A Substitute for War

Basketball philosophy

Posts Tagged ‘Anderson Varejão

Breaking down the Cleveland Cavaliers’ last place defense

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The Cleveland Cavaliers just made NBA history by setting the all time losing streak at 26 and counting and now sit 30th in both ORTG and DRTG, giving them a record of 8-45. The last place offense was foreseeable with the lack of talent without Lebron. But the defense dropping from 7th last season to 30th this season is shocking. In their honor, I decided to finally dive into their shockingly bad defense with a wannabe basketball analyst’s best friends, basketball-reference.com, hoopdata.com, and 82games.com

Surprisingly, peripherals indicate a defensive strategy of play. According to basketball-reference.com, the Cavaliers rank 15th in DRB% and 29th in ORB% (when I began writing this the Cavaliers ranked 5th in DRB%, but nevertheless the gap is large enough even as it stands). A large difference between DRB% and ORB% in either direction is the easiest way to tell a team focuses on either side. The Cavaliers’ low ORB% indicates they prefer leaving players back to protect transition buckets instead of going for offensive rebounds, and their DRB% ranking top 5 for most of the season shows preferring defensive rebounding and stopping putback points over letting players leak out in front of the opposing team to score fastbreak points. Yet the Cavaliers are still 30th defensively behind teams like Toronto and Golden State who don’t even try to protect transition buckets or grab defensive rebounds? How do we explain this?

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