Getting Smart with Statistics

mcpickl

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Or, WAS would just do what they did regardless and get the switch with Wall with a full head of steam. It was defensive scheme against Wall that was poor, not the defender
Yeah, I don't know man.

Wall had 19 points with 4 minutes left in regulation, then in the final 9 minutes when the Celtics only had a big on the floor for about one of those minutes he went off for 15 more points, almost all of them on layups.

Certainly felt like he was given a green light to drive to me.
 

benhogan

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Yeah, I don't know man.

Wall had 19 points with 4 minutes left in regulation, then in the final 9 minutes when the Celtics only had a big on the floor for about one of those minutes he went off for 15 more points, almost all of them on layups.

Certainly felt like he was given a green light to drive to me.
Good pick-up McPickl.

*****thread hijack alert*******
I went back and watched from the 7:30min left in the 4th Quarter. Let's see what our BIGs did in the last 12:30 minutes of the game

7:30 Theis offensive board off Rozier miss. Theis layup.
Oubre beats Tatum to the hoop. Theis fouls out. Oubre 1/2 FT
7:18 TL enters
6:45 Bryant sets pick on Kyrie. Kyrie losses Wall. TL switches onto Wall. Alley oop to Bryant. They shouldn't have switched, but Kyrie did nothing.
6:29 TL hustles to tip out a Kyrie miss, off Roziers hands out of bounds
5:56 Rozier picked by Bryant, TR goes over a screen 5 feet outside the 3pt line. Wall makes a nice move on TL, just beats him to the hoop
5:37 Rozier misses 3pt shot. TL off reb. TL basket
5:18 Rozier picked again going over the top. TL picks up Wall. Beal picks TL. layup Wall
5:04 Kyrie caught under the hoop. TL cuts to the hoop. TL slam
4:22 TL removed

Baynes came in with 30 seconds left. Wall went at Aron, Aron forced him left right into Kyrie. Irving let Wall go right to the hoop.

Then TL started OT, he played 30 seconds. He forced Wall into a mid-range 2, resulting in a missed jumper. Jeff Green fouls TL under the hoop, off a Kyrie miss. TL removed from the game.

Brad's post-game presser: "going super small hurt us on defense". Yep, also hurt us on the boards. Brad really doesn't need to go small so often
 
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Eddie Jurak

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Brad went small there because the Wizards did, too (Markieff at C), and because his centers were fouled out (Theis), on a minutes restirction (Baynes), or inexperienced and occasionally getting torched (TL). Let's not overthink this.
 

Van Everyman

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Brad went small there because the Wizards did, too (Markieff at C), and because his centers were fouled out (Theis), on a minutes restirction (Baynes), or inexperienced and occasionally getting torched (TL). Let's not overthink this.
Don’t forget injured (Big Al)
 

chilidawg

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FWIW, Smart is #1 among point guards in DRPM. And even more encouraging Irving is 6th.
 

benhogan

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Brad went small there because the Wizards did, too (Markieff at C), and because his centers were fouled out (Theis), on a minutes restirction (Baynes), or inexperienced and occasionally getting torched (TL). Let's not overthink this.
Fair enough. You're correct, no need to overthink it because Brad immediately admitted to the problem with the small ball lineup. After watching tape he'll see how glaring it was.
 

Jimbodandy

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Fair enough. You're correct, no need to overthink it because Brad immediately admitted to the problem with the small ball lineup. After watching tape he'll see how glaring it was.
He's still in "figuring shit out" mode IMO. Adjustments have been made since 10-10, and they have largely worked. But it's not a one-time thing. And injuries complicate the effort.

Wildly small experiments will be tried, as they should. He know has some film to review there. We will see more of such things.

Your opinion on super smallball--that it wasn't very effective--is correct. It's understandable that he's trying different looks though.
 

Montana Fan

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I love Marcus Smart and this thread has been great for the last few pages.

The comment I have is that, I can tell you who is able to place a value on Smart, Drew Cannon. The young man we never, ever hear about. He's still with the C's and I imagine has state of the art systems and "top men" in place to assist him in the Celtics Statistics Dept.

Here's an example of the "simple things" he was doing as a student in college. I can't imagine how advanced their statistical approach and database are now.

What makes Cannon's value tricky to quantify is that he and Stevens are reluctant to share many specifics of his research. There are simple things he does like keep practice statistics, track the efficiency of specific set plays and the statistical tendencies of opponents.
https://www.si.com/college-basketball/2013/03/20/drew-cannon-butler
 

benhogan

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He's still in "figuring shit out" mode IMO. Adjustments have been made since 10-10, and they have largely worked. But it's not a one-time thing. And injuries complicate the effort.

Wildly small experiments will be tried, as they should. He know has some film to review there. We will see more of such things.

Your opinion on super smallball--that it wasn't very effective--is correct. It's understandable that he's trying different looks though.
Good point. Brad should be experimenting with different lineups. Some will work, some won't and he'll adjust. This is all about finding several different effective rotations by March 2019.

One experiment I didn't see coming (and working) was starting MaMo and Smart (neither did they, BWA only lasted 8 weeks). They both add grit/toughness, and statistically, they add value. Smarts defense somewhat hides Kyrie (except against smallish, quick guards) and he is not launching as many ill-advised shots as the #5 option on offense. MaMo accepts his role as the #3 scoring option after Irving/Tatum plus adds strength down low.

By now everyone knows the one experiment I want to see. Play Baynes or Theis or TL with Al as the 4 (big wing). Hopefully, we'll get a healthy Al by the New Year.
 

bosox79

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Currently sporting career highs in FG% and 3 point% at .395/.338. He's shooting .479 from 2, his previous career high was last year at .429.

He's at the point now where him shooting the ball isn't a complete liability.
 

HomeRunBaker

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Currently sporting career highs in FG% and 3 point% at .395/.338. He's shooting .479 from 2, his previous career high was last year at .429.

He's at the point now where him shooting the ball isn't a complete liability.
Yeah, I've said this earlier in the year too. The difference isn't that Smart is a "better" shooter it is that he is taking "better shots" and most importantly being more selective in doing so.

Smart's year by year FGA/36
2015 - 9.5
2016 - 11.4
2017 - 11.2
2018 - 11.5

2019 - 8.5
 

bosox79

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Yeah, I've said this earlier in the year too. The difference isn't that Smart is a "better" shooter it is that he is taking "better shots" and most importantly being more selective in doing so.

Smart's year by year FGA/36
2015 - 9.5
2016 - 11.4
2017 - 11.2
2018 - 11.5

2019 - 8.5
Over 50% of his shots are from 3. Outside of his rookie year, that's a huge change.
 

BigSoxFan

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Marcus Smart is the third best player on the Celtics now
Smart kind of reminds me of Edelman’s FA situation a few years ago. NBA teams had a chance to sign away our heart and soul for a reasonable price and chose not to do so.

And now they pay for their mistake.
 

lovegtm

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Also, if 35% Marcus Smart is a real thing, he and Kyrie could be the best guard combo in the league after Klay & Steph, factoring in age (soon to be 25 and 27) and complementary skillsets.
 

tbrown_01923

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It may be because I am rooting for Marcus, but his three point shot selection seems to be better this year. Mostly (outside last second shot clock heaves and far less frequent lapses in judgement) he is squared, in rhythm with some time. it's good to see. i also like him down low bullying people - I wish we saw more of that. Most guards can't handle him in the post
 

Koufax

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I'm not sure I've ever seen a player go from "He's terrific as long as he doesn't shoot" to "I hope he hoists up another three" so quickly. I want some of whatever he's on.
 

lovegtm

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It may be because I am rooting for Marcus, but his three point shot selection seems to be better this year. Mostly (outside last second shot clock heaves and far less frequent lapses in judgement) he is squared, in rhythm with some time. it's good to see. i also like him down low bullying people - I wish we saw more of that. Most guards can't handle him in the post
As the roster around him has improved, the opportunity cost of his posting up guards has risen. It's just not a great play to take the ball away from Kyrie in PnR or a favorable iso matchup to get post touches for Marcus Smart.
 

Eddie Jurak

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I'm not sure I've ever seen a player go from "He's terrific as long as he doesn't shoot" to "I hope he hoists up another three" so quickly. I want some of whatever he's on.
I'm not there yet, LOL. I think he's benefitting from better shot selection and Kyrie's new (for him in his career) focus on being a distributor.
i also like him down low bullying people - I wish we saw more of that. Most guards can't handle him in the post
He had a key box out last night, against a Memphis big, late in the 4th with the game on the line.
 

lovegtm

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Not saying he'll be this shooter forever, but it's fun to compare his form now to his form at OK St. OK St. is at the 10:24 mark in his Draft Express video, and I'll attach last night's highlights for the present.



He still dips the ball too low, but the good:
1. no coming across his body from the left side
2. doesn't cock the ball above his head (something Tatum probably needs to clean up/eliminate from 3)
3. body stays lined up through the landing
4. doesn't squat down on his dip--it was insane 4 years ago

All of this has been gone over before, but it's nice to just compare, and see that he now has a repeatable stroke that stays the same during game pressure.
 

PedroKsBambino

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It's been said many times in this thread, but this year's 37% 3PT accuracy changes things a great deal...even if we assume its a blend of better shot selection and better shooting it still makes him a much more valuable guy.
 

HomeRunBaker

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It's been said many times in this thread, but this year's 37% 3PT accuracy changes things a great deal...even if we assume its a blend of better shot selection and better shooting it still makes him a much more valuable guy.
Yeah it isn't like it's a knock on his shot selection being the cause for the increased percentage. This is a very good thing.
 

tbrown_01923

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As the roster around him has improved, the opportunity cost of his posting up guards has risen. It's just not a great play to take the ball away from Kyrie in PnR or a favorable iso matchup to get post touches for Marcus Smart.
It's a fair point, and as @Eddie said - him using his strength to box out is fantastic and just as fun to watch
 

DeJesus Built My Hotrod

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While his shooting improvement is remarkable, the most noteworthy thing about Smart is that his contributions still are tough to measure. He is 15th in RPM and fifth in steal % (filtering for players who average 20 minutes or more per game). Without looking, I expected him to be in the top 10 or 15 in deflections but he is actually 26th. Where he grades highly is contested threes per game, per 36 and total where he ranks fourth, second and second (Derrick White leads the NBA in contested threes per 36! And people were calling him a scrub during the SA game)

That said its clear that Ainge, Zarren and Stevens value Smart highly - I would love to see what their proprietary metrics say about him. I would also add that when watching games, its clear the opponents respect him as well. One thing that traditional and even freely advanced metrics don't seem to capture is how the player Smart is covering will often pass out if he stays with him around/under screens or if Smart is guarding him one on one in space. Its pretty clear they know any attempt on Smart has a lower expected point total than on other defenders.

If Smart can maintain this level of shooting - and I think we have to be careful with that assumption given the sample size - this team's ceiling gets even higher. He essentially becomes a shorter, slightly less effective defender version of peak Draymond Green ('15-16 when he was an all star and had his best shooting season). I don't need to say that that is pretty damn good.
 
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JakeRae

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The thing about Smart, and one of the reasons I was a big believer in keeping him at pretty much whatever it takes, is that we’ve always known that he is a committed hard worker with a high BBIQ. I don’t know if his shooting improvement will stick, but it’s always felt like he should be able to become at least a competent 3 point shooter just based on putting in the work. And, we’ve known for years that he’s been putting in that work.

Anyway, it looks like Smart has cemented himself as a starter and is very much the guard version of Draymond. Although, unlike Draymond, I still think the box score adjustments in RPM end up underselling him. For example, do we really think all of Kyrie’s defensive improvement this year is about Kyrie or is a big part of it that he’s playing next to Smart? I’d posit the latter based on the long track record of Smart making his teammates better on defense.

As one final thing, I’ve always thought even bad shooting Smart was an underrated offensive player because even when his production wasn’t there, his understanding of the floor and spacing was. If you watch Smart closely on offense, he’s constantly doing little things to open up space for teammates. Clearing out of clogged spaces on the floor, cutting to the unoccupied corner, etc. Those things don’t light up the stat sheet but they do create points for the team, and ultimately that’s all that really matters.
 

DrewDawg

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Man, I really want to know what set him off tonight.

Not the original thing, but what Bembry said.
 

Montana Fan

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Man, I really want to know what set him off tonight.

Not the original thing, but what Bembry said.
Assume it was along the lines of, yo momma. Which, if you read that wonderful article on Smart posted in this thread the last day or two, would be the wrong thing to say.

Also, the only two guys I have seen that made a living playing D the way Smart does are Rodman and Artest. I guess Draymond would fit too.
 

DrewDawg

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He must have used all 7 dirty words to get ejected because if he didn't this is ludicrous.

 

mikeot

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I'm guessing Bembry must have dissed Marcus' recently deceased mother to elicit that reaction, as discussed above.
 

DrewDawg

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I'm guessing Bembry must have dissed Marcus' recently deceased mother to elicit that reaction, as discussed above.
Sure. But the official literally 2 feet away didn't react like Smart said anything ejection worthy. He didn't react at all.
 

HomeRunBaker

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He must have used all 7 dirty words to get ejected because if he didn't this is ludicrous.

To me what is most bizarre is at the :05 mark early in the video it appears that Marcus gently taps Bembry on the backside as if to say "It's all good" and ready to move on......when the official comes in and seems to set Marcus off with the technical. So weird.
 

lovegtm

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To me what is most bizarre is at the :05 mark early in the video it appears that Marcus gently taps Bembry on the backside as if to say "It's all good" and ready to move on......when the official comes in and seems to set Marcus off with the technical. So weird.
Looks like a rookie ref trying to be the story.
 

bosox79

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It's funny because he's at his lowest usage % ever and his rate stats are actually down... but he's clearly been a much better player this year and it's not just the improved shooting. Of course having a TS% of 56.4% doesn't hurt, considering his previous career high was 49.1%.

He is much more enjoyable to watch when he's hitting his 3's though.

First 11 games of the season: .327/.200/.739. 3/30 from 3.
Since then in 34 games: .432/.403/.788. 58/144 from 3. That's 4.2 attempts a game so it's not exactly a small number. He would have to go 11/75, .147 to match his last season's totals.

Pretty sure I've mentioned it before too but ignoring his rookie year, Marcus Smart has improved his FG%/3P% every season since entering the league.
.367/.335 (rookie year)
.348/.253
.359/.283
.367/.301
.413/.368

We all know he's been working on his shot and it looks like it is finally paying off. I think sometimes we look around the league and see guys like Al Horford, Marc Gasol and Brock Lopez add 3 point shots over the course of 1 off season and it causes us to get impatient with guys like Marcus Smart and even Terry Rozier.
 

Devizier

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It's funny because he's at his lowest usage % ever and his rate stats are actually down... but he's clearly been a much better player this year and it's not just the improved shooting.
He's basically fulfilling his Nate McMillan potential.

I don't think he'll ever have McMillan's peak steals numbers, players take care of the ball a lot better now.