Posts Tagged ‘brendan haywood’

No Shock: KG Is A Difference-Maker On D

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HANG TIME NEW JERSEY — Points, rebounds and assists are nice, but plus-minus is the most important stat in basketball.

Teams win games by outscoring their opponent, and plus-minus reflects how much a team has done that in a player’s minutes on the floor. If a player isn’t scoring, he can help his teammates score and also prevent the opponent from doing so.

But in basketball, with nine other guys on the floor affecting what each player does, plus-minus always needs context, and lots of it. Who is a guy playing his minutes with? Who is he not playing his minutes with?

Furthermore, sample size is important. Single-game plus-minus can help tell a story about key sequences or the impact of a player or two on a particular night. But if you really want to get a good idea of how a team performs when a player or group of players is on the floor, you’ve got to look at a large chunk of games.

At this point in the season, we can get a pretty good idea of where teams are strong and weak. Through Thursday, 224 players have logged at least 500 minutes for one team this season.

On Wednesday, we looked at the players with the biggest on-off court differential in regard to their team’s offensive efficiency. Today, we look at the defensive end of the floor.

Measuring the difference in a team’s offensive efficiency (points scored per 100 possessions) when a player is on the floor vs. when he’s off the floor, here are the league’s five biggest difference makers, as well as a pair at the bottom of the list.

For all of them, the discrepancy between their team’s defensive numbers with them on and off the floor is as much about the guys replacing them as it is about what they’re doing themselves.

1. Kevin Garnett, Celtics

On/off floor MIN DefRtg
On floor 905 96.3
Off floor 613 110.7
Diff. -14.4

Because the Celtics use a unique substitution pattern with KG, you can get a pretty clear idea of the impact he makes. No other Celtics regular has played more 63 percent of his minutes with Garnett.

You probably figured Garnett would be at or near the top of this list, but 14.4 points per 100 possessions? That’s an amazing number, and it’s an indictment on Brandon Bass (382 minutes with Garnett off the floor), Jared Sullinger (331) and Chris Wilcox (297) … and Paul Pierce (391) and Rajon Rondo (432).

It’s also an endorsement of both former Celtics center Greg Stiemsma and guard Avery Bradley, because the Celtics’ defense only fell off 0.5 points per 100 possessions when Garnett stepped off the floor last season.

Bradley’s return (he made his 2012-13 debut on Wednesday) offers some hope, but interior defense will continue to be an issue whenever Garnett rests. (more…)

Knicks Lead Most Improved Offenses

HANG TIME NEW JERSEY — Offense was supposed to come back this season.

Last year, we had abbreviated training camps, out-of-shape players and a condensed schedule. And the result was a drop in offensive efficiency of 2.6 points per 100 possessions.

This year, we should be seeing a recovery. But through Wednesday, the league is scoring 100.1 points per 100 possessions, just a tick better than it was through the same number of games last year (99.9). Shooting is better, but trips to the line are down.

Still, there are several teams have taken a step forward offensively. And a few of the teams on that list are a surprise.

Of course, everything comes with the caveat that it’s early. Some teams have had easier schedules than others. And just one or two good or bad games can skew the numbers a bit.

Most improved offenses (points scored per 100 possessions)

Team 2011-12 Rank 2012-13 Rank Diff.
New York 101.4 19 111.3 1 +9.9
Charlotte 92.3 30 100.7 14 +8.3
Miami 104.3 6 111.0 2 +6.7
Dallas 101.0 20 105.0 4 +4.0
Brooklyn 99.7 23 103.5 7 +3.8

For the five teams at the top of the list, improvement has come in different ways. But for all five, it appears to be mostly sustainable.

New York Knicks

Season eFG% Rank OREB% Rank TmTOV% Rank FTA Rate Rank 2PT% Rank 3PT% Rank
2011-12 49.2% 12 26.6% 18 16.6% 27 .306 6 48.7% 8 33.6% 21
2012-13 53.3% 3 21.3% 28 11.6% 1 .245 23 47.8% 12 42.6% 1

eFG% = (FGM (0.5*3PM)) / FGA
OREB% = Percentage of available offensive rebounds obtained
TmTOV% = Turnovers per 100 possessions
FTA Rate = FTA / FGA

The Knicks have played only five games, and three of them were against teams (Miami, Dallas and Orlando) in the bottom 12 defensively. But they twice scorched the Sixers, who rank fourth on that end.

The improvement has been about hot shooting from the perimeter, but also about taking care of the ball, something we premised a month ago. The Knicks’ offensive regression last season had a lot to do with turnovers, because when they didn’t have turnover machines Jeremy Lin and Baron Davis running the point, they had no point guard at all.

So, while we can’t expect the Knicks to keep their turnover rate this low all season, there’s reason to believe that the offensive improvement is somewhat sustainable.

Of course, there’s no avoiding the Amar’e Stoudemire question. Last season, the Knicks were 6.5 points per 100 possessions better offensively with Stoudemire on the bench (104.6) than they were with him on the floor (98.1). That was the difference between being a top-five offense and a bottom-five offense.

With Stoudemire on the floor, Carmelo Anthony shot 40.9 percent and 30.4 percent from 3-point range. With Stoudemire off the floor, Anthony shot 45.0 percent and 36.6 percent from beyond the arc.

How it will work out this season remains to be seen. But until Stoudemire returns, the Knicks’ offense should remain near the top of the league.

Charlotte Bobcats

Season eFG% Rank OREB% Rank TmTOV% Rank FTA Rate Rank 2PT% Rank 3PT% Rank
2011-12 43.9% 30 23.6% 27 15.4% 16 .276 14 43.9% 30 29.5% 30
2012-13 45.7% 24 30.0% 7 14.4% 6 .277 15 46.3% 18 28.9% 28

The Bobcats had nowhere to go but up, but it’s doubtful that anyone thought they’d be an above-average offensive team.

Like the Knicks, the Cats are doing a better job of taking care of the ball. But with new additions Brendan Haywood and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist leading the way, they’re also working the offensive glass for extra points. In fact, they rank second in the league (behind Denver) with 16.9 second chance points per game.

Shot selection has also been key. We noted last month how the Bobcats had the worst selection in the league last season, taking 39.6 percent of their shots from mid-range (between the paint and the 3-point line). This year, only 28.5 percent of their made shots have come from mid-range, below the league average. They’re also taking a greater percentage of their 3-pointers from the corners.

Kemba Walker‘s game-winner came from mid-range on Wednesday, but he’s been part of the solution, taking the ball to the basket and getting to the line more than he did as a rookie.

Interestingly, the Bobcats are assisting on far fewer shots than they did last year. In fact, they’re one of only two teams (the Sacramento Kings are the other) that has recorded assists on less than half of their field goals. Only 12 of Walker’s 49 makes have been assisted.

The Bobcats would be better with more ball movement, but their improvement seems mostly sustainable, because nobody in Charlotte is playing well above his head.

Miami Heat

Season eFG% Rank OREB% Rank TmTOV% Rank FTA Rate Rank 2PT% Rank 3PT% Rank
2011-12 50.5% 6 26.6% 19 16.1% 22 .307 5 49.6% 4 35.9% 10
2012-13 54.8% 1 23.4% 23 14.5% 7 .290 13 51.8% 2 42.1% 2

While the Bobcats have gone from awful to all right, the Heat have gone from great to nearly unstoppable. (Offensively, at least. No team has regressed more defensively than Miami.)

Taking care of the ball has been key (sense a theme here?), but so has 3-point shooting. With the Heat playing “positionless” basketball full-time now, they have one extra shooter on the floor.

We knew Ray Allen (20-for-37) would shoot well with LeBron James drawing double and triple-teams. But James is also shooting well (13-for-28) from beyond the arc, and Rashard Lewis (13-for-23) is proving that his career isn’t over. Maybe just as important is that Dwyane Wade (29 percent for his career) has basically stopped taking threes.

The 3-point shooting should regress some as the season goes on, but the Heat aren’t getting everything they can out of Wade. So they should remain a top-three offensive team all year. And more important will be how well they defend, especially when they go to their bench.

Dallas Mavericks

Season eFG% Rank OREB% Rank TmTOV% Rank FTA Rate Rank 2PT% Rank 3PT% Rank
2011-12 48.9% 15 23.4% 28 14.8% 9 .246 27 48.2% 11 33.9% 20
2012-13 51.8% 4 22.5% 26 15.1% 10 .299 9 48.3% 10 41.8% 3

This one is more surprising than the Bobcats, considering the absence of Dirk Nowitzki. But last season was the first time since they drafted Nowitzki in 1998 that the Mavs had a below-average offense. And his regression was part of the problem.

O.J. Mayo‘s 3-point shooting — he’s a ridiculous 31-for-53 through nine games — is most responsible for the improvement. But Mayo isn’t just bombing away. He’s also getting to the line (39 attempts), and he’s been joined their by backcourt-mate Darren Collison (36).

There’s no way that Mayo can stay this hot, but Nowitzki will eventually be back. And if he shoots better than he did last year, the Mavs can sustain their offensive improvement.

Brooklyn Nets

Season eFG% Rank OREB% Rank TmTOV% Rank FTA Rate Rank 2PT% Rank 3PT% Rank
2011-12 47.3% 24 27.8% 10 16.1% 23 .269 17 45.7% 27 34.2% 18
2012-13 50.0% 7 29.4% 8 16.1% 17 .325 5 49.9% 4 33.6% 18

With the additions of Joe Johnson and Brook Lopez (who played only five games last season), this is the least surprising team on the list.

Last season, the Nets ranked 30th in restricted-area field goal percentage at 54.6 percent. This season, they rank first at 67.4 percent. Part of that improvement has been aided by the Cavs’ awful defense, but Lopez’s presence has also helped. He’s been the focal point of the offense and leads the team with 24 buckets in the restricted area (11 more than any other teammate). And among 170 players around the league who have attempted at least 50 shots from the field, he ranks 13th in free throw rate, at 0.449 FTA/FGA.

Johnson has struggled early, never finding any kind of rhythm until the second half of Tuesday’s win over Cleveland. Deron Williams is also shooting a career-low 26 percent from 3-point range. And with Gerald Wallace having played only one game, the Nets’ offense should only get better.

Bobcats Coach Dunlap Doing It His Way





DALLAS — Hey, every ugly streak can’t be slayed overnight.

The Charlotte Bobcats exhaled enough relief Friday night after snapping the 23-game losing streak that ended last year’s historically pitiful season to propel them all the way to Dallas for Saturday’s game against the rested and waiting Dallas Mavericks.

A valiant push by the Bobcats in the second quarter faded at the end of the half and collapsed in the third quarter as Dallas won going away, 126-99 thanks to a barrage of 3-balls. The loss prevented Charlotte from accruing consecutive victories for the first time since the final two games of the 2010-11 season.

And then there’s that little streak that now stands at 16, the number of consecutive losses to the Mavs, who continue to play without injured star Dirk Nowitzki. Dallas is the only team the Bobcats have never defeated since expanding into the league in 2004.
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Curry Is Out; Mavs Hope Kaman Is In

DALLAS — The Eddy Curry experience in Dallas didn’t last long. Eight less-than exhilarating days to be exact. The Mavericks now optimistically turn to Chris Kaman time.

The Mavericks will waive the 7-foot Curry on Friday to make room on the 15-man roster for another recent basketball vagabond, power forward Troy Murphy, (neither transaction is official yet, but coach Rick Carlisle and players talked about the moves after Friday’s practice), an indication of just how badly the Mavs need scoring and rebounding at the position with Dirk Nowitzki out at least another week and possibly as many as four following arthroscopic surgery on his right knee.

It’s been musical chairs in Dallas with erratic combo guard Delonte West being the first out the door, waived on Monday after twice being suspended for behavioral issues. He remains without a job.

The question in front of Curry is if another team will toss him a life-preserver and try yet again to rescue his overwhelmingly disappointing career. The Spurs released the 2001 fourth overall draft pick before the Mavs provided him a short-lived shot. Curry played 25 minutes in the Mavs’ first two regular-season games. He was decent on the offensive end; awful on the defensive end.

Dallas now turns optimistically to Kaman. He’s hopeful of playing in the home opener Saturday night against the Charlotte Bobcats. The oft-injured Kaman missed the last four preseason games and the first two real games this week nursing a strained right calf.

“That’s my goal,” Kaman said after Friday’s practice. “I can’t guarantee it at this point, I’ve got to see how I feel. I’m off the medication now. Hopefully everything feels good and the swelling stays down.” (more…)

Wizards Leaning Toward Using Amnesty Clause On Blatche

The Washington Wizards are leaning toward using the amnesty provision by Tuesday’s deadline to waive forward Andray Blatche, according to league sources.

The Wizards have not made a final decision on the move. Teams have until 5 p.m. Tuesday to decide whether they’ll use the amnesty provision for the upcoming season. If they don’t, they cannot use it again until next July. Teams are only allowed to use the provision once during the life of the new collective bargaining agreement.

Players that are waived under the provision can be claimed by teams under the salary cap for the upcoming season. The team that submits the highest bid gets the player. If Blatche were to be waived, teams would have to submit a minimum bid of $3.79 million for him — which represents the sum of the minimum salaries a player with Blatche’s experience would receive over the next three years, the remaining length of his contract.

Washington is still wavering on whether using the amnesty provision — and writing Blatche a check for the remaining $23 million on his contract. The Wizards have been trying to deal Blatche since the end of the season, but haven’t found any deals to their liking.

They could also keep Blatche on the roster but keep him away from the team while they continue to pursue trades or, perhaps, a contract buyout, in the same way the Indiana Pacers kept guard Jamaal Tinsley at arm’s length for a year before finally reaching a settlement on his contract.

(more…)

Report: Blazers Offer Pacers’ All-Star Center Hibbert The Max?





HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — The price tag for big men in the NBA, both the stars and the wanna be stars, is always high, just ask guys like the Clippers’ DeAndre Jordan or the Mavericks’ Brendan Haywood.

The price for big men in free agency, however, can get a little wild. For proof, look no further than the reported $8 million the Houston Rockets are offering restricted free agent backup center Omer Asik of Chicago or the reported max deal the Portland Trail Blazers have offered All-Star center Roy Hibbert of Indiana.

The Pacers have not offered Hibbert a max deal, according to SI.com‘s Sam Amick, a move that all but forces Hibbert to sign the Blazers’ offer sheet.

Drafting 7-footer Meyers Leonard didn’t answer all of the Blazers’ big man needs. Adding Hibbert to their mix would, theoretically, give them an ideal frontcourt pairing with LaMarcus Aldridge.

But like the Bulls with Asik, the Pacers have the right to match any offer to Hibbert.

Mavs Still Searching For Offense





HANG TIME NEW JERSEY — Back in December, Mark Cuban chose to break up his championship roster, in part to chase a big free agent this summer, and in part because the new collective bargaining agreement — with its more punitive luxury tax coming in 2013 — called for “a different methodology for building a team.”

The biggest change the Mavs made was sending Tyson Chandler to New York via sign-and-trade. Chandler was the heart of the Mavs’ improved defense last season and arguably their second-most important player.

Four months later, the Mavs look like a long shot to make it back to The Finals. And with eight games remaining in the season, they’ve still got some work to do just to make it to the postseason.

But interestingly, the Chandler-less defense hasn’t been the problem for Dallas. After ranking seventh in defensive efficiency last season, they’re right back in the same spot this year, allowing less than a point per possession.

Instead, it’s been the Mavs’ offense that has held them back.

(more…)

Blogtable: Can Mavs be fixed?

Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes to weigh in on the three most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.

Do you see anything with the defending champion Mavs that can’t be fixed?

Steve Aschburner: The Mavericks are way more Father Time than New Year’s baby. When you couple the advancing years of Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Kidd and Jason Terry with the personnel losses of Tyson Chandler, DeShawn Stephenson, J.J. Barea and Caron Butler, those are serious steps backward, too great for a funk-ified Lamar Odom to patch over. Pride and muscle memory will kick in at some point, but not enough to defend their title with a long playoff run.

Fran Blinebury: Nothing that can’t be fixed by putting Dwight Howard in the middle.  The Mavs without Tyson Chandler are back to being the same old, soft-in-the-center defensive pushovers that led to all of those playoff disappointments in the past.  It will take time to get Lamar Odom acclimated and, even then, he’s always been a player who has rode up and down throughout his career. Vince Carter at 34 is not the answer in the backcourt.  As long as Dirk Nowitzki is upright and healthy, they’re a playoff team, but no threat to repeat.

Scott Howard-Cooper: It can be fixed as soon as Mark Cuban finishes the time machine and Tyson Chandler is transported back to Dallas. Without that defensive anchor, the Mavericks were hit for 105 points and 48.7 percent shooting by the Heat and 115 and 49.4, respectively, by the Nuggets. But same as the Lakers. Give ‘em time before sounding the alarm. (more…)

Chandler’s MVP Case In Dallas?

Is it too early to hand out the 2011-12 MVP award yet?

Well, is it at least too early to name the leader in the clubhouse?

Step up, Tyson Chandler. No, not for the seven points and three rebounds in the Knicks’ win over the Celtics.

It’s more a case of what he didn’t do in Dallas. That is: anything.

After all, isn’t the definition of MVP: the ultimate difference-maker? And the absence of Chandler certainly made a huge difference in Dallas.

Without their defensive stopper in the middle, the Mavs looked like a door that was left wide open in their season-opening loss to Miami. LeBron James and Dwayne Wade treated the lane like a welcome mat and practically wiped their feet on the defending champions.

“Defense wasn’t there,” said Brendan Haywood, who was the primary culprit, taking over Chandler’s spot at center. “We got beat in transition. It wasn’t indicative of Mavs’ basketball that won a championship last year. We got a lot of work to do. But not a lot of time.”

The Mavs are back at work immediately, taking on Denver right back at American Airlines tonight. Dallas hasn’t started a season 0-2 since the 2006-07 season. If it happens, chances are the Mavs will be looking around mightily for their early candidate for this season’s MVP award – and it ain’t Dirk Nowitzki.

It’s All About Tyson Chandler Now

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — It’s obvious that the Mavericks’ season would be all but over if Dirk Nowitzki had not fought through the effects of fever to play the role of Lazarus in Game 4.

It was also timely and significant that Jason Terry used that clutch fourth quarter to finally pull his “JET” persona out of the hangar for the first time in The Finals.

But if Dallas is going to keep fooling the experts, bamboozling the Heat and have a real chance of clawing out its first NBA championship, the series will likely rest in the hands of Tyson Chandler.

(more…)