NBA Market Share Report: The Lakers Bench Unit Is Pretty Awesome
Welcome back for another installment of the weekly NBA Market Share Report. After getting all types of long-winded for last week’s episode -- where we discussed the love for Kevin Love, John Wall, and the return of Jrue -- we’ll keep this week’s report to a minimum.
Go Go Gadget Giannis
The Greek Freak is your freak of the week. Go figure.
Staying true to the NBA Market Share Report’s weekly duty of giving credit to one player who’s playing well enough to raise the question of whether or not he’s human, this week’s honors go to Giannis Antetokounmpo.
For every year he’s been in the league, we’ve talked about Antetokounmpo’s development and progression, and here we are yet again. He’s increased his offensive productivity in every category, including points per game (22), field-goal percentage (.519), and assists (6.1), helping to provide us fantasy nerds with nearly 50 FanDuel points a night.
We should really start setting highlights like this one to that creepy Frankenstein music, because Giannis will often times pull off stuff that doesn’t seem humanly viable.
Giannis Antetokounmpo, a lo Tony Parker https://t.co/GNJMjPhRwF
— Everybody Up ! (@CrisLopezNBA) November 26, 2016
He’s also having the best defensive performance of his young career after just 20 games, pulling down 9 boards, 2 steals, and 2 blocks a night with a defensive rating of 97 and a PER of 27.
The fact that a player of this caliber is only 22 years old seems borderline unfair. Not to say that Antetokounmpo hasn’t reached a level of awesome -- because he absolutely has -- but he’s also not finished. There’s more to come with this guy and that’s fun, exciting, and scary all at the same time.
The Best Five-Man Lineup You Don’t Know About
Despite going 3-9 since last talking about the Los Angeles Lakers a couple weeks back, they remain a surprising piece to the start of the season. It doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with the more common names like Julius Randle, D'Angelo Russell, or Nick Young, either.
Take a look at the list below, which shows the top-10 5-man lineups who have played at least 175 minutes together.
|Griffin, Jordan, Mbah a Moute, Paul, Redick||LAC||399||20.7|
|Green, Curry, Durant, Pachulia, Thompson||GS||237||12.9|
|Batum, Kidd-Gilchrist, Walker, Zeller, Williams||CHA||177||11.4|
|Iriving, Love, James, Smith, Thompson||CLE||266||10.9|
|Anderson, Ariza, Capela, Gordon, Harden||HOU||186||10.9|
|Butler, Gibson, Lopez, Rondo, Wade||CHI||244||9.6|
|Black, Clarkson, Ingram, Nance, Williams||LAL||189||9.5|
|Beal, Gortat, Wall, Morris, Porter||WAS||322||8.7|
|Adams, Oladipo, Roberson, Sabonis, Westbrook||OKC||286||2.0|
|Caldwell-Pope, Drummond, Morris, Harris, Smith||DET||332||1.0|
Some obvious and impressive numbers of note are the Los Angeles Clippers' crazy efficiency on both ends of the floor, as well as the Golden State Warriors being the offensive powerhouse we all envisioned them to be.
There’s also some cool stuff in there, like the Charlotte Hornets (who we talked about earlier in the season) and their grimey defensive effort rivaling that of a Western Conference contender. There’s the Washington Wizards reminding us their starting lineup actually isn’t terrible, but rather the rest of their lineup a complete dumpster fire.
But even above all that, what stands out the most isn’t a starting lineup at all. It's the Los Angeles Lakers bench unit and their incredible efficiency to start the year.
Larry Nance Jr. and Tarik Black. The rookie Brandon Ingram. Jordan Clarkson and Louis Williams. That’s your most productive bench unit in the NBA. So productive, in fact, that of the five-man lineups having played at least 175 minutes, they’re the only bench unit in the league with a positive net rating.
Their effective field-goal percentage (51.6) ranks 10th, their pace (101) 4th, and their rebounding percentage (54.9) is 3rd. Of the top four player efficiency ratings on the Lakers' roster, three come from the bench, including the team-leading 24.3 from Lou Williams, who would probably take home Sixth Man hardware if the award was handed out today.
The Lakers are currently navigating through a couple injuries and there’s a lot of season left to play, but Luke Walton is pushing all the right buttons in his first year as head coach, including a second unit that’s arguably tops in the NBA.
Boston Bargain Bradley
Thomas has been nothing short of awesome, averaging 38 FanDuel points per game as a top-20 option each night, while Horford -- who has missed nearly half the season due to injury -- has been good to the tune of 35 FanDuel points per game, making him a top-30 player. But what sets Bradley and his 32 points per game apart is his salary.
Thomas’ salary has dipped below $8,000 only once, while generally hanging out in the neighborhood of $8,200. Similarly, we’ve seen Horford’s salary get low, but he’s routinely above $7,000. And then there’s Bradley, who started the season sub-$6,000 before quickly getting into the mid-$6,000 range, landing on $7,000 for a few games in mid-November, and ultimately (as of lately) settling around $6,600.
Through 22 games, Bradley is off to a career year, and for a couple of reasons. For one, he’s averaging almost 36 minutes a night, a number we’ve seen increase in each of his seven NBA seasons. He’s taking about two more shots per game and knocking down 47 percent from the field and 40 percent from deep (on five attempts), both career-highs.
His assist numbers have stayed on pace (2.5 per game) and his defense has never been a concern.
But where Bradley has really improved from a production standpoint is on the glass, where he’s snatching nearly eight rebounds per game after averaging just three last season.
Avery Bradley's season in a nutshell: Robs DeMarcus Cousins blind, flies on the break and nails a pullup from 18 feet. #Celtics pic.twitter.com/V0dbUxYPCO
— Jared Weiss (@JaredWeissNBA) December 3, 2016
The Celtics are an exciting team with lots of pieces to target, but Bradley at his current salary provides the most bang for your buck. No one faults you for rostering Thomas and Horford, but taking Bradley instead gives you similar production for sometimes upwards of $1,200 in salary difference, offering good value and increased roster flexibility.
That's all for this week. Remember to take full advantage of the internet and stay away from malls and shopping centers. See ya next time.