Welcome back to Dinos & Digits, a place where we dive into the box scores and find five interesting or strange Raptors statistics and put them on front street for discussion. There will be a mix of both individual player and team statistics to explore, ranging from raw box score numbers to some interesting and funky advanced metrics.
With the NBA trade deadline looming today at 3:00 p.m. Eastern, there seems to be a decent enough chance that the Raptors make a move.
They've been marked as obvious buyers for weeks now and have been linked to numerous power forwards, including Brooklyn's Thaddeus Young, New Orleans' Ryan Anderson, Denver's Kenneth Faried, Phoenix's Markieff Morris, Chicago's Taj Gibson, and the pipe-dream that is Atlanta's Al Horford (via ESPN.com).
Since there hasn't been a single Raptors game played since the last edition of this column, today, we'll take a look at some stats concerning the team's various trade targets in anticipation of today's deadline.
So, let's get down to it. Here are this week's interesting digits:
Of all the rumoured targets, Taj Gibson has the best Defensive Real Plus-Minus rating at 2.38 -- the 12th-best mark of any power forward in the NBA.
There is no universally-accepted metric for measuring true defensive impact, but DRPM is quickly becoming one of the most widely used among analytics enthusiasts.
A big part of the reason Toronto is looking to upgrade at power forward is because the frontcourt pairing of Jonas Valanciunas and Luis Scola has been suspect on the defensive end (giving up 106.1 points per 100 possessions when on the floor together).
Of the current Raptors, James Johnson ranks 41st among power forwards in DRPM at 0.80, Patrick Patterson ranks 50th at 0.58, while Scola comes in 54th with a mark of 0.51.
Of the rest of the trade targets, Thaddeus Young is 53rd with a mark of 0.52, Markieff Morris is 56th at 0.49, Kenneth Faried is 69th at 0.10, and Ryan Anderson is 94th (of 95) at -2.59. Al Horford ranks 43rd among centers at 1.22.
Ryan Anderson is easily the stretchiest stretch four of the bunch, as he's shot 38.3% from long range this season (on a whopping 5.4 attempts per contest).
Not that being a stretch four is a requisite for the starting gig in Toronto, but putting a bit of spacing next to a low-post player like Jonas Valanciunas is generally better than pairing him with another big that operates primarily in the paint.
Al Horford, whose natural position is power forward, has extended his range this year. He's hitting 34.0% from deep on a career-high 162 attempts this season, after only attempting 65 in his previous eight campaigns combined.
None of the other trade targets has attempted at least 100 threes this season and not one is hitting over 30.0% from long range.
The best rebounder of the candidates is Kenneth Faried, who leads the field in Offensive Rebound Percentage at 14.3%, Defensive Rebound Percentage at 23.1%, and (naturally) Total Rebound Percentage at 18.6%.
By comparison, the best rebounding power forward currently on the Raptors is Luis Scola, who has a split of 6.8%, 19.3%, and 13.1%, respectively.
Kenneth Faried also has the best Player Efficiency Rating (PER) of the bunch at 20.3.
The best PER among Toronto's current fours is Luis Scola's 14.5 (James Johnson's is 13.0, while Patrick Patterson's is shockingly low at 9.9).
With 15.0 considered league-average, Faried (20.3), Al Horford (19.8), Thaddeus Young (17.6), and Ryan Anderson (17.0) would all be considered upgrades by this metric. Taj Gibson, meanwhile, has a PER of 14.6 (only 0.1 above Scola), while Morris has a mark of 11.1.
The leader among the field in most other all-encompassing, one-number metrics is Al Horford, who has accumulated 6.0 Win Shares this season.
He also leads the pack in Win Shares Per 48 Minutes (.166), Box Plus/Minus (3.7), and Value Over Replacement Player (2.5).