C Dwight Howard: 76 games, 76 games started, 6 missed (for injury) 17.1 ppg, 12.4 rpg, 1.4 apg, .578/.167/.492
PF Pau Gasol: 49 games, 42 games started, 32 missed, 13.7 ppg, 8.6 rpg, 4.1 apg, .466/.286/.702
PF Jordan Hill: 29 games, 1 game started, 52 missed, 6.7 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 0.4 apg, .497/.000/.656
SF Metta World Peace: 75 games, 66 games started, 7 missed, 12.4 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 1.5 apg, .403/.342/.734
F Antawn Jamison: 76 games, 6 games started, 9.4 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 0.7 apg, .464/.361/.691
F Earl Clark: 59 games, 36 games started, 7.3 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 1.1 apg, .440/.337/.697
SF Devin Ebanks: 19 games, 3 games started, 3.4 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 0.5 apg, .329/.273/.786
C Robert Sacre: 32 games, 3 games started, 1.3 ppg, 1.1 rpg, 0.2 apg .375/.000/.636
What went wrong with the Lakers bigs?
Howard and Gasol didn’t learn how to play with one another for five months.
Or perhaps, Mike Brown and Mike D’Antoni couldn’t figure it out until it was too late. Either way, what most thought would be a fluid transition with one of the game’s best shut down defenders and most versatile bigs turned out to be clunky and awkward.
Of the 13 two-man combinations that spent 900 minutes or more together, Howard and Gasol settled in as having the lowest offensive efficiency (points per 100 possessions) at 103.5–the season average was 105.6. Of course, this isn’t a perfect metric by any means, but the Lakers didn’t grab more a higher percentage of rebounds (51.1% versus a season average of 51.2%) and gave up 16.4 TO a game (15 was the season average).
Just watching them, it was clear that Gasol wasn’t being used as efficiently as possible. He often set up on long-range jumpers, shooting from 16 feet or more almost as many times as at the rim. In fact, Pau took 1 more 3-pointer this year in 49 games than he did in 65 games last year. To make matters worse, Howard had his worst offensive season by almost any metric, and was taking away the low post touches that Gasol excels at.