Advanced Scouting: San Antonio Spurs at Utah Jazz
San Antonio Spurs at Utah Jazz at 9:00 CST November 19, 2010
San Antonio: 7.03 (5th)
Utah: 1.28 (13th)
Utah Jazz Player Ratings
|Player||Fraction of team minutes||PER minus Counterpart PER||2 Year Net PER||On court +/-per 48 minutes||Off court +/-per 48 minutes||2 Year Adjusted +/-|
One thing that sticks out is Al Jefferson’s low adjusted plus minus figure. Although adjusted plus minus (APM) is perhaps the most unbiased estimate of value, it is quite noisy over one (or two) seasons. By unbiased, I mean that while measures such as PER, Offensive Rating, etc consistently overvalue certain types of players (and undervalue others), APM doesn’t tend to overvalue any specific type of player. If a player is overvalued by APM, it is largely due to luck. The problem is that luck plays a much larger factor in APM. Less noisy measures of Al Jefferson’s APM use 5 years of data and range from -1.5 to 2.0.
Williams, Bell, Kirilenko, Millsap, Jefferson -16 in 205 Minutes
Williams, Miles, Kirilenko, Millsap, Jefferson +46 in 61 Minutes
Preferred method to create shots: Cuts, rolls and passes
Deron Williams is reasonably good at scoring on isolations and Al Jefferson has been among the best post scorers for years, but the Jazz offense is all about cutting, screening and passing to create the easy shot. The Jazz have scored the most points resulting from cut plays, as defined by Synergy, by over 20% more than the next highest team. Last year they were nearly 40% greater than second best! Utah also ranks at the top of the list at scoring from screens. I found a video with a very informative take on how the Jazz offense is run.
Appropriate Spurs counter: stay home
Utah’s homecourt advantage is well-documented, but by suggesting the Spurs “stay home”, I mean that they shouldn’t leave their defensive man assignment as frequently as is typical for them.
The Jazz had the highest percentage of field goals assisted on last year. In their 29 losses, about 36% of field goals were unassisted; compared to a 30% rate in their 53 wins. This decrease by about 20% was among the most significant in the league. It seems that forcing the Jazz to create unassisted shots is a good way to increase your chances of success.
Matt Bonner could actually be a significant defensive upgrade from Dejuan Blair in this respect. Bonner has performed better statistically on help defense plays such as defending the pick and roll and contesting the spot up shooter.
Defensive Weakness: run Al Jefferson off the pick and roll
Al Jefferson has never been know for his defense. In particular, he often struggles with defensive anticipation and taking appropriate angles for cutting off the pick and roll ballhandler when his man sets a pick. He can stand to learn from his injured teammate Mehmet Okur. Over the two previous years, Jefferson has allowed 0.94 points per possesssion (PPP) on pick and roll plays when defending the player setting the pick. Over that same period, Okur has been among the best in the league, allowing only 0.75 PPP.
One thing that is concerning for the Spurs is that Jefferson has only been credited with 4 such plays so far this year. Perhaps the Jazz have figured an effective way to hide him.
Once again, Manu and Parker are the Spurs best options to exploit Jefferson’s defensive weakness against the pick and roll. Bonner’s value might be partially offset when Jefferson is in the game because Bonner has not been utilized as frequently or successfully in the pick and roll as Blair. However, using Bonner on a pick and pop could better help isolate Ginobili/Parker on Jefferson and create mismatches.
The Spurs have out performed the Jazz to this point in the season, but it’s always difficult to go to Salt Lake City and come out victorious. The Jazz have most the home wins since 2006/07.
Other things to watch for
*Since 2006/07, the Spurs are tied with Lakers and Celtics for the most road wins, the Jazz stand alone with the most home wins over the same time period. The Spurs are tied for 5th in home wins over the same period and the Jazz are tied for 11th.
*Tim Duncan has a chance to break David Robinson’s Spurs NBA franchise record for scoring the same day he breaks his record for games played. He is currently 12 points behind the Admiral’s career scoring total. Duncan remains 2,824 behind George Gervinâ€™s ABA/NBA franchise mark of 23,602.