In part one, we discussed how the Bucks won a ring with the worst playoff 3pt% differential of any champ in the past 10 seasons. This conversation got me thinking about a couple of things. What differentials are the most closely related to winning, and did they Buck in any other trends?
So I am going to list the 10 most common differentials from least important to winning to most and compare how the Bucks did in each category.
Net 3pa- playoff teams won 47% of the time when they took more 3 pointers than their opponent.
This does not mean taking 3's is bad, or you should take less. But as Oldresorter has pointed out in the past, maybe the trend of more 3's per game is slowly coming to an end.
But how about the Bucks and let it fly? Well of course they Buck the trend. They were 11-3 (79 win%) with a net positive 3pa and 5-4 with a negative diff. I guess when you have a Giannis, spreading the floor matters. It seems if they take more 3's than the bad guys, good things happen.
Net Offensive Rebounds- 51 win%
If a stat has a 50/50 relationship to winning, it is almost the definition of unimportant. Well guess what? Bud says Buck You. The good guys had a 14-6 record when they out gritted the others on the offensive boards. I guess when you have one of the greatest transition defenders of all time, taking the risk of crashing the boards does not seem like that big of a deal.
I guess Bud believes extra possessions matter and it probably saved the season.
Net Blocks- 57 win%
I find it interesting that blk% diff is so low, because you will find out later that 2pt% is ranked high. But once again, the Bucks excel at a seemingly unimportant stat with a 8-4 record with a positive net of blocks. How about some video evidence link that blocks are important.
Net Free Throw Attempts- 60 win%
This was one of the most important playoff stats for the Bucks. They were 12-4 with more free throws and only 4-3 with fewer. As a biased fan, I never think we get enough free trips to the line. Another underrated aspect of Bud's teams is that they stress not giving up trips to the charity line.
Net 3pt%- 64 win%
A few years ago, Stone Age coined this the RJ Law. If the Bucks win 3pt% diff, they win and if they do not, they still win 50% of the time.
Well they did go 7-2 with a positive 3pt% diff. Those two loses had special circumstances. Game 5 against the Nets, the Nets with Durant's 49 points only missed 2 shots from inside the arc in the second half and Game 1 against the Suns with Giannis playing on one leg.
And as predicted by RJ Law, the Bucks did go 5-4 with a negative 3pt% net.
Net Steals and Net Turnovers Created- 66 win%
There are 4 ways to win a NBA game. More 3 pointers, 2 pointers, free throws, or extra possessions. The Bucks were 9-3 with more steals (thank you Jrue) and 10-2 when they had fewer turnovers. Eliminating empty possessions effects the bottom line.
Net Assists- 72 win%
At first glance, net assists being so important kind of surprised me. But the Bucks did seem to play better with more passing and less iso. They were almost unbeatable with a positive assist diff with a12-2 record. 4-5 when they did not.
One advantage with a switch heavy defense is that it can trick your opponent into more iso's.
Net 2pt%- 73 win%
Playoff basketball is still about dominating the paint or having really efficient mid-range shooters (Jordan, Durant, Khash). Khash Money
The Bucks had a 13-2 record with a better 2pt% net. It is what they do.
Net TS%- 86 win%
The Bucks playoff season was saved by being able to Buck this trend. In theory, if you have a negative TS% diff, you should only win 14% of the time. Yet the Bucks were the only playoff team to do it 3 times (3-7). By doubling the expected win%, they can now call themselves World Champions.
By clawing for extra rebounds, getting steals, and taking care of the ball while avoiding those empty possessions, they did just enough to get to the promised land.
Blue collar grinders, will be forever remembered as the team that did it in 6.