Every good GM is open to trading any of his players, save for perhaps 10 (on the high side) transcendent players who are essentially untradable because of talent, roster fit, salary, marketability or some combination of all of things. Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak told SI.com’s Sam Amick over the weekend that he expects the team to bring its current roster to the playoffs without any major changes. That does not mean Kupchak has punted the idea of trading Pau Gasol, either as a standalone move or the precursor to a Dwight Howard trade.
• The Lakers are a (slightly) below-average offensive team, getting negative production from two positions — point guard and small forward. They have zero reliable depth. Even Matt Barnes’ solid play of late off the bench really just amounts to the Lakers having one productive small forward instead of none.
The Lakers rank 16th in points per possession. They are averaging 102.7 points per 100 possessions, just below the league average of 103. And with rare exceptions, teams like this do not win championships or really compete for them. Of the 44 teams that have made the Finals since 1990, only six have ranked below the league’s average in points per possession. All of those six ranked among the league’s top four in points allowed per possession; four of them ranked as either the first or second stingiest defense in the league.
The Lakers have a nice defense, but not a great one. They rank 10th in points allowed per possession now, and they are on pace to force fewer turnovers per possession than all but a handful of teams in league history.[img][/img]
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