Los Angeles Lakers: 4 players who play better in the postseason

Los Angeles Lakers (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Los Angeles Lakers (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /
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These Los Angeles Lakers play up to the moment in the NBA Playoffs

The Los Angeles Lakers enter the NBA’s return to play as the clear favorites to win the NBA title after missing the postseason completely last year. In a triumphant return to postseason play, the Lakers bring two of the NBA’s top 10 players and a squad that is ready to put the clamps on the defensive end.

It won’t be an easy ride. The Lakers still need to get past the Clippers and a slew of other potential Western Conference competitors, as well as the Milwaukee Bucks (or whichever unlikely team dethrones them in the Eastern Conference).

It’s a good time to get familiar with the Lakers postseason history. We already looked at three players with minimal playoff experience and their boom or bust potential. Now it’s time to look at established postseason veterans that typically play better in the postseason.

Lakers better in the playoffs: Dwight Howard

Dwight Howard doesn’t take any seismic jumps in the postseason, but he consistently puts his foot on the pedal within the context of his role when the stakes are highest.

Throughout his career, Howard has improved his points by 9 percent, rebounds by 12 percent, and box plus/minus by 66 percent compared to his regular-season average, all on a 10 percent minutes increase.

The counting stats are relatively mild jumps, but the box plus/minus is a good signal that Howard’s rim-protecting becomes of utmost importance deep in the playoffs. At this stage in his career it’s hard to say exactly how much impact he might have deep in the postseason, but sustaining his quality play in the second unit to the playoffs should be a given.