Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Week 14 Team Stats Update

New readers, please check out the basics before you leave any comments.

Surprised? I said I'd be back again soon!

Yesterday I posted the individual Wins Produced for week 14, and as I mentioned, the numbers aren't pretty. But what about the team numbers? With those, perhaps we'll be able to put together some theories as to why the Raptors aren't playing well? Well, it just so happens that I have everything up and ready to go. Here's a nice - albeit somewhat strange, what with the double scrolling thing going on - sortable table of every team in the league:

Here are my thoughts:

  • The end of the 3PT streak wasn't really surprising - the team still can't shoot threes. The team is dead last in 3P%, as well as second last in 3PA/FGA, which measures a team's tendency to take threes. That isn't all bad - that means that the team is somewhat aware of its lack of ability and at least limits the number of wasted possessions. Unfortunately, it also means that opponents can sag off perimeter players and clog up the paint, making closer shots more difficult.
  • The Raptors are 16th in AdjFG% (adjusted FG%), at 49.27%. The league average is 49.66%, so while the Raps are a little behind in this department, they don't fare terribly here.
  • When we account for free-throw shooting and look at TS%, the Raptors fall a few spots to 19th, at 53.20%. League average is 54.04%. This is because the Raps don't shoot that many (FT/48 and FTa/FGa are low) and they shoot them poorly (74.15% compared to a league average of 76.15%).
  • The Raptors are 22nd in net possessions (REB+STL-TO), at 6.7/48mins. The league average is 7.0, so again, the Raps aren't doing too badly here.
  • The big problem is that Toronto is below average in both TS% and net possessions. While there are some good teams that can't shoot (Portland, Memphis, Chicago, and Philadelphia), these teams make up for it by being able to secure extra possessions. Likewise, the good teams that can't secure extra possessions (Phoenix, Boston, and Atlanta) make up for it by being above average at shooting. The teams that are below average in both of these statistics (Cleveland, Toronto, Washington, New Jersey, Detroit, Charlotte, and the improving Clippers) are just...bad.
  • There are three additional "helping" stats that can slightly improve performance: assists, blocks, and fouls. The Raptors are 12th in assists, 27th in blocks, and are 8th in fouls committed. The helping stats aren't really helpful, are they?
The trade deadline is coming up in about three more weeks - will the team make any moves to shore up its weaknesses? Will I stop posing rhetorical questions in my future posts? Keep tuning in to find out.

 - Devin


  1. Will the Raptors ever have a 50-win season?

    And how do they design the sneakers so that the Raptor's toes stick out without ripping?

    And why does the mascot remind me of a mutant version of Barney the Dinosaur?

  2. Vince:

    I think the Raptors will eventually have a 50-win season - given enough seasons, even the crappiest of teams will hit 50 wins by pure chance. The real question is, how long will it take them?

    I feel a little like a parent who ruined Santa, but alas, the real live mascot doesn't have toes poking out of his shoes. He does have a tail, though.

    The Barney thing is probably why the team got rid of the purple uniforms - and before that, the prominent logo on the front of the jersey. The choice of a Raptor as the team name was due to a nationwide contest. At the time, the popularity of dinosaurs was probably due to Jurassic Park, which was released in 1993. But the TV show Barney debuted in 1992, so yes, you could somewhat reasonably say that the Raptor was inspired by Barney!

  3. Urgh, rhetorical questions.

    Welllll, technically, after the 2001 season, the Raps had 53 regular and postseason wins combined, so in a way, they already had a 50-win season to begin with, and I was talking about the logo (not you, Jerry), so the mascot was gravy. And even if it's inspired by Barney, I'll take the Raptor over Steely McBeam any day.

    If you subscribe to the Four Factors school of thinking, if I have it correctly, the Raptors are 16th in eFG% and 23rd in FT%, which could be better, but are not too shabby, especially considering that eFG% is the most important. And, belive it or not, Toronto is 6th in offensive rebounds per game (Davis and Amir Johnson??), which, when combined with their low net possessions, wouldn't surprise me if they were a league leader in this category, which is stunning on a team that employs Andrea Bargnani, had Reggie Evans play in only 15 of 49, and lost Chris Bosh in free agency.

    Problem is, Toronto is one of the league's worst in turnovers per game (24th, I believe), which, when considering their low net possessions, is not good. If only for their long-term prospects, Toronto needs to keep tanking to put themselves in position for the draft.

    And is it too early to start wondering about how Jared Sullinger would help in these areas?

    (No, it's not.)

  4. Hey, it's fun to answer rhetorical questions! Well...at least I get a kick out of it.

    Oh jebus...thanks for exposing me to that American monstrosity. I'd take Barney himself over that...thing.

    Yeah, I should've mentioned something about TOs (7th in TO committed).

    Jared Sullinger? Early in the season it was Harrison Barnes (who looks terrible right now). What about Kyle Irving?

  5. Steely looks like Bill Cowher after he just breathed in laughing gas. Anyway,

    Irving was lights out in PPS when he was playing for the Devils, but he is hurt right now, so not being able to see him produce is a downside. Calderon is rapidly approaching 30, though, so if he starts to slip, it may be time to look for a replacement.

    Besides, no matter how you slice it, the convention is that PG and C are important, and Toronto has the worst starting center in the league. Even in (warning) PER, a metric that John Hollinger admitted was biased towards high scoring and taking lots of shots, and that a lot of more "conventional" analysts use, Bargs is nowhere close to cracking the 20 mark. And because is 25, this is probably as good as it's gonna get with him - which is disturbing.

    As strange as it sounds, center is a position of need. Otherwise, Irving may not be a bad prize.

  6. Yes, centre is definitely a position of need...I've covered that topic rather extensively. Bargnani needs to be traded ASAP. Isn't Jared Sullinger a PF, though? The Raptors are stacked with PFs - Davis, Johnson, Dorsey, Evans - but no usable centres.

  7. I think Sullinger plays center for the Buckeyes, but will likely be a power forward in the NBA. Personally, after hearing about the ill-fated Michael Jordan-Clyde Drexler-Sam Bowie triangle for Portland in the 1984 draft, I'd go with the best player available. And if I'm reading the chart correctly, Bargs has a WP48 of about -.100 on the season.

    Here's the cruel irony: Bargnani is so terrible that, even if the Raptors traded him away right now for only an average center, that player would account for about five extra wins if he absorbed Barg's minutes. For a franchise in contention for 250 ping-pong balls, five extra wins could cost them several positions in the draft to get the superstar they really need.

    For a franchise where the stars were past their prime (Oakley, Olajuwon), before their peak (McGrady, Camby), unhappy with management (Carter, Bosh), or just plain didn't play (Mourning), the last thing they need is a missed chance at a superstar.

    In the end, it's probably best if they keep Bargnani, if only as a surefire ticket to better lottery chances, trade him away at the top of the market, and see if they can build around the new guy.

  8. Yes, I'm also of the opinion that you always take the best player available. Although Bowie wasn't unproductive - just constantly injured (so yes, Oden is the new Bowie).

    But...I (and Arturo, among others, I'm sure) are of the belief that winning one of the top three picks isn't that critical - I've written a couple of posts about it, and I'll be coming out with another one shortly. Basically, while sometimes there are some can't miss prospects in the top 3, often they are no different than the rest of the draft class. I'd rather the Raptors trade away Bargnani for the simple fact that, even if he does win the Raptors a higher draft pick, there is no guarantee who the Raptors will draft (they have a terrible draft record) and there is no guarantee that a saviour will even be available. I'd rather have the guaranteed improvement that comes with Bargnani leaving and then take my chances at whatever draft slot the Raps end up with.

    Bargnani and DeRozan should go. I may be a little hasty on DeRozan - he's still young, after all - but his value is so high that you could get some nice pieces for him.

  9. First off, it's important to note exactly *why* teams in the NBA tank in the first place. In football, if you draft a quarterback like Peyton Manning, you've made a big stride towards respectability, but you need to surround him with wideouts, an offensive line, etc. But in the NBA, a superstar makes up one fifth of your starting lineup and can often chip in even more.

    Time and time again, we've seen and heard stories played out about how a team hits the jackpot, and the franchise is turned around within three seasons. Even if you look at the All-Star Game, excluding Yao Ming, 16 of 23 players selected were top-5 draft picks.

    Even if you just look at Wins Produced, or at the players who come to mind that turned around a franchise within two or three years, think about how many of those guys were top-3 guys (e.g. Michael Jordan, Tim Duncan, Shaq, Magic Johnson etc.).

    Of course, there are guys drafted outside the top-3 who have this same effect, but historically, your chances of landing a highly productive star are much better with a top-3 pick.

    To be fair, I'm keeping in mind that the Raptors had a 5th overall pick (Vince Carter) and a 4th overall pick (Chris Bosh) lead them back to respectability, while Bargnani has burned them royally as a top pick. But at the risk of coming off as a "thanks a lot" guy, Bargnani is the exception, not the rule. For every Bargnani or Kwame Brown, you have a LeBron, Dwight Howard etc.

    And that's why I'd be fine if Bargs stays, but ONLY if he's gone after season's end.