With the season 3/8ths over, it seems like ample statistics are available to begin examining what has gone down this season. This post summaries some statistics say about how the Blazers' starters have matched up against the starters of the other Western conference teams this season.
The statistics considered are the PER, True Shooting Percentage (TS%), effective Field Goal percentage (eFG%), offensive rebound percentage (ORB%), defensive rebound percentage (DRB%), total rebound rate (TRB%), Assists percentage (Asst%), Block percentage (Blk%), Turnover % (TOV%), and usage rate (Usage) from 82 games, and the Net On/Off per 100 positions from 82games. The Blazer starters considered are Andre Miller, Steve Blake, Brandon Roy, Martell Webster, LaMarcus Aldridge, Greg Oden, and Joel Pryzbilla. A handful of other players have started a few games, but the above list seems to represent most of the players how have been on the floor when the game opens. I did my best at choosing the starters from each of the other Western conference teams. All the tables are sorted by the Net On/Off statistics, as this indicate how the team did with each player considered on the floor versus off—this is ultimately what matters.
The Blazer point guards considered are Andre Miller and Steve Blake. The opponent point guards considered are Derek Fisher, Jason, Kidd, Chis Paul, Byron Davis, Deron Williams, Steve Nash, Michael Conley, Russell Westbrook, Tony Parker, ChaunceyBillups, Jonny Flynn, Aaron Books, Tyreke, Evens, and Monta Ellis. The statistics considered for the Western conference point guards are:
The On/Off statistic suggests that the fans are right; Andre Miller has been more effective than our other point guards: Miller is 6th in the west, while Blake is 9th. Not shown is Jerrod Bayless On/Off rate of +0.3 points per 100 possessions, but Bayless' On/Off rate surpassed Blake's only recently.
The largest indicated problem for the Blazers is Miller's turnover rate of 15.0% and Blakes of 16.9%. What is interesting is that PER has almost no relationship to On/Off percentage; Derek Fisher appears to have the largest impact based on On/Off rate, but the worst PER of any of the Western Conference starting point guards. Categories where Blazer point guards excel are eFG% (Blake is 5th) and Offensive Rebound Rate (Miller is 2nd). Categories where we struggle are PER (Miller is 11th, Blake 15th), TS% (Miller is 13th), eFG% (miller is 16th), Offensive Rebound Rate (Blake is 14th), Defensive Rebound Rate (Miller is 12th), Total Rebound Rate (Blake is 11th), Assists (Blake is 15th), Steals (Miller is 10th, Blake 13th), Turnovers (Blake 11th), and Usage (11th and 15th)--we have problems in nearly every category.
Of course Brandon Roy is our shooting guard. The other Western Conference shooint guards considered include Kobe Bryant, James Harden, Eric Gordon, Jason Richardson, Anthony Morrow, J.R. Smith, Marcus Thornton, Keith Bogans, O.J. Mayo, Jason Terry, Ronnie Brewer, Shane Battier, and Kevin Martin. I'm sure this list of opponent shooting guards is not quite right, but this is the best I could do. I could identify no shooting guard for the Timberwolves.
What jumps out from this table is that Brandon's On/Off statistics have not been as effective as in prior years; the team does slightly better without him as with--proof again that statistics lie--and he is barely average (10th) with an On/Off rate of -1.5 points per 100 possessions. This has probably changed now that both Greg and Joel have gone down. It probably reflects the difficulty the team had coming together in first quarter of the season. Also, the opponents seems to have taken a page from Houston's playoff defense against him, and he is now only starting to adjust to seeing traps every night. Brandon also has not dominated all categories like he did last season; he excels only at PER (Roy is 3rd), Total rebounding Rate (5th), assists (1st), and usage (9th).
Martell Webster is our only healthy small forward. He has not started the entire season due to the three guard lineups. The opposing small forwards considered are Ron Artest, Shawn Marion, Andrei Kirilenko, Ryan Gome, Rudy Gay, Corey Magette, Kevin Durant, Peja Stojakovic, Richard Jefferson, Carmello Anthony, Al Thornton, Grant Holl, Trevor Ariza and Andres Nocioni. The Western Conference small forward comparison table is:
While Martell is dead last in PER, his On/Off rate is barely behind Rudy Gay's, putting him at the head of the players who are average at helping his team. Martell's other strength is a turnover rate of 9.7%, 3rd among Western Conference small forwards. Fans have complained about his rebounding, which is barely average (12th offensive rebounding rate, 9th defensive, and 10th overall), but the statistics of greatest concern to me are his PER and assists (both 15th).
By this measure, there is really no Western Conference small forward playing well across the board—the obvious candidates Carmello Anthony and Kevin Durant aren't helping their teams very much according to the On/Off rate.
For power forwards I chose to look at Blocked shot rate instead of assists and steals. The opposing power forwards considered are Dick Nowitzki, Pau Gasol, Zach Randolph, Kevin Love, Marcus Camby, Anthony Randolph, Kenyon Martin, Anotion McDyess Amere Stodoumire, Jason Thompson, David West, Calor Boozer, Luis Scola, and Jeff Green:
LaMarcus is having a comparatively bad year. Indeed, he is barely average (9th) in On/Off rate, PER (10th), and TS% (10th), and below average in all other selected categories except turnover rate, in which he leads the conference among starting power forwards. He is not enjoyng a ridiculous On/Off rate like he did last year. Like Brandon, LaMarcus seems to have had a hard time adjusting to the new style of play needed to incorporate Greg's new game. Watching him, his shot selection seems to be less varied than last year, and the opposition sends more double teams his way, and he has not yet fully adjusted.
Dirk Nowitzki seems to be in a class by himself. This could be the year when it is finally justifiable to vote for Zach Randolph as an all-star—an abomination yes, but the comparison bears it out.
I almost didn't look at the statistics for centers, as this feels like rubbing salt in our wounds, but no comparison can really be complete without this, so the pain must be endured. My comparison includes both Greg and Joel. The opposing centers considered include Erick Dampier, old friend Channing Frye, Marc Gasol, Chris Kaman, David Andersen, Nene, Emeka Okafor, Tim Duncan, Andrew Bynum, Al Jefferson, Nenad kristic, Spencer Hawes, and Mehme Okur. The centers comparison table is:
The tragedy of it all, Greg was having a dominate season, leading the West in offensive and total rebounding rate and blocked shots, second in PER and true shooting percentage, third in effective field goal percentage and defensive rebouding rate, 4th in On/Off rate, and 5th in usage. The only category where he structed was turnover rate where he is 14th among Western Conference centers. This suggests that the Blazers do not yet know how to get the ball to Greg where he can be most effective, or else that he doesn't know how to handle double teams. After all the complaining by fans that we never include Greg in the offense, his high usage rate surprised me.