Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant has shared the court with Milwaukee Bucks defender Luc Mbah a Moute for over 100 minutes over the past three seasons, and Mbah a Moute has left Kobe with little to show for his efforts.
This series started with a question: how important is a top perimeter defender like Milwaukee Bucks forward Luc Mbah a Moute? The answers are difficult to find, as the Syngery numbers for lock-down guys like LRMAM often don't look great because they routinely go against the best scorers in the NBA -- like LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, Kobe Bryant, etc. -- on a nightly basis. Success can't be measured against NBA averages or even counterpart PER, because Luc lines up opposite players that are far above average in nearly every respect on offense.
In my quest to gain a bit more insight, I've compared production of the top scorers when LRMAM has shared the court to the overall three-year averages for multiple shooting zones and advanced stat categories. Consider the information yet another tool to use when thinking about how someone like Mbah a Moute affects defensive structure. So far I've found that ISO-heavy players have struggled to produce when matching up with Luc, while the best performer (Danny Granger) had the luxury of using stagger screens and off-ball motion to free himself up for spot-ups and open looks.
Not every play features a head-to-head matchup between ace defender and star scorer -- in fact, I dropped the Joe Johnson edition because Luc spent nearly all of his time on Josh Smith while John Salmons and Carlos Delfino got roasted. All of these other stars matched up against LRMAM often enough to make the information useful, so here is how Kobe Bryant fared over the past three seasons: