“Don’t blink. Blink and you’re dead. They are fast. Faster than you can believe. Don’t turn your back. Don’t look away. And don’t blink. Good Luck.” – The Doctor
Yesterday I started on the Advanced playoff box scores and reviewed all the Eastern Conference playoff series. I was going to do the full league but I decided to wait until I could get the results of the Clippers-Grizzlies late game.
Am I glad I waited because we are in a very different place than we were yesterday. Blink and the world changes.
Before we get to that, I believe this is where I give you a kick ass visual:
That’s the relevant rankings for each team. In terms of MVP’s by team so far we have:
Shelvin Mack for Atlanta,Brandon Bass for Boston (these teams have troubles), Deron for Brooklyn, Boozer for Chicago, Iguodala for Denver, Curry for Golden State, Patrick Beverley for the Rockets (in more ways than one), Paul George for Indiana, Caron Butler for the Clipps, Dwight for the Lakers, Tony Allen for the Grizzlies, Birdman for the Heat, Dunleavy for the Bucks, Kenyon for the Knicks, Ibaka for the Thunder and Manu for the Spurs.
Let’s get to those boxscores and recaps right?
A few quick notes before we go:
- We are using New Wins Produced numbers. I am manually compiling them for the playoffs and NBA Geek has compiled them for the season. There will be some drift as we go along in the numbers (don’t worry it’s a function of the averages moving) but it’s good enough for horseshoes,hand grenades and tactical nuclear weapons.
- The Boxscore contains:
- Basic information: Player , Team, Game ID (Who,what and when)
- Classic Stats:Points ,Shots, Offensive Rebounds, Defensive Rebounds,Steals,Blocks, Assists (Because the classics are classics for a reason).
- Simple spins on classics: % of Team Minutes (player minutes as % of total minutes available), Position (average player position)
- Posession and Play stats:Offensive Plays : Field Goal attempts + .434 Free Throw Attempts + Turnovers, Usage of Offensive Plays : % of Offensive plays used by player when in the game
- All the classic Offensive Efficiency stats (and some slightly modded ones):Effective Field Goal %=(FG + 0.5 * 3P) / FGA,True Shooting %=Pts / (2 * (FGA + 0.44 * FTA), Points per Shot = Pts/FGA, Points per Offensive Play= Pts/Offensive Plays
- Do it Yourself Offensive Point Margin Stats:Offensive Point Margin: this is the marginal value created by the player per offensive play spent. The calculation is: OPM = (Points per Play for Player- Avg Points per play for Player for League)*Offensive Plays for Player.Defensive Point Margin: this is the marginal value surrendered by the player per offensive play spent. The calculation is:DPM = (Points per Play for Opponent- Avg Points per play for Player for League)*Offensive Plays for Opponent. I’m doing this one by position averages per game.Combined Margin: this is just OPM-DPM
- Rebounding Rates: % of Rebounds on Offense, % of Rebounds on Defense.
- Points over Par. This is our points version of Wins Produced that tell you the direct effect of a player’s production on the games point margin. This is the key number boys and girls. In the interest of keeping it to each series and games I am using Point over PAr in comparison to the players on the court for each game. What this means is that each player will not be judged against the average playoff production for their position but rather their opponents. This guarantees that on a game level Points over Par maps to actual point margin.
- I’ve classified performances on a sliding scale:
- Hall of Famer: 12.5 POP48 and Above. Submit tape of performance to Hall of Fame voters
- Superstar: 5 to 12.5 POP48. Lebron on a regular night.
- Star: 2.5 to 5 POP48. A good night
- Starter: 0 to 2.5 POP48. Positive contributions to the outcome.
- Bench: -2.5 to 0 POP48. Not worthy of a starting role.
- Scrub: -5 to -2.5 POP48. Play only in case of emergency.
- Traitor: less than -5 POP48. You’re wearing the wrong uniform.
Boxscores to date first:
Now for the recaps.
The key to understanding the Thunder was that Durant, Harden and Ibaka were their big three and that they would go as far as those three players took them. For some reason Presti and his team were able to identify two of them but were misled by the illusion of Russell Westbrook. don’t get me wrong Russell is a good player and a top five athlete but let me ask you a couple. Think about all the ball dominating scoring point guards in the NBA over the last thirty years, can you recall any of them winning titles? Now think about the dominant, franchise level shooting guards, can you recall any of them winning title?
In the here and now, Harden is gone to Houston which is a good and young team that is a player and a few years away. Luckily they have cap room. They don’t have much of a chance here but they’re future is extremely bright.
As for OKC, their two best players, KD and Ibaka are alive and kicking and getting them to next round. Westbrook has actually been their worst player in the series. That’s a small sample. The big problem for OKC is that this injury is going to put the PG minutes in the hands of Reggie Jackson (not too bad) or zombie Derek Fisher. Every single remaining opponent in the west for the Thunder is going to kill them in that matchup (Parker,Conley,Lawson and holy god CP3/Bledsoe).
The West just got way more interesting.
Initial Prediction: OKC in 5
MVP so Far: Serge
Updated Prediction:Still OKC in 5. Had Houston stolen game 2? It’d be a different story.
A few weeks back I thought the Lakers might have some cause for hope here. The Spurs looked banged up. Manu and Parker were ailing and the Spurs had lost the ridiculous form they had over the end of the 2012 season and the beginning of this one. Throw in a healthy Dwight and Pau , the lack of Kobe forcing their offense to run thru Nash and the Post and I saw some real potential for an upset.
Then I actually ran the numbers and accounted for actual playoff rotations. Popovich as always had been running short rotations for a good long while and underplaying his hand. Even without the Big three recovering to form I had the Spurs disposing of the Lakers fairly easily.
Add in a healthy Manu and Parker? The sweep might be in play. The only real concern for the Spurs has been Tim Duncan’s less than stellar performance and I have a feeling that might have more to do with a Dwight resurgence than a Tim collapse.
As for the Lakers, I hold firm in my belief that they need to blow this up. Laker fans insist that their team is not taking any new money past 2014 because they’re going to get Lebron. Newsflash, you are not getting Lebron that is a pipe dream. In fact, given that there seems to be a new sheriff in town (Phil/Jeannie) with a good track record I suspect they will do the right thing and amnesty Kobe, trade Pau for parts and build around D12.
Initial Prediction: Spurs in 5
MVP so Far: Manu Ginobli
Updated Prediction: 40+ Foul attempts in one of these two upcoming games for LA and it goes 5.
If you watched game two of this series , you might have noticed:
- The Nuggets just got outrebounded by GSW with no David Lee, at Home.
- Denver did not play a center in the 4th.
Karl for some insane reason decided to go smallball against a Warriors team missing their starting Power Forward and with a fragile center in Bogut. Given how fragile Bogut is and how small GSW is, I would throw as much size at them as possible and use all the fouls. Denver needs to back the hell up from playing smallball and they need to turn this into a ground war.
With the health issues facing the Spurs and the Thunder, the Nuggets have a golden opportunity to sneak into the Finals this year. Let’s watch George Karl squander the hell out of it. The good news for Nuggets fans, I sincerely believe Karl might be fired if he loses in round 1 again.
By the way, George Karl’s answer to getting wiped out by smallball in game 2: go smaller.
Initial Prediction: Denver in 7
MVP so Far: Stephen Curry
Updated Prediction: That Prediction looks really,really good.
Not much to say here. CP3 is really good. I miss Tony Allen on the Celtics. The Grizzlies bigs are quite good. Vinnie needs to figure out a playoff rotation before the Thunder series particularly since his B team is kinda outplaying his A team.
With Westbrook out Vinnie should just go: CP3,Bledsoe,Barnes, Blake, DeAndre with Lamar and Crawford as his subs.
As for the Grizzlies, I need to see them win game 4 before I believe they can beat a better version of the team that took them out at home last year.
Initial Prediction: Clipps in 5
MVP so Far: CP3
Updated Prediction: Clipps in 5. Show me something Memphis.