LA Lakers Position Analysis: Point Guard
POSITION SUMMARY: POINT GUARD
Steve Blake: 1237 minutes
Derek Fisher: 1101 minutes
Ramon Sessions: 701 minutes
Andrew Goudelock: 419 minutes
Darius Morris: 169 minutes
-Among the five players who played noteworthy minutes at the PG spot, Andrew Goudelock is the only one who is clearly not a Point Guard. It is unclear whether Morris can develop into a PG at the NBA level, but he was an excellent traditional PG at Michigan. The Lakers struggled to find a satisfactory option at PG, but it seemed that Ramon Sessions looked the best. Derek Fisher is obviously no longer with the team.
SCORING EFFICIENCY (Westbrook, by comparison, was 6.6)
-These numbers should not surprise. Neither Steve Blake nor Derek Fisher does much to create a shot. The majority of their points comes from open looks at or around the arc. Neither of their shots were falling very well from outside, so their scoring efficiency is pretty atrocious. Morris tries to score in different ways, but he was quite passive as a Guard, a trait that is common among LA ball handlers not named Kobe Bryant. Meanwhile in the top two spots, both Goudelock and Sessions did well. Goudelock has a great outside shot and a spectacular floater. He is not gun-shy. Sessions is the only PG on the roster who can routinely penetrate and breakdown a defense. Additionally, he shot the lights out from the arc (during the regular season) with LA. His scoring efficiency was better than Rondo's, and close to Chris Paul's.
PASSING EFFICIENCY (Rondo, by comparison, was 4.7)
-Traditionally, Lakers PGs have taken care of the ball, and that's about it. They don't often post high assist numbers. That changed a bit this season as the team moved away from the triangle. This allowed Steve Blake, Derek Fisher, and Darius Morris to post passing efficiency numbers that were neck and neck with Russell Westbrook. Goudelock's 2.1 was a pretty atrocious number, but he is not a Point Guard. He will likely not see too many minutes there next season. The standout is clearly Ramon Sessions. His 4.0 blew away the other LA Point Guards, and placed him very close to Derrick Rose (4.13) and not too far off Deron Williams (4.22). Even Tony Parker wasn't incredibly far ahead of him (4.27).
HUSTLE EFFICIENCY (Westbrook, by comparison, was 2.7)
-Hustle Efficiency rates a player's ability to make hustle plays (offensive boards, steals, and blocks) while avoiding making bad plays (turnovers and fouls). Point Guards do notoriously poorly at this stat, but they do incredibly well by comparison in the passing efficiency stat. All of the elite PGs in the league were between 1.94 and 2.74 in Hustle Efficiency. This means that Fisher, Sessions, and Blake all did well. Morris and Goudelock's numbers are well off pace, likely a sign that the game is a bit fast for them at this point.
OFFENSIVE RATING (Composite of other three)
-Compare these ratings to some top PGs in the league this season: Chris Paul 104, Rondo 96, Rose 96, Williams 93, Parker 92, Westbrook 89. Two things are incredibly clear: Sessions's offensive rating is leagues ahead of any other PG on the Lakers. He is the clear cut best offensive option. Second, his 80 is not terribly close to the elites, but it might well fall into a second category, say Tier 2 starters in the NBA.
Steve Blake is the only Laker PG under contract for next season. He will earn $4 million in the penultimate year of his contract. He has proven fairly reliable, but he has also shown that he is not a starter. The Lakers have a Team Option on Andrew Goudelock. At $760k, he seems a likely bet to return (although not at the PG spot). Darius Morris has a Qualifying Offer of just under $1m. It is unclear whether the Lakers will extend that offer. He is raw compared to Goudelock, but he does have an interesting upside. The big question mark is Ramon Sessions. He has a Player Option at $4.55m for next season. This means he can choose to return and play at that rate. If he refuses, the Lakers can try to work on a long term deal with him. Supposing Sessions opts out, the Lakers will desperately need to acquire a Point Guard.
Although Derek Fisher was a fixture in the purple and gold for years, and his heart and hustle were really unquestionable, the Point Guard spot has been a weakness of the Lakers for a few seasons now. Steve Blake is a competent backup, and Ramon Sessions showed great potential in his first season with the Lakers. As rumors mount regarding blockbuster deals involving Pau Gasol, the Point Guard spot is a position that continues to be mentioned as the upgrade target. Is a Sessions/Blake rotation good enough to take the Lakers beyond the second round? Or will the Lakers have to make some moves? Will Sessions force LA's hand by opting out? This is a position with a great deal of uncertainty going forward. Losing Fisher was just the beginning.