The marathon that is the NBA season has drawn to a close, and I think a retrospective is in order. I'm going to go in alphabetical order for this one because I've left the power ranking game behind. As always, I'll do my best to answer any questions you may have in the comments. Let's get to it.
The season ended on a high note for Cole as he posted back-to-back career high double-doubles against playoff teams (I was getting Kings deja vu watching those games) for the Knicks once the incompetent Mike Woodson stumbled into giving him decent minutes. It'd be one thing if the Knicks had been healthy all season, but half of the time they were completely bereft of big men and still Aldrich hardly made if off of the bench, this despite leading the NBA in Block%, blocking 8.1% of opponent 2-point attempts when he was on the floor. For reference, Anthony Davis and Serge Ibaka rejected 6.7%. Cole also had a sterling True Shooting% of 62% and a total rebound percentage of 33.8% which was good for 2nd in the league, as well as a Win Shares per-48 minutes number that was top-25 in the league... Clearly there's a small sample size warning as Cole only saw 330 minutes, but the ineptitude of the Knicks deprived us of more reliable numbers, and I'm not going to not show you fun things simply because the Knicks are dumb.
And since I know you missed it: http://gfycat.com/AdoredDirtyDipper
An all-around disappointing season for Shady as he played more of a perimeter role for a Nuggets squad that was often directionless after their coach, team, and front-office was torn asunder last offseason. It didn't help anything statistically that Arthur was relegated to shooting almost exclusively midrange looks that are inherently inefficient, but you just have to convert mpre than 40% from the field if you're going to be a credit to your team. On a brighter note, Darrell was able to incorporate a 3-point shot into his game and put it in at a 37.5% clip, so perhaps the season wasn't a total loss...
Mario has had a very solid season in which he scored the most points in a season since his rookie year, shot 38.5% from 3, had a career-high FG% at 45.4% and a career high Assist% at 24.3%. Chalmers was also 5th on the heat in Win Shares with 4.8 compared to Wade's 5.5 and Ray Allen's 4.1. Of course none of that really matters all that much because what his season will ultimately be judged on is how he performs in the playoffs as the Heat attempt to make it a threepeat. (Previous threepeat seasons included for context.)
Long has it been known that Nick Collison was the king of plus-minus stats (and that Fetch hates +/-), but a week or so ago ESPN came out with a new +/- stat that adjusts for far more than the standard version. I'm not going to get into all of the ways it differs and the statistical modifications, if you'd like to know that search up real plus minus on your own time. Regardless, I was intrigued to see where Nick would end up in the new modified version, and it was more awesome than I could have hoped for. Collison comes in 5th in the new metric, bracketed by Kevin Durant and Steph Curry, not bad... This isn't to say that Nick is "better" than those below him, by any means, but it does show that the impact that he makes for the Thunder, who clinched the Western Conference 2-seed on Wednesday, is huge on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball, even with his limited minutes and usage.
I'm just going to put some of Drew's stats out here and keep the commentary to a minimum.
55.6% from the field. 41.2% from three. 88.9% from the line. A Turnover% below 10. A PER of 18.4. Last but not least is 1.4 total Win Shares in just 22 games at 18 minutes per game. Just kidding, that's not last because look at those Ortg and Drtg stats *sheds a single tear at the sight of that differential*.
I look forward to seeing what Gooden and the Wizards can do against Chicago.
X only played half of the season this year as he struggled with injury and the Lakers struggled with just about everything. That said, there were a number of positives to be gleaned from the season for Henry as he nearly doubled his career scoring, and showed a real knack for getting to the line (4.1 FTA per game), though what happened afterwards wasn't always pretty (65.5 FT%). As we all know YGTMYFTs. It will be interesting to see what the future holds for Xavier as I believe his deal with the Lakers was of the one-year variety, and while he has shown that he can be a valuable contributor to an NBA squad and is only 23 years old, he has dealt with nearly constant injury issues...
I don't know what to say about Kirk's season other than that it wasn't all that different from every other season... He assisted, he shot 35ish% from 3, he shot 42% from 2, and he kept the turnovers down as he contributed 29 minutes per game grinding it out with the Bulls. He is who we thought he was, and he's probably playing a few too many minutes, though everyone seems to play too many minutes for Tom Thibodeau, but the Bulls are in the playoffs yet again, so who am I to doubt?
Ben's numbers are going to look nasty when you consider his struggles in the early season, so rather than dwell on them I'm going to focus on his recent improvement, like Wednesday's career-high 31 point outing on 9-20 shooting with 10-15 FTs. It was a bit better than that statline looks as well, as he ended up hoisting a number of off-balance shots in the last minute or two to try to claw back into it against the Suns, he looked a bit tired by that point, and I attribute his FT line performance late to that as he missed 3 FTs in the closing minutes. That game followed a 19 point performance on 11 shots and a 14 point outing on just 7, so it looks as if things may be starting to click for BMac. Keep your fingers crossed.
Here are the stats for the last 12 games of the season that paint a rosier picture...
While his improvement may not be as extreme as his brother's, Marcus' ability has been very impressive. Career highs in 2pt FG% (48.3), 3pt FG% (38.1), FT% (76.1), rebounding (3.9), assists (1.1), steals (.9), minutes (22), and points (9.7) marked a banner year for the shorter of the Morrii. I wouldn't be at all surprised to see an increased role for Marcus next year, though as a tandem off of the bench the Twins were a force to be reckoned with. Next year will be the last season of the Morrii's rookie contracts, and if they keep up this level of play they may be in for quite the payday. What the Suns do about their impending (restricted) free agency will be interesting to watch for as you can tell Marcus and Markieff love playing together and have elevated their respective games alongside one-another, and could be separated if they don't sign extensions...
Markieff has exceeded all expectations this season as he has increased his minutes played, usage, and efficiency while maintaining his contributions in other areas of the stat sheet. He has continued to cut down on outside shots and do work down in the post as well as in the midrange, and has drawn fouls at nearly double the clip that he had prior to this season (while converting about 80% of his foul shots). The Suns were a casualty of the Western Conference meat grinder and have one of the highest win totals of a non-playoff team in NBA history, which is a real bummer as the Suns were a blast to watch all year long. Whether missing out on the playoffs will affect Markieff's 6th Man of the Year candidacy is yet to be seen, but he should be in the thick of it as his 6.4 Win Shares are tops among players with fewer than 50 starts, a completely arbitrary distinction, but it gives a glimpse of how good he has been all year long despite coming exclusively off of the bench.
Fewer minutes and less usage with maintained or improved efficiency was the story of the season for PP. He shot 50.7% from two and 37.3% from deep with an 82.6% conversion rate from the line in 28 minutes per game. Pierce improved his free throw rate as well after two down years to near-prime levels. At age 36 it seems that Paul is still able to maintain his role as a valuable contributor on a playoff squad, with his other stats staying near career norms, even with all of the high-usage players Brooklyn has. Pierce and the Nets match up against the 3-seed Raptors in the first round. Oh, and Pierce joined the 25,000 point club last week and is 18th in all-time scoring.
It was a turbulent season for TRob as his minutes waxed and waned in stretches for much of the year and his overall counting stats were nearly identical to last season. However when you look a bit deeper it's plain to see that Robinson improved his game in multiple areas as his FG% improved 5 points from 43% to 48.1%, his turnover rate dropped 5%, his Total Rebounding % improved by nearly 2 points and is top-20 in the league. All this with a usage slightly higher than his rookie year. Even with these improvements, the downside of playing on a competitive playoff squad showed itself as Robinson registered 12 minutes per game where on a team in the Eastern Conference or a tanking group he may have played double that or more. That said, I like where Thomas is at, the Blazers are a lot of fun and I would suggest that you check them out in the Playoffs this week against the Houston Rockets where TRob may get a small measure of revenge against a team that traded him.
Also, this happened last week. The body control. The persistence. The skill. Magnificent.
Here are Robinson's Per Game numbers followed by his Per 36 Minutes numbers.
What 2013-2014 season? You didn't watch and I think the Utah Jazz would prefer that you forget that it happened at all. Knee injuries are dumb.
You all know how highly I think of Jeff Withey and his ability to be a valuable NBA player, but he's our last player to profile, so I'm gonna bash you over the head with it yet again. Great shooting, great FT rate, solid Win Shares, good block %s, and not a liability from the line (71.2%). His PER might not be spectacular, but that's almost completely a product of his usage as the formula rewards volume shooters. Oh, and Jeff Withey is somewhere between Roy Hibbert and Serge Ibaka when it comes to rim defense... All of this is to say that the Pelicans shouldn't be playing Greg Stiemsma alongside Anthony Davis next year when they could have an all-world rim defense duo, with both on rookie contracts to boot.