April 1, 2010

The NBA in March: A Review

Filed under: Uncategorized — wwinston @ 1:11 pm

The playoffs are just around the corner, so let’s review the NBA in March. Based on the scores of all March games, the table below shows how well each team has played. For example, the Magic played 10.7 points better than average. They played 3.6 points better than average on offense and 7.1 points better than average on defense. The Warriors were the league’s best offensive and worst defensive team!. The Clippers, surprisingly were the league’s worst in March. A Cavs-Lakers series is no sure thing!

team rat off def
Orlando Magic 10.70118 3.573068 -7.12811
Phoenix Suns 9.455939 11.48323 2.027294
San Antonio Spurs 8.195372 0.547092 -7.64828
Portland Trail Blazers 7.613325 -2.44746 -10.0608
Utah Jazz 7.570454 6.488115 -1.08234
Cleveland Cavaliers 6.611312 0.351918 -6.25939
Atlanta Hawks 5.527806 3.334948 -2.19286
Miami Heat 5.175892 -4.28438 -9.46027
Oklahoma City Thunder 4.277959 3.680058 -0.5979
Charlotte Bobcats 3.080123 -5.93905 -9.01918
Denver Nuggets 2.830696 3.733519 0.902823
Boston Celtics 2.798453 -2.10251 -4.90096
Los Angeles Lakers 2.496868 0.527883 -1.96899
Milwaukee Bucks 2.428843 -3.38458 -5.81342
Indiana Pacers 1.457002 2.250694 0.793692
Memphis Grizzlies -0.80408 2.043104 2.847186
Dallas Mavericks -1.0619 1.051075 2.11297
Houston Rockets -3.26529 0.703534 3.968828
New York Knickerbockers -3.65432 0.924473 4.578794
Golden State Warriors -3.70048 13.97404 17.67452
Sacramento Kings -3.8512 -4.70247 -0.85128
New Orleans Hornets -4.55631 -1.72384 2.83247
New Jersey Nets -5.6281 -5.01196 0.616134
Toronto Raptors -5.69312 -1.6876 4.005517
Philadelphia 76ers -5.81353 -4.20172 1.611807
Chicago Bulls -5.85615 -2.90129 2.95486
Washington Wizards -7.41287 -10.4605 -3.04765
Minnesota Timberwolves -8.95096 1.196829 10.14779
Detroit Pistons -9.37568 -1.8737 7.50198
Los Angeles Clippers -10.5972 -5.14249 5.454748

Let’s  break down the keys to each team’s performance. Again we use the lens of Adjusted +/-. For example, in March Jamaal Crawford was great: a +16 points rating, +11 offense and -5 defense. This means our best estimate is that when he was in he added 16 points more per 48 minutes to the Hawks ability than an average NBA player. He did this by contributing 11 points better than average on offense and 5 points better than average on defense (negative numbers are good on defense, bad on offense).



Jamal Crawford (+16) was great. Pachulia (+5) and Smith (+14) were great off bench. Joe Johnson (+12 defense) killed Hawks on defense.


No big surprises here. Tony Allen (+7 points) was solid off bench but KG (-1 points) showed no signs of improvement.


Diaw (+10 points), Felton (+7) and Jackson (+11) were great. Henderson (-15 points rating) had a subpar month.


Newcomer Acie Law (+5 points) played well but newcomers Murray (-5) and Warrick (-6) really hurt the Bulls.


Big Z (-18 offense) and Powe (-14 offense) killed the Cavs offense. Parker (-8 defense) was a great defender. LeBron (+12 rating) was great but slipped a bit, perhaps due to his ankle injury. Varaejo (+12 points rating) continues to be the Cavs’ unsung hero. Jamison (-5 points rating) has not yet helped much.


The bright spot was that Beaubois (-1 points rating) improved enough to join the rotation. Dirk (+2 points) had by far his worst month of the year. Butler (+11 defense) hurt the Mavs on defense. Dampier (+20 defense) killed the Mavs. Stevenson (-24 points rating) also did not do well. Najera was great (+7 points) as a backup center and power forward.


Our prayers go out to George Karl. Get well soon!. The Nuggets struggled without George and Kenyon Martin. Petro (- 8 points), Allen (-14 points) and Graham (-11 points) replaced Martin, and this explains most of the Nuggets’ struggles.


Stuckey (+2 points) had his worst month; not surprising given the health scare. Brown (-15) and Villaneuva(-18) killed the Pistons. Jerebko (+5 rating, -6 defense rating) was great.

Golden State

Rookie  Curry (+3 points) continued his solid play. Maggette (+13 defense rating) killed the Warriors on defense.



Kevin Martin played at an average level. Why doesn’t David Andersen (+10 points rating, -9 defense) play more? Jared Jeffries (-26 defense rating) was a beast on defense while the much hyped Jordan Hill was mediocre (-5 points rating).


The Pacers had a solid month and played much better than average. They were led by Watson (+11), Granger (+12), Solomon Jones (+8), and Ford (+7). McRoberts (-19) and Dahntay Jones (-12) killed the Pacers.


A real horror show in March. Blake (-23 points, +19 defense) killed the Clippers. The underrated Craig Smith (-18 defense) was fantastic.


Not a great month for the defending champs. Brown, Farmar, and Powell (all -12 points ratings) all played poorly off the bench. Mbenga (+18 points rating) was great off bench. Odom and Gasol (-6 points) had subpar months. Before his injury Bynum (+6 points) was playing great.


Gasol (-11 defense) and Thabeet (-13 defense) were stalwart defenders. Conley (-6 defense) also defended well. Rudy Gay (+9 offense) keyed the scoring. Mayo (-7 points +8 defense) and Williams (-11 points) hurt the Griz.  Young (-6 points) also played poorly.


Wade (+18 points) is probably as good as LeBron but gets 10% of the credit. O’Neal (+6), Richardson (+5),  and Wright (+7) have ensured that this is no longer a one man show. At point guard Arroyo (+4 points) had his best month while Chalmers (-15 offense rating) played poorly.


Ivey (+24 points) was great in limited time. Since being traded to the Bucks Salmons (+5  point rating) has been excellent.


The Wolves poor play is mostly on Flynn (+13 defense) Hollins (+15 defense), and Pavolich(-26 points rating). Pecherov (+12 point rating for season) should play more. Darko (+1 point rating) has been fine.


The whole team has improved. Roberts, Dooling, Lopez, Boone, Hayes, Lee and Harris all played at around average levels. A big improvement! If the Nets sign a top free agent they could really go places!


Chris Paul (-1 points rating) has not been as good since returning to action. Aaron Gray (+6 points rating) has been a pleasant surprise.


Chandler (+8 points) was great in March. TMac (+1 points rating) is no longer a star. Douglas (-1 points rating) played ok at guard.Rodriguez (+14 defense rating) really hurt the Knicks on defense.


KD (+24 points) was the league’s best player in March. Collison (+7 points) is a solid, underrated player. Ibaka (-14 points) really hurt the Thunder in March.


Anderson (-15 points rating) played poorly. Carter (+12 points, -9 defense) played his best ball of the season. Nelson (+4 points) and Gortat (+5 points) also played better. Dwight Howard (+11 points for season) continued his great play. Rashard Lewis (-7 points for season) needs to improve for the Magic to return to the finals.


Speights (-17 points), Dalembert (-9 points), Williams (-12 points) and Carney (-14 points) killed the 76ers in March. Brand (+4 points) and Holiday (+2 points) played well.


The Suns shone brightly in March. The ageless Steve Nash (+15 offense rating) and Frye (+12 offense rating) keyed the Suns in March. Amare, JR, Lopez and Dudley also played better than an average NBA player.


Batum (+12 offense) and Bayless (+11 offense) have been coming on strong. The underrated Andre Miller is one of he league’s best players this year (+16 points in March). Juwan Howard (-28 offense) grinds the offense to a halt. Roy(+14 offense) has been great on offense but needs defensive improvement (+8 points). I would not want to play these guys in the playoffs!


Sean May (+16 points rating) had a great month. Evans (+2 points rating) continued his solid play.


 Bogans (-11 points)  has hurt the Spurs. Bonner (+11 points, -11 defense) has really helped the defense. Manu (+10 offense) has keyed scoring. Hairston (-10 point rating) is probably not ready for the playoffs. Mason (-8 points rating) had a disappointing March.


Bellinelli (+7 point rating) should play more if physically able. DeRozan (-16 point rating, +11 defense) has killed them. Jack (-7 points), Turkoglu (-9 points) and Weems (-9 points) have also hurt them.


 Miles (+8 points) and Williams (+12 points) have keyed the Jazz’ surge. In our opinion Williams and Andre Miller have been the league’s two best point guards.


Nick Young (+8 point rating) was the only Wizard who stood out. Boykins (-23 point rating, +17 defense rating) has really hurt them.







  1. I like how Golden State is easily the most efficient team on offense and least effective team on defense in March. It’s not very often you see an NBA team give up an off. eff. of 138 (to SA) or 136 (to ATL). It makes Toronto and GSW games that much more entertaining, you never know what you’re going to get. this http://www.hoopdata.com/boxscore.aspx?id=291202001 is a box score from December where Atlanta scores 1.49 points per possesion against TOR. Crazy!

    Comment by greyberger — April 1, 2010 @ 5:18 pm

  2. Brilliant stuff. Thank you.

    Comment by thaddeus — April 2, 2010 @ 12:06 am

  3. Golden State is strange. I think they could play better defense if they wanted to.

    Comment by wwinston — April 2, 2010 @ 10:17 am

  4. Would you mind giving some details on Gallinari to a long suffering Knicks fan looking for a glimmer of hope for the long term.

    Comment by Italian Stallion — April 5, 2010 @ 11:08 pm

  5. [...] Stat head Wayne Winston breaks down each playoff team and likes the Blazers… [...]

    Pingback by Full Court Press | Blogging Elite Confab — April 7, 2010 @ 5:56 pm

  6. he is pretty good. +5 point rating for season. Pray for LeBron!

    Comment by wwinston — April 7, 2010 @ 7:20 pm

  7. so it means that if pop won’t mess around with the rotation and if would follow your advised lineup—-cuz maybe he won’t read this or he’ll realize the same thing you thought or someone might advise him—-then if san antonio would juts—just play better offense maybe +2 in the post season and maintain their defense or increase it by +1 then they would have better rating.
    7+1 on d and +2 on offense that would mean a 10—better or little less than orlando right…
    and a better chance of a spurs-orlando finals
    were im hoping spurs win it in SA4-3ORL(but i hope this would happen)
    or a phx orlando finals
    thank you for this—it just gave me hope
    things that can’t be seen on records and on “experts” mouth

    Comment by RED — April 15, 2010 @ 11:20 pm

  8. GSW needs big men and less injuries for them to defend
    they are packed with guards and no bigs—not enough for defense

    Comment by RED — April 15, 2010 @ 11:22 pm

  9. its a surprise that my spurs are 4th on d—just before miami and charlotte and portland(wow even with injuries these guys can defend,surely if they picked durant they could win a ring next yr)

    Comment by RED — April 15, 2010 @ 11:26 pm

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