Monday, January 04, 2010

Falling Apart

NOTE: Even this narrow slice of data took longer than I anticipated to compile. If anything's unclear in the display and telling or if you have a reasonable request for expanding the survey, please make use of the comments.

Let's compare, both on a team and individual level the results, before and after, the three successive offensive collapses. On the positive side of the ledger: the first three quarters at home against Cleveland, the first half at Cleveland, and the first three quarters against New York; on the negative side: the fourth quarter at home against Cleveland, the second half at Cleveland, the fourth quarter and overtime against New York.

The home game against Cleveland:

Period Poss/48 Off Eff eFG% FT Rate OR% TO%
54.7 30.2
16.0 12.3
96.2 0.416 29.4

The game at Cleveland:

Period Poss/48 Off Eff eFG% FT Rate OR% TO%
61.4 22.7
31.6 11.1
83.8 0.884 42.3

The game against New York:

Period Poss/48 Off Eff eFG% FT Rate OR% TO%
53.7 10.3
38.2 9.4
87.5 0.903 40.6

And, the totals:

Atlanta Poss/48 Off Eff eFG% FT Rate OR% TO%
56.1 20.0
29.5 10.9
87.3 0.734 39.2

I believe that in this small a sample size that the possessions per 48 minutes columns are not especially revealing about the tempo of the Hawks' offense in one segment of the game versus the other as the Hawks are clearly having shorter possessions (and almost all of them with the clock running) in the "After" portion of these games due to the sharp increase in turnovers and the severely diminished offensive rebound rate.

Now, for individual players, the before and after totals from the last three games...

Johnson, J
Pts/36 FGA/36 TS% FT Rate A/36 TO/36
58.5 7.3
5.1 1.4
20.6 20.6 47.7

Keep in mind that the After row for Johnson includes the 19 points on 16 shots he scored in the second half in Cleveland. Johnson has taken 35% of Atlanta's shots in the late, unsuccessful portions of the last three games, making them at a low rate* while not getting to the line**, not setting up his teammates successfully, and turning the ball over*** more frequently than normal both in relation to the rest of these games and the season as a whole.

*League average True Shooting Percentage for the season is 54%. Johnson's is 54.2% for the season.

**Even by his modest standards: Johnson's FT Rate for the season is 17.3.

***Johnson's assist to turnover ratio on the season is 7:3, a far cry from the 1:4 ratio late in the last three games.

Horford, A
Pts/36 FGA/36 TS% FT Rate A/36 TO/36
81.7 16.7
2.5 2.5
7.1 9.8 33.7

Thanks to the six field goal attempts he got in the second half, Al Horford isn't losing shots overall late in these games but, if the Hawks are becoming more reliant on the half-court offense and that half-court offense is becoming more stagnant then Horford is not being utilized optimally especially with two games against Cleveland and their frontline that does make Horford undersized in the post. That Horford attempted just two* field goals against the Knicks' frontline of Harrington and Gallinari remains inexplicable. The assist and turnover numbers suggest that Horford does his part to keep the ball moving (when he gets to touch it) even as the team's offensive efficiency implodes.

Also of note, Horford, when he's on the court, has rebounded 38.9% of opposition misses in the "After" portions of these three games. Depending on your perspective he's either admirably keeping the Hawks in these games longer or painfully prolonging the inevitable.

*and one of those a desperation catch-and-shoot as the shot clock expired

Smith, Josh
Pts/36 FGA/36 TS% FT Rate A/36 TO/36
48.5 43.5
3.8 0.5
15.5 11.6 61.3

As always, Josh Smith is a contradictory presence: scoring more often and shooting better late but turning the ball over much more often and unable to create offense for his teammates.

Crawford, J
Pts/36 FGA/36 TS% FT Rate A/36 TO/36
62.4 22.2
3.4 1.4
3.4 11.9 13.4

Jamal Crawford's role in these offensive collapses has probably been understated due to the higher standard to which we hold Joe Johnson. Consdering that Crawford contributes extraordinarily little when not making shots, that he's played 80% of the "After" minutes over the last three games while scoring 4 points on 2-14 shooting represents the greatest tactical mistake Mike Woodson has made.

Williams, M
Pts/36 FGA/36 TS% FT Rate A/36 TO/36
72.1 42.9
1.1 0.5
9.8 8.4 58.3

He's not been very productive due to his low usage but Marvin Williams has been an effective offensive player on the possessions he's used over the last three games. Factor in his superior defense and rebounding and one wonders whether he might have been worth an important point or two more than Jamal Crawford down the stretch of one of these games.

Bibby, M
Pts/36 FGA/36 TS% FT Rate A/36 TO/36
49.4 12.5
8.0 2.3
7.5 10.3 36.4

Certainly there's been little benefit to playing both Bibby and Crawford rather than having Williams on the floor as the Hawks have failed to close out each of the last three games.

Johnson, Crawford, and Bibby have taken 53 of Atlanta's 88 shots during these offensive collapses. They've made 17 of those (collective eFG%: 35.8), attempted a total of five free throws (making only two), and turned the ball over 8 times while earning just 11 assists.

Cleveland and New York both deserve credit for their successful efforst to slow an offense that killed them for eight quarters cumulatively but the constant across these three games has been the Hawks' inability to score late in games with anything approaching the effectiveness they manage early in the same games. Whether a guard-heavy halfcourt offense (crunchtime or otherwise) is inherently flawed or not for this team at this time, it has failed spectacularly for three successive games wherein the Hawks scored, for long stretches of each game, at least 114 points per 100 possessions using a more diverse offensive attack.


CoCo said...

Thanks for confirming what we all already knew. Now, next time you're in a post game press conference, you have to press Woody on this! :)

Unknown said...

This is where sometimes - the eyeballs can save you time and effort, but since you went through the admirable effort - can you go ahead and send this anonymously to Coach Woodson or anyone who works with the Atlanta Spirit.

I'm beginning to feel once again that Teague was a bad draft pick. Not because he doesn't have talent, but because he's too young to ever garner enough respect to break the Woodson/Johnson 4th quarter strangehold on the offense. I'm finally on the Ty Lawson bandwagon - I watched him play the other night and he commands the team to run the plays they are supposed to, not what the franchise player demands. Neither Bibby or Teague are strong enough PG presences to ignore JJ or Woody when everything highlights that we should. Put this on the watch list for the rest of the season and particularly in the postseason.

Bret LaGree said...

It wasn't fun to do but it is nice to get some confirmation that my initial analysis (in this case) wasn't crippled by bias.

I don't think it's fair to make any sort of firm evaluation regarding Teague or the handling of Teague this season. The only point guards drafted in that range of the draft who have been even average NBA players as rookies are Chalmers, Duhon, and, this year, Lawson. Each older and more experienced than Teague.

It's not that Bibby and Crawford don't have overlapping weaknesses (Personally, I'd leave Bibby out there and play Williams ahead of Crawford down the stretch. Bibby at least knows his limitations and tries to compensate as best he can while Crawford tends to go into a trance when the other team has the ball, not that any of these guys would be on the team had I any influence over personnel decisions in the first place.) but I think that it's pointless to hope that Mike Woodson, much as he's improved in some areas, is going to become a micro-tactical dynamo and attempt to plug players into specific situations. Guys get roles and they stay in roles. Overall, Teague's role is most likely largely commensurate with his ability at this point.

CoCo said...

Luv you make an interesting point about Bibby nor Teague being strong enough to ignore JJ. That's the biggest problem, but it's not just limited to Bibby and Teague. I don't think anyone (players or coaches) has the balls to ignore JJ. Like I wrote earlier this season, they are content to let Joe shoot them out of games. Teague isn't going to be a factor, I've pretty much accepted that. However, the rest of those guys better grow a pair and demand some respect from the coach and max player. It's not fair to them that Woody is so loyal to Joe that he'll let him ruin winnable games for them. He won't bench him under any circumstances, yet he'll do it to the other players without pause. Woody will not be coaching this team next year at this rate.

Hawksgirl said...

I hate statistics(mainly because i get a headache) but these open up your eyes. I usually just read and don't comment but thanks for the originality. I feel now that joe needs to trust his team and maybe, just maybe, woody will follow. And coco, your right woody will not bench him. But will bench someone else in a second. I just hope woody comes to his senses.

weemsildinho said...

Thanks for all the hard work you put in to find these numbers, Bret. And yes it does prove what we thought we were seeing already. Its alarming how terrible the free throw rate was in those after portions. I have thought that we haven't gotten to the free throw line enough this year as a whole, but its going to continue to be tough to pull out close games when we aren't going to the line for some easy points.