Basketball Prospectus: Unfiltered Everything Else is Fluff.

December 1, 2008

Daily Ten: Weekend Edition and other stuff

Filed under: Uncategorized — Bradford Doolittle @ 4:54 pm

Devin Harris scored a career high 47 points as the Nets won their second straight road game over a tough West team in as many nights, beating Phoenix 117-109. The night before, New Jersey knocked off the Jazz 105-88 in Salt Lake City.

Harris (31% usage rate) and Vince Carter (30%) are dominating the Nets’ offense to what seems like an unusual degree. But that’s not necessarily so. Check out this chart:

Tea   Poss   Tp2    Dom%
mia   1279   684   53.4%
cle   1443   677   46.9%
mem   1566   708   45.2%
nwo   1299   550   42.4%
orl   1400   593   42.3%
mil   1485   613   41.3%
ind   1414   578   40.9%
dal   1597   642   40.2%
chi   1560   625   40.1%
bos   1465   585   39.9%
njn   1544   608   39.4%
gsw   1523   596   39.1%
lac   1397   526   37.6%
okc   1682   635   37.7%
den   1511   557   36.9%
por   1609   587   36.5%
phx   1534   557   36.4%
tor   1413   512   36.2%
atl   1633   581   35.6%
sac   1660   579   34.9%
lal   1516   527   34.8%
det   1417   486   34.3%
sas   1477   490   33.2%
phi   1684   528   31.4%
cha   1566   485   31.0%
hou   1757   543   30.9%
min   1603   489   30.5%
nyk   1388   422   30.4%
was   1754   495   28.2%
uta   1630   419   25.7%

This determines the raw possessions used by the top two in that category for each team then calculates their combined percentage of the team’s overall possesions. The Nets aren’t remarkable on this list, but they would rank higher had Harris not missed three games. In fact, if you estimate the possesions he missed, the Nets would be up over 43% for Harris and Carter. Still, it’s not anything stunning. What is sort of stunning is the degree to which Dwyane Wade has dominated Miami’s offense. Wade’s usage rate is 38%. If that holds up, it would be the highest rate since Kobe Bryant in 2005-06, the season Bryant averaged over 35 points per game.

Nov. 30 (20.4% of season complete, 251/1230 games)

Saturday’s games

No. Player, team           gRATE
_1. wade,dwyane_mia        13.6
_2. watson,cj_gsw          13.0
_3. ilgauskas,zydrunas_cle 12.8
_4. love,kevin_min         11.2
_5. durant,kevin_okc       11.2
_6. howard,dwight_orl      11.1
_7. bonner,matt_sas        10.6
_8. carter,anthony_den     10.0
_9. rondo,rajon_bos         9.8
_10. head,luther_hou        9.4

Sunday’s games

No. Player, team           gRATE
_1. harris,devin_njn       11.5
_2. gordon,ben_chi          9.6
_3. carter,vince_njn        9.2
_4. barnes,matt_phx         8.1
_5. gasol,pau_lal           7.5
_6. gooden,drew_chi         7.4
_7. brooks,aaron_hou        7.1
_8. calderon,jose_tor       6.6
_9. smith,jr_den            6.4
_10. aldridge,lamarcus_por  5.8

Explanation of gRATE here:

In the spotlight

The Knicks and Warriors put up some frightening offensive numbers in New York’s 138-125 win on Saturday. David Lee had 37 points and 21 rebounds; Chris Duhon handed out 22 assists. Duhon’s outburst was the sixth 20-assist game since the turn of the century but fell two assists shy of the 24-assist game from Milwaukee’s Ramon Sessions on April 14, which ranks as the best of the decade.

Neither of those players show up on the gRATE leaders for Saturday, though a number of Warriors show up towards the bottom of the list for the abysmal defensive performance. One of the components of gRATE is offensive equivalent points created (ePC) which is strictly a measure of productivity on the offensive end of the floor with no consideratin given to efficiency or defense. In that category, Lee’s 33.7 was 17th of the 5128 player games in NBAPET so far this season. The correlation between ePC and gRATE is .438. A good ePC is only a fair indicator of a good gRATE, in other words, because efficiency and defense are also playing a big part in the final number. Anyway, here are the top 20 ePC totals so far this season:

No.  DATE     Player_team           gRATE   ePC  OPP
_1. 11/05/08  parker,tony_sas        18.0  49.4  min
_2. 11/05/08  stoudemire,amare_phx   12.2  43.1  ind
_3. 11/30/08  harris,devin_njn       11.5  41.9  phx
_4. 11/19/08  wade,dwyane_mia         5.5  39.0  tor
_5. 11/08/08  james,lebron_cle       15.3  38.3  chi
_6. 11/18/08  bosh,chris_tor         14.4  36.9  orl
_7. 11/28/08  wade,dwyane_mia        11.7  36.7  phx
_8. 11/05/08  james,lebron_cle       12.3  36.7  chi
_9. 11/15/08  james,lebron_cle       11.7  36.1  uta
10. 11/21/08  carter,vince_njn       14.9  36.0  tor
11. 11/11/08  james,lebron_cle        8.8  35.8  mil
12. 11/16/08  nowitzki,dirk_dal      11.1  35.5  nyk
13. 11/21/08  bosh,chris_tor         11.4  35.4  njn
14. 11/22/08  paul,chris_nwo         14.3  35.2  okc
15. 11/22/08  wade,dwyane_mia        11.5  34.7  ind
16. 11/25/08  butler,caron_was        9.1  34.1  gsw
17. 11/29/08  lee,david_nyk           5.8  33.7  gsw
18. 11/22/08  richardson,quentin_nyk 10.0  33.6  was
19. 11/12/08  wade,dwyane_mia         8.4  33.5  por
20. 11/07/08  wade,dwyane_mia         7.3  33.0  sas

In the news

  • Most readers of this site are probably aware of the work of Wages of Wins author and economist David Berri. I enjoy Berri’s work. He tends to talk in absolutes, something I try to avoid. In that way, he reminds me of my Kansas City Star blog partner Martin Manley, who authored the Basketball Heaven books in the late ’80s and concocted what we now know as the NBA’s basic efficiency rating. Berri’s work is interesting and I especially like that he expresses player value in terms of wins. I recently discovered that Berri has taken a faculty position at Southern Utah University. Not many people are probably too familiar with SUU, which is located in Cedar City, Utah, about 90 minutes or so from Las Vegas. One claim to fame for Cedar City: The finest regional Shakespeare repertory theater you’ll find anywhere. Six plays every summer season, three from the bard that are performed under the lights in a Globe-like outdoor theater. There are also three non-Shakespeare works produced for the adjacent indoor theater, mostly performed as matinees. So that’s six top-notch productions in three days, plus Greenshows, backstage tours and a nice little village setting. Great stuff. My wife and I attend with her family every summer. Perhaps next time, I’ll try to hook up with Berri for a little NBA chatter.
  • Still no finality to the Stephon Marbury debacle in New York, though today might at last provide some closure. I hope so, if for no other reason than I’m tired of hearing about this melodrama. Lost in all of this: Marbury’s performance has been in decline for three seasons. I guess you can’t stick a fork in him just yet, but I don’t think any team is going to snap him up as a building block player even if he does hit the open market. He’ll likely get nothing more than a prorated, league-minimum contract and will also have to be willing to accept a role running someone’s second unit. If he could do that effectively for a contending team, it would be Marbury’s best bet for rehabbing a career that certainly seems to be on its last legs.
  • The Heat is 8-9 and ranks 19th in my current power rankings, not a bad start for a team that won 15 games last season. Nevertheless, I’ve still seen some stories referencing Miami’s “slow start.” How soon we forget. The Heat have posted this record with the fourth-easiest schedule in the league but are outscoring opponents on the season so they’ve underperformed its point differential to date. Overall, NBAPET pegs Miami’s performance as that of a 38-win team, which puts them squarely on the bubble for an eventual push for a lower-tier playoff spot in the East. While the docket to date has been fairly easy, the aggregate winning percentage of Miami’s future opponents is .530 — tied with the Knicks for most difficult schedule in the NBA. Anyway, there is a pretty remarkable item in Miami’s team stat line: The Heat have the NBA’s lowest turnover rate, coughing the ball up on 13.5% of possessions. They also have forced the league’s highest rate of turnovers (18.9%). How rare is that? Not sure, but it’s worth looking into.

Tonight’s games

+18 orl @ bos,  7:30 p.m. EST [ bos by 4 ]
- 3 mia @ gsw, 10:30 p.m. EST [ mia by 4 ]
-10 min @ cha,  7:00 p.m. EST [ cha by 4 ]

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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