10 Stats to Know About the NBA Finals
The 2016-17 NBA playoffs have been rather boring.
Sure, for a hot minute, the San Antonio Spurs looked as though they could have thrown us all a monkey wrench.
We're inching toward the third consecutive NBA Finals between the Warriors and Cavs, and this time around, they've lost a combined one game since the start of the playoffs.
They have the best two net ratings in playoffs history, and their dominance has caused some seriously strong individual play to go unnoticed.
Here are 10 things you may not have known about these teams and players.
Golden State Has a Net Rating of 16.4
So, yeah, we're going to talk mostly about the actual players, but this is just case in point. The Warriors have outscored opponents by 16.4 points per 100 possessions this postseason, according to Basketball-Reference. That's the biggest gap in playoff history (since 1984, that is).
At 14.4, the Cavs have the second-best net rating in this stretch. Just 10 teams in total maintained net ratings above 10.0 throughout the playoffs. These numbers will drop as the two teams finally square off in the Finals (at least one of them will), but dang, the dominance has been absurd.
Cleveland Has an Effective Field Goal Percentage of 59.8%
Yeah, that'd be a playoff best since 1984. The Warriors' mark of 57.3% is the second-best playoff effective field goal percentage in that span. The third-best rate belongs to the 1989-90 Boston Celtics (55.8%), so these two teams have been a clear cut above the rest, particularly the sharpshooting Cavaliers.
Stephen Curry Is Averaging 39.9 Points, 7.7 Rebounds, and 7.8 Assists Per 100 Possessions
Among players with at least 200 playoff minutes (the cutoff for all of these stat lines), that's been done by just two other players since 1979-80 (the three-point era): Michael Jordan (in 1988-89, 1989-90, 1990-91, and 1992-93) and LeBron James (2008-09 and 2016-17). That dog will hunt, monsignor.
But when factoring in three-point shooting, Steph Curry is the only player to maintain that per-100-possession line and shoot at least 43.0% from deep (though LeBron is right on his heels at 42.1% this season). Still, Curry deserves some love for his postseason play.
LeBron James Is Averaging 40.1 Points, 9.9 Rebounds, and 8.6 Assists Per 100 Possessions
That's a stronger line than Curry has produced this year -- not a knock on Steph but a nod to James. Only one player has produced a line like this in a playoff before. It was James back in 2008-09, when he posted 47.5 points, 12.3 rebounds, and 9.8 assists per 100 possessions.
This time around, James has boosted his effective field goal percentage to 62.5% (it was 55.3% in 2008-09).
Draymond Green Is Averaging 19.2 Points, 12.0 Rebounds, and 9.9 Assists Per 100 Possessions
The only other players to do that are James (2008-09, 2014-15, and 2015-16), Jason Kidd (2006-07), Magic Johnson (1979-80 and 1981-82), and Rajon Rondo (2008-09).
But only Draymond Green has averaged more than 1.7 blocks per 100 possessions in addition to that line. He's produced 2.9 rejections per 100 possessions. Also, his 61.8% effective field goal percentage is the only rate better than 56.4%.
Kevin Love Is Averaging 27.0 Points and 16.3 Rebounds Per 100 Possessions
That's been done plenty of times. Tim Duncan did it six times. Charles Barkley and Shaquille O'Neal did it five times each. Dwight Howard did it four times. Moses Malone did it thrice. Even Carlos Boozer did it twice, as did Kevin Garnett and David Robinson.
But none of those guys combined such a dominant scoring and rebounding postseason with Kevin Love's three-point prowess (47.5% on 9.7 three-point attempts per 100 possessions). That conversion rate alone ranks fifth-best among players with at least 9.5 three-point attempts per 100 possessions.
Kevin Durant Has an Effective Field Goal Percentage of 61.9%
He's also recording 36.1 points, 11.2 rebounds, and 5.3 assists per 100 possessions. There are 10 other instances of a stat line like that since the 1979-80 playoffs, but just Kevin Durant has an effective field goal percentage above 60.6%. In fact, only O'Neal (right at 60.6%) is above 58.7%.
Durant's full line is impressive enough as it is, but the efficiency is unmatched. It's worth noting that Kawhi Leonard's 67.2% true shooting percentage is just a hair off of Durant's 67.3%, but Durant's play has been outstanding.
Kyrie Irving Is Shooting 90.6% From the Free Throw Line
No player since 1979-80 has produced a free-throw percentage above 90% while attempting at least 7 freebies per 100 possession and recording 35 points and 8 assists per 100.
In all, Irving is at 35.6 points and 8.1 assists. His 35.6% three-point percentage is a far cry from his 44.0% rate last year and 45.0% in 2014-15, though.
The Warriors Are 19.1 Points Better Per 100 Possessions With Klay Thompson on the Court
That ranks eighth-best since 2000-01 and is tied with James this season. The top of the leaderboard in on/off net rating is littered with 2016-17 Warriors and Cavaliers.
Klay Thompson himself has struggled (20.1 points per 100 possessions on a 45.5% effective field goal percentage and 36.4% three-point percentage), if you compare him to a mere mortal type of line. But he hasn't been a detriment to his team based on the on/off splits even while not living up to his usual line (31.6 points per 100 possessions on a 56.5% effective field goal percentage and 41.4% three-point percentage in the regular season).
Tristan Thompson Has a Usage Rate of 11.5%
No other player has produced at least 14.0 points, 14.0 rebounds, and 1.5 assists per 100 playoff possessions on a usage rate below 13.2%. Thompson is a bit of a forgotten name in such a star-studded Finals, but his rebounding, scoring efficiency, and versatile defensive ability makes him a player to watch in the Finals.