I know numbers can be used to tell a variety of stories, and the most important numbers are associated with our won-lost record, but each game we dive into a series of analytics to help us demonstrate to our players where they need to improve as well as reinforce our successes.
One of the most obvious metrics is offensive production compared with defensive efficiency. For example, on offense we’re 30th in NBA efficiency (points per 100 possessions) and 30th in points per game. But at the other end of the court we are 11th in the league in defensive efficiency (opponent points per 100 possessions) and 8th in opponent points per game. So our defense is among the top third of the league, but our offense clearly needs to improve (and we expect it will when we have our full complement of players).
While that is a relatively simplistic view, we also employ an array of statistical analysis related to individual players. In Nene’s case, it’s easy to see we are a better team with him on the court, but there are some interesting metrics to support how true that assertion really is. The rankings below were conducted the other day and demonstrate where we rank in each category compared with the remainder of the league.
With Nene on the court we are:
* 15th in offensive efficiency (points per 100 possessions); 30th without him
* 2nd in defensive efficiency (points per 100 possessions); 19th without him
* 22nd in effective field-goal percentage; 30th without him
* 1st in getting to the free throw line; 30th without him
* 15th best at avoiding turnovers; 28th without him
* 3rd in opponent effective field-goal percentage; 17th without him
* 1st in defensive rebounding percentage; 23rd without him
* 7th in keeping our opponents off the free throw line; 23rd without him
Full disclosure: We do force more turnovers with Nene off the court – we’re 24th in forcing turnovers with Nene on the court and 7th with him off the court.
I realize we need to focus on the number in the W column, but I found this set of statistics interesting and quite telling.
As you know, Nene was unable to play the first 12 games of this season, and his minutes since his late-November return initially were limited to around 20 per game. That number has slowly increased to an average of 25 minutes per and will continue to increase as the season goes on. The stats above clearly show his impact on our numbers, and it’s also easy to observe how he takes some of the pressure off other players and seems to make everyone around him better.
It is also is a welcome sight to see John Wall, Trevor Ariza, A.J. Price and Trevor Booker all back on the practice court. We’re all looking forward to having our complete team available for the first time all season, but realize they will need a little time to adjust to playing with one another, get into game shape and regain their sense of timing. The anticipated increase in Nene’s minutes and the return of those players in the not-too-distant future will have a tremendous impact on our team and allow us to really see the team that was put together this summer.