One of the major stories of the beginning of the NBA season is the fact that the Lakers haven’t won a game yet this season, preseason or regular season. My uncle joked that in their last sixteen games, going back to the play-off series with the Thunder, our boys have gone 1-15, which is obviously abysmal. Many of the sports pundits, amateur and professional, are saying how the Lakers should start to worry, are panicking, that they look terrible, et cetera, et cetera. Stephen A. Smith placed the Lakers as a 5 out of 10 on the panic meter. That’s all fine and dandy, but as for me?
I’m not worried.
As my very, very small clutch of regular readers know, I’m a sabermetrics guy. Having read the Wages of Wins regularly for almost a year now, my outlook on basketball has done an almost complete 360 since last September. Two big things that I have learned are a) don’t sweat the small stuff (meaning sample size) and b) the eye-test is misleading. Both of these apply to this year’s Lakers. After all, that 1-15 includes only three regular season games, and one of the main arguments for the Lakers being possibly overrated is that they look disjointed. While I am not going to say that that is false-unlike many of the people making these comments, I have only seen one preseason game, that of the infamous 30 plus-0 run-I am going to say that looks aren’t everything, even if it is not as useless as I tend to believe. (For the record, I tend to believe that it’s worth less than iron pyrite.)
I know that Steve Nash is injured, but his injury is fairly minor, and he’ll be back in a couple weeks. I know that Antwan Jamison and Kobe are chuckers, but, according to Wins Produced, they have been the Lakers’ most productive players through the first three games-which, once again, is an extremely small sample size. I know that Jordan Hill and Metta have been absolutely terrible-but it’s only been three games.
Besides, this team is built for the play-offs. In the regular season, your second unit has to be somewhat productive, because of the grind of the 82 games and all that jazz. However, come play-off time, only the top six players are statistically meaningful. (You can thank Arturo Galletti’s Half-Baked Notion for that sigh of relief.) I think that the Lakers’ top six-Nash, Kobe, Metta, Pau, Dwight, and Jordan Hill/Jodie Meeks-is pretty darn good. In fact, if Chris Duhon supplants Steve Blake as the back-up point guard and Antwan Jamison is better than he has been the past couple years (which is to say, good at all), their top nine is pretty good. Metta’s the weak link, and he has a reputation as a good perimeter defender, reputation being all that we have to go on for that, unfortunately. So, can we all visit www.thenbageek.com, see that the Lakers’ bench isn’t all that terrible, and relax. Thank you for reading, please comment, and please come back.