Kobe Bryant: “We’re not a 3-11 team. We’re not.”

34 Comments

Legendary NFL coach Bill Parcells once said: “You are what your record says you are.”

Kobe Bryant disagrees.

Via Baxter Holmes of ESPNLA.com.

There are a lot of people who side with Kobe, at least around this Lakers team, which is 3-11 to start. A lot of die hards around the Lakers and in the organization think this team will prove better than their early record indicates.

Here’s why not: Their defense is historically bad.

Their offense is not good, it’s a relic of the 1990s before zone defenses and a change in the hand checking rules altered offenses and opened them up. There is too much Kobe isolation on the wing, too little swinging of the ball to the weakside on an overloaded defense.

But that’s not the problem. According to NBA.com, the Lakers are surrendering 114.4 points per 100 possessions so far this season, no team in the last 15 years of the NBA has been that bad, which is as far back as their stats track. Basketball-Reference.com uses a different possessions calculation and says the Lakers’ defense surrenders 117.2 points per 100, while the worst defenses ever — the 91-92 Nuggets, the 92-93 Mavericks, and the 08-09 Kings — surrendered 114.7 points per 100.

While we need to put in a “small sample size alert” this early in the season… yes, the Lakers are that bad. They are what their record says they are. And unless some defensive help is on the way in an unforseen form, they will stay pretty much that bad.