From Media Day until opening night, NBA.com’s John Schuhmann will provide a key stat for each team in the league and show you, with film and analysis, why it matters. Finally, we look at the Oklahoma City Thunder, who led the league in point differential, but couldn’t overcome Russell Westbrook‘s knee injury in the playoffs..
3 – Players the Thunder had in the top 7 in true shooting percentage (minimum 500 FGA).
TS% = PTS / (2* (FGA + (0.44*FTA))).
No. 1 – Kevin Durant: 64.7 percent
Durant led the league in true shooting percentage despite taking the fifth most shots in the league. LeBron James was the only player to also rank in the top 25 in both field goal attempts and true shooting percentage.
James was the better shooter from the field, but Durant was the more efficient scorer because of his ability to get to the free throw line (215 more times than James) and shoot 90 percent on all those freebies. He was the 11th player in NBA history to shoot 50 percent from the field, 40 percent from 3-point range and 90 percent from the line, and had the highest true shooting percentage (thanks to the highest free throw rate) of the 11.
No. 5 – Serge Ibaka: 61.2 percent
Ibaka was one of two players (Chris Bosh was the other) who ranked in the top 10 in field goal percentage from both the restricted area and mid-range (where he led the league).
No. 7 – Kevin Martin: 60.8 percent
Martin is somewhat of a rare breed: a great 3-point shooter (he ranked 10th last season) who gets to the free throw line quite a bit. And he converted those free throws at the fourth-highest rate in the league.
Highest true shooting percentage, 2012-13
Take those three guys and a guy who can put defenses on their heels like Russell Westbrook, and you’re going to have a very efficient offense. OKC ranked second in offensive efficiency last season, just a hair behind the Heat, who were the best shooting team (in terms of effective field goal percentage) in NBA history.
How much Martin’s departure will hurt? Yes, he was the third scorer on the Thunder, but Martin played 391 minutes without either Durant or Westbrook on the floor last season. Durant played just 44 minutes* without either Martin or Westbrook, and Westbrook played just 26 minutes without either Durant or Martin.
*He could top that in the Thunder’s first game in Utah on Wednesday.
The Thunder held their own (both offensively and defensively) in those minutes that Martin was on the floor without the two All-Stars. And don’t assume that it was mostly garbage time; 239 of the 391 minutes came before the fourth quarter.
Thunder efficiency, 2012-13
|On the floor||MIN||OffRtg||DefRtg||NetRtg||+/-|
|Durant + Martin + Westbrook||1,073||117.5||103.2||+14.3||+301|
|Durant + Westbrook, no Martin||1,546||108.4||97.2||+11.2||+311|
|Durant + Martin, no Westbrook||456||110.8||99.4||+11.4||+77|
|Martin + Westbrook, no Durant||216||106.5||100.9||+5.7||+5|
|Martin by himself||391||104.7||97.1||+7.7||+55|
|Durant by himself||44||121.3||81.6||+39.8||+32|
|Westbrook by himself||26||120.5||78.7||+41.8||+17|
Stars win championships, but depth gets you through the regular season grind. The Thunder will need to figure out where their second-unit offense is going to come from.
Once Westbrook returns, Thunder coach Scott Brooks can stagger the minutes of his two stars, so that one or the other is always on the floor with the second unit.
Until Westbrook returns, Durant is going to have to carry a bigger load. That could mean that he averaged 35 points a game for the first month, but it also could mean that both his and the Thunder’s efficiency takes a hit.
Pace = Possessions per 48 minutes
OffRtg = Points scored per 100 possessions
DefRtg = Points allowed per 100 possessions
NetRtg = Point differential per 100 possessions