Advanced Scouting: San Antonio Spurs at Golden State Warriors


San Antonio Spurs at Golden State Warriors 9:30 CST November 30, 2010

SRS ranks:

Golden State: -5.23 (25th)
San Antonio: 8.43 (1st)

Key Player Statistics (courtesy of (effective November 29, 2010) and (effective November 26, 2010):

PlayerFraction of teams minutesPER minus Counterpart PER2 Year Net PEROn court +/-per 48 minutesOff court +/-per 48 minutes2 Year Adjusted +/-

To this point in the season, the Warriors have done much better with David Lee than without. David Lee returned from an eight-game absence due to an elbow infection on Saturday.

Most valuable/utilized lineups:
Curry,Ellis,D.Wright,Lee,Biedrins +83 in 118 MP

Preferred method to create shots: Ellis/Curry in the pick and roll

Monta Ellis is explosive, creative and flat-out exciting to watch. As exciting as he is, his efficiency has swayed back and forth from 117 in 2007/08 to 99 in each of the last two years and back up to 111 in the current season. Although he hasn’t always been efficient, he can certainly create shots in tough situations. He’s been the Warriors top option on isolation plays the past couple years and he shares the ballhandling responsibilities with Stephen Curry in the pick and roll game.

Overall, the pick and roll is where the Warriors derive most of their half court offense. This season, the Warriors are the only team with 2 players in the top 18 in points derived from the pick and roll.

Ellis and Curry share the pick and roll workload, but each runs the set in different ways. Both are very creative and will often make their move before the pick is set (especially Ellis). Ellis is more explosive and aggressive getting to the rim, but will also throw a few unforced turnovers. He often leaves his feet and throws a bad pass.

Stephen Curry is not as explosive as Ellis, but is every bit as slick. He is far more deliberate than Ellis and won’t take as many difficult shots or create as many easy ones. Curry prefers to pull up often and is a fine shooter. On the season, the Warriors have scored 0.91 PPP on pick and roll derived possessions headed by Curry and 0.85 on such plays run by Ellis. Last year, both players were around 0.94 PPP.

David Lee has yet to be fully introduced into this play set for the Warriors, but last year he was elite as the roll man. Synergy sports tallied 462 points for Lee on pick and rolls as the roll man. Amare Stoudemire was the only other player with more than 255 such points. To this point in the season, Lee has only scored 18 points in this role. In addition, his efficiency has dropped from 1.31 points per possession to 0.78.

Appropriate Spurs counter: Make them pass

With Coach Nelson, the Warriors were regularly the fastest paced team in the league. The players are largely the same under Coach Keith Smart, but the pace has been much more normal this season. One article earlier in the (pre)season discussed how the Warriors new offense is inspired by Jerry Sloan’s offense. However, unlike the Jazz who thrive on cuts and passes, the Warriors weakness in the pick and roll this year has been when the ball handler have been forced to give the ball up.

It’s interesting that the Warriors were respectable at passing off of the pick and roll last year, but have struggled in that aspect so greatly this year. Last year, the Warriors ranked 11th in points per possession (0.99 PPP) on plays where the ballhandler passes out of the pick and roll. This year, they are dead last at 0.73 PPP.

In the preseason, there were signs that the Warriors players were struggling to learn the offense and based on numerous errant passes out of the pick and roll, there is still work to do. Ellis and Curry haven’t seemed to learn where all the other players will be on the court at all times.

It hasn’t helped that David Lee has missed significant time so far, but even when he has been in the lineup, the Warriors haven’t been able to utilize him like expected in the pick and roll.

In the specific case of Monta Ellis, a good strategy to me would be to make him think he has a play and then applying timely double teams. He tends to over-commit and make a bad passes.

Defensive Weakness: be aggressive: draw fouls and target Ellis on isolations

No one has allowed more free throw attempts per game than the Warriors this season. A large part of the reason has been their struggles in defending isolation plays. In particular, Monta Ellis has ranked in the bottom 25% on such plays for the last few seasons. In total, the Warriors allow 0.98 PPP in isolation plays. The Detroit Pistons allow the second most PPP on such play types with 0.93 PPP. The Spurs are more than capable of abusing the Warriors on isolations with Ginobili, Parker, and Hill.

The Warriors have also had struggles defending the post, ranking 27 in PPP on post possessions. Last year they were dead last. This could be a good game to show Duncan some love in the post. Duncan has really struggled in the post this year, dropping from 1.06 PPP to 0.93. However, since the fast pace might not be the best fit for Duncan, this may be a good opportunity for the Spurs to get Splitter more acclimated to the offense with some post ups.


The Warriors haven’t played as well as their 8-9 record indicates. In fact, they have a worse SRS than they did last year when they finished 26-56. However, they have performed better with David Lee, who has recently returned from injury.

Even with Lee back, and home court advantage, the Spurs are simply a far better team than the Warriors and have a strong chance to pick up win number 15.

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  • zainn

    hopefully dejuan will get much more minutes if timmy will be more rested for our game in l.a. Tmrw…

  • Hobson13

    If we play decent defense and show up to play we should win this since we’ll probably drop 125pts on them. Go Spurs.

  • Len

    This seems like a good game for Tony to get back on track. I look for him to get to the rim early and often.

  • Does

    Great blog. Just came across todays post as a Warriors fan. I’ll be at the game tonight, but have no illusions that the Dubs will pull this one out. Hopefully it will be a fun one though. Spurs should work to get Biedrins in foul trouble early (which isn’t hard) and force Monta and Curry to settle for jumpers.

  • Jack

    The Spurs will have a hard time shutting down Ellis. Personally I think Ellis is the best player in the league. He has a nice midrange game and is a good three pointer shooter. He is soooooo fast and is much improved on defense. He will frustrate a lot of offensive players.

    I think Manu will have a tough time getting clean shots off tonight against him.

    As if Monta Ellis wasn’t enough to deal with you have Stephen Curry. Curry is a great ball player that has a sweet shooting stroke. One of the craftiest young players in the league.

    To round it out the Warriors have David Lee. In previous years the Warriors had no inside post presence… defensively or offensively. D. Lee is not a great defensive player but communicates well with his teammates and helps people with their rotations. He is the glue to this team. He also gives this team much needed rebounding. With David Lee and Andris Biedrins they now have an elite rebounding front court.

    I also like Dorell Wright who set a franchise record last game with 9 three pointers. He is finally getting a chance to play. He is definitely not an elite player as he is mostly a spot up shooter who plays good defense. But hey, when you have Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry on your team then that works out!

    What the Warriors lack is any kind of bench. There is a dramatic drop off when one of their starters is out. Biedrins has a hard time staying out of foul trouble, which Duncan could easily exploit. David Lee is just coming back from an injury and is not 100%. Dorell Wright is also nicked up but he was last game and put in 9 three’s so maybe that is no problem for him.

    What the Spurs have is depth. When either Ellis or Curry is off the court the scoring is definitely a problem. The Warriors hope the score doesn’t change a lot when they get their breaks… if they even do.

    Great game tonight!

  • Mr. International

    This game concerns me because the Warriors can be as explosive on offense as they are a sieve on defense. Especially at home.

    I think this should be a good test of the Spurs transition D and a chance for them to get a lot of work at the up tempo pace they’ve using a lot more this season.

    Looking forward to this one.

    Btw, traveled all the way down to San Antonio, TX for my first Spurs home game experience for the Cavs game. I really liked San Antonio and the crowd was great! I’m an even bigger Spurs fan now.

  • Cedric

    I’m a Warrior fan, but, that was some of the best analysis of the strengths and weaknesses and how to beat the Warriors I’ve ever seen. All the Spurs need to do is read your blog. I wish you were writing for our team. There’s only one other Warrior blogger who is as in-depth as you, but, for post game analysis, which is relatively easy by comparison. Keep up the good work. Spurs fans are lucky to have you.

  • ITGuy

    Where’s home, Mr. International?

    Go Spurs Go!!

  • jwalt

    The best chance for the Spurs tonight is go small. Hill, TP, Manu, and RJ all in. RJ can handle Lee, Hill will guard Ellis. Manu can guard Wright while providing his usual great team defense. Duncan will outplay any of the Warrior post players.

    And offensively, the 5 mentioned above will be impossible to stop.

    Conversely, the traditional lineup is fraught with problems for the Spurs. Lee will light up Blair, Manu will get burned by Ellis, RJ will be wasted on Wright.

    Go small, Pop, and go early!

  • jwalt

    Given the myriad reasons why the Spurs are so much better this year, I submit my personal reason #1: Manu is (finally) starting. No more digging big holes and then asking Manu to bail out the team. This has been especially important in the 3rd quarters. The team is so much better this year in the 3rd, and I’m convinced it’s because Manu is in from the get go. Pop no longer looks at him on the bench at the 8 minute mark or so with the look of, “Okay, Manu, please go clean up this mess.”

  • Phoebus

    “”Pop no longer looks at him on the bench at the 8 minute mark or so with the look of, “Okay, Manu, please go clean up this mess.”””

    Holy crap. So funny & accurate.

  • Flavor

    Sooo funny you said that jwalt… Manu off the bench… WTF?!

  • Mano E Manu

    Looking at the efficiency ratings for shooting guards, I noticed that Ginobili and ellis are 2 and 3, after Kobe. Not only that, but they have very similar per-36 stats: 3-4 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals, and about 25 ppg (per 36). Ginobili’s scoring efficiency is higher, but he can’t play 44 minutes like ellis.

    As a fan of both teams, this really makes me happy about ellis’s contract, which is 2 million less per year than Manu’s.

  • B Burke

    DeJuan Blair heard what you guys were saying about him.

  • Len


    Way to go Timmy!

  • ThatBigGuy

    I love me some Timmy trip dub action. I don’t mind Timmy getting that extra 3-4 mins in the 4th to get his final assist. We’re 2 games ahead of Dallas, who is #2 the West. Good to see us kick some butt against bad teams everytime this year.

  • Hobson13

    B Burke
    November 30th, 2010 at 8:39 pm
    “DeJuan Blair heard what you guys were saying about him.”

    When Dejuan plays well, everyone is happy. When Dejuan plays bad, we have WWIII (see previous blog). If we all take a step back, it is amusing that the biggest fight among all the bloggers revolves around Blair. That shows how few issues we’ve really had so far this season. I guess if we didn’t b!tch about something, the blog would get boring real quick.

  • Bushka

    Devourer of humanity vs Golden State.

  • Manolo Pedralvez

    Indeed, Timmy and Blair just went ballistic against the Golden State Warriors. So Duncan obviously still got game while Blair, given the opportunity, can be the “The Beast” that we always believed him to be.
    Enough of the snide, snarky, vitriolic, personal remarks and arguments against these two gentlemen for now. Be glad and be blessed that they are part of this present San Antonio juggernaut.

  • Manolo Pedralvez

    There you go now, obviously Spurs beat reporter Jeff McDonald has been reading 48 MOH blogs on Dejuan Blair, describing him as a “much maligned center” in the Spurs-Warriors wrapup. Enough of the bad vibes already.

  • Mr. International

    Hey ITguy…better late than never for my reply.
    I live in Virginia. Been a Spurs fan since The Admiral’s rookie season…since he’s from this area.

    I was confident the Spurs would get this win, but wow, in such an impressive fashion.

    I’d like Splitter to get increased playing time…get him in a rythym with the offense/defense…and keep Timmy fresh. I hate the Spurs with a hobbling Timmy.