Friday, April 18, 2014

New brooms try to avoid sweeps - trades and play-off implications

The regular season is over folks! Those 82 games rushed by like Goran Dragic on a fast break. And as the Play-Offs will start tomorrow, I will try to use those 82 games to shine a spotlight onto those players that changed their team during the season. Especially with regard to Play-Off implications.
Looking only at players that played at least 12 games for both of their teams and at least 12 minutes per game, I had 23 players that fulfilled this criteria. Of those 23 players, the trade of 22 somehow were at some point involved with Play-Off teams - and number 23 is Spencer Hawes. I stripped the following graphics off most of those players that are now playing for lottery teams (e.g. Jan Vesely). Off players whose season is ended by now, I only kept Rudy Gay, Spencer Hawes and Luol Deng - I thought their numbers may be interesting for the general fan. The numbers that players put up for their Play-Off bound team are in red. So, I hope you will enjoy the following figures and thoughts:

1. General playing and starting time of players
  • Courtney Lee has by far the most increased role of all traded players
  • Otherwise only Gary Neal and Caron Butler have increased minutes for their new teams
  • Several players (namely Turner, Davis, Blake and Crawford) went from starter on a bad team to bench player on a Top 10 team - the later two now being the backup Guards for Golden State
  • A general trend: Teams that are already good picking up commodities that they hope a) do not mess up their chemistry b) could help them at the right time
  • Another general trend: Several players are veteran point guards (Vasquez, Miller, Ridnour & Blake) that are now backing up All-Star level point guards (I know, it's a bit of a stretch for Kemba Walker, but he's having a good season...)
  • Toronto got THREE important rotation players out of a trade that looked like a salary dump (Masai Ujiri should become the next Mayor of Toronto)
  • Two of the players we thought might have an impact for a contender are Danny Granger and Glen 'Big Baby' Davis. The first had a hamstring injury (expected to be back on Sunday) and the second had 'a bit of a run-in with coach Doc Rivers Saturday, and it ended with his banishment to the locker room...' (source CBS sports). At least Big Baby didn't throw any keyboards this time.
2. General changes in performance (Usage percentage estimates the number of offensive plays a player is involved in. And PER - well, read the wiki page)

  •  biggest increases in PER: Marcus Thornton (shooting percentage is way up), Patrick Patterson (shooting percentage is way up) and Gary Neal (shooting perc... well, you get the idea). If you include Caron Butler, it seems that leaving Sacramento and Milwaukee automatically increases your shooting percentage - but as you can see with Rudy Gay, it sometimes works the other way around as well
  • Speaking of Rudy Gay: If you merge Vasquez, Patterson and Salmons together (Pattalmsquez), you Toronto has more points per 36 minutes on a higher shooting percentage - I know, it's not very scientific, but it should be fun to say Pattalmsquez...
  • I guess Indiana was hoping that a decreased usage would increase Evan Turners efficiency - did not work out so far
  • Taking it further: looking at usage and PER, Turner and Danny Granger basically seem to have switched bodies
3. To summarize: Which traded players should have the most influence on the Play-Offs
It is quite possible that Memphis would not have made the Play-Offs without Courtney Lee. So, if they somehow upset Oklahoma, I would give this 'award' to him. And Toronto wouldn't be a three seat without Pattalmsquez (especially not without the Patt and the squez part). Otherwise the clear favorite is Caron 'Tough Juice' Butler, who plays big minutes for a contender.
Dark horses are Danny Granger (if healthy) and Glen Davis (if playing), because they play for another contender. And Marcus Thornton could somehow win a game for Brooklyn.
As always, let me know if I missed something.

Have a nice long week-end and enjoy the games. Play-offs baby!

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