Lakers Positional Analysis: Power Forward

Gasol 5.8
Hill 5.4
Murphy 4.1
McRoberts 4.1
-Differences among Scoring Efficiencies for bigs are often a reflection of one player's superior reserve of moves and ways to score. It's not surprising that Pau Gasol dwarfs Murphy's and McRoberts's scores. Jordan Hill's number is likely inflated by limited minutes, but over the course of the season (including his time with Houston), that number fell not far--to 5.2. Still a number far better than the other backup PFs. Hill did the dirty work that McRoberts was expected to do.

Gasol 2.9
McRoberts 2.5
Murphy 2.2
Hill 1.5
-Gasol's Passing Efficiency (PAFF) is no surprise. He exceeded all the big names at the PF spot, with only Blake Griffin coming close at 2.8. McRoberts's passing number might be surprising, but in 2010/2011 with Indiana, he posted a 2.9 PAFF. And throughout his career the number is a strong 2.7. Jordan Hill's strength lies in making the aggressive and opportunistic play, not necessarily in making the smart basketball play. His full season Passing Efficiency was just 1.6. All the top PFs were at 2.2 or better.

HUSTLE EFFICIENCY (Griffin/Love/Gasol 3.2)
Hill 4.5
McRobert 3.2
Gasol 3.2
Murphy 2.5
-Hill's HUFF is off the charts, but there are reasons for that  (I need to do some tweaking is reason one). In limited time with the team, he was a beast on the offensive glass. Over the course of his full season, the number falls to 3.7, but it's still a great number. McRoberts, a hustle player, and Gasol, a crafty player, both score well here. Murphy's number is poor compared to many of the other big names in the league. Interestingly, both McRoberst and Gasol are right in line with the best PFs.

Hill 97
Gasol 94
McRoberts 63
Murphy 51
-Compare to some of the top PFs in the league: Kevin Love 104, Griffin 103, Aldridge 99, Nowitzki 86, Bosh 84. Jordan Hill did some amazing things in his time with the Lakers. The 97 is certainly misleading, but his season O-EFF was 81; if he could perform at or close to that level, he would be an elite backup. Gasol's performance is not surprising. Whatever struggles he has had, he remains a supremely skilled big man. McRoberts struggled to find scoring opportunities. He took more than 7 shots only ONCE on the season, and he took more than 5 shots only six times. He has to be more aggressive at looking for his shot. Troy Murphy was pretty dreadful despite shooting very well from beyond the arc, a shame after he got off to a strong start (for instance, he had 6+ boards in six of LA's first ten games).

Pau Gasol is due $38.3M over the next two seasons. Josh McRoberts has another year on his contract, at just over $3M. The Lakers hold a Team Option on Jordan Hill for $3.6M (after which point he would become a Restricted Free Agent). Troy Murphy's contract is up.

There are some of the mind that this team need not alter its core. If big changes are in the offing, Pau Gasol is the piece most likely to leave. Supposing Gasol remains, keeping Hill and McRoberts would provide two quality backup bigs. Unfortunately, that would mean that LA is sinking about $20M at both the PF and Center positions. After consecutive 2nd round exits from the playoffs, that might be too much money to drop without significant roster changes. If Gasol is dealt, McRoberts and Hill almost have to return. They are both young players with strong upside, the ability to make spot starts, and their salaries are bargains for productive bigs. So look for good things as both McRoberts and Hill see more time with the current team, become more familiar with the system, and play in contract seasons.

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