Lakers report card: Troy Murphy remained mostly a non-factor
This is the 14th in a series of posts grading the Lakers on the 2011-12 season.
Player: Troy Murphy, Lakers forward
How he performed: 3.2 points on 45% shooting and 3.2 rebounds in 16.2 minutes a game in the regular season; 0.8 points and 0.7 rebounds in 3.8 minutes a game in the postseason.
The good: For how little the Lakers needed to pay Murphy (veteran’s minimum), they can’t exactly fret over his deficiencies. In one respect, though, Murphy provided at times what the Lakers sorely lacked in previous seasons: a legitimate three-point threat who could space the floor. He soon ascended Josh McRoberts in the rotation by becoming deadly accurate from three-point range in January (shooting 50%) and in February (38.7%). Andrew Bynum often credited Murphy’s ability to space the floor with making it easier for the Lakers’ center to navigate double teams. Knowing the Lakers had limited options on who they could acquire via free agency, they made out as best they could with Murphy’s services.
The bad: After averaging 23 minutes in February, Murphy quickly fell out of the rotation in March (12 minutes a game), April (13.8) and the postseason (3.8). Yes, this reflects the Mike Brown carousel most of the reserves experienced. But in Murphy’s case, most of his reduced minutes happened because of his own ineffectiveness. Murphy rarely showed aggressiveness on the boards. Murphy routinely became a defensive liability because of his slow speed and his focus on rotations. And Murphy’s shooting percentage jumper all over the place -- 41.8% in February, 38.5% in March and 51.6% in April -- mostly because the arc in his shot stayed incredibly low. With all those inconsistencies, Murphy often became nothing more than a space eater on the floor.
It’s clear that the back and hamstring injuries Murphy sustained in the 2010-11 season sapped the scarce athleticism he possessed. Otherwise, Murphy would’ve been a much more consistent shooting presence. Because of that inconsistency, no one should expect the Lakers will re-sign him.
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