Advanced Scouting: San Antonio Spurs at New Jersey Nets


San Antonio Spurs at New Jersey Nets 6:00 CST February 14, 2011

SRS ranks:

New Jersey: -5.78 (29th)
San Antonio: 6.85 (2nd)

Key Player Statistics (courtesy of (effective January 19, 2011) and (effective February 11, 2011):

PlayerFraction of teams minutesPER minus Counterpart PEROn court +/-per 100 possessionsOff court +/-per 100 possessions2 Year Adjusted +/-

Most valuable/utilized lineups:

Harris, Morrow, Outlaw, Humphries, Lopez -55 in 253 minutes (-12.4 per 100 Poss)
Harris, Morrow, Outlaw, Favors, Lopez -15 in 95 minutes (-7.5 per 100)
Harris, Vujacic, Outlaw, Humphries, Lopez +4 in 63 minutes (-1.4 per 100)
Harris, Farmar, Morrow, Humphries, Lopez +17 in 38 minutes (+16.9 per 100)

Preferred method to create shots: Devin Harris driving on the pick and roll

The Nets have an offensive rating of 102.5, which places them 28th in the league. Despite their struggles, New Jersey has a couple players who can create their own shot with good efficiency. Brook Lopez averages 0.9 points per possession (PPP) in the 7.5 post ups per game and possesses good range for a center. Devin Harris scores 0.94 PPP on 6.4 pick and rolls per game. (Note that offensive ratings do not count offensive rebounds as separate possessions and are thus higher than Synergy’s PPP.) Harris looks to draw contact when driving to the rim and gets to the line more often than all point guards except Derrick Rose, Deron Rose and Russell Westbrook.

Make Harris and Lopez give up the ball

Although the Nets are good at creating and making the difficult shots, they have difficulty setting up the easy shots. It doesn’t help that they don’t have the best players to convert the high percentage plays. New Jersey ranks 10th in pick and roll efficiency when the ball handler attempts to score, but just 27th on plays for the roll man. Making matters worse, the Nets commit many passing turnovers. They have the 8th highest turnover rate in the NBA.

The Nets have a difficult time manufacturing the most efficient shot types. They rank near the bottom in the league in both percentage of shots attempted at the rim and percentage of shots attempted from three point range. Because of this, they have the 3rd worst expected eFG% according to hoopdata. Making matters worse, they have the 6th worst field goal percentage relative to the type of shots they do take. It doesn’t help that a high percentage shots they take are created off the dribble.

The Nets rank 22nd in the percentage of close field goals created by assists. (Assisted close shots have a much higher conversion rate.) They also have the 2nd lowest assist rate on 3 point attempts. Sasha Vujacic and Jordan Farmar have been relied on to create more of their own shots and their efficiency has predictably diminished.

The Nets assists tend produce low scoring expectations:

Shot typeLg %AstdNets %AstdestAstd FG%estUastd FG%Approx Value
2 Point Jumpers51%56%46%36%0.20
3 Pointers86%80%37%34%0.20

The Nets also struggle to find good shots early in the shot clock. Their rate of 20% of field goals attempted in the last 4 seconds of the shot clock is only exceeded by the Detroit Pistons.

New Jersey does have a few players who can be dangerous on the receiving ends of passes. Anthony Morrow is very good at getting shots off screens, spot ups and even off a dribble or two, but he loses effectiveness when going to the hoop. Kris Humpries has increased his focus on high percentage plays such as cuts, pick and rolls and fast breaks. He has become the Nets most efficient option, along with Lopez, at receiving passes for easy layups and dunks.

George Hill and Tony Parker should defend Harris on most possessions. Parker’s ability to defend without committing fouls could be advantageous against Harris. Additionally, George Hill is a better option helping out by drawing fouls or creating turnovers.

Spurs offensive game plan: Look for Duncan

The Nets have a defensive rating of 109, which ranks 19th. This isn’t exceptional, but its much more respectable than their offensive rating. Devin Harris, Jordan Farmar and Kris Humphries are all good help defenders and although Brook Lopez averages merely 5.7 RPG, the Nets rank 9th in defensive rebounding percentage.

The Nets most significant defensive weakness this season has been defending the post. The 0.95 PPP they surrender is worst in the NBA. Lopez is a decent man defender in the post, but Humphries, Favors and Morrow have allowed 0.96, 1.05 and 1.00 PPP over the past two seasons on such plays. Over the same time frame, Morrow has also allowed 1.01 PPP when facing isolations and 0.91 defending the pick and roll.

Opponents have also found success on cuts to the basket. 9% of opponent possessions are classified as cuts according to Synergy. Along with Lopez and Humphries, Derrick Favors is a solid at contesting shots, but has significant foul troubles (nearly one foul every 6 minutes). Attacking him could result in several trips to the charity stripe. In addition to their other defensive liabilities, New Jersey also creates turnovers at the lowest rate in the NBA.

Tim Duncan’s post production is below his normal standards, but still respectable (0.87 PPP). Duncan is still the Spurs top option as the roll man (148 points on 141 possession) and is a solid finishing on cuts (100 points in 83 possessions). Looking to set up Duncan with these looks attacks the Nets defensive weaknesses in all three areas. DeJuan Blair is also very good at finishing cuts and solid at scoring off pick and roll sets.

The Pick


After playing four road games in five nights, the Spurs will “only” be playing their third in four tonight. That’s just a reminder of how brutal this road trip can be. After a tough night in Philly, the Spurs looked good in DC. Assuming the Spurs don’t succumb to fatigue or another terrible shooting performance, they should come away with a win.

  • DorieStreet

    I am with that game plan- get the ball to Duncan. As the team starts the final 1/3 of the season, we need TD to get into a better offensive rhythm. However amount of time he is in the game, he needs to get as many touches as possible to hone his shot selection and accuracy. I really want the Spurs to finish this RRT with a 7-2 record–let’s close it out on a 3-game win streak.

  • DBAGuy

    Maybe the SRS Ranks changed since you wrote the article, but they are now ranked 1st with 7.04. :)

    46-9 people!!!

  • betsyduncan

    Having a former Spurs’ PG coaching against us ‘evens’ things out a little bit (in my opinion). Having said that, I think that we can take this one easily; but only if our focus is razor-sharp! GSG!!!!!

  • DBAGuy

    Lets just hope Pop doesn’t feel like giving this game away to the former Spurs player now coach AJ

  • TD = Best EVER

    @ DorieStreet
    Just let me add that TD is getting his touches and shot attempts. He is just getting them away from the baskets and out of his comfort zone. Now the 15-20 ft Jump shot isn’t out of his range, but that’s not what made him a HOF post player. I understand that SA doesn’t want to post him up and run the O thru the post. But while running the PnR, just hitting him on the roll more than just kicking it to the wing for a 3 would be great. If he doesn’t have an easy layup for himself of DJB, he kicks it out to the 3 line as well as anyone on the team.

  • Pingback: Spurs Nation » Blog brother wonders how good TD has to be in the playoffs for a Spurs title()

  • DorieStreet

    @ TD=Best EVER

    You are right on both accounts. The last game I saw was against the Lakers. I recalled him being a little to far out for a certain number of his shots-my thinking was he was trying to draw out the bigs.

    Despite their overall record, 5 of the Nets’ 8 wins since the new year are against teams that now have 30+ victories this season. I am sure Coach Avery will have his front line motivated tonight.

  • ITGuy

    Go Spurs Go!!

  • Hicksman

    This could be a nasty little game Avery will have some corp knowledge, however I think as long as we play our own game and don’t fall into the trap of playing NJN game we’ll be fine. Anybody know if Splitter will be dressing and contibuting? I would like to see the offense (if healthy) run through him a little just to see against another promising young big if he can handle it. Lets go SPURS and get this win another little streak is being built.
    GO SPURS GO!!!

  • The Beat Counselor

    I remember watching some Nets games last year when they were historically bad. Their play-by-play announcer was hilarious (I guess you’d have to be when your team that bad).

    Pretty funny again tonight.

  • Bruno


  • DorieStreet

    46-9; alright Spurs- one mo’ time (Thursday night)