Posts Tagged ‘Minnesota Timberwolves’

Legitimate Contenders in the NBA [2008-2009]: Part I

December 16, 2008

The 2008-2009 NBA regular season schedule has reached the 1/4 pole, as all 30 teams have played at least 20 games. Given the history of this league and …

What it takes to win the NBA Championship

… it is helpful to evaluate where they rank against one another at this juncture.

QUALITY RATING & QUALITY INDEX RANKING

NBA 2008-2009
[as of Mon Dec 15 2008]

Team

W/L

Win%

PDR

PAR

RDR

QR

QIR

EC

WC

Cavaliers

20/4

.833

1

1

3

5

1

2

 

Celtics

23/2

.920

3

2

1

6

2

1

 

Hornets

13/7

.650

6

3

10

19

3

 

4

Blazers

15/10

.600

10

9

1

20

T-4

 

7

Rockets

15/9

.625

8

5

7

20

T-4

 

5

Lakers

20/3

.870

2

14

6

22

6

 

1

Spurs

15/8

.652

7

6

11

24

7

 

3

76ers

10/14

.417

16

8

4

28

 

11

 

Jazz

15/11

.577

9

11

9

29

8

 

8

Mavericks

13/10

.625

11

16

7

34

 

 

9

 

Nuggets

17/7

.708

4

15

16

35

9

 

2

Hawks

15/9

.625

12

7

17

36

10

4

 

Magic

19/6

.760

5

10

24

39

11

3

 

Bucks

11/15

.423

18

17

5

40

 

10

 

Pistons

13/9

.591

14

12

22

48

12

5

 

Suns

15/10

.600

13

22

14

49

13

 

6

Bobcats

7/18

.280

24

4

22

50

 

14

 

Heat

12/12

.500

15

13

25

53

14

7

 

Nets

12/11

.522

20

24

12

56

15

6

 

Bulls

11/12

.478

17

21

18

56

16

8

 

 

Pacers

8/16

.333

21

25

13

59

 

13

 

Grizzlies

9/15

.375

22

18

19

59

 

 

10

Timberwolves

4/20

.167

28

23

14

65

 

 

14

Clippers

6/17

.261

25

19

25

69

 

 

13

Raptors

10/14

.417

23

20

30

73

 

12

 

Thunder

2/23

.080

30

26

20

76

 

 

15

Knicks

11/13

.458

19

29

28

76

 

9

 

Kings

7/18

.280

29

28

20

77

 

 

11

Wizards

4/18

.182

27

27

27

81

 

15

 

Warriors

7/18

.261

26

30

29

85

 

 

12

Legend:
W-L – Won Loss Record; Win% - Winning Percentage; PDR – Points Differential Rank; PAR – Points Allowed Rank; RDR – Rebound Differential Rank; QR – Quality Rating; QIR – Quality Index Ranking; EC – Eastern Conference Playoff Position; WC – Western Conference Playoff Position 

Note:
1. Since 2000-2001 each NBA Champion and Finalist has had a QR ≤ 34.
2. Since 2000-2001 each NBA Champion has had a QIR ≤ #9.
3. Since 2000-2001 7 of the 8 NBA Champions have had a QIR ≤ #4. 

Take note of where your favourite team stands today … and where it will need to get to, over the course of the next five months, in order to be considered a legit contender for the 2009 NBA Championship.

NBA’s upper echelon begins to emerge

November 28, 2008

The NBA’s regular season schedule is now in full swing with each team having played a minimum of 13 games.

As was mentioned earlier in this space, there are three tiers of teams in this League that reveal themselves on an annual basis:

1. HIGH END [above a .549 Win %]
2. MIDDLE-of-the-Pack [between a .450-.549 Win %]
3. LOW END [below a .450 Win %]

At this point, here’s what each team’s W-L record is, in conjunction with their respective Rebounding Differential Ranking [which regular readers here know is a crucial factor towards playoff success]:

HIGH END

1 LA Lakers 12-1/.923; +5.00/#3
2 Boston 14-2/.875; +3.43/#7
3 Cleveland 12-3/.750; +4.33/#5
4 Phoenix 11-5/.688; -0.25/#14
T5 Detroit 9-5/.643; +0.92/#11
T5 Atlanta 9-5/.643; -0.42/#16
T5 Orlando 12-4/.643; -0.37/#15
T5 New Orleans 9-5/.643; +0.07/#13
T9 Utah 10-6/.625; +3.50/#6
T9 Portland 10-6/.625; +4.37/#4
T9 Houston 10-6/.625; +2.06/#9
T9 Denver 10-6/.625; -0.43/#17
13 San Antonio 8-6/.571; -2.28/#24 *

MIDDLE

T14 Dallas 7-7/.500; +3.07/#8
T14 New Jersey 7-7/.500; +0.21/#12
T14 Toronto 7-7/.500; -2.14/#23
T17 Miami 7-8/.467; -5.26/#28
T17 Philadelphia 6-7/.467; +6.33/#1
T17 New York 7-8/.467; -7.20/#30

LOW END

20 Chicago 7-9/.438; -1.31/#19
21 Indiana 6-8/.429; +1.00/#10
22 Milwaukee 7-10/.412; +5.58/#2
23 Golden State 5-10/.333; -3.20/#26
24 Sacramento 5-12/.294; -1.64/#20
25 Memphis 4-11/.267; -2.40/#25
26 Charlotte 4-10/.286; -2.07/#22
27 Minnesota 3-10/.231; -1.30/#18
28 Washington 2-11/.154; -3.46/#27
29 LA Clippers/2-13/.133; -5.53/#29
30 Oklahoma City 1-15/.063; -1.81/#21

* Have played mostly without Ginobili-M and Parker-T, thus far.

Rebounding Differential Rankings in the NBA [Nov 6]

November 7, 2008

When this corner of the sports blogosphere told you earlier this fall/summer that the Raptors trade for Jermaine O’Neal was not going to be enough, by itself, to fundamentally improve Toronto’s Rebounding Deficiency from the last few seasons there were boatloads of delusional fans some who did not want to believe this specific assessment of this team, in advance of actually seeing real live NBA games this season with their own two eyes.

—————–

How could the acquisition of a former 6-time NBA All-Star …

in exchange for a smallish, erractic [but talented] Point Guard [i.e. TJ Ford], an over-the-hill, lumbering, strictly speaking part-time Center [i.e. Rasho Nesterovic], the 15th player from their roster last season [i.e. Maceo Baston], and a flip-flop of the No. 17 [overall] and No. 41 Draft Picks from the 2008 NBA Draft, who turned out to be Roy Hibbert [C] and Nathan Jawai [C], respectively …

possibly NOT improve the Raptors decidely mediocre rebounding numbers from the last few years in any significant way, shape or form?

—————–

Well … as of Thursday, November 6, 2008 the Basketball Acumen of this specific correspondent seems to be as sharp [and accurate] as ever:

[Statistics from NBA.com]

NBA

Rebounding Differential

Per Game

2008-2009

[as of Thu Nov 6]

Rank

Team

+/-

1

L.A. Lakers

+12.25

2

Detroit

+11.00

 

Philadelphia

+11.00

4

Cleveland

+9.00

5

Phoenix

+5.20

6

Utah

+5.00

7

Atlanta

+3.66

8

Boston

+2.40

 

Milwaukee

+2.40

10

Golden State

+0.40

 

Portland

+0.40

12

Orlando

+0.20

13

Charlotte

-0.25

14

Chicago

-0.60

15

Houston

-1.40

16

New Jersey

-1.66

17

Sacramento

-1.80

18

Memphis

-2.00

19

Oklahoma City

-2.25

20

New Orleans

-3.00

21

Denver

-3.50

 

Minnesota

-3.50

23

Dallas

-3.75

24

Miami

-4.00

25

San Antonio

-4.25

26

Indiana

-4.66

27

Washington

-7.33

28

New York

-8.75

29

L.A. Clippers

-9.00

30

Toronto

-10.50

When a certain NBA observer tells you something about ‘How the Game actually Works in this League’, in advance … it might well be in your best interests to believe what this person has to say, even though you are not able to fully comprehend it, at that point in time.

—————–

“The proof of the pudding is in the eating.”Anonymous

Comprehending pre-season standings in the NBA

October 24, 2008

The NBA’s pre-season schedulae of games is rapidly coming to a close.

In general, how a team fares in its pre-season games … in this League, at least … provides a preliminary indication of where it actually stands, relative to the competition, heading into the new campaign.

Annually, there are three major categories of teams in the NBA:

1. Above .549 [High End]
2. .450-.549 [Middle]
3. Below .450 [Low End]

——————————————-

When you examine the current standings for the pre-season: 

2008-2009 Conference Preseason Standings
Eastern Conference
Eastern W L PCT GB CONF DIV HOME ROAD L 10 STREAK
Orlando 6 1 0.857 0.0 4-1 4-1 3-1 3-0 6-1 W 6
Boston 6 2 0.750 0.5 5-2 3-2 3-1 3-1 6-2 W 2
Detroit 6 2 0.750 0.5 5-1 3-0 3-2 3-0 6-2 L 1
Atlanta 5 3 0.625 1.5 4-1 3-1 1-2 4-1 5-3 W 1
Philadelphia 4 3 0.571 2.0 4-3 4-1 1-2 3-1 4-3 W 1
Indiana 4 4 0.500 2.5 1-0 1-0 3-1 1-3 4-4 W 1
New York 3 3 0.500 2.5 3-3 3-3 0-2 3-1 3-3 L 1
Toronto 4 4 0.500 2.5 1-1 1-1 2-3 2-1 4-4 L 2
Chicago 3 4 0.429 3.0 0-1 0-1 1-3 2-1 3-4 W 2
New Jersey 2 4 0.333 3.5 1-4 0-4 1-3 1-1 2-4 L 4
Washington 2 4 0.333 3.5 0-1 0-0 0-2 2-2 2-4 W 1
Cleveland 2 5 0.286 4.0 2-3 0-1 1-3 1-2 2-5 L 1
Miami 1 5 0.167 4.5 0-3 0-1 1-3 0-2 1-5 L 1
Milwaukee 1 6 0.143 5.0 0-2 0-2 1-3 0-3 1-6 L 2
Charlotte 0 8 0.000 6.5 0-4 0-4 0-2 0-6 0-8 L 8
Western Conference
Western W L PCT GB CONF DIV HOME ROAD L 10 STREAK
New Orleans 7 0 1.000 0.0 2-0 1-0 4-0 3-0 7-0 W 7
Minnesota 6 2 0.750 1.5 2-1 2-1 3-1 3-1 6-2 W 1
Denver 4 1 0.800 2.0 2-1 2-1 3-0 1-1 4-1 W 1
Houston 5 2 0.714 2.0 5-0 3-0 3-1 2-1 5-2 W 3
L.A. Lakers 5 2 0.714 2.0 1-2 1-1 5-2 0-0 5-2 W 5
Phoenix 5 2 0.714 2.0 3-0 1-0 2-1 3-1 5-2 W 3
Golden State 4 2 0.667 2.5 2-1 0-0 3-0 1-2 4-2 W 2
L.A. Clippers 4 3 0.571 3.0 2-2 2-1 0-3 4-0 4-3 L 2
Portland 4 3 0.571 3.0 3-3 0-2 2-2 2-1 4-3 L 1
Utah 4 3 0.571 3.0 3-2 2-1 1-1 3-2 4-3 W 2
Dallas 4 4 0.500 3.5 1-0 0-0 2-2 2-2 4-4 L 2
San Antonio 3 3 0.500 3.5 0-2 0-2 1-2 2-1 3-3 L 1
Memphis 2 6 0.250 5.5 0-2 0-2 2-2 0-4 2-6 L 4
Oklahoma City 1 5 0.167 5.5 0-4 0-1 0-1 1-4 1-5 L 2
Sacramento 1 7 0.125 6.5 1-7 0-2 1-3 0-4 1-7 L 6

——————————————

what you see, with only 4 days left, is generally speaking fairly representative of what you should now expect to get over the course of the 82-game regular season from these teams, in a broad sense.

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Above .549
Orlando, Detroit, Boston, Atlanta, Philadelphia

.450-.549
Indiana, New York, Toronto

Below .450
Chicago, New Jersey, Washington [playing without Arenas], Cleveland [playing few minutes with LBJ] , Miami, Milwaukee, Charlotte

WESTERN CONFERENCE

Above .549
New Orleans, Minnesota, Denver, Houston, LA Lakers, Phoenix, Golden State, LA Clippers, Portland, Utah

.450-.549
Dallas, San Antonio [playing with Ginobili]

Below .450
Memphis, Oklahoma City, Sacramento

——————————————-

Although it’s not uncommon for a team to shift from the High End to the Middle over the course of the regular season; it is rare for a team to move from the High End to the Low End … and vice versa … once the regular season starts unless, of course, it has to play [or is playing currently] without 1 or more of its marquee players for an extending number of games.

What is usually the most interesting thing to see, however, over the course of the 82-game regular season, is which few teams are able to elevate their performance (i) from the Middle into the High End, and (ii) from the Low End into the Middle … automatically making them one of the ‘Feel Good’ stories of the year; and, which few teams, if any, will go in the opposite direction … automatically making them one of the ‘Biggest Disappointment’ stories.

Into which specific category does it look as though your favourite team is going to fit this season?

High End now that stays in the High End
High End now that drops down into the Middle
Middle now that steps up into the High End
Middle now that stays in the Middle
Middle now that drops down into the Low End
Low End now that steps up into the Middle
Low End now that stays in the Low End

What piece of the pie … in Raptorville

September 4, 2008

Fish don’t fry in the kitchen
Beans don’t burn on the grill
Took a whole lot of tryin
just to get up that hill
Now we’re up in the Big Leagues
Gettin our turn at bat  
As long as we live
It’s you and me, baby
There ain’t nuthin wrong with that
We’re movin on up …

NBA off-season rankings – v3.0
NBA power rankings: Celtics no surprise as preseason No. 1
The 10 biggest moves of the summer

Sobering questions for the rabid Raptors’ faithful:

1. Starting Year 3 of your current 5-Year Plan … Which of these two Player Rosters would you say is the better one? (if you were an unbiased observer)

2. How far ahead is the Roster you would choose, in comparison to your non-choice? (on the ‘Eventual League Champions’ continuum)

ROSTER A

NUM

PLAYER

POS

HT

WT

DOB

  FROM

YRS

52

Calvin Booth

C

6-11

250

05/07/1976

  Penn State

9

22

Corey Brewer

F-G

6-9

185

03/05/1986

  Florida

1

14

Brian Cardinal

F

6-8

245

05/02/1977

  Purdue

8

10

Rodney Carney

F

6-7

204

04/05/1984

  Memphis

2

34

Jason Collins

C-F

7-0

255

12/02/1978

  Stanford

7

51

Michael Doleac (FA)

C

6-11

262

06/15/1977

  Utah

10

4

Randy Foye

G

6-4

213

09/24/1983

  Villanova

2

8

Ryan Gomes

F

6-7

250

09/01/1982

  Providence

3

25

Al Jefferson

C-F

6-10

265

01/04/1985

  Prentiss HS (MS)

4

42

Kevin Love

C-F

6-10

255

09/07/1988

  UCLA

R

35

Mark Madsen

C-F

6-9

250

01/28/1976

  Stanford

8

1

Rashad McCants

G

6-4

210

09/25/1984

  North Carolina

3

33

Mike Miller

G-F

6-8

218

02/19/1980

  Florida

8

32

Chris Richard (FA)

F

6-9

270

12/25/1984

  Florida

1

5

Craig Smith

F-C

6-8

250

11/10/1983

  Boston College

2

30

Kirk Snyder (FA)

F-G

6-6

225

06/05/1983

  Nevada-Reno

4

3

Sebastian Telfair

G

6-0

175

06/09/1985

  Abraham Lincoln HS (Brooklyn, NY)

4

or

ROSTER B

NUM PLAYER POS HT WT DOB   FROM YRS
8 Hassan Adams F 6-4 220 06/20/1984   Arizona 1
7 Andrea Bargnani C-F 7-0 250 10/26/1985   Italy 2
4 Chris Bosh F 6-10 230 03/24/1984   Georgia Tech 5
1 Primoz Brezec (FA) C 7-1 255 10/02/1979   Slovenia 7
8 Jose Calderon G 6-3 210 09/28/1981   Spain 3
20 Carlos Delfino (FA) G 6-6 230 08/29/1982   Argentina 4
14 Joey Graham F 6-7 225 06/11/1982   Oklahoma State 3
43 Kris Humphries F 6-9 235 02/06/1985   Minnesota 4
  Nathan Jawai F 6-10 280 10/10/1986   Midland Coll. TX (J.C.) R
24 Jason Kapono F 6-8 215 02/04/1981   UCLA 5
33 Jamario Moon F 6-8 205 06/13/1980   Meridian CC (MS) 1
  Jermaine O’Neal F-C 6-11 260 10/13/1978   Eau Claire HS (SC) 12
18 Anthony Parker G-F 6-6 215 06/19/1975   Bradley 5
  Willie Solomon G 6-1 185 07/20/1978   Clemson 1
  Roko Ukic G 6-5 183 05/12/1984   Croatia R

According to these eyes … neither one is very much ahead of the other, in terms of TOP NOTCH (overall) NBA talent … and both groups are still years and years away from ever supplanting the Big Dogs in their respective Conferences, e.g. the Celtics, Pistons, Cavaliers, Magic, Lakers, Spurs, Hornets, Blazers, etc., on the top step in the NBA.

Once a team is no longer a league-wide laughingstock … the journey up the mountain only gets more difficult from there.

Tracking the Raptors’ Key Stretch of 19 Games (#18)

February 28, 2008

The Anatomy of Wins and Losses in the NBA:
Breaking Down Key Possessions

Game 18 – TOR 107 vs Min (11-43) 85, W 12-6 … Full Play-By-Play
Game 17 – Tor 102 @ IND (22-34) 98, W 11-6 … Full Play-By-Play
Game 16 – TOR 115 vs Nyk (17-38) 92, W 10-6 … Full Play-By-Play
Game 15 – Tor 99 @ NYK (16-38) 103, L 9-6 … Full Play-By-Play
Game 14 – TOR 127 vs Orl (34-21) 110, W 9-5 … Full Play-By-Play
Game 13 – TOR 109 vs Njn (22-30) 91, W 8-5 … Full Play-By-Play
Game 12 – TOR 88 vs Sas (33-17) 93, L 7-5 … Full Play-By-Play
Game 11 – Tor 105 @ MIN (10-38) 82, W 7-4 … Full Play-By-Play
Game 10 – TOR 98 v Lac (15-31) 102, L 6-4 … Full Play-By-Play
Game 9 – Tor 114 @ MIA (9-36) 82, W 6-3 … Full Play-By-Play
Game 8 – TOR 101 vs LAL (28-16) 121, L 5-3 … Full Play-By-Play
Game 7 – TOR 122 vs Was (24-19) 85, W 5-2 … Full Play-By-Play
Game 6 – Tor 104 @ WAS (23-19) 108, OT, L 4-2 … Full Play-By-Play
Game 5 – TOR 106 vs Mil (17-26) 75, W 4-1 … Full Play-By-Play
Game 4 – Tor 114 @ BOS (33-6) 112, W 3-1 … Boxscore 
Game 3 – Tor 95 @ PHI (15-25) 99, L 2-1 … Full Play-By-Play
Game 2 – TOR 89 vs Atl (17-18) 78, W 2-0 … Boxscore, Full Play-By-Play
Game 1 – TOR 116 vs Sac (15-21) 91, W 1-0

Record vs >.500 Opp: 3-3 (.500)
Record vs .500 Opp: 9-3 (.750)

===============================================

Key Possessions which determined the W-L result:

Some NBA games are decided during a specific ’sub-set’ of possessions during the 2nd Quarter … like this one, when

(after Jose Calderon subbed back in for TJ Ford … 04:10)

during these 7 trips up & down the floor …

TOR 44, Min 41

02:53 … (1) TOR/Bosh was fouled & made 1 of 2 FTA’s
02:40 … (2) Min/Jefferson made a 2FGA
02:24 … (3) TOR/Moon made a Layup (Assist, Parker)
02:09 … (4) Min/Jefferson made a TO (Steal, Calderon)
01:57 … (5) TOR/Bargnani made a Layup (Assist, Calderon)
01:39 … (6) Min/Jefferson made a TO (Off. Foul)
01:33 … (7) TOR/Bosh was fouled & made 1 of 2 FTA

and the Raptors extended their lead to 8 pts (TOR 51, Min 43 … prior to Halftime … a deficit from which the T-Wolves never recovered)

Key Raptors: Jose Calderon (1 Ast; 1 Stl), Andrea Bargnani (1-2, FGA/50.0%; 1 Rb), Anthony Parker (1 Ast), Jamario Moon (1-1, FGA/100.0%) & Chris Bosh (0-1, FGA/00.0%; 3-4, FTA/75.0%) 

Vital Components:
- Toronto scored on 4 consecutive possessions (4-4, 100.0%) while allowing the T-Wolves to convert only 1-5 possessions (20.0%/1 made 2FGA) during this critical stretch at the end of the 2nd Quarter vs an inferior opponent.

Next Game:
vs Indiana, 22-36 (Fri Feb 29)

Tracking the Raptors’ Key Stretch of 19 Games (#11)

February 11, 2008

The Anatomy of Wins and Losses in the NBA:
Breaking Down Key Possessions

Game 11 – Tor 105 @ MIN 82 (10-38), W 7-4 … Full Play-By-Play
Game 10 – TOR 98 v Lac (15-31) 102, L 6-4 … Full Play-By-Play
Game 9 – Tor 114 @ MIA (9-36) 82, W 6-3 … Full Play-By-Play
Game 8 – TOR 101 vs LAL (28-16) 121, L 5-3 … Full Play-By-Play
Game 7 – TOR 122 vs Was (24-19) 85, W 5-2 … Full Play-By-Play
Game 6 – Tor 104 @ WAS (23-19) 108, OT, L 4-2 … Full Play-By-Play
Game 5 – TOR 106 vs Mil (17-26) 75, W 4-1 … Full Play-By-Play
Game 4 – Tor 114 @ BOS (33-6) 112, W 3-1 … Boxscore 
Game 3 – Tor 95 @ PHI (15-25) 99, L 2-1 … Full Play-By-Play
Game 2 – TOR 89 vs Atl (17-18) 78, W 2-0 … Boxscore, Full Play-By-Play
Game 1 – TOR 116 vs Sac (15-21) 91, W 1-0

===============================================

Key Possessions which determined the W-L result:

- during the 3rd Quarter …

Tor/26 pts; 8-15, FGA (53.0%); 2-6, 3FGA (33.0%); 8-9, FTA (88.9%); 11 Rbs (2 O-Rb); 4 Ast; 3 TO; 3 BS
MIN/14 pts; 7-19, FGA (36.8%); 1-2, 3FGA (50.0%); 9 Rbs (3 O-Rbs/4 pts); 3 Ast; 4 TO) 

Key Raptors: Jose Calderon (4 pts; 4-4, FTA (100.0%); 2 Rbs; 1 Ast), Anthony Parker (6 pts; 3-6, FGA [50.0%]; 0-3, 3FGA [0.0%]; 2 Rbs; 2 Ast) Jamario Moon (4 pts; 2-2, FGA [100.0%]; 1 Rb; 2 BS) & Chris Bosh (6 pts; 4-5, FTA [80.0%]; 1 Rb; 1 BS)
 
Vital Components:
– during the 3rd Quarter … the Raptors dominated the T-Wolves in Points Per Possession (Tor/26 pts, 12-22, 46.2%, 1.18 PPP; MIN/14 pts, 7-23, 30.4%, 0.61 PPP) 

Next Game:
vs San Antonio, 32-17 (Mon Feb 11)


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