http://www.laughingcavs.com/pics/banner5.jpg

HOME

ABOUT

ARCHIVES

laughingcavs@gmail.com

Follow @laughingcavs

 

 

 


Eclectic Game Preview – Cavs at Pacers – 11/2/2013

Welcome to one of the most NBA Hipster game previews in the universe; because box score stats are so mainstream…

I basically spent the past summer in an ‘86 Fleetwood Bounder on an Indian Rez in New Mexico, cooking up a custom version of Adjusted Plus Minus (APM). I worked real hard on the formula with some friends from Cavs: The Blog, and now we’re selling the glorious product (for free) on a new blog called gotbuckets.com. If you haven’t checked it out yet, please do, and share it with your fellow NBA junkies. The writing is a lot better and we’re going to cover the entire NBA through the lens of advanced stats—especially APM!

If you want to know more about APM—read this article by Kevin Hetrick. If you think the stat looks like total crap—read this article by me.

Paul George and the Pacers are coming off a real nice season, taking the Miami Heat to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals. Naturally, APM thinks Paul George is the most exceptional member of the squad, estimating that his on-court impact is greater than 95% of qualified NBA players. Unsurprisingly, APM estimates that most of George’s impact comes on the defensive end of the floor, judging that the Pacers’ D allows 6 fewer points per 100 possessions when he’s on the floor—accounting for the relative quality of his teammates. This pegs him in the 96th percentile of defensive impact in the NBA. His offense isn’t quite as elite, but he holds his own and is ranked in the 60th percentile in terms of on-floor impact on offense. Intuitively, you might think 96th percentile on offense + 60th percentile on defense would place him in about the 80th percentile in total. But he isn’t, because players who specialize on one end of the floor are usually liabilities on the other end. When they manage-- like George-- to hold their own on the weaker side of their game, the result is an elite NBA player.

The Pacers signed Luis Scola to a pretty reasonable 2-year, 9 million dollar contract as their main offseason acquisition. I didn’t watch him play in Phoenix last season, and I only caught a few Rockets games before that, but I have the impression that Scola has a reputation for hustle offense and soft defense. APM doesn’t quite agree with this, judging him to be a middling player with a defensive bent. This is a common observation you get from APM regarding big men; Centers and Power Forwards without three point range make their money by playing stout defense. Scola doesn’t have three point range, and while his midrange percentages are admirable, he’s not a very efficient scorer. Pay attention to his defense tonight, especially whether he’s able to slow down Tristan and Andy on the offensive boards.

As for the rest of the roster, APM doesn’t see the Pacers as having any huge liabilities. It probably overestimates the quality of George Hill and Lance Stephenson, but both of those guys were critical pieces in a deep playoff run.  Intuition says Hibbert and West are underrated by APM, but they both make a living anchoring an elite NBA defense. As the sum of its parts, this is a great basketball team.

         

Indiana Pacers – 2 Year APM

Player

APM

Std. Error

Minutes

Offensive

Defensive

Offense Percentile

Defense Percentile

Total Percentile

Two Seasons

Paul George

6.12

3.3

6021

0.06

6.05

60

96

95

2012 2013

George Hill

5.43

3.1

4874

5.17

0.26

96

57

93

2012 2013

Lance Stephenson

3.31

3.2

3352

3.68

-0.37

91

49

86

2012 2013

Roy Hibbert

0.63

3.6

5200

-1.38

2.01

43

76

66

2012 2013

Luis Scola

-0.8

2.8

4234

-2.61

1.82

29

74

52

2012 2013

David West

-1.69

3.9

5415

-2.12

0.43

34

59

42

2012 2013

C.J. Watson

-2.64

2.9

2995

1.88

-4.53

79

9

34

2012 2013

Ian Mahinmi

-3.16

3.2

2656

-5.46

2.29

9

78

29

2012 2013

Rasual Butler

-7.85

3.5

1226

-9.64

1.8

1

73

5

2011 2012

Solomon Hill

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Orlando Johnson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Less about the Cavs tonight … Anderson Varejao is really, really good at basketball. He’s suffered from injuries and a very small sample size of minutes in the past two years, but APM loves him year after year. When Andy is healthy and on the court, he is a top 20 player in the league. Your eyes have known this for a long time, and they are not lying to you. The rest of the country misses this because 1. He is injured a lot and 2. He’s an elite defender but just ok on offense. His shooting is awkward, his handle is limited, but he makes up for it by setting great screens and elite o-rebounding.

Two seasons and 3600 minutes of data place Kyrie Irving in the top 5th percentile in the league in terms of impact on offense; much of this is washed out by poor defense (bottom 10th percentile). I think we’ve already seen a better effort on defense in Kyrie’s first two games under Mike Brown. He hasn’t been getting destroyed by screens and he looks legitimately invested on that end of the floor. As long as he can play middling defense and still be Uncle Drew on offense, he’s a top 10 player in the league.

Earl Clark… Does “offensive dumpster fire” aptly describe Mr. Clark for you so far? I’ve seen the guy play two regular season games and his trademark skills appear to include: not shooting very often and not making it count when he does. Clark’s upside is definitely as a defender and APM has liked him in the past in that regard, but last season it didn’t.

  

Cleveland Cavaliers – 2 Year APM

Player

APM

Std. Error

Minutes

Offensive

Defensive

Offense Percentile

Defense Percentile

Total Percentile

Two Seasons

Anderson Varejao

7.01

3.9

1682

-0.14

7.14

57

98

96

2012 2013

Andrew Bynum

1.36

2.8

4372

-3.64

5

19

93

73

2011 2012

Kyrie Irving

0.94

3.3

3600

5.33

-4.39

96

10

69

2012 2013

C.J. Miles

0.61

2.9

2501

0.89

-0.28

69

50

66

2012 2013

Dion Waiters

-0.04

3.8

1753

6.77

-6.8

98

2

60

2012 2013

Tristan Thompson

-0.1

3.1

3981

-2.42

2.32

31

78

59

2012 2013

Jarrett Jack

-2.89

2.8

4292

-0.21

-2.68

57

24

31

2012 2013

Alonzo Gee

-3.53

3.4

4361

-1.31

-2.21

43

28

26

2012 2013

Tyler Zeller

-4.23

3.7

2028

-6.04

1.82

6

74

21

2012 2013

Earl Clark

-10.92

3

2087

-7.46

-3.46

3

16

1

2012 2013

Anthony Bennett

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sergey Karasev

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Team-Flavored Shot Charts!

As often as I do these previews, I’ll take a couple charts from each team. Kirk Goldsberry doesn’t have time to make C.J. Miles shot charts. I do.

CJ Miles’ chart was glorious last season. He rains hot fire from the 3-point line where it’s badly needed, and generally limits his midrange selection. Keep it up, CJ.

Earl Clark, clean up the garbage buckets, then go stand in the corner and think really hard about what you’ve done. His percentages aren’t awful, but the low usage rate (16%) betrays that he’s got a slow trigger-finger. That’s fine, but if he’s shouldering a light load then he needs to be more efficient on those shots.

Paul George holds his own as a small forward with range. He won’t shoot the lights out and he doesn’t attack the rim that often, but don’t let him sneak to the corners for open looks.

Luis Scola has a very deliberate game from the low and high posts. He shoots pretty well from the elbows and top of the key. Please don’t let him go all Cody Zeller on us tonight.