Tuesday, January 10, 2006

A Pointy-Headed Intellectual Way of Analyzing the Local Basketball Collective

For those of you with ESPN Insider, John Hollinger has a whole page of statistics for his NBA stats. Hollinger's premise is that gross numbers don't tell the whole story because they don't take pace into account, so he analyzes teams on a per-possession basis. (I'd like to see him index the stats further to take strength of schedule into account, but that's for another day.) What do those stats reveal about our beloved 9-22 Hawks?

1. They're primary weakness is on the defensive end, where they're 27th in the league in points allowed per possession. The offense is a more respectable 20th, which is nothing too terrific, but it less of an issue than the defensive end. Let's all hope that Billy Knight's belief that the players will play better team defense as they mature and gain experience playing with one another is correct.

2. The one stat at which the Hawks excel is offensive rebounding percentage, which can be attributed to Zaza Pachulia, the less hyped of our off-season acquisitions. Overall, the team collects almost exactly 50% of its missed shots, which means they're average in rebounding. At this stage, average = AWESOME WITH A CAPITAL "A" for this franchise.

3. The Hawks' true shooting percentage, which takes free throws and three pointers into account, places them in the middle of the league. So why are they only 20th in offense, especially when they're getting offensive rebounds at a greater clip than anyone else? Say hello to the turnover stat, where the Hawks rank 27th in percentage of possessions that end in a turnover. That, combined with the fact that the Hawks are 26th in percentage of possessions that end in an assist, highlights what we've all been screaming for a dog's year: this team desperately needs a point guard. It really isn't an exaggeration to say that with Chris Paul in the fold, the offense would run better, the defense would be better because one of the main problems with the team's defense currently is an inability to defend opposing point guards, and the Hawks would be the #7 seed in the East with a young team.

And no, I'm not regretting the decision to get season tickets, but a few more wins sure wouldn't make me break out in a rash.


Anonymous said...

Is there a reason for all the bird-related team nicknames in Atlanta (Falcons, Hawks, Thrashers) or is it just coincidence?


Anonymous said...

So have you gotten to know the other 13 season ticket holders at the Hawks games?

Michael said...

On the bird related nickname, I'm not sure how that came about. The Brown Thrasher is the state bird and Atlanta was called Thrasherville during one of its earlier incarnations, but I can't explain the Hawks or Falcons. Maybe to appeal to a hunting-friendly populace?

One of the fun parts of Hawks games is making fun of the team with the other regulars in Section 317. I haven't gotten any names yet, but everyone has their own pet joke.