Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Dallas and Rondo

One of the most bizarre combinations in recent memory has just been started in Dallas.  Barring any other major moves it breaks down like this.

Rondo has an excellent assist rate- and the Mavs don't need it at all.  Without him they were #2 offensively with an excellent TS mark (#4) and above average TO and Oreb rates.  The Mavs offense doesn't run on one player handling the ball and creating an opening for another member to finish- it works on using Dirk to force Ds into odd positions and then exploiting the different assignments/rotations.  Their leading assist man so far has been off the bench in JJ Berea (assist% 32), but among their starters their two guards were in the low 20s, and Dirk is at 13%.  Their two highest USG players do their own shot creation, and dish out a few assists each as well. 

Rondo's biggest liability is... not his shooting.  Its his TO rate- over 20%- is really bad for a team that has terrific finishers.  Giving up possessions without a shot when you have Dirk is just bad, as the better possessions that you gain from those risky passes generally aren't as good as Dallas' standard sets.  Also not at all promising is that Rondo's TO rate was HIGHER when he played with Allen/Pierce/Garnett.  The reduced offensive responsibility didn't lead to better decision making. 

The one potentially  saving grace is that Rondo is a monstrous rebounder for his position, and Dallas stinks on the defensive glass (#29).  Rajon's career defensive rebounding rate is almost as high as the Mavs' starting SFs, and their total rebound rates are the same.  That doesn't say much for Parsons as a rebounder, but it does show the impact that Rondo can have.  1.5-2 extra defensive rebounds a game over the Nelson/Harris duo could push the Mavs from #22 on D to the low teens on its own, without considering his on ball skills and high steal rate. 

This is going to be a very awkward fit- Carlise has to reign in a PG's passing and shooting while emphasizing his D.  This is going to be odd.

Monday, December 8, 2014

76ers doing it right

Tons and tons of people are mad at the 76ers rebuild, upset that they created a team so bad they would land the best lottery odds.  They are missing half of the equation though.

Our story starts a long time ago (2 years) in a land far far away (cleve-land)  The Cavs were a very bad team on their way to 24 total wins.  On the bench was coach Byron Scott in his 3rd year trying to squeeze some wins out of this group to either keep his job or audition for a new job while the Cavs clearly needed more talent and a high draft pick.  You never want a FO and a coach at odds with each other, the fact that the Cavs ended up with the #1 pick is incidental (and lucky) as the conflict cost them.

During that season coach Scott played a bunch of guys that would never suit up for the Cavs again a bunch of mins.  Walton, Ellington, Speights, Livingston are names that were fun to watch (or as fun as an awful team can be) while a bunch of guys that are out of the league (Samuels, Jones, Pargo) sat on the bench.  Hidden on that bench though were three guys currently cracking NBA rotations and doing not so badly for themselves.  Jon Leuer is playing 15 mpg with a 16 PER for a contender, Omri Casspi has spent last 2 years acquitting himself as an NBA rotation player across two teams and last and certainly least Donald Sloan is showing that his rebounding, defense and ball handling is enough to be a fringe NBA player. 

Losing these guys hasn't crushed the Cavs future, but it stinks that a team that (at the time) needed long term NBA assets missed out on the two best on their team out of a grab bag of suck (obviously excluding high draft picks that get playing time by virtue) because they sat behind salary dump Walton who was about to retire and a bunch of guys that are bouncing around at near the vet minimum.

This is what Philly has done by stripping almost all of the good NBA players from their roster- they have committed to their coach the idea that they aren't tying the team results to his job security.  He has been free to mine the best long term prospects from the poo-poo platter he has been handed.  Are Henry Sims, Tony Wroten and Alexey Shved long term starters on playoff teams?  Not in the slightest, but they do look like they could be solid- and so important in today's NBA cheap- rotation pieces when the 76ers finally do open up that bucket of cap space and start making big moves to reverse course.  There is no conflict here between management and the coaching staff and while that advantage is slight, it is an advantage most rebuilding teams have failed to grasp on their clawing and often embarrassing fall to lottery spoils.