Kev's defensive breakdown: Raptors at Warriors (March 13, 2010)

Defensively scoring the Raptors game

            First: thanks for reading my fanpost.  I apologize in advance for the length but I feel that background is necessary.  This post details my defensive breakdown of the Raptors-Warriors game from last Saturday night.  My system attempts to defensively “score” the game. 


            I came up with a defensive system about a year ago.  I am a Thunder fan, and last year at this time the Thunder stunk.  Badly.  And they stunk on both sides of the ball.  But I was tired of just reading about bad defense, or seeing the stat of defensive efficiency (they were about 20th at that time).  Most of the stats in the boxscore are offensive related.  Most conversation about any game is offensive related.  Why?  Because most of the numbers that we have relate to offense.  We have steals and blocks for defense.  Whoopee.  That doesn’t tell us nearly enough about a person’s abilities on defense.  So I started “charting” defensive possessions of Thunder games.  I came up with a scoring system to “score each player defensively”.  And after watching games, I was able to tell how each player did defensively and why.  I usually do a defensive breakdown of each Thunder game on  A sample of my work is included here in the comments section:



I admit UPFRONT that my system is somewhat subjective and crude – but it is better than what we have now.  Plus minus ratings include offense AND teammates’ performances are inextricably linked.  The thing I really can stand is the statement “Well so and so must be a good defender because he won a defensive award two years ago.”  That’s basically all we have.  There are sites with on/off  floor ratings, but they really don’t tell us details about a player’s defensive abilities.  So I came up with this system after many months of tinkering.


Points are awarded for:


  • Blocks
  • Steals
  • Loose Balls
  • Contesting a shot (that is missed)
  • Forcing a turnover (knocking a ball off an opponent’s leg, for example)
  • Drawing a charge
  • Hedging (forcing a guard to stop or reverse direction on a pick)
  • Blowing up a transition bucket when outnumbered



Points are deducted for:


  • Giving up penetration
  • Failure to contest
  • Going under screens on a three point shooter
  • Lazy transition defense
  • Trailing on screens
  • Shooting Foul
  • Failing to Box Out (and giving up an offensive rebound)
  • Getting Posted up and giving up a score
  • Getting Posted up and needing a double team


Note – Points are deducted only when the opposing team scores.  Also, I know it is subjective for many reasons.  For example, if Player A thinks he can defend Chris Bosh and he doesn’t need help, but Coach orders a double team anyway, he is still out of luck if a shooter scores from a pass out of the double team. 



            Why am I here on a Warriors board?  Well, ironically, I am a fan of the uptempo, so I have watch the Warriors play ball often over the last decade.  The clincher was when they drafted Curry (bias alert).  So needless to say, I have watched almost all the Warriors games this year on League Pass.


Anyway, so much for the background.  As for Saturday night’s game.  The Warriors did okay considering all the injuries.  As you all know, Nelson has to play almost everyone out of position.  So you have 6-5 Anthony Morrow guarding Andrea Bargnani.  You have wingman Reggie Williams guarding 6-9 Amir Johnson in the post.  And so on.  The team total was zero.  The average for a Thunder game is 25 (and remember right now they are ranked 6th in defensive efficiency).  For my scale for individual players, +5 or over is good, +3 is average, and a negative score is well below average.  For sake of comparison, Thabo Sefolosha has a season average of   4.7 (which is really 5.9 per 36 because he only averages 29 minutes a game.  The Thunder’s worst defender is Russell Westbrook, whose average is -0.7 for the season.


            Scoring the game was a little difficult because in the second quarter, Nelson went zone.  So I did my best to award/penalize players based on where they should have been.  Obviously, it’s a lot harder when a guy does not have a player assigned to him.



Steph Curry (+8)



            Most people outside of Northern California think that Curry plays no defense.  I have watched almost all the Warriors games this year, and along with most of you I know that is utter nonsense.  This game showed off his versatility.



            1st Quarter


·        Steal on entry pass to Turkoglu (10:45)

·        Loose ball (8:45)

·        Contested Jarrett Jack in transition (3:30)

·        Gave up penetration to Jack (2:40)

·        Contested Jose Calderon (1:40)

·        Gave up open three to Calderon (:15)



2nd Quarter


·        No scoring – he was out most of the quarter


3rd Quarter


·        Drew charge on Hedo (10:20)

·        Went under screen – Calderon for three (3:40)

·        Steal in transition (2:45)

·        Went under again – Calderon for three (1:00)



4th Quarter


·        Loose ball (8:30)

·        Contested Antoine Wright (8:10)

·        Stripped Demar Derozan (6:30)

·        Steal and spectacular save to Corey Maggette (4:00)

·        Contest Sonny Weems (2:20)


Curry did a great job keeping Jack and Calderon in front of him.  I love the way Curry positions his body between the offensive player and the goal, especially at diagonal angles.  Some guards give up when the offensive player gets a half a step – you never see Curry do this.  He is also a good help defender. 


Curry gets into trouble when he tries to do too much.  He is in foul trouble frequently – a lot of the time that can be avoided if he reins it in after getting his first foul.  Obviously he’s a rookie, so he will probably improve there.  Also, in this game, he got burned by Calderon on several occasions.  Going under the screens gave Calderon open looks, and he made Curry pay.  Still, overall he had a very good defensive game.




Monta Ellis (+3)


            Ellis is even better than Curry at stealing the ball (you already know this), but Ellis tends to fall asleep off the ball.  Derozan burned him a couple of times because of this.  Also, (not his fault), Ellis was posted up several times by bigger defenders.  That’s the by-product of playing the two guard at 6-3.  Overall, he had an average game.



CJ Watson (+3)


            Watson played fourteen minutes, but he managed to get a steal in that timeframe.  His only “mistake” was a shooting foul on Bargnani.


Anthony Morrow (+1)


            I actually charted several Warrior games months ago, and I found Morrow to be a mediocre defender.  He seems to be doing better now.  He is contesting more shots, and he’s more active.  Of course, when you have to guard the opposing teams center for a stretch, your overall score won’t look too good.




Corey Maggette (-1)



            Again, he was playing out of position, but he did okay against the bigs of Toronto. 



Anthony Tolliver (-4)


            He collected two steals and forced a turnover, but he had to guard Bosh for a lot of the game.  Also, Tolliver got docked for points when a guard scored out of a double team on Bosh (when he was defending).



Chris Hunter (-4)


            Another bad score for an outmanned Warrior.  I actually expected his score to be worse. 






Reggie Williams (-6)



            He was used up early by Amir Johnson. 




SO there you have it – let me know what you think.  If there is enough interest – I will score the Lakers game from Monday night and a few others coming up this week (I am a teacher out on spring break).  If there is no interest, I understand. 




This FanPost is a submission from a member of the mighty Golden State of Mind community. While we're all here to throw up that W, these words do not necessarily reflect the views of the GSoM Crew. Still, chances are the preceding post is Unstoppable Baby!

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