A long but great statistical analysis of the Raps by Raps blogger, Chris Black:
I've explained this before: I sometimes work in the control room for Sportscentre broadcasts, and one of my responsibilities during that shift is building the scoreboards to be shown on Sportscentre, and also providing notes that the anchor can use while the scoreboard is on air.
With that in mind, here are a variety of those notes that I considered using during yesterday's show:
- The Raptors were outrebounded for a 12th straight game
- Anthony Parker came off the bench for the first time in 176 career games as a Raptor. How did the experiment turn out? He missed all but one of his seven shot attempts.
- Parker wasn't the only bench player to struggle. Toronto's reserves made just 5 of 21 shot attempts.
- (This one's wacky) Since the beginning of the 07-08 season, James Posey has just two double-doubles... both of which have come against the Raptors
- Is Triano failing to get his star player easy looks? After shooting 54% in the month of November, Chris Bosh is connecting on just 46% of his attempts in December.
- And Andrea Bargnani has completely lost his ability to shoot the basketball. He's shooting 27% from the field (16% from 3pt) in the month of December.
MY LEAST FAVOURITE (BUT FREQUENTLY OCCURRING) RAPTOR SEQUENCE
- Opposing point guard penetrates into the lane
- Raptor wing player doesn't stay on his man, but doesn't fully come over to help / double... we'll say he's in defensive "no man's land"
- Opposing point guard elevates, skips a pass over Raptor wing player's head and to the corner... where opposing point guard's teammate casually hits a three-pointer from the corner
I shall call this play: The Anthony Parker Special
Listen, I understand the Raptors have a new-found interest in eliminating points in the paint, and if you were paying attention to how I described that sequence, you'll realize I don't really have a problem with the wing player collapsing. I do have a problem when that wing player doesn't fully commit to help out, and then he's just totally useless ("no man's land"). I'm willing to accept the possibility that in some instances, the wing player may be simply "faking" the help defence and then trying to return back to his defender, but it happens way too often to be a fake every time.
AN UNMITIGATED DISASTER
So it looks as if the "three-headed monster" didn't turn out to be such a... monstrosity.
The five-man unit of Calderon-Parker-Bargnani-Bosh-O'Neal has probably seen its last days, and coming from a guy who looks at numbers more than anyone: Thank God.
That unit played 103 minutes together (nearly 9 full quarters). They turned the ball over 8% more than their opponents. They allowed their opponents to shoot a higher percentage. They got outrebounded.
What does this add up to? On a per-48 minute basis (one whole game) this lineup got outscored by their opposition by about 18 points.
The absolute worst stat: About 23% of their shot attempts were "inside shots," while 36% of their opponents' shot attempts were "inside shots."...
(Note: I really want to break my "no swears" rule here)
Are you fothermucking kidding me???? This is a lineup with three seven-footers in it, and they're playing soft????
Good riddance, three-headed monster.
Posted by c_r_black at 8:24 AM 1 comments
Friday, December 12, 2008
A blowout win? I didn't know those existed...
I'm very happy with the reaction my recent post got (you know, where I called Jose Calderon an overrated passer). I found it interesting that someone asked if I had ever played basketball before. Interesting mostly because when I played, I--literally--was Jose Calderon (well, except for the accuracy behind the arc).
I'm even more happy about my post, because during tonight's pregame show on TSN, I heard Leo Rautins use my arguments--saying Jose needs to be more aggressive, take more chances, etc... and then, after he had finished making his point, what came up on the screen? The breakdown of Calderon's assist totals (inside vs outside).
That was pretty cool.
Essentially, the director of the broadcast read the blog, and asked if he could use it in the pre-game. I told him the numbers weren't mine, they were the property of 82games, so just credit them.
Regardless, it was a cool moment.
- Finally, an easy win!
- I've seen some Vince Carter mail-ins before, but that ranks right up there
- Call me pessimistic, but wins over Indiana and New Jersey still don't have me "un-worried" about this team
Digging a bit deeper...
- I've never seen an NBA player miss shots left or right more often than Andrea Bargnani... the old coach always told me, you can miss long or short, but there's no excuse for missing left or right... and my old coach was Italian! The scary part about his misses? I watched him take shots on his own during warmup of the Blazers game and he was missing like that. In warmup? Seriously?
- This team does look more athletic without Anthony Parker doesn't it? I understand there's things he can bring to the team that others can't, but still.. it's nice not to see a soft Parker lay up get swatted away
- Talk about much-needed wins... Now if Toronto can find a way to win 2 of 3 on this mini-homestand (not an easy task considering the three opponents are the Hornets, Nets and Mavericks), then they can go into their 2nd west coast road trip of the month with a reasonable 12-13 record.
- My favourite part of the game? Watching J-Moon help out on the glass by skying for defensive rebounds. I have no idea what motivates this guy, but when he wants, he can be an effective NBA player.
STAT OF THE GAME
Three Toronto bench players got to the line at least 6 times (Graham, Bargnani, Ukic). They helped the Raptors convert 29 of 31 opportunities at the charity stripe
Posted by c_r_black at 8:21 PM 7 comments
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Hollinger, and why Jose Calderon is overrated as a passer
Got an idea for a new feature: Don't want to sift through all of Hollinger's stuff at ESPN? Only want the highlights? Turn to me, who reads nearly everything the guy writes. So without further ado:
DAILY DOSE OF HOLLINGER
Who's got the best shot at 70 wins? He doesn't think it's Boston or L.A., he thinks it's the Cavs. The most interesting (and valid) point he makes: Boston & Cleveland each have a better shot than L.A. because they'll be pushing each other for home court through the playoffs the whole season. Another reason: Over their last 10 games, Cleveland is outscoring their opposition... by 20 points per game.
Cleveland's the best offensive team in the league right now, who do you think is 2nd? I'd probably give you 10 guesses and still be confident you wouldn't get it. It's the Portland Trail Blazers. I saw this team play on Sunday and was amazed by their depth, and their balance of scoring both inside and on the perimeter. Numerically speaking, they're a top 10 team in every offensive category (turnover rate, assist rate, effective field goal %, etc...) and they're the best offensive rebounding team in the league (which shouldn't come as a surprise when Greg Oden, LaMarcus Aldridge, Joel Pryzbilla, Travis Outlaw, Nicolas Batum and everyone else is flying around.
How likely do you think it is that the Raps make the playoffs this season? 75 percent? 50 percent? Hollinger's playoff odds say Toronto has only a 23.7% chance of making the post-season. Ouch!
It was a battle of two hard-luck teams last night: For instance, you probably heard Indy was struggling heading into last night's game, but did you know who their last five opponents were? Orlando, Boston, Lakers, Boston again, and Cleveland? Personally, I'd take a 1-4 record from that sked any day of the week. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that Indy & Toronto have had the two toughest schedules in the league so far this season. Combine that with the fact that Indy hasn't had Mike Dunleavy all year (who should be returning soon), and I'll stick to my pre-season assertion that they'll be a playoff team
THE "EXPECTED" FROM O'NEAL
Many of you Raptorites have been claiming that Jermaine O'Neal's game has been improving. Maybe he has, maybe he hasn't. Here's what the overall numbers say:
* Ranks 31st among NBA centres in productivity (right behind Tyson Chandler, and slightly ahead of the great Kosta Koufos)
* Ranks 42nd in FG% (behind Roy Hibbert / ahead Johan Petro)
* 33rd in Turnover Rate - And this one bugs me.. he ranks slightly behind Joel Anthony, and slightly ahead of Brook Lopez... Should a veteran like O'Neal really be lumped in with a couple of rookies and sophomores when it comes to taking care of the basketball? Shouldn't he be learning by now how to make the right pass; realize a double-team is coming, etc...?
* And he ranks 38th in offensive rebounding (behind Haslem, ahead of Battie)
MY NEXT POINT
As you can tell by my creative header, that last point brings me to.... MY NEXT POINT! The common held belief around these parts is that the problem with Toronto's rebounding stems from a lack of help from the wings. That if Anthony Parker, Jamario Moon, Jason Kapono et al... all chipped in a little bit more, things would be better. But as you just read, Jermaine O'Neal hasn't set the world ablaze with his rebounding. And here's my next nugget for you:
Chris Bosh ranks 25th among NBA power forwards in rebounding rate.
So no matter the wings do, if you have two post players who are both below-average rebounders and play roughly 80-85% of the time, well, you're going to be a very poor rebounding team.
CALDERON, ALL-STAR NO MORE
His play hasn't been as good as we thought it would be. But it hasn't been that bad either. He still ranks as the 8th most productive point guard in the league, and he leads the East in assists per game. But believe me, Jose Calderon has no shot at being an all-star this year. For one simple reason: Devin Harris has turned himself into a Top 10 player (not point guard, player) in the NBA. It's actually amazing to see, and makes that Dallas/New Jersey trade look worse every day. Here's a question: Harris must be considered for future dream teams right? Here's another question: Who do you take as your starting PG if you're starting a team right now, Harris or Deron Williams?
But back to Calderon, I've got a theory about Jay Triano's insistence on upping the tempo, and not calling plays. He'll tell you that it's about increasing the pace of play and all that (which is fine), but I think what he'd never tell you (but secretly is thinking) is that he wants his point guard to be less robotic, and take more chances.
Why do I think that? Well, because what I've found is that Jose Calderon isn't the "best" passer in the league. He's the "most conservative" passer in the NBA.
People frequently cite the fact that Jose's league-leading assist-to-turnover ratio is evidence that he's perhaps the best passer in the league. But how misleading is that ratio? Consider the following:
NBA ASSIST LEADERS
1. Paul 131-84-215
2. Duhon 114-75-189
3. Calderon 128-52-180
4. Kidd 109-63-172
5. Rondo 92-76-168
6. Nash 89-78-167
7. B. Davis 72-90-162
The first two numbers add up to the third number (which is total assists). The first number represents assists on outside jumpers (two or three-pointers). The second number represents assists on inside shots.
So first off, Calderon's assist totals stem from easy passes to shooters moreso than any other player on that list.
Wait! You might be saying, what about the value of finding an open three-point shooter? Wouldn't that be more valuable than finding someone for a dunk? Possibly (though the likelihood of a dunk going in is obviously much, much higher than even the most wide open three point attempt). But let's look at those numbers anyway:
NBA ASSIST LEADERS
1. Paul 131-84-215 (66)
2. Duhon 114-75-189 (78)
3. Calderon 128-52-180 (40)
4. Kidd 109-63-172 (40)
5. Rondo 92-76-168 (37)
6. Nash 89-78-167 (42)
7. B. Davis 72-90-162 (24)
The number of three-pointers they earned assists on is in brackets. Those numbers tell us that Calderon assists on more two-point jumpers than anyone else in the NBA.
Add in the fact that only Nash actually shoots less from in close than Calderon (among the players on that list) and you start to get a clear picture:
Calderon is a nice player who almost always makes the right decision from the perimeter. He knows how to play the pick & roll game, and can make defenders pay who go under screens. But he's a player who doesn't find teammates for high-percentage looks, and someone who doesn't drive for easy finishes either. To me, based on "how" he plays, Calderon should have the highest assist-to-turnover ratio in the league.
But that doesn't make him the "best" passer.