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A Tale of Two Teams: Advanced Stats after 4 Games

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ecuhus1981
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A Tale of Two Teams: Advanced Stats after 4 Games 

Post#1 » by ecuhus1981 » Wed Dec 30, 2020 9:52 pm

It was the best of squads, it was the worst of squads.

Small sample size alert, I'm not making any universal conclusions, only up-to-date observations. After having a hunch and taking a gentle stroll through all 30 teams this season in Basketball Reference, I noticed that in the early going, we don't have a typical bell curve of player performances. We have a brilliant 4 (not who you'd think!), a clump of 7 similarly positive contributors, and another 4 who are either on the take or should be collecting checks from the other teams (I'm exaggerating for flourish, but my point stands). What does it all mean? Let's explore:

First, we predictably have the guys who according to deep stats are powering a juggernaut.

ORTG DRTG WS/48 USG
Irving 144 103 0.406 28.1
Durant 131 99 0.336 28.3
Allen 134 93 0.305 14.5
Johnson 158 97 0.285 10.5

You might have expected, Ky and Kev have provided the jet propulsion for our team. Durant's Win Scores per 48 minutes are already up to his prime and commensurate with MVP dominance. Irving is in even more rarified air. He's 2nd in the league in WS/48, behind only the PG we'll see tonight and Friday. Behind our awesome superstar duo, Jarrett stands out with a legitimately All-Star level impact on games thus far. It's easy for one ridiculously efficient cameo appearance against an opposing team's 3rd string to skew results, but you don't see other players around the league posting similar #'s, in roles larger or smaller than our young C. He stays frustrating me with his benign goofiness and lack of fiery physicality (more on that in another post), but you can't argue with the raw data. Finally, a real surprise emerges, and in such limited PT, it truly could be noise. Still, Tyler merits mention, and I think deserves a longer look. While so many young guards with higher ceilings are getting burn, TJ has quietly and efficiently paired with our core.

Next, we have a number of players contributing to our top-3 defense, who haven't even hit their stride yet offensively:

ORTG DRTG WS/48 USG
Kurucs 143 101 0.186 9.4
Cabarrot 111 100 0.169 25.3
Green 131 104 0.152 8.7
Perry 115 106 0.126 12.6
Dinwiddie 103 98 0.122 15.5
LeVert 100 95 0.122 32.1
Harris 111 105 0.121 15.9

Whoa, Rodi?! Again, a smattering of minutes in a bench-clearing blowout can be deceiving, but it's nice to see solid production from our deep bench. TLC is having a similar impact, on a larger usage rate and with much more PT. This 3&D stud is ready to step into a big-time role, I see him as our best option as a 5th starter. At the lower end of this group, we see our pair leading in minutes played, Joe and Caris. Due to high minutes and an outsized role on our last game, their efficiency takes a hit. I have faith that over the course of the season, both will be even more valuable since defenses won't be keying on them as much with K&K around.

By process of elimination, you can guess the final four. Pay close attention to the negative Offensive Rating versus Defensive Rating, which essentially means the other team scores more when they're on the floor. In such a concentrated window of data, you wouldn't expect such striking stratification. In other words, "how you suck so much?" Let's examine WHY they're down here:

ORTG DRTG WS/48 USG
Prince 72 97 -0.015 19.1
Chiozza 89 108 -0.033 27.9
Shamet 61 101 -0.075 16.4
Brown 50 102 -0.220 21.0

It's early, with a new system incorporating new players; any one of these guys could bounce back in a hurry. At least the stats back up the eye test. If I had to guess on sight our 4 poorest performers, these 4 would be my pick. Taurean looked solid in the preseason, and is our 2nd-best defender by the numbers. But he's hurting us offensively, not just with his shooting but his usage, turnovers and generally anti-flow effect. Chris is in a similar boat, thrust temporarily into a role that is above his weight class. His dazzling court vision is a nice benefit in relief, but his high usage rate suggests he should cool it with the contested long 2's. The crown jewels of our offseason, Landry and Bruce, have gotten off to a putrid start. It comes down to poor shooting, so if they can get their %'s out of the basement, I think they'll climb the charts. It is a bit concerning that the guys we handpicked for Nash's system have not had a smoother transition.

So, that's it. When we lean on our Big 2, we'll be great. When our Bubble squad has to shoulder an increased responsibility with Durant and Irving resting, we'll look very ordinary. Certain deep bench guys deserve a shot, and a few teacher's pets need a shorter leash. What are your thoughts?
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Re: A Tale of Two Teams: Advanced Stats after 4 Games 

Post#2 » by MrDollarBills » Wed Dec 30, 2020 10:03 pm

toss the data on Brown, Kurucs, and Johnson out. They haven't played any meaningful minutes.

I would give it 15-20 games before diving into the numbers, personally. The early season noise right now doesn't paint a good picture.
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Re: A Tale of Two Teams: Advanced Stats after 4 Games 

Post#3 » by gigantes » Thu Dec 31, 2020 2:23 pm

I'm wondering where Jordan ranks above. Hah, no... actually, I think I don't want to know.

Looks like 538 hasn't begun this season's RAPTOR project yet. That seems to be a pretty well-estimated, weighted BPM system, so I'm eager to see what that looks like for this year's team.

I'm a little concerned about Harris' impact seeming to be so modest, perhaps due to him not getting as many touches as usual. I hope they work it out though, because with his defense being pretty mediocre, it's not a great look for him to be shooting less threes this season compared to last. K&K have been absolutely breathtaking, but I wouldn't mind better ball movement, hopefully getting Joe more open shots.

Also missing Nwaba from last season a bit. Boy, what a boost it would have been if he hadn't gotten injured and was still on the team.

Just sort of rambling here, as I still feel like I'm getting used to this season's team and don't have many solid thoughts. Wish there was a way to know how quickly Nash is getting acclimated, and also how the new coaching staff is integrating. I'm sure everyone's busting it and being fully professional, but that doesn't mean it's completely working. Maybe I'm still a little spooked by the loss of Kenny, though...

Would really love to see Claxton come back and show his stuff, too. No doubt a pipe dream, but DeJordan falling to the third string by season's end would hardly kill me.
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Re: A Tale of Two Teams: Advanced Stats after 4 Games 

Post#4 » by Paradise » Wed Jan 6, 2021 6:21 pm

Yikes.

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Re: A Tale of Two Teams: Advanced Stats after 4 Games 

Post#5 » by Prokorov » Wed Jan 6, 2021 7:37 pm

gigantes wrote:I'm wondering where Jordan ranks above. Hah, no... actually, I think I don't want to know.

Looks like 538 hasn't begun this season's RAPTOR project yet. That seems to be a pretty well-estimated, weighted BPM system, so I'm eager to see what that looks like for this year's team.

I'm a little concerned about Harris' impact seeming to be so modest, perhaps due to him not getting as many touches as usual. I hope they work it out though, because with his defense being pretty mediocre, it's not a great look for him to be shooting less threes this season compared to last. K&K have been absolutely breathtaking, but I wouldn't mind better ball movement, hopefully getting Joe more open shots.

Also missing Nwaba from last season a bit. Boy, what a boost it would have been if he hadn't gotten injured and was still on the team.

Just sort of rambling here, as I still feel like I'm getting used to this season's team and don't have many solid thoughts. Wish there was a way to know how quickly Nash is getting acclimated, and also how the new coaching staff is integrating. I'm sure everyone's busting it and being fully professional, but that doesn't mean it's completely working. Maybe I'm still a little spooked by the loss of Kenny, though...

Would really love to see Claxton come back and show his stuff, too. No doubt a pipe dream, but DeJordan falling to the third string by season's end would hardly kill me.


it is ineveitable Joe will get less shots. last year we needed prince and temple to try and create offense. the cupoard was bare once Kyrie went down.

Joe provides value just standing next to KD and Kyrie.
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Re: A Tale of Two Teams: Advanced Stats after 4 Games 

Post#6 » by Prokorov » Wed Jan 6, 2021 7:40 pm

Paradise wrote:Yikes.

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This isnt really news.

3 year in a row Caris has been bottom 8 in efficiency among players who take 10+ shots and the last 2 seasons bottom 5 among guys who take 15+ shots.

He will increase from 44% eFG. thats low based on a small sample. but he has shown that with volume he is a 47-48ish percent eFG 51-52% TS% player.

He gets touted as a swiss army knife, but other then the bubble and some other small sample stretches he has trended closer to an ineifficent chuker.

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