Alex Sonty, who writes ChicagoNow'sLoad O' Bull blog, has been paying close attention to Henry Abbott's TrueHoop posts about Derrick Rose -- specifically, this post about past MVP winners and their teams' rankings in wins. Henry found that team wins were highly correlated with MVP voting, to the point that 19 of the last 20 MVPs came from a team with a top-3 record. This of course is bad news for Rose, as the Bulls are 6th in winning % at the moment.
But Alex was wondering how past winners stack up in a schedule-adjusted margin-of-victory based metric like the Simple Rating System, where the Bulls are 5th. So here's the master list -- every MVP winner, with their team's rank in both WPct and SRS:
"Has any team finished last in both offensive and defensive efficiency? [...] Cavs now in danger of pulling off this double."
During the era in which we can apply the official possessions formula, two NBA teams can claim the unfortunate distinction of finishing last in both offensive rating & defensive rating in the same season:
How close are the 2011 Cavaliers, then? They're already dead last in offense, with a 0.9 pts/100 poss. cushion between them and #29 Milwaukee. They're also 28th in defense, fractionally ahead of #29 Toronto and 0.4 pts/100 poss. in front of last-place Phoenix. So it's certainly going to be possible for them to overtake (undertake?) the Suns before the season is over. Here's how they stack up against the other teams listed above:
This morning, Zach Lowe of SI.com's must-read Point Forward blog emailed me wondering how Utah's collapse in defensive rebounding % ranks among all-time declines. That got me wondering about the biggest drop-offs in all of the Four Factors, so I ran Z-scores on each team's numbers and looked at the biggest negative changes from one year to the next:
Last week we had a question that I wanted to get to, but didn't have a chance until today. David wrote:
"After seeing LeBron drop 44 and Wade drop 34 in the game today, I was wondering when was the last time two players on the same team both scored 40+?"
Our box score database goes back to 1986-87 -- 1991 for the playoffs -- so we have three games on hand where two teammates scored 40+ points in the same game (and oddly enough, two took place in the postseason):
Utah at Houston, May 5, 1995. Facing elimination in Game 4 of the 1995 West quarters, the Rockets got exactly the kind of performance they envisioned when they acquired Clyde Drexler to pair with Hakeem Olajuwon. Glide dropped 41, Dream poured in 40, and Houston dominated 123-106. Two nights later, Olajuwon & Drexler combined for 64 points to put Utah away, and they went on to power the team's 2nd consecutive NBA title bid that June.
Chicago at Indiana, February 18, 1996. For the Bulls, this was just one of 72 victories in a landmark 1996 campaign that still stands as the most successful in NBA history. Fresh off the All-Star break, Chicago took their 36th win in their last 39 games when Michael Jordan (44 points) and Scottie Pippen (40) combined for more than 76% of the team's scoring output all by themselves.
Philadelphia at Indiana, May 6, 2000. This time, Indiana was on the giving end of the scoring outbursts, as Jalen Rose and Reggie Miller each tallied 40 apiece during a 108-91 win over the Sixers in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semis. The Pacers would go on to take the series in 6 games, eventually advancing to the NBA Finals before running into a Laker buzz saw.
BBR reader Prashant wrote in with a good question yesterday:
"I just read John Hollinger’s article about the sustained success of the Spurs and Mavs and was wondering if there was any way to calculate the average deviation of a given team’s record over time? Basically, which teams are the most consistently good/bad/average over a set timeframe, say a decade? I would imagine the Spurs/Mavs/Clippers are atop that list, while the Celtics and Heat probably have a pretty wild deviation (from lottery team to title contender)."
Sure, the easiest way to look at this is to calculate the standard deviation of each franchise's year-to-year winning percentages over the given timeframe.
Here's a quick mailbag from "Imadogg", who writes:
"I was wondering who the best 'one-sided' players of all time are. For example, when thinking of the best offensive players ever, a name like Jordan or Wilt might come to mind, but no one would dare call them one-sided or only offense. On the other hand, when I think of Steve Nash, I think of perfection on one side of the ball and nothing at all on the other. On defense, guys like Dennis Rodman, Ben Wallace, or Dikembe Mutombo come to mind as amazing defenders who you would prefer never to give the ball to."
Imadogg went on to suggest looking at the percentage of a player's Win Shares devoted to offense vs. defense, so I'm going to take that approach when determining the most "one-dimensional" players in post-1952 NBA history.
I should note, one issue with using Win Shares is that they can sometimes be negative, which totally wreaks havoc on an exercise like this. But as a kludge, I just zeroed out the negative OWS/DWS, and took the percentage of those totals devoted to each side of the ball.
Among players with 10,000 career minutes, here are the players most extremely biased toward offense:
"Through five games, James Posey has 20 FGA, 18 of which are 3PA, making for a staggering 90% rate of 3PA to FGA. Even though Posey went for a 70% clip last season, I see very little in his play (or being involved in a Jim O'Brien system) to suggest he shouldn't shatter that number this year. I was wondering either what the top 3PA to FGA ratios were..."
Among players who, like Posey, took at least 4 field-goal attempts per team game, here are the guys who saw the biggest proportion of their shots come from behind the 3-point arc:
Kidd assisted on all nine Dallas baskets in the third quarter and scored five points as the Mavericks pushed a six-point halftime advantage to 80-67.
Seven of Kidd's assists resulted in layups or dunks, helping Dallas convert 16-of-22 shots near the basket.
Kidd also assisted on nine of Dirk Nowitzki's 11 buckets, including four during a two-minute span in the third period.
Kidd talked about the game here:
Plus/Minus traditionally loves it some Jason Kidd, and it's not hard to see why. Even at his advanced age, Kidd does just about everything you could ask of a guard at both ends (except stay with smaller, quicker PGs)... He distributes as well as anybody not named "Nash", "Paul", "Williams" or "Rondo"; he continues to rebound the ball at a high level; he's suddenly a deadly outside shooter; he can defend SGs or big PGs effectively; and he generally makes the Mavs a lot better when he's on the floor. People scoffed when Wayne Winston's +/- system said Kidd was one of the highest-impact players in the game, but I'm not so sure that was such a crazy idea after all.