Monday, June 7, 2010

Stepping Up

Caron Butler's team only lasted one round in the NBA Playoffs, but he did his part at the offensive end. Butler increased his points per 48 minutes figure by 7.2 - from 20.8 in the regular season to 28.0 in the postseason - to top all NBA players (through June 7, minimum: 150 playoff minutes).

Paul Millsap came next at 6.6 more points per 48 minutes, followed by Luc Richard Mbah a Moute (+5.6), Jameer Nelson (+5.5), Russell Westbrook (+5.3), Deron Williams (+5.0), Jason Richardson (+4.5), Goran Dragic (+3.6), Derrick Rose (+3.3), and Dwyane Wade (+2.8).

Among players who have drawn the media spotlight this postseason, Kobe Bryant (+2.1) had the 12th-greatest increase and Rajon Rondo (1.4) placed 16th. Ray Allen has actually scored slightly less per 48 minutes (-0.3). LeBron James saw a drop of 3.4 points, but had still posted the playoffs' fourth-highest points per 48 minutes figure (33.4).

Surprisingly, neither NBA Finals participant had a player in the top 10. The Lakers had two more players - Derek Fisher and Pau Gasol - join Bryant in the top 20. Rondo was the sole member of the Celtics in the top 20.

One key point to make is that most players see their scoring rate dip in the playoffs, mainly because the pace slows. Among the 94 players to see at least 150 playoff minutes, only 32 increased their points per 48 figures.

After the NBA Finals, we will examine points per possession, which adjusts for differences in game pace. We will also analyze advanced metrics to demonstrate who stepped up their all-around game in the playoffs.

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