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Dean Oliver on the new Nuggets

Ex-Nuggets stat guru Dean Oliver with a pretty insightful look at the statistical differences between the Nuggets pre- and post-trade. Excerpt: Denver coach George Karl got his "play hard" team, and that’s what the Nuggets did right away: play hard. Since the deal, Denver’s defense has been just a hair behind the Bulls for best in the entire NBA, allowing better than 10 points per 100 possessions fewer than they did before the deal. On the offensive side of the ball, the emotional impact is also clear, as the team is sharing the ball very well. Most of the players are using between 17 percent and 22 percent of the team’s possessions, a far cry from when Melo was using 31 percent. Assisted baskets are up to 63 percent, from only 54 percent prior to the deal. The team is feeling good and running more, with 15 percent of its possessions in transition, well up from the 11 percent prior to the trade. Point guard Ty Lawson, who even before the deal played better as a starter, is now the official starter and has been playing like Chris Paul, generating more than 120 points per 100 possessions, putting up an effective field goal percentage of 54 percent and simultaneously increasing his assists and cutting his turnovers, improving his pure point rating (PPR) from about 4 to more than 9.

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