Ah, last time we checked the numbers, on November 26th, things were looking grand. Yes the Blazers had their on-court struggles, but they were winning. And having recently come off a dominant win over the Bulls at home, it was easy to think that the percolation process was running it’s course. About 47 injuries later and the Blazers are still winning, but the results are less impressive statistically, for both the team and the individuals.
Where appropriate, I’ll use the >> and << markers to show where the Blazers were at the end of November on the left, and if they have improved or gotten worse to where they are now on the right. I’ve added a couple more stats courtesy of Hoopdata.com, but since we didn’t track those earlier we won’t be able to see the change. I’ve bolded things that stuck out.
Date: January 19th.
Home Record: 16-7
Road Record: 9-10
Points Per Game: 96.8, 22nd << 97.6, 22nd
Points Per 100 Possessions: 109.6, 6th << 110.8, 5th
Fast-break Points Per Game: 8.4, 30th >> 7.5, 30th
Points in Paint Per Game: 34.6, 30th >> 34.1, 30th
Pace (Possessions): 87.8, 29th >> 87.4, 30th
Average Scoring Margin: +8.3, 2nd >> +3.3, 9th
The Blazers really aren’t all that different with the skeleton crew than they were with the big boys bopping about. They still don’t score in the paint with any consistency, but they have managed to remain one of the most efficient offensive teams in the league, in large part because there are so many good mid-range jumpshooters on the roster. The relatively large drop off in scoring margin can be explained partially by Portland playing more than its fair share of patsies in that first month, but the lack of blowout wins also has more than a little to do with this team not being able to hold large leads anymore.
Field-Goal Percentage: .457, 14th << .464, 12th
3-Point Percetange: .361, 10th == .361, 9th
Effective Field-Goal Percentage: .501, 11th << .505, 9th
Free-Throw Percentage: .794, 5th >> .783, 5th
Free-Throw Attempts: 446, 3rd >> 1064, 7th
Free Throws Per Field Goal Attempt: .275, 2nd >> .329, 7th
Martell Webster probably deserves credit for keeping the three-point and effective percentages on the same wavelength. Despite Jerryd Bayless doing his best to draw fouls with increased minutes, nobody could fully replace the fouls Greg Oden produced in the paint, hence the slight dropoff in free-throw rates. I would however, imagine that Roy’s free-throw rate has risen considerably since the big bodies went down.
Opponent Points Per Game: 88.5, 1st >> 94.3, 3rd
Opponent Points Per 100 Possessions: 100.2, 4th >> 107.1, 17th
Opponent Field-Goal Percentage: .417, 1st >> .457, 16th
Opponent 3-Point Percentage: .319, 8th >> .353, 15th
Opponent Effective Field-Goal Percentage: .447, 1st >> .494, 13th
Opponent Turnover Percentage (100 Possessions): .125, 27th >> .124, 26th
Opponent Free-Throws Per Field-Goal: .227, 12th >> .287, 13th
Opponent Fast Break Points Per Game: 12.7, 14th << 10.8, 2nd
Opponent Points in Paint Per Game: 38.6, 8th >> 40.6, 14th
Blocks: 99, 2nd >> 180, 24th
Steals: 96, 20th >> 235, 30th
You want to know how the Blazers are different without Joel Przybilla and Greg Oden, look above. Again, some of the November numbers were skewed towards a lesser schedule, but Portland has indeed fallen off the defensive cliff. Wherever they held sterling averages, among the top third in the league, they are, across the board, now a mediocre team. They were a conservative defensive team before the injuries, but the increase in transition defense (barring some of the recent ugliness we’ve witnessed) tells me they are sending players back on shots more than ever. The increase in points allowed in the paint can easily be joined to the death of blocks.
Offensive Rebounding Percentage (Percent of how many available offensive boards Blazers are grabbing): .301, 3rd >> .283, 6th
Defensive Rebounding Percentage (Percent of how many available defensive boards Blazers are grabbing): .750, 9th >> .742, 10th
This is where Juwan Howard, Jeff Pendergraph and Dante Cunningham deserve heaps of credit for maintaining the rebound rates, but LaMarcus Aldridge gets the lion’s share for his recent work on the glass. I would imagine that another month without centers will drop the Blazers to somewhere around 12th in offensive rate.
Assists Per FGM: .608, 4th >> .567, 14th
Turnover Percentage: .145, 22nd << .129, 8th
Assist-to-Turnover Ratio: 1.504, 14th << 1.638, 8th
Shots at Rim Per Game: 22.0, 30th
Assist Percentage on Shots at Rim: 50.7, 15th
Shots within 10 Feet Per Game (not at rim): 6.4, 27th
Assist Percentage on Shots within 10 Feet: 31.5, 29th
Shots within 10-15 Feet Per Game: 8.5, 9th
Assist Percentage on Shots within 10-15 Feet: 33.1, 25th
16-23 Foot Shots Per Game: 21.9, 8th
Assist Percentage on Shots within 16-23 Feet: 57.6, 11th
Three’s Per Game: 17.7, 14th
Assist Percentage on Threes: 92.1, 3rd
The Blazers were a much more aggressive passing team when they had big bodies to pass to and since then they have gotten more conservative, in turn leading to fewer turnovers. They don’t score in the paint because they hardly shoot in the paint, but they do have guards that can get to the rim. I’ve talked a lot about how players like Bayless and Fernandez need to develop and in between game to make them tougher to both scout and help defend, and you can see from the attempts within 10 feet that few players are creating those in between shots. Nor are the Blazers doing much passing around the paint in general. If the ball gets in, it’s either kicked out for a long two or for a three.
Notable Individual Acheivments:
Minutes Played: Brandon Roy, 622, 1st << 1514, 10th
Field Goals: Brandon Roy, 324, 13th
3-Pt Field Goals: Martell Webster, 77, Tied for 7th
3-Pt Field Goal Attempts: Martell Webster, 204, 8th
Free-Throw Attempts: Brandon Roy, 108, 10th >> 267, 12th
PER: Brandon Roy, 22.5, 12th
Assist Percentage: Andre Miller, 30.8, 12th >> 29.0, 14th
Brandon Roy, 24.9, 20th
Turnover Percentage: LaMarcus Aldridge, 6.7, 4th == 7.7, 4th
Martell Webster, 7.7, 5th
Usage Percentage: Nobody in Top 20 >> Brandon Roy, 27.7, 12th
Offensive Rating: Brandon Roy, 118.5, 17th
Offensive Win Shares: Brandon Roy, 5.0, 4th
The Blazers were all over the leaderboards last time we checked, with Greg and Joel dominating the rebounding categories and Rudy up there with defense and steals. All three of them have dropped out after missing time. You hate to see Roy’s usage rate climb so high, but the team has little choice but to let him work. The turnover percentages of LMA and Webster are brutal and I would bet that most of Martell’s giveaways come from when he tries to put the ball on the floor.
The changes in numbers shouldn’t surprise anyone that’s been keeping up with the team. This is still an efficient offensive team, though one that is prone to some cold spells due to the high volume of unassisted two’s they take. Defensively, the numbers say they are average, but to drop so far after being near the top of the field, their defense has likely been in the bottom third in the L. So, we get exactly what we’ve been noticing subjectively by ourselves. They can win with offense, but no lead is safe with that D. Hopefully getting Batum back will plateau the defensive numbers, but you have to wonder if Portland has just been catching some very good teams at the right time of the season (January) while utilizing it’s home-court advantage to its fullest.