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Fun With Numbers

Posted By Paul Flannery On October 20, 2009 @ 9:43 am In General | No Comments

There are a couple of very different sets of numbers that caught my eye this morning.

First, is the postseason data from 82games.com [3], which shows that Rajon Rondo [4] was the Celtics [5] best player in the playoffs last season, and by a fairly wide margin. There are a couple of other observations we can make from the data. Among them:

1. The Celtics really missed Kevin Garnett [6]. Compare the 2008-09 playoff numbers with the 2007-08 numbers [7] and not only will Garnett’s Roland Rating (a simple explanation is here [8]) jump right off the page, but so will the effect he had on his teammates …

2. Particularly Paul Pierce [9]. The Captain shot much worse in 2008-09 [10] then in 2007-08 [11] and had a significantly lower percentage of assists leading to his shots, which speaks to ball movement, which is one of Garnett’s most underrated offensive contributions. There were a number of theories for Pierce’s sub-par postseason, but a simple reason may have been that he just had to do too much and work too hard to get his shot off without KG.

3. The bench was really bad, especially Stephon Marbury [12]. There was also no depth. Of the players who did play, Eddie House [13] was the biggest contributor among the reserves (no surprise), but that was about it.

Moving on, the fine fellows at basketball-reference.com have put up a huge amount of preseason data [14] (hat tip to Henry Abbott at True Hoop [15]), and from that we can see that the Celtics most efficient offensive player has been Mike Sweetney [16] (!)

We can also see that Garnett and Rasheed Wallace [17] have been killing it defensively. Of possibly greater importance, the Celtics have also played the best team defense in the NBA, which is nice. You can waste hours of your life playing with this stuff, but as Abbott and everyone else pointed out, there’s only a week left until the games start to really count, which is the best number of all.


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[3] the postseason data from 82games.com: http://www.82games.com/0809/playoffs/0809BOS.HTM

[4] Rajon Rondo: http://weei.stats.com/nba/playerstats.asp?id=4149&team=

[5] the Celtics: http://weei.stats.com/nba/teamstats.asp?teamno=02&type=teamhome

[6] Kevin Garnett: http://weei.stats.com/nba/playerstats.asp?id=3007&team=

[7] the 2007-08 numbers: http://www.82games.com/0708/playoffs/0708BOS.HTM

[8] a simple explanation is here: http://www.82games.com/0809/ROLRTG8.HTM

[9] Paul Pierce: http://weei.stats.com/nba/playerstats.asp?id=3253&team=

[10] in 2008-09: http://www.82games.com/0809/playoffs/08BOS8.HTM

[11] in 2007-08: http://www.82games.com/0708/playoffs/07BOS6A.HTM

[12] Stephon Marbury: http://www.82games.com/0809/playoffs/08BOS2.HTM

[13] Eddie House: http://weei.stats.com/nba/playerstats.asp?id=3436&team=

[14] huge amount of preseason data: http://www.basketball-reference.com/blog/?p=3630

[15] Henry Abbott at True Hoop: http://espn.go.com/blog/truehoop/post/_/id/7136/treasure-trove-of-preseason-stats

[16] Mike Sweetney: http://weei.stats.com/nba/playerstats.asp?id=3712&team=

[17] Rasheed Wallace: http://weei.stats.com/nba/playerstats.asp?id=3006&team=

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