Congratulations to St. Joseph for making the playoffs. AP and Mr. Nate did a fine job assembling their roster and it’s going to be fun battling against them in round 1.
C – Bosh vs. Perkins (guarded by Kris Humphries)
Bosh is the #1 option of these teams. In his last season with the Raptors he averaged 24ppg on 59% TS%. He’s a talented scorer in his prime who can score from anywhere on the floor. He’ll be starting at center against Kendrick Perkins. Perkins is traditional role playing center with limited offensive game who can body low post players. This would work well if Bosh was a traditional 5 but he’s not. He can pull Perkins away from the basket in PnR situations and with his mid-range game. Bosh was #22 in the NBA last season in isolation. This is a bad matchup for St. Joes. It exploits Perkins weaknesses without giving any of his strengths. Plus it allows Bosh to slide over and guard LMA because Humphries (a below average defender) can easily handle Perkins and his low 5.1ppg average. Perkins brings nothing to the table offensively and is too slow to guard Bosh. This is a huge advantage for my franchise player.
PF – Kris Humphries vs. Lamarcus Aldridge (guarded by Chris Bosh)
Look, I understand why people dislike Humphries but he definitely brings things to the table that can help Winterfell in this matchup. Bosh will be guarding Aldridge. Bosh took his defense to another level this season holding opponents to a mere 37% from the field (only 30% in iso!). He was also 9th best overall in defending the PnR. With Bosh matching up against Aldridge it was important to me to get a top rebounder and Humphries was top 5 in the NBA in overall rebounding. He broke out last season asa 14-11 player and can keep Perkins off the boards and help push the tempo with outlet passes. That being said LMA is extremely talented and has a clear advantage here.
Advantage: St. Joseph
SF – Ronnie Brewer vs. Shane Battier (guarded by James Harden)
Battier’s career is in a sharp decline. It’s the truth. He’s had his two lowest efficiency seasons of his career these past two years. Ronnie Brewer outscored Battier last season. Shot a higher percentage from the field. Brewer is now the better defender. In fact there were 110 players separating Brewer and Battier in opponent PPP last season. Offensively neither player will make the difference in this series but I do believe having the superior defensive player will pay off dividends in our next matchup.
SG – James Harden vs. Joe Johnson (guarded by Ronnie Brewer)
James Harden – 17ppg / 4rpg / 4apg / 1spg on 49/39/84 for a TS% of 66% (one of the most efficient seasons for a guard in NBA History) – PER 21.1 / 9.3 win shares / .230 win shares per 48
Joe Johnson – 19ppg / 4rpg / 4apg / 1spg on 45/39/84 for TS% of 56% - PER 18.4 / 6.4 win shares / .145 win shares per 48
Here’s something you might not know. Any questions you may have about Harden’s playoff performance should be offset by the fact that no top 30 player in the NBA has been as bad as Joe Johnson in the playoffs. Every year. Even with his sub-par Finals, Harden still averaged 17ppg on 61%TS% for the playoffs. Johnson meanwhile had an abysmal 11.7 PER / 46%TS and a NEGATIVE – 0.2 offensive win shares. For his career, Johnson has a sub 50% TS% and .037 win shares per 48.
PG – Jameer Nelson vs. Mario Chalmers
Jameer Nelson – 12ppg / 6apg / 3rpg on 38% from 3pt
Mario Chalmers – 10ppg / 3.5apg / 3rpg on 39% from 3pt
Jameer is the better playmaker and has a lower turnover rate. Chalmers is the better defender. They are about even on perimeter shooting. Similar to SF, I don’t see either player swinging this series. Both will chip in some scoring and space the floor.
Bench – Cole/Raja/Sjax/Psycho T/Haywood/Kwame vs. Maynor/Barbosa/Barnes/Blair/Okur
St. Joseph has an advantage in the backcourt and Winterfell has an advantage in the frontcourt. I believe Sjax/Haywood/Barbosa are the only 3 players who could end up playing big minutes and make a difference in this series and we have two of those players. Even I won't pretend it's an edge worth giving myself
At the end of the day there are 3 simple reasons that Winterfell would win this matchup:
1. St. Joe’s is starting 3 players that scored less than 10ppg last season. Battier and Perkins are particularly limited offensively. Battier averaged 4.8 ppg and Perkins averaged 5.1 ppg. This allows me to focus my defense on stopping his only 2 threats.
2. Both LMA and Joe Johnson have shockingly poor post-season resumes. Aldridge has never won a playoff series or had a series with a TS% over 52%. His career win shares per 48 is 0.062.
3. His two best defenders are both poor matches against my top two scorers. Perkins’s strength is not guarding athletic bigs like Bosh on the perimeter and off the dribble. Battier has lost a step and would be exploited by the emerging James Harden.
We believe St. Joseph has a good team but that Winterfell is a bad first round matchup for them and deserves to advance. Thank you for taking the time to read this.