Luka’s Heliocentrism, Effective Crimes and Bennedict Mathurin: NBA Analytics Lookaround

The NBA The season is three weeks old and still a little It’s too early to make big statements about how the rest of the season and ultimately the postseason will progress. We just need to roll our eyes again one season for how long Celtics It took well into the New Year to find the look that got them out of the mist of “Should we untie this pulp?” Blaming on the NBA Finals sidewalk.

But with every team except Dallas At least 10 matches in their schedule, we can start to identify some things to watch and some trends.

Too much burden on Luka Dongic In Big D?

term “Heliocentrism“It was an accident, arising from the search for a catchy article title. But it captures precisely one approach to the question of how much a team should rely on its star.

In recent years, teams have been like Houston Rocketswith James Hardenbut recently Atlanta Hawkswith Tra Youngand the Dallas Mavericks, along with Luka Donjic, gave these individuals burdens without precedent.

The theory is easy to understand: Shot creation is one of the most expensive skills in the NBA in terms of salary and business assets needed to acquire it. For a team blessed with a player who can do a lot of creativity, why not count on that and “min-max” the rest of the roster full of offensive/high-impact defensive complements? It is logical and effective without a doubt. How well this approach translates into consistent post-season success is another question. One doesn’t want to read too much into a small sample of soap operas against a historical juggernaut like the Warriors The teams that defeated, first, the Harden’s Rockets and most recently Donči’s Mavs.

But those teams never made it to the finals, and over the years I became increasingly convinced that the “one man does it all” approach is if not doomed, but also at least suboptimal in terms of reaching the ultimate goal of winning a championship. At a certain point, it becomes difficult to ignore the benefits of additional playmakers in terms of offensive diversity and reduced effects of cumulative fatigue on a single star.

Comparing the Hawks to the Mavericks has become more of a cliché since Young and Doncic swapped places on draft day in 2018, but the two make for an interesting study in different approaches. Sure enough, the Hawks family was acting as if they needed to find Young, a more possessive deputy Dignity Murraywhile losing Mavs Galen Bronson In the off season, put more on the luca plate.

However, the results were good! The Mavs weigh in at 6-3 and have the second strongest attack in the league so far. So why am I worried?

Just looking at the second half of the matches, they are 11th in attack, and in the fourth quarter, they are 9th in attack with a negative points difference. This mark looks worse when removing the 13-point edge they had in fourth with their 41-point win MemphisThe only blast they’ve played this season. In each of the first three quarters of the games, Dončić’s True Shooting was over 60 percent. In the fourth? It’s 50.0 percent on point so far.

Combine this with long career style Which saw Dončić’s scoring acumen drop significantly in the second half of the games as he had massive use in the first half and I’m starting to get nervous. Add to that Dončić flirting with the biggest single-season self-creation burden of the tracking data era — he’s making 29.3 self-generated attempts compared to Harden’s all-time high of 29.8/100 in 2018-19, and the worry turns to worry.

The fact that this method is effective in terms of winning games, which are pretty close, may be the biggest concern of all. Teams adjust to gains and losses more easily than they do to address concerns.

For example, over the last 10 seasons, teams have made adjustments to starting lineups between games in a series about 19.8 percent of the time. However, teams that won the last match did so in only 11.7 percent of matches compared to 27.9 percent for teams that lost. This is somewhat expected, but “wait till we lose one” is a time-honoured tradition. It’s not clear on a superficial level how the Mavs should address this concern – without Bronson the roster would be completely devoid of anyone able to post Luka’s responsibilities – but past experience tells us they won’t really try until they stop getting away with it.

By that time it is usually too late.

Pinball offensive efficiency

During Monday’s games, the NBA as a whole scored 112.4 points per game, the ninth-highest scoring average ever, and the highest since 1969-70 when teams averaged about 10 more attempts. And the 10 more free throws per game than you do today. The offensive rating of 111.9/100 would be the third-highest efficiency on record since the stat became traceable in 1973-74, according to the Basketball Reference. This arrangement may reduce the degree of explosiveness.

The first few weeks of the season generally witness the least effective League-wide offense. Over the past 20 years, ORTG has gone up about 2 points/100 from that point, nearly 150 games, to the season final aggregate average. If this trend continues, 2022-23 will do blur The previous record is 112.3 / 100 set in 2020-21. Unlike that season, we haven’t seen the three-point shooting accuracy that characterizes the blank portion of the 2020-21 season, with 35.7 percent overall and 38.1 percent in uncontested 3 seconds within the normal range and over a point. – Half less than the crowd-free period in 2020-21.

What’s going on?

earlier in the season, Note Kevin Bilton That both free throw and possession result from the new “Fault” rules And the The increase in transfer chances caused by modding players and not stifling quick breaks in the backcourt has led to some of the increase. But only some.

Other differences include a slight Rebalancing shot selection away from the arc and toward paint. Last season, about 44 percent of attempts were taken inside the key compared to 38 percent of the deeps. So far in 2022-23, 46 percent of attempts have been to draw compared to “only” 37 percent from outside the arc. While there has been no change between the last campaign and this in terms of overall eFG%, more shots are experienced in paint goes hand in hand with more offensive bounces (24.5 OREB% will be the highest since 2014-15) and rate Free throw as only one season since 2010-2011 has seen an FTA/FGA ratio greater than .209 for this year.

Will this season really follow the normal trends, resulting in a season-long ORTG at 114 or even 115 seconds? Who can say for sure? I’ll note that a number of veteran teams seemed qualitatively slow on the defensive at first and I could easily see many of them in their natural form. Perhaps the first off-season natural length since the pandemic began offered some early benefits for younger-legged teams?

I’ll be the first to admit that I wasn’t ahead of Benedict Mathurin as a potential draft. This was less of his performance in Arizona, per se, than of being skeptical of the archetype of the mid-sized winger who was a top scorer in college. Too many things can go wrong in terms of not translating a shot, NBA size or speed being too much to create a special shot, or simply not being able to stay in front of anyone defensively. Being a wing builder is a tough struggle in the NBA, and these players often end up being one dimensional rockets – Terence Ross being Good The score in this aspect – or ineffective statistical controls in the medium to poor teams.

Often the main question is “Can you get easy points?” With the two surest ways to do this, that is to either become a deep lit shooter or have the ability to reach the basket constantly, or more conveniently, to the line. It’s too early to talk about Mathurin as a shooter, but hitting 25 out of the first 62 (40.3 percent) from 3 throws isn’t exactly bad Signal.

What puts him in sublime company is the frequency with which he reaches the bar. In the past 20 seasons, only two rookies have attempted at least 10 free throws per 100 team possessions, according to Basketball-Reference.com: Blake Griffin and Dončić. So far, Mathurin Juust On the bounds of joining that club, at 9.8 FTA/100, a touch behind Luca 10.1/100. Of course, he is only second among this season Juniors, sitting behind them Paulo Banchero (11.5 FTA/100 places him partially behind Griffin’s rookie year), but you don’t need me to tell you that Magic Striker was a great start.

Expanding a little more broadly, here are the next 12 names after Mathurin in terms of FTA/100 rookie over the past 20 years, in descending order:

It’s a great list to be on! Sustaining at that level for the rest of the season can be a challenge, and the presence of Evans and (until last year) Wiggins makes it clear that this rally isn’t a guaranteed indicator of stardom. But the ability to make mistakes is important in terms of setting a high ground for Mathurin’s efficiency going forward.

In sharp contrast to the #6 pick, there are two players who struggled to start the season, in part due to their continued inability to get freebies in the bar. before season, Fred Katz discusses the story of RJ Barrett Recognizing the importance of bad drawing, and of course the fourth year nicks A strong winger in the second half of last season was built in part on a renewed focus on him. Nine of his 16 career games with 10 or more free-throw attempts came in the second half of last season, a mark he has yet to hit this season as his FTA/100 average dropped from 8.4/100 to nearly a career low. 5.8 / 100.

Without this bigger point help from the streak, even the best players in terms of edge finishing and free-throw percentage couldn’t beat his slow start to the season from a jumping perspective. According to NBA.com tracking data, Barrett is 21 for 72 (29.2 percent) in attempts outside of 10 feet per year. So even with Bronson adding to a more healthy diet—a large portion of Barrett’s attempts have moved from mid-range areas closer to the basket, boosting his two-shot accuracy in a career-high 50.5 percent—Barrett hasn’t made much progress toward becoming a top scorer. Above average in efficiency.

Meanwhile, among the many issues with Timberwolves During Minnesota’s disappointing 5-6 start, a play Anthony Edwards big space. Much has been said about the awkwardness of compatibility between Edwards, Cities of Karl Anthony And the Rudy GobertEdwards, however, hit the edge at the best rate of his career and finished as soon as he got back to normal.

What he doesn’t do is make mistakes, with a low career average of 5.1 FTA/100. He’s never been a prolific drawer owner, which, like Barrett, makes his efficiency vulnerable to the fluctuations of shooting variance. Since things don’t quite flow as Minny wants, a few extra chances of getting some easy points on the board will do just fine.


(Photo: Luka Donjic: Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)

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