Gasol & Bynum: Low Post Touches

Ever since the Lakers lost to the Celtics in the 2008 Finals, there have been questions and suggestions regarding how much L.A. should get the ball in the post, especially to the Spaniard, who almost literally always has an advantage over opposing fours. According to hoopdata.com, here are Gasol’s average attempted shots from various places on the floor this season compared to last:

2010-11: At rim (4.5); 3-9 feet (4.1); 10-15 feet (2.3); 16-23 feet (2.8); threes (0.0)
2011-12: At rim (3.3); 3-9 feet (2.9); 10-15 feet (2.1); 16-23 feet (3.9); threes (0.6)

This shows us that, clearly, Gasol is getting fewer touches inside, and attempting far more long 2′s, but there’s been a clear reason why: Andrew Bynum.

Bynum last season attempted 4.0 shots at the rim, but is up to 5.4 this season. He attempted 3.0 shots from 3-9 feet, but is up to 5.4 in the first 18 games (and he rarely shoots from outside the paint). Those additional 3.8 field goal attempts per game that Bynum is getting inside have indeed come at the expense of posting Gasol more, but how much this is affecting L.A.’s offensive efficiency isn’t so cut and dry.

This because Bynum converts 72 percent of his shots at the rim, compared to Gasol’s 69.5 percent, but the Spaniard has better touch from 3-9 feet, converting 54.7 percent of those shots, compared to Bynum’s 44.7 percent. How much of a difference can that make on a given game?

There is one obvious difference, however. Gasol’s simply much better than the more classic center Bynum in the high post. Mike Brown touched on this after stating that Gasol is going to get more or less touches in the post depending on the flow of a certain game.

“He can operate (in the post),” said Brown. “(But) he can (also) operate from 15 feet, and he does a great job facilitating just as well as he does scoring. He had 10 assists and zero turnovers (vs. Indiana), which to me equates to a lot of points.”

There are so few NBA players that are as effective as Gasol in either the low post or the high post, but while it’s easy to suggest that L.A. should simply pound the ball to both big men as often as possible, but it’s not as simple as carving out x amount of touches for each per game.

“Everybody including myself should feel like they can do more to help out, offensively and defensively,” concluded Brown. “Right now, losing three games in a row, everybody wants to do more. But we have to understand that wanting to do more just doesn’t mean offensively. We have to want to do more defensively, offensively and some of the intangibles, like getting 50-50 balls and stuff like that.”