Saturday, June 4, 2011

2010-11 League Opponent Stats

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

It's been over a week since I posted the league team stats...time to get the league opponent stats up.

Here they are (full spreadsheet available here):

And this post wouldn't be complete without including a flawed, double-scrolling sortable table, now would it (full chart available here)?

Here are my Raptor-related thoughts:

  • We already knew that Toronto's defence was bad - but specifically, the Raps allowed their opponents to have the second highest True Shooting percentage (TS%) of any team's opponents in the league. Perhaps a bit more interesting is that Detroit was the only team that allowed their opponents to shoot better....
  • Is there anything particularly interesting about how the Raptors give up such a high TS%? Not really. The team allowed the 2nd highest 2PT%, the 3rd highest 3PT%, and the 5th most free throw attempts. They also had the 4th highest opponent free throw tendency (FTA/FGA). Add it all up and the Raptors allowed the 4th most points per 48 minutes, just behind the T-Wolves, the Knicks, and the Warriors.
  • Raptors' opponents were in the middle of the pack when it comes to rebounding - only 15th.
  • The Raptors were very generous with the ball, allowing their opponents the 7th most steals.
  • The team was an unremarkable 15th in forcing turnovers.
  • Put it all together, and opponents were only 15th in net possessions. Despite the glaring rebounding issues of the team's starting centre, it is defense - not rebounding - that led to the team's dismal record  (something I'd attribute to the rebounding abilities of his various front court teammates).
  • Getting into the "helpers", opponents collected the 7th most assists while playing Toronto. This makes sense, given the poor defense.
  • Opponents blocked the 8th highest number of shots - I'm sure that Reggie Evans had at least a small part in that.
  • Raps' opponents committed the 5th fewest fouls - and it's not because the team settles for threes. In fact, Toronto took the 2nd fewest 3PT FGs in the league (behind only Memphis), and the 2nd most shots at the rim (behind only Denver). Unfortunately, the team also managed to take the 3rd most shots from 16-23 feet; that would be okay if the team employed Dirk Nowitzki, but when you have Andrea Bargnani, DeMar DeRozan, and Leandro Barbosa taking most of your shots, those are shots that you should try to limit.

I'll wrap up with some brief thoughts on the recent happenings in Raptor-land:
  • The team ended up with the 5th pick in the draft. Who should they pick, or should they trade the pick? I'll tell you who they shouldn't pick: Brandon Knight and Canadian Tristan Thompson. Both did not perform as well in college as the other NCAA players who are in the running to be selected at #5.
  • I'm wary of the international prospects. Most have little experience playing against high-level competition, and the likelihood of drafting a bust is high. Of course, the potential payoff could also be large; all things considered, I would recommend that the Raptors avoid choosing the mystery box.
  • Bryan Colangelo was extended for two years, with a team option for a 3rd. How do I feel about that? Not so good, but as a Raptors fan, I have learned to see the positive side of everything. Number one: the deal could've been longer. Number two: Colangelo finally sounds like he's tired of the Bargnani nonsense. All things considered, it could be worse.
  • Head coach Jay Triano will not be back next season. While Triano wasn't very good at determining players' minutes and seemed like he doesn't understand even basic "advanced" basketball statistics, Triano simply did what was expected of him and was indistinguishable from most other NBA coaches. Perhaps he was simply trying to do what was best for his NBA coaching career, and as such, I don't really blame him.
  • But the good thing about Triano was his price: as a coach with no previous experience as an NBA head coach, Triano came cheap. It's unlikely that the new head coach will be as cheap, as the team will likely target already established ex-coaches like Lawrence Frank and Jeff Van Gundy. If this new coach also does little to distinguish himself from other NBA head coaches, then this is simply wasted money.
  • In terms of the right coach for the job, given the quality of the team, I would advocate for a coach that wants to play at a slower pace. Playing at a slower pace maximizes the chances that the worse team will end up winning the game, and given that it is likely that the Raptors will be a bad team next season, that is the way to go. The fact that most coaches who like to play at a slower pace also tend to be defensive minded coaches is simply a bonus. Given this, Frank and Van Gundy are actually pretty good options. My preference between the two would be Frank, but it would also depend on the asking salary. The best option is probably a relatively unknown (and cheap) NBA assistant coach.

In the next few weeks, I promise that I will have plenty of interesting draft analysis ready for you. Keep your eye on the Wages Of Wins Network for more announcements from other WoW writers, too.

 - Devin


  1. The Raps were a horrible defensive team the last few years and I think that can easily be attributed to a few things:

    1) Andrea Bargnani syndrome: that is, he sucks incredibly hard on D. Makes everyone else work that much harder to help cover for him, it moves teammates out of position, and opponents know if they get to the bucket there is nothing to worry about... therefore teams attack, attack, attack.

    2) Undermanned - not in the sense of injuries, but rather in the sense of size/shape/athleticism at the different positions. I personally think C and SF are the two key defensive positions... and thats where this team was constantly outmatched. Andrea is useless, Amir/Ed are too small to play C, Weems was too small to play SF and Kleiza was just too slow there (and then to small for PF). Even then at shooting guard Barbossa/Bayless are severly undersized. Add Jose's lack of quickness at PG, and this team is left at short comings at every position for the majority of the season (atleast until J. Johnson showed up)

    Slow down the pace - while a team that plays at a slow pace generally has better D (easier to set up defensive schemes), they also tend to have a worse offense (allows the opponents to set up their schemes). So unless the Raps have some consistent threats to score from multiple positions in multiple ways (which they don't), I'd wager with the team set up they have now, they would manage to be an even worse (overall) team. I think their D would improve but, because of their shortcummings, they'd still be atleast a bottom 3rd defensive team... and then their offense would plummet. (picture Charlotte bobcats with bad D....)

    I think if the Raps want to have more success with the team they have now, they need to run more. Not just play at a fast pace... I'm talking run. I'm talking Phoenix Suns style running... not this push the ball and take a quick jump shot business... I'm talking 5 men run like the wind right to the net on offense. Ofcourse, the team has another problem there as Andrea (much like Chris Bosh didn't) doesn't run the floor and they don't have alot of guys that can handle to ball... meaning its not gonna work without significant change.

    Other option ofcourse is to tear apart almost the entire team, and rebuild so these guys can play half court ball. Which means enourmous change.

    Neither of which is necessarily a bad thing...

  2. Thank for the comment, Anonymous!

    1) Agreed.

    2) Mostly agreed - yes, most of the Raptor players are undersized (especially when Bargnani is on the bench). I think C and PF are more important than SF, but I understand what you're going for - one big and one perimeter defender, which makes sense. I don't think Calderon's defence is as bad as everyone makes it out to be - according to Ty over at Courtside Analyst he's just below average for PGs on a team with poor defence at every position - but he's definitely not a defensive stopper by any measure.

    Re Pace: I'm actually not sure if slow pace affects an offence; I'll have to look at some stats. Certainly your explanation seems to make sense. But even if that trend exists, it is certainly possible for teams to have a slow pace and have efficient offences; for example, Portland circa 09-10.

    In terms of defence, it's possible to completely turn around a bad defensive team through a coaching change. In fact, Toronto experienced that when it went from Lenny Wilkens to Kevin O'Neill a couple of years back, so it can be done, and be done with a relative unknown coach.

    This is my logic for slowing down pace: an average game usually has around 92 possessions. If the expected margin of victory of your team during a game is -5 pts at 92 possessions, slowing down the pace will fractionally decrease the expected margin of victory for the other team. Granted, it might not be very much, but given enough games and random chance, your bad team might be able to steal a few more games here and there than it normally would.

    I don't really think a total rebuild is necessary...there are a few problematic players on the team, a few good players, and a few players that make no difference either way. If the team can get rid of the problematic ones (Bargnani, Weems, Barbosa, and yes, DeRozan) it should be in good shape going forward.