News Radio WOAI KTKR AM Sports
SpursReport.com
  #1  
Old 02-26-07, 12:01 AM
elchiv's Avatar
SpursReport Team Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: SATX
Posts: 548
Numbers show Spurs are No. 1

Numbers show Spurs are No. 1by: John Hollinger
posted: Sunday, February 25, 2007 | Feedback | Print Entry
filed under: San Antonio Spurs

One of the nice things about the blog is it gives me a chance to respond to the topics that are filling up my inbox.

And at the moment, the top question by an overwhelming margin is, to paraphrase, "How the @#%$ are the Spurs ranked No. 1 in the Hollinger Power Rankings?"

At first glance, I understand how this seems totally illogical. San Antonio has lost twice as many games as Dallas, for crying out loud, and the Mavs are currently riding a 11-game winning streak -- their third double-digit win streak this year. They're 46-5 since an 0-4 start and haven't lost consecutive games in more than three months.

But the key word here is "first glance." One of the biggest reasons I created this ranking is to force people to look beyond the superficial first impression. In this case, it involves looking past win-loss record at the elements that go into it.

On its face this sounds absurd, I realize -- isn't winning the whole point? But as I've been trying to beat into people's heads over and over again, point differential is a better indicator of future success than win-loss record. In other words, if you were trying to pick a game between the Mavs and Spurs tomorrow, you'd be better off ignoring the standings at looking just at point differential.

And if you took that route, you'd be surprised to learn that San Antonio, not Dallas, has the best point differential in the league, at +7.9 points per game. (Actually, Dallas is third at +7.7 -- Phoenix also noses in ahead of them). That difference looms even larger once you consider only two teams have played more road games than the Spurs' 30 -- so the Spurs should be able to improve their mark during a home-laden final two months.

Additionally, the Spurs don't seem like they're losing any steam. In the last three weeks they've won games by 27, 25, and 31, helping contribute to their strong victory margin in recent play -- another major determinant in the Hollinger rankings.

Because of the Spurs' place in the standings, this has been perhaps the single biggest misunderstanding of the current season. Columnists are looking at the Spurs' won-loss record and falling all over themselves to write "What's Wrong with the Spurs?" columns.

Reality check: San Antonio won a team-record 63 games a year ago with a point differential of +6.8. This year they're more than a point per game better (They need to be, too: Those 63 wins didn't do them any good in the playoffs); they just haven't been as fortunate in close games (more on that in a minute).

And while the Spurs are disappointed because they're "only" third in Defensive Efficiency instead of their usual perch at No. 1 (they've been there five of the past six seasons), this is the best offensive team of the Popovich Era. San Antonio ranks sixth in the league in Offensive Efficiency, just 2.8 points per 100 possessions behind the Mavs. With their defensive advantage being as big as it is (3.0 points per 100 trips), San Antonio is still well equipped to rule the West.

By the way -- they're doing this while playing their scrubs for much of the game. No Spur is playing more than 35 minutes per game; Tim Duncan leads the team at 34.6. Tony Parker is only playing 33.0 minutes, Manu Ginobili a measly 27.8. No team is playing their starters less, but I'm going to go out on a limb and say that the Spurs' big three will see a lot more action during the playoffs, making San Anotnio even tougher.

In other words, not only is there nothing "wrong" with the Spurs, this actually might be San Antonio's best team since their championship squad in 1999. The Spurs' problem isn't age or a lack of fire or any of the other ideas trotted out in recent weeks. It's that they're 5-10 in games decided by five points or less, while the Mavs are 12-2. That's the main reason the teams are 8 1/2 games apart in the standings, not any difference in the quality of their play.

I realize this is hard to swallow when one looks at the standings, but that's the whole point here -- I'm trying to get you to look beyond them. Once you do, it immediately becomes apparent that the Spurs are a major threat to win the championship, and that they're No. 1 in the rankings because, as heretical as this may sound, they're playing better than everyone else right now. Dallas included.


*********

One other quick note before signing off: In Friday's trade column I mentioned that a Cleveland offer of Ira Newble, a draft pick and cash might have been enough to get Chucky Atkins. That's not exactly true -- Newble has a player option for next year that he'd certainly exercise, so Memphis presumably would have turned it down. The Cavs still could have gotten something done, but would have had to trade the expiring deals of Scot Pollard and Dwayne Jones instead.


http://insider.espn.go.com/espn/blog...hollinger_john
Digg this Post!Add Post to del.icio.usBookmark Post in TechnoratiFurl this Post!
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 02-26-07, 12:14 AM
SpurInDallas's Avatar
SpursReport Team Bench
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 1,883

Interesting take. Maybe now everyone will quit b*tching because they're ranked # 1.
Digg this Post!Add Post to del.icio.usBookmark Post in TechnoratiFurl this Post!
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 02-26-07, 12:16 AM
SPURSFAN317's Avatar
SpursReport Team Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: San Antonio
Posts: 737

I normally don't agree with Hollinger, but he makes great points in the post. The Spurs are gonna be dangerous come playoff time because you know Pop's gonna play the BIG 3 for more then 35 minutes a game.
Digg this Post!Add Post to del.icio.usBookmark Post in TechnoratiFurl this Post!
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 02-26-07, 12:18 AM
SpurInDallas's Avatar
SpursReport Team Bench
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 1,883

Quote:
Originally Posted by SPURSFAN317 View Post
I normally don't agree with Hollinger, but he makes great points in the post. The Spurs are gonna be dangerous come playoff time because you know Pop's gonna play the BIG 3 for more then 35 minutes a game.
Agree. Remember how well an "injured" Tim Duncan played in that series against Dallas last year?
Digg this Post!Add Post to del.icio.usBookmark Post in TechnoratiFurl this Post!
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 02-26-07, 12:23 AM
jayunit's Avatar
SpursReport Rookie
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 33
Not buying it

Ok, time to revisit reality. Call me a pragmatist, but don't great teams find ways to win close games? So if the Spurs repeatedly lose close games, and Dallas continues to win them, doesn't that mean that DAllas is the better team? For example, the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls - a great team - are remembered for their remarkable 72-10 regular season record, and not the number of points by which they won. It's all about the 'W's, man.

Last edited by jayunit; 02-26-07 at 12:34 AM.
Digg this Post!Add Post to del.icio.usBookmark Post in TechnoratiFurl this Post!
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 02-26-07, 12:26 AM
bnwhuxley's Avatar
SpursReport Team Captain
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Singapore
Posts: 7,593

It all depends on how you see "games won or lost by 5 points or less".

If you think close games are largely decided by luck, then it's all cool.

If you think they are decided by "clutchness", "preparation", "performance under pressure", "end of game defense" and all that crap, then it's all sh*t.

I think luck certainly has some play, but all that crap matters more. So no, I don't think the Spurs have been better than the Mavs. But we'll see come playoff time.

One stat I would dearly like to see is this - minutes for the Big 3 in those "5pts or less" games.
Digg this Post!Add Post to del.icio.usBookmark Post in TechnoratiFurl this Post!
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 02-26-07, 12:26 AM
Rzarector7's Avatar
Dr. Doom!!!
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: VA
Posts: 5,577

GO SPURSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!! THEY are still a problem IMO.
__________________
Win or lose this is a game -
You could let it pick your brain for weeks and months, just replay it over and over, won't do you any good at all. When someone loses a loved one and they do that it only brings forth anguish. I feel acceptance is sometimes the key, it happened, now you have to react to it. Giving up is not an option.
Digg this Post!Add Post to del.icio.usBookmark Post in TechnoratiFurl this Post!
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 02-26-07, 12:47 AM
Fiallo1984's Avatar
SpursReport Team Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: San Antonio but Med School in Dallas
Posts: 922

I find it amusing that people fall into fallacies of belief in the hot hand or clutch performance etc. Statistical analysis of any of those supposed keys to success have consistently shown that the likelihood of hitting a shot is independent of the previous shot. For similar reasons, I think that execution is essential in enabling a player to get in the best position to score but that their subsequent success is at least in part based on chance. Thus, chance becomes a factor in close games and those close game records deserve to be treated as random walk problems.

Also, say what you will about the margin of victory statistics but the 95-96 Bulls averaged a margin of victory of approximately 13 ppg which is almost double that of any team this season which would suggest that maybe Hollinger has a bit of a point.

Last edited by Fiallo1984; 02-26-07 at 12:57 AM.
Digg this Post!Add Post to del.icio.usBookmark Post in TechnoratiFurl this Post!
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 02-26-07, 12:49 AM
Dark Deity's Avatar
SpursReport Team Bench
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: SA
Posts: 2,131

Some people have been wrong about the Spurs when they see their record and jump the gun. And here Hollinger jumps the gun by ignoring the Spurs record. The Spurs aren't washed up like some articles say but this is definatly not the best team since 1999. Not even close.
__________________
Bah.
Digg this Post!Add Post to del.icio.usBookmark Post in TechnoratiFurl this Post!
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 02-26-07, 01:31 AM
ro_50's Avatar
SpursReport Team Veteran
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Somewhere in Jersey
Posts: 5,729

Hollinger makes some decent points in his article but he loses me with the assertion that the Spurs are a No. 1 team in ANY power rankings. It's because the Spurs haven't been able to win the close games, unlike the Mavs, who have and the LAMEST, to suggest this is the best Spurs team since the 99 team that won it all.

I swear, where does ESPN gets these deviants to write for them.

This is why I hardly read NBA articles on ESPN.
Digg this Post!Add Post to del.icio.usBookmark Post in TechnoratiFurl this Post!
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 02-26-07, 01:34 AM
Jason R's Avatar
SpursReport Team Captain
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: San Antonio
Posts: 6,768

A lot of insults, without much actual response.
Digg this Post!Add Post to del.icio.usBookmark Post in TechnoratiFurl this Post!
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 02-26-07, 01:57 AM
elchiv's Avatar
SpursReport Team Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: SATX
Posts: 548

The only thing I really want to see the Spurs improve on is their rebounding which I think has lost them more games than anything else this season...and last season as well.
Digg this Post!Add Post to del.icio.usBookmark Post in TechnoratiFurl this Post!
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 02-26-07, 02:12 AM
pollackj's Avatar
SpursReport Team Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Bethlehem, Palestine
Posts: 380

As has been pointed out on these and other message boards countless times. When looking at teams' performances in close games from year to year there is rarely a correlation between and . This is true even when most of the players, coaches, and playing styles are the same. This is true across the sporting world (well at least in football, basketball, baseball, and rugby).

Therefore, the argument that close games come down to clutchness, performance under pressure, end of game defense, etc really is hard to make. It makes sense on its face, but looking at what happens in close games, its hard to swallow.

By the way, the one thing we could argue about is what constitutes a "close game" 5 pts seems like a large number, perhaps 3 or 2 would be a better figure to use for "close games." Games that are decided by one possession may be more likely to be decided by luck than are games that are decided by two possessions. I'll leave that question to a better person than I.
__________________
Go Spurs Go, Jason

Hey Crawford! This is for you!!

Digg this Post!Add Post to del.icio.usBookmark Post in TechnoratiFurl this Post!
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 02-26-07, 02:16 AM
Rzarector7's Avatar
Dr. Doom!!!
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: VA
Posts: 5,577

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dark Deity View Post
Some people have been wrong about the Spurs when they see their record and jump the gun. And here Hollinger jumps the gun by ignoring the Spurs record. The Spurs aren't washed up like some articles say but this is definatly not the best team since 1999. Not even close.
I think the 03 team was their best overall, mad depth and could play any game you threw at them...... Thats just me though.

Tony Speedy Kerr
Jax Manu Smith
Bowen Ferry
Duncan Rose
D Rob Willis


That was a CRAZY TEAM, so much talent on it. Youth mixed with vets and clutch players.
__________________
Win or lose this is a game -
You could let it pick your brain for weeks and months, just replay it over and over, won't do you any good at all. When someone loses a loved one and they do that it only brings forth anguish. I feel acceptance is sometimes the key, it happened, now you have to react to it. Giving up is not an option.
Digg this Post!Add Post to del.icio.usBookmark Post in TechnoratiFurl this Post!
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 02-26-07, 02:23 AM
miguelito's Avatar
SpursReport Team Bench
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 2,464

I agree with Elchiv and Theman21 - we lost close games this year because our defense & rebounding took a while to come around, and because Manu (our closer) wasn't himself until fairly recently.

Well, we still need our rebounding to improve, and it would be nice if Elson turned in a few more double digit rebound nights. But our D is looking better than it has all year, as is our 48-minute consistency.

But since we're healthy and Manu has been on a roll, our team's chances in the playoffs look much better.

And not to be Debbie Downer, but I think the Spurs lose some close games because Pop isn't the greatest in-game coach in the world. His substituion patterns are sometimes atrocious, and he seems to get outcoached in close games a bit too often for my taste. Oftentimes it's riding a dead horse like Finley a bit too long or too hard, and it bites us in the end.
Digg this Post!Add Post to del.icio.usBookmark Post in TechnoratiFurl this Post!
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 02-26-07, 02:53 AM
BobEX's Avatar
SpursReport Team Member
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 379

Quote:
In other words, not only is there nothing "wrong" with the Spurs, this actually might be San Antonio's best team since their championship squad in 1999. The Spurs' problem isn't age or a lack of fire or any of the other ideas trotted out in recent weeks. It's that they're 5-10 in games decided by five points or less, while the Mavs are 12-2. That's the main reason the teams are 8 1/2 games apart in the standings, not any difference in the quality of their play.
I would say that the Spurs' 5-10 record in those close games versus Dallas' 12-2 record has everything to do with a "difference in the quality of their play." The Spurs are playing better these days and have had some blowouts against some bad teams. That's great. But the team with all the wins and the streaks is Dallas. Dallas deserves to be considered the #1 team in the league for now.
Digg this Post!Add Post to del.icio.usBookmark Post in TechnoratiFurl this Post!
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 02-26-07, 05:12 AM
Cruzzer's Avatar
SpursReport Team Member
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Sydney, Australia
Posts: 801

Close games are decided by the refs. The refs would rather be with Dallas than with the Spurs.
__________________
"Please. No way. The best defender I've ever played is Bruce Bowen. It's not even close." - Kobe Bryant
Digg this Post!Add Post to del.icio.usBookmark Post in TechnoratiFurl this Post!
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 02-26-07, 05:40 AM
dunkman's Avatar
SpursReport Team Bench
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 2,183

The Spurs have lost all those close games because most of them ware not at home, the Spurs clutch players (Manu, Duncan and Horry) could play better and, finally, the defense is not what it used to be in those moments. Also, Pop may be saving his best plays for the PO's.
Digg this Post!Add Post to del.icio.usBookmark Post in TechnoratiFurl this Post!
Reply With Quote
  #19  
Old 02-26-07, 09:01 AM
Max Powers's Avatar
Banned
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Indiana
Posts: 37

The Spurs record is a little misleading and Hollinger's rankings reflect that. I don't think the Spurs are the best team right now in the league, but in a seven game series I like their chances against anybody, especially since they are starting to play a little more consistently and Manu brings that punch off the bench that the Spurs really need.

The Big 3 are not playing loads of minutes either, which will change come playoff time. The Spurs are on course to be in good position come playoff time, so if it doesn't come with the best record who cares, the best record in the west and east didn't gurantee anybody anything and it won't this year either.
Digg this Post!Add Post to del.icio.usBookmark Post in TechnoratiFurl this Post!
Reply With Quote
  #20  
Old 02-26-07, 10:33 AM
tim2150's Avatar
SpursReport Rookie
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 187

i think hollinger makes a good point, in that he explains why he chose the spurs as #1. while my heart wants to say yes, we're ready to take the championship, my mind says to see how it all goes down these final few months. i think the last game with dallas will be a good test. once again i hope for all the best.
Digg this Post!Add Post to del.icio.usBookmark Post in TechnoratiFurl this Post!
Reply With Quote
  #21  
Old 02-26-07, 11:00 AM
old timer's Avatar
The Eternal Optimist
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: caldwell, tx
Posts: 2,155

Like it or not, we are what we are. The injuries, though apparently not ificant at the time, mayhave had enough effect to account fr a about 4 or 5 of the losse, even a couple gainst Dallas heads up. Tose same injuries and increased time for different people could turn out be disguised blessings. Look at Bonner rounding back into shape and Ellison getting back into the flow. Is it a coincidence that with those two Horry's time is down and with good legs under him, he is playing better--along with the change in accuracy since New Year's with the ball change? All intangibles and perhaps related to the delicacy and fragility of this team. All things concerned, when all the parts are healthy, this is as good a team as any since 1999 as Holiger says, but because of the need for the "when they are all healthy caveat" this team is more shaky than the 2003 team, which by the way struggled early and came on late. I will still take my chances on this one and the fact that this is an odd year. Again, I say we may even see some heightened front office Scola this summer, given his strengths and our weaknesses as they have been exposed this year. I say this more because of what else is available that fits the needs and profile of the Spurs as an organization.
Digg this Post!Add Post to del.icio.usBookmark Post in TechnoratiFurl this Post!
Reply With Quote
  #22  
Old 02-26-07, 11:08 AM
elchiv's Avatar
SpursReport Team Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: SATX
Posts: 548

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cruzzer View Post
Close games are decided by the refs. The refs would rather be with Dallas than with the Spurs.
They must like the Dallas traffic.
Digg this Post!Add Post to del.icio.usBookmark Post in TechnoratiFurl this Post!
Reply With Quote
  #23  
Old 02-26-07, 11:15 AM
KAD's Avatar
KAD KAD is offline
SpursReport Team Captain
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Bangalore - Silicon Valley East - Ex hyderabd, Cupertino/CA & Campinas Brazil, Houston and SanAntonio
Posts: 7,331

he makes many greta points and hard to disagree with.
Digg this Post!Add Post to del.icio.usBookmark Post in TechnoratiFurl this Post!
Reply With Quote
  #24  
Old 02-26-07, 11:28 AM
elchiv's Avatar
SpursReport Team Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: SATX
Posts: 548

I agree that we have played more raod games but what has hurt us with respect to our record is the amount of losses accrued at home. Especially early on when we lost to teams like the Cavs and Bobcats. I won't take us playing more road games as an excuse because we have played better on the road than at home. This is a good thing because of our crappy play at home we won't get home court advantage passed the first round.
Digg this Post!Add Post to del.icio.usBookmark Post in TechnoratiFurl this Post!
Reply With Quote
  #25  
Old 02-26-07, 11:42 AM
Max Powers's Avatar
Banned
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Indiana
Posts: 37

I also think their defense is probably the worst it has been in the Duncan era. Blake mentioned that their are not enough hard fouls. When the Spurs hear a whistle they stop playing. If you know you are going to foul somebody make sure they don't make the shot.

The Spurs offense can get stagnant from time to time especially when 2 of the big 3 are resting, but overall this group can score if it has too.
Digg this Post!Add Post to del.icio.usBookmark Post in TechnoratiFurl this Post!
Reply With Quote
  #26  
Old 02-26-07, 02:12 PM
youngfritzel's Avatar
SpursReport Team Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: San Antone
Posts: 792

Quote:
Originally Posted by miguelito View Post
And not to be Debbie Downer, but I think the Spurs lose some close games because Pop isn't the greatest in-game coach in the world. His substituion patterns are sometimes atrocious, and he seems to get outcoached in close games a bit too often for my taste. Oftentimes it's riding a dead horse like Finley a bit too long or too hard, and it bites us in the end.
True. True. The substitutions are peculiar sometimes. I think Pop wants every combination on the floor to work, and he stubbornly sticks to that substitute player, while the starting studs sit on the bench. I know he is trying to get them rest, but I think he often gives players a breather at the cost of taking them out of their rhythm.
__________________
Dick Bavetta sucks.
Digg this Post!Add Post to del.icio.usBookmark Post in TechnoratiFurl this Post!
Reply With Quote
  #27  
Old 02-26-07, 06:40 PM
Rzarector7's Avatar
Dr. Doom!!!
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: VA
Posts: 5,577

Quote:
Originally Posted by miguelito View Post
but I think the Spurs lose some close games because Pop isn't the greatest in-game coach in the world. His substituion patterns are sometimes atrocious, and he seems to get outcoached in close games a bit too often for my taste. Oftentimes it's riding a dead horse like Finley a bit too long or too hard, and it bites us in .
Very true though. I had to laugh when you said atrocious, they are at times mind boggling to all of us.

Quote:
Originally Posted by youngfritzel View Post
True. True. The substitutions are peculiar sometimes. I think Pop wants every combination on the floor to work, and he stubbornly sticks to that substitute player, while the starting studs sit on the bench. I know he is trying to get them rest, but I think he often gives players a breather at the cost of taking them out of their rhythm.
Right, I have seen Manu get 8 straight and the Spurs rolling in a game, then you look and Barry is in there. Instead of riding the hot had at times he does mind boggling subs that piss us fans off and probably the team too. He makes them at the weirdest times.

Quote:
Originally Posted by theman21 View Post
Honestly I don't know what you guys are watching, but the Spurs ARE indeed playing the best basketball RIGHT NOW! This is the best I've seen their defense look since the '03 team(although i'd like to see it more consistently before making such a bold statement final ).

.
Their Defense was at 84.9 or so ppg in 04, tied Detroit for the best defensive team ever as far as PPG goes. In 04 as well, you think their defense now is the best since the 03 team when 05 their D was better than 03 overall too? 03 is not even their best D team, and this years team is not better than the 04-05 team defensively, not right now anyways through the course of the year. This years D team to me is the worst in a while IMO so far, it could and has gotten better lately, but overall all year long it's the worst one I have seen.
__________________
Win or lose this is a game -
You could let it pick your brain for weeks and months, just replay it over and over, won't do you any good at all. When someone loses a loved one and they do that it only brings forth anguish. I feel acceptance is sometimes the key, it happened, now you have to react to it. Giving up is not an option.

Last edited by Rzarector7; 02-26-07 at 06:47 PM.
Digg this Post!Add Post to del.icio.usBookmark Post in TechnoratiFurl this Post!
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 02:50 AM.


Powered by vBulletin Version 3.7.4 Copyright © 2000-2008 Jelsoft Enterprises Limited.

Content Relevant URLs by vBSEO 3.2.0