April 01, 2017

Throw the ball to that guy

With Durant about to come back to spoil the Warrior's recent winning streak, I found myself last night wondering anew what they see in this guy.  In some ways I think of Durant as the Jeff George of basketball - his team never wins, but you come away from the game thinking "my goodness, what a talent!"

We see now how well the Warriors can play without him - so why has Curry been so deferential with Durant on the court?  Why did they all go to recruit him in the off-season?  Enquiring minds want to know.  So, to take a break from all the spreadsheet work I do at the office, I made up a little spreadsheet of all NBA small forwards with more than 550 minutes played this season.  The horizontal axis is minutes played, the vertical is True Shooting Percentage (definition here).

Oh.  They throw him the ball, apparently, because there is no small forward in the NBA more likely to convert a possession into points. Ok then...

But he's also kind of skinny and fragile looking, not known as a defensive player.  What if we replace minutes with the Bill Simmons 'STOCKS' (steals plus blocks) metric?

Ah.  In addition to being the most efficient offensive small forward, he is also one of the best in the Association at turning an opponent's possession into a turnover, significantly behind only the astonishing and terrifying Antetokounmpo.  Well, I reluctantly conclude that he seems like a useful person to have on your team.

If one were needed, here is a short little resume on Mr. Durant:


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