Minnesota has been outscored by a whopping 14.1 points per 100 possessions when Russell plays — by far the worst figure on the team. When he sits, the Wolves are nearly a break-even proposition, and that includes several hundred minutes without Towns. You could dismiss this as a statistical fluke more easily if last season’s Warriors weren’t also better without him.
The absences of Davis and Schröder only exacerbate an issue that the Lakers already have had for two years even at full strength. The Lakers become a negative team when James is off the floor — including when Davis is on the court. The non-James minutes, with and without Davis, have actually been worse this year than they were last year. The Lakers have a -3.7 net rating in the 238 minutes Davis has played without James (about 10.3 minutes per game), per NBA.com/Stats. Overall, the Lakers have a -4.0 net rating in the 431 minutes James has been off the floor this season.
If, like many of the masses, you haven’t exactly been hunting Chicago games on League Pass, I’ve got a bit of a surprise for you. While the Bulls still aren’t that good and have nearly all of the same players as a year ago, something fairly large has changed: Zach LaVine has become efficient. No, like seriously efficient. LaVine’s offensive jump this season has been one of the league’s least-discussed stories because, again, it involves watching Bulls games, but it’s nonetheless a story. The 25-year-old guard, who spent the first six years of his career building up an impressive resume of wild heat checks and early-clock contested 2s, began his shot-chart evolution two years ago, but it’s in 2020-21 that he’s really kicked it up a notch.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Dr. Sims told ESPN on Wednesday: “I’ve tried to tackle misinformation….These guys look at data all the time. I know they get the data, and appeal to them at that level.”
Through 28 games, Wiggins has bought in on the defensive end. He is holding opponents to just 38.5% shooting, which ranks second behind only Utah Jazz guard Mike Conley among players who have defended a minimum of 200 field goal attempts this season, per NBA.com’s Advanced Stats.
The Warriors are holding opponents to 5.4 points per 100 possessions less when Wiggins is on the court, according to Cleaning the Glass, a target not reached by a Warriors wing since Iguodala in 2017-18. It’s worth noting that Iguodala and Wiggins are different kinds of defenders. Kerr relied on Iguodala for his versatility and anticipation, while Wiggins is used primarily as an on-ball stopper.
Harrison Faigen: Per InStat, Kyle Kuzma has ranked in the 99th percentile (!!!) as an isolation defender since Frank Vogel joined the Lakers, and in the 90th percentiles in several other defensive metrics. It’s all been part of a quest for him to fit in where he can: silverscreenandroll.com/2021/2/16/2228… pic.twitter.com/sNZ0X6FAS4