A Quick Peek At The Lakers' Weakest Link...the PGs

Considering that Mike D'Antoni's system is predicated on PG play, I snooped around and checked how the Laker PGs are faring against the rest of the league.

The 1 position wasn't really a strength even during the Lakers' title runs with Phil Jackson. They were merely asked to handle the ball up to the frontcourt and be a release valve when the post-man gets the extra attention from the defenders. These players though were very able defenders and can be real pesky on that end of the court. Ron Harper, Brian Shaw, Derek Fisher(up until the last championship) and even Sasha Vujacic were not great but solid defenders.

The PG play completely fell off the cliff during the 2010-11 playoffs and has been the weakest link that opponents have taken advantage of eversince. Ramon Sessions was brought in last year and although he was solid on offense, he was another sieve on defense that elite PGs blew by on a regular basis.

The arrival of Steve Nash can be considered an upgrade considering what the Lakers had in the past. Nash isn't the most ideal since he is just as bad on defense as Fisher, Sessions and Blake are but his playmaking ability and the presence of Dwight should make up for that, right?

Nash did miss a considerable amount of games and the duo of Duhon and Morris tag-teamed their way until his return. Let's see what the overall PER (Player Efficiency Rating)of the PGs are, how it compares to their opponents and how they rank overall with the rest of the league. Keep in mind that PER largely measures offensive performance so let's see that side first.

Laker PGs PER: 11.7, Opponent PGs PER: 17.1, Net PER: -5.5, NBA Rank: 28

Ouch...the Laker PGs are 3rd from the bottom of the league as far as that match-up is concerned. How much does Nash contribute to that? Let's focus on just his PERs against the opponent's then.

Nash PER: 18.6, Opponent PER: 17.2, Net PER: 1.4

Ahah...The drop-off from Nash to the back-up PGs is such that it totally screwed up their overall production. It is nevertheless awful and notice that the opponents's PER is basically the same no matter who's on the court. Another stat that backs up that disparity on PG production is the Points for and Points against ranking of the Laker PGs. Here it is:

Laker PG Pts Rank: 30, Defense on PG Pts Rank: 30, Net NBA Rank: 30

Yikes...the Laker PGs are the worst in the league as far as producing points and they are also giving up the most points to opposing PGs. How are they allowing that? Let's see their Defensive Ratings which is an estimate of points allowed per 100 possessions.

Nash: 111, Duhon: 111, Morris: 111. All of them are at the bottom quarter of the league.

As a point of reference, Duncan has a DRating of 94 which is best in the league while on the other end of the spectrum are the Kings tandem of Fredette and Thomas with 116. And how are the elite WC PGs doing? Parker: 105, Westbrook: 104, Paul: 101, Conley: 100. Parker and Westbrook are on the top half while Paul and Conley are on the top quarter of the league. Oh yeah, the Clippers have the top defensive PG in the league: Eric Bledsoe with a DRating of 98.

Nash is still working his way into this Laker team so his production can still improve. If the FO is looking for pieces to add or trade to the team...they must first look for a real capable back-up PG. Steve Blake by the way is only offering about a -9.6 Net PER. That won't cut it in my opinion.

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