Chasing Down The Latest NBA News
It’s that time again guys. Time to delve into the murky depths of Hoopdata in an effort to better understand this crazy game. Time to adjust all of our perceptions for pace. Time to figure out if the numbers match up with the old standby, the eye test. It is time, once again my friends, for TI-89 Don’t Lie. In this Playoff Edition of TI-89 Don’t lie, we take a look at some interesting stats concerning two of the frontrunners of each conference: Chicago and Miami for the Easter Conference, and Oklahoma City and San Antonio for the West.
Chicago’s Offensive Rebound Rate: 33.06%
I’m not going to pretend to be the smartest basketball guy around, but it seems to me that if you want to overcome the loss of your offensively gifted, MVP caliber point guard, then it might be helpful to corral as many of your misses as possible for second attempts. And low and behold, that’s just what the Bulls have done, leading the league in offensive rebound rate.
So how does it happen? Well, for one thing, you have Joakim Noah playing thirty minutes a night, and along with being a solid defensive anchor he also brings his offensive rebound rate of 14.4 to the table. Not to mention some of the funniest hair in the league. Though I wouldn’t want that around my table. I eat there. Off the bench you also have Omer “Turkish Delight” Asik coming off of the bench with his 14.5 ORR, albeit in less than half the minutes of Noah, and Taj Gibson’s 12.3 ORR and his propensity for turning those rebounds for facializing putbank dunks.
Is this something that is sustainable in the playoffs? It’s hard to tell. Chicago’s depth along the frontline is something that has allowed them to beat teams up on the offensive glass during this condensed season, raising their ORR nearly four whole points. Teams will be better rested during the playoffs, but the depth the Bulls possess here (and all over the roster in general) should still scare teams.
Hit the jump for the rest of Jordan’s piece…
Miami’s Opposing 3-Point FG%: 37%
Miami’s opponents are making between 7-8 threes a game, while shooting around twenty. That’s good for the worst mark among any playoff team other than Denver. And while the Nuggets are certainly an incredibly fun team to watch when they got it going, no one is talking about them possibly winning a title this year like they are with the Heat.
What’s really strange about this is it really wasn’t this way last year, with a roster that should by all accounts have been worse at defending the perimeter by virtue of the human corpse of Mike Bibby alone. Last year they were 9th best in opposing eFG%. This year? 4th worst in the league. That shouldn’t be possible on a team featuring the athleticism of LeBron James and Dwayne Wade on closeouts.
It could possibly be a case of trying to coast through to the play offs, and if so, then I guess it has worked for them. But I can name several good reasons that Miami needs to tighten up their long-ball defense if they want to win a title: Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Steve Novak, Carmelo Anthony, Kyle Korver, Derrick Rose, Kevin Durant, etc etc etc.
Okalhoma City’s Turnover Rate: 15.26%
Speaking of Durant and company, the Thunder are currently the possessors of the worst turnover rate. Not just in the Western Conference, or just among play-off teams. THE ENTIRE LEAGUE. If you have watched any OKC games this season this probably won’t come as any surprise at all, but I still get the feeling that if you took all the title contenders in NBA history and looked at their turnover rate, not too many of them led the league. Just a hunch.
There are a number of reasons that OKC coughs up the ball so much. Their aggressive style accounts for a lot of it, along with the fact that Russell Westbrook isn’t really a pure point guard. Both he and Durant are in the top ten in turnovers per game, a reflection of how much the ball is in their hands, sure, but also of how much better the team could do protecting it. Centers Kendrick Perkins and Nick Collison also have turnover rates north of 20%, with Perk’s a whopping 28%
This kind of scares me a little for the thunder, but then I remember that this team’s pace and athleticism well do them well in the Western Conference, where older teams like the Lakers and Mavs will have trouble keeping up. But if the Thunder don’t think this could catch up to them against a team like the Grizzlies, who already excel at causing turnovers, then they may be in for a rude awakening if the matchups don’t fall their way.
San Antonio Spurs’ Offensive Efficiency: 107 pts per 100 possessions
The Spurs have the second best offense in the league. That doesn’t sound so crazy when you say it like that. But when you factor in the fact that the team has missed Manu Ginobili for a significant stretch, retooled on the fly with a bunch of new role players, and occasionally rest Tony Parker, Manu, and Tim Duncan seemingly for the hell of it (Duncan even picked up a DNP-OLD earlier in the year. This is not a joke), it starts looking a little crazier. Then you remember it’s the Spurs, who won’t die until someone stakes Gregg Popovich in the heart, which isn’t likely to happen anytime soon.
I’d love to offer a deeper explanation of this, but that pretty much sums it up. Pop is a genius. If anyone other than him or Thibs wins Coach of the Year, it’ll be more rigged than the Chris Paul trade. I’d say that Tony Parker deserves MVP consideration for his season, and he does, except for the small fact that this team manages to win even if he or anyone else is out for some reason. Such is life by the Riverwalk.
Now as to whether or not the Spurs are legitimate contenders ala the other three teams we’ve discussed, we will have to see. We all applauded them for similar regular season results and got let down. But this team is deeper, the supporting cast by and large younger, and is as dangerous as ever. Matchups will play an absolutely critical role here. The Spurs will hope to avoid the possible blood bath of a Memphis or OKC matchup, but stand a great chance of coming out the victor in a seven game series against anyone else. And you have to figure that the team would love to win one more with this core before Timmy-D starts piling up even more of those DNP-OLDs.
Jordan Akin once got a DNP-SUCKS. In a Little Dribblers game. You can laugh at his shame on Twitter @jakin1013, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org