Tuesday, November 3, 2009
A compliment, three (3!) stats of the day, and more...
"Yep, Chris Black, I believe his name is, writes that blog. I believe he works for TSN as a producer or something. He doesn't post often but finds angles I always find others have missed and you'll see it creep into the mainstream later. Kid has some talent. Wish he was (more) consistent." - From a Raptorschat.ca message board
People who aren't my friends read my stuff??? I still find that very confusing. ANYWAYS, I was google searching my blog, to see where/how it was being linked, and came across that note. A very nice note by the way, not sure who wrote it, but it is much appreciated, and it is in the inspiration for this 2 a.m. post. Without further ado:
STAT OF THE DAY
The Raptors have started a season with three straight games scoring over 100 points for the first time ever (shhhhhhh... don't mention the fact that they've lost two of those games).
ANOTHER STAT OF THE DAY
Yes, it's only three games in. Yes, I know there's no chance this lasts. But... it's still funny.
Take a look at the PER (Player Efficiency Rating) leaders so far this season. Carmelo, Chris Paul, Tim Duncan, and Dwight Howard occupy the top 4 (indicating that despite small sample sizes, this stat does a pretty good job at identifying the best players in the league). Chris Bosh sits tenth, while LeBron is ninth (which is probably a disappointing early season ranking for him). I really don't even know how to say this is in a clever way, so I'll just post the Top 10 (and let your eyes go right to #6).
NBA PER LEADERS
1. C. Anthony
2. C. Paul
3. T. Duncan
4. D. Howard
5. R. Hamilton
6. R. Nesterovic (!!!!!)
7. P. Pierce
8. D. Nowitzki
9. L. James
10. C. Bosh
If I was Rasho's agent, I'd use this and storm into Colangelo's office, and demand a three-year contract extension immediately. But seriously, Rasho didn't get huge minutes in the pre-season but he's come in ready to play every time he's been called upon in the real games. A .615 true shooting percentage, 0 turnovers, and an NBA-best 25.6% offensive rebounding rate are the reasons for his amazing PER. Couple things to keep in mind, we've probably only seen a heavy dose of Rasho because of Toronto's opponents in the middle (Shaq, Howard) necessitated it. But maybe Rasho's play has won him some time even when matchups don't dictate it.
I wrote the following last 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.
I was reminded of writing that after sitting through a game where the Orlando Magic hit 17 three-pointers against the Raptors.
I was reminded of writing that after seeing that the Raptors rank 29th in defensive efficiency (they allow almost 30 points more per 100 possessions than the Celtics).
Here's the thing. As I've written before, the best teams in the NBA find a way to defend the three-point line. One way or another they either don't let opponents make or take many threes.
So far this season, Raptor opponents are hitting about ten threes per game (30 pts, for those of you doing math at home). The Celtics & Spurs are allowing their opponents to hit about 4.5 threes per game (13.5 pts).
Listen, we know Jay Triano can coach offence - This is the 5th best offensive team in basketball right now, and you can see that Triano knows how to design a set or two (and why so many hoopheads are high on him). But it's one thing to be a wizard on one side of the ball, and it's quite another to be able to run a team on both sides of the ball.
Is personnel partly to blame? Absolutely. Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett have a huge effect on their teams' defensive schemes. In simplest terms, they simplify the jobs of their perimeter-based teammates on the defensive end. And Chris Bosh or Andrea Bargnani just will never have that impact. But last year, the Pistons allowed the fewest threes in the league, and they didn't have a defensive anchor like Duncan or Garnett. So, schemes do have an impact.
LAST STAT OF THE DAY
11 of the top 12 teams in fewest threes allowed last season made the playoffs.