Lakers Have Little Chance Without Starting Guards

It's been nice knowing you, Lakers: the purple and gold barely stand a chance without Nash, Blake, or Meeks.

Steve Blake? Out indefinitely. Jodie Meeks? Underwent an MRI after Game 2. Steve Nash? Doubtful. Kobe Bryant? Somewhere in Hollywood, a child with a 24 jersey sheds a single tear.

The Lakers could head into this game with recently-signed Andrew Goudelock and Darius Morris as their two starting guards. After spending most of the season excited for the Kobe and Nash show, this must come as an absolute blow to the ribs to Lakers fans.

But how badly will the Lakers' efficiency be effected on the court? I had numberFire Chief Analyst Keith Goldner run some numbers behind their injury bug. And the results are exactly as Lakers' fans worst nightmares have led them to believe: the Lakers don't have much hope with their pain in the backcourt.

The Odds

Even with their plethora of guards at the beginning of this series (meaning minus Kobe), the Lakers still didn't have a great chance to take this one from the Spurs. We gave them only a 32.7 percent chance of taking this one from San Antonio, and they've done nothing since then to make those odds even better.

With a healthy backcourt for Game 3, we assumed that the Lakers would hold a 13.9 percent chance at beating the Spurs. Granted, those odds aren't great, but they also aren't "Heading to my church/synagogue/mosque/Scientology center right now to pay" bad, either.

With Nash, Blake, and Meeks

4 Games5 Games6 Games7 GamesTotal Win Odds
San Antonio24.87%30.54%16.47%14.25%86.13%
Los Angeles0.00%0.00%5.46%8.41%13.87%

Take those three guards out of the scenario, however, and the outlook seems about as grim as Pain and Gain's chances at Best Picture. Assuming a series where Goudelock and Morris are L.A.'s starters the rest of the time, their win odds drop to under 10 percent, and their chances of being swept bump up another three percent.

Without Nash, Blake, and Meeks

4 Games5 Games6 Games7 GamesTotal Win Odds
San Antonio27.57%32.30%17.24%13.23%90.33%
Los Angeles0.00%0.00%3.69%5.98%13.87%

The Projected Stats

There is a good reason why their odds are in the gutter: the Lakers without Nash, Blake, and Meeks have certifiable Clogged Toilet efficiency. Say what you want about the defense of those three guards, but when they are on the court, Los Angeles is a drastically better team.

numberFire's nERD rating, as has been featured previously on SlamOnline throughout the season, measures a team's efficiency on a 0 to 100 scale with 50 as the average. All season, the Lakers were among the league's best eight teams, hanging around the 63 mark with Kobe heading up to the playoffs. Even without Kobe in Game 1, the Lakers were decent at a 57.2 nERD score.

But now? Without those three guards, the Lakers drop all the way to a 52.7 nERD score for Game 3. That puts them squarely as basically an average team, even with Dwight and Pau manning the paint. By the way, the Spurs are not an average team: their 66.5 nERD score ranks fifth in the NBA.

Our daily stat projections don't hold much hope for Goudelock and Morris, either. You know about Nash's 12.7 points and 6.7 assists per game this year, and both Meeks and Blake averaged over 10 points per 36 minutes as well. While the points may still be there, we'd be less than enthusiastic for the two guards tonight.

Andrew Goudelock31.513.
Darius Morris35.710.

With Goudelock, it's next to impossible to tell exactly how he's going to play. Those stats are based off of his 2012 numbers in 40 games with the Lakers; he only played one regular season game with them this year. But one thing's for sure: those numbers aren't going to help you beat the fifth-best team in the NBA.

The injury bug is never something you plan for, but it's absolutely something that can decimate a team. The Lakers are learning this lesson the hard way. It was a good run to make the playoffs in the first place over Utah, but that run will likely be coming to an end quicker than most Lakers fans had dreamed it would.