(All numbers used in this post come from Andres Alvarez wonderful Automated Wins Produced website and database. Andres deserves full credit for my ability to do my playoff analysis in a relatively quick timeframe)
30 to 16 to 1. Based on a half baked notion, that since the true goal of any NBA season is to turn thirty teams into one champion and as we saw in my earlier piece, what wins in the regular season is not necessarily what gets you the trophy, my 2010 Playoff Review series continues.
The Half-Baked Notion:
Simple (based on 2010 numbers):
- The best two players accounted for 55% of a teams wins in the 2010 Playoffs.
- The top three players are just below the pareto threshold
- The next three (4,5,6th man) account for the rest of the positive win contribution about equally.
- After that everybody else actually hurt teams in the playoffs.
The format will look at the best six players in the playoffs for each team, will look at how many wins their coach/injuries might have cost them and talk about their opportunities/drawbacks going forward (and if they’ve done anything in the off-season to address these). We will go from least productive to most productive team in the Playoff (based on the table that follows now):
This piece covers the next two of the First Round Losers: the Thunder & the Bucks.
Playing it Safe in OKC
- The Storyline: For the Thunder, the future should’ve been now. If we view the Celtics and Lakers as an even barometer, the kids from OKC were the third best team in the NBA. Normally you’d look at their average age and be excited by that fact. But had Presti taken Camby (who was available cheap), they get a 2nd or 3rd seed, avoid the Lakers while adjusting to the playoffs and I honestly believe they win the title.
- The Good: Westbrook was an out and out beast against the eventual champs. Ibaka impressed. Durant struggled somewhat but got better. This team will be damn good next year.
- The Bad: They lacked height against the Lakers and it showed (could Camby maybe have solved that?). Green & Collison got abused up and down the court. Durant shows up here because he couldn’t quite figure out the D in his first playoffs.
- The Coach: Brooks’ inexperience showed. He can argue that getting the Lakers and coach Phil in your first go at the playoffs is not good times. That said, my numbers say that this really should’ve gone seven.
- Needs: Time and size in the middle.
- Major Moves: OKC stood pat and drafted well. Aldrich, Rolle and the rights to Tibor Pleiss give them size. Presti continues his strategy of flipping players for multiple picks for volume drafting. He only need to hit once with one of his bigs and this team is set..
- 2011 Outlook: The Thunder are the best and most exciting young team in the NBA. They are also deep, play defense and as a young team are better suited to the grind of the regular season. Given that, I see a 1 seed in the West for this team (I think age and frankly not caring as much disqualifies the Lakers & the Spurs from this discussion).As for the Playoffs, they are the biggest X-factor. I think this team will at the minimum go to the conference finals and give us a classic against the Lakers. If they manage to trade for a good big (or Aldrich as is a good center as a rookie i.e. >.150 WP48) to pair with Ibaka, they go to the Finals and we get to see Durant throwdown against the Superteam. But I don’t think they get there yet, unless Presti rolls the dice. I think they continue to be a year away.
Learning to Worry about that Deer
- The Storyline: Andrew Bogut is a cool guy from Australia who’s became a franchise big man last season. This Combined with 6 others players on the roster at greater than >.100 WP48 (Carlos Delfino, Ersan Ilyasova, Luc Mbah a Moute, Luke Ridnour, John Salmons & Kurt Thomas) and a 20 year old rookie pg at .078 WP48 had the Deer feeling confident and the rest of the conference fearful. Alas, late season injuries put a damper on what could have been a deep, cin-deer-ella playoff run.
- The Good: Everything about this team is of the good. Ilyasova, Luc & Bogut give this team a deep frontcourt
- The Bad: Bad luck. I think this team will be in the playoffs for years to come.
- The Coach: Given the fact that he was making up his rotation, coach Skiles did a decent job. He had his team in a position to win.
- Needs: Experience/depth in the backcourt.
- Major Moves: The Bucks kept Salmons and signed Drew Gooden (both good moves) and lost Ridnour (will be missed) and Thomas. They drafted for size. I believe they’re looking for Michael Redd to come back at guard and provide depth.
- 2011 Outlook: The Deer don’t have a lot of holes. They have exciting young bigs and a young pg. They have veterans in the backcourt. I see this team as a 4 or 5 Seed after making the Bulls work for their division. I see a date with the Celtics in the playoffs and a playoff epic in green (that they will of course lose).