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The NBA's 65-Game Rule is Working, Mavs' New Era to Cavs' Rise, Defensive insights and Unveiling Brandon Miller

Curating and summarizing the best NBA content of the week

Welcome to the NBA Librarian Weekly, where we curate and summarize the best NBA content of the week.

In Today's Edition:

The 65 Game Rule is Working

This title by JxmyHighroller is a troll title. It has nothing to do with losing the MVP award in 10 seconds - instead, it's an in-depth analysis of a hot topic issue in the NBA: the 65-game minimum for awards eligibility — and how it's working just as the NBA intended. My main takeaways from this video:

  1. Jxmy emphasizes the distinction between the most valuable player and the best player, offering historical examples to illustrate this difference.

  2. The narrative provides a financial perspective on the new rule, connecting the significant rise in player salaries to the increase in league revenue from media contracts. The forthcoming TV rights deal, valued at approximately $75 billion, is underscored as a crucial factor necessitating conditions like the 65-game minimum to guarantee a premium product for investors.

  3. The video features compelling data, charts, and visualizations that show star players are participating in significantly more games this season compared to the last. See just a few of the charts below!

^The top 50 players by EPM have played in 45% more games this season compared to last.

Players projected to make All-NBA this season have played in 92% of games.

New-look Mavericks strong opening statement

The trade deadline passed without major superstar trades, but the Mavericks made significant moves by acquiring athletic, offensively skilled big men, P.J. Washington and Daniel Gafford.

Key points from their debut include:

  1. The Mavericks showcased their revamped lineup in a 146-111 victory against the Oklahoma City Thunder, setting a franchise record with a 47-point first quarter.

  2. Washington and Gafford had standout debuts, each scoring their initial points for the Mavericks through assists from Luka Dončić, contributing to a dynamic game with 11 dunks from six different players.

  3. Grant Williams was moved due to his inadequate vertical spacing and inconsistent outside shooting, which didn't align with the Mavericks' needs.

  4. The article notes an increase in the Mavericks' dunks this season, attributed to rookie Derrick Lively's addition, a trend expected to continue.

Despite traditionally relying on 3-point shooting, the Mavericks' win over the Thunder demonstrated their versatility, winning by dominating the paint and utilizing their enhanced athleticism.

The NBA Has No Answer for the Cavaliers

Hoopvenue is rapidly producing high-quality NBA content, covering topics like the Timberwolves shutting down Giannis and Kawhi’s efficient scoring — all within just this week!

However, it's time to spotlight the Cavs in our newsletter. Key takeaways:

  1. The Cavs have clinched 15 of their last 16 games, securing the second seed in the East despite injuries to Mobley and Garland. Their defensive prowess has been key, holding opponents well below the league's average in points per 100 possessions, thanks to contributions from Dean Wade and Isaac Okoro in Mobley's absence.

  2. The team's cohesive defensive strategies, including effective pick-and-roll coverage and the ability to hedge and recover efficiently, have made it difficult for opponents to score, with Jarett Allen anchoring the defense and protecting the paint.

  3. Offensively, the team has boosted Donovan Mitchell by adding sharpshooters like Strus, Wade and Merrill.

Hoopvenue goes into a lot more detail including projections and potential pitfalls the Cavs could face in a playoff setting. Definitely check it out!

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Team & Player Defensive Game Reports by Centers Culture

This is a super cool website — defensive stats in the NBA are either hard to find or are advanced metrics that encompass various stat combinations to determine impact. While those can be extremely valuable, they're often too complex for the average fan. What I really like about Mitty's app is not only its design and user experience but the type of insights we get into in-game data and defensive stats at both the team and individual levels.

Look at one of the recent game examples:

This report presents a range of easily understandable and valuable stats, including:

  1. Team percentages on contested vs. uncontested field goal attempts.

  2. Picking on De'Aron Fox's defensive performance, highlighted by the fact that OKC's offense targeted him, resulting in Fox conceding 27 points on a 76 TS%. This is further detailed with the Thunder shooting 10-16 on FGs and 3-5 from 3s with Fox as the primary defender.

  3. The report also covers assists conceded and opponent turnovers forced by individual players.

Though these metrics aren't perfect due to the dynamic nature of NBA defenses and schemes, they offer insightful game analysis. In my opinion, this platform provides a clearer view than any other website I've encountered.

It will be my go-to resource for in-depth box score analysis. Thanks, Mitty!

We Need to talk about Brandon Miller

Legler and Redick compare Miller to established NBA stars like Paul George, Jayson Tatum, and Brandon Ingram noting similarities in their playing styles and how Miller's game might evolve to mirror these players' successes.

  1. The parallel with Tatum is made in the context of Miller's proficiency in operating off ball screens, his footwork, and his ability to create shots for himself, reminiscent of Tatum's style of play.

  2. Miller has been proving his worth by significantly enhancing his game in the last 10 matches, averaging 23.6 points with a shooting efficiency of 48.4% from the field and 39.5% from the three-point line.

  3. A noted area for improvement is Miller's finishing ability close to the basket, where he initially posted a 54.8% success rate from less than 5 feet. However, recent games have shown improvement, with a 60% success rate at the rim over the last 10 games, indicating adaptation to the NBA's physicality.

  4. Miller's recent defensive highlights, including chase-down blocks and steals serve as testament to his growing two-way capabilities. Miller shows promise as both a pick-and-roll drop defender and a potential weak-side rim protector, utilizing his 7'2" wingspan and positioning to disrupt opposing offenses.

Charlotte might be terrible, but they’re worth tuning in for Miller alone.

WNBA added to Stat Query + Most 30 point games every season since '2000

As usual, I'm going to highlight cool apps that bring more attention to analytics and offer a better way to visualize data. Sravan has added the WNBA to his Stat Query tool.

To the right is an example of data I extracted from his tool and visualized it in a fun way. https://public.flourish.studio/visualisation/16711772/

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Also, please take a look at our new partner, the Basketball Intelligence newsletter. It's a fantastic source of inspiration for the articles and content I choose to include in mine: