rookie year where he shot higher. I'm not expecting him to shoot over 60%, but expecting him to match his career average is not a stretch.


Could be the back...... could be the turmoil but both of his shooting averages were down last year.... hopefully it's the outlier and not a trend..... In any event.... he's not the one we want on the line any more than necessary that's for sure.
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Re: In Depth analysis of Dwight's impact on the Lakers offense

Postby karacha on Tue Aug 21, 2012 2:01 pm

What is Kobe doing in that pic?
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Re: In Depth analysis of Dwight's impact on the Lakers offense

Postby therealdeal on Tue Aug 21, 2012 2:22 pm

karacha wrote:What is Kobe doing in that pic?

Getting his revenge for getting dunked on.
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Re: In Depth analysis of Dwight's impact on the Lakers offense

Postby therealdeal on Tue Aug 21, 2012 2:25 pm

Rooscooter wrote:Could be the back...... could be the turmoil but both of his shooting averages were down last year.... hopefully it's the outlier and not a trend..... In any event.... he's not the one we want on the line any more than necessary that's for sure.

Hopefully? Since when does one of anything indicate a possible trend instead of a possible outlier?

If his FG% were far below his average or had been dropping for a few years, then yes you'd say it might be a pattern, but neither of those things are true. His FG% dropped the last few years, but he was at an extremely lofty 61% from the field and hell fell to somewhere closer to his career average, so I don't see any major problem there. Especially when his career average is 57%.
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Re: In Depth analysis of Dwight's impact on the Lakers offense

Postby Rooscooter on Tue Aug 21, 2012 2:52 pm

therealdeal wrote:
Rooscooter wrote:Could be the back...... could be the turmoil but both of his shooting averages were down last year.... hopefully it's the outlier and not a trend..... In any event.... he's not the one we want on the line any more than necessary that's for sure.

Hopefully? Since when does one of anything indicate a possible trend instead of a possible outlier?

If his FG% were far below his average or had been dropping for a few years, then yes you'd say it might be a pattern, but neither of those things are true. His FG% dropped the last few years, but he was at an extremely lofty 61% from the field and hell fell to somewhere closer to his career average, so I don't see any major problem there. Especially when his career average is 57%.


:man3: ....

I said Hopefully it's not a trend..... His supporting cast wasn't what it had been and his back issues started mid way through the season.... so it's most likely the outlier.... but there is a point when a trend starts...... and I don't think you can discount that out of hand by looking in the rear view mirror alone....

If you looked at this free throw percentage after his 2nd year would you say he will return to the 67% rate of his first year?.... That would have been incorrect looking back now.....

Hopefully he gets back to at least 55% and can still shoot 55%+ from the field.... My guess that he will do both but I'd assume that his back had something to do with the drop in percentages and backs never come all the way back so he might have some lingering issues to deal with going forward.... I don't think that is out of the realm of possibility..... do you?....
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Re: In Depth analysis of Dwight's impact on the Lakers offense

Postby therealdeal on Tue Aug 21, 2012 3:16 pm

No I don't, I just think it's an extremely negative way to view the situation. He has shot 57.7% throughout his career and even with his back issues last season shot 57.3% this season. I don't see any reason why that should change.

No, I don't look at his one career high FT% (his rookie season by the way) because it's clearly an outlier. I just don't see how you can say or surmise any potential trends from one season. That's the exact opposite of a trend. If I drove out in traffic today and I saw 3 yellow cars, would I call that potentially a trend? No. It's a day when I saw 3 yellow cars. If the next day I saw 3 yellow cars, now we're seeing a potential pattern.

Dwight had one awful season of shooting from the free throw line and many, many bad ones. Which is the outlier and which is the trend? The many bad ones is the trend, the outlier is the awful one.
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Re: In Depth analysis of Dwight's impact on the Lakers offense

Postby Rooscooter on Tue Aug 21, 2012 3:33 pm

therealdeal wrote:No I don't, I just think it's an extremely negative way to view the situation. He has shot 57.7% throughout his career and even with his back issues last season shot 57.3% this season. I don't see any reason why that should change.

No, I don't look at his one career high FT% (his rookie season by the way) because it's clearly an outlier. I just don't see how you can say or surmise any potential trends from one season.


First.... I'm not sure how you make something "positive" about an All Star, supposed top 3 player shooting 50% from the free throw line.... just my take....

Second I think you didn't understand what I was saying. If, after towards second season, you looked at the two free throw percentages (1st and second seasons) which one is trend setting and which one is the outlier?.... This is without the benefit of the balance of his career to this point. The larger point being that last season may be the outlier..... which it most likely is.... but you can't discount the possibility that it's the beginning of a trend either. All players hit a plateau and then the trajectory changes as age, injuries and situations change.....

In any event..... 49% or 59%..... or somewhere between... this isn't the guy we want shooting any more free throws than is absolutely necessary..... trend, outlier or whatever....
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Re: In Depth analysis of Dwight's impact on the Lakers offense

Postby pound4pound1 on Tue Aug 21, 2012 3:45 pm

Lennox Lewis was more than just a one-two banger and was much more skilled that Vitali...he used a wide array of punches including crosses and uppercuts


a more fitting analogy would be Chavez Sr with his relentless body attack (left hook to the body) and once the body was broken, the head fell


just had to throw that out there
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