Yesterday I spoke about two teams that were outperforming their expected win percentage, and either needed to address some issues or look towards a bleaker second half. In today’s installment, I’m going to look at the other end of the spectrum, or teams that are underperforming with respect to their expected win percentage.
The New Jersey Nets boast the East’s best trio of Jason Kidd, Richard Jefferson, and Vince Carter. While all three have suffered through injuries in their past, the three have been relatively healthy this season, as only Jefferson has missed a handful of games. However the Nets’ savings in bandages haven’t translated into wins on the court. New Jersey is a disappointing 10-14 so far this year. The Nets were suppose to be one of the key teams in a weak East, but at this point they aren’t even winning the dreadful Atlantic. There’s good news for Brooklynites with houses on the Jersey shore: the Nets aren’t all that bad. According to their expected win percentage, the Nets are underperforming and should be a few games ahead of Boston, not a half game behind. Although a .506 expected win percentage isn’t anything to write home about, only 3 other Eastern Conference teams have a better point differential. That should translate into home field for at least the first round.
Like the Nets another Eastern team that had high hopes in the preseason isn’t performing up to par. Although the Bulls rebounded from headband-gate to a decent 14-10 start, Chicago’s expected win percentage puts them at the top of the East. With the addition of Ben Wallace, the previously strong Bulls’ defense is becoming one of the league’s best. Currently their 102.8 defensive efficiency (pts allowed per 100 possessions) is 3rd overall in the league. Meanwhile the foursome of Gordon, Deng, Nocioni, and Hinrich coupled with Ben’s rebounding is making the Bulls respectable on offense. Chicago has an offensive efficiency of 108.3, good enough for 10th in the league.
If these two teams are playing the way they are now, they should see some improvement in the coming weeks. The Nets would be Atlantic champs, and the Bulls would vie for supremacy in the Eastern Conference.
A quick note on tonight?s Charlotte-Knicks game.
“Did anyone else go ballistic when the game was tied in regulation, and Crawford pulls up for a 3? That drives me absolutely nuts, and Jamal does it all the time. You need 1 point. Move in 6 feet & take the 18 footer! Or drive & try to draw a foul. A three point shot is about the worst shot you can take in that situation.”
So what does Jamal do in the closing seconds of regulation with the game tied? Take a foot on the line 2 pointer. Again there is no attempt to drive & draw a foul. There is even no attempt to work for a better shot (there was 21 seconds on the clock), nor is anyone else involved in the play. Crawford just takes the time off the clock, does a crossover or two and jacks it up.
In overtime the Knicks have the ball in the final seconds with the game tied. Isiah draws up a play, of which I’m not privy to. The execution of said play? Marbury dribbles the ball until about 5 seconds are left. Curry(?) comes up for a pick, but it gets blown up. Marbury in desperation passes it up to Crawford who takes an awful shot.
If I recall correctly, someone (82games?, apbrmetrics?) did a study on plays after timeouts and showed that they are usually more efficient than normal plays. So despite the other coach bringing in his best defensive players, the ability to design an offensive play is too powerful a tool to overcome. So how come the Knicks seem to be deficient in this area? Can they hire someone to draw up a play?
If David Lee doesn’t tip that ball in…