[Note by your friendly BullsBlogger, 04/16/09 2:09 PM CDT: From the FanPosts, great work by YaoPau. What I like even more than the dropoff from Garnett to Powe is the even further drop from Powe to Davis/Moore. I also liked John Hollinger's take on Garnett's absence. -ed.]
The Celtics with and without Garnett this season:
Record with: 44 wins, 13 losses (.772 win%)
Record w/o: 18 wins, 7 losses (.720 win%)
Points with: 99.9ppg scored, 90.8ppg allowed (+9.1 differential)
Points w/o: 103.2ppg scored, 99.4ppg allowed (+3.8 differential)
That +3.8 differential translated to around a .630 win% this NBA season, so Boston's .720 win% without Garnett seems a bit lucky.
Assuming a consistent (90.4) pace throughout the season regardless if Garnett played or not, and also assuming an even ratio of overtime minutes with and without Garnett (because I'm too lazy to click on every game)...
Rtgs with: 109.4 ORtg and 99.4 DRtg (+10.0 differential)
Rtgs w/o: 113.0 ORtg and 108.9 DRtg (+4.1 differential)
- Several Celtics were banged up in March and April, not just Garnett. So the drastic differentials aren't all on KG. Then again, the increase in ORtg sans-Garnett makes absolutely no sense, so that +4.1 differential could be accurate or even high.
- More on that ORtg thing. If anybody has an idea why there was an increase I'd be interested to hear it (their 44.7 3PT% in seven April games didn't hurt). Still, the Celtics should be okay offensively without him considering his decline from last year. Garnett's offensive statistical APM last year was +4.28, but this year it's just +2.29. Leon Powe (+1.01 this year) should be able to fill in fine, assuming he's 100%.
- Style-wise, that non-Garnett 113.0 ORtg and 108.9 DRtg most resemble the Portland Trailblazers' 113.9 ORtg and 107.8 DRtg. Net Rtg-wise, the +4.1 differential is closest to the Rockets' +4.4, the Spurs' +4.2, and the Nuggets' +3.6. Considering the Celtics played most of their non-Garnett games against the weaker Eastern Conference, I'd say the Celtics team we're about to play has a talent level similar to the Nuggets.
- The Celtics have no defensive replacement for Garnett. His +7.59 defensive APM led the league last year. The defensive APMs of his backups from last season? +0.27 for Powe, -0.87 for Davis, +0.15 for Mikki Moore. Considering the average starting PF had a +1.22 defensive APM last year, all three are below average, and Davis is well-below.
Overall, I don't think the Bulls are the favorites, but we'll make a series of it and I'd be surprised it go at least six games. (It better, damnit, I've got tickets to the 6th.) After all, we've been in this position before... we knocked off the defending champion Heat in 2007 with an ailing Wade. Hopefully that means something :)