Why now? Well, you know everyone's going to be over-analyzing the crap out of everything at the halfway point, so we're going to sneak some over-analyzing in a game early . . . in the hopes of beating everyone to the punch.
Pretty tricky, huh!?
So we did some digging and found a few mildly interesting statistics . . . to share a few interesting facts and oddities that you may not have realized, while watching the individual games.
Here we go:
#1.) The Cleveland Cavaliers are #1 in the NBA in opponents' field goal percentage. The Cavs are giving up just 43.4% shooting, on average, every night. The next four teams are: The L.A. Lakers (43.6%), Oklahoma City (43.7%), Orlando (43.8%) and Chicago (44%).
#2.) The Cavs' overall field goal percentage is 48.3%, which is fifth in the NBA . . . behind Phoenix, San Antonio, Boston and Utah (in that order). The Cav with the highest shooting percentage is: J.J. Hickson, who is hitting 53.8% of his shots. Shaquille O'Neal is second with 52.5%.
#3.) Cleveland ranks #2 in the NBA in 3-point percentage. The Cavs sink 41.3% of their 3s. Phoenix is the best shooting team from beyond the arc at 41.5%. The Cavs have three players in the NBA's Top 10 in 3-point shooting: #2 Daniel Gibson (47.7%), #3 Anthony Parker (47.5%), and #9 Mo Williams (43.8%).
#4.) The Cavaliers free throw shooting ranks 21st in the league. Mo Williams leads the team with 89.1% from the stripe. That also ties him with Dirk Nowitzki for fifth in the league. Jamario Moon is the second best foul shooter on the team (85.2%) and Delonte West is third best (84.9%).
Shaq and Anderson Varejao are still the worst free throw shooters on the team, both in results and the aesthetics of their execution. Shaq makes 51%, and Andy hits just 64.9% . . . but both their averages have increased over the past month.
#5.) Remember when the Cavs used to rank among the top offensive rebounding teams in the league? Well, they still do . . . technically . . . but now they rank 28th (or third-worst) with just 9.8 a game. [Boston, for the record, is 29th.]
That can be attributed to three things: (A) The Cavs shoot a high percentage, and therefore have less opportunities. (B) Zydrunas Ilgauskas isn't tipping balls around as much as he used to, because he doesn't play under the basket as much as he used to. And (C) The Cavs haven't been good at offensive rebounding. (That's solid blanket coverage reporting!)
#6.) But no worries, the Cavs rank second in overall rebounding differential. The Cavs out-rebound their opponents +4.3 a game. That's second only to Memphis, who holds a +5.0 edge.
#7.) The Cavs rank seventh in the league in blocks with 5.8 a game (Shaq averages 1.15 a game, Varejao gets 1.03 a game) . . . and they're 20th in the league in steals with 6.9 a game (LeBron averages 1.43 a game, and Mo is second with 1.25 a game).
#8.) According to 82games.com, the three most productive Cavs five-man units in the first part of the season are: Mo, AP, James, Varejao and Ilgauskas . . . Mo, AP, James, Hickson and Varejao . . . and Delonte, AP, James, Varejao and Ilgauskas.
Anthony Parker is in all three lineups and Shaq is in none of them. Varejao and LeBron are also in all three lineups, but that isn't surprising whatsoever.
#9.) Varejao leads the entire NBA in individual plus/minus. This season, the Cavs have outscored their opponents by a total of 349 points when Andy is on the floor. No other player has a higher mark for their team. James is #2 in the NBA with a +325.
Ladies and Gentlemen, this is your core for as long as LeBron decides to stay. Do not undervalue Varejao's importance to this team on both ends of the court, and don't forget that you're seeing him bailing out the Cavs every night when they are in desperate need of a stop or an extra possession.
That's why the Cavs signed him to a six-year, $50 million contract in the off-season.
[The Cavs have a few other players in the NBA's plus/minus Top 50: #29 AP (+155) . . . #31 Z (+149) . . . #33 Mo (+148) . . . and #48 D. West (+116).]
#10.) Do you think Daniel Gibson handles the ball a lot? When he plays, I mean. If you don't, then Varejao would have the lowest turnover average (at .8 a game) of anyone on the team (who spends a decent amount of time handling the ball). That was a little surprising to me. [Boobie had a lower average, at .5 a game, if you count him.]
LeBron leads the team with 3.5 turnovers a game, which is the highest turnover rate of his career. But he also leads the team in assists-to-turnovers ratio, at 2.22. Technically, Jawad Williams . . . who, if you haven't watched a Cavs game in the past week, is this dude . . . has a higher A/TO ratio of 2.33.
But Jawad has played in 89 minutes this season . . . and LeBron has played in 1,541. Now, I don't know what you expect from a sample size, but I'm still giving that distinction to LeBron.