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.