Advanced Scouting: San Antonio Spurs at Philadelphia 76ers
San Antonio Spurs at Philadelphia 76ers 6:30 CST February 11, 2011
Philadelphia: 0.59 (12th)
San Antonio: 7.10 (1st)
|Player||Fraction of teams minutes||PER minus Counterpart PER||On court +/-per 48 minutes||Off court +/-per 48 minutes||2 Year Adjusted +/-|
Most valuable/utilized lineups:
Holiday, Meeks, Iguodala, Brand, Hawes +53 in 370 minutes (+6.9 per 48 MP)
Holiday, Meeks, Iguodala, Young, Brand +68 in 96 minutes (+34 per 48 MP)
Preferred method to create shots: Post up Elton Brand
The Sixers have shown vast improvements from last season. After starting 3-13, they are 21-15 in their last 36. It may surprise some to see them ahead of teams like Atlanta, New York, Utah and Phoenix in SRS rankings.
Several players have contributed to the Sixers improvements this season. 20 year old Jrue Holiday has developed nearly all facets of his offensive game. Jodie Meeks has been an excellent addition to the 3 point game and Thaddeus Young and Elton Brand have shown dramatic improvements just when others were giving up hope.
Although he is being used slightly less frequently than last year, Brandâ€™s offensive efficiency is right at his career high. He had a rating of 114 in his last full season with the Clippers (2006-07) followed in successive seasons by ratings of 104 (8 GP), 97 (29 GP) and 104 (76 GP). This season has seen his efficiency skyrocket to 116. Brand averages an impressive 0.99 points per possession (PPP) in the post on 4.1 possessions.
Much of Brand’s improvement in efficiency is simply due to increases in his shooting percentages from beyond 10 feet. His shooting percentage has increased from 42% to 51% from that 10-15 feet and 41% to 47% from 16-23 feet. No one in the NBA makes more shots from 10-15 feet (97). Brand has also greatly reduced his turnover rate.
The Spurs should be cautious playing the passing lanes. Philly has good passers at several positions and they are often able to work the ball down low without turning the ball over. They have the 4th best turnover rate in the NBA.
The Sixers are also very dangerous on the break. Andre Iguodala and Jrue Holiday will push the ball after a steal. Lou Williams and Thaddeus Young are also significant components to the transition game. When the Sixers play Young at the 4 and Brand at the 5 they become an even faster team.
Lou Williams is very good at getting to the line. He averages 0.9 PPP in 3 isolations per game despite playing less than half the game. Holiday and Williams are both efficient when running the pick and roll and isolations.
Appropriate Spurs counter: Keep Duncan inside as much as possible
The Sixers are an unusual team that seems to have more success with their bigs hitting jumpers (other than threes) and their perimeter players finishing at the rim. Itâ€™s tough to tell how to defend this combination. If the Spurs shotblockers (read: Tim Duncan) contest jumpers, the lane will be exposed for easy scores from the likes of Young, Iguodala, Williams and Holiday.
Duncanâ€™s reduced offensive role has in some ways masked his improved defensive play. Not only is his blocks rate up 40%, but metrics such as Wayne Winstonâ€™s adjusted plus-minus rate him as arguably the best defender in the NBA this season. 15 points might be pretty extreme, but Ducanâ€™s defensive contributions are obvious.
Despite Duncanâ€™s defensive abilities, he is far from a top notch perimeter defender, so the Spurs will want to keep him as close to the basket as possible, as often as they are able. Spencer Hawes is a decent outside shooter, but probably the worst among Sixers players whom Duncan can defend. Matching against him should allow Duncan to be more valuable defending the 76ers slashers. When Hawes is not in the game, Duncan will probably have to match up against Brand or Speights, but the Spurs might need to be more creative. They should consider running more zone than normal. Even if the Spurs make mistakes, it is much better to surrender the open 2 point jump shot than an open layup.
Spurs offensive game plan: Run the pick and roll against Lou Williams
The Sixers struggle to defend the pick and roll, allowing 0.87 PPP (23rd in the NBA). Both Lou Williams and Jrue Holiday are good to target against this play. Each has allowed 0.99 PPP over the last two seasons. Holiday has a solid defensive reputation for his age, gives effort and does look good at times, but he also allows 1.01 PPP when matched up against isolations. Additionally, although he defends the passing lanes well (1.5 steals/36 MP), his on court/off court defensive numbers have been subpar in his first two seasons. I’m not certain Holiday’s a bad defender, but these statistics indicate his defensive ability is worth investigating. Philadelphia also ranks 20th against isolation plays (0.86 PPP).
The Spurs may also wish to work the post in order to make the Sixers pay for creating favorable matchups on the other end. Most of the 76ers big men have done very well defending the post. Hawes has allowed far fewer PPP defensively this season, but over the last two years he is still allowing 0.92 PPP. Perhaps more importantly, Young may be the a natural small forward playing at power forward because he has the required length combined with the athleticism and coordination to create mismatches. However, his lack of strength leaves himself susceptible to mismatches. Over the past two seasons, he has allowed 0.91 PPP when defending the post. Ilm sure he will not be used often against Duncan, but Blair or even McDyess should test him. (Splitter is listed as day-to-day.)
I question if Duncan will be able to make his normal contributions in tonight’s game. (Duncan had 7 points, 6 rebounds and 0 blocks, playing only 24 minutes despite committing only 3 fouls in their prior meeting in November. TD was also held to 10 points and 0 blocks over 33 minutes in the previous meeting against the Sixers.) I also wonder if the older Spurs might start to feel the effects of the Rodeo Road Trip. (I know they’ve historically had success on this trip). However, this isnâ€™t the first time these players have encountered an extended road trip and Coach Pop has masterfully managed older teams for over a decade. Despite the negatives the Spurs have against them, they still have to be favorites.