best counter

Your Ad Here
Just The Sports: Eastern Conference Playoff Breakdown (Detroit vs. Miami)

Just The Sports

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Eastern Conference Playoff Breakdown (Detroit vs. Miami)

A brief playoff prediction recap. I went 4 for 4 in my conference semifinal predictions, bringing my playoff predictions to a sparkling 11-1. Now I will type the rest of this breakdown with one hand since I tore my rotator cuff while patting myself on the back.

Detroit (1) vs. Miami (2)

While Miami won a relatively easy series against the overrated New Jersey Nets, the Detroit Pistons struggled against a team in the Cleveland Cavaliers they should have been able to dispatch with ease, giving rise to an important distinction between the playoffs and the regular season (and perhaps calling into question the way I do this breakdown). Unlike in the regular season where teams face a new opponent every couple of days, a seven-game playoff series allows teams to focus solely on the offensive and defensive habits of their opponents. Not only does facing the same team repeatedly give an advantage to the better team, but it is also benefits the team with the better coach. The more Detroit struggled against Cleveland and the more Flip Saunders refused to make adjustments, the more apparent it became there was a reason why his Minnesota teams struggled to make it out of the first round all thos years.

However, it remains to be seen whether the fact Pat Riley is a better coach than Flip Saunders will be the difference in who wins this series. Or if one team has enough of an advantage over the other that the coaching will be rendered a moot point. Let's see if one does.

Detroit Offense: 111 points per 100 possessions
Miami Defense: 105 points per 100 possessions

Miami Offense: 109 points per 100 possessions
Detroit Defense: 103 points per 100 possessions

The Detroit Pistons have a significant edge over the Miami Heat in terms of efficiency of play. This should come as no surprise that the team that led the NBA in wins also ranks among the top when it comes down to avoiding wasted possessions.

Still, just knowing how efficiently a team plays does not provide us with enough information to be able to predict which team will win so let's look at where each time likes to score and where they hate to play defense.

Detroit Jump Shot Offense: 52.1 points
Miami Jump Shot Defense: 47.4 points

Detroit Close Offense: 17.5 points
Miami Close Defense: 20.2 points

Detroit Dunk Offense: 8.5 points
Miami Dunk Defense: 7.3 points

Detroit Tip Offense: 1.6 points
Miami Tip Defense: 1.1 points

By now, it is no secret how porous Miami's perimeter defense is, but people may not realize just how well Detroit's offense matches up against Miami's defense. Detroit's offensive strength happens to be where Miami's defensive weakness is and vice versa. In other words, it is imperative the Heat make enough defensive adjustments to reduce Saunders's brilliant offensive schemes to those of mere mortals. Or they could just copy what Cleveland did to the Pistons.

Miami Jump Shot Offense: 40.9 points
Detroit Jump Shot Defense: 39.7 points

Miami Close Offense: 25.9 points
Detroit Close Offense: 26.3 points

Miami Dunk Offense: 12.2 points
Detroit Dunk Offense: 7.5 points

Miami Tip Offense: 1.3 points
Detroit Tip Offense: 1.7 points

The only disparity in this match-up comes in terms of how many dunks Miami scores and how many Detroit allows. Therefore, establishing their big men early and late, whether it be Shaquille O'Neal or Alonzo Mourning, is necessary to Miami's success in this series. Also important will be making sure Dwyane Wade has a clear driving lane to the basket where he can finish with some of his patented thunderous dunks, and hopefully avoid injury in the process.

As important as how a team scores is how much production a team can get from each of the five position. To gauge how the teams will be producing, I will be using net PER, a statistic developed by John Hollinger.

Point Guard: With the likes of over-the-hill Gary Payton and spectacular-but-inconsistent Jason Williams, it is no surprise that Detroit has the advantage when it comes to production from this position. And it certainly does not hurt the Pistons having the best point guard on their team. Advantage: Detroit (+9.2 to -2.4)

Shooting Guard: From this position, Detroit barely gets more than their opponents get from their shooting guards. It certainly calls into question whether or not Richard Hamilton is overrated as a complete player. Dwyane Wade is not overrated though. Advantage: Miami (+7.7 to +0.2)

Small Forward: Detroit also has an edge over Miami in terms of small forward production, thanks in large part to Tayshaun Prince. Advantage: Detroit (+2.7 to -5.0)

Power Forward: Neither team has power forwards worth writing home about, but Detroit gets more production from their power forwards than does Miami. Advantage: Detroit (+1.1 to -0.6)

Center: When your center contributes very little offensively, like Detroit's Ben Wallace, and you are matched up against a team which sports Shaquille O'Neal and Alonzo Mourning, don't expect to win the position production battle. Advantage: Miami (+9.0 to +2.3)

Overall PER: Detroit has a clear advantage as Miami cannot count on consistent contributions from three of the five positions.

Prediction: Detroit has an advantage over Miami in terms of playing efficiency and net PER. Miami can win the low-post battle if they are able to establish their big men early and keep them out of foul trouble, but they will not win the war. Detroit wins this series in seven games.


Post a Comment

<< Home