FanPost

The Great DeJuan Blair Debate of 2012

This is an adaptation of a comment I made in the The DeJuan Blair Situation editorial by Big50. My initial goal was to compute these statistics for a few lineups, but one thing led to another, we reached second base, and I said "I love you" to these data in our first date. My hope is that it will provide an additional set of discussion point relating to Blair and what the FO and Pop should do with him.

First the obligatory thank you to www.basketballvalue.com. Aaron Barzilai has gone through the effort of collecting and organizing these data and making it freely available for the basketball loving community to peruse.

Two man units

Given that a lot of the arguments regarding Blair's performance hinges on the perception that he plays well with some and not other players, I decided to look at one particular set of "unit data". The following is essentially two man game aggregated offensive and defensive ratings, along with the difference between the two. Ratings here are defined as points scored or allowed per 200 possessions. Note that this is Blair + player number two on all the lineups they played aggregated. I have not modeled the data to account for teammates or opponents at all, so take all this with a grain of salt (Tony plays a lot with Timmy, they are awesome, I do not account for this). I also haven't calculated the Blair off the court part of this statistic, since doing it manually would consume my life. As a baseline for 2011-2012 (without playoffs, Blair barely played there), the Spurs had an offensive rating of 110.88 and a defensive one of 103.21 points per 200 possessions. The differential is then 110.88 -103.21 = 7.67.

Name Minutes* OffRtg DefRtg DiffRtg
Guards and Wings
Parker, Tony 888.3 106.3 102.7 3.6
Green, Danny 496.8 103.0 107.3 -4.3
Ginobili, Manu 204.9 114.8 110.1 4.7
Leonard, Kawhi 607.8 103.2 105.6 -2.5
Neal, Gary 306.7 105.3 116.1 -10.8
Jackson, Stephen 99.9 107.0 106.0 1.0
Jefferson, Richard 644.1 104.5 99.4 5.2
Bigs
Duncan, Tim 789.9 104.2 101.4 2.8
Splitter, Tiago 91.9 102.7 109.6 -6.9
Diaw, Boris 95.8 104.9 106.9 -2.1
Bonner, Matt 120.1 110.7 121.8 -11.1
Small Ball
Jackson, Stephen 13.0 122.2 114.8 7.4
Jefferson, Richard 43.3 110.8 119.3 -8.4
Leonard, Kawhi 15.6 106.5 100.0 6.5
Overall Small Ball 71.9 112.1 114.2 -2.1

*Some of these clearly suffer from small sample size syndrome.

Some observations:

  1. The best differential for a wing player with Blair was no other than RJ. His total differential is 5.2, slightly above Manu. RJ played 7% of his Blair minutes as a PF with catastrophic results. Could the trade that sent RJ packing be another reason for Blair's decline this season?
  2. All of the members of the Big Three have positive differentials when sharing the court with Blair. This does not say much about anything since, as I explained above, many of these guys play together and are therefore highly correlated. J.R. Wilco and Edg5 could play with the Big Three and still win some games in the NBA. More on this on a later post (if this one garners enough interest).
  3. The only big/Blair pairing with a positive differential is the venerable Tim Duncan. Bonner/Blair, as many have pointed out, is an atrocious pairing (no matter of sample size could save them, DefRtg 121.8!). Blair/Diaw on the other hand are still in the negative but a bigger sample might exhibit improvement.
  4. Although the sample size is tiny, small ball with Blair and Jackson/Kawhi as the bigs seem to be effective. It would be interesting to delve more and see who the other three players in these effective lineups are. Perhaps the Spurs can small ball opponents second units effectively with Blair as the big. The best offensive rating in all this list happened in limited minutes with Jackson as the second big.
  5. Neal, whatever you do, stay as far away from Blair as possible (I know, I know, he is big and hard to avoid).

This is fan-created content on PoundingtheRock.com. The opinion here is not necessarily shared by the editorial staff at Pounding the Rock.

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