Zach Lowe's Preseason Deep Dive

Discussion in 'Portland Trail Blazers' started by BrianFromWA, Oct 9, 2017.

  1. Denny Crane

    Denny Crane It's not even loaded! Staff Member Administrator

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    Last game, ML, Pat, ET, Aminu, and Briscoe were better than Dragan Bender, Mike James, Tyler Ulis, Alex Len, and Elijah Milsap.

    Though our guys played less than half a game's minutes (only ML was over 24 in that list), Bender, James, and Ulis all played 25+.

    Granted, Phoenix sure looks like an awful team on paper.
     
  2. blue9

    blue9 Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, unfortunately coaching sometimes makes it easier to defend a team. When we first got Nurk nobody knew how to guard him/us. But once he's integrated into Terry's offense, everything becomes much more predictable and therefore easier to defend.
    Hopefully Terry spent the summer building a more robust offense that doesn't rely so much on freelancing and running 3-man weave outside of the 3-point arc.
     
  3. Denny Crane

    Denny Crane It's not even loaded! Staff Member Administrator

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    Seems to me Stotts has been very good at molding the offense to fit the personnel. The offense does feature Nurk inside and did allow Plums to deal outside.

    In preseason, he's not started the same lineup in any of the games, has he?
     
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  4. Boob-No-More

    Boob-No-More Fan Fest MVP!!!

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    Rather than risk being labeled a clueless homer, I won't attack Lowe's assessment of the Blazers, I'll attack his assessment of another NW Division team - the Denver Nuggets.

    Lowe has DEN ranked ahead of the Blazers (and MIN, UTA, LAC, MEM, NOP) in his ranking of the 5 - 11 spots in the West.

    Sure they added an Eastern Conference all star to their roster by overpaying 32-year old Paul Millsap. Lowe admitted Millsap doesn't really play a position of need (DEN always seems to be stockpiling power forwards and short of small forwards). In terms of scoring, Millsap in and Galinari out is a wash. Sure, Millsap is a better defender and more durable, but again, not at a position of need.

    After, experimenting with several starting line ups, Mike Malone settled on Wilson Chandler as the best fit at power forward next to Nikola Jokic. Well, toss that all out the window and move Chandler back to small forward, by default, because with Galinari gone, they really don't have any other option.

    Lowe also admits that DEN has no rim protection and no solution at PG. Gee, aren't those two things every team needs to compete in today's NBA? DEN will easily have the worst PG rotation in the West (again), possibly the entire league. Emmanuel Mudiay still sucks. Old, slow, pint sized Jameer Nelson beat him out for the starting PG spot again last year. Well Nelson hasn't gotten any better, any taller, any quicker or any younger. Rumor is DEN will try to run Jamaal Murray at PG. Good luck with that. Murray is a tweener, best suited as a combo guard off the bench. He's still young but has shown no ability to run an offense or guard opposing PGs, a big problem in the West.

    Sure, DEN will run a lot of heir offense through Jokic, but they still need someone to bring the ball up the floor and guard opposing PGs. I can see other teams trapping Murray, making it difficult for DEN to get into their half court offense. I can also see him getting lit up like a Christmas tree on a nightly basis by other Western Conference starting PGs. I don't see this going well. I expect this experiment to fail, which means another year of old, slow, undersized Jameer Nelson Manning the PG spot.

    Sure, DEN added an Eastern Conference "all star" to their roster, but did nothing to address their two biggest needs, lack of rim protection and no real solution at PG. Yet, Lowe is strangely confident this will all work out in DEN's favor. I disagree.

    BNM
     
  5. andalusian

    andalusian Season - Restarted

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    .. and they created a light-weight "Nurkic" situation for themselves with Faried. Sure, he is a minus defender - but he still gave them 20 minutes and almost 10 points per game last year. I agree - Denver is likely to be as good as they were last year and not much more.
     
  6. Rastapopoulos

    Rastapopoulos The Violent Left

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  7. Rastapopoulos

    Rastapopoulos The Violent Left

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    Having said that, I think the team to watch is going to be Utah, partly because everyone thinks they're going to get worse without Gordon Hayward. I think they might even get better.
     
  8. Blazer4ever

    Blazer4ever Finding a Way

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    I think Utah would be better, also. I think waiving Briscoe moved us from 2 seed to 4th seed in my prediction. I think not bringing a dependable backup guard and waiving the only player close to it is rediculous. Sorry to repeat myself, can't help it. I think if we have to play Turner at guard as many minutes we play him at guard the worst we would be, and I'm hoping at least Pat gets real playing time. About the other teams, GS is for real, the other super teams? Houston was good not just because of Harden, they had very good role players, they still do, adding Chris Paul to the mix is nice but idk if moves them ahead of any recent Chris Paul team. OKC I think would bust, not out of the playoffs bust but not that good. Denver I think would be more or less OKC level. Minnesota is a question mark, could be fringe playoffs or higher, the Lakers would be much better, they made an awesome draft in Ball and Kuzma, the Kings I think would be better than expected and so are the Clippers
     
  9. Denny Crane

    Denny Crane It's not even loaded! Staff Member Administrator

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  10. PtldPlatypus

    PtldPlatypus Blazers scoring leader through 11/23: CJ McCollum

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    Pure insanity.
     
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  11. e_blazer

    e_blazer Rip City Fan

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    Did it occur to you that keeping a roster spot open until an experienced and effective backup guard becomes available via trade might be better than locking up that spot with a guy who’s sort of decent?
     
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  12. SIeepwalker

    SIeepwalker Nurk is the team leading scorer by Nov 24th

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    :biglaugh::biglaugh::biglaugh:
     
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  13. Boob-No-More

    Boob-No-More Fan Fest MVP!!!

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    Yep, you're right. I don't like it. The author makes lots of ridiculous comparisons, and almost completely ignores defense. He does mention that GSW has been a top 5 defensive team the last three seasons, but no mention that DEN had the second worst defense in the league last season.

    He claims Gary Harris has the potential to develop into and elite 2-way 3 and D shooting, like Klay Thompson, but then goes on to describe Harris as 3" shorter than Thompson and one of the worst defensive shooting guards in the league last season. Evidently Harris possesses the unique potential to grow 3" and suddenly transform from one of the worst defenders at his position into one of the best.

    Where is DEN's rim protection and their DPOY candidate? They have neither. Where is DEN's elite, record breaking 3-point shooting? The GSW team he is comparing this years Nuggets against led the league in 3FG at .403, and even before adding Bogut and before Green emerged as a perennial DPOY candidate, that GSW team ranked 12th in team defense and 4th in OPP FG% at .439. This DEN team, that the author claims is the next GSW was 11th in the league in 3FG% at .368, 29th in team defense and 29th in OPP% at .477. Those numbers alone make his comparison a complete joke.

    In fact, using his exact same "model" 2017-18 POR is a better match for 2012-13 (multiple potential future all stars taken without a top 5 pick, key player acquired via trade, etc.). Plus POR is a better 3-point shooting team than DEN, and as bad as POR's defense was last season, it was still light years ahead of DEN's (12th in the league in OPP FG% at .455 and 9th in the league in BLKs, compared to DEN at 29th in the league in OPP FG% and 27th in the league in BLKs). And POR's numbers only include 20 games with Nurkic.

    Our late lottery first round picks, particularly Lillard and McCollum compare much more favorably to GSW's (Curry and Thompson) than DEN's (Murray and Mudiay). Really, the only good "match" in this comparison is that both DEN (Jokic)and GSW (Green) acquired a future all star with a second round pick and even that comparison falls flat when you consider the defensive side of the floor. Both are big men with the unique ability to facilitate a high powered offense, but only one is a perennial DPOY candidate.

    It seemed like the author started with a predetermined conclusion and the attempted to massage the data to support that conclusion.

    BNM
     
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  14. Boob-No-More

    Boob-No-More Fan Fest MVP!!!

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    He's the next Taureen Green. He owes us 3 - 4 wins and that could be the difference between the 2nd seed and the 4th seed in the West this year. Damn it Neil. First TRob and now Briscoe. When will you learn!!!

    BNM
     
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  15. Wizard Mentor

    Wizard Mentor Wizard Mentor

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    BAM.
     
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  16. Blazer4ever

    Blazer4ever Finding a Way

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    Taurean Green plays in Israel, actually the best player on a pretty successful team
     
  17. Boob-No-More

    Boob-No-More Fan Fest MVP!!!

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    I just don't understand how these writers that constantly criticize POR's defense manage to ignore the fact that DEN's defense was even worse, and by a significant margin.

    Lowe got this part right:

    "I am weirdly confident in the Nuggets, despite their glut of power forwards and embarrassing defense -- second worst in the league last season. The first problem compounds the second. Denver will have to shoehorn the undersized (Will Barton) and oversized/slow (Juancho Hernangomez) into wing minutes behind Wilson Chandler. Teensy lineups featuring Barton, Gary Harris and Jamal Murray hemorrhaged points, per NBA.com.

    Opponents feasted on Jokic at the rim. He has lost weight, and has the smart feet to put of up more of a fight.

    And right now it looks like DEN will be featuring defensive sieves Harris and Murray as their starting backcourt. Jokic may have "smart" feet, but they are still slow. And he's not the only center in the NW Division who has lost weight. No matter how much weight Jokic loses, he will never be a rim protector.

    Here's what he wrote about POR's defense:

    "Portland hopes to compensate by tightening a defense that sunk to 21st in points allowed per possession last season (DEN was 29th). They were much stiffer after acquiring Nurkic. They cut their foul rate dramatically, a trend that might be sustainable. Nurkic prefers to hang back against the pick-and-roll, allowing the rest of the Blazers to stick closer to shooters. Fewer rotations mean fewer reaches, bumps, and free enemy points."

    POR was better on defense to begin with and now have a full season of Nurk. Yet, he has DEN ranked 5th in the West and POR ranked 11th. His conclusion seems to contradict his own data.

    He seems to think DEN's offensive efficiency will overcome their "embarrassing" defense. Well guess what, DEN was a net negative in both FG% and 3FG% last season while POR was a net positive in both.

    DEN 2016-17:
    Team FG% = .469
    OPP FG% = .477
    Net FG% = -.008

    Team 3FG% = .368
    OPP 3FG% = .375
    Net FG% = -.007

    POR 2016-17:
    Team FG% = .459
    OPP FG% = .455
    Net FG% = +.004

    Team 3FG% = .375
    OPP 3FG% = .370
    Net FG% = +.005

    The differences may seem small, but its hard to win more games than you lose when you let your opponents shoot a higher percentage than you do from everywhere on the floor. POR squeaked by at .500 with their small net positive shooting percentages. DEN, with even worse perimeter defense and no rim protection, which led to their net negative shooting, predictably finished two games below .500.

    For every criticism of POR's defense, you could say the same thing about DEN's - only worse. Sure, they added a past his prime Paul Millsap. That will help some, but we will have a full season of an in shape, motivated Nurk who is just entering his prime. That will help more.

    BNM
     
  18. Boob-No-More

    Boob-No-More Fan Fest MVP!!!

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    Maybe Briscoe can join him there.

    BNM
     
  19. Blazer4ever

    Blazer4ever Finding a Way

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    Yes, maybe he should if that somehow helps your agenda of endless statstical analyzing
     
  20. Boob-No-More

    Boob-No-More Fan Fest MVP!!!

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    My agenda is seeing the Blazers win as many games as possible.

    Which is why I'm also glad to see players like Taureen Green and Thomas Robinson having "successful" careers outside of the NBA. Neither made the Blazers, or any other NBA team, more successful. Which is exactly why both are playing overseas and not in the NBA.

    Stats don't always tell the whole story, but there are also times when the stats perfectly match the reality. The stats show that neither Thomas Robinson nor Taureen Green belong in the NBA. Reality agrees. You don't.

    BNM
     
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