A statistical look at the Lakers' tough year
April, 29, 2013
By ESPN Stats & Information | ESPN.com
AP Photo/Pat SullivanFor Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash and the rest of the Lakers, 2012-13 did not go as planned.Well that was unexpected.
No, not the Los Angeles Lakers losing in the first round to the San Antonio Spurs; it was a 2-7 matchup, after all, and no NBA team has lost after being up 3-0 (as the San Antonio Spurs were).
But who, when the Lakers put together their new "Big Four" this offseason, thought things would end so gruesomely, with sweep-victim L.A. dropping its two home games by a combined 52 points?
Here's a statistical postmortem of the Lakers' season, which featured injuries all around (most notably the late one to Kobe Bryant), plus much other turmoil on and off the court:
2012-13 at a glance
• According to MGM Resorts International, the Miami Heat and Lakers entered the season favored to win the NBA title (8/5 odds).
• The Lakers went winless in the preseason, losing all eight of their games. They were the only winless team in the NBA this preseason. Perhaps that was a sign of things to come.
• In just the second game of the season, newly acquired Steve Nash suffered a small fracture in his lower left leg in a loss to the Portland Trail Blazers. He missed the next 24 games.
• Following a 1-4 start, the Lakers fired head coach Mike Brown. Brown went 42-29 as Lakers head coach in one-plus seasons.
• The Lakers then passed over Phil Jackson, who led the Lakers to five NBA championships, and hired Mike D’Antoni as head coach. Jackson spoke publicly about his disappointment in not getting the job.
• Turmoil turned to deep sadness, as on Feb. 18 Lakers owner Jerry Buss passed away at the age of 80. Buss owned the Lakers since 1979, leading the franchise to 10 NBA championships. His memorial was held three days later.
• With the Lakers on the upswing (see below) as they mounted a late-season surge to the playoffs, Bryant tore his Achilles tendon and is expected to miss six to nine months. At age 34, Bryant was averaging 27.3 points and 38.6 minutes, the most by a player in his 17th season or later in NBA history. The Lakers did manage that playoff berth, though, on the last day of the regular season (they finished 45-37, their .549 win percentage the team's worst since posting a .512 win percentage in 2006-07).
And then that postseason
• The Lakers were swept in an opening-round playoff series for second time in franchise history (lost 3-0 to Warriors in 1967). It was their first first-round series loss since 2007 (4-1 versus the Phoenix Suns)
• The Lakers were the second team in NBA history to lose consecutive home playoff games by at least 20 points (2001 Miami Heat -- from Elias Sports Bureau)
• The Spurs led 179 minutes in the series, the Lakers six.
• The Spurs outscored Los Angeles by 75 points in the series. That is the most points the Lakers have been outscored by in any of the 150 playoff series they have appeared in, besting the previous mark of 69 against the Milwaukee Bucks in the 1971 Western Conference finals.
• The Lakers have lost six straight postseason games dating back to last postseason.
Jayne Kamin-Oncea/USA TODAY Sports We did not see much of this in 2012-13.
• The Lakers went just 8-14 in games Bryant, Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol and Nash played together in the regular season.
• The Lakers' typical starting five of Nash, Bryant, Metta World Peace, Gasol and Howard played only 189 minutes, 11 seconds together -- just 4.8 percent of the team's total in the regular season.
The Lakers were the oldest team in the NBA, as of the final day of the regular season (players weighted by playing time):
• Lakers, 31.4
• Knicks, 31.0
• Heat, 30.9
• Mavericks, 30.3
• Celtics, 29.8
Source: Elias Sports Bureau
Missed games by notable players this regular season (out of 82):
• Steve Blake, 37
• Pau Gasol, 33
• Steve Nash, 32
• Metta World Peace, 7
• Dwight Howard, 6
• Kobe Bryant, 4
In the postseason:
• Kobe Bryant, 4
• Steve Nash, 2
• Steve Blake, 2
• Metta World Peace, 1
Reason for hope?
If there’s something the Lakers can hang their hats on when looking toward next season, it’s this: From Jan. 25 until the end of the regular season, L.A. posted a .700 win percentage, fourth best in the NBA.
• Miami Heat (39-4, .907)
• Denver Nuggets (31-7, .816)
• Memphis Grizzlies (29-12, .707)
• Lakers (28-12, .700)
But changes coming?
• The Lakers made a big splash by adding Karl Malone and Gary Payton prior to the 2003-04 season. After losing in the NBA Finals, big changes occurred.
Phil Jackson retired, neither Malone or Payton returned the following season, and Shaq was traded. Bryant, an unrestricted free agent that offseason, would return. Similarly, Dwight Howard is an unrestricted free agent this offseason. Nash, much like Payton, hasn't fit in.
Could he retire or would the Lakers think about trading him? And D'Antoni joined the team 10 games into the season, but could he be out after just one campaign?
Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty ImagesIs it 2004 all over again?
The case against D'Antoni
• D’Antoni posted a 40-32 record (.556 win pct) in his first season with the Lakers.
• D’Antoni has 428 career wins, the most among active coaches without an NBA Finals appearance.
• However, in the postseason, D'Antoni went 0-4, and is the first Lakers coach to lose his first three postseason games with L.A. Now he has lost 14 of his past 15 playoff games. That includes the sweep as Lakers head coach, a sweep as New York Knicks head coach, a 4-1 loss in his final season with the Suns and the final two games of a series with the Spurs in 2007. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the only other coach to lose 14 of 15 in the playoffs is Mike Fratello. His worst span was losing 16 of 17 from 1995 to 2006.
• The last time the Lakers won a title without Jackson came in 1987-88, under Pat Riley. Jackson won five titles and led the Lakers to seven NBA Finals appearances in 11 seasons.
• Since Jackson’s first season with the Lakers back in 1999-00, the Lakers have played three seasons without him, registering just one playoff series win (2012 first round versus Nuggets).
• If Jackson makes a return to the Lakers as coach, he'd become just the fourth coach in NBA history to have three different tenures with the same team (Lionel Hollins, Grizzlies; Cotton Fitzsimmons, Suns; Bob Bass, Spurs -- from Elias)