Basketball Prospectus: Unfiltered Everything Else is Fluff.

November 11, 2008

Daily Ten: Monday’s games

Filed under: Uncategorized — Bradford Doolittle @ 3:13 pm

Orlando’s four-game winning streak was snapped even though the Magic placed two players in the top four of today’s gRATEs. Of particular note was another strong outing for Hedo Turkoglu who, thus far, looks as if he is playing even better than he did during last year’s breakout season.

Turkoglu, who turns 30 next March, could be the NBA’s version of Luis Gonzalez on the late-bloomer scale. He’s in a virtual tie as Orlando’s team leader in WP82 (wins produced per 82 games) with Dwight Howard at 10.3, which is 3.5 wins above his projection. Can it last? Probably not. Turkoglu clocks in as the NBA leader in defensive points saved and 11th in NBAPET’s overall defensive rate. There may be some cross-matching issues going on with Mickael Pietrus. However, it should be noted that Hedo’s defensive PER at 82games.com — which I refer to as a sanity check when I don’t believe my own ratings — is an outstanding 12.3.

Nov. 11 (7.9% of season complete, 97/1230 games)

PLAYER, TEAM gRATE
1. howard,dwight_orl 16.8
2. ford,tj_ind 15.7
3. barbosa,leandro_phx 15.0
4. turkoglu,hedo_orl 9.3
5. blake,steve_por 9.3
6. garnett,kevin_bos 9.0
7. aldridge,lamarcus_por 8.7
8. jianlian,yi_njn 8.5
9. durant,kevin_okc 8.5
10. mayo,oj_mem 8.1

Explanation of gRATE here:

Center court

Kevin Durant had a great game on Monday, but his early season has been a mixed bag. Durant scored 37 points in the Thunder’s narrow loss at Indiana, shooting 13-of-27 from the floor. His inside-outside balance was nice: 2-of-3 behind he arc and 9-of-9 from the foul line. The game was an exception to Durant’s general rule. For the season, Durant’s eFG has edged up from 45.2% last season to 46.2% this year, reflecting a set of offensive metrics that is very similar to his rookie season. However, his defensive metrics have jumped by leaps and bounds. Overall, his WP82 of 8.3 leads Oklahoma City and is more than six wins above his projection. Unlike Turkoglu, however, Durant’s defensive rating is not supported by the metrics at 82games.com. The next couple of times I watch the Thunder, I’m going to pay special attention to Durant on the defensive end and, in particular, to how P.J. Carlesimo is matching up his defenders. If needed, I might do some retro matchup fixes, which could send Durant’s overall rating into a tumble. My system has Durant with a strong defensive rating; 82 games does not. However, I have Jeff Green‘s defense rated poorly while 82games has him with strong marks. One of us is wrong. (Any Thunder fans who have been watching closer than I have want to chime in, feel free to do so.)

In the news

  • The next round of my Prospectus power rankings will be out in the next day or two. Before Monday’s games, the Hawks were on target to repeat as No. 1. Monday’s results sent Atlanta tumbling down to No. 6. The Hawks didn’t play. How is this possible? Three of Atlanta’s five early victims played, and lost, on Monday, sending the Hawks’ opponent strength factor into a tailspin. Thus are the pitfalls of early-season strength-of-schedule adjustments.
  • We could be looking at a fallow period for the Jazz. Deron Williams doesn’t look like he is going to be back any time soon. Now Mehmet Okur is returning home to Turkey to attend to some family issues. The details are sketchy so there is no estimate on how long Okur will be out. In the interim, Jerry Sloan is down two starters. Ronnie Price has filled in admirably for Williams but there really isn’t another big man on the Utah roster that can spot up on the perimeter, leaving the lane unclogged for Carlos Boozer. The Jazz is 5-1 so far but that mark has come against what rates as the NBA’s easiest schedule. UPDATE: Looks like Williams is going to give it a go tonight in Philadelphia. The Salt Lake Tribune terms it a game-time decision and his playing time will likley be limited. Also, Ohio State rookie Kosta Koufos is getting the nod in place of Okur.
  • Antonio McDyess is officially on the open market after being waived by Denver. Everyone seems to think he’s headed back to Detroit after waiting the mandatory 30 days.

Tonight’s games

  • 19 lal @ dal, 8:30 p.m. EST [ lal by 24 ]
  • 13 atl @ chi, 8:30 p.m. EST [ atl by 10 ]
  • 10 uta @ phi, 7:00 p.m. EST [ uta by 6 ]
  • 3 mil @ cle, 7:00 p.m. EST [ cle by 14 ]
  • – 5 det @ sac, 10:00 p.m. EST [ det by 9 ]
  • – 7 den @ cha, 7:00 p.m. EST [ den by 4 ]
  • – 9 nyk @ sas, 8:30 p.m. EST [ sas by 0 ]
  • -14 min @ gsw, 10:30 p.m. EST [ gsw by 6 ]

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.

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