Advanced Scouting: San Antonio Spurs at Minnesota Timberwolves


San Antonio Spurs at Minnesota Timberwolves 7:00 CST November 24, 2010

SRS ranks:

Minnesota: -9.31 (30th)
San Antonio: 9.32 (1st)

Key Player Statistics (courtesy of (effective November 21, 2010) and (effective November 20, 2010):

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

Most valuable/utilized lineups:

Telfair,Johnson,Beasley,Love,Milicic -13 in 117 minutes
Telfair,Brewer,Johnson,Beasley,Love +19 in 25 minutes

Preferred method to create shots: Michael Beasley on isolations

The Timberwolves had some reasons for optimism in the future, but the outlook for the current season is not as promising. Minnesota has worked hard to establish the post game with Darko Milicic and Kevin Love. Neither has exactly flourished in that role this year (although Love has been more successful in the post in previous years). Before he suffered an injury, the Timberwolves were having success using Luke Ridnour to run the pick and roll, but he has yet to start since returning from a hamstring injury one week ago.

Michael Beasley has been average in isolation possessions, which means he might be one of the Wolves better options to create offensively in the half court set. With his ability to play both forward positions, Beasley possesses excellent skills, athleticism and ballhandling abilities that often present difficult matchups for opponents.

Appropriate Spurs counter: Jefferson and Blair

Michael Beasley utilizes an array of offensive moves. He puts the ball on the floor often for his position. He is also a decent shooter, but doesn’t always choose the most effective option. He loves the midrange game, which means he has the ability to always get off a decent shot, but if you can keep him in front of you and get help when he gets by you, Beasley isn’t efficient enough to kill you on a consistent basis.

Depending on the lineup the Timberwolves utilize, Dejuan Blair and Richard Jefferson are both decent defensive options on isolation plays. Both have consistently ranked moderately above average against that play over the last few years (Although Blair only has one year’s worth of data). As a bonus, playing DeJuan Blair gives the Spurs their best chances in rebounding battles with Kevin Love. That matchup should be a fun one to watch.

Defensive Weakness: defending the break

Minnesota plays at the fastest pace in the NBA, but they are near the bottom of the league in terms of transition effectiveness. Based on Synergy data from this year, they have allowed 1.31 points per possession (PPP) on the fast break, while scoring only 1.04 PPP themselves. Meanwhile, the Spurs have outscored their opponents 1.31-1.1, on average, in transition possessions. A fast pace should only serve to help the Spurs chances.


The Spurs have the best SRS in the league and the Timberwolves have the worst. Bigger upsets have happened and Minnesota is playing at home, but San Antonio might be more likely to win by double digits than lose.

Other things to watch for:

•Kevin Love is leading the NBA in offensive, defense and (obviously) total rebounds. However, DeJuan Blair is no pushover on the glass himself. The following table represents the estimated percentage of available rebounds grabbed by Love and Blair last season and this current season.


•Darko Milicic is coming off two games with some impressive numbers. His cumulative totals against the Lakers and the Thunder are 44 points on 19 of 32 shooting to go with 20 rebounds and 9 blocks. Over Milicic’s last four games, he has averaging 17 points, 9 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 4 blocks on 59% from the field.

•Minnesota is the youngest team in the NBA. Milicic, all of 25 years old, is tied with Ridnour for Minnesota’s longest tenured NBA player. Corey Brewer is playing his fourth season with the T-Wolves and is currently the longest tenured player with the franchise.

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  • BlaseE

    @ Scott

    I was just curious where your rooting interest stood now that we are 13 games into the season. Are you watching most of the Spurs’ games?

  • Scott Sereday

    Well, it’s too early in the season to have a strong emotional investment, but I do root for the Spurs to win. I watch all the Spurs games I can (they often seem to conflict with classes).

  • Jim Henderson

    I think it would be interesting to get Splitter in for some decent minutes against Love tonight to see what he can do. Have the crafty old guy Duncan on the taller, slower Milicic.

  • Hollywood Jones

    Nice stats. I imagine Blair would have an even higher rebound percentage if he wasn’t playing alongside one of the best rebounders of all time.

  • Jim Henderson

    Hollywood Jones
    November 24th, 2010 at 4:34 pm

    “I imagine Blair would have an even higher rebound percentage if he wasn’t playing alongside one of the best rebounders of all time.”

    Good point!

  • zeanocril

    Whew. That was an ugly win. Nonetheless, we won, and that’s what matters. And yeah, I have to say that three by Bonner saved the day.

  • duaneofly

    Wow! Yeah, what a freakin’ nail biter!

  • Jacques

    My heartbeat went crazy, my goodness, This is one of those chaotic games!

  • joash

    whew…that 1 was very close
    anyway its a win…

  • zeanocril

    Looking at the boxscore, we shot a measly 39.8% and 31.2% while they (the t’wolves) shot 47.2% and 50% from the field and from behind the arc, respectively. And somehow, we won. I think we must thank Rambis for his management of his player’s minutes (or lack thereof). Kevin Love was having cramps by the end of the game (He played for almost 46 minutes!!)

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