Playoff Thoughts

Kurt —  May 19, 2006

To be honest, I had hoped to have the second part of the season review up today, focusing on Kobe and the other guards, but the post is just not fit for human consumption yet. Look for it on Monday.

Instead, here are some thoughts after a late night perusing of the postseason stats.

• Ben Wallace has taken his lumps in the media because he is shooting just 35.7% in the playoffs. This is why using just a few stats is like a little bit of knowledge. While his shooting percentage is not good, we’re talking about a guy taking 5 or 6 shots per game (using a little math, and counting free throws, I have him at 5.6 shots per game). However, he leads the team by far in plus/minus — over the course of the playoffs, the Pistons are 22.7 points per 48 minutes better with him on the floor. In the second round’s first five games, he is +60. Say what you want about his shooting, he is out there for defense and rebounding, and the Pistons have been better with him on the floor.

• For the Lakers, the first-round +/- leader was Cook at +28. Last was Kwame Brown at -70, the worst raw number in the entire first round of the playoffs. Still think we should trade Mihm this off-season?

• Sam Cassell and Cutino Mobly are both +31 through the first six games against the Suns. And so far in the playoffs, 35% of Livingston’s possessions have ended in an assist — you have got to love that kid’s potential.

• The playoff leader in PER? That “hobbled” Tim Duncan, at a crazy-good 30.36. Next is Dirk at 28.42.

• Raja Bell has a true shooting percentage of 67% through the playoffs. Count me in the group eating crow for thinking the Suns overpaid for him last summer.

• The Cavs have gotten a good boost from Drew Gooden on the boards. During the regular season he grabbed a very good 18.1% of the available rebounds (for comparison, Chris Mihm led the Lakers at 14.2%), but in the playoffs Gooden has pulled down 21.3% of the boards when on the floor. And, 13.6% of his own team’s missed shots when he’s out there.

• LeBron James is taking on 30.6 possessions per 40 minutes, the heaviest load in the playoffs (for comparison, Kobe took on about 35 during the regular season but 26 in the playoffs). What’s impressive is he still has an eFG% of 52.1%, a true shooting percentage of 56.2% and a PER of 23.44 despite the Pistons, you, me and everyone on the planet (except a few people in Chad) knowing he is going to get the ball every time down the court. And, he’s freaking 21.

• Hey, Rasheed Wallace, less talk and more holding on to the ball. So far this playoffs, 9.4% of his possessions have ended in a turnover, the worst in the playoffs among guys getting considerable minutes.

Kurt

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13 responses to Playoff Thoughts

  1. notreallyimportant May 20, 2006 at 4:37 am

    If we were to ignore such inconveniences as contracts, and players wanting to stay in their cities, who would be the absolute best PG for the triangle? I’m thinking Chauncey, and ignoring his terrible last few games against eric snow.

  2. I read somewhere that using a few stats is like having a little bit of knowledge. Which is why the fact that Kwame was -70 is a bit misleading, and not all that relavent to the question of whether to trade Mihm.

    Some other stats: Kobe was at -45, the starting line-up as a whole right around -50. Cook’s +28 came in about 10 minutes a game, nice runs, but hardly meaningful.

    Another good stat: Kwame’s per was over 15, but his opponent per was over 19. All year we saw a good defensive player, and wondered if his offense would ever come. In this series, he was good offensively and terrible defensively. Seems pretty clear to me that Kwame didn’t suddenly become a bad defender. He was up against Boris Diaw and Tim Thomas. As we know, when the Lakers forced the action inside, they did well. When Thomas/Diaw took Kwame outside, the Lakers got in trouble. Basically, Kwame couldn’t defend their 3-point attack. Neither could Shaq in his prime, or Kareem or whomever. Obviously Kwame’s offense doesn’t remotely compare to theirs, but the point is that whether you want to trade Mihm or not, it’s silly to make your decision based on Kwame’s performance in the Phoenix series.

  3. Although his best days are behind him, Jason Kidd seems a prototypical PJax guard even with his spotty jumper and questionable D.

    For a younger guy I would say Shaun Livingston. Two true long 6’7″ guards in the same backourt?

    The 1967 version of Zeke from Cabin Creek?

  4. notreallyimportant May 20, 2006 at 1:40 pm

    But after D isn’t the jumper the most important quality? Kobe takes care of the penetration, and the offense really isn;t predicated on the fast break, which really are J-Kidd’s forte. Although I do think Kidd is the best PG in the NBA right now, I’m just not sold on him being an ideal triangle backcourt partner for Kobe.
    Shaun Livingston would be interesting, although I would feel alot better about his health prospects if he put on 10 or 20 pounds of bulk.

  5. chris henderson May 20, 2006 at 9:45 pm

    s kidd even an option?

  6. notreallyimportant May 21, 2006 at 12:51 am

    In the initial post (1) my question was who would be the absolute best fit PG for the triangle, if we did not have to worry about contracts, or players wanting to go elsewhere.

  7. Where are you getting these new numbers? Insider?

  8. notreallyimportant May 21, 2006 at 1:56 am

    Yeah, insider has daily updating PER. Duncan fell under 30 after that less than stellar game 6 with foul trouble, but 29.49 is still through the roof.

  9. After that great night Kobe had on TNT (the whole thing is on Youtube, so go check it out), Scoop Jackson wrote a great article on the comparison between Kobe and MJ23, and now Ric Bucher gives us a breath of fresh air in tonight’s Daily Dime.

    http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/dailydime?page=dailydime-060522

  10. James, your point about the playoffs is valid, but by the same token I’m not sold on Kwame being the answer based on how he played the last few weeks. Much of his season was unacceptable on offense, and in the past he has not shown the ability to sustain good play over tine. That’s why, I say we keep Mihm at least until the trading deadline, unless an offer for him is just too good to ignore.

    Best point for the Tri — for the future I’d consider Livingston but I’d go Chauncey Billups right now/.

  11. la will beat da suns next year! take a look at my laker site!

    http://www.geocities.com/lakers_land/index2.htm

  12. A word on Cle-Det. Though I love Kobe’s game, I don’t think he’s perfect. I’m also a LeBron fan. But I’m really sick of the double standard in the Kobe-LeBron comparisons. LeBron became a nonfactor in the second half of the most important game of his life, and he gets let down easy all over the media (with a very few exceptions). Oh, the Pistons played such good defense, oh, Lebron was tired. All valid and all true. But damn, why does Kobe get crucified for his game 7, and Lebron gets a pat on the head for his? You don’t have to love everybody, and you have to call ‘em the way you see ‘em, and no one should be immune from criticism, and all that, but a little fairness would be nice.

  13. I agree about Kwame–you can’t just say he played well for a month or two and believe next year he’ll definitely do it all season long.

    That said, in Kwame the Lakers have a very good defensive center who has potential on offense but doesn’t deliver regularly. In Mihm, they have a decent all-around center who is also somewhat inconsistent.

    The issue is that he doesn’t give the Lakers a significantly better scoring threat than Kwame, meaning the Lakers need another scorer at either the 1 or the 3. If they can get that and keep Mihm, that’s obviously preferable. I’m not sure they can, so while I wouldn’t go all out to trade Chris, I’d sure explore every available option for the one available trade chip the team has. Losing Chris would definitely hurt the Lakers, but doubtfully as much as having Walton/George and Smush on the court at the same time will.