Advanced Scouting: Dallas Mavericks at San Antonio Spurs
Dallas Mavericks at San Antonio Spurs 7:30 CST November 26, 2010
Dallas: 4.77 (7th)
San Antonio: 8.42 (2nd)
|Player||Fraction of teams minutes||PER minus Counterpart PER||2 Year Net PER||On court +/-per 48 minutes||Off court +/-per 48 minutes||2 Year Adjusted +/-|
Most valuable/utilized lineups:
Kidd,Terry,Butler,Nowitzki,Chandler +54 in 120 minutes
Barea,Terry,Marion,Nowitzki,Haywood +1 in 77 minutes
Kidd,Stevenson,Butler,Nowitzki,Chandler -1 in 44 minutes
Preferred method to create shots: Dirk Nowitzki on isolations/post ups
Iâ€™m sure I donâ€™t need to go into great detail explaining to 48MoH readers that, yeah, Dirk is kinda good. It goes without saying; heâ€™s got skills and can really shoot. Nowitzki ranks right up there with Kobe with his ability to take and make difficult jumpers. He scores the lionâ€™s share of his baskets from 2 point jump shots.
The differentiation between Nowitzkiâ€™s â€œpostâ€ possessions and his â€œisolationâ€ possessions is typically only how close he is to the basket when he catches the ball. According to Synergy, Dirk averaged 0.97 points per possession (80th percentile) on isolation derived possessions and 1.07 PPP (85th percentile) on post possessions in 2009/10.
In addition to a heavy dose of Dirk, the Mavs are also very good at applying the pick and roll. In particular, when Jason Kidd heads this play, the Mavs are near the most effective in the NBA. Additionally, Tyson Chandler is very good as the roll man. In pick and roll plays, the Mavs tend to roll early, before the ballhandler has a chance to run off the pick. Considering Chandlerâ€™s effectiveness rolling to the basket and Kiddâ€™s tendency to look for others, the Spurs should pay special attention to the roll man.
Appropriate Spurs counter: Force Nowitzki to set up near the perimeter
48MoH has visited the issue of defending Dirk in the paint as recently as last seasonâ€™s playoffs and there is no easy solution. (I wouldnâ€™t get my hopes up for the Spurs to resign Bruce Bowen).
Last year, Bonner and McDyess defended Nowitzki in most situations. Dirk responded by driving on McDyess in isolation plays and trying to catch the ball deep against Bonner and shooting jumpers. He aggressively backed down other players such as Jefferson and Ginobili.
When Bonner defended Nowitzki, Synergy attributed nearly twice as many “Post Possessions” as “Isolation Possessions”. This ratio was reverse with McDyess. On isolations, Dirk drove or took pull-up jumpers less than 50% of the time against Bonner, but nearly 75% of the time against McDyess. (The difference in defensive effectiveness when Bonner and McDyess guarded Nowitzki was not obvious.)
Although it is difficult to keep such a clever, tall player from catching the ball, Matt Bonner should try to make Nowitzki catch the ball as far away from the basket as possible. When McDyess is assigned to cover Dirk, teammates should be ready to provide help if Nowitzki attacks the rim. Since Dirk spends much of his time in the middle of the half court set, defensive help and recovery should be easier than it is in most other situations. (Obviously, any player defending Dirk also needs to remember to stay disciplined in order to avoid silly reaching fouls he is so capable of drawing.)
Defensive Weakness: Defending off-ball screens
This year Dallas ranks 17th in points allowed per possession on screen plays. Last year, they were 29th. Jason Terry and Jose Barea have particularly struggled against this play type. Caron Butler, Jason Kidd and even Shawn Marion have also had difficulties defending players running off screens.
The Spurs have increased their points per possession on plays where their shooters run off screens from 0.81 PPP to 1.39 PPP (which, admittedly is not maintainable). Manu Ginobili has historically been very effective in this play type and Jefferson and Hill have also had success coming off screens.
In addition to their weakness defending players utilizing off-ball screens, Dallas is also mediocre defending the pick and roll. Parker and Ginobili are good options to attack this weakness.
The Spurs are going for their 13th victory in a row, but the Mavs are rarely a pushover. This is definitely a dangerous game, but I see no reason why the Spurs shouldnâ€™t be favored to come out on top.