Thursday, November 18, 2010

Early Returns On Continuing Themes, Part 2

Previously: Part 1

It's far too early from on/off data from this season to contain much meaning but I thought I'd look at players and combinations of players that have been discussed previously with an eye at determining if anything might be changing.

All data courtesy of

1) Josh Powell is as much worse than his Hawks teammates as he was worse than his two-time NBA Champion Lakers teammates.

Josh PowellOffense


The Lakers, who outscored opponents by 5 points per 100 possessions in 2008-09 and 8.2 points per 100 possessions in 2009-10, were outscored by 8.4 and 5.7 points per 100 possessions with Powell on the floor in the last two seasons (over roughly 2400 possessions), respectively.

The Hawks have outscored opponents by 4.4 points per 100 possessions through 12 games. When Powell's on the floor, the Hawks have been outscored by 11.3 points per 100 possessions (over roughly 320 possessions).

2) The Hawks are not as good when Jamal Crawford is on the court as when he's off the court.

Jamal Crawford's scoring is down and his turnovers are up this season compared to last season's career year but he's still a potent and efficient offensive player off the bench. However, even during that career year, the Hawks outscored their opponents when Crawford was on the court but by 1.5 fewer points per 100 possessions than when Crawford was off the court.

Now that he's having a more typical Jamal Crawford season (and likely influenced by the occasional absence of Marvin Williams, Mo Evans, and, during certain second quarters, Al Horford from the rotation), the Hawks are getting outscored with Crawford on the court.


3) Maybe Josh Smith can play the 3.

The on/off data for Josh Smith playing the 3 (mostly in the absence of Marvin Williams and Mo Evans) is surprisingly positive (as is his jump shooting*) so far this season.

Josh SmithOff EffDef EffDiffPoss
at the 3108.599.5+9190
at the 4114.4108.1+6.3606

On the other hand, playing away from the basket more often has coincided with Smith's offensive rebound, free throw and assist rates declining and his turnover rate increasing over last season.

It's too soon to draw any conclusions but it's certainly something worthy of continued monitoring.

*Updating this, Smith is shooting 49.2% outside of 16 feet this season. The league average outside of 16 feet is 46.2%.

4) Joe Johnson's defensive measurables are poor, the reasons why murky.

For the third straight season, the Hawks are allowing more points when Joe Johnson's on the court than when he's off the court.


There are three possible explanations for this each of which is convincing to some degree:
1) The unrealistic defensive assignments Johnson draws because of the deficiencies of his teammates.
2) The amount of time Johnson plays with the second unit.
3) Johnson is a below average defensive player.
5) Larry Drew has done a good job of spotting Jason Collins.

Collins has played just 5 offensive and 4 defensive possessions without at least one of Josh Smith or Al Horford playing alongside him and the Hawks were outscored 6-2 in that setting.
  • With both Smith and Horford on the court with Collins, the Hawks have outscored opponents 102-70.
  • With just Smith and Collins on the court, the Hawks have outscored opponents 47-34.
  • With just Horford and Collins on the court, the Hawks have outscored opponents 15-6.
Hoorah to intangibles and/or All-Star teammates!


Adam Malka said...

Maybe I'm just projecting my own desires here, but it would seem that the Collins evidence implies that Pachulia would be great playing alongside Horford and Smith.

On a broader scale, is there any way to discern the best possible five for the Hawks--in terms of point differential?

Bret LaGree said...

Adam --

Just like last season, the most-used lineup is the starting lineup (Bibby/Johnson/Williams/Smith/Horford) and it's hugely effective.

+5.5 pts per 100 possessions in 1169 minutes last season.

+13.4 pts per 100 possessions in 142 minutes this season.