Six Analytical Reasons The Lakers Have Improved This Month

The New Core FourCombined PPGCombined RPG
November28.712.2
December33.014.3
January38.214.3
February42.620.2

 

For the Lakers to even dream of a run at the postseason, they will continue to need the “other core four” to be major contributors on both ends.

5) An improved turnover differential

The Lakers are one of the worst teams in the league in turnover differential (29th, according to ESPN), but the numbers have been slightly improving as the season has gone on. The team’s February rank is up to 24, at 1.1 net turnovers better than January.

TO Rate (% of possessions)LakersOpponentDifference
November17.415.2-2.2
December14.612.9-1.7
January15.312.9-2.4
February15.013.7-1.3

 

A difference of just over one turnover per game doesn’t seem much, but given that over 24 percent of LA’s games (14 of 58) have been decided by five points or fewer, that one turnover per game could mean the difference between a playoff appearance and a lottery pick.

6) Improvement in close games

It makes sense that a team basically sporting a .500 record like the Lakers would have a .500 record in close games (those decided by five points or fewer). And, in fact, the Lakers are 7-7 in those games. But all these small differences addressed above has led to a 3-0 record in close games in February.

November 1-2
December 2-1
January 1-4
February 3-0

If the Lakers continue on this upward trend, perhaps there will be a playoff appearance in their future after all.

Shlomo Sprung loves advanced statistics and the way they explain what happens on the court. He is also the web editor of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle and a writer for Football.com. A 2011 graduate of Columbia University’s Journalism School, he has previously worked for the New York Knicks, The Sporting News, Business Insider and other publications. His website is SprungOnSports.com. You can follow him on Twitter

 

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  1. JMoney says

    I don’t know if I agree with #1. Kobe’s FGA is back over 20+ since the AS break and they are still winning. I think the Lakers have found their roles now that they’ve got a consistent lineup.

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