Completely happy Thanksgiving, everybody! I hope you all had an exquisite day with your loved ones and plenty of nice meals.
Nonetheless, in my humble opinion, the actual Thanksgiving was celebrated six weeks in the past.
Jokes apart, there are many issues to be grateful for within the NBA, such because the 10-7… Kings?!?
Let’s save the most effective for final, although (similar to pumpkin pie!), and begin out in Boston.
The Celtics’ historic offense
Scoring has elevated exponentially over the previous decade, and that development is not slowing down anytime quickly. The common offensive score is at the moment 112.6, however the Celtics are on one other planet: they’re scoring an absurd 120 factors per 100 possessions, which might be the best quantity in league historical past.
Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown are averaging a mixed 51.2 factors, 14.6 rebounds, and eight.1 assists on 49/35/85 taking pictures, and the whole group is hitting threes at a 39.7% clip. Extra spectacular is the truth that they’re making all these makes an attempt whereas taking 44.6% of their pictures from past the arc, which is tied for first within the league alongside Golden State (Daryl Morey simply felt a surge of Dopamine someplace in Philly).
The scariest half is that this group can nonetheless have the most effective offense even when their sizzling taking pictures drops off, because the hole between Boston’s 120 offensive score and second-place Phoenix (117.2) is bigger than the hole between Phoenix and ninth-place Dallas ( 114.5).
Certain, their location-effective area aim proportion (54.8%, eighth within the league), is larger than their precise charge (58.3%, 1st), however that does not bear in mind the standard of shooters Boston has. Amongst their prime seven gamers by minutes performed, solely Derrick White and Marcus Good have traditionally shot beneath common from deep, they usually’re getting high quality seems to be too: in accordance with NBA monitoring information, the Celtics are taking 19.3 wide-open threes per recreation ( sixth most league-wide), which they categorize as a shot with defenders being 6+ toes away.
So even when Al Horford, Grant Williams, and White do not proceed to make 45% of pictures from deep, Boston can stay an elite offense simply from the seems to be that they are producing.
Extra importantly, the Celtics additionally lead the league in half-court offensive score to an absurd diploma. They’re at the moment scoring 107.2 factors per 100 possessions towards set defenses, and the distinction between them and second-place Sacramento (102.7) is bigger than the distinction between Sacramento and ninth-place Utah (98.5).
The pattern measurement is not small, both: 81.3% of Boston’s possessions are of the half-court selection, which is the sixth highest charge within the league. Bear in mind, the Celtics’ half-court offense was their Achilles heel throughout final yr’s finals, so this could be probably the most encouraging stat of their season to date.
Come playoff time, a rematch between them and Milwaukee could possibly be even higher than their collection final season. We have beforehand mentioned how the Bucks have switched their defensive scheme to stop threes, so having these juggernauts meet could be like witnessing an unstoppable power vs an immovable object.
And hey, so long as Luke Kornet retains doing this on protection, Boston may have pretty much as good of an opportunity as any group to win the title this yr.
The Trae/Dejounte partnership
Atlanta made an enormous guess within the offseason by buying and selling three future first-round picks to amass Dejounte Murray, and the returns to date have been fascinating, to say the least.
Check out their on/off splits:
Each on: +7.4 internet score, 117.2 offensive score, 109.7 defensive score
Trae on, Dejounte off: -8.9 internet score, 110.7 offensive score, 119.6 defensive score
Dejounte on, Draw off: -9.5 internet score, 99.8 offensive score, 109.3 defensive score
It is regarding to see that Atlanta’s nonetheless struggling to generate offense at any time when Trae sits, even with Dejounte operating the present. Essentially the most shocking stat, although, is the Trae minutes alone.
Final yr, the Hawks had a +3.2 internet score and a 119.3 offensive score with Trae taking part in, and that was with out the presence of Dejounte. Lots of these minutes have been spent alongside Kevin Huerter (who’s at the moment lighting it up in Sac-town), so it looks like Atlanta might need underestimated simply how impactful Crimson Velvet was as a secondary creator.
It is necessary to notice that Bogdan Bogdanovic additionally performed an important function in these lineups, and his ongoing damage has left a gaping gap on a roster that is nonetheless anemic offensively with out Trae.
Atlanta’s playbook hasn’t modified, both. They have been second league-wide in decide and roll frequency final yr (22%) and are first this season (22.8%). The variety of P&Rs that Trae runs really has elevated from 14 final yr (most within the league) to 14.2 this yr (second most behind Luka), so any hope of him taking part in extra off-ball hasn’t precisely gone to plan.
In the meantime, Dejounte can be operating 8.6 P&Rs, and whereas that is down from final yr (10.5), it is nonetheless thirteenth most league-wide on a per-game foundation.
Because of this, it should not be shocking that Atlanta’s offense is usually only a my flip, your flip, backwards and forwards between the 2 guards and not using a ton of motion.
Any hope of Trae incorporating extra off-ball motion is now gone… at any time when Dejounte has the ball, he often simply stands round and generally seems to be for a spot-up pic.twitter.com/qJ9yF0QtBD
— Invoice Huan (@bill_huan) November 25, 2022
Shockingly, the Hawks are literally ninth in protection, however that comes with large pink flags. Opponents at the moment have an efficient area aim proportion of 52.5% towards Atlanta, which is the sixth lowest charge within the league, however the Hawks are literally twenty fourth in location efficient area aim proportion, as opponents are anticipated to be taking pictures 54.9% as a substitute.
Provided that Atlanta has been within the backside 5 in protection in two of the final three seasons, it is doubtless that the poor opponent taking pictures has extra to do with luck somewhat than scheme, and a dropoff will likely be coming quickly.
Offensively, the Hawks are additionally surprisingly twentieth within the league, and they need to enhance as soon as Bogdanovic returns they usually have extra time to acclimate Dejounte into their system. Even so, Atlanta ranks twenty fifth in efficient area aim proportion (51.2%) and twenty ninth in location efficient area aim proportion (53%) since they’ve the bottom three-point frequency (27.6%) and are backside 10 in shot frequency across the rim too (32.3%).
Taking the whole lot into consideration, it is arduous to see how Atlanta could be a true East contender. Even when their offenses enhance, the Hawks nonetheless have the shot profile of a group from the 80s, and the numbers additionally counsel that their present protection is a fluke.
The most popular group within the league is… the Kings?!?!
LIGHT THE BEAM, BABY, LIGHT THE BEAM!! THE
KANGZ KINGS ARE 10-7 AND JUST WENT ON A SEVEN GAME WIN STREAK.
50 years from now, I’ll speak about this prefer it was the second coming of the moon touchdown.
In all seriousness, Sacramento really seems to be… competent?
The Kings at the moment have a +2.4 internet score (seventh) with a 117.1 offensive score (4th), and a number of their enchancment may be attributed to the elite play of De’Aaron Fox.
After being one of many worst clutch gamers within the league final yr, Fox has fully flipped that script. He at the moment leads the league with 50 factors within the clutch this season, which is much more spectacular contemplating he is completed that in solely 38 minutes performed.
Fox has additionally made 20 of his 31 area aim makes an attempt throughout that point, and whereas he will not proceed taking pictures over 64% throughout crunch time, his decision-making enhancements counsel that Sacramento can now lean on him to be a dependable lead ball- handler and proceed spearheading an elite offense.
Check out the primary possession within the following clip to get a way of what I imply.
Prior to now, Fox would doubtless have pressured up that shot as a substitute of discovering the massive for a simple dunk, however he now routinely takes an additional second to scan the courtroom to make sure that he is making the fitting play.
There are some stats, although, which point out that Fox and the Kings doubtless will not maintain their present degree of play. For starters, Fox is taking pictures 53% from the mid-range and 38% from deep, that are each profession highs and substantial enhancements from final yr (46% and 30%, respectively).
Sacramento can be overperforming their anticipated taking pictures proportion as an entire, as they’re second in efficient area aim proportion (57.6%) however fifteenth in location area aim proportion (54.3%).
With that stated, Fox can be taking a career-low 24% of his pictures across the rim, and if that will increase to his common common of ~35%, then it might offset any potential lower in pull-up effectivity.
Extra importantly, Sacramento’s protection is due for main enchancment. In contrast to Atlanta, the Kings are sixth in opponent location efficient area aim proportion (53.7%) however an unfortunate twenty ninth in precise proportion (56.2%). They permit the fewest wide-open threes per recreation (11.8) however opponents are nonetheless taking pictures an unsustainable 43.8% on such makes an attempt. General, the opposition is making 38.8% on threes towards Sacramento, the second-highest charge league-wide, however historical past reveals us that conceding lower-quality pictures ought to end in defensive enhancements.
Briefly, the numbers counsel that the Kings’ protection will enhance greater than their offense would possibly decline, so there may be loads of cause to consider that their latest surge is an indication of issues to come back somewhat than a flash within the pan.
This week, please take a look at Dr. Pittsley’s article on fascinating Spurs numbers from the primary quarter of the season. The Professor’s Nook is among the finest collection on SBNation so do not miss out!
Thanks for studying and see you all subsequent week!
All stats courtesy of Cleansing the Glass and NBA Stats.