Author Topic: This unit would be better offensivley with Hayward but what about defensively?  (Read 1896 times)

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Offline wdleehi

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I have no doubt that Hayward as a defender at SF, the Celtics defense doesn't miss a beat.

The better question would be is how would the defense be effected when Tatum plays more minutes at PF vs. SF. 

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Our best defensive unit?  According the basketball reference, here is the top-10 defensive ratings for the entire league:

1. Hassan Whiteside • MIA 94.4
2. Terry Rozier • BOS 96.6
3. Aron Baynes • BOS 96.8
4. Al Horford • BOS 96.8
5. Kyrie Irving • BOS 96.9
6. Marcus Smart • BOS 97.0
7. Jaylen Brown • BOS 97.2
8. Ed Davis • POR 97.3
9. Jayson Tatum • BOS 97.7
10. Andre Drummond • DET 98.3

I find these leader stats to be remarkable.  CBS is a great coach.

While it's clear that the Celts have an elite defense (and a great coach), I think these stats speak just as much to how crude defensive stats are still -- very poor at distinguishing an individual's contributions to a strong unit's defense.

I agree and disagree. This season could be an utter outlier for the defensive rating, but typically there are few on the same team on the top 10 list, and if they are, the team is a top defensive team.

Because the defensive rating typically does a decent job, it seems better that we should recognize that this team has really been that elite on defense, especially in comparison to the current rest of the league.

However, it is definitely an incomplete stat. I like seeing player tracking stats to see what kind of percentages defenders are holding offensive players to. Although that is an incomplete stat also, it is a primarily individual stat.

Combine the two, and great defenders are at the cross-section.

I think Surferdad's point is reinforced if you look back historically.  In 2015-16, Andrew Bogut had an (basketball-reference brand) 'offensive rating' of 120 and a defensive rating of 99.   The latter mark is probably reflective of his actual play on defense, helping his lineups to a top defensive rating.   But the former is almost certainly more reflective of this time spent playing in lineups with Curry, Thompson, Green, Barnes, etc.

If you look at year over-year-data from, say, 2010 through 2017, you see Bogut's defensive ratings fairly consistently close to that '99' value:

98, 97, 100, 100, 100, 96, 97, 99, 104

But if you look at his _offensive_ rating, year over year, you see:

107, 107, 100, 94, 103, 115, 110, 110, 120, 93

In other words, his bb-ref ORtg bounces up & down all over the place, likely in response to the changing rosters around him.

Basketball-reference' itself makes it clear that these ratings are _estimates_ of the points-per-100-possession changes with the player on the floor.  They are not actual _measurements_.     I would take them with a huge grain of salt.   In particular, the formulae they use to estimate the possession counts tends to miss.

To bring this back to the Celtics, I think it's probably reasonable to say that several of the Celtics are playing defense at an elite level.  It is also likely that 1 or 2 who are getting a great mark are just playing well enough that they aren't messing up what those elite defenders are doing.   That's commendable in itself.  Defense is far more a _team_ effect than offense.

Personally, I really think Horford, Jaylen, Baynes, Rozier & Smart have been playing out-of-this-world defense and that everyone else is playing 'very good' defense.  And the collective result is what we have seen.
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