Posted Dec 2 2011 7:11AM
To get ready for the 2011-12 season, NBA.com StatsCube breaks down the critical numbers for all 30 teams.
Only four NBA franchises have more championships than the Golden State (formerly Philadelphia and San Francisco) Warriors. Yet current high school seniors have seen the Warriors make the playoffs just once in their lifetime.
In the last year, Golden State has undergone changes in ownership and management. And now it enters the 2011-12 season with another new coach, tasked with improving the product on the floor. If Mark Jackson is going to turn this team around, he'll have to start with defense, where his predecessor failed to make much headway in the wake of the Nellieball era.
Pace: 97.4 (5)
OffRtg: 105.5 (13)
DefRtg: 107.6 (26)
Pace = Possessions per 48 minutes
OffRtg = Points scored per 100 possessions
DefRtg = Points allowed per 100 possessions
Taking over for Don Nelson last summer, Keith Smart was tasked with improving the Golden State defense, and the Warriors allowed 6.7 fewer points per game last season than they did in 2009-10. But the decrease was more about a slower pace than improved performance.
No team slowed down last season more than the Warriors, who averaged 5.3 fewer possessions per 48 minutes than they did in '09-10. They ranked either first or second in pace in Nelson's final four seasons on the bench.
The Warriors were the seventh-most improved defense last season though, allowing 1.8 fewer points per 100 possessions than the previous season. Most of their improvement came from defending the 3-point line much better.
Warriors defensive numbers, last two seasons
|DREB% = Percentage of available defensive rebounds obtained|
OppTO% = Opponents turnovers per 100 possessions
OppFTA Rate = Opponents FTA/FGA
The Warriors were still the worst defensive rebounding team in the league, despite the addition of David Lee, who ranked second in defensive boards per game the previous season. In fact, the Warriors were a worse rebounding team when Lee was in the game than they were when he was on the bench ... on both ends of the floor.
Warriors efficiency and rebounding
|OREB% = Percentage of available offensive rebounds obtained|
REB% = Percentage of total rebounds obtained
Now, a defensive rebounding percentage of 70.9 (with Lee on the bench) is still really bad and just slightly better than the Washington Wizards, who ranked 29th last season. But when Lee was on the bench, the Warriors still had decent rebounders like Andris Biedrins and Lou Amundson up front. And perimeter players like Stephen Curry, Reggie Williams and Dorell Wright each grabbed a bigger share of the boards when Lee wasn't in the game.
Lee clearly wasn't a difference-maker on the glass, but he was affected by a nasty elbow laceration he suffered in a collision with the Knicks' Wilson Chandler on Nov. 10. It's a small sample size, but in the eight games before the injury, Lee had an offensive rebounding percentage (percent of available offensive boards that he grabbed himself) of 13.9 and a defensive rebounding percentage of 22.3. In his first 20 games after the injury (and an eight-game absence), those numbers were just 8.9 and 18.9.
Since the Warriors drafted Curry two years ago, much has been made about his compatibility with Monta Ellis. In fact, before Curry's first training camp, Ellis famously told reporters that the two couldn't play together.
Last season, the Warriors were a minus-40 in the 2,100 minutes in which Curry and Ellis were both on the floor. That's not too bad when you consider that the team was a minus-151 in the 1,866 minutes when at least one of the two was on the bench.
It's even better when you consider the Biedrins Factor.
Andris Biedrins may have been a better rebounder than Lee last season, but in every other aspect of the game, he was just awful. The Warriors were much worse both offensively and defensively when Biedrins was on the floor than they were when he was on the bench. In fact, when Biedrins wasn't in the game, the Warriors were a plus-41 in 2,569 minutes over the course of the season.
In Biedrins' 1,399 minutes on the floor, the Warriors were a minus-234. Around the league, only four players had a worse plus-minus in fewer minutes: Manny Harris, Stephen Graham, Martell Webster, and Alonzo Gee.
Biedrins clearly had a negative impact on the Curry-Ellis backcourt. In fact, when you take away Biedrins, that backcourt looks pretty good, at least offensively.
Warriors efficiency with Curry and Ellis on the floor
The Biedrins Factor can be seen in the Warriors' five-man lineup data as well. Two of their three most-used lineups, the ones that don't include Biedrins, were very productive.
Warriors most-used lineups
Incredibly, Biedrins is owed $27 million over the next three seasons, making him an obvious candidate for the new collective bargaining agreement's amnesty clause.
As you can see from the first table above, the Warriors did a solid job of forcing turnovers. But they were still a bottom-five defensive team, because they couldn't rebound and they put their opponents on the line too much.
And not only did they put their opponent on the line too much, but they didn't get to the line nearly enough on their end of the floor. The Warriors' offense ranked dead last in both free throw attempts per possession and FTA/FGA.
As a result, they attempted 567 fewer free throws than their opponents, which was the third-worst discrepancy in the last 11 seasons.
Lowest free throw attempt discrepancy since 2000-01 season
Monta Ellis ranked 10th in the league in usage rate (percentage of his team's possessions used while he was on the floor), but had, by far, the lowest FTA Rate of the top 10. He attempted just 27 free throws per 100 field goal attempts. The next lowest among the top 10 players in usage rate was Derrick Rose, who attempted 35 free throws per 100 field goal attempts.
Among the eight Warriors who played 1,000 minutes, Ellis had the third-highest FTA Rate. Only Lee's and Ekpe Udoh's were higher, and not by much.
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