The 2015-16 season is quickly coming to a close and we have a pretty opaque picture of how the playoff seeding will look in the Western Conference while much is still up for grabs in the east.
This is the time where most NBA bloggers and prognosticators will start to give you who they would select for their yearly awards and preview the impending postseason.
I thought I would break from the norm and give you some unique numbers or trends that have surfaced in the 2015-16 season that you may not expect.
The fact that the Thunder have done a very poor job of protecting a 4th quarter lead has been no secret and discussed heavily by the media as the Thunder have surpassed even the 76ers (which is never good) in their inability to hold a fourth quarter lead.
It’s worse than you would even expect though as since the All-Star break this is there net rating, which is the point differential for a team per 100 possessions in the 3rd and 4th quarters:
This is a sign of a tight team that doesn’t execute well in crunch time, as their crunch time offense usually consists of Russell Westbrook forcing a difficult shot or everybody watching Kevin Durant. This does not bode well for the postseason.
The Rockets seem to be an unmitigated mess chemistry wise as their two stars reportedly don’t get along and neither has any leadership abilities. They seem lackadaisical at times and lack effort which is no shock considering their lack of leadership and chemistry but the numbers are bad.
The Rockets are the worst 1st quarter team in the NBA with a -26.6 net rating and went a month and a half without winning a 1st quarter of a game. The constant uphill battle of not coming out prepared is exhausting for a team and will spell doom for them in the postseason against a machine like the Spurs or Warriors.
The Grizzlies have had pretty awful injury luck this season losing Marc Gasol for the year and having other pillars Mike Conley, Zach Randolph and Tony Allen miss considerable time. They have literally been down to six or seven players on some nights and are legitimately relying on Lance Stephenson and Matt Barnes to be their creators and key players, yikes.
In spite of this they are 41-30 and have played over .600 basketball without Gasol. Their net rating is of a team that should be 31-40. That is all heart, grit and a little bit of luck, all the exact opposite of the Rockets.
According to this chart from NBA.com Writer John Schuhmann, the Lakers are 11.6 points per 100 possessions better when Brandon Bass is on the floor, ranking him in the top 10 entire league in that category:
The 15 players whose teams have been at least 10 points per 100 possessions better w/ them on the floor: pic.twitter.com/ic85jpd5ce
— John Schuhmann (@johnschuhmann) March 8, 2016
Enes Kanter gets plenty of flack for being one of the worst defensive big men in the league and a somewhat selfish player who is mostly concerned with his touches. Everybody points to how much better the Jazz got after dealing him and unleashing the Stifle Tower. That’s why although he is a guy under the age of 25 who can give you 16 and 10 every night, many questioned the Thunder’s decision making in matching the four-year, $70 million offer sheet he singed with the Portland Trailblazers this past summer.
The Thunder and GM Sam Presti are well-known for embracing analytics and when you take a look at the advanced stats Enes Kanter shines.
He is currently in the top 10 in the NBA in Player Efficiency Rating (PER), True Shooting Percentage, Effective Field Goal Percentage, Rebounding Percentage and Offensive Rating. He is also no. 1 in the entire league in offensive rebounding percentage.
There is no denying his faults, but he may be more valuable than we realize.