Making it Rain (on the Hornets)
I finally sat down to make some fancy pictures from the last 10 games, a stretch that began after 12/29 producing a 1-9 record and some
The first chart shows the defensive ratings for all 30 NBA teams prior to 12/29 (vertical axis) and after 12/29 (horizontal axis). Charlotte is a pretty big outlier shoved into the bottom right box - meaning a great DefRtg prior to the last 10 games but bad since. In fact, the Hornets 10.5 DefRtg spike is tied with the dysfunctional Suns for the league’s worst. The next worst is the comfortably coasting Warriors at 6.6 who just dismantled the Cavs.
So what happened? For that I pulled 2015-16 Sportvu data to get updated correlations with DefRtg and those are below. So for example, 3P DFG% has the highest correlation with DefRtg this season (r-squared of .38), followed by < 6ft DFG% (.35). Counter intuitively, forcing teams to shoot Mid-Range jumpers is a good thing (-.3) unless they’re raining them (.27)....which they are on the Hornets. Not groundbreaking, but preventing easy looks < 6ft and defending the 3 kinda matters.
Contrary to popular belief, Charlotte hasn’t been getting destroyed in the paint - they’ve been awesome there - but they are getting embarrassed on the perimeter. The following chart shows the 2015-16 DFG% for each team from 3P and < 6ft and I’ve separated Charlotte's performance by pre-12/29 and post-12/29 (L10). Charlotte’s prorated DFG% from < 6ft would lead the league, while their 3P DFG% is a totally flammable 42.5%.
Finally, the 2015-16 DFG% for all NBA teams on shots from 15+ feet (y-axis), and pace-adjusted 15+ DFGA (x-axis). I again separated Charlotte’s results by pre-12/29 and post-12/29….Summary: the Hornets are rolling over and often on perimeter long 2's and 3's