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Monday, April 25, 2011
FB and G on L.A.'s bigs

By Brian Kamenetzky

It's no secret the Lakers haven't seen the fruits of what was seen pre-series as a major advantage in the post. Pau Gasol has received most of the attention for his lackluster play, but Lamar Odom hasn't been much better. It raises the question of how Phil Jackson should handle his late game rotations, one answered in compelling fashion this afternoon by Darius Soriano over at Forum Blue and Gold:
Consider the following defensive statistics:
...Now consider the following offensive numbers:Now consider the following offensive numbers:
...When you look at the statistics and the line ups a bit closer, it’s easier to identify who the weak link in the front court has been so far this series. The answer to that question is….Lamar Odom.

Lamar Odom is the only member of the big man trio to boast a negative efficiency differential when he’s on the court - the Hornets score 1.22 points more per 100 possessions when Odom is playing. Said another way, when Odom is on the court, the Lakers are a worse team so far this series. In converse, Bynum has the best efficiency differential (+7.73) and Gasol is no slouch either (+3.14). Over at Basketball Value, this is spelled out even clearer. The Lakers top two line ups in terms of minutes played are their starting line up (73.4 minutes) and the line up where Odom replaces Bynum (33.23 minutes). The Lakers starting line up has an efficiency differential of +11.52 while the lineup that swaps Bynum for Odom has a differential of -15.19.

Bottom line, Soriano writes, is Bynum needs to be on the floor down the stretch. I suspect Jackson won't change his rotation- at least not without foul trouble, or in-game play plainly demanding it. There are compelling arguments to both ends of the argument, but what the numbers truly emphasize is how little the L.A.'s bigs have produced relative to expectations heading in.