Advanced Scouting: Oklahoma City Thunder at San Antonio Spurs
Oklahoma City Thunder at San Antonio Spurs 7:30 CST January 1, 2011
Oklahoma: 2.33 (10th)
San Antonio: 8.07 (2nd)
|Player||Fraction of teams minutes||PER minus Counterpart PER||On court +/-per 48 minutes||Off court +/-per 48 minutes||2 Year Adjusted +/-|
The Thunder fare much better with Russell Westbrook on the bench this season. There are a couple probable reasons for this. First of all Westbrookâ€™s defensive matchups have typically been productive. According to 82games.com, Westbrookâ€™s opponent PER is 19.8 this year after two seasons in which he has allowed 16.2 and 16.7.
Additionally, the problem might be with the variability of plus-minus. Last season, the Thunder outscored opponents by 4.7 with Westbrook in the game, but only 0.4 with him on the bench. His 2 year adjusted plus-minus was above 5. Westbrookâ€™s on-court/off-court numbers may suggest he is not elite, but they arenâ€™t enough for me to conclude that he isnâ€™t a pretty good player.
Westbrook, Sefolosha, Durant, Green, Krstic: +1 in 231 minutes (0.0 per 48 minutes)
Westbrook, Sefolosha, Durant, Green, Ibaka: +8 in 219 minutes (0.4 per 48 minutes)
Westbrook, Sefolosha, Durant, Ibaka, Krstic: +1 in 231 minutes (0.0 per 48 minutes)
Westbrook, Sefolosha, Durant, Green, Krstic: +70 in 1,291 minutes (2.6 per 48 minutes)
Preferred method to create shots: Durant and Westbrook on Isolations
According to Synergy Sports, the Thunder rank among the best in the league at transition scoring with 16.8 PPG. (They are currently fourth in the NBA). OKC frequently plays Jeff Green at the power forward position which leaves four players very capable of getting out and scoring on the break.
With over 19 points per game, Oklahoma ranks behind only Denver with production from isolation plays. Individually, Durant and Westbrook rank 4th and 8th in the NBA, respectively. In addition to their isolation plays, Westbrook leads a lot of pick and rolls and Durant frequently scores off screens. The Thunder do not have a significant post game.
Appropriate Spurs counter: Try to keep Westbrook outside and force Durant to pass
Westbrook has greatly improved his FT% this year. His 87% rate is 9% greater than last year and 18% greater than his rate in college. Despite this improvement from the line, his outside shot has yet to follow suit. His career 3P% is only 25% he regularly shoots under 40% on 2 point shots, excluding layups and dunks.
Westbrook is one of the most athletic players in the game and a very apt passer. It will be difficult to keep him outside, but if you can, youâ€™ve won half the battle. Parker usually defends Westbrook, and Hill will guard him on occasion. Hill might actually be a better match against Westbrook with size, strength, and his tendency to go under screens.
Over the past year plus, Durant has averaged a very respectable 0.92 PPP on isolations. If you include pick and rolls and post ups, this average remains 0.92. However, Oklahoma only averages 0.82 PPP when he passes out of these play types. (League average is greater when a player passes out of these plays). Your odds of winning this matchup increase if you can get him to give up the ball. Of course, Durantâ€™s height and skill can make this tricky. If the Spurs arenâ€™t careful with double-teams, Westbrook could have easy scoring opportunities himself.
As with most teams, no San Antonio player is a great matchup for Durant. The Spurs have used George Hill and Richard Jefferson on him over the past couple seasons. The size and length disparity makes the Spurs decision to use Hill interesting. Itâ€™s tough to see this being favorable for the Spurs over the long term, but Durant is uncomfortable enough posting up that the Spurs can probably get away with this for a while.
Defensive Strategy: Attack Westbrook on pick and rolls and post up Jeff Green
This year, opponents are scoring 0.99 points per possession (PPP) on 151 possessions in pick and roll plays against Westbrook (30th percentile defensively). Tony Parker generally runs a lot of pick and rolls, so the Spurs should have many opportunities to take advantage of this matchup.
Jeff Green has allowed 1.02 PPP on 219 post possessions over the past two years. Green is a skilled big man who enables the Thunder to wreck havoc on the fast break, but the Thunder have done much better with him on the bench. Despite his â€œdiminished roleâ€, Duncan has remained the Spurs only truly effective scoring option in the post. However, even if Splitter and Blair are matched up on Green, they could find more offensive success than usual.
Admittedly, it will be difficult for the Spurs to account for both Westbrook and Durant, but the Spurs have a lot of offense firepower that will also give the Thunder fits. This is a home game and the Thunderâ€™s SRS does not match their recordâ€¦ I like the Spurs chances in this game.
Happy New Year everyone!