Numbers can never paint an entire picture, but they can also never lie. From a team perspective for the Los Angeles Lakers, advanced statistics seem to have overtaken traditional statistics when it comes to deciphering the success of different players, lineups, and rotations.
As we continue to advance into the future, those advanced statistics will without a doubt consistently become more and more resourceful for head coaches to reference when making important decisions with regard to their on-court personnel combinations. And while those advanced statistics are definitely beneficial from a game-planning perspective, it is also important to not overthink them. We have already seen how that played out for Frank Vogel.
That is not to say that traditional statistics should be the sole source of reference for a coaching staff, because if that were the case then Christian Wood certainly would have received a much heftier contract this offseason.
With that being stated, there should be a fair amount of overlap in which form of statistics that Darvin Ham utilizes as this season progresses to determine his lineup combinations over the course of each contest. Matchups, injuries, and “who’s hot/who’s not” are always going to factor into that decision-making process from game to game.
Each individual player’s personal statistics are always going to be a quality starting point when it comes to rotations. So, Ham will need to cross-check those each and every day when analyzing what is working and what is not working. Fortunately for him, this is a roster home to numerous gentlemen who can contribute a lot of numbers to the team’s box score. Whether or not those numbers remain consistent depends primarily on those guys, but it will be mandatory for Ham to continuously monitor all the figures as time goes by.
There are only 240 minutes (not including overtime) that a sideline commander can allot to his soldiers on the battlefield. Today we are going to take a stab at projecting what those minute allotments could look like for the Lakers in 2023-2024, and what kinds of numbers each member of the squad could produce within those given moments on the court.
*All Numbers rounded to the nearest .5 for the sake of math*
Projected the statistics for the Lakers starters:
PG: D’Angelo Russell
PROJECTED STATLINE: 24 MPG | 14.5 PPG | 2 RPG | 4.5 APG | 1 SPG | 0 BPG | 48/42/84%
Erase his ugly showing in last season’s Western Conference Finals from your memory, and your reminiscence of his time with the Lakers last season would be nothing but positive. He did exactly what the front office acquired him to do, leading the team in assists and splashing 3’s at an extremely high rate.
Looking ahead to this season, his responsibilities will largely be the same. However, with the rapidly unforeseen emergence of his backcourt mate Austin Reaves, D’Lo will actually have less of an offensive burden. Combine that with the addition of Christian Wood and the expected growth of other returning players (Rui Hachimura, Max Christie), and it is not hard to envision a highly efficient season from Russell.
SG: Austin Reaves
PROJECTED STATLINE: 31 MPG | 16 PPG | 3 RPG | 4 APG | 1 SPG | 0.5 BPG | 48/39/87%
Reaves is now the clear-cut 3rd option for this team, and his fanbase has expanded from Los Angeles to the entire globe after his strong performance with Team USA at this summer’s FIBA qualifiers (where he was arguably the team’s best overall player).
With the team expected to increase his playmaking responsibilities and boost his shot tendency, it is not difficult to anticipate a slight dip in his overall offensive efficiency. However, his basketball IQ should inevitably lead to another season of continued maturation from AR, even if that does not result in the All-Star selection that many are anticipating from him this year.
That will come in time, and probably the 2024-2025 season if he continues on his current trajectory, but fans should certainly temper what they are looking for from him in the coming campaign.
PROJECTED STATLINE: 18 MPG | 4.5 PPG | 5.5 RPG | 1.5 APG | 1 SPG | 1 BPG | 56/33/75%
Vando was deservedly re-signed to a 4-year, $48 million extension recently. While those numbers may be on the larger side of the spectrum, his individual stats probably will not follow suit.
However, he is one of those guys whose impact cannot be measured via the box score, as his defensive tenacity is among the most ferocious in the NBA. There will never be a play drawn up for him on offense, nor will he ever hunt his own shot. He was brought back to pester any and all of the opponent’s top offensive maestros.
F: LeBron James
PROJECTED STATLINE: 30 MPG | 19.5 PPG | 7.5 RPG | 8.5 APG | 0.5 SPG | 0.5 BPG | 50/35/78%
Entering Year 20 of his NBA journey, LeBron has more than cemented his place among the greats. After somehow nearly dropping 30 points a game in his age-38 season, some may look at the above stat line prediction with a raised eyebrow. Before you get to squinting your eyes, bear in mind that this could very well be his final season.
Combine that with the case that this is the most offensive talent he has ever played with, and it would not be a surprise for Darvin Ham to decrease his regular season playing time in order to salvage his postseason performance. He no longer possesses the kind of energy to expend on a nightly basis that we have grown so accustomed to, and fans should prefer the dominant version of Bron come playoff time as opposed to the put-the-team-on-his-back version of Bron that we have seen throughout the years.
PROJECTED STATLINE: 30 MPG | 23 PPG | 11 RPG | 2 APG | 1 SPG | 2.5 BPG | 54/28/75%
We should all be well aware that at this point, this is Anthony Davis’ team. If that were not the case, the front office would not have pulled up to his place with the Brinks truck in the offseason. But going back to this possibly being LeBron’s last luau as a Laker, the coaching staff will be similarly cognizant of AD’s run throughout the regular season.
Keeping the King and his prince as fresh as possible for the title chase should be one of the top priorities for the organization throughout the initial 82-game season. Those 82 games are important, but the ones after those are even more important. With those things in mind, his regular season numbers may suffer a tad. However, the Lakers playoff opponent(s) will suffer upon facing off with a properly charged Davis.