Tag Archives: Josh Smith

East vs. West Week 11: Detroit, Atlanta ruin big week for the West

A day late again because, well, I actually like posting on Tuesdays. I’ll be posting Watchability Rankings on Mondays at Nylon Calculus anyway, and it’s kind of cool to already have a small percentage of non-conference games played out before previewing the week.

So by win-loss and point differential, Week 11 was pretty average with the West going 13-10 with a margin of victory of +4.61. Below are the non-conference summaries:

Week 11 scores:

week11results

Should the color scales be reversed?

By point differential, the West ran over two wins worse than expected in Week 11 and nearly six wins worse over the last three weeks. Games against Cleveland, New York, Orlando, and Philadelphia are largely to blame. They aren’t the only East teams to lose against the West, but they’re getting squashed.

How about Detroit with Jodie Meeks and without Josh Smith, though? Seriously, what the hell? They beat two-thirds of the Texas Triangle last week, which may or may not have an impact on the final East vs. West record, and they spoiled a huge Week 11 for the West. They are running super hot to where they remind me of this insane hand in poker.

Also, the Atlanta Hawks are amazing. They snagged victories over the Clippers and Grizzlies which deserve more love than just two sentences. I am a terrible person for doing just that.

The Hawks don’t play a West foe in Week 12, though, and the Pistons only play one. So now I wonder how much of the non-conference records each year have to do with teams playing East vs. West games when they’re hot, cold, injured, very healthy, etc. I mean, I like to think it balances out over 450 games, but who knows? It seems like the East has more problems with those elements than out West, but I didn’t research that at all before writing it down, so…

Week 12’s schedule is below. Somehow only 18 games, yet the East has a 12-6 home-road advantage:

week12

Houston (two non-conference games this week), New Orleans (four), Memphis (two), and San Antonio (two) take road trips out East while Brooklyn and Orlando play host to a couple of them. Miami and Cleveland also play three non-conference games this week, though they’re all on the road. It’s a crucial point in the season for both teams for a variety of reasons. Atlanta, Chicago, Milwaukee, and New York are absent which, for the most part, that’s not great for the East. Out West, the Pacific Division holds all of the West’s home games. They hold all of the cards, heh, or something. Not really, it just sounds cool, maybe.

Welp.

Enjoy the rest of the week.

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New Page: My Soup

nwI created some wonky stats over the off-season. Sometimes they were included in tweets with little success, but I dug myself a deeper hole by featuring some in blog posts and now a new page that lists those statistics. It starts with Shots Per 36 Compared to Average Player. You can find that with regular per-36 stats since 1998 here, via NBA.com.

This basically divides a player’s average field goal attempts per-36 from a certain zone by the average amount a player averaged that season. For example, a player who averaged 4.6 shots per 36 minutes in the restricted area in 2014 took 1.15x the average attempts per 36 for a player that season. The player in that example was Josh Smith:

josh smith

In the screenshot, you can see Josh Smith also had above-average accuracy around the rim last year. I also included that for every shot zone: Restricted area, in the paint (non-RA), mid-range, corner 3, above the break 3, and free throws.

I like to think this stat is helpful, but it has its limitations. With possession totals either estimated or newly released in their exact numbers, per-36 minutes stats are outdated but this is all I had to work with over the summer. Some players’ numbers will be a tenth of a point larger or smaller because of the pace of their team(s), but I feel fine in saying that these numbers are close enough to be taken seriously.

So how to best sort through tables? They are pretty huge since they list all players as far back as 1998 and Excel’s web app has its limitations. I’d suggest using filters to find what you’re looking for more efficiently.

Here are some examples.

You can narrow down each column by clicking the drop-downs and select either ‘Number Filters’ or ‘Filter…’:

filter1

For seasons, going with ‘Filter…’ is easier. Here’s what that looks like:

filter2

You can simply check and uncheck what seasons you want. ‘Number Filters’ is more useful for shot statistics:

filter top 10

If you want to find a specific, you can go to that drop-down and go to ‘Text Filters’. I’ll look for Rasheed Wallace:

name filter 2

namefilter 4 name filter 3

But if you want to group players together, go to ‘Filter…’, though it might help to narrow down the seasons too. There are also filters for total minutes and NBA.com’s usage rates.

namefilter

Again, you can find these stats and tables of Shots Per 36 Compared to Average Player here. Over the season, I might add on to this but there’s also a good chance more stats will be found at Nylon Calculus.

East vs. West Week 22: Comparing the West’s dominance with point differential

With another week of non-conference play in  the books, it was the same soup just reheated for the West as they went 12-7, a win rate similar to the season overall.

Every one of their playoff teams now has 20 wins against the East, something I brought up in previous posts about never being done before. Four teams out West are still in contention for the best non-conference record, but Milwaukee clinched the worst at 3-27. Two of those wins come from a sweep of the Los Angeles Lakers. Also worth noting is half the league finishing up non-conference play for the season. Gone are the West’s chances to build winning streaks against the middle and bottom of the East, which could mean movement in lottery balls.

Below is the updated week-by-week breakdown. I also included point differential for each week which I’ll then expand on by looking at how it stacks up against every other season since 1997. That’s as far back as NBA.com goes and, as far as I can tell, Basketball-Reference doesn’t yet have those splits to sort through. 1997 is a decent stopping point, though, because of expansion the season prior.

The West’s margin of victory month-by-month can be found here, for anyone curious.

Winning percentage shouldn’t be the only measuring stick for how dominant the West has been against the East. In fact, 2014 currently tops 2004 – the season with the West’s highest non-conference win rate ever – in average margin of victory:

That record-breaking point differential isn’t going to change much since there are only 11 non-conference games left. Neither are the complaints that Minnesota and one of Phoenix, Dallas, Memphis, and Golden State will miss the playoffs all while Atlanta is limping to the finish line.

I’ll have another blog post today regarding home/road, east/west splits. It’s actually something I kind of, sort of looked at six weeks ago but this time will be much more simple, hopefully less complicated and hopefully less ridiculous.

Edit: Maybe not, since Google Sheets doesn’t seem to be working for me.

All stats are according to NBA.com.

Month by month lottery movement in GIFs and tables

About a month ago I wrote about the ongoing battle in the middle of the NBA lottery and how that’s often a spot where a team can increase their odds at a top-3 pick by as much as 33 percent, depending on where they are with a couple months left in the season.

For the heck of it, I took a look at this season’s lottery movement month by month, starting with December 16. I chose that odd starting point because of this season ending on April 16.

Below is a GIF of teams with their odds of landing a top-3 pick, and below that is a table showing changes in percentages by each month. Neither of them take account into draft picks owed from trades.

lotto on Make A Gif

I’m in the process of putting together something similar to that GIF, but way more interesting to look at and to be shown on the night the lottery balls come out. More than likely I’ll post it sooner, though, because boredom.

For now, it seems like New Orleans, a team that would be scary with another lottery pick, never gained enough steam to get within the top-5 protection their draft pick has. That’s even with missed time by Anthony Davis and Jrue Holiday. They only have one percent more of a chance at landing a top-3 pick as Goran Dragic and the Suns. As for Milwaukee, they’ve been consistently the worst team in the league standings-wise for the whole season. Congrats, Larry Drew and Larry Sanders.

With a month left in the season still, there’s bound to be more movement below the Bucks and especially in the fourth through seventh spots. Detroit’s also in position to keep their top-8 protected draft pick, but who would they even draft to play with Josh Smith, Greg Monroe, Andre Drummond, and Brandon Jennings? For all that talent, there are still quite a few holes to fill. Some of those will disappear with Drummond’s progression, though. Hopefully.

Lastly, below is a table showing percentages by month and records:

Any other thoughts are welcome.

Detroit’s domination and struggle inside the paint

Last night wasn’t exactly a spectacle between the Knicks and Pistons. I spent most of the first half staring at the box score as their combined made field goals, assists, and turnovers were all about the same. Eventually, with the help of Andre Drummond tying the league’s highest total for rebounds this season, Detroit pulled away and revived hopes of making the postseason. The Knicks, meanwhile…

Neither team was an offensive masterpiece. Detroit was the only one to make over 40 percent of their shots, shooting 35-for-83 with 48 of their 96 points coming in the paint. That’s typical of Detroit. Their point distribution graph from last Friday can be found here, but it’s worth noting in this post that they lead the league in the percentage of their points coming around the rim.

But the other portion of the paint was a pain. The Pistons score at a bottom-10 rate inside the paint but outside the restricted area, and it only got worse last night when they put up a donut — 0-for-12. It’s the most attempts taken in the non-restricted area portion of the paint without making a single shot.

Last night’s looks against the Knicks from that area of the floor were probably what would be expected. Some were altered by Tyson Chandler, others were forced attempts like Kyle Singler slashing after being run off the three-point line, and a few were blown looks by Greg Monroe or Brandon Jennings. It happens, especially when over three-fifths of the Pistons’ attempts come from players anywhere from below-average to awful finishers from that area. It’s also not completely unheard of for a team to go scoreless from there when the league average for attempts per game is about 12.5, nearly half the average from mid-range and around the rim.

However, it’s still pretty impressive that Detroit’s 12 attempts resulted in no production. Variance is weird like that.

Below is a breakdown of games where a team went scoreless from a specific area of the floor:

As for a team neglecting an area of the floor:

  1. No team has completely ignored the non-restricted area portion of the paint in a game, but there have been games where only one attempt was taken – two of the occurrences coming from the Knicks and one from the Bulls. The Knicks love to shoot outside the paint in general while the Bulls, well, at least Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson, among others, have helped right their ship lately.
  2. Houston’s the only team to take less than five mid-range shots, which they’ve done in four games. Moreyball!
  3. 11 times has a team not taken a corner three. Detroit isn’t found in any of those games, but four games were from the Pelicans. I guess Anthony Davis can’t do everything.
  4. No team has not taken a three from above the break, but Memphis holds the season-low with three attempts on January 31.
  5. Around the rim, Sacramento’s the only team to take less than 10 attempts in a game, which they accomplished on January 24 all while nearly toppling the Pacers. That counts for a moral victory, right? Right?!

Around the rim is where Detroit thrives. The least amount of attempts they’ve taken within the restricted area is 22, which is Brooklyn’s average per game. They also hold the two season-highs for attempts at 53 and 51 on November 29 and January 10, respectively.

It’s that other portion of the paint that’s been tricky for the Pistons, as well as just about everywhere else. Things happen when a team’s composed of players whose ways of scoring overlap with each other’s.

But at least they got the touch around the rim…

Is that not what the Pistons would say to themselves? Long live Caddyshack.

All stats are according to NBA.com.

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