My name is Trevor Lane, senior writer for lakers nation dot com, and this is the Lakers nation news.
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It's a battle We're looking at the the center position for the Lakers, breaking down Dwight Howard, the newest Laker or soon to be newest Laker, I should say versus JaVale McGee, the incumbent, the guy who turned heads last season in the middle for the Lakers, who gets the starting spot who will ultimately get the nod.
I'm gonna break it all down, dug deep into some stats here for you guys, so let's take a look in just a quick second, though. Quick.
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All right, so as surprising as it is, the Lakers turn to Dwight Howard, the prodigal son.
He's returning back to Los Angeles, the place where he only played one year before leaving for the Houston Rockets.
We thought he was going to be the next great center for the Los Angeles Lakers.
Didn't turn out that way.
A lot of Lakers fans still have a lot of disdain for Dwight Howard.
Not too thrilled with this guy.
But now he is coming back to Los Angeles on a non guaranteed deal to try to make amends and right the wrongs of the past.
And he is gonna be battling with JaVale McGee for the Lakers starting center spot.
No, I threw this out on Twitter a little while ago, and the vote was overwhelmingly in favour of JaVale McGee as Faras, who the Lakers should actually start in the middle, which, if you look at their history, that should be a little bit surprising.
Dwight Howard is a three time defensive player of the year.
He was a trim at one time, possibly a league and VP.
He was right there in that discussion, one of the best players in the league.
No question, he's not that guy anymore.
though he's just not.
He's not at that level.
His game has been based so much on being bigger, faster and stronger than everyone else that now that he's gotten older and he's not bigger, faster, stronger than than everyone else, it's Ah, it's really taken a toll on him.
He hasn't been nearly as effective.
On the other hand, a lot of people know him from, say, sh acting a fool, things like that.
But Lakers fans know that this guy's very serious when it comes to his on court performance.
He a tremendous talent did some great things for the Lakers last season.
So this is look on paper.
Dwight Howard's the bigger name, right? But if you really dig into the stats, you'll see this is a much, much, much closer battle than you would think just based on the name value that these two guys bring.
And Lakers fans are pretty astute already to have picked JaVale McGee over Howard as the guy they want to see Manning the middle with the starting lineup.
So let's dig into this.
I'm getting into the synergy stats now.
I'm just going stats here.
I'm just digging into their statistical out.
But I'm not talking about their chemistry, necessarily with LeBron James or Anthony Davis or any of that.
That's certainly going to matter now.
Ultimately, that will be be shown in their statistical analysis.
But we don't know what Dwight Howard's gonna look like playing with LeBron or with a D just yet.
So that is still the unknown factor out there.
And they also want to throw this out When I pull Dwight stats, I pulled not from last season.
I went two seasons ago to win.
Droit was in in Charlotte with the Hornets.
Why did I do that? He has only played nine games with Washington Wizards.
He played 81 with the Charlotte Hornets, much bigger sample size for us to pull from.
Plus, that seemed to be probably the best that we can hope for from Dwight Howard.
He put up just over 16 points per game and just over 12 rebounds per game.
Tremendous counting stats from him that season.
That's probably the best we could possibly hope for from form Dwight Howard this season.
So if he is truly in the kind of shape that we've heard he's in.
He's dropped £25.
He's ready to roll.
Do all these great things for the Lakers.
That's the Dwight that I want to look at.
Not that nine games that we saw with the Washington Wizards last season.
So again, comparing 2017 2018 Dwight Howard to 2018 2019.
That's what I'm looking at here and again. Dig into the stats.
Let's start off the offensive end of the floor.
Who gets the edge? Will? It's JaVale McGee.
Overall, he generated 1.
99 points per possession when he was on the floor.
JaVale McGee did Dwight Howard 0.
979 points per possession.
So JaVale McGee overall was a more effective offensive player.
But let's take a look at how the big thing here for Jill is the pick and roll right.
Dwight Howard generated 1.
4 points per possession as the roll man in the pick and roll, which for that season was in the 43rd percentile.
He's not great at setting a screen and then rolling to the basket, especially if he's getting the ball and then having to deal with a secondary defender.
Usually when you're the roll man, you've got to make a decision.
When the help defender comes over, you've got to make the right pass or figure out a way to make a step around the coming defender and still finish.
And that's not necessarily Dwight's forte.
JaVale McGee, on the other hand, in pick and roll, 1.
3 points per possession put put him in the 88th percentile last season.
Very, very good.
Setting that screen and then rolling to the basket, catching, finishing, exploding over defenders and being able to finish in that situation.
Lakers fans side last season a ton with LeBron James and again that chemistry factored matters here.
You can see it play out of the numbers defense.
Is there gonna be more worried about LeBron James than anybody? That that was playing with Dwight Howard that season with the Charlotte Hornets? And so look JaVale probably had less attention on him that Dwight did.
So perhaps Dwight's numbers in this category go up playing next season with the Lakers.
But still, for now, JaVale McGee much stronger in the pick and roll and you know he's more explosive of a finisher at this point, more of a lob threat, so you can see why the numbers would she the way they would there? Let's get into offensive boards.
Dwight actually gets the nods, not on the offensive board by a considerable margin.
3 points per possession on the offensive boards for Dwight, 1.
7 on the offensive boards for JaVale McGee.
Dwight. Much more effective there.
Jill actually grabbed Maura offensive boards.
If you are able to compare apples to apples and you go per 100 possessions, Veil actually did grab more offensive boards, but Dwight was a little bit more effective in that situation.
JaVale, where he gets a really nice bum, is in transition because he's so good at running the floor.
I don't think we're going to see this out of Dwight Howard.
3 points per possession in transition development, he was able to pick up some easy buckets.
In fact, on about 12% of his possessions, he was able to pick up easy buckets just by beating the other big down the floor.
Look, if you can get easy money like that, do it all day every day, and JaVale McGee is one of the best Biggs in the league.
And just getting down the court catching that hit a head pass and then finishing does a really great job at that now as a cutter.
This is another area where I think Dwight's gonna be a lot better this season with the Lakers than he ever has been before because he's got guys like Anthony Davis and LeBron James sharing the floor.
JaVale McGee actually was tremendous as a cutter, So I'm talking about situations where LeBron drives to the basket and then can just deliver a little dropoff pass to JaVale, who's sitting along the bay baseline in the dunker position.
That's the play that we're talking about here.
JaVale was generated 1.
38 points per possession.
That is tremendous will take that all day every day.
Dwight Howard in country situation, 1.
33 so actually pretty similar and so I think this is gonna flip flop once Java or once Dwight's playing with LeBron and 80 they're close enough already.
I think that once he's got the kind of opportunities that JaVale had last season, we're going to see a much more efficient Dwight Howard in situations where all he has to do because the defense has already been.
I've been attracted to LeBron or a D.
All Dwight has to do is catch and finish, doesn't have to worry about putting the ball on the floor, doesn't have to worry about making decision, catch and finish, and that's it.
I think that's where we're going to see these numbers, maybe flip, or at least be beam or equal between Dwight and JaVale McGee's.
I think both guys are pretty even in that scenario.
Now, before I move on to defense, I do want to throw this thing out here.
My big pet peeve with Dwight Howard, ever since he was with the Lakers, was Dwight Howard.
They're ugly, They're unnecessary, They're inefficient.
And I want to underscore that with this stat right here.
Dwight Howard, as a post up player, a scoring 16 points per game with Charlotte Hornets as a post up player, he was generating 160.
85 points per possession, which was in the 34th percentile.
We don't want to see that.
In fact, JaVale McGee, who isn't known as a great offensive post player.
That's not his game.
He's that guy that rolls to the basket and finishes lobs, and that's it doesn't have a ton of moves to go to in the post.
JaVale McGee actually is a better post player than Dwight Howard was generating 0.
89 points per possession.
Don't expect to see either Lakers center posting up a whole lot in getting Fed the ball, but Dwight Howard has.
As for post post up options in the past, he has wanted to get the ball in the post and then fire up that ugly left jump hook that he's got.
And it hasn't worked that well, has not been pretty.
I would hope that part of the Lakers discussion went white before they even brought him on.
Was that? Hey, you're not getting the ball in the post. It's not efficient.
It's time to put a stop to that.
No more Dwight Howard Post ups.
Unless it's an absolute emergency, that should not be happening all right again to just underscore the whole cutter situation, Dwight Howard was only acting as a cutter 12% of the time, whereas JaVale McGee, a twin a 26% of the time cutter.
So again, I think Dwight's numbers will improve a little bit there.
But JaVale McGee gets the nod on the offensive end.
Look, this is the side of the ball that most people think of when they think of Dwight Howard again.
Three time defensive player of the year.
This guy was a phenomenal defender, but as I said, the top, not that guy anymore.
Who's we're looking at right now? His defense with the Charlotte Hornets? He was 30.
8889 points for possession, which put him in the 61st percent up.
Just good, Good.
Well, I mean, you'll take that not great.
918 points per possession.
55th percentile overall.
So Dwight Howard getting the non overall in the defense of end but breaking that down a little further 0.
861 points per possession, defending the pick and roll for Dwight Howard and 0.
859 defending pick and roll for JaVale McGee.
So very, very similar both of these guys.
We're a little above average defending in pick and roll situations, which is great because JaVale saw pick and roll 61% of the time he was on the floor.
Dwight Howard side, 67% of the time he was out there.
We're going to try to put these players in pick and roll situations and make them defended space.
And both of them did.
Okay, not great.
But you can't expect that out of big, heavy, lumbering centres like these guys are.
They both did a admirable job, but as well as you could've hoped in that situation.
So pick and roll again.
Not great defenders, but good enough, we'll take it on.
Either one is close enough to where you can't really declare a winner there.
However, this one might shock you.
JaVale McGee was better defending at the rim than Dwight Howard was, and that's what we think of when we think of Dwight Howard.
We think of these monster dunks and we think of of great defense in the paint with the huge block shots.
Sometimes he goes up to hands and block shots.
You would think he would be the stronger defender.
That's just not the case now that he's lost a little bit of his spring fact.
Teams were scoring 1.
14 points for possession around the basket on Dwight Howard, just 0.
92 points for a possession around the basket on JaVale, McGee and I dug a little deeper and looked into their shooting percentages.
And in accordance with this, the shooting percentages of the team actually dropped a lot.
Maur when they were dealing with JaVale McGee in the middle at the rim than Dwight Howard.
So Javale McGee actually better at the rim.
But I told you guys before that Dwight actually gets the nod defensively overall.
So how does he make up that gap? Well, he's actually better at covering jump shooters.
He's a little bit better at with his lateral quickness, and JaVale gets out, gets a hand in people's face.
And he was better at covering jump shooters.
Jump Shooter scored just 0.
937 points per possession on Dwight, compared to 1.
17 points per possession.
When it's JaVale McGee, that's out there covering them.
So Dwight had a lot more success in that area.
So, in terms of an overall defender defending the entire floor, Dwight is a little bit better.
JaVale is just a little bit better at protecting the rim.
His thing is blocking shots.
In fact, he blocked shots at a much higher rate.
Then Dwight Howard, even though Dwight Howard is known for his shot blocking.
So what does this all boil down to? If we put it all together, we mix it all up Well, you actually have two players that are fairly similar in terms of their output, especially when we factor in that.
I think Dwight Howard's offense is going to be better, or at least more efficient when he's playing with LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
In fact, I think it's gonna pull him a little bit closer to JaVale McGee on that side of the ball, but by the slimmest of margins margins, I'm still going.
Ultimately, he had an offensive rating of 1 17 and in defense of rating of 108 Dwight was pretty similar, but his offensive rating was much, much lower.
In fact, he was about 104 on the offensive ratings.
So you have a big gap because JaVale is so much better on the offensive end and because they are a pretty close defensively.
JaVale gets the ultimate non as the guy who should be starting in center for the Los Angeles Lakers again.
That's not factory in chemistry or anything like that, though.
We're gonna have to see what Dwight can do playing alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
But based on the numbers Dwight Howard for former M V P candidate and former defensive player of the year three times, this is a guy who is It was a great player right now.
As of this moment, I think Javale McGee is gonna have a bigger impact on the floor than Dwight, which will put Dwight Howard coming off the bench.
And that's gonna be a real test to see how committed Dwight Howard is to doing all the little things and doing the dirty work to help the team win.
Or if he's gonna pout about touches and pout about role and all that sort of stuff, because that could put an end to his Lakers career very, very quickly.
If he does that, we know that deal is again nonguaranteed right, guys, for more on this story and everything else going on in the world of the Los Angeles Lakers.
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My name's Trevor Lane. You can follow me on Twitter at Trevor.
Underscore Lane in on Instagram at Trevor Lane and B A and again big shot up.
Thanks to synergy for all of these stats.
Wonderful, wonderful information there.