Yeah stats are crazy. GSW (4th at 101.1), Rockets (6th/7th at 100.2) and OKC (8th at 99.1) in Pace last season: ended up
Warriors 25th in TO's (14.9/gm), Rockets 26th (15.2/ gm), Thunder 27th/28th (15.5/ gm) all made the playoffs. I just hate
to use any Rockets numbers from last season due to the in-fighting of the two Alpha-Dogs.
Yes, this is from last season and the stats are from John Hollinger at ESPN.
I used the ratio rather than volume stats so that pace would not matter. Further, the ratio is important because many keep touting Harden's double digit assists while ignoring the mountain of turnovers he is accruing in the process. I, for one, do not think they are mutually exclusive.
I agree that Houston's place in that chart is mucked up by all of last season's turmoil. Yet, the point is still clear. Those two categories along with point differential are huge indicators of playoff success. One could argue that point differential is just a stat partially built off of the first two.
Every turnover has the opportunity to be a 5-6 point swing in the other direction. (the loss of our opportunity to score plus the opponent getting that same opportunity). Limiting those opportunities is a good idea--plain and simple. This is the reason Morey went all in on producing turnovers a couple of years ago--they are game changers. That experiment failed for a multitude of reasons.
Ultimately, if we can't produce on the defensive end all of this will be for nothing. No amount of assists nor threes will overcome poor defense.
Regarding the article you referenced--after reading it I feel that there are two things to take away from it. First, he repeatedly makes sure the reader understands it is 3 point shooting plus efficient defense that leads to winning. Second, his final remark:
Overall, three-point shooting matters, but it's not the volume, necessarily, that leads to winning.
...it's how many of them go in.
To quote Kevin McHale from a few years back when asked about analytics and shooting efficiency, "well, it depends on who's shooting it".
This is why Kyle Wiltjer will be a valued NBA player. He seems to already understand decent team defense which is a huge plus for him. With some seasoning and a few cheeseburgers he could be a huge weapon in the growing 3-point war.
3 pt. shooting is great, but the variance can be a killer and as a coach, owner, GM, or whatever it is equivalent to gambling when you put all your eggs in that basket. Even great shooters roller coaster from night to night. 5 out of 6 in one game and then 0-6 in the next with little rhyme nor reason to it. The margin for error is that small.
Meanwhile, dunks and lay-ups are pretty consistent--unless playing teams with one of the few true rim protectors. While dunks and lay-ups, etc. may lose to three point shooting on paper over the course of a season they definitely come out on top often and make for a very reliable offensive foundation. Further, in a shortened season, aka the playoffs, that variance can make or break you.
(FYI, that same author wrote another article just a few months later titled, "The Miami Heat Need to Stop Shooting Three Pointers" )
While I am all for 3 pt. shooting, I would rather build our team foundation on more solid principles. Defense. Rebounding. Hustle. Limiting turnovers. Getting to the rim. Taking open shots--wherever they are. From there, incorporating quality three point shooters and getting them open looks is a bonus.
Take a look back at the A/TO list. Look at the coaches in the top 10.
Popovich, Kerr, Rivers, Clifford, Stevens, Carlisle, Budenholzer, Lue, Wittman, and Skiles. Overall, that is the cream of the crop of NBA coaches (OK, not Skiles and Washington fans would laugh at Wittman). Is it any coincidence their teams lead the league in A/TO ratio? I don't think so.
You will find those same names on the list of top 10 Def. Eff.
Popovich, Budenholzer, Vogel, Kerr, Stevens, Rivers, Spoelstra, Snyder, Clifford, Lue. (7 out of 10 are the same and the three new ones who pop up aren't slouches)
Now, let's look at the teams with the most 3 pt. attempts.
Kerr, Bickerstaff, Lue, Clifford, Carlisle, Stotts, Budenholzer, Brown (PHI), Rivers, and Van Gundy. (6 out of 10 the same)
We can see that more attempts do not equal more wins. It depends on who's shooting...
Quite a few of these teams sport quality percentages and that is where the wins come in. (Note that most of those teams also sport strong defensive mentalities) Yet, Chicago, New Orleans, and Sacramento were all top 10 3pt% teams....not so much with the winning.
I guess the point I am belaboring here is that we can't just roll out a bunch of 3 pt marksmen, jack threes all game long and expect anything better than a one-and-done playoff showing. If only it were that simple...