Early season On-court / Off-court

December 14th, 2012 by Kevin Hetrick

Who is that masked man? That's Tristan Thompson, the NBA's 83rd best defensive player.

This article is based on the on-court / off-court data for the Cavaliers this season, provided by basketball-reference.com. Several interesting items of note will be mentioned and then discussed.

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Cleveland’s effective field goal percentage when Dion Waiters plays is 48.4%, the highest on the team. Their offensive rating of 109.5 far exceeds all other players, and amounts to nearly 15 points per 100 possesions better than his bench-time.

This could mean two things (or likely, partially both things).  The sample size is small, and the results relatively random.  Or, despite his ineffiency, Dion’s high-usage, dynamic offensive style provides intangible benefits.  A few points in this regards:

  • Ideally, Gee and Thompson are 15% usage players; probably lower for Tristan.  For better or worse, Andy plays at 18% usage.  So unless the plan is for Kyrie to shoot as often as Kobe (maybe this should be), someone needs to take shots to allow the ‘role players’ to function at their most efficient usage.
  • The Cavs offensive rebound rate of 35.9% is highest during his on-court stints.  You thought it was when Varejao played?  Dion’s shooting from deep actually resides around league average.  He has been horrible finishing.  You know what happens though, when he gets to the basket, draws the opposing big, and misses?  Andy or Tristan get an easy tip-in.  This has happened quite a bit this season.
  • Finally, his frequent and relatively effective three point attempts spread the floor.

Of course, I am an obnoxious Dion apologist.

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To balance that, I will note that the offense results in assisted baskets on nearly eight-percent less makes when Dion plays.

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Team defense has been 9 points per 100 possesions better when Tristan suits-up, thanks to a dramatic 5.5% decrease in opponent effective field goal percentage.

Looking at my favorite defensive stat, RAPM, Tristan ranks 83rd of the 300+ players with 500 or more possessions; better than three-quarters of the league.  A solid start from a 21 year old.  Like everyone else, it would be nice to not see all of his shots blocked, but credit must be given where due.

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Defense rates 9 points per 100 worse with Gee on-court, while being 10 points per 100 better with Casspi.  RAPM picks Casspi as among the four Cavs (of 15) to play above average defense this season.

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Cleveland’s rebounding rate is 6.6% higher when Andy plays.  No elaborate discussion needed there.

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The offense is 13 points per 100 possessions worse when Donald Sloan plays.  I would say “ah, the perils of backing up Kyrie”, but the offense does not drop nearly as precipitously with Pargo at the helm.

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At least the offense isn’t 27 points per 100 possessions worse when Mr. Sloan plays.  That honor belongs to Luke Walton.

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Team offense improves by eight points per hundred when Kyrie plays.  It is also much more fun to watch.  According to RAPM, he is the league’s 20th best offensive player.  Not shabby for a 20-year old.

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Of the Cavs with over 200 minutes, only Kyrie and Tristan show better results for both offense and defense when on-court.  That’s right, team defense is slightly better when Kyrie plays.  And the team offense overcomes Tristan’s struggles.  I guess they help offset each other’s deficiencies.  Now, if they can both figure out the other end.

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Only Daniel Gibson and Jeremy Pargo show worse results at both ends.  The team is 14 points worse per hundred during Boobie’s time.  The coaching staff occassionally gives him credit for solid defense, but there is no tangible evidence.  It’s probably veteran leadership that they are referring to.

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Well, I am done.  You have the link; what other ‘fun’ results are there?

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