NBA: Lakers and Wolves, Insights and Forecasts

Posted by DG, Date posted at November 17, 2022

Here’s a summary and overview of how the Lakers are grappling with their shooting stats and featuring 10 players bringing their game to a higher level this season. The Wolves have been seeing a spell of inefficiencies when it comes to handling possessions as well as unbelievable oversight in taking advantage of good opportunities to score. 

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The Lakers have also been grappling with how their shooting stats are and this has been an ongoing befuddling issue that they are continuously trying to address. There are also other features we have in our articles that can help gain insight into wagers. 

1. Trade for Gobert still waiting for results 

Let’s first give a background on what has been happening with the Minnesota Timberwolves.  

So far, they have won four of their first six games. But this wasn’t a harbinger of better times to come. Despite the good start, the Wolves have been seeing a loss in several games. The most significant of which was with the Knicks where they trailed by 27 points. The most recent win was only against the 15th-place team in the West (Houston. The two losses were to the Phoenix Suns and another two to the Spurs.  

It boggles the mind how the Wolves’ strong start has turned out to be disappointing. They have the first seven games deceptively the easiest among the upcoming matches. The loss to the Suns on Wednesday was embarrassing. The Wolves had only four guys on the floor midway through the second quarter on a defensive possession.  

Focusing on the succeeding events of the game, the Wolves tried to play some zone. They gave up a wide-open corner 3-point attempt after just two passes — with no provocation from the Suns and were fortunate that Landry Shamet missed it. They gave up yet another wide-open 3 after just two passes — again — no movement from the Suns — and the results were not as encouraging.

Efficiencies to work on

The intent to address the recent shortcomings and errors had The Wolves going all-in sending players and picks to Utah for Rudy Gobert. Gobert’s performance was seen on Minnesota’s defence has been strong (105.5 points allowed per 100 possessions) and now ranks as the 14th overall, coming from 13th last season. Although the offence ranks 19th with a tad awkward Towns not really complementing play with Gobert — good thing Jaden McDaniels was there to cut in. 

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Looking at the hard stats, The Wolves have been outscored 3.4 points per 100 possessions in 227 minutes with the two bigs on the floor together. Defence had been something to grapple with only Towns on defence on the floor while the offence was just as needing work with only Gobert on the floor. 

Wolves efficiency with Towns and/or Gobert on the floor

On floorMINOffRtgDefRtgNetRtg+/-
Towns + Gobert227103.2106.6-3.4-18
Only Towns190115.6119.5-3.9-20
Only Gobert9399.5103.3-3.8-14
1 or the other283110.2114.0-3.8-34

  • OffRtg = Points scored per 100 possessions
  • DefRtg = Points allowed per 100 possessions
  • NetRtg = Point differential per 100 possessions

There was a lack of creating how own offence or shooting outside of three feet with Gobert. He’s also not finishing as expected or getting to the line as seen in the past. Currently, he has his lowest mark for true shooting percentage (64%) down from a career-high at 73.2% last season.

Towns have shot much better with Gobert’s off the floor (54-for-96, 56.3%) than he has with him on it (37-for-85, 43.5%). But, on the other hand, there is a greater percentage of his shots in the paint with Gobert on the floor (49% vs. 44%).

So far, the Towns-Gobert minutes have had their moments of glory and otherwise. The stats show that they registered a negative plus-minus in only four of the 10 games they’ve played together. For example, they were a plus-8 in a little less than 21 minutes together on Wednesday, but both of them had three fouls in the first quarter.

Three of those games, 7 through 9, saw the Wolves outscored 46 points (33.4 per 100 possessions) in their 64 minutes together against the Spurs, Suns and Bucks. Minnesota somehow scored only 95 points on 128 offensive possessions with both big men on the floor over that stretch.

Would Gobert make a dent? 

So, far it will be a wait-and-see situation on how things will be in the next few games. After all, the Wolves’ issues are not only concerning the two big players. This also includes D’Angelo Russell (45.8%) ranks 117th in effective field goal percentage. Jaylen Nowell (102nd at 48.9%) somehow leads the team (and ranks ninth in the league) with 20.7 field goal attempts per 36 minutes (Towns has averaged just 15.6 per 36).

Another concern is that nine of the 12 games that saw them have the 5-7 win-loss stats were played at home. The Wolves will now play six of their next seven (and 16 of their next 24) on the road.  

2. Lakers: Still grappling with shooting  

To put things bluntly, The Los Angeles Lakers can’t shoot. Currently, the team ranks last in 3-point percentage (29.3%) and 29th in mid-range field goal percentage (32.4%). This also shows that they are the only team that ranks in the bottom five in both. 

The Lakers saw better days last season with six players who shot the league average or better. The remaining player that’s still on the roster is LeBron James, 17-for-72 (24%) this season. Last season saw them still at 22nd in 3-point percentage (34.7%) and 18th in mid-range field goal percentage (39.6%). They ranked 25th in effective field goal percentage on all shots from outside the paint (48.8%).

The Lakers will have an advantage with James and Anthony Davis who have proven to be a better shooting team in the paint than from the outside.  

Lakers FG% in paint vs. effective FG% from outside the paint

SeasonPaint FG%RankOutside eFG%RankDiff.Rank%FGA PaintRank
Towns + Gobert60.9%147.9%2713.0%149%12
Only Towns58.8%748.7%2610.2%149%11
Only Gobert59.2%348.8%2510.4%247%16
1 or the other57.3%1240.9%3016.3%153%5
eFG% = (FGM + (0.5 * 3PM)) / FGA

Next plans and moves for the Lakers

The team should be focusing on strengthening their advantage in scoring better inside than outside the paint. This has been their game for the most part of the better years the team had in the past. The past three seasons have seen the Lakers not have an edge on both — no luck scoring from inside nor outside the paint. 

Hopefully, they can get their act together and have the scoring improved on the inside with the defence getting stronger and stronger as the games roll on. They should look back to the 2019-2020 season when they were able to overcome this snag. Davis shot 49.6% from mid-range and 38.3% from 3-point range in those playoffs, up from 34.9% and 33.0% in the regular season. 

Coming out from this blue funk of a shooting dilemma will surely be the target of the Lakers. They’ll next host the Sacramento Kings (who’s won four of their last six games) on Friday. The Brooklyn Nets will be next in line with the match. The Nets also won four of six and currently rank 1st in defence for November. This will be on Sunday. 

3. Deftly dangerous: Haliburton’s hands

The Indiana Pacers have been seeing unexpected improvements and wins mainly coming from a stellar performance by Tyrese Haliburton, the team’s current offensive star. He has averaged 21.6 points and 9.9 assists as the Pacers have gone 5-6. The Pacers have beaten the Nets, Heat and Pelicans, and they had an 18-point, second-half lead over the Nuggets on Wednesday. 

Currently, Haliburton ranks 11th in true shooting percentage among the 124 players with at least 100 field goal attempts and his assist/turnover ratio (3.27) ranks 11th among the 46 players with at least 50 total assists. 

Haliburton has also vividly displayed his basketball IQ and instincts. He can anticipate the moves and strategies as if he can read them like a book with algorithms forecasting the outcome. You can look up the matches where he steals from Detroit, Brooklyn and the players Saddiq, and Durant. He also exhibited strong defence on high-hands deflection and low-hands deflection. You can bet on Haliburton to get things done.  

4. Leaps to a higher level of play

Here is an easy-to-read guide on how the players have leapt (or dove down) on their levels of play. It is a useful piece of information especially when you’re still planning on how to wager for the next games. These are the top 10 players who have seen the biggest jumps in effective field goal percentage through Wednesday. 

Biggest jump, effective FG%, 2021-22 to 2022-23

Kelly Olynyk12828644.8%51.8%275710057.0%67.5%+15.8%
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope36182943.5%53.1%428151.9%67.3%+14.1%
AI Horford26656946.7%54.6%366555.4%67.7%+13.1%
Terance Man33469048.4%53.9%355662.5%67.0%+13.1%
Georges Niang24656343.7%57.6%357050.0%69.3%+11.7%
Damian Lillard22255240.2%48.6%6012548.0%59.6%+11.1%
Trey Murphy III10927739.4%52.2%438948.3%62.4%+10.2%
Kevin Huerter34576045.4%55.9%5411049.1%65.9%+10.0%
Jaden McDaniels25555446.0%53.3%539257.6%63.0%+9.8%
Jalen Suggs19854836.1%40.0%327443.3%49.3%+9.4%
  • eFG% = (FGM + (0.5 * 3PM)) / FGA
  • Minimum 250 FGA in 2021-22 and 50 FGA in 2022-23 (197 players)

Biggest jump, effective FG%, 2021-22 to 2022-23

5. Freaky move: The Face Cut

The latest favourite and trending move seen is the Face Cut. This is a variation of The Cut. The Cut is dependent on the defender’s positioning, but it can catch the opponent off-guard because a player stationed in the corner is much more likely to approach the ball for a handoff than to cut from there to the basket.

This is one of the simplest and most effective movies, too. Sometimes, the simplest actions can be the most effective. The Face Cut is fun to do for the offensive player who is cutting in front of the face of his defender. Devin Booker executes this move flawlessly.  

A good sample of this was done by RJ Barrett when he caught Gordon Hayward leaning the wrong way and got himself a dunk with a timely face cut.  Herb Jones got a big and-one (as the Pelicans came back from a 13-point deficit to force overtime) with a face cut in front of Trae Young. It obviously helps for a lefty to be face-cutting from the right corner so that he can finish with his strong hand.

That’s a wrap on our take on how the NBA teams and players are, folks. We hope that you had fun and got some good insights to help you on your next sports betting wager. Let us know what you’d like us to feature here, we always welcome your feedback and consider this important. Hear from you soon, cheers!

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