Wolves Season Via Stats

New Wolves season.  New hype.  Same old amount of time to attempt to watch games for me.  I’ve got a 1.5 year old at home.  She goes to bed early and wakes up early.  I love basketball, sports in general, but I’m not missing out on moments with my daughter to catch games.  Maybe here or there I’ll try to schedule our happenings so I can watch a game but I’m not missing bed time to see a tip-off and I’m not staying up real late for a west coast start cause I don’t need to be dragging anymore in the AM then I already do.

What all of this means is even if I “watch” a game I might only catch at best 75% of the game.  I usually try to work sporting events into other activities like a workout or laundry.  Just so I can justify in my head why I just “wasted” two hours of the night.  Its a lot easier to watch the Wolves game while I’m on the elliptical, and have a load of wash in.  I go to bed and I’m like okay Kat and Wiggins need to find themselves on the defensive side of the ball but at least I know tomorrow we’ve got fresh PJs for our bedtime routine and I still might need to mix in an additional salad but I did knock-out some cardio tonight.  As opposed to being like damn Kat and Wiggins can’t play D but I also can’t get shit done around my house so I should probably focus on that instead.

Long-winded way to say I’m always trying to get my mind around other descriptors of the game.  I can see a pick n’ roll (classic Larry Legend) or a pick n’ pop and know what’s happening.  I don’t always know intricate offenses/defenses and I feel like other little details slip past me at times.  For the 2017 season not only do I want to watch games, I’m going to try to dig deeper into the stats and learn offensive and defensive sets.  I’m starting by writing a weekly piece.

First things first.  The Wolves and 2017-18.  In our first BOOP podcast of the year John (52)and I both throw out our own win totals.  I went 59 cause I’m crazy.

Right now the Wolves sit at 3-3 and I had them 5-1.  The only loss I saw was at OKC which we won.  Tonight I had us losing to Miami in Miami.  When the schedule came out I didn’t know that Whiteside would be out tonight.  This is a pretty solid chance for us to pick-up one of my loses to get us to 4-3 and not 5-2.  From there the remaining games this week I had us winning.

  • Monday – Miami
    • Already mentioned above.
  • Wednesday – at New Orleans
    • Boogie is playing beast-mode right now.  Not only do the Wolves not have an answer the NBA doesn’t.  Sames goes for AD but he’s been dinged up a bit so far this year.  The interesting parts here
      • Lots of high-end Kentucky dudes on the court.
      • Bigs v Bigs v Bigs v Bigs
        • Thibs decided Sota wasn’t big enough with the KAT/Bjelly/Dieng/Aldrich rotation so he sandwich in Taj Gibson between Kat and Bjelly.  Taj is a whole different kettle of fish but how much money is Thibs going to give to bigs in a new world order where only one big can stay on the court at a time?  That last question doesn’t matter on Wednesday though.
        • With the Boogie trade AD and Boogie are the most interesting 4/5 combo in the league.  They are backed up by Alexis Ajinca, Omer Asik (both injured long-term), Cheick Diallo, and a handful of dudes in that 3/4 tweener land Darius Miller, Dante Cunningham, Solomon Hill
      • When you look at both teams at 3-3 they have holes.
        • Both
          • shooting 9th (min) and 10th (Pels) from 3 based on %
          • Injuries to stars Butler (min) and Rondo/AD (pels)
            • Butler and AD should both be in this game but missing games/minutes from star players hurts even if its just early in the year.  Minnesota’s stats are all blown out of proportion because they got tub thumped when Butler was out.  The Pels have some crazy Boogie usage numbers due to AD’s injury.  Rondo injury has goofed up their guard/wing rotation.  Asik and Ajinca’s injuries have hurt their front court depth.
          • Sota
            • With all of the size on the court they need to rebound better.
            • Rebounding is a piece of defense that I think I just take for granted.  Its just such a basic basketball 101 concept.  You box out your man.  Getting all rebounds is about position.  On the defensive glass you have to be within the scheme of the defense and not over rotated to be in the right spot to seal off the other team.  On offense its a little more complicated because if a guy is stretching the court its hard to expect him to crash the glass.  People need to know the options offensively, the current game situation and the shooters on the floor.  Some of this could be a matter of these guys need to learn each other a little more.  It feels more like guys are out of position, not put in great spots to get offensive boards and then not putting in that extra effort to fight-through box-outs to get to boards.
          • Pels
            • Gravity.
              • I haven’t watched more than highlights but I’ve read a few pieces from the early going and it sounds like the Pels need another shooter in the starting lineup.  Boogie and AD have off-putting gravity to each other.  They both work so well down low in a can’t stop’em sort of way that you’d be crazy not to use them down low.  When you let to guys get down low it allows for defenses to collapse on either and it brings the help defender into closer proximity.  Boogie had been spacing the floor at the 3 point line.  Which is crazy.  Boogie is a beast down low to the point that no one can stop him.  Career he’s 62% from within 3 feet.  Last year he shot 37.5% from 3.  On a per 100 basis (either shot location taken 100 times) Boogie scored 1.32 points per attempt from within 3 feet for his career but in 16-17 he was down to 1.14.  From 3 in 16-17 he was at 1.11 per attempt.  That makes Boogie taking a 3 0.03 points per attempt worse than Boogie posting up on the low block.  There really isn’t a reason for him not to be taking 3’s.  Plus that creates more spacing on the floor and gives AD more room to operate.  This concept of gravity on the court is pretty fun to me.  All ten players are connected.  How much one pulls the others creates more or less space.  Boogie and AD having large pull means putting them too close to each other leaves less space.
            • Opinion Wolves win.  Jimmy and Wiggins go off.  Pels don’t really have anyone to deal with these guys.  Granted Sota doesn’t have anyone that’s shown they can play defense against a big so far but I think that’s more due to breakdowns on the perimeter and then over commiting help defenders.
        • Saturday – Dallas
          • Dallas sucks this year so if Jimmy B plays we win easy (3-1 so far with him) if not its a nail biter
        • Sunday – Charlotte
          • Back to back’s are never easy.  By this point in time Charlotte should have had enough time to turn on Dwight Howard so I’m going with a Wolves win

The sticky one this week is New Orleans.  I think New Orleans still is working things out rotation-wise.  They do have two dudes that can just take over.  I think Sota has a chance to give them fits with our wing scoring.  I just don’t see how the Pels shut down Jimmy Buckets and the Maple Jordan.  That’d put us at 7-3 on the season.  A point at which you start to just feel momentum which was a large portion of my projections in the first place.

After the New Orleans game I’ll look at the points per shot attempt for Boogie and the whole game if I have time.  Looking at value per attempt is an interesting take.  If the value of Boogie shooting from anywhere on the court is the same or very similar but the outside influences of him doing so have different consequences the weights won’t show it on a one-off basis.  I’ll have to find someone on the Wolves squad that has a similar split and just watch them for a larger period of time.  I imagine with the Pels that Boogie shooting from outside opens space for AD to work down low and vice-versa.  You’d expect their respective individual shooting percentages to go up when the two are playing in complimentary roles.  In reality its just not that straight forward.


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