I have an awful work ethic. Instead of waking up and writing an insightful, thought provoking piece on the Spurs, I've decided to compile a list of statistics (per Hoop Data) that cover one third of the entire season (13-9) and open up this thread for discussion amongst my fellow Pounders. Enjoy what analysis I managed to do, and don't sue me for watching The Colbert Report late at night.
Things we do well: opponent free throw rate (1st), turnover rate (3rd), 10-15 feet field-goal percentage (3rd), 16-23 feet FG% (4th), effective FG% (4th), three-point eFG% (5th), opp. offensive rebound rate (5th), offensive efficiency (6th)
The fact that the Spurs are excelling in most offensive categories isn't surprising. Considering the Spurs are shooting the ball extremely well from 10-feet-and-beyond, we are subject to a lot of inconsistent basketball. We might get the lights out Spurs (4th quarter and most of the overtime at Dallas) or the lackadaisical version (the first three quarters at Dallas). As we delve away from our defensive roots, we are embracing the extreme variance that comes when you rely on mid-range and three-point attempts. When our shots are falling and we are making solid defensive rotations, we will be an incredibly tough draw for any team. When our shot is failing, well, then the end result isn't so pretty. It also doesn't hurt when the Spurs don't turn over the ball (13.07-percent compared to league average of 14.33-percent) and prevent teams from gaining extra possessions through offensive rebounds. More possessions in our hands and less in theirs usually is a good thing, right?
Hey, it's a Spur taking a shot from within nine feet. How ... league average!
Things we are OK at: 3-9 feet FG% (13th), differential (13th), opp. 10-15 feet FG% (15th), opp. 3-point eFG% (15th), at rim FG% (17th)
As most astute basketball fans know, shot attempts at the rim are a really good thing. They occur when teams execute offensively or when the oppenent is the Charlotte Bobcats. Unfortunately the Spurs don't get too many attempts at the rim (20th) and aren't incredibly efficient in that regard. Digging deeper into specific player at rim FG%, we have Tiago Splitter's .757 FG% puts him fourth among centers who average at least 20 minutes a game. As for Timmy? He's shooting an abysmal .451 from the rim which puts him 33rd. I have no idea if this is a stark indicator that his skills are diminishing more than we'd like to give credit, but considering he shot .717 from the rim last year, I don't believe it will continue throughout the year. Timmy's percent of assists at the rim are also down from last year. At his age, maybe we're not finding him down low as often because our focus offensively is around the perimeter. Or he could not be getting solid post positioning like we're accustomed to. To put his inefficiency from the rim into context, Gary Neal is shooting .588 from 10-15 feet. (Yeah, that floater is deadly.) Still. Interesting nonetheless.
Things we suck at: opp. 3-9 feet FG% (22nd), defensive efficiency (23rd), offensive rebound rate (24th), opp. eFG% (25th), opp. at rim FG% (26th), FT rate (27th), opp. turnover rate (29th), opp. 16-23 feet FG% (30th)
With the amount of pride Spurs fans take in defense (and the level at which the team used to play it) it sure sucks to be witnessing the caliber of defense usually reserved for the Wizards, Clippers and Warriors. But anyone who has watched this team closely, these stats aren't surprising.
Moving on to our last ranked defense against 16-23 footers. You would think finishing last in any defensive category wouldn't be a good sign. It's not. But, if anything, isn't allowing a lot of long, inefficient two-point shots (albeit they're going in currently) better than allowing a lot of shots at the rim or from the arc? Our stats aren't wholly dissimlar from last year. Teams attempt a lot of shots from this range and ultimately they (probably) won't continue hitting these at 42-percent rate. Looking at the percent of assisted field goals from 16-23 feet, the Spurs aren't allowing those shots because of defensive breakdowns. Teams have only benefited from an assist 43.9-percent of the time, good for the best in the NBA by a wide margin. It appears, judging solely by the numbers and our willingness to give up mid-range jumpers, this is by design. I could be wrong and, if so, please let me know in the comments.
Anything else I missed? Berate me mercilessly for being so clueless.