Basketball Prospectus: Unfiltered Everything Else is Fluff.

December 25, 2008

Daily Ten: Catch-up Edition with Foye feat & D’Antoni’s comments

Filed under: Uncategorized — Bradford Doolittle @ 11:28 am

Let’s try this again. It’s been a nice, round month since we caught up on gRATEs so what better Christmas gift can I offer readers? Rather than rehashing the last month, I’ll instead present an up-to-date list of the top 25 gRATE scores for the season.

Five great games are on tap for today, headlined by the first Celtics-Lakers clash of the season. At stake for the Celtics today is the No. 1 spot on the next Hoops List, which comes out after the games of every Thursday. Entering play today, the Celtics have an oh-so-narrow 67.4-67.2 lead over Cleveland. The Cavs are 28-point favorites (NBAPET’s pick) over Washington tonight, so it really comes down to whether Boston can notch its 20th-straight win today in LA. If the Celtics do win, their hold on the top spot will be considerably tighter.

Through Dec. 24 (34.1% of season complete, 420/1230 games)

No. Player, team           gRATE   (DATE)
01. paul,chris_nwo         20.6   (20-Dec)
02. crawford,jamal_gsw     20.3   (20-Dec)
03. paul,chris_nwo         18.8   ( 1-Nov)
04. durant,kevin_okc       18.1   ( 8-Dec)
05. augustin,dj_cha        18.1   (10-Dec)
06. parker,tony_sas        18.0   ( 5-Nov)
07. wade,dwyane_mia        17.7   ( 5-Nov)
08. james,lebron_cle       17.5   (17-Dec)
09. pierce,paul_bos        17.4   (15-Nov)
10. gordon,ben_chi         17.3   ( 7-Nov)
11. jamison,antawn_was     16.9   (18-Nov)
12. howard,dwight_orl      16.8   (10-Nov)
13. foye,randy_min         16.8   (23-Nov)
14. roy,brandon_por        16.7   (18-Dec)
15. james,lebron_cle       16.7   (28-Nov)
16. horford,al_atl         16.6   (11-Nov)
17. carter,vince_njn       16.4   (19-Dec)
18. chandler,wilson_nyk    16.3   (12-Nov)
19. harrington,al_nyk      16.2   (13-Dec)
20. bryant,kobe_lal        16.1   (20-Dec)
21. carter,vince_njn       16.1   (22-Nov)
22. anthony,carmelo_den    16.1   (10-Dec)
23. diaw,boris_cha         15.8   (19-Dec)
24. ford,tj_ind            15.7   (10-Nov)
25. davis,baron_lac        15.7   ( 6-Dec)

Explanation of gRATE here:

Center court

When I was updating my database this morning, a box score number that I’d missed jumped out at me. Timberwolves guard Randy Foye grabbed 16 rebounds, 15 of them on the defensive end, in Minnesota’s loss in San Antonio on Tuesday.

The defensive rebound total sent me scurrying for basketball-reference.com. Foye is a middling rebounder for a guard. In fact, out of 96 guards this season that have played at least 30% of the time, Foye ranks No. 48 in defensive rebounding. That’s about as middling as you can get. In his career, he’s now had three double-digit rebound games, two with exactly 10 and the 16-rebound outburst against the Spurs. Right place, right time, I guess.

Foye’s defensive rebound total was one of the 10-best for players listed as guards in the basketball-reference era, which goes back to 1986-87:

Player                Date   ORB   DRB   TRB
Fat Lever        4/ 5/1988     4    17    21
Fat Lever        4/17/1988     2    17    19
Mike Dunleavy    3/ 2/2004     3    17    20
Magic Johnson    4/ 1/1989     1    16    17
Gary Payton      2/ 8/2000     0    16    16
Jason Kidd       2/28/2001     1    15    16
Fat Lever        4/20/1990     7    15    22
Bonzi Wells     11/ 2/2005     3    15    18
Jason Kidd      11/16/2007     4    15    19
Randy Foye      12/23/2008     1    15    16

As mentioned, Foye ranks 48th of 96 guards this season with a 9.6% defensive rebound rate. The top three: Mike Miller 20.2%, Andre Iguodala 17.0%, J.R. Smith 15.7%.

More interesting, to me, is the list of leading offensive rebounders among guards, which reveals Thunder rookie Russell Westbrook as a mini-Rodman:

Player              ORB%
Russell Westbrook    8.3%
Anthony Morrow       6.2%
Marquis Daniels      5.8%
Devin Brown          5.1%
Nate Robinson        4.9%
Desmond Mason        4.9%
Rudy Fernandez       4.8%
Brandon Roy          4.7%
Rajon Rondo          4.4%
Kobe Bryant          4.1%

Westbrook’s offensive rebounding rate ranks 60th of 252 qualifying players — regardless of position — this season. My first reaction was that having a point guard crash the offensive glass with such ferocity could be hurting OKC’s defense. Maybe, but look at the rankings of the Celtics’ backcourt: Rondo (9th), Tony Allen (20th) and Ray Allen (22nd). Last time I checked, Boston’s defense seemed to be doing just fine.

In the news

  • I came across a story in the New York Daily News in which Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni said that he thinks his team is better than their 33-win pace and will earn a playoff slot come April. Well, actually New York is one game better than it’s Pythagorean pace. The Knicks’ eighth-ranked schedule has been tough but, even so, New York’s power ranking is 34.6. The schedule going forward is a little easier, though still above .500 in the aggregate, but right now, the Bucks own the East’s eighth spot with a 38-win pace. So D’Antoni may turn out to be right.
  • A couple of low-level moves: Phoenix signed Dee Brown to caddie for Steve Nash. Houston dealt Steve Francis to Memphis, where he will serve his mandatory sentence as a Grizzly on his way out of the league.
  • A great idea that probably has my brother turning cartwheels: NBATV is going to show 24 hours straight of LeBron James on Dec. 29-30. LBJ turns 24 on the 30th.

Today’s games

+24 bos @ lal,  5:00 p.m. EST [ lal by  1 ]
+13 nwo @ orl, 12:00 p.m. EST [ orl by  7 ]
+ 8 dal @ por, 10:30 p.m. EST [ por by  5 ]
+ 7 was @ cle,  8:00 p.m. EST [ cle by 28 ]
+ 7 sas @ phx,  2:30 p.m. EST [ phx by  1 ]

Notes: Games listed in order of quality, as determined by the sum of each team’s efficiency ratio. NBAPET projected winner and margin of victory is listed in brackets. Through Dec. 24, NBAPET is 316-104 (75.2 percent) on the season.

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