Advanced Scouting: New Jersey Nets at San Antonio Spurs
New Jersey Nets at San Antonio Spurs 7:30 CST February 25, 2011
The Nets acquisition of Deron Williams this past Wednesday should make the Spurs feel a little cozier about the Western Conference playoff picture for this season and future seasons. However, Williams still has one more chance to make life difficult for the Spurs this year as the Spurs play host to the Nets and their new lead guard tonight. The Spurs had an easy time beating the Nets last meeting by the score of 102-85 on February 14, but the presence of Williams could make tonight’s matchup a bit tougher. My scouting report of the Nets often focused on how the Spurs should match up against Devin Harris. Of course, Harris and Derrick Favors was the primary active piece that New Jersey sent to Utah in exchange for Williams.
Williams shares Harris’ ability to score the ball. Harris was frequently utilized in the pick and roll, averaging 0.92 PPP (points per possession); which exceeded Williams’ rate of 0.83. Williams often worked out of isolation sets in Utah, averaging 0.95 PPP (Harris averaged 0.84 PPP). Despite their shared ability to score, the most significant difference between these two players is Williams’ ability to create easy scores for teammates. Beyond the decided difference in assists per game, Williams passes tend to be more meaningful. For instance, Williams sets up teammates for easy scores at the rim over 50% more frequently than Harris and the Jazz as a team score on cuts nearly twice as often as the Nets over this season.
In time, this advantage could dramatically help the Nets, but the New Jersey’s offense is different from Utah’s and I wouldnâ€™t expect Williams’ ability to pass the ball to be fully utilized the first time out. However, it is his passing ability that poses the greatest threat to the Spurs. Check out my advanced scouting report on the Jazz for more analysis on defending a Deron Williams led team.
On February 14 in Newark, Manu led all scorers with 22 points, including 8 from the charity stripe and 6 from deep. Tony Parker set up teammates for 5 scores at the rim and he also created 4 such layups for himself. In total, the Spurs converted 14 close scores compared to the Nets 8. In large part thanks to the Spurs ability to get to the rim and the Nets inability to defend with discipline, the Spurs attempted nearly 50% more free throws than the Nets (31-21). The Spurs also made 7 of 16 threes. Both teams had success running the pick and roll. Spurs ball handlers scored 19 points on 18 plays and Nets ball handlers scored 20 in 20 possessions. No Nets player scored more than 11.
New Jersey: -5.94 (28th)
San Antonio: 6.87 (2nd)
Nets Player Ratings
Spurs Player Ratings
Nets player trends
Spurs player trends
Farmar, Morrow, Outlaw, Humphries, Lopez -15 in 80 minutes (-15.4 per 100 possessions)
Farmar, Vujacic, Morrow, Humphries, Petro +14 in 35 minutes (+23.5 per 100)
Nets with Morrow at SG: -6.1 per 100 in 997 minutes
Nets with Morrow at SF: +1.9 per 100 in 277 minutes
Parker, Ginobili, Jefferson, Blair, Duncan +115 in 625 minutes (+8.7 per 100)
Hill, Neal, Ginobili, Bonner, McDyess +65 in 94 minutes (+36.4 per 100)
The Nets are certainly more formidable now that they have an elite point in Deron Williams, but they still shouldn’t be a match for the Spurs in San Antonio. This should especially be true for Williams’ first night with the team.