Advanced Scouting: San Antonio Spurs at Cleveland Cavaliers


San Antonio Spurs at Cleveland Cavaliers 6:00 CST March 2, 2011

Tonight the Spurs try to pick themselves up after a 109-93 loss to the Grizzlies as they take on the lowly Cleveland Cavaliers. Since losing 26 straight, Cleveland has gone 3-3 and acquired Baron Davis. Their last 4 games include wins over the New York and the LA Lakers to go with competitive losses to Philadelphia and Houston. The Spurs, meanwhile are still trying to adjust to Parker’s injury after a last night’s loss.

In the first meeting in San Antonio, the Spurs beat the Cavs by the score of 116-92 on November 20. Mo Williams, who was traded to the Clippers, led all scorers with 21, but was no match for the Spurs balanced attack.

The Spurs top 6 players in minutes all had offensive ratings of at least 128. (Duncan struggled in only 17 minutes). The Spurs made 12 of 25 threes, 31 of 56 from 2 point range and 18 of 22 from the line. Parker and Ginobili were excellent facilitators, combining to set up 10 layups or dunks. In total, 13 of 18 close shots and 11 of their 12 treys were assisted. The Spurs set up 50 easy possessions (spot ups, cuts or pick and rollman) leading to 70 points. The Cavs only manufactured 35 of these plays resulting in 37 points.

Baron Davis is listed as doubtful for tonight’s game, but eventually he figures to make the Cavs much better. (Antwan Jamison will also not play after suffering a season ending injury.) With Davis likely out, this next piece seems less meaningful for tonight’s game, but since I already wrote it up I may as well include it.

I suspect that Baron Davis is not considered a significant upgrade from Mo Williams, but historical results indicate otherwise. (I don’t mean to discount Moon, who could be a significant defensive contributor.) Although Davis hasn’t made an all star game in seven years, his team has missed him in every season. The following table compares represents the improvement in +/- per 48 minutes when a player is in the game (not accounting for teammates, so Mo Williams benefitted when playing with Lebron more often than teammates).

Plus Minus On Court - Plus Minus Off Court (per 48 minutes)


Although Baron Davis only had an offensive rating exceeding 110 one time in his career and doesn’t have a notable defensive reputation, he creates value in many other ways. (Williams had offensive ratings of 115 and 112 the past two seasons.) Davis gets to the rim nearly twice as frequently, is capable of drawing fouls and creating his own jumper.

Merely 20% of William’s three’s were created on his own in 2008/09 and 2009/10, whereas Davis creates about 50% of his treys. Overall, Baron Davis creates 75% of his own shots, whereas Mo Williams created merely half of his shots the past two seasons (66% this year). Most directly, the ability to create your own shot limits the requirement of a risky pass to set you up. Somewhat predictably, Mo Williams ORTG has dropped to 96 this year. His 3P% has plummeted to 27% (from 43%). Although playing for a lesser team should make Davis’ looks more difficult, his style should result in a much smaller drop than Williams experienced. Additionally, his extra valuable passing and ability to create steals and draw charges contribute to his value beyond the box score.

Key Statistics (effective 2/28)

SRS ranks:

Cleveland: -9.5 (30th)
San Antonio: 6.85 (1st)

Player summary statistics from and

Cavaliers Player Ratings

Antawn Jamison5632.925.81041120.0591.23
Anderson Varejao3132.113.21131090.0987.32
Anthony Parker5029.6151051140.0380.77
Mo Williams3629.625.9961140.013-5.35
Baron Davis4329.523.51041100.0782.49
Daniel Gibson472920.21071150.048-1.44
J.J. Hickson5726.825.3941100.003-7.69
Ramon Sessions5826.322.81121140.105-0.2
Christian Eyenga232517.6891110.023N/A
Alonzo Gee1720.812.2991110.028N/A
Jamario Moon4019.112.41011110.035-3.36
Manny Harris3718.419.3991130.016N/A
Jawad Williams261517811150.075-8.22
Samardo Samuels2314.419.8951130.007N/A
Ryan Hollins4813.614.41101140.059-8.09

Spurs Player Ratings

Tony Parker5932.424.81141060.169-1.18
Manu Ginobili5931.226.51161030.2054.83
Richard Jefferson5931.215.91161070.126-1.01
Tim Duncan5928.923.1109990.176.53
George Hill5328.117.41181060.153-1.53
DeJuan Blair5922.120.2104990.134-0.09
Matt Bonner4322.112.61311060.1654.05
Gary Neal5719.9201091070.106-0.24
Antonio McDyess5417.914.71031010.1062.86
James Anderson1212.616.71091080.091N/A
Tiago Splitter4111.217.71101020.139N/A
Chris Quinn375.915.71021080.062N/A
Steve Novak65.713.31421060.205N/A

Player trends, based on Efficiency per 48 minutes:

Cavaliers Player Trends

PlayerSeasonLast 10Increase
Ramon Sessions26.234.78.5
J.J. Hickson23.230.16.9
Jamario Moon17.2246.8
Anthony Parker16.221.14.9
Alonzo Gee14.918.53.6
Manny Harris18.320.92.6
Mo Williams21.123.42.3
Samardo Samuels17.719.51.8
Baron Davis23.624.81.2
Christian Eyenga15.216.31.1
Antawn Jamison23.924.40.5
Jawad Williams18.318.30
Ryan Hollins17.912.8-5.1
Daniel Gibson18.412.7-5.7

Spurs Player Trends

PlayerSeasonLast 10Increase
Gary Neal18.421.43
DeJuan Blair27.930.32.4
Antonio McDyess23.125.42.3
Tim Duncan32.734.92.2
Steve Novak19.619.60
Matt Bonner19.919.3-0.6
George Hill23.421.9-1.5
Manu Ginobili28.426.1-2.3
Richard Jefferson18.114.2-3.9
Chris Quinn13.65.1-8.5

Lineup data

Most valuable/utilized lineups:


Williams, Gibson, Parker, Jamison, Varejao +11 in 233 minutes (+0.7 per 100 possessions)
Sessions, Eyenga, Parker, Jamison, Hickson -9 in 155 minutes (-2.3 per 100)
Sessions, Gibson, Williams, Jamison, Hollins +22 in 65 minutes (+16.8 per 100)
Sessions, Harris, Gee, Hickson, Samuels -10 in 22 minutes (-25 per 100)

No other Cavs unit of current healthy players has played more than 7 minutes together.


Parker, Ginobili, Jefferson, Blair, Duncan +139 in 648 minutes (+10.2 per 100)
Hill, Neal, Ginobili, Bonner, McDyess +65 in 94 minutes (+36.4 per 100)

The Spurs have actually played better without Parker this season (at least prior to last night).

The Pick


The Cavs have played better as of late and should benefit from the home crowd, whereas the Spurs are coming off a blowout loss to the Grizzlies and will once again be without Tony Parker on the second night of a back to back. That said, the Cavs missing pieces (Varejao and recently Jamison, Mo Williams and Moon) are significant and they probably won’t have Baron Davis to offset these losses. This game should decisively favor the Spurs.

  • DBAGuy

    @TD = Best EVER

    Its almost like they are too proud to be “begging” layers to come play for them. We have 12 players on the roster, no moves the entire year. Our guys are tired and worn. Maybe the front office is happy enough with competing and not necessarily caring whether they get a championship or not.. It is a business after all.

  • idahospur

    Mavs have same chance of Spurs at title, being one of the elite teams in the West (#2 in my book). Brewer got offered more $ and championship contention, which is what he wants.

    If Hill can’t handle the PG responsibility, then we need a PG, possibly Arroyo. Or else lets move the offense to not need Hill’s passing skills.

    Baron Davis is not playing tonight. Beat Cleveland then figure how to beat Miami on Friday. Miami has struggled against the league’s top teams. Even without Parker, I’d like to keep that statement true.

  • rob

    Oh Boo Frikin’ Who People….Brewer was a long shot to begin with and he adds a demension to the Mavs that is true. But this Spurs team this year has made great strides at becoming that which most pundits didn’t even give them a chance to become.

    Brewer out of the mix (not official as of yet)…but the Spurs will adapt, adjust, improvise. It’s the Spurs way and indeed find a way (whether with who they have now or landing another player) to being the favorites to win this year.

    All aboard the “Believe Wagon”…jump in. Those that doubt…grease the tracks.

  • DorieStreet

    @ DBAGuy
    @ TD=Best EVER

    Yet during the past decade the FO has drafted big men from the international leagues, let them continue playing pro ball for 3-5 seasons, then finally bring them over to join the team, only to have them a) not sign/then trade rights to rival= Scola
    b) spend time in the Dleague/don’t develop
    enough to keep/release = Mahinmi
    c) succumb to fatigue & injury because of too
    much international play before FIRST
    summer league play to learn team system and make regular rotation to contribute on regular basis= Splitter

    I wonder which scenario Ryan Richards winds up under.

  • texasj

    ryan richards will fall under whatever categorey he deserves.
    A. if he asks for too much money he’ll be traded.
    B. if his game isnt good enough for the spurs he’ll be cut
    C. if he is too green to play pro ball his rookie year he will be kept on the bench to learn and refine his skills. if he doesnt.see B.

  • TD = Best EVER

    I think Richards has it in him to be better than Splitter/Mahinmi. He has more tools. The jumper is nice and he has size/athleticism. SA needs to bring him over next year and let him develop here, where we can control it better.

  • Big J

    The list of potential free agents not to sign with the Spurs and then get sent home early by them is long and well known. Throw Grant Hill near the top and now Brewer at the bottom. I’m not sure what all of the hand wringing is about. It’s always the same story with the Mavs…whether against the Spurs or another team: when will Dirk step up and win it all? Potentially never. He’s always reminded me, psyche wise, of Karl Malone. Strong enough to reach a point but still shrinks under the brightest of lights.
    There is a great deal to love about the Spurs this year and conversely as a fan, a lot to be nervous about if we lose it all. I choose the optimistic approach and will be surprised if the team loses. Several beat the Manu drum with me and lets join the chorus. As long as the “man” stays healthy for the playoff’s I’ll hitch my wagon to that horse any day. Opposed to Dirk, Manu/Tim have a knack for coming through in the clutch like few others in NBA history. Add a hungry bunch that was embarassed last year by the Suns and there is a team with something to prove.


  • Alix Babaie

    Big J, could not have said it better myself.

    Some of you folks need to keep the faith or keep your mouthes shut.