Mike D'Antoni Calls Robert Sacre Los Angeles Lakers' 'Best Defensive Player'

Adam Fromal@fromal09National NBA Featured ColumnistMarch 5, 2014

LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 4: Austin Rivers #25 of the New Orleans Pelicans has his shot challenged by Robert Sacre #50 of the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on March 4, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2014 NBAE (Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images)
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Robert Sacre is the best celebrator on the Los Angeles Lakers roster, though the midseason acquisition of Kent Bazemore no longer allows him to enjoy that status without fear of losing his title. 

But that's not the only superlative being bestowed upon the second-year big man from Gonzaga: 


It's not like the Los Angeles Lakers—who, according to Basketball-Reference, have allowed so many points that they rank just No. 25 in defensive rating—have many stellar options. But Sacre? 

82games.com shows that the 7-footer has allowed opposing centers to post a 19.2 player efficiency rating against him throughout the 2013-14 campaign, and it's not like the other leading metrics paint him in a more favorable light. 

The Lakers allow an additional 0.3 points per 100 possessions when he's on the court, which is better than Jordan Hill's on-court/off-court split but pales in comparison to the numbers posted by Chris Kaman.

Need more information? Don't worry because it's still coming. 

NBA.com's SportVU data reveals he's not exactly a stellar rim protector, though he's been solid in limited action. Here are his numbers compared to the other two big men in question: 

PlayerFGA per Game Faced at RimFG% Allowed at Rim
Robert Sacre4.443.5
Jordan Hill5.351.1
Chris Kaman6.143.2

If numbers aren't enough for you, there's also this:

Even the best defenders get posterized every once in a while, but it's not like Sacre has put together a highlight reel of great defensive plays. Then again, he's had his praises sung throughout the 2013-14 season and actually does pass the eye test as the best point-preventing big on the roster. 

That eye test doesn't treat Kaman well, as he displays virtually no effort on the less glamorous end of the court and routinely makes some despicable decisions. 

B/R's Richard Le wrote about Sacre earlier in the season:

Despite his relative lack of athleticism compared to Hill, Sacre is a good shot-blocker. Averaging one block per game in only 12.2 minutes, Sacre knows how to alter a shot and play good defense. Sacre is decent on his rotations and jumps straight up to disrupt shot attempts more often than not.

"Decent" is a pretty good word to use. 

Sacre might not be a standout defender, and his numbers don't paint the prettiest picture. But Mike D'Antoni, renowned defensive expert that he is, might actually be right.

Maybe the sophomore center actually is the best defensive player wearing purple and gold. 

And that just about sums up the season for the Lake Show. 


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