The results of my research on this question surprised even me. I had to leave my pro-Celtics bias behind and look at the NBA's Advanced Statistics. I set the filters to view stats for guards from the Eastern Conference who have played in at least 14 games at an average of at least 28 MPG. I then looked at Defensive Ratings, Offensive Ratings and Net Ratings. In Net Ratings, guess who the top three Eastern guards were? Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart and Kyrie Irving, in that order. The top three are all Celtics.

By the way, the top three for Defensive Rating are the same trio but in a different order, Smart (first) - Brown - Irving. Where is Cleveland? Even with Lebron James listed as a guard, they are out of the running. Toronto? Same thing. Indiana? Nope.

Going by the Net Ratings, the Washington Wizards (John Wall and Bradley Beal) and the Philadelphia 76'ers (Ben Simmons and J.J. Reddick) are tied for second place. The Charlotte Hornets with Kemba Walker and Jeremy Lamb come in third. The Indiana Pacers with Darren Collison and Victor Oladipo are fourth.

I was originally planning to only view the two starting guards for each team, but I quickly found Marcus Smart right in the thick of things, right where he is usually found during games. Speaking of Marcus, the Celtics trio got very high Net Ratings, in large part, because of their terrific Defensive Numbers. If the trio improves their scoring efficiency and production, they would be off the charts and far ahead of everybody else.

These are only numbers, but they can not be ignored. Honestly, I was pleasantly surprised. Great ammunition for the Marcus Smart supporters. And who thought Kyrie Irving would be third among Eastern guards in Defensive Rating.

And how about Jaylen Brown improving so rapidly? Finally, how do Kyrie Irving and Lebron James compare? Lebron has a Defensive Rating of 111.5 compared to 98.2 for Kyrie. Of the 17 players researched, the sole Defensive Rating lower than Lebron's is that of his back court mate, J. R. Smith. The King has a Net Rating of 0.5 compared to Kyrie at 8.5. Looks like Irving doesn't need that Lebron umbrella to succeed.

Follow Tom at @TomLaneHC

Top photo via Adam Gianzman/Getty Images
Bottom photo via Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images

Tom Lane 11/27/2017 11:50:00 AM Edit
« Prev Post Next Post »

Recent Posts

comments powered by Disqus