Nov 20 2015

The 2015-2016 NBA Lightweight Report

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This is truly going to be a lightweight report this season. Readership stats will shuffle your priorities, so while the NFL output has been consistent, the NBA work has been on a backburner … except for ClipperBlog, an ESPN TrueHoop site. I’m in my 3rd year there, and I’m listed as an editor this season while I prioritize coordinating ClipperBlogLive.

I remind the people every fall that the NBA season is not like the NFL season:

NBA previewing does not require as much science.  The NFL schedule is a significant variable in a team’s success.  Everyone plays everyone in the NBA, so the best teams win.  Alas, there’s the caveat with the “team” parts of things.  In the NFL, teams (and their coaching staffs) are pretty much set for the season.  In the NBA, things change constantly:  Stars get traded, injuries and transactions can completely remake a team, and coaches and even general managers can lose their job with as little as a bad 16-game streak.  Nobody is safe in the NBA!

I’m also trying to do more work on tape this season:

While I’m leaving things loose to start the year, I have five key dates to reassess where teams are at different points in the season:

  • Full Start of Season (December 2)
  • New Calendar (January 4)
  • All-Star Break/Midseason (February 3)
  • Post-Trade Deadline (March 12)
  • END  (April 13)

Here is the annual explainer for the semi-subjective grades I’ve cobbled together:

For offense, I use “perimeter offense”, “interior offense”, and “control”:

  • Perimeter offense is heavily influenced by perimeter personnel’s ability to drive, draw fouls, and score, as well as the depth and effectiveness of all distance shooters.
  • Interior offense is reserved for post personnel scoring and offensive rebounding.
  • Control refers to the ability of a team’s collective passing and ability to limit turnovers, not limited to just point guard play.

For defense, I use “pressure”, “interior defense”, and “perimeter defense”.

  • Pressure is the team’s ability to force steals and other turnovers.
  • Interior defense refers to the ability of a team’s ability to not only block shots and rebound, but to contain effective bigs before the shot while protecting the rim without fouling.
  • Perimeter defense refers to the ability of a team to defend shooters and penetrators consistently, not simply in the act of gambling.

As introduced in last year’s Lightweight Report: “basketball special teams”, highly influenced by football special teams. I feel it is a good way to evaluate free throw shooting, which is NOT the ability to draw fouls but simply the ability to make free throws (kicking game), fast break (return units), transition defense (coverage), pace (tempo), and depth (personnel). Just like special teams is a factor in football, but not to the level of the offense and defense, special teams in basketball is a factor even though it is not as critical as half-court effectiveness on both ends. I don’t grade coaching and intangibles, but they figure into any head-to-head evaluation.

Check the standings for each team’s “lightweight report” … they’ll be more autumn observational – and keep the tabs on @LawMurrayTheNU throughout the season:

*Check out the detailed rotation log for the EASTERN CONFERENCE, updated at start of season*


TOR (2nd East) – BOS (7th East) – NY (13th East) – PHI (14th East) – BRK (15th East)

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CHI (3rd East) – MIL (5th East) – CLE (6th East) – IND (10th East) – DET (11th East)

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ATL (1st East) – WAS (4th East) – MIA (8th East) – ORL (9th East) – CHA (12th East)

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East 1st Round Winners

Atlanta – Toronto – Cleveland – Washington

East 2nd Round Winners

Atlanta – Toronto

East 3rd Round Winner


*Check out the detailed rotation log for the WESTERN CONFERENCE,updated at start of season*


OKC (3rd West) – UTA (10th West) – POR (11th West) – MIN (12th West) – DEN (13th West)

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GS (2nd West) – LAC (5th West) – PHO (8th West) – SAC (9th West) – LAL (15th West)

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SA (1st West) – HOU (4th West) – NO (6th West) – MEM (7th West) – DAL (14th West)

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West 1st Round Winners

San Antonio – Golden State – Oklahoma City – Los Angeles

West 2nd Round Winners

San Antonio – Golden State

West 3rd Round Winner

Golden State

NBA Champion

Golden State Warriors sweep Atlanta Hawks


2 pings

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