Chasing Down The Latest NBA News
One of the things that we depend on when trying to make sense of this crazy thing we call the NBA is statistics. Everything from the simple box score to the wonderful sabremetric statistics can help you learn many interesting things about the games and the players that we all enjoy watching. That being said, all stats are not created equal. Some are more interesting than others. Some will blow your mind. Some fail to make even a lick of sense at all.
It is with these statistics in mind that I present to you….
All stats courtesy of the always wonderful HoopData, and are current as of January 22th
The Philadelphia 76ers Efficiency Differential: 12.6 Points
For those of you who don’t know, Efficiency Differential (or Diff on HoopData. No idea why they wouldn’t have went with ED for an abbreviation.) is determined by the amount of points a team scores every one hundred possessions, or its Offensive Efficiency, subtracted from the amount of points it’s opponents score every one hundred possessions, or their Defensive Efficiency. It’s a neat stat because it adjusts for pace can give you a great idea as to how well a team as a whole is performing.
In this case it tells us that the Philadelphia 76ers are kicking @#$ and taking names. Just for a little bit of reference, the next closest team is Chicago, who has a very respectable differential of 11.7. Last year’s Finals teams posted an Efficiency Differential of 8.6 (Miami) and 5.3 (Dallas). So yes kids, posting a differential of 15 is absolutely ridiculous.
But if you are already crowning Philadelphia the best team ever, I may have to bust your bubble. The schedule for the Sixers has been a bit easy in the early going, giving them games against such juggernots (see what I did there?) as Detroit, Toronto, and New Orleans, not to mention two against the NBA’s favorite whipping boy, the Washington Wizards. But good teams should beat bad teams, and even though that recent loss against Miami was tough, I’m already regretting picking this team to miss the playoffs.
Hit the jump for the rest of Jordan’s piece…
The Denver Nugget’s Free Throw Differential: 14.39 %
Free Throw Rate is basically taking your number of foul shots and dividing by your number of shots attempted. The differential is your free throw rate minus the free throw rate of your opponent. Couple all of this with the fact that Denver is currently shooting 74% from the line and….
That 12-5 record is making a lot of sense, isn’t it?
Now the number of foul shots a team takes has always been used as an indicator of how assertive you are on offense, and the ridiculous pace the Nuggets are playing at this year is helping them drive the ball down their opponent’s throats and pick up the league-best free throw rate of 36.5%, just barely edging out the Thunder with 35.5%. But their opponents are only posting a FTR of 22.1%, with Chicago’s great defense only trailing by .3%. The difference is that nobody combines getting to the line with not fouling as much as the Nuggets, with no other team in the league posting a Free Throw Rate Differential above 7%.
Top 5 Assist Rates Among Players Playing 20 Minutes A Game
Earl Watson- 84.96%
Assist rate is the rate at which a player produces assists while on the floor, weighed against the amount of offensive possessions in which that player is used. Nobody should be surprised to find veteran floor generals like Jason Kidd and Steve Nash in this category, and they are obviously not the reason that I’m choosing to discuss this. And while Jose Calderon’s play, combined with the great improvements made by Andrea Bargnani before his injury, Jose’s play is also not the reason we are here.
This leaves us two players: Earl Watson and Ricky Rubio.
Now I’ve racked my brain over and over again, and I have no human idea how Earl Watson is leading the league in this category, but he is. I literally can’t find anyway to comprehend this. I really hope somebody will help me out here, because, quite honestly, it’s keeping me up at night in some weird Number 23-esque horror.
The real reason I wanted to discuss this however, is none other than……ahem…
RICKY RUBIO IS AN ANGEL SENT TO EARTH TO PLAY BASKETBALL FOR OUR AMUSEMENT! I LOVE HIM AND HE IS DREAMY AND I HOPE HE SIGNS MY TRAPPER KEEPER AND…..
Whoa…..what happened? I blacked out there for a minute.
Seriously, though, Ricky Rubio being in the top five of this category would seem a lot flukier if he wasn’t throwing ridiculous no-look passes at anyone on the Wolves who will catch them. And remember when everyone thought his shooting would be just God awful, and that there is no way he could defend the more athletic of the league’s point guards? Those reports seem to have been greatly exaggerated, huh? He’s been much better than advertised on both fronts.
And so the first edition of this column comes to a close. Have an interesting stat to float past me? Feel free to hit me up on Twitter or via e-mail, and remember kids…
TI-89 Don’t Lie.
Jordan Akin learned soon after getting his TI-89 that you could put games such as the Legend of Zelda on it, which lead to a dramatic decrease of his production in school. You can contact him on Twitter at @jakin1013, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.