Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Another 10 games, another check-up

After the first ten games we noted the following impressive stats:

6-4 record against a tough schedule
#3 in offensive efficiency

The following were noted as potential concerns:

#25 in defensive efficiency, giving up more points than they were scoring
74% of shots taken were jumpers

Now that another ten games have been played, it seems like a good idea to check on these sames stats and note some possible trends.

The Blazers have won eight of their last ten games and currently have a five game win streak. Although most of these victories have come against weaker teams (Minnesota, Chicago, Sacramento twice, Miami, and New York), they do have wins over New Orleans and Detroit. Their two losses came from Phoenix and New Orleans. The take away message here seems to be that the Blazers are consistently beating teams they are supposed to beat. Veteranmuch?

As of right now, Portland is second in the league in offensive efficiency, up from number three ten games ago. With twenty games played this seems to indicate the Blazers have a consistently excellent offense, that their high ranking isn't simply the result of a ephemeral hot streak.

And what of the Blazers jumper-heavy offense? It has remained so, but trended downward slightly over the last ten games. After twenty games Portland's shot distribution now looks like this:

Jump: 71%
Close: 21%
Dunk: 7%
Tips: 2%

Is the slight dip in jumpers (3%) contributing to the slight rise in offensive efficiency? Can a team be a true contender relying so heavily on the jump shot? Not sure. For comparison, look at the Lakers shot selection:

Jump: 61%
Close: 29%
Dunk: 8%
Tips: 2%

A juicy detail here that might counter the "closer is better" adage is that Portland shoots an effective field goal percentage .07 higher than the Lakers. Something to think about.

A large concern after the first ten games was that Portland was ranked #25 in the league in defensive efficiency. Ten games later the team has moved up to the exact middle of the NBA at #15. This is a fantastic development.

In the first ten games Portland was giving up more points than they were scoring. They are now ranked fourth in the league in win/loss differential.

Over the last ten games the good things and the bad things seem to have gotten better. One gets the sense that pretty soon it won't even be fair. Go Blazers!

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