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Playoff Ceiling: This Team Is.... the '97 Atlanta Hawks

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  • Playoff Ceiling: This Team Is.... the '97 Atlanta Hawks

    Some threads have been popping up lately, speculating just how far this team will go in the playoffs. I think the answer can be found through a simple means.. following the famous saying: History repeats itself.



    This team is a carbon copy of the '97/'98 Atlanta Hawks. (No... no, not the '04 Pistons... smh)

    Let's start with the Coach: Lenny Wilkens --> Dwayne Casey: Both of these guys were apart of a Western Conference coaching staff which won a ring over a "superior" Eastern Conference team (in terms of wins). Both guys started their coaching careers in Seattle. Interesting. kinda

    PG: Mookie Blaylock --> Kyle Lowry: How many guys have ever had 90 steals, 100 3PT made, and 200 rebounds to start the season? Just these two guys. 6'0 rebounding, defensive, 3pt shooting, turnover-causing, allstar PGs. Mook had a BPM of 7.2 that season while Lowry currently holds a BPM of 7.5 (both top 5 in their respective seasons).

    SG: Steve Smith --> DeMar DeRozan: More similarities. Steve Smith at that age was still not a consistent 3pt shooter. Did work within the arc with mid range shots, making a good amount of freethrows and dishing the ball when necessary. Average rebounders/defenders at their position.

    SF: Tyrone Corbin --> DeMarre Carroll: Both took a dip in efficiency compared to their last full stints with their previous team. Great rebounders at the 3 spot. Contribute great defense and a good amount of 3s as well. Both missed extended time due to injury.

    PF: Christian Laettner --> Luis Scola: Low post/mid range scoring PFs who are taking (and making) the most amount of 3s in their career (Scola hasn't been asked to play nearly as many minutes but their roles remain the same). Not great rim protectors but contribute on defense with timely steals and good positioning.

    C: Dikembe Muttombo --> Jonas Valanciunas (don't crucify me): This is strictly about their role on offense, I am not saying Jonas is as good defensively as Dikembe "No-no" Mutombo. Ok, now that's out of the way take a look at their per 36 and per 100 poss numbers. Pretty damn similar (besides BPG).

    Bench:

    PG/SG: Eldridge Recasner --> Cory Joseph: Both 6'3 190 lbs. Both have the same style of game. Eerily similar slashing styles (1:38 onwards). ER was the better shooter from deep but Cory makes up for it in the midrange area.

    PF: Henry James --> Patrick Patterson: Undersized 4s who really like the 3 ball. Inconsistent but vital to team's success (James held a 10% efficiency swing relative to wins/loss.. Patterson: 6%).

    SG: Jon Barry --> Terrence Ross: 3pt shooting SGs. Don't play them at SF, or expect them to draw many (any?) fouls.

    Big: Alan Henderson --> Bismack Biyombo: Athletic undesized bigs. Grabs offensive rebounds and does some other things.

    SF: Darrin Hancock --> James Johnson: Efficient SFs who can't really shoot and don't get PT.


    '97 Hawks record after 41 games: 29-12
    '98 Hawks record after 41 games: 26-15
    Raptors record after 41 games: 26-15


    Other similarities:


    Top 10 in ORTG and DRTG (Raptors sit at 11 in D but will likely climb back after being in this territory most of the year)

    Top 5 in Opponent 2P%

    Top 5 in FT%

    Top 10 in PFs committed

    Top 10 in lowest TOV

    13th (ATL) and 15th (TOR) in TRBs per game

    27th and 26th in Pace respectively

    20th and 19th in FG%

    28th and 29th in assists per game

    Both 2nd last in FGM

    Starting backcourt leads team in minutes and FGA with a low FG%

    ****

    The Hawks never made it to the ECF. They were ousted in the 2nd round by the Chicago Bulls. Yes the Bulls were *really really good* but they were outscored by nearly 40 points overall that series. Not how they wanted to go out.

    Wasn't just the Bulls either.... The next year after that, they kept their same starting core and were eliminated in 4 games by the Charlotte Hornets (led by Glen Rice).... in the first round. A season after this first round exit, the team blew things up, going full rebuild.

    History Says:
    Ceiling: '97 Hawks (2nd round exit)
    Basement: '98 Hawks (1st round exit)


    **The formula we have right now has resulted in a second round exit and a subsequent first round exit in the not-so distant past. They say history repeats itself... I think this core will meet a similar fate**

  • #2
    I'll give you credit, that's a pretty apt comparison right here and now. Buttt

    You're assuming we have the exact same roster next season. Jeezus, everybody's so anxious that we're not set up to win a title right here right now. Neither are 26 other teams! I'm loving this year's edition of the raptors, honestly 2 and a half years ago bargnani and gay were chucking all over and losing 2 or 3 games a week. There's tns of wiggle room to take the next step.
    It's Klaw Season. Time to hunt.

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    • #3
      OP was just awesome. kudos, tdotted.

      Comment


      • #4
        KeonClark wrote: View Post
        I'll give you credit, that's a pretty apt comparison right here and now. Buttt

        You're assuming we have the exact same roster next season. Jeezus, everybody's so anxious that we're not set up to win a title right here right now. Neither are 26 other teams! I'm loving this year's edition of the raptors, honestly 2 and a half years ago bargnani and gay were chucking all over and losing 2 or 3 games a week. There's tns of wiggle room to take the next step.
        Great job. Keon makes an important point. Those teams didn't have the amount of available draft picks, or young bench players available. Other than Henderson, there wasn't any attempt at developing any of those first NBA contract guys.

        That team was that team, it was as complete as it would be. No one would be surprised if the Raps added a starting 4 and a bench wing to the mix next season. That said, this team is only 2 or 3 seasons away from reaching its potential, meaning they better have an exit strategy developing at the same time that they're trying to win in the very near future.

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        • #5
          tDotted wrote: View Post

          20th and 19th in FG%

          28th and 29th in assists per game

          Both 2nd last in FGM

          Starting backcourt leads team in minutes and FGA with a low FG%

          ****

          History Says:
          Ceiling: '97 Hawks (2nd round exit)
          Basement: '98 Hawks (1st round exit)


          **The formula we have right now has resulted in a second round exit and a subsequent first round exit in the not-so distant past. They say history repeats itself... I think this core will meet a similar fate**
          Comparison aside, I agree with the assessment of what this core can do.

          This raptors team plays uninspired basketball at the offensive end, relying on free throws and guard iso plays.

          Regardless of the "success" it's brought (regular season only, in a weak division, in a weak conference the past couple years), it's boring as fuck to watch this team even when they're making shots, and it's downright pathetic when they're missing.

          Comment


          • #6
            The Raptors can Win a Title This year with the proper Coach.

            dwayne casey a huge stumbling block for tha squad.

            Comment


            • #7
              KeonClark wrote: View Post
              I'll give you credit, that's a pretty apt comparison right here and now. Buttt

              You're assuming we have the exact same roster next season. Jeezus, everybody's so anxious that we're not set up to win a title right here right now. Neither are 26 other teams! I'm loving this year's edition of the raptors, honestly 2 and a half years ago bargnani and gay were chucking all over and losing 2 or 3 games a week. There's tns of wiggle room to take the next step.
              I'm also not feeling the panic of the Raptors being stuck - at all. Point's been raised countless times, but this team isn't stuck. They've got reasonable contracts, some prospects, draft picks, two huge cap jumps in the next two summers (a massive and key difference between the current situation and any historic parallel - this has never happened before) that are likely to create flexibility and a lot of player movement, DeMar's a FA this summer (we're not even guaranteed he's back), Kyle Lowry's likely a FA the following summer (PO), JV is young and developing, we likely have to wait for next year to integrate a healthy Carroll properly, another playoff flameout better mean a coaching change, every contract on this roster is tradeable....

              I mean that's a shit ton of changes going on without arbitrarily deciding that core pieces need to be traded RIGHT NOW when the current team is meeting/exceeding expectations for this season. They're playing better than last year. All the impending changes I just mentioned are on the horizon. You don't blow rosters up in this situation.
              "We're playing in a building." -- Kawhi Leonard

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              • #8
                tDotted wrote: View Post

                This team is a carbon copy of the '97/'98 Atlanta Hawks. (No... no, not the '04 Pistons... smh)


                History Says:
                Ceiling: '97 Hawks (2nd round exit)
                Basement: '98 Hawks (1st round exit)


                **The formula we have right now has resulted in a second round exit and a subsequent first round exit in the not-so distant past. They say history repeats itself... I think this core will meet a similar fate**
                Carbon copy is going a bit far and that's a lot of work to say that they'll probably lose in the 2nd round.

                But hey if you're right, after this season there's only 8 years of rebuilding to go before the Raptors make the playoffs again in 2025!
                Two beer away from being two beers away.

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                • #9
                  CB4Champ wrote: View Post
                  The Raptors can Win a Title This year with the proper Coach.

                  dwayne casey a huge stumbling block for tha squad.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    That team was "built for the playoffs" with a cast of veterans, with little in the way of youth development. The Raptors are looking good for the 2nd seed and for the playoffs even though we've been without our veteran at the 3, and a 5-man developmental-unit (6 if you count Daniels, 7 if you count Nando, 8, 9, 10, and 11 if you count Cory, Terrence, Jonas, and Bismack...oh yeah there's JJ and PP too).

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                    • #11
                      A few thoughts:
                      - pulling out a few stats like FG% and giving no context - late 90's NBA vs. the current NBA - is leaving an awful lot out
                      - much more important variables than FG% ranking:

                      - Roster composition - the Hawks five highest mpg players that season had an average age of 30.4. That was an old team. The Raps 5 highest mpg players' average age is 26.2. Big difference.

                      - Cap situation - where was that Hawks team relative to the cap? How much cap space did they have in the next 2 seasons? Huge factor.

                      - Picks and prospects - the following summer the Hawks only had a single 1st round pick, #20. The Raps are in a much better picks situation.

                      - Ballooning salary cap - the way the cap is surging upwards is unprecedented, was not true in the 97/98 season, and meant those Hawks were more locked in (with an old team, too). Huge difference.

                      - Comparing Mutombo, who won DPOY that year, to JV, who's nowhere near that discussion, shows how much you stretched some of the narrative in your player comps. The only thing 97 Mutombo and 16 JV have in common is that they play the same position. Using per 36 and per 100 to argue otherwise is a great example of cherry picking stats to support a narrative.


                      I don't know, at first glance the op similarities are interesting, but drawing conclusions that predict the Raps' future failure (this playoff) and suggesting they're doomed to treadmill? That's a huge leap and loos like pretty bad logic, though I'll admit I don't know much about logic/debate. I'm sure we can find anecdotal evidence (especially one-off examples) of teams with similarities in certain statistical areas who fared much better, and I'll bet we can find examples of teams with parallels who fared much worse.
                      "We're playing in a building." -- Kawhi Leonard

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        S.R. wrote: View Post
                        I don't know, at first glance the op similarities are interesting, but drawing conclusions that predict the Raps' future failure (this playoff) and suggesting they're doomed to treadmill? That's a huge leap and loos like pretty bad logic, though I'll admit I don't know much about logic/debate. I'm sure we can find anecdotal evidence (especially one-off examples) of teams with similarities in certain statistical areas who fared much better, and I'll bet we can find examples of teams with parallels who fared much worse.
                        I think there is a big difference between comparing to predict playoff success vs comparing for long term outlook. Most of the issues you raised are more for long term outlook. Ballooning cap and extra picks won't impact this team in the playoffs (which I assume is the intent of the comp).
                        Heir, Prince of Cambridge

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

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                        • #13
                          Alright some debate..

                          S.R. wrote: View Post
                          A few thoughts:
                          - pulling out a few stats like FG% and giving no context - late 90's NBA vs. the current NBA - is leaving an awful lot out

                          ..

                          - Roster composition - the Hawks five highest mpg players that season had an average age of 30.4. That was an old team. The Raps 5 highest mpg players' average age is 26.2. Big difference.
                          IMO, I thought context wouldn't really matter for the stats. The rankings showed how these teams stack up against the rest of the league without bias.

                          Here are the league averages throughout NBA history.


                          FG% was about the same then and now.. the average age of the league was older back then though, by over a year. Doesn't sound like much but when account for the amount of players in the league, it's a big difference.

                          S.R. wrote: View Post
                          - Cap situation - where was that Hawks team relative to the cap? How much cap space did they have in the next 2 seasons? Huge factor.
                          Like Axel said, this wasn't about the long-term outlook. Just comparing the roster composition, regular season performance, and making an educated guess on how the postseason will turn out. This team's roster is more similar to the '97 Hawks but the performance of the team (W/L & point differential) is more similar to the '98 version.

                          S.R. wrote: View Post
                          - Picks and prospects - the following summer the Hawks only had a single 1st round pick, #20. The Raps are in a much better picks situation.
                          True, but they also had 4 future first round picks that weren't theirs (2 first, 2 seconds).

                          S.R. wrote: View Post
                          - Comparing Mutombo, who won DPOY that year, to JV, who's nowhere near that discussion, shows how much you stretched some of the narrative in your player comps. The only thing 97 Mutombo and 16 JV have in common is that they play the same position. Using per 36 and per 100 to argue otherwise is a great example of cherry picking stats to support a narrative.
                          I told you not to crucify me... lol. Strictly about their role on offense: occasional post ups, offensive rebound putbacks, dump off passes. Besides BPG, their stats are very even. Not really cherry picking there.

                          S.R. wrote: View Post
                          I'm sure we can find anecdotal evidence (especially one-off examples) of teams with similarities in certain statistical areas who fared much better, and I'll bet we can find examples of teams with parallels who fared much worse.
                          I would genuinely love to see if you (or anyone) could find more teams that were this similar to the Raptors. I highly doubt it.. This is some millennial, once-in-a-lifetime type shit.

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                          • #14
                            tDotted wrote: View Post
                            I would genuinely love to see if you (or anyone) could find more teams that were this similar to the Raptors. I highly doubt it.. This is some millennial, once-in-a-lifetime type shit.
                            Another thing I don't think we've pointed out yet is that while there may be similarities between raps ad hawks, the 29 other teams are nowhere near the same as 96 97. You mentioned how the hawks got spanked in 2nd round by the 72 win Jordan bulls..there is nothing close to Jordans bulls in the eastern conference.

                            So again while I appreciate the work you put in, unfortunately you have not unlocked a crystal ball that can predict sports.
                            It's Klaw Season. Time to hunt.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              KeonClark wrote: View Post
                              Another thing I don't think we've pointed out yet is that while there may be similarities between raps ad hawks, the 29 other teams are nowhere near the same as 96 97. You mentioned how the hawks got spanked in 2nd round by the 72 win Jordan bulls..there is nothing close to Jordans bulls in the eastern conference.

                              So again while I appreciate the work you put in, unfortunately you have not unlocked a crystal ball that can predict sports.
                              Lebron = Jordan? That should count for something.

                              Comment

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