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Preseason Statistical Wrap Up

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This is entirely meaningless.

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Team Stats

Unfortunately NBA.com is not compiling team wide statistics. However, diving through the box scores with a little bit of effort on Microsoft Excel and basic math can lead you to rough approximations of advanced statistics rather quickly.

Rather than go possession-by-possession through the play-by-play (which for preseason games may not be entirely accurate) I did the quick and dirty way. FTA * 0.44 + FGA + TO - OREB. I came up with just over 1338 total preseason possessions this way. Secondly I assumed that both the Pelicans and their opponents had an equal number of possessions, this might be off a possession or two each game, but generally the number is pretty accurate to use.

Basic Stats

FG% 3PT% 3PTA/G FTA/G REB/G TO/G PF/G PTS/G
Pelicans 43.9% 36.5% 23.9 26.4 45.6 16.3 24.3 98.1
Opponent 42.1% 28.1% 17.3 25.9 42.6 17.1 23.3 89.4

Caveats galore as we begin. A number of teams rested their starters when playing the Pelicans. James Harden, Dwight Howard, and Jason Terry did not play for the Houston Rockets on October 14th. The same is true for Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka on October 16th, John Wall and Paul Pierce on October 20th, and the entire projected starting lineup for the Dallas Mavericks on October 23rd. In addition both Kevin Durant and Bradley Beal were unavailable due to injuries.

That's a lot of offensive firepower the Pelicans missed thanks to differing approaches to preseason, unlucky injuries, and scheduling quirks. Houston was on the front half of a back-to-back while Oklahoma City and Dallas were both on the back half of back-to-backs. Thankfully the Pelicans did not have a single back-to-back scheduled, one of the few bright spots in an otherwise blacked out preseason slate.

There is also this to consider; the Pelicans played every single game against a playoff team last season. The defense is not going to be quite that good but it is notably improved from last preseason.

Quick and Dirty Advanced Stats

Pace ORtg DRtg
95.57 102.7 93.6

Four Factors

eFG% FTaR TO Ratio Reb%
Offense 49.46% 0.335 15.23% 26.62%
Defense 45.19% 0.328 15.99% 74.38%

It is important to put this group of statistics in some kind of context. Luckily, Nylon Calculus did just that with this piece on winning thresholds. On offense the Pelicans clear the winning threshold for eFG% (49.2), FTaR (0.218), and OReb% (22.85%). It is interesting (and instructive) that both the free throw attempt rate and offensive rebound rates are relatively low. It is much more important to avoid fouling and collect defensive rebounds than it is to get to the line and collect offensive rebounds.

Defensively the story is quite good as well;  the Pelicans check the box in eFG%, Turnover Ratio, and Defensive Rebounding percentage. The free throw attempt rate allowed jumps off the page though. Fouling is a problem with the Pelicans; as you will see this is much more a concern of the reserves (who will play limited minutes) than the starters (plus Ryan Anderson, whom we should consider a starter regardless considering his minutes load).

Player Stats

MIN FG% 3PT% FT% REB/36 AST/36 BLK/36 STL/36 PF/36 TO/36 PTS/36
Rivers 182 38.3% 22.2% 67.9% 4.9 4.9 0.2 1.2 3.8 2.0 11.3
Davis 161 58.3% 0.0% 77.4% 10.7 1.6 2.9 1.3 1.3 0.9 24.1
Anderson 154 44.0% 38.5% 81.3% 8.2 1.4 0.5 0.7 3.3 2.3 22.0
Holiday 147 38.9% 30.8% 91.7% 3.2 4.9 0.7 2.2 2.7 2.7 14.0
Asik 136 44.4% 0.0% 61.5% 14.6 2.4 1.3 0.3 3.2 4.0 8.5
Gordon 133 32.1% 29.2% 88.9% 4.1 4.1 0.3 0.5 3.2 2.4 16.5
Miller 133 40.6% 26.7% 100.0% 2.2 2.2 0.0 1.4 4.9 1.1 8.7
Fredette 128 48.0% 50.0% 68.8% 3.1 3.4 0.3 1.4 1.7 2.3 20.0
Babbitt 100 40.6% 45.8% 100.0% 5.8 1.1 0.4 0.4 3.6 0.7 14.0
Salmons 80 21.4% 50.0% N/A 4.1 2.3 0.5 1.8 2.7 2.7 4.1
Evans 63 40.0% 20.0% 81.3% 9.1 9.1 0.6 3.4 4.0 4.6 19.4
Ajinca 54 90.9% N/A 66.7% 12.7 1.3 4.7 0.0 8.7 3.3 16.0

Anthony Davis is going to be amazing this year. I do not think it is possible for us at The Bird Writes to convey that fact too frequently. His FG% is unlikely to remain that high, but I expect his usage to increase from last year, putting 24+ points per game easily within reach.

Ryan Anderson has returned much closer to form than the Pelicans could have possibly hoped. His per/36 numbers from the preseason eerily match his career numbers. His presence has been a boon to the Pelicans dramatically increasing their three point attempts.

Babbitt continues to make the strongest case for minutes at small forward in the "Not Tyreke" division. Not only is he scoring and rebounding at the highest rate, he is doubling both Salmons and Miller in three point attempts per 36 minutes.

The expected backcourt rotation has had an extremely rough go of things. Jrue Holiday, Eric Gordon, and Austin Rivers have languished below 40% from the field. Some of that is due to performing well below their career numbers behind the three point line. Turnovers are also rather high from the group although Rivers should be quite happy with his assist-to-turnover ratio as well as his production on the glass.

John Salmons and Darius Miller have struggled mightily. Salmons has yet to make a shot inside the arc, going 0-8. While Omer Asik can be a productive player without scoring frequently (see his 14.6 rebounds!) whomever gets the limited minutes available on the wing has to provide at least a credible threat to score the basketball.

Jimmer Fredette has been more or less exactly what was expected. He has been knocking down his shot attempts while being an absolute sieve on defense. Measuring his defensive effectiveness is notably difficult; especially considering the limited volume of data, the reserves Fredette has logged time with, and the relative quality of opponents he has been tasked with defending.

It has grown obvious in the past two games that Monty Williams intends to have Rivers in the rotation to begin the season while Fredette remains on the bench. Monty himself mentioned a desire to tighten up the rotation going into the season. Anyone who has been a fan of this franchise recently could have predicted this decision easily. When given the choice of offense or defense Monty Williams is going to pick defense. Unsurprisingly that has already led to some backlash around the internet.

One last point, oh my goodness Alexis Ajinca dial the fouling back. It continues to be my hope that Monty will play largely three big men in most games. Anthony Davis, Ryan Anderson, and Omer Asik are that good and each playing their natural load of minutes accounts for all 96 available. As if we needed more reason to support that position Ajinca is fouling anything that moves. Jeff Withey (7.7 fouls/36) and Patric Young (6.5 fouls/36) have not been much of an improvement.