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 doesnâ€™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 threeâ€™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)
Cleveland: -9.5 (30th)
San Antonio: 6.85 (1st)
Cavaliers Player Ratings
Spurs Player Ratings
Cavaliers Player Trends
Spurs Player Trends
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 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.