We would like to congratulate Springfield on reaching the playoffs in the Eastern Conference. With that being said, we would like to point out why Bondi Beach would be victorious in this playoff series.
PG: Kyrie Irving v. Courtney Lee: We were very pleased to see that in this series that Irving was going to have the privilege of going up against a team that had no answer for his talents. Courtney Lee last year was remained a reliable two way player but often gets mislabelled as being a good defender. Last year Lee was just average defensively. He yielded 0.88 PPP overall which placed him amongst the bottom half of the league. This is great news for Irving who was one of the league’s best offensive players. Last year Irving was sensational in isolation plays scoring 1.01 PPP putting him in the top 10 in that statistic. Irving was also a terrific spot up shooter and ran the pick and roll extremely well. Where we feel we can abuse Lee is on pick and roll plays and in Isolation; two areas where he has had difficulty. Last year Lee gave up 0.99 PPP on Isolation plays which put him amongst the bottom half of the league and he struggled guarding the pick and roll when he gave up 0.87 PPP. We plan to create many opportunities for isolation with Irving who is much too quick for Lee to handle. Irving also has the benefit of being a terrific shooter from the outside connecting on 39% of his three pointers. This is another dimension of his game that Lee has to contend with and when he attempts to guard Irving too close, Irving has the speed and quickness to get by him. Finally perhaps Irving most incredible statistic from last season was that he was the number 1 ranked clutch player in the final 5 minutes of a game. Yes even better than Durant, Lebron, Wade, Kobe etc. Irving was simply sensational in the final few minutes when he scored 56.4 PPG which is based off Production per 48 Minutes of Clutch Time. How is Lee expected to stop one of the league’s most clutch players when they simply have no answer for him defensively? This is a huge advantage for us.
Thabo Sefolosha v. Steve Nash: In this series, we will be putting our defensive ace Thabo Sefolosha on Steve Nash. For his entire career, Thabo has been labelled a shutdown defender. He uses his combination of size and speed to stay in front of quick and agile guards. While Nash has continued to be a very effective player on the court offensively, he has begun to regress in his ability to put the ball in the net. He remains a very efficient player but is coming off a campaign where his scoring was at a 10 year low (12.5 ppg) and played a 10 year low of 31 minutes per contest. Can Nash be counted on to score 18 points per game or more in a series? I use 18 points per game because that is what it will likely take form him to give Springfield any change of competing in this series because they do not have a number 1 option. Even if Nash could score an unreal number in this series, he has to do it against Thabo which in itself is a monumental request. Last year Nash ran over 60% of his offensive plays through pick and roll. Lucky for us, Thabo was one of the league’s best defending the pick and roll only yielding 0.64 PPP which put him 25th overall in the league. On offense Thabo connected on over 40% of his three point attempts as we see him having the green light to shoot from the corner when the double comes against Zach Randolph. We do not need to lean on Thabo at all on offense which allows him to focus on his defensive assignment and make Nash’s life a nightmare. No matter who Nash ends up guarding in this series, that player will put up some big numbers considering Nash’s inability to defend even a broken chair on the perimeter.
Mike Dunleavy v. Brandon Rush: Arguably each teams least attractive starters going head to head in this match up. Last year bot players post great numbers from the outside. Both players were very efficient and posted nearly identical defensive numbers according to Synergy. The one advantage Dunleavy has is his size. Dunleavy stands at 6’9 and has a significant advantage over the smaller Rush. Last year Rush was at his best defending the shooting guard position but got exposed when he was asked to guard bigger three’s. In their one contest against each other last year, Dunleavy torched Rush. He scored 24 points in only 19 minutes while shooting 87% from the field in just 19 minutes. Rush on the other hand played 36 minutes but was able to only muster a measly 10 points. One final stat to leave you with was Dunleavy’s defensive play last year. Opposing small forwards had just a 10.1 PER against him according to 82games.com and the Bucks gave up 5.6 fewer points per 100 possessions with him on the floor. We feel even this match-up is an advantage for us.
Zach Randolph v. Kenneth Faried: We feel this is perhaps the most one sided match up in the series. ZBO will have the luxury of going up against an inept defensive PF in Faried. Last year Faried was pretty bad defensively giving up 0.93 PPP putting him 370th in the league. Even if Springfield opts to put KG on Zbo, it really does not change anything because Gortat will have just as easy of a time scoring on Faired. Either way it’s a win-win. Last year ZBO played hurt and it showed but with time off to heal his injury, returning to his usual 20 and 10 stat line is not anywhere out of the question. Even with ZBO’s off year, he still managed to be very strong in the post as he finished in the top 40 in post-up plays. He remains a terrific rebounder finishing in the top 5 at his position. We feel this is the match up that put us way over the top against Springfield.
Marcin Gortat v. Kevin Garnett: We are excited that we have a capable and strong center to go against KG. Gortat is coming off a great year last season when he posted career highs in points and rebounds. Gortat was one of the leagues most efficient and improved post scorers last year as evidence by his 1.05 PPP. Gortat excels in the pick and roll game and like he had in Phoenix with Nash, He has a PG in Ivring that excels in this area. Gortat will pull KG away from the basket with the pick and roll and allow ZBO to go to work. Gortat also posted similar defensive synergy numbers to KG showing Gortat’s improvement defensively last season. We feel that between Gortat and ZBO we have a huge edge down low in this series and no matter who KG guards defensively, one of our bigs will have a huge series against Faried.
Bench: We love our bench. We have a great sixth man in Redick who back-ups Thabo (similar situation to Thabo’s real life situation in OKC). Redick was simply fantastic last season on offense. He shot 41.8 percent on 3s and as Per Hollinger he actually became a great ball handler as well.” At this point he's almost a point guard, ranking fifth among shooting guards in pure point rating while sporting one of the lowest turnover rates at his position”. We feel that overall our bench is stronger 1-5 and Redick is the major difference on the bench that Springfield simply can’t match.
In the end we feel that Spingfield does not have a strong enough of a defensive team outside of KG to stop the offensive fire power of ZBO, Irving, Gortat and even Redick. Also who is expected to score for Springfield in this series? KG scored only 15 PPG last regualr season and yes he upped his production in the playoffs but he does not have Rondo or Pierce in this series to help him. He will be leaned on heavily with this current roster offensively which should help tire him out and make him less effective on the defensive end. Bondi Beach in six games.