Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Cavs-Spurs, Game 4 Scouting Report: 2007 Cavs vs. 1991 Bulls

I'll be rolling out some interesting interviews over the next week, so check in. But first, an interesting observation for you (click for larger photo)

I realize this series is over for most people, but I wanted to defend the Cavs against the charge that they are one of the worst teams to ever make the Finals. I'll compare them to...the 1991 Bulls. Check the data for yourself here: Bulls and Cavs.

Top Players
Michael Jordan (30.1 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 6.1 apg), Scottie Pippen (21.0, 7.7, 7.0) vs.
Lebron James (27.3, 6.7, 6), Larry Hughes (14.9, 3.8, 3.7). Clearly, the Bulls have the edge here, although Lebron is closer to MJ, already, than you think. The shocking stat for me is how little Larry Hughes contributes in terms of steals and blocks.
Edge: Bulls

Supporting Cast
Horace Grant (14.2, 10.0), Bill Cartwright (8.0,5.1), BJ Armstong (9.9, 3.2) vs. Sasha Pavlovic (9.0, 2.4), Drew Gooden (11.1,8.5), Zydrunas Ilguskas (11.9,7.7). Here, I think the Cavs at least draw even. BJ is slightly better than Sasha statistically, but Sasha has a height advantage on him. This was before Chicago had big guards; I think the Cavs would have a decent edge on that. Z is much better than Cartwright. Horace is better than Drew. As well, the Cavs have two half-decent scorers to the Bulls one scorer.
Edge: Cavs

Paxson (who was a starter, but I'm putting him on the bench for the sake of comparison) and Stacey King are the Bulls' first two players off the bench. Except for Paxson, no one on the Bulls bench would go on to have any additional play-off succes. The Cavs, on the other hand, actually have some play-off veterans (Eric Snow) and young talent (Anderson Varajeo, Daniel Gibson) on their bench.
Edge: Cavs

In a matchup of 2-year coaches, Phil Jackson is shrewd enough to surround himself with veteran coaches (such as Tex Winter) while Mike Brown has few veteran coaches on staff.
Edge: Bulls

I believe the Bulls would win if they have home-court, but I just wanted to point out that even the 1991 Bulls may not be better than this Cavs team. Don't let the injury to Larry Hughes fool you. This is not in the top half of Finals teams, but look at some of the teams that have made it before. 2002 Nets? 2000 Pacers? You can't tell me that the Cavs aren't close to that level of talent.

1 comment:

  1. Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! This wouldn't even be a series. The thing about using the statistics as an estimator is that they are not a true indicator of each team. So, I'll break it down for you. First, the Cavs have no one, no one to guard MJ. He'd go off on one of his 45ppg for the series binges. With Pip the Bulls could guard LeBron straight up and give up 20-25ppg. Horace and Cart would put the hurtin' on Gooden and Z (as evidenced by Z's lack of existence in the Finals). The benches wouldn't even matter. Bulls in 4, maybe 5. Hughes gets all those steals because he cheats into the passing lanes. While it works 2-3 times a game, look at the points his opponent scores (not pretty). On top of it all, the Bulls played as a team because their offense necessitated it, as did their defense. This was the beginning of their 'doberman roaming' type defense and without a point guard, the Cavs would struggle to get the ball up court. If memory serves me correctly, I believe BJ was still coming off the bench at this time, too which would negate the Boobie effect. The Bulls bench filled their roles much better than people out of Chicago realize. Craig Hodges hit the jumpers (he was 3 pt champ), Hopson brought athleticism, Perdue brought size, Levingston brought energy, Williams brought rookie brashness and King was the ballhog of the 2nd unit they needed. It was really quite a mishmash of players.