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Will Meyers Leonard return to form?

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The Fanalysts take over the Blazer’s Edge Weekend Podcast to discuss Meyers Leonard’s effects on the team, Evan Turner’s impact, team defensive statistics & more!

Portland Trail Blazers v Denver Nuggets Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

On the podcast this week we talk about what we will be watching for this season and how we will track it. We are not analysts, nor are we coaches, so we are not looking at data to make decisions or suggestions. Instead, we will make use of the vast assortment of statistics that are available to the casual fan to see what kinds of stories unfold this year.

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Will Meyers Leonard get more shots and be an excellent shooter again?

We compared Meyers Leonard’s shooting from 2015 to 2016. We will be watching to see if he gets more attempts, and are curious to find out if he will put up numbers that put him closer to the top of the league than the middle.

We will use BasketballReference.com Player Season Finder to view Meyers’ shooting statistics for the year and compare him to other players in the league.

Meyers Leonard Shot Charts

We also discussed Meyers’ efficiency around the rim. You can see he drops from above league average to below league average in these shot charts from Swish 2.0, created by Austin Clemens.

From 2015, the red and orange indicate above-league-average shooting in the restricted area.

Meyers Leonard shot chart for 2015 show above average shooting in the paint From Swish 2.0 by Austin Clemens @austinclemens2

From 2016, the blue indicates below-league-average shooting in the painted area.

Shot chart for Meyers Leonard 2016 season indicates that he shot below-league-average in the restricted area.
From Swish 2.0 by Austin Clemens @austinclemens2

We will be looking more closely at his shooting percentage within five feet of the basket. For that we will use nba.com’s shooting stats to keep track of his shots taken close to the basket. For reference:

  • 2015 less than five feet from the basket 71.2 percent
  • 2016 less than five feet from the basket 52.9 percent

Will Evan Turner create more and better shots for the team?

To track this, we will look at how many shots the team takes per game, what the success rate of those shots is, and how many assists Evan Turner adds.

Perimeter Defense

Jo loves defense. This season she plans to watch how the Blazers are guarding the perimeter. We will track how they are doing by keeping our eye on the opponent’s shooting percentages found on stats.nba.com’s Defensive Hub.

In 2016, from 20-24 feet, Blazer’s were ranked No. 24 in the league. From 25-29 feet they were ranked No. 29. We can Definitely see room for improvement, so we’ll see how they do.

Jo thinks Evan Turner’s length and speed can help on the perimeter so we are looking for ways to measure how many shots he disrupts in that area. Using stats.nba.com again, we can keep track of his defensive efficiency by seeing the number of field goal attempts opponents take against him.

Last year, for the Boston Celtics, Evan Turner saw an average of 5.3 attempts from 15 feet or more with opponents shooting below-league-average 33.3% against him in those situations. We will keep track of how he does this year using player opponent shooting stats and we will also look at the team’s efficiency guarding from that distance, noting number of field goal attempts and the rate at which they go in.

We are also currently shopping for suggestions about how to track space and position on defense. Surely someone knows a great site that pulls together the SportsVU stats that will help this track those (you can leave a link in the comments.)

Highlights

00:00 News Round up: Noah Vonleh’s procedure, San Diego Team Bonding trip, how Lamar Hurd increased his vertical leap by 8 inches in 6 months

10:08 Reflecting on Peter Sampson’s article “What do you look for in a team?

21:00 Coach Stotts on Courtside

21:30 Tracking Meyers Leonard’s shooting. Will he get more shots and still be an excellent shooter and what will happen with his shooting around the basket?

28:39 How will we tell if Evan Turner is making the team better? Are the Blazers taking more and better shots while he is on the field, and are opponents taking fewer and/or contested shots from the perimeter?

29:45 Jo will be watching the Blazers’ perimeter defense. She will be tracking opponents field goal percentages throughout the season.

38:00 Book report: Don’t Put Me in Coach, by Mark Titus. Titus played at Ohio State with Greg Oden and Evan Turner.