Warriors Offense at the Almost-Quarter Season Mark: Synergy Visualization

dictionary

Warriors have played 15 games. The cake is not fully baked, but it's definitely in the oven at this point. If this season was an episode Iron Chef, would there be time to start from scratch and maybe change up the recipe a bit? Are there some different offensive strategies that might be utilized or implemented by Mark Jackson? Let's take a look at some Synergy stats to see if there are any helpful ideas we can glean.

Here's what I did. I looked up all the Synergy stats for the 11 major players (excluding Tyler) on the roster right now (didn't include Kwame Brown because there's no point in strategizing when a guy is not coming back for the season - or maybe ever). I only counted plays that a player attempted 10 or more times. If you need a refresher on Synergy stats, see here.

Here is a treemap summary of these stats so far in 2012. Recall (or learn for the first time) that the size (area) of a tile is proportional to the number of points scored by that player using that play type, and the color represents the efficiency, in terms of PPP (points per play). The color scale runs from blue to red, with red being higher efficiency. Think blue = ice cold and red = red hot. I'll just point out quickly that PPP accounts for turnovers, too.

If you can't quite see that on your screen, or simply want to see it in more detail, click here. If you want to know the numerical values for each tile (points scored and PPP), you can actually just click on a tile with your mouse. But for those who just want to see a big table, here it is:

SHOT

NAME

PLAYS

PTS

PPP

BALL

Curry

25

24

0.96

BALL

Robinson

41

34

0.83

BALL

Ellis

95

67

0.71

CUT

Biedrins

13

20

1.54

CUT

Lee

40

49

1.23

CUT

McGuire

15

15.00

1

CUT

Ellis

20

18

0.90

CUT

Udoh

11

4

0.36

ISO

Curry

13

17

1.31

ISO

Lee

24

18

0.75

ISO

Rush

15

11

0.73

ISO

Robinson

26

18

0.69

ISO

Ellis

98

66

0.67

ISO

Wright

15

6

0.40

ISO

Thompson

10

2

0.20

MAN

Lee

36

48

1.33

OREB

Lee

27

26

0.96

OREB

Udoh

10

6

0.60

POST

Ellis

35

46

1.31

POST

Udoh

34

36

1.06

POST

Lee

72

53

0.74

SCREEN

Curry

16

15

0.94

SCREEN

Thompson

25

21

0.84

SCREEN

Ellis

20

16

0.80

SPOT

Thompson

33

47

1.42

SPOT

Jenkins

20

26

1.30

SPOT

Rush

55

70

1.27

SPOT

Robinson

21

23

1.10

SPOT

Curry

18

19

1.06

SPOT

Ellis

31

33

1.06

SPOT

Lee

36

34

0.94

SPOT

Wright

57

51

0.89

TRANS

Wright

24

34

1.42

TRANS

Rush

29

39

1.34

TRANS

Lee

16

21

1.31

TRANS

Ellis

43

53

1.23

TRANS

Robinson

21

25

1.19

TRANS

Curry

13

10

0.77

TRANS

Thompson

21

15

0.71

Discussion

As I've said many times here and at my blog, how a team uses spot-up attempts is critical to offensive efficiency. Somewhat surprisingly, our "reddest" (most efficient) spot-up shooters currently are Rush, Thompson, and Jenkins. Wright has been cold most of the season and Lee is not as efficient, simply because he doesn't take any 3-pt shots. I've been a vocal critic of Klay Thompson all season, but I do think that he should be shooting a lot more 3's when he is in the game. If I were coach, my strategy would be to utilize Rush, Klay, and Curry from the 3-pt line until opposing defenses figure out how to stop them. But those three are a major weapon. How many teams have a trio of 3-pt shooters like that? None, as far as I can tell. Let's use them MOAR.

Speaking of things we should use more or less, Ellis in the pick and roll or in isolation is just not that efficient. As I pointed out last season, Curry is actually more efficient in isolation. Yet time and time again, we see coach going to this play with Ellis. I understand that other plays can spring out of isolation or pick and roll, but then, let's see more of those other plays, right? Let's see more 3-pt shots coming from Ellis starting in iso.

In the post, Lee is not the answer. It's telling that Ellis (and even Udoh) are more efficient. Lee is great at cutting to the basket and off the PNR popping or rolling to the basket. But he's not a great post-up threat. That's probably why Jackson seems to be leaning more on Ellis recently (which is not something that good teams will have much problem defending eventually).

One minor area where we seem to be struggling is shooting off screens (lower right corner). Part of that is probably Curry being bothered with his ankle and Klay needs to adjust to the speed of the NBA game.

Going forward, I hope Jackson utilizes the weapons he has on this team. I guess my main question right now is whether he knows what those weapons are.

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