Simple Stats: How's the Defense after Game 4?

Sorry about the hiatus after Game 3. I was too depressed to write.

[Actually, no, I was just busy with work. I had a whole spreadsheet planned for you guys, but...alas...#RealLife.]

So, we won that last one. Close game. A bit more of the feel I had expected from this series. Steph actually, you know, looks like the MVP. Klay gets a few points. Iguodala and Draymond looking like the defensive stars they are. Cavs...Cav'ing. Ha...That looks suspiciously like "caving". I jest!

Getting back to defense, I'm still interested in how this series will play out. I think--in contrast with last year's narrative--that with Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving down, that it wasn't so much that they didn't get a chance to contribute their skills, but rather that the burden on the now shorter roster increases.

If that were true, though, then we'd maybe expect to see Delly and Shump play harder--but for fewer minutes. Which is, at best, an unpleasant thought. With fresher legs, maybe their efficiency stays the same, but they produce more on D? Or, maybe they play extra hard, and their efficiency goes down, but they still produce more? Or maybe they just produce less overall, and--WAIT. #LessGuessingMoreNumbers

Here's how everyone looks after 4 games. Quick reminder: "Work Rating" is basically how many defensive events they helped create, normalized, then scaled by DFGD% (def. FG. denied):

2016 Finals Work Rating

And here's their efficiency after 4 games. I've changed how I compute this. It's simpler now, with a more straightforward interpretation: it's just the "Work Rating", divided by "work done" (that whole mass * avg. speed on D * distance):

2016 Finals Work Efficiency

Any quick takeaways from the rating?

  • "BDD" could also Big D Draymond. Oh wait...
  • Kevin Love!? I'm still trying to understand what that tells us. I guess the simplest way to explain it might be that there are "empty rebounds". But, Steph gets rebounds. So if they count for Curry, they need to count for Love.
  • Andre & Klay. That makes sense. They work really hard. And their line produces a lot on D.
  • Tristan Thompson. That's not surprising. He's a monster on the boards, and his rank passes the eye-test.
  • LeBron James. The only thing surprising is that he's not higher.
  • Andrew Bogut and Harrison Barnes. Not great...
  • Matthew Dellavedova. I guess he disappeared...

How about the efficiency?

  • Dray, Leandro Barbosa, Andre, Liv. Nice.
  • K.Love. Still looking okay.
  • Channing Frye. SSS, but looks good. Especially given his offensive performance in the playoffs, not totally sure why he isn't getting more playing time.
  • Klay. Bogues. Nice.
  • TT, Richard Jefferson, LBJ. Just a bit above average.

2015 Context

How does everyone fare compared to last year? This is probably the biggest question, because if LBJ and Delly (for example) were out of gas by Game 4, then we know they're potentially on pace to be equally fatigued.

2016-2015 % Change Work D

Sorry about the upside-down table. The bottom is better, because it means that this person is doing much less work this year. The top is bad; they're working harder. Turns out, most of the team is working much less hard (on average). Part of it, I imagine, is that no one--up to now, has been facing elimination. Obviously, the next few games will (or might) tell a different story. (An alternative interpretation might be that with basically the same roster, everyone is older. Historical trends might be interesting. And, after S.Dot, there's a very steep gain in "energy conserved".

Lastly, let's compare efficiency:

2016-2015 Delta Work Efficiency

So, Liv, Klay, Dray, and Andre are more efficient than last year. That prob passes the eye test. James Jones is suffering from SSS. Barnes is a bit less efficient, but marginally less so. Bron, Kyrie, TT, are awful, compared to last year. So are Bogut, Ezeli, Blur, and Speights. Curry is the worst Dub. J.R. Smith is the only one performing at approximately the same efficiency.

I think the data is basically telling us what we can see by eye, that the Cav's defense isn't as good as OKC. I can see it now...The next spreadsheet should probably show us how OKC did in the last series.

Finally, at this pace, I think the Cavs will tucker themselves out.

Dubs in 5, closing-out at home, baby!

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!