I believe it was Joseph Smith who defined truth as, "seeing things as they really are, really were, and really will be". If I haven't lost you yet hang with me as I try to show things as they truly are.
I've turned nerd and I'm ashamed, (virtual hugs please?) and spent some time working on Warrior stats on a team by team comparison. For this exercise I've decided to use 'differentials' (differences in seasonal averages on a per game denominator). We will jump around from differentials to 'team stats' so try to note that and bare with me if my writing is confusing.
I did it this way for the Robert Rowel types out there and he's right, this should take into account 'pace of play' where other stats do not (i.e. total points per game) Further more, it tells the better story of how the wins and loses came on the season as a whole. Here they are:
FG%: -1.0 21st
3PT%: -0.7 19th
FT%: 1.2 11th
Reb: -5.1 30th
AST: -3.3 28th
TO: -0.3 11th
Stl: -0.1 19th
Blks: 1.3 3rd
PF: -1.0 24th
PTS: -3.7 24th
Shooting: On the surface our shooting looks pretty weak as we are ranked 21st in the league. However, there are 15 teams within 1% in either direction, not a large variance. On a straight percentage basis we rank 13th at 45.8% (only the Suns averaged over 50 at 50.4%). In 07-08 we ranked 16th at -0.8, and shot 46.0%. Not that much better yet we still won 48 games.
Three point percentage seems to be more of the same story as we rank 11th in the league. What can we assume with these numbers? Although our straight percentages are fair, our defense must be allowing opponents to get open shots hence dropping our differential rankings. Make sense?
Rebounding: Our rebounding is piss poor. Last in offensive rebounds and close enough in defensive boards, we are clear losers in total rebounds. With just a neutral rebounding differential we'd have 5 more possession per game. Without factoring all the; TO's/ 3pts/ 2pts/ possession, (overly excessive nerd math) etc., and at 45% shooting rate we theoretically would score 4.5 more pts per game. Giving us a positive new FG% differential of 0.8. "And, what does it mean if we average more points than our opponents, class?"
Assists: We clearly have an issue here. Strangely enough, with Baron Davis last year we only ranked 21st in ast. Averaging only 1.4 more assist per game than we did in 08-09. Is it safe to assume that we have too many 1 on 1 plays/players or is it the lack of a true point guard (BD averaged 7.7 ast per game that year)? What would bringing BD back do and what should we expect from a rookie that would be Lucky to achieve BD status?
Steals: The variance is small across the league, 1.5 to -1.7. Yet we regressed greatly from the previous year when we led the league in steals at 2.2. Maybe just lack of defensive effort in blowout games? I don't know.
Turnovers: Actually I'm surprised we did so well without a "true point guard" this year, and after all the blame Jackson received for turnovers we still ranked decently, 11th. However, with BD we ranked first in TO differential at -3.2, for 07-08. Probably because we forced so many as previously stated in steals.
Blocks/ Personal Fouls: What can I say, we're doing great. We lead the league in blks per game and we were 3rd in blocking diferential. Factor that into our 24th position on personal fouls and it's a pretty damn dramatical improvement over 07-08. In 07-08 we ranked 22nd in blocks and 2nd in fouls! Big props to Ronny and Randolph/ Wright for their contribution.