Posted Dec 2 2011 2:46PM
To get ready for the 2011-12 season, NBA.com StatsCube breaks down the critical numbers for all 30 teams.
The Portland Trail Blazers have averaged better than 50 wins in the last three seasons, but they haven't been able to escape the first round of the playoffs in that time. They're now faced with the choice of whether they will go forward with snakebitten stars Brandon Roy and Greg Oden, or if a new era must begin.
Roy looks like he'll never again be the player he was two seasons ago and is an obvious amnesty-clause candidate, with the Blazers owing him almost $70 million over the next four years. Oden is a restricted free agent, having played just 82 total games in his first four seasons in the league.
Pace: 90.5 (30)
OffRtg: 105.6 (11)
DefRtg: 104.2 (14)
Pace = Possessions per 48 minutes
OffRtg = Points scored per 100 possessions
DefRtg = Points allowed per 100 possessions
The Blazers were solid overall last season, but their offense has regressed considerably since they were the second-most efficient team in the league in 2008-09. And the two areas where the Blazers really fell off offensively were free throws and 3-pointers.
Blazers offensive numbers, last three seasons
|OREB% = Percentage of available offense rebounds obtained|
TO Ratio = Turnovers per 100 possessions
FTA Rate = FTA/FGA
You can attribute the lack of free throw attempts to Roy's decline. In 2008-09, his last healthy season, the Blazers attempted more than five more free throws per 100 possessions when he was on the floor than they did when he was on the bench. That number dropped a bit in '09-10 (when Roy played in 65 games), and then last season, both Roy's minutes and free throw rate dropped dramatically as he only played in 47 games.
The Blazers were also a great 3-point shooting team when Roy was on the floor three seasons ago. But he went from shooting 38 percent from 3-point range in '08-09 to just 33 percent in '09-10, while taking a greater percent of his shots from beyond the arc. And last season, the Blazers parted ways with two of their better shooters, Steve Blake and Martell Webster, leading to further offensive decline.
With Roy's playing time and effectiveness both limited, LaMarcus Aldridge took on a larger offensive role in Portland. Despite the bigger load on his shoulders, Aldridge improved his efficiency.
Aldridge had always been a jump-shooting power forward, with more than 53 percent of his shots in his first four seasons coming from outside the paint. But he got closer to the basket last season and only 41 percent of his shots came from outside the paint.
Despite the dramatic change in shot selection, Aldridge's field goal percentage increased marginally, from 49.5 percent to 50 percent. But in getting closer to the basket, he also grabbed more offensive rebounds and got to the line more often. And from there he shot a career-high 79.1 percent.
LaMarcus Aldridge, last two seasons
Overall, the Portland offense regressed, but it did improve late in the season, getting a lift from an unlikely source. Gerald Wallace has a (deserved) reputation as a great defender, but after the Blazers acquired him at the trade deadline from Charlotte, they scored a ridiculously efficient 112 points per 100 possessions when he was on the floor.
That was easily the highest on-court offensive rating for any rotation Blazer last season. Second on the list was point guard Andre Miller, who the Blazers traded to Denver for Raymond Felton on Draft day.
In his two seasons in Portland, the Blazers were much more efficient with Miller on the floor (109.3 points scored per 100 possessions) than they were with him on the bench (102.4). The four Blazers who have attempted at least 500 shots with Miller in the game were each more efficient playing with him than when he sat.
True shooting percentage, Miller on and off floor
|TS% = Points / 2*(FGA+(0.44*FTA))|
Felton had a similar, but not as significant, impact on the three teams he's played for. In his final three seasons in Charlotte, the Bobcats scored 102.4 points per 100 possessions with Felton in the game and just 99.9 with him on the bench.
Nate McMillan has a reputation as a defensive coach and in his six seasons in Portland, the Blazers have allowed the sixth-fewest points per game. But that number is more about pace than defense. The highest Portland has ranked in defensive efficiency during McMillan's tenure is 10th.
The Draft-day deal for the ex-Bobcat Felton reunites him with Wallace, who he played with for five seasons. The last time the two were teammates, they were anchoring the No. 1 defense in the league and leading Charlotte to the lone playoff berth in franchise history.
The 2009-10 Bobcats led the NBA by allowing just 100.2 points per 100 possessions, and Felton and Wallace were their two most important defenders. Among 37 two-man combinations that played at least 2,000 minutes together that season, Felton and Wallace had the third-lowest on-court defensive rating, behind two Boston combinations.
The numbers show that the Charlotte defense fell off before coach Larry Brown was fired or Wallace was traded, with Felton's ability to force turnovers being a key ingredient that they missed early last season.
Pace: 85.0 (16)
OffRtg: 103.8 (5)
DefRtg: 109.8 (15)
The Blazers had a couple of strong offensive games, but like every other team that ran into the Dallas Mavericks last spring, they got scorched by the Mavs' offense. In their four losses, the Blazers allowed almost 115 points per 100 possessions.
Roy led a huge, fourth-quarter comeback in Game 4 and shot 15-for-23 in the two wins. But he was a minus-47 in the four losses, with the Blazers allowing 114 points per 100 possessions in his 138 total minutes.
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