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Lakers lack of perimeter depth & the MWP problem


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#1 MDI

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Posted February 12, 2013 - 09:51 AM

http://www.forumblue...bigger-problem/

One player, however, who is not playing well is Metta World Peace. The guy I still call Ron is going through his worst stretch of the season and while the Lakers are still finding ways to win through his struggles, his poor play is highlighting the lack of reliable wing depth this team has.

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Before we go any further, it’s important to quantify exactly what Ron is going through on both sides of the ball.

Over the last 5 games, Ron is averaging less than 8 points a game while shooting 26.3% from the field, 19% from the three point line, and 55.6% from the foul line. Extend the threshold to 10 games and his numbers aren’t much better with an average of a shade over 10 points per game on 30.6% shooting from the field including 29.7% from behind the arc. Furthermore, Ron has become more of a ball stopper on offense in the last five games, looking to score in isolations more and settling for the type of shots that should only be taken with the shot clock running down.

More of an issue than his offensive struggles is the decline in his defensive effectiveness.
First, it should be made clear, Ron still has some of the best defensive hands in the league. The ball is never safe when Ron is guarding his man closely and one second of over exposure can lead to the ball being poked or swiped away. However, his foot speed has declined to the point that he’s having trouble executing multiple defensive slides on the perimeter without giving up a driving lane. This leads to defensive breakdowns that puts even more pressure on the Lakers’ interior defenders.

While PER isn’t a perfect statistical tool and can’t be the sole way we evaluate players, it does a do a very good job of compiling box score stats with usage rates and giving an indicator of how efficiently a player is performing on offense. PER against, then, is a handy way of measuring how well your opponent is playing when being defended by you. Last season, Ron posted a PER against of 11.8 when defending small forwards and a PER against of 8.3 when defending power forwards. These numbers, though not telling the entire story of how a defender is playing, show a very effective defender who could swing between both forward spots. This season, however, Ron’s opponents are posting a PER against of 14.8 when playing SF and 18.1 when playing PF. Again, these numbers don’t tell the entire story, but they do tell a story. And it’s one of a player in decline on that side of the ball.

It’s gotten to the point that Earl Clark is taking the task of defending most of the better wing offensive players (though, to be fair, Ron did “guard” LeBron on Sunday). So, instead of Ron chasing around Kevin Durant, it’s Clark. And instead of Ron taking the next best offensive wing, Kobe is often being asked to defend that player instead. Ron, then, is usually asked to defend the opposing PF or even the C where he has the strength and hand quickness to battle and be disruptive, but not the height or length to be the lockdown force he once was.

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While I’ve spent a lot of time knocking Ron down a level (or two) for his recent play and some of his season long shortcomings, this is really more about the Lakers’ lack of a viable alternative on their roster and the best way to use Ron as he ages. What hasn’t yet been said is that while Ron is giving up a hefty PER to opposing PF’s, he’s also playing better on offense as a “stretch four” than he is as a traditional SF. Ron’s PER as a PF is a robust 21.7. In that role he’s usually not at a quickness deficit against his man and has the ability to play the role of a shooter and driver against players who aren’t used to defending on the wing. He gets better shots as a PF and has more advantages in that role.

But, the Lakers don’t have the depth to play him there full time.
The only other natural SF on the roster besides Ron is Devin Ebanks and he’s never been more buried. This leaves the option of moving Kobe up to SF (which he can do), but also opens exposes some of the Lakers’ issues at SG behind their future hall of famer. Jodie Meeks is a fine player who can play 15-20 minutes (or more depending on how his shot is falling), but he lacks solid size and can be exposed in more physical match ups. And if Meeks isn’t getting those minutes, the Lakers are stuck playing a PG (Blake, Duhon) at SG and those same issues (size, quickness, defensive ability) are only exacerbated.

This brings us back to an issue we’ve been discussing for most of the season: the Lakers need another viable wing to help them get through the end of the season. The roster, as it currently stands, has the depth it needs at PG (Nash, Blake), SG (Kobe, Meeks), PF (Clark, Jamison, Ron), and even C (Dwight Sacre). Even with Pau Gasol injured, the team can make enough adjustments with their current group of players to manage their size issues and find a solid rotation at PF/C to get through (as long as Dwight is capable of suiting up).
What they don’t have, however, is enough depth at SF to manage — unless they plan at playing guys out of position and going stretches of games with undersized players being asked to do more than they’re capable.

Don’t get me wrong. Ron can still play SF for some stretches. And Earl Clark’s defensive versatility means that Ron doesn’t have to chase players who are much quicker than him around the perimeter for all his minutes. However, as it stands today, Ron is playing 34 minutes a night and his production doesn’t warrant that — especially not lately. But the Lakers simply don’t have a player on their roster to take any of those minutes away. Not with Kobe still playing roughly 38 minutes a night and Clark playing well over 30 a night since he became a part of the regular rotation.


Plus, the fact is, that even if this is just a bad stretch for Ron (which is possible) and he returns to the production levels he showed earlier in the season (also possible, but not likely), the Lakers are still shallow on the wing. On nights where Meeks or Ron play poorly, there aren’t enough players who are capable to fill in the gaps. Unless you count Jamison as a wing player (and I don’t) or expect Clark to play over 40 minutes a night (which is not reasonable). Something, then, needs to be done.

How the Lakers deal with this the rest of the season will matter. It may not be their biggest problem and it’s certainly not the one that will generate the most headlines. But it’s still something that needs addressing
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34 mins a night to Ron & we have no viable alternatives...Im starting to think the Lakers FO are just gonna put the onus on this $100 mil roster to get it done & they're not gonna add anyone...because we're in dire need of perimeter 3 point shooting help...one piece that fits D'Antoni system & they haven't addressed it & neither have they brought in a big man with Pau going down. They'll probably trade MWP & Pau or amnesty one of them next year when it benefits the team the most while providing the most flexibility. I dont think our FO sees our team as a championship roster, otherwise they'd be filling in the holes right now. They probably think it wont make a difference so why spend an extra $1.8 mil or two

Ron is playing more minutes now than he did during the 09/10 season, his 1st season with us. We're relying on him the most while he couldn't be any worse. This is why it was a huge red flag last month to see such an unreliable aging player being our 2nd highest scorer, it wasn't gonna last.

Edited by MDI, February 12, 2013 - 10:08 AM.

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Props to sidthekid871


#2 Lakerace24

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Posted February 12, 2013 - 09:59 AM

19% from three? Lol, and with those open looks? My god.

Stick Ron at the 4 for good, let Ebanks Clark and kobe split the rest of the minutes at SF. Opens more pt for Jodie at the 2 and he CAN hit those 3's.

#3 West Coast

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Posted February 12, 2013 - 10:03 AM

19% from three? Lol, and with those open looks? My god.

Stick Ron at the 4 for good, let Ebanks Clark and kobe split the rest of the minutes at SF. Opens more pt for Jodie at the 2 and he CAN hit those 3's.


Ron needs to move to the bench for good.

Bring in another SF for cheap and go from there.

#4 lakersp4p

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Posted February 12, 2013 - 10:10 AM

one of the most inconsistent offensive players

#5 gque24

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Posted February 12, 2013 - 10:15 AM

Translation = Play Ebanks & stop this nonsense hoping MWP will figure things out & work his way out his funk. Bench his azz when he is not producing its as simple as that. Play the damn roster.
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#6 MDI

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Posted February 12, 2013 - 10:22 AM

^ Ebanks is probably the worst player on the roster. He is that bad, man

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Props to sidthekid871


#7 J-H!zZl3

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Posted February 12, 2013 - 10:22 AM

Just like I posted in the thread dedicated to him. Artest has taken a huge dive. He was playing very respectably earlier in the season, but lately he has been downright awful. His ball stopping absolutely destroys the offensive flow. He usually gets blocked or bricks and it leads to fast breaks for the opossing teams. He's not even knocking down open shots at a respectable rate anymore either. On top of that, his defense has been terrible also. Pierce, Beasley, and Bron absolutely abused him on the grammy trip. He still has the strongest hands on defense but that's pretty much it. He just doesn't have the foot speed to defend the perimiter anymore.

This team has no depth at all at the SF position. This has to be addressed.

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#8 MrKnowItAll

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Posted February 12, 2013 - 11:05 AM

Get Kyle korver, monta Ellis, Avery Bradley, or SOMETHING!!!

#9 bfc1125roy

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Posted February 12, 2013 - 11:07 AM

This has been my stance as well. I think a lineup of Nash/Kobe/Some SF/Clark/D12 and a bench of Blake/Meeks/Ebanks/MWP/Pau is our best bet if the Lakers want to do something by the trade deadline. Then next season with the return of Jordan Hill, they can evaluate things further. But MWP should be playing more of a bench 4 to help stretch the floor while running the 4 out 1 in sets for Pau or Dwight. His quick hands bother a lot of PFs as well, and he's physical enough to play down low.

#10 bfc1125roy

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Posted February 12, 2013 - 11:07 AM

Get Kyle korver, monta Ellis, Avery Bradley, or SOMETHING!!!


The Celtics would never give up Avery Bradley, though I would love to have him on this team with D12.

#11 J-H!zZl3

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Posted February 12, 2013 - 12:36 PM

This has been my stance as well. I think a lineup of Nash/Kobe/Some SF/Clark/D12 and a bench of Blake/Meeks/Ebanks/MWP/Pau is our best bet if the Lakers want to do something by the trade deadline. Then next season with the return of Jordan Hill, they can evaluate things further. But MWP should be playing more of a bench 4 to help stretch the floor while running the 4 out 1 in sets for Pau or Dwight. His quick hands bother a lot of PFs as well, and he's physical enough to play down low.


Agreed. At this point in his career, Artest is best suited playing at the PF position.

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#12 jax24

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Posted February 12, 2013 - 12:48 PM

At this point of his career MWP should be nothing more than a bench PF role player.

#13 GO24Seven

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Posted February 12, 2013 - 01:04 PM

I want him amnestied in the off season.

#14 ColStac

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Posted February 12, 2013 - 01:15 PM

Bench his azz when he is not producing its as simple as that. Play the damn roster.


This.
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#15 gque24

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Posted February 12, 2013 - 01:20 PM

^ Ebanks is probably the worst player on the roster. He is that bad, man


until he gets same opportunity as a Jamison = you cant say that! He is better option than both Jamison & MWP all around!
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#16 Rad

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Posted February 12, 2013 - 02:22 PM

until he gets same opportunity as a Jamison = you cant say that! He is better option than both Jamison & MWP all around!


How many opportunities does Ebench need?

#17 24allday

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Posted February 12, 2013 - 02:24 PM

until he gets same opportunity as a Jamison = you cant say that! He is better option than both Jamison & MWP all around!


the guy sucks man he's shown it time and time again.. open your eyes

#18 Cj2008nw

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Posted February 12, 2013 - 02:34 PM

I told you guys 2 years ago he should have been traded

#19 David

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Posted February 12, 2013 - 02:41 PM

Would it hurt to sign CDR on a 10-day contract?

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#20 gque24

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Posted February 12, 2013 - 02:43 PM

How many opportunities does Ebench need?


talk to me when he gets the same meaningful mins & chances alongside the starters as Jamison has gotten during the losing & winning streaks! Until then you cant determine his value to the team playing spot nonmeaningful mins in blow out situations.

he hasnt had an opportunity this season. Dont give me the gms b4 Coach D was brought in either.
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