The High-Mile Club
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The Portland Trail Blazers should be wary of the high mileage on their three starters, Damian Lillard, Wesley Matthews and Nicolas Batum.
Do NBA players who log 200-plus miles on the basketball court wear down as the NBA Playoffs arrive?
I don't know. Do they?
You see, this is the first year that we have access to SportVU's Player Tracking system that is able to gauge every players' court movements thanks to 10 cameras strategically placed on every on-court performer in every NBA arena for 82 games a season.
So basically, right now we have no idea if the NBA's hardest workers tend to tire out as the NBA Playoffs arrive.
But it is a topic worth checking out, so I have listed the 10 players who all have logged the most mileage on court thus far, according to SportVU, and have also listed their first-half Game Score average (Games 1-thru-41) alongside their second-half Game Score averages (Games 42-thru-present) to see if there has been a productivity/efficiency dropoff.
Well, lo and behold, when I run the numbers now, everyone can see there has been a decline, at least in nine of the 10 hardest workers in the NBA.
Nine of the Top 10 NBA marathon men who put in 181-plus miles on the court so far have seen their Game Score drop by an average of 1.7 points already.
What's going to happen at playoff time to these wearing-down starters, if indeed they are wearing down.
Granted, Gordon Hayward has nothing to worry about since the Utah Jazz aren't exactly a playoff team.
But Portland is already seeing signs of decline with three Blazers on this list in production/efficiency dropoff mode, while the team has gone 18-17 in the season's second half after a 31-10 first-half start.
Of the marathon men, Paul George has seen the biggest fall of anyone, seeing his Game Score drop from 16.9 in the season's first half to 13.5 in the second half, as he approaches the 200-plus mile mark (the Pacers' All-Star is at 190.9 miles now). Is it a coincidence that Indiana also has fallen off from a 33-8 start to a 20-15 second half?
As you can see, all of these matters are up in the air for now.
But things aren't looking good so far for The 200 Club.
And if these players continue to underachieve at playoff time, well, coaches might start to think twice about playing their starters so many minutes (and so many miles) in the future.
THE HIGH-MILE CLUB
SOURCES: Stats.NBA.com; Basketball-Reference. KEY: 1H Game Score: Game Score in 1st Half of Season (Games 1-thru-41); 2H Game Score in 2nd Half of Season (Games 42-thru-82); MILEAGE: number of miles tracked on court; MiPG: Miles Per Game.