The NBA preseason is what it is. It’s slightly more meaningful than the NFL preseason, and slightly less meaningful than whether or not Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow. That doesn’t mean that we can’t throw out some numbers to provide some things to watch when the games actually count.
3 – 4
The Pacers record during the preseason might be the biggest foreshadowing for the season. It extrapolates to 35 wins over an 82-game season, and that sounds about right to me.
This is the opponents’ field goal percentage for the preseason, which was 8th out of 30 teams. This is a point of emphasis for Coach O’Brien, whose pace of play makes the points allowed stat somewhat misleading. This is about two full percentage points below the league average.
The Pacers allowed almost 4 fewer points per 100 during the preseason. Despite this and the OppFG% figures, Jim O’Brien was still unsatisfied with the teams’ defensive performance, explaining it away as the defenses being ahead of the offenses early. It seems that there’s good reason, because:
Despite the improvement over last year, the Pacers defensive rating ranked 24th in the preseason. The average points per 100 possessions during the preseason were about 103, compared to 108 for the 2009 regular season.
The Pacers offensive output per 100 possessions was horrendous. In their four losses, Indiana averaged less than 94 points per 100 and shot a paltry 41% from the floor.
That would be the number of free throws per game shot by Pacer opponents. The league average was 31, and nobody else had more than 39.
Points the Pacers were outscored by at the free throw line. They were only outscored by 28 points overall.
27.7 & .335
The number of three-point attempts per game in the preseason and the success rate (or lack thereof). This is almost 7 more attempts per game than last season, but almost 4 full percentage points lower.
Portion of Danny Granger’s field goal attempts taken from beyond the arc. That’s too high.
7.7 vs. 8.2
Solomon Jones’ rebounds per 36 minutes as compared to his personal fouls per 36 minutes. That’s not real encouraging.
Number of minutes per night that T-Murda (Troy Murphy) needed to average 12.7 points an 9.7 rebounds. Only shot 38% from three, though. Slacker.
Fouls per 36 minutes committed by Roy Hibbert, which sounds ugly until you compare it to his 7.7 pace last year. Somewhat more encouraging is that he did it with replacement refs that were calling almost 25% more fouls per game than were whistled last season. This is important, because …
13.6, 5.4, 3.6 & 24
Roy’s points, rebounds, blocks and minutes per night in the preseason. If he can do this when it matters, well, boys and girls, we have ourselves a center.
1.4 to 1
TJ Ford’s shot-to-assist ratio, which is down about 40% from last season. He did struggle with turnovers (4 per game), but it does look like he’s at least trying to heed O’Brien’s call for him to give up the ball.
4.1 to 1
AJ Price’s shot-to-assist ratio. The rookie second rounder spent much of the preseason looking more like an undersized ’2′ than any possible future answer at the point.
The number of games missed by each of Jeff Foster and Luther Head due to lingering injuries.
This could mean a lot of things. It could mean the number of wins the impressive victories against Denver and Houston will net us in the regular season. It could represent the number of losses that will result from the ugly defeats to Denver and Orlando.
However, the most meaningful thing related to zero to come out of the preseason for the Pacers is this: number of games played by Mike Dunleavy and first-round draft pick Tyler Hansbrough.
It’s neck and neck as to whether the Pacers’ preseason performance will tell us more about the upcoming season than this fella could.
Topics: Stat Talk