This year's NBA Christmas Day collection includes 10 teams – some are title contenders, some playoff teams and some are Knicks.
Let's examine each squad and try to figure out some things that illustrate the current season
Bucks @ Knicks | 12 o'clock ET | ESPN / WatchESPN
The Bucks are the NBA's most enhanced team and it's a pleasure to watch them. It is no secret why. Let's dive into the craziest state of the year:
Giannis is a dipping machine. It's great to watch. It would not be crazy to say that Giannis is currently the most dominant inside shooter in the game; it would be an understatement.
Giannis Antetokounmpo whirls around his defender, driving the trail for a one-handed dip in the second quarter.
But it's a shimmer in the chimney Only the beginning. Here's another pair of stats you can join:
Antetokounmpo leads the NBA in the standings close to the basket. He has made 259 field goals within 8 feet, more than any other player in the NBA.
It's getting wild: It's also leading the NBA in terms of efficiency in this zone. So far 39 players have tried at least 200 shots within 8 feet. Of this group, Giannis is also at the forefront, converting an incredible 72 percent of his attempts in this area.
The last player to be the most successful as well as the most efficient scorer in the NBA was LeBron James. Before him, it was the first Shaquille O'Neal.
Basketball can be a pretty easy game. Whenever a single player leads the league in both short range and near range efficiency, it is a safe bet that he is an MVP candidate.
And Giannis's great season stands for team success. Milwaukee is ranked # 20 last season in the net ranking. Head coach Mike Budenholzer is due to his new offensive tactics a candidate of the coach of the year. Milwaukee suddenly has the best punch selection in the NBA.
The NBA has the ultimate Christmas present with five star-studded matchups on Christmas Day:
• Christmas Schedule
• Hang Time: Jayson Tatum Goes Shopping
• LeBron's 765 Million Dollar Empire in LA
• In the Sneaker Collection by PJ Tucker
• The Bucks are Great and Giannis Breeds
• KD Dray Rift Will not Break the Warriors
• Dear Santa: An NBA Wish List for 2019
All Knicks who wish for Christmas, are a lottery game and a high profile Free Agent. Thanks to their lazy game, they are on their way to the lottery. However, this downhill race could hurt the case when it comes to luring someone as good as Kevin Durant, who seems to like championships and wants to surround himself with something that resembles a functional basketball team.
Santalytics Claus has this Knicks squad on the naughty list. It ranks # 26 in the net rating as it thwarts one of the NBA's worst defenses. Thunder and lightning would protect the rim better than these guys.
That's not better. It would not be in the spirit of Christmas to say that the Knicks can not shoot. So suppose they can not shoot. They rank 29th in the effective field goal percentage (eFG%) and have a handful of the league's least efficient rotation players, led by Tim Hardaway Jr.
. There are 35 NBA players who have an average of at least 15 FGA per game, but in this group, no one has a worse shooting percentage than THJ who only converts 39.6 percent of his shots and distributes his holiday smear on the court.
To be fair to Hardaway, he is asked to do far too much a part because his teammates do not have much to offer. Its number would be better in a lower consumption role. His current stank level says more about his environment and his offensive offensive than about his own abilities.
New York owes Hardaway $ 18 million next season. If the Knicks want to win a big free agent and build a legitimate team for 2019-20, Hardaway and the rest of this squad will have to look for solid long-term options or plus trading. Right now the Knicks are pulling ping-pong balls.
Thunder @ Rockets | 3 pm. ET | ABC / WatchESPN
The thunder has re-established itself as a candidate. They are 21-11 and rank fourth in the NBA in the net rating. How do you do that? These guys are the best defense in the NBA.
They are straightforward veranda pirates for defense that steal everything in sight. OKC averages over 10 steals per game, with Russell Westbrook and Paul George claiming two each per game. The thunder force more revenue than any team in the NBA and derive the NBA in points from the sales.
Sometimes defense is the best offensive. That's certainly the case with OKC, as the crime is currently stinking and is ranked 19th thanks to a general inability to shoot.
The Thunder ranks 29th in 3-point efficiency. Why this is so: Westbrook is the worst 3-point shooter in the league. So far, 133 players have tried at least 100 3s. Westbrook is the last member of this group, converting a staggering 23.6 percent of his triples.
But man, Paul George is scary right now. George has been at the top of the list with career opportunities at PPG, RPG, APG, SPG, PER and TS%. Look at his shot chart and you can tell he loves the right side of the ground, where he is much more active and efficient.
Here's a crazy value: The Brooklyn Nets are second in the NBA with 94 unchecked 3s. James Harden has 110 himself.
Here's one more: Over 80 percent of the triple games refer to the entire league, but only 12 percent of Harden. Yes, Harden leads the NBA in 3s and points per game, but it's amazing how he does it. Luka Doncic (67) and LeBron James (54) are the only other players to have tried at least 50 step-back-3s per second Spectrum data this season. Harden already has 189.
He does things in his own way. Apart from the free throw, his favorite shot is on the floor at the top of the arch where he hits most of those setbacks.
The Rockets are playing great in attack, but after dominating the regular season last season, they seem to be on an intergalactic mission to cause discomfort. They have fallen from the first net rating in 2017-20 to 15 now.
Houston finished seventh in defensive efficiency last season. The team is now down to number 26. The departures of Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute damaged this fragile defensive success. These guys provided Houston with intelligent and versatile veterans in the area. In their absence, the missiles rely on a group of unproven wings that are on the entire tripod.
Defensive four factors
|2017-18 Rank||2018-19 Rank|
|DREB Percentage||4||4||29|| ] It is not difficult to find bad indicators. Houston's opponents shoot much better, have their turn more often and attack more offensive rebounds at higher rates. This Rockets squad will only last until defense, and with Chris Paul, who is on the shelf with a thigh injury, the question marks at this end of the court are only getting bigger. |
Man, if only you could Combine the Houston offensive and the OKC defense, you'd have a pretty good team. Just imagine Harden and Westbrook in the same team.
76ers @ Celtics | 17:30 ET | ABC / WatchESPN
Ben Simmons is one of the NBA's quirkiest stars. Not only is he a 6 foot 10 guard, but he has a wild shot profile. Per Second Spectrum data, Simmons' average shot range this season is 5 feet, which is the shortest guard in the NBA.
Simmons has not completed a field goal of more than 14 feet this season. In a league where point guards now shoot about 40 percent of their 3-point range attempts, one of the NBA's top young point-watchers is currently down 0-0 in the city, and 79 percent of his field goals have come on dunks or layups.
Regardless of the fact that Simmons and the Sixers have been involved since they acquired Jimmy Butler in a November blockbuster. Prior to the deal, Philly finished 19th in the NBA and 21st in the offensive efficiency. These are the statistical characteristics of a lottery team. But since the deal is Philly 13-6, he is in seventh place in the net rating and third in attack.
These are contenders, and the 76ers still get a feel for these new turns. You can take another step to add depth. With an Eastern conference to be won, a trip to the finals awaits the team that brings everything together. Why not Philly?
At Christmas, Boston is probably the most at stake and seems to be the fifth best team in the East. This makes the Celtics one of the league's most disappointing teams. They are loaded with depth and talent, but are 4.5 games behind the leading Toronto Raptors of the conference.
The Celts look, in the worst case, passive and incoherent. They merge into nothing more than the sum of their parts. They are content with pull-ups and farteaways too much, while they rarely come to the edge and leash. They occupy the 28th place in both points in the paint and free throws in the NBA. You have to become more aggressive.
However, there is room for optimism. After all, it is only December and since the conversion of the grid in mid-November, the Celtics look like another animal (at least on the statistics sheet).
Brad Stevens removed Gordon Hayward (9-10 starter). and Jaylen Brown (9-11) from the starting group and replaced them with Marcus Smart (8-3 as starter) and Marcus Morris (10-2). Above all, Morris was impressive, scoring 43 percent of his 3s as he set career highs in a number of key metrics.
The move triggered Boston, mainly because of attacks. Look at these numbers before and after the numbers:
Before / After Changing Position
but these impressive statistical achievements can not be transferred to world domination on the field. The Celtics in this section are only 10: 6, and these recent indicators have a lot to do with a relatively simple schedule.
If they lose to their rival to Philly, that means four casualties in five games and an open door for the ghosts of Boston Talk Radio to begin grinning on Stevens, Kyrie Irving and the rest of this group, which we all expected to get better.
Lakers @ Warriors | 8:00 pm. ET | ABC / ESPN / WatchESPN
33 games are not clear how good this Lakers team will be, but one thing is for sure: they are super fast. In fact, this is the fastest team LeBron James has ever played for.
Tempo from year to year
James adapts to life in the fast lane. As he revives Showtime and a proud franchise, he leads the NBA in break points. The Lakers are second in the league in this category.
While LeBron has significantly changed L.A., it has also Tyson Chandler . The Lakers started the season 5-5, but since the landing of Chandler in November they are 15-8.
Chandler has changed the culture around the team, especially in defense. He only plays 20 MPG, but when he's out there, the Lakers' defensive power is unbelievable 99.6 points per 100 possessions. (No team has a defensive rating below 100.) In the 331 minutes he and LeBron played together, it even drops to 97.5.
When the Lakers put together this squad over the summer, many of us wondered How on earth could these guys fit together? The answer seems to take shape, and LA suddenly seems like one of the solid playoff teams in a crowded west.
Maybe I should focus on how the Warriors are kind of meh in the moment and only occupy seventh place on the Net in the NBA rating … but I do not want that. It's Christmas, and I want to talk about Steph Curry and how the best shooter this sport has ever seen is well on the way to having one of the best shoot times in his career.
This guy is in his prime, and it's a gift to look at. Just look at this nonsense:
Curry is in the middle of his tenth season and is about to put in 3P%, FT% and eFG% career marks. You do not need fancy statistics to let you know that he may win another MVP this season if he stays healthy. The dubs are 18-5 when curry plays, and 5-6 when he sits. Unfortunately for LeBron and the Lakeshow, Curry will play in this matchup.
Trail Blazers @ Jazz | 22:30 ET | ESPN / WatchESPN
The Blazers have my voice as the most enigmatic team in the NBA. It's hard to find out who they are and how good they could be. They had a good start to the season and finished fourth in the net rating in October, but since November 1 they have ranked 22nd in this important metric, largely due to a fighting defense.
Portian's star, Damian Lillard, has another great offensive season. In the NBA, it is in fifth place with a value of 27.1 PPG, while recording its best year in the city center. Dame beats almost 40 percent of his 3s while he starts nearly eight per game.
But as we saw in the 2018 playoffs, it will take more than Lillard to get this team out of the first round.
Portland's most likely identity is somewhere between the hot start and this inconsistent turnaround: quite good after a defensive upgrade. The problem? The blazers have been good only for some time . Even though they are in fourth place in the West, it is difficult to see that without a big step this group will become a real candidate.
Let's not hack the words: The Donovan Mitchell regression is bad and hurts jazz. [19659002Einfachausgedrückt:NacheinerphänomenalenRookie-KampagneundeinemvielversprechendenPlayoff-DebütbrichtMitchellzusammenSeineaktuellenZahlendeutendaraufhindassereinhochgradigbesetzterLeadwächtermitgeringerEffizienzistundseinShot-ChartzeigteinenSpielerdersichbemühtsowohlaufderFelgealsauchvonderInnenstadtauseindurchschnittlichesNiveauzuerzielenProzentVondieserGruppeliegtMitchellaufdem40RangbeiderprozentualenSchießleistungDiesisteinbesondersbeunruhigenderMarkerfüreinenSpielerimzweitenJahrandemvielevonunseinenSprunggemachthabenZudemZeitpunktandemwirmitEffizienzsteigerungengerechnethattensehenwirdasGegenteil
During Mitchell's shooting numbers decline across the board, its value of 15 (15 Cleaning The Glass) drops to the 15th percentile) is the real red flag. According to Second Spectrum data, his shot quality has not changed significantly during long balls last season. These looks just do not fall off.
Jazz is still a solid defensive team, but they will need Mitchell to be better if they expect to reach the playoffs further than last season. The rest of the season should help us figure out if Mitchell is actually a better shooter than we've seen so far.