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What will be this team's strengths? A positive outlook...

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  • What will be this team's strengths? A positive outlook...

    Team Strengths

    #1 - Rebounding

    Last year the Raps ranked 24th in O boards, 26th in D boards and 28th overall.
    10.6 O-Boards per game
    29.5 D-Boards per game
    40.2 Total per game

    Amir led the team with 2.8 OB per game. JV was 2nd with 2.0

    Tyler had 2.0 O-Boards per game (playing 16 MPG) and 4.2 OB per 36. Tyler has played 21 mins in each pre-season game and Amir played 28 MPG last year. Tyler should avg around the same OB per game as Amir, depending on his exact minutes. If he stays at 21 MPG, he likely lands around 2.65 OB per game.

    That's 7.5 extra possessions just from those 3 players. If the rest of the team can chip in, we should easily surpass our last year's average of 10.6 per game.
    FWIW, Gay avg 1.3, DD 0.6, Lowry 0.8, Ross 0.5, Fields 1.2, Acy 1. That's another 5.4 per just from those guys. Considering the guys we send out all were poor O-boards (Barg's had less than Lowry), we don't have a lot of production to "replace" with incoming guys.

    If the Raps can add 3 offensive boards per game (addition of Hansbrough and internal improvement from JV especially), that would put us at 13 per game, and a total of 1066 over 82 games. That total would be good for 3rd in the NBA in last year's ranks (Denver had 1092, Milwaukee had 1068). If we can score on half of those extra possessions (I use half because scoring off a offensive rebound is a higher percentage than a traditional half-court set), that would increase our scoring by over 1000 points on the season. An additional 1000 points puts us at the top of last season's points scored ranking.

    So while the numbers can't be predicted accurately, it is safe to predict that we will trend upwards and that it will have a positive impact on this team's ranking. Extra possessions = extra points, and when you have high volume inefficient scorers, extra possessions are key.

    Bonus stat - the Raps only gave up 877 offensive boards to opponents last year, 6th best in the league. Quite surprising since we ranked quite low in D boards. Our opponent FG% of 45.8% probably didn't help (12th worse).

    #2 - Free Throws

    Last year the Raps ranked 14th in the league at getting to the line and shot the 5th best % as a team.

    In Lowry, Derozan and Gay, we have 3 starters who excel at driving to the rim. This should be lots of free throw opportunities, and could get our opponents going to the bench quickly. Off the bench, Hansbrough has always drawn fouls at a high rate.

    Lowry 3.67 FTA per game since being a starter. Shot 80.8% over that time.
    Demar 4.5 FTA per game in his career. 81.1% FT shooter.
    Gay 4.0 FTA per game career. 77.7% career FT shooter.
    Hansbrough 3.8 FTA per game career. 76.6% FT shooter.
    JV 3.0 FTA per game last year (4.5 per 36 mins) and shot 78.9%

    Last year, the Raps averaged .216 FT per FGA (#10th best in the NBA). The addition of Hansbrough and with the strength of our offensive boards gaining us more possessions, it is reasonable to assume that the Raps will attempt more free throws per game than last years 14th best rank and we should continue to hit at a high rate.

    #3 - Defence

    The Raps were middle of the pack in opponent eFG% (17th) with .500% (league avg is 0.496%). Middle of the pack in opponent turnover % (13.6 for Raps, league avg 13.7). We gave up the most FTA per FGA (.247 for Raps, league avg was .204).

    Hansbrough 101 and Augustin 104 DRtg from last year would make them the best defenders on the team (statistically speaking, obviously benefitted from a great team defence). Augustin played on some awful Charlotte teams to start his career, so his career DRtg of 110 is probably a bit high, so split the difference and he's like a 108 or something with the Raps. Hansbrough is a career 104 but it was all with the Pacers.

    So why is defence a strength for this team?

    We finally have players that can play defence and a coach who can coach defence at the same time. 2 years ago Casey took a team with a 112.9 DRtg and got them to play 104.5 on the season (good for a last to 14th rank improvement). With JV's continuing developing, the exodus of defensive liabilities like Bargs and Jose, the addition of players who know what it takes to play D, there is optimism that this team can develop a strong defensive identity.

    #4 - Post-Ups from the wings

    As the league trends towards 3PT shooting and more teams use 2 point line-ups, having interchangeable parts on the wing that can post up makes for a very difficult match-up. Both Gay and Demar are good post up players for their position. With both of them on the floor, there is a high probability that one of them will have a good match-up in the post. If I were the defending team, I'd rather have Gay post up and Demar outside than the other way around since Gay is the better outside shooter, but either way, it is a tough match-up for most teams.

    Since the NBA trend is perimeter play, it is less likely that many of the 2/3 wings are consistently working on their post D, so the Raps can take advantage of doing something well, that isn't the norm in the league.


    In conclusion, the first 2 strengths point to a rugged offence that can grind out points. Ideal for a playoff series (gasp!). The defence has better pieces to work with and good potential to be good (or at least above avg). If the Defence can bring it all together, the Raps can scrape together some offence using their wings in the post and by crashing the glass. Rebounding will likely be our biggest team strength and we need to milk it for all it's worth.
    Heir, Prince of Cambridge

    If you see KeonClark in the wasteland, please share your food and water with him.

  • #2
    Interesting way to approach the question. There is no doubt that Jose and Bargs going out and Hansbrough coming in should improve rebounding. I think Anderson was the best of the rest at rebounding but he only counted for 2.3/game in 25 minutes or so. If Acy gets a little more time we should have well rested bigs with good rebounding, so your argument about rebounds makes sense.

    Team defense should improve because that is where Casey is focusing again, and he has the personnel to do it. We'll see how the offense goes, though DeMar seems improved in a small sample size, we would expect to see improvement from JV, Novak as a situational shooter is a positive addition, and who knows, maybe Ross remembers how to shoot and drive.


    • #3
      I really think the first two should be noticeably improved if things go as hoped. Especially ORBs as mentioned. And that sould go well with lots of post ups, where guys like Tyler, Amir and our athletic wings can wreak havoc on the glass when Ds start doubling down low on guys like JV and DeMar. I hope this results in more offense (at least in terms of as designed) comes from close to the basket, which is also more likely to result in more free throws. Eager to see how things play out.


      • #4
        After scouring all the data, this makes me like the Hansbrough signing even more. MU knew that he had to improve the team, but wasn't sure about blowing it up. Hansbrough's signing fills a need, creates a team identity (rebounding), and gives extra possessions to an inefficient offence. If we can be a top 5 O-Board team and convert those points, combined with the expected defensive improvements, we should actually be a decent team.

        And if not, Hansbrough is a great fit besides a different star on the wing or as a trade chip.
        Heir, Prince of Cambridge

        If you see KeonClark in the wasteland, please share your food and water with him.