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ESPN the Magazine NBA Preview Nuggets

espn-magI just received my copy of ESPN the Magazine NBA Preview edition and as usual there are a number of nuggets that are thought provoking- most of which are analytics oriented.  For maximum effect, one should check out the whole issue but in the meantime, I’ll highlight a few of my favorite blurbs.  My comments are in bold.

  • “If the Warriors taught us anything, it’s that in today’s NBA, you must master two philosophies: pace and space.  Fast teams create more scoring chances.”
  • “To reveal who makes defenses cover the most space, Grantland’s Kirk Goldsberry maps each team’s offense.”  I really like the terminology of “making defenses cover the most space”.
  • “NBA Insider Kevin Pelton has gone and created a stat-progressive rating-to quantify how modern an offense is-based on projected 3’s, pace of play and passing”.  This chart equates “modern” with “good”.
  • “HEAT MAPS…ranks each team’s offensive efficiency based on square footage”. Measures square footage above average that defenses have to cover.
  • “KYLE KORVER EFFECT.  To identify players who expand the offense the most…”.The point here, of course, is that in addition to a good 3pt shooter’s immediate and primary value of the points he scores, he has the 2nd equally important value of expanding the floor for his teammates to operate.
  • “Korver led the NBA in 3PT% (49.2) and hit on an absurd 57% from the right corner last season.  Butler (Jimmy) is an assassin from the left corner, where he hits almost 55%.  DeRozan (DeMar) flung 319 shots from 15 to 19 feet last season, where he shot 34%. “Do you keep track of shooting %’s of your players and/or opponents from different spots on the floor?  If so, do you utilize this info?
  • “One of the NBA’s best interior threats?  Westbrook: 11.3 ppg in the paint, the only guard in the top 10.” It really doesn’t matter by whom or how the defense’s interior is penetrated- as long as it consistently is- by players who can finish.

The ESPN NBA Preview contains many other salient points to consider for coaches at all levels and more discerning fans.  While NBA analogies and analytics aren’t generally in everyone’s thought processes, anytime one can examine the game from different perspectives, it can be valuable even if only one or two nuggets are incorporated into one’s thinking.    

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