Projecting the Odomless 2011-12 LA Lakers

I did a win projection for the Los Angeles Lakers after they basically cast aside their big win producer Lamar Odom.  His replacement this season will be, I think, a combination of Troy Murphy and Josh McRoberts.  Here is my win projection:

Win Projection 2011-12 Los Angeles Lakers

K Bryant 7.9__1.0 0.892
P Gasol 8.9__0.2 0.974
A Bynum 6.0__0.4 0.942
MW Peace 3.5__3.0 0.539
M Barnes 4.9__1.3 0.793
D Fisher 1.1__4.4 0.192
S Blake 2.4__3.1 0.393
T Murphy 3.6__1.8 0.671
J McRoberts 2.3__2.0 0.533
L Walton 0.7__2.5 0.212
J Kapono (-0.4)__3.5 -0.121
D Caracter (-0.2)__1.7 -0.117
TOTAL 40.7__25.3 0.619

Method and Analysis

To make the win projection, I used a weighted average of the winning percentage posted by each roster Laker over the past 3 seasons, giving the heaviest weight to the most recent seasons.  I then guessed at playing time, again using the player’s recent history as a guide. 

As you can see, I am projecting the Lakers to win 40.7 games in the 66 game format.  That is the equivalent of 50.5 games under a regular 82 game format.  However, my prediction comes with several caveats.

1. Kobe’s doesn’t decline and stays healthy: Kobe Bryant has had knee problems over the past few seasons and he is getting up there in age.  My model assumes he is able to play somewhere near his normal minutes, and that he only encounters a slight decline.

2 Gasol’s Attitude: Pau Gasol is a lynchpin of the Lakers winning ways.  Reports out of LA suggest he is less than a happy camper following the botched attempt to trade him.  If he puts it in the tank, the Lakers will not get anywhere near the projected wins.

3. Bynum’s Health/Attitude: My model assumes that C Andrew Bynum can stay relatively healthy and play somewhere near the peak number of minutes he has played over the last 3 seasons.  Also, given that the team made loud rumblings about wanting Dwight Howard, you have to wonder about Bynum’s fragile psyche.

4. World Peace doesn’t crater:  Meta World Peace is clearly a player on the backside of his career.  My model assumes he doesn’t completely crater this season, which is a possibility.

5. Troy Murphy is decent and available:  Three seasons ago Troy Murphy was a huge win producer.  Last season he was not.  Well, he really wasn’t healthy.  I am assuming he gets somewhere near the win level he had two seasons ago, when he was above average.  I’m a little iffy on that, because he was awful in two places last season.  Maybe he fit in for the Pacers and can’t fit in anywhere else. 

6. Matt Barnes gets more minutes: My model assumes a slight takeover of the small forward position by Matt Barnes, and a continuation of Barnes’ excellent win production of the previous two seasons.  Barnes was outstanding two seasons ago in Orlando, and pretty good in LA last season, postseason notwithstanding.

7. Point Guard debacle.  The Lakers have done nothing at all to upgrade their obvious deficiency at point guard.  I am assuming they will get nothing from Derek Fisher, but that they will limit the damage that he can inflict by giving more minutes to Steve Blake.  Blake is an enigma.  He was always a decent win producer in Portland, but has been awful everywhere else he has gone.  I am assuming he can be “okay” for the Lakers.

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