Statistical Analysis. Humor. Knicks.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Addition By Subtraction?

Here in Georgia, we’ve struggled with drought for several years. Last fall, folks with lakefront lots on Lake Lanier saw their boats sitting on mud flats, and Atlanta was down to its last 60 days of water.  Governor Sonny Perdue decided to organize a prayer circle and pray for rain. (He also sued Florida and Alabama). A few hours after the group prayer on the steps of the state Capitol, the clouds burst and Lo! there was rain. What does this have to do with basketball? Well, the Knicks have gone through a long drought….

But I promised to talk about “addition by subtraction.” Posters offered: 1) trading Stephon Marbury for Jason Kidd; 2)  trading Marbury for Steve Nash; 3) trading Zach Randolph for Steve Francis & Channing Frye; 4) trading Isaiah Rider for Sean Rooks & change; 5) trading Dennis Rodman for Will Perdue; 6) Firing John McLeod (!) and  7) trading Allen Iverson for Andre Miller.  

It’s clear that to most people, “addition by subtraction” means “trading a star player.” But usually, a player “subtracted” means others “added.” After all, Channing Frye’s mother doesn’t refer to “the Zach Randolph trade.” In some of these examples, one team did get a lot better – but the key was clearly the addition (MVP Nash, 2nd-place MVP Kidd) — NOT the subtraction.  Other examples are more complicated. The Blazers got substantially better after dumping Randolph, as did the 76ers after buying out Webber. The Sixers also improved after trading their superstar for a supposed role player. Are these examples of better chemistry? 

The year he was cut, despite a high usage rate of 23.4, Webber had a TS% of 40.9 and was one of the worst defenders in the league. Not surprisingly, his replacements were better. Randolph’s minutes were largely taken by LaMarcus Aldridge; some of his shots went to Brandon Roy. Both players are more efficient shooters than Randolph, and better defenders. Portland also got back the services of Joel Przybilla, who missed 2006-2007 due to injury. While Randolph is an excellent rebounder, Przybilla is even better – a rebound rate almost 20 percent higher. He’s also a good defender. Meanwhile, as Ted Nelson noted, even before the trade some people considered Andre Miller an equal or better player to Allen Iverson.

Which brings us to Stephon Marbury. Some suggest that the Knicks would help themselves most with a buyout, rather than letting Marbury sit on the bench or trading him. In theory, Marbury offers terrible “intangibles,” and cutting him would improve team chemistry, leading others to play better. 

Paraphrasing Dave Berri, in sportswriter-speak “intangibles” are everything but scoring, measured by points-per-game.  The Knickerblogger reader knows better.  “Intangible” just means we can’t measure it. About the only statistic for which we don’t have a pretty reliable measure, is off-the-ball defense. With that in mind – Stephon Marbury doesn’t have bad “intangibles.” He’s just a mediocre player: a slowing 31-year-old: average on offense, abominable on defense and offering little else. Four statistical ranking systems all tell the same story: a steady decline over the past three years, from a starting point either slightly above or slightly below average. 

PER: 16.52, 15.36, 13.84  (15 is average)

WP/48: .092, .070, .050  (.100 is average) 

Roland Rating: +1.5, 0.0, -4.6

Adjusted Plus/minus:  7.57, 2.88, TBD

The Knicks will defend better with Chris Duhon on the floor, and they might play better overall. But that’s not saying the team would play better with Marbury in Boston, or sitting home. Back in Georgia, Sonny Perdue thanked the powers that be for sending rain. Do you prefer a simple explanation, or the intangibles? 

p.s. The Timberwolves improved 14 games the year after trading Isiah Rider. They had several similar players take his minutes; they also gave an extra 800 minutes to Kevin Garnett and replaced Spud Webb with the rookie Marbury. The Spurs didn’t really improve post-Rodman until Tim Duncan arrived. 

106 comments on “Addition By Subtraction?

  1. Anthony

    This cuts to the root of basketball analysis. Even though Zach Randolph is 20-10, and probably a 90 in the NBA video game, Przybilla is a better overall baskeball player. Same thing with Iverson and Miller. Don’t let shoe companies and Slam magazine trick you into who is a better basketball player. This is why the average fan watching 20 games a year (myself included, although I suffer through 60 routinely) cannot make a fair assesment of a player talent or value to the organization. Basically it comes down to do you trust the current management? You can evaluate Donny Walsh and D’antoni through their histories more accurately than you can evaluate NBA players– I personally trust them, but we will see–

  2. Z

    “About the only statistic for which we don’t have a pretty reliable measure, is off-the-ball defense. With that in mind – Stephon Marbury doesn’t have bad ‘intangibles.’”

    There is a reliable measure for dirty looks? teammates alienated? media distractions? interns raped? derogatory statements made? drunken interviews? tantrums? sulking? wearing $14 shoes when you make $200,000 per game and subsequently needing ankle surgery?

    I think that both the simple explanation and the intangible explanation over-simplify the Marbury issue.

    But what I did learn is that we totally should have had a prayer circle before the lottery drawing…

  3. Caleb Post author

    I guess to be clear — he probably does have bad intangibles, but I don’t think it matters with regard to winning games.

    I guess we can pray next year… viva Rubio!

  4. Caleb Post author

    “we need to lose as many games as possible.”

    Collins
    Q
    Jeffries
    Rose
    Curry

    I don’t think even the Oklahoma Sexuals could top that.

  5. jon abbey

    the only way for me to be optimistic at all right now is to think like this: we’ve assembled some reasonably good role players, but we still need two superstars. if we had those, guys like Lee and Gallinari and Balkman would slot in nicely behind them, I think.

    so the goal should be to get one of those in the 2009 draft, and one in 2010 free agency. that’s far, far, far easier said than done, but that’s the tiny sliver of hope I’m personally clinging to right now. so that translates into losing as many games as possible this year while still somehow developing players and maximizing other’s values, and shedding some or all of our albatross contracts.

    good luck with that, Donnie, you’ll never have to buy a drink in this town again if you somehow pull it off.

  6. Captain Merlin

    Here’s to the Knicks going 0-82, winning the lottery…and then picking first in a draft that winds up yielding the same sort of crop as the 2000 NBA Draft…The ultimate suckfest of draft history

  7. Count Zero

    Yep, I gotta agree Caleb — losing lots of games will be one of the few things this team will do well in ’08-’09.

    Since I see that as a foregone conclusion, I’m against letting Marbury play this year. I would rather teach a team with a lot of kids to play fundamentally sound basketball than win five more meaningless games with a bad example as my floor leader. Well…that and the simple fact that I don’t think he’s a very good player in any respect at this point. ^_^

  8. Thomas B.

    The Marbury addition by subtraction argument seems to be missing a few things. People look at the Suns and point to their success post Marbury. Those people then say that moving Marbury was the proximate cause of the team’s improvement. I wonder if this is an example of spurious reasoning.

    From Wikipedia.org:

    “In statistics, a spurious relationship (or, sometimes, spurious correlation) is a mathematical relationship in which two occurrences have no causal connection, yet it may be inferred that they do, due to a certain third, unseen factor (referred to as a “confounding factor” or “lurking variable”). The spurious relationship gives an impression of a worthy link between two groups that is invalid when objectively examined.

    An example of a spurious relationship can be illuminated examining a city’s ice cream sales. These sales are highest when the rate of drowning in city swimming pools is highest. To allege that ice cream sales cause drowning, or vice-versa, would be to imply a spurious relationship between the two. In reality, a heat wave may have caused both. The heat wave is an example of a hidden or unseen variable.”

    Perhaps there is anther unseen variable that occurs after Marbury is traded. So lets look at the Sun with Marbury and then without him.

    Info courtesy of Basketball-reference.com (awesome site)

    The 2002-03 Suns was the last season in which Marbury played a full season PHX. That team featured…

    Marbury age 25 Marion age 24 Stoudamire age 20 (rookie by the way), Joe Johnson age 21 (2nd year player), Hardaway age 31, Scott Williams, Casey Jacobson, Jake Voskil, Tom Gugliatta, ect… they were coached by Frank Johnson, who took over Scott Skiles and has not held a head coaching job in the NBA since. Johnson had a career winning percentage of .470.

    Now for the people who place this at Marbury’s feet, I ask you this: Was Stephon Marbury the only subtraction from this team? Clearly, he was not. Let’s look at the 2004-05 Suns team that won 62 games. That team featured…

    Stoudamire age 22 (putting up way better numbers than he did in 2002-03 btw), Joe Johnson age 23 (also better numbers than in 2002-03), Marion age 26, Q Rich age 24 (having the best season of his career btw), Steve Nash age 30, Rounding out the team are Barbosa, Jim Jackson, and Steven Hunter. They were coached by D’antoni (his fist full season as head coach) who brought a wide open offense, and currently boasts a career .680 win percentage.

    This team is minus, Marbury, Hardaway, Williams, and Coach Johnson. This team is plus Richardson (big improvements over Hardaway), Johnson and Stoudamire, who put up way better numbers than they did two years earlier. Ditto Marion. Finally, they had a much better coach. Any one of these subtractions, or more likely the totality of the subtractions, could be the proximate cause of the Suns’ improvement. Why lay it all at Marbury’s feet when he was not the only factor?

    This is not addition by subtraction, this is addition by addition! There are a number of factors other than Marbury’s departure that could be the proximate cause of the Suns’ improvement. I think the most important is the clear upgrade in the post thanks to Stoudamire, the much more reliable scoring thanks to Johnson and Richardson and an indisputable improvement in coaching.

    It is somewhat lazy thinking to say “trading Marbury made the Suns better.” What people should say is “the improved play of Stoudamire, Johnson, and Marion, combined with the career season from Quentin Richardson, the play of Nash, the overall improvement in team ability, and the stellar coaching of Mike D’antoni are the proximate cause of the 2004-05 suns winning 62 games when they only won 43 in 2002-03.

    Now, you could say trading Marbury, helped create the space the Suns needed to get Nash and Richardson (but they also traded Hardaway’s contract remember?). But even if you say that, you overlook the development of Johnson, Stoudamire and the coaching of D’Antoni.

  9. foliveri

    Based on the trends that have governed Marbury trades of the past from the Nets and Suns, it would seem that trading him could easily net the Knicks 10 to 20 wins…

    But the Marbury of this coming year is a player in a contract year…I’m a broken record on this, but I suspect he’s going to be productive because it’s his last chance at an NBA pay day…

  10. Caleb Post author

    “This is not addition by subtraction, this is addition by addition! ”

    That’s what the post says :)

    Although I think addition by subtraction is a fantasy the way people usually talk about it… it can work indirectly; a mediocre, highly paid player takes up cap space. Subtracting the player for shorter contracts creates an opportunity to bring in new, better players. But Marbury is coming off the cap this year anyway, so that’s irrelevant to the ’08-09 Knicks.

  11. Thomas B.

    “This is not addition by subtraction, this is addition by addition! ”
    That’s what the post says :)
    Although I think addition by subtraction is a fantasy the way people usually talk about it… it can work indirectly; a mediocre, highly paid player takes up cap space. Subtracting the player for shorter contracts creates an opportunity to bring in new, better players. But Marbury is coming off the cap this year anyway, so that’s irrelevant to the ‘08-09 Knicks.

    Exactly! I was trying to help you lay it out. No need to thank me.

  12. jon abbey

    but the point is trading Marbury didn’t just make the Suns better (and pointing to Stoudemire’s and Johnson’s better numbers is pretty silly, did you ever consider that might have something to do with not having a selfish and idiotic ball hog at PG?), trading Marbury has made every team he’s ever been on better.

  13. TDM

    “Collins
    Q
    Jeffries
    Rose
    Curry”

    Why deviate from the program that worked so well for Isiah? Replace Rose with Zebo in the starting 5.

  14. Z

    I will agree that the Suns subtraction of Marbury alone did not make them a better team.

    Marbury, though, has been a “cooler” on every team he’s been a part of. Both Phoenix and New Jersey had teams that should have won more. They didn’t, and when he left, both teams got better. The Knicks, during his tenure, should have been better. Hopefully when he leaves, the Knicks, like the Suns and the Nets, will also get better.

    Certainly there are other factors at play explaining the devestatingly bad effects that Marbury seems to have on basketball teams, but stereotypes become stereotypes for a reason. Few other players have such a history of cooling off a franchise, wearing out a welcome, and seeing their former teams get seemingly instantly better. It is a phenomenon that is hard to explain, either with numbers or without them.

    As I said earlier, there is no statistical measure for his negative effects on a team, but I feel, instinctually, that his problems transcend both his playing ability and his contract.

  15. Z

    “I think addition by subtraction is a fantasy the way people usually talk about it… it can work indirectly; a mediocre, highly paid player takes up cap space. Subtracting the player for shorter contracts creates an opportunity to bring in new, better players.”

    This isn’t really indirectly. More cap space directly leads to new, better players.

    P.S.– I don’t really understand why coaches aren’t a part of this discussion. As jon has pointed out, the concept of “addition by subtraction” is so much based on chemistry. The coach is the one mixing the chemicals, or at least bring his own chemistry into the equation, and is therefore a major factor in team chemistry. Plus, players, save for a sunset or last-resort buy-out, cannot be traded for nothing. There has to be something added in their place, which skews the ability to measure an effect. Coaches, on the other hand, can be subtracted, with nothing added. It is easier to evaluate just how much an effect that person’s subtraction had.

  16. Caleb Post author

    “Phoenix and New Jersey had teams that should have won more. They didn’t, and when he left, both teams got better. The Knicks, during his tenure, should have been better.”

    But how do you figure “should?” We can all agree that Jason Kidd and Steve Nash have been much better than Marbury. We could also say that maybe Steph could have made better use of his awesome athletic ability – but that’s a subject for another day. I mean, why not just say the Nets were bad “because of” Keith Van Horn? Maybe Van Horn “should” have been better… ? Or maybe Kerry Kittles “should” have been an All-Star… ?

    “It is a phenomenon that is hard to explain..”

    We’ll have to agree to disagree… IMO when Marbury was replaced by awesome point guards, the teams got a lot better (helped by the development of young guys like Stoudamire). Where Marbs replaced lesser players, like Spud Webb or Charlie Ward, his teams improved. I don’t think there’s another layer to it.

  17. Caleb Post author

    “More cap space directly leads to new, better players.”

    The city of Milwaukee would like to disagree :)

    In general, I agree that coaches can have a big impact, but I’d say it’s mainly the power to screw up a team. The most important thing a coach does is decide who gets playing time; the worst NBA coaches hurt their teams a lot more than the best coaches help, IMO (see Knicks, 2007-2008). Once you put the best players on the floor, the motivation and the Xs n Os don’t make a huge difference… I’d guess the difference between the best coach and the 10th best coach is maybe 2 or 3 wins a year… the difference between the 10th best and the worst is probably 10 or 15 games.

  18. Z

    “when Marbury was replaced by awesome point guards, the teams got a lot better…I don’t think there’s another layer to it.”

    But Marbury has been paid like an awesome point guard; and treated like an awesome point guard by management; and treated like an awesome point guard by the media.

    This may seem like a trivial sidebar, but it actually has an effect on…

    Team Chemistry.

  19. Count Zero

    but the point is trading Marbury didn’t just make the Suns better (and pointing to Stoudemire’s and Johnson’s better numbers is pretty silly, did you ever consider that might have something to do with not having a selfish and idiotic ball hog at PG?), trading Marbury has made every team he’s ever been on better.

    Agreed — Marbury’s ex-teammates might have produced more precisely because a better PG got them the ball in better situations. In fact, I would argue that’s the likely cause/effect relationship as it’s a simpler explanation than everyone on the team suddenly became better basketball players for no particular reason. Although I agree that the coaching change was also a factor.

  20. jon abbey

    the self-proclaimed best point guard in the league, a public proclamation which had a major impact on the level of energy and desire all the other top PGs brought to games against NY for quite some time after that.

  21. Z

    “In general, I agree that coaches can have a big impact, but I’d say it’s mainly the power to screw up a team…the worst NBA coaches hurt their teams a lot more than the best coaches help”

    So why can’t “subtracting” the worst coach from a team be viewed as adding to one’s ability to win basketball games?

  22. Thomas B.

    but the point is trading Marbury didn’t just make the Suns better (and pointing to Stoudemire’s and Johnson’s better numbers is pretty silly, did you ever consider that might have something to do with not having a selfish and idiotic ball hog at PG?), trading Marbury has made every team he’s ever been on better.

    Yes, I did (I went to Rutgers afterall). But I am not sure how to isolate that factor as the proximate cause of the Suns improvement. ( I havent even researched the stats to see if Marbury is indeed a “ballhog”. I guess I have homework to do.)

    My point is that there were a number of factors and it is difficult to identify any one factor as the proximate cause. Conversely, have you considered that perhaps Marbury appeared to be a ball hog in 2002-03 because he did not have the relaiable scoring options that the team featured in 2004-05? Maybe a rookie and second year player were not ready to be top offensive options. Two years later, they were ready.

    It is a difficult arguement jon. Did Marbury hold Johnson and Stoudamire back, or did thier development along with a new offense allow them to bloom. The only way to figure it out is to remove just Marbury from the 2002-03 Suns and replace him with someone who is not viewed as a ball hog, lets say Nash. Leave all other things as is. Then see if the team improves. Or leave, leave marbury on the Suns with all the other changes excluding Nash.

    jon, You are pretty smart (seriously), can you design a computer simulation for us all so we can end this debate once and for all?

    And the statement, “Every team that Marbury has been traded from got better.” I’m not even sure that’s true. Now, watch my cred (do I even have any?) with the posters fly out the window with that statement.

    Lets explore the statement, “Every team that marbury got traded from got better.” Though, I think that statement cant be made without asking whether trading marbury was the proximate cause of the improvement, if there was any improvement.

    In Marbury’s last full season with the Wolves, they won 45 games and made the playoffs (97-98). In the next full season without Marbury the team won 50 games and made the playoffs (99-00). I dont think five games is hardly enough to call better (that is a 6% improvement). Five games (6%) is a marginal improvement at best. The did not win more the 6 more games over their best season with Marbury until 2003-04 (58 wins). Since that season is five years after the Marbury trade, it is hard to say trading Marbury was the proximate cause of what you might call the wolves getting “better” that year. So, I dont even think that the full seasons after the Marbury trade made the Wolves better. Keep in mind that each season ended the same way as the last full season Marbury played: Lost in the first round. How is that “better” jon? How do you define better? If it is a five game improvement, then sure they got “better.” I got to say that I dont see the Wolves really got better imediately following the trade. Though, i will say that that they did not win fewer games after his departure, so the either made a marginal improvement or stayed a about the same level for the four years after the trade. But that aint exactly getting “better.”

    Point Thomas (crowd roars).

    Look at the Nets.

    Well, I cant argue with you there. The Nets clearly got better. And it was a clear and dramatic improvement immediately following moving Marbury. Other things did change, adding Kidd is clearly an upgrade, but it would be “silly” of me to ignore the impact that removing Marbury had on the Nets. Same coach (Scott) and substantially same roster. Point abbey (crowd boos). ;-)

    The Suns.

    I’m not going to rehash the Suns. I think I made it clear that there are too many other factors present that could have influenced the improvement (new coach, other roster changes, career seasons, ect.). Actually jon, I think it is silly to ignore the contributions of Stoudamire and Johnson. I think it is reasonable to conclude that most of the NBA’s good players put up better numbers in their 3-4 years than they did as 1-2 years. The Suns got better, but I cant conclude that Marbury was the proximate cause.

    Point….Push.

  23. Ted Nelson

    If the Knicks cut Marbury and win 40 games next season it’s probably going to be next to impossible to divide the credit/blame between the addition of Walsh, D’Antoni, Duhon, Danilo, and anyone else added by trade or free agency / the leftover players / the subtractions of Isiah, Steph, and anyone else. So, I don’t think we’re ever going to get our answer unless Walsh sexually harasses an employee, D’Antoni uses a very similar rotation to Isiah’s, Danilo gets zero burn, and Duhon replaces Steph’s minutes and shines.

    More likely if the Knicks win 30 or more games and Duhon looks pretty good the media will completely forget that they were a 33 win the season before all hell broke lose and Duhon joins Brandon, Kidd, and Nash on the list of PG who replaced Steph and made him look bad.

  24. Brian Cronin

    How did the Nets the same roster after the Marbury trade?

    The next year they added Richard Jefferson, Todd MacCulloch and Jason Collins, plus full seasons from Kerry Kittles (missed the entire previous season), Keith Van Horn (missed 33 games) and Kenyon Martin (missed 14 games). Heck, Marbury himself missed 14 games!

    So they added their two starting centers, their starting 2 guard and their sixth man, plus full seasons at the 1, 3 and 4.

  25. Brian Cronin

    By the by, the whole situation with Elton Brand is absolutely fascinating.

    It brings me back to the whole Demetrius Nichols thing – it seems like teams just can’t trust players on handshake deals.

    I mean, don’t get me wrong, Brand might re-sign with the Clippers, but things look a whole lot different than they did before the Clippers thought they had a deal with him a week ago.

  26. Dan Panorama

    Nevermind Nichols, how about Carlos Boozer, where the Cavs released him from a rookie deal as a FAVOR in order to sign him long term only to see him immediately renege on the agreement and bolt to the Jazz? The ultimate handshake deal gone awry.

  27. Thomas B.

    How did the Nets the same roster after the Marbury trade?
    The next year they added Richard Jefferson, Todd MacCulloch and Jason Collins, plus full seasons from Kerry Kittles (missed the entire previous season), Keith Van Horn (missed 33 games) and Kenyon Martin (missed 14 games). Heck, Marbury himself missed 14 games!
    So they added their two starting centers, their starting 2 guard and their sixth man, plus full seasons at the 1, 3 and 4.

    True. But it was not the same kind of whole house turnover the Suns had from 2002 to 2004. The Suns changed everything but Johnson, Marion, and Stoudamire. That Nets team got more out of Williams than they did MacCulloch and Collins, at least in terms of games played. So they were significant contributors, or their contributions could have been replaced with a similar player. Jefferson was a rookie, solid sixth though. You could say that the draft day trade of Griffin was as much a help as the trade of Marbury. Maybe.

  28. Sunil

    Brands going back to the clippers.
    this is just for appearances sake.
    so they dont get hit with collusion accusations.

  29. Captain Merlin

    Not terribly certain that collusion could possibly have anything whatsoever to do with the Brand situation. Also, on that topic, apparently the Sixers are now “serious players” according to ESPN.

    As for addition by subtraction, how about another example…one less heralded than most. The 90-91 Warriors went 44-38 with Mitch Richmond as one of the the core “Run TMC” players. Over the offseason they traded Richmond and his 24 ppg to Sacramento for Billy Owens–who turned out to be pretty worthless. However, the next season they finished 55-27, but got bounced in the first round…still an 11 game improvement after dumping a very decent player…correlation?

  30. pete

    The Knicks should keep Marbury on the roster and make him fight for minutes with the other guards. If he acts up, THEN they should release him.

    Whether to release him now or after he does something dumb is simply a cost/benefit issue. He’s already done all the bad things he’s going to do to the Knicks, so now all that remains is a possible reward: a humbled but talented player on a one year contract.

    If you throw out all of the Marbury “intangibles” that have legitimately cursed the Knicks that leaves you with a guy who is still MUCH more talented than the average backup guard. If he behaved, and played limited minutes to preserve his health, then he would be a good asset on the bench for one year. Marbury can even play good defense when motivated and when his legs are there.

    Even if you didn’t change his on-court intangibles, he would still be a good backup. Shoot first point guards can thrive in second units. And his presence on the bench might cause Nate Robinson or Mardy Collins to improve just to get on the court.

    I understand, however, that his locker room demeanor and other antics have killed this team. I get it. But this is a new year, he is not the golden boy anymore who is above criticism, he’s only on the hook for another season, and even if he was stupid enough to act up again they could release him at any time.

    Let’s remember that everything having to do with this team, including Marbury, was made worse by the idiotic leadership of Isiah. That can not be understated. You can look at almost everything Marbury has done wrong and see an instance where a competent coach and/or GM could have avoided or mitigated the problem. A few well timed fines or suspensions could have fixed his attitude years ago. And the whole benching episode, and his missed time due to depression, were both completely botched by Isiah. Yes, Marbury is a dumbass, but good organizational leadership can prevent a single dumbass from destroying a season. Most of the bad conduct simply wouldn’t have occurred under anyone else except a crack head like Isiah, much less experienced guys like Walsh and D’Antoni.

    The same notion holds true, by the way, for Zach Randolph—at least until trading him wouldn’t bring back even worse contracts.

  31. Brian Cronin

    Nevermind Nichols, how about Carlos Boozer, where the Cavs released him from a rookie deal as a FAVOR in order to sign him long term only to see him immediately renege on the agreement and bolt to the Jazz? The ultimate handshake deal gone awry.

    I omitted the Boozer thing because that one is a bit on the iffy side.

    Yeah, he’d be getting more money immediately, but that deal seemed like it was definitely more favorable for the Cavs.

    Boozer shouldn’t have lied, but at the same time, the Cavs weren’t, like, being just super generous or anything – they just knew they’d lose him when he became a restricted free agent (due to him being a second-rounder), so they wanted to sign him up now.

  32. jon abbey

    Pietrus to Orlando, the GS exodus continues.

    very curious to see where Maggette lands, I’m still keeping my fingers crossed for New Orleans.

  33. Ess-dog

    I like the way Walsh is handling it so far. He’s looking around and waiting to see if he can get worthwhile value for Steph’s contract. It’s possible a great deal will open up right before the season that involves draft picks from a desperate team- or even early in the season. There’s no rush yet. Also, the idea of putting Steph at shooting guard and either using Jamal off the bench or trading Jamal (since he’s actually worth something!) Steph can guard the 2 pretty well, and drive to the hole and his 3pt shooting has improved greatly. But really we should look to move him for the right price. If he acts up, let him go.

  34. Dan Panorama

    Man I have to admire Orlando’s consistency in their approach to team building. Take Dwight Howard, surround him with as many big 3-shooting wings as possible, and repeat. Pietrus fits the mold to a T.

  35. TDM

    The report I read stated that Pietrus would be the starting shooting guard in ORL. I thought he was somewhere between a SF and PF. I wonder if this means they are throwing in the towel on Reddick.

    The Knicks signed Gallinari.

  36. TDM

    ESPN is reporting that Brand is set to accept a 5 yr/$82 mil deal from the Sixers. Donald Sterling has got to be pissed that he spent $100 mil on Baron only to find out that Brand is jetting. I wonder if the ink is dry on Baron’s contract yet…

  37. Brian Cronin

    Great point, TDM.

    Do you sign Davis if you don’t have Brand?

    And how can Maggette leave now? No one can give him as much as LA.

    Hmmm…Davis, Gordon/Mobley, Maggette, Thornton and Kaman? That’s not, like, awful.

    Not great, though.

  38. Caleb Post author

    Yeah, I’m surprised no one has even mentioned the possibility of Davis backing out. At first I thought he might really do it if Brand chose Golden State — and then he would go back to GS. At this point — if the Clips backed out — that might be his only option.

    re: Pietrus, by reputation he’s a good defender, better than any of those wings in Orlando. But I never see Golden State. What do you think, Jon?

    re: Maggette — I think Hollinger is right that he will wait for someone to give him more than the mid-level, and take the highest bid — likely in GS.

  39. Caleb Post author

    If Brand walks, the Clips could still renounce Maggette and make a big play for Josh Smith, or Deng, or (at a lower level) Josh Childress — hope the old teams don’t match.

  40. Italian Stallion

    Intangibles are definitely measured. They show up in an assortment of stats. The problem is that it’s difficult to seperate them into a neat statistical category or to weight them properly.

    For example:

    If there’s anyone here that’s going to argue against the proposition that some athletes handle pressure better than others, we needn’t go any further because you’ve obviously never played anything at a high enough level to know. If you had, it would be so obvious no discussion would be necessary. It’s no brainer obvious. I’ve known out and out dogs that could play at very high levels without pressure in a variety of games and sports and I’ve known guys with icewater in their veins.

    No one really measures the fact that one player might get a tight sphincter when he’s forced to shoot the critical free throws at the end of an important game and another guy might not. They observe it over time.

    It doesn’t happen often to make a major dent in the seasonal stats, but it does happen enough at critical times to determine who wins and who loses a few games!

    Leadership qualities that can change momentum, settle down young players, etc… show up in the stats somewhere too, but where and how significantly?

    There is literally an endless supply of little things like that do don’t make a big impression in seasonal stats but often determine who gets the win vs. who gets the loss. That’s what makes them so underrated. They usually only matter in critical spots between evenly matched teams.

  41. Ess-dog

    Nelson and Petrius as a backcourt? I actually think I’d rather have Duhon and Marbury. Oh yeah, they’ve got that Howard guy.
    I think Davis wants to be in LA, regardless of Brand.
    But hey, now the Clips and the Warriors both need a power forward.
    Call ‘em up, Walshy!

  42. Italian Stallion

    I guess to be clear — he probably does have bad intangibles, but I don’t think it matters with regard to winning games.

    Have you ever actually played any competitive game or sport at a fairly high level?

    I don’t mean to be insulting in any way. It’s just so obvious to me that there are things going on that impact results that go beyond the raw abilities of the athletes that I am shocked people need to discuss this kind of thing.

    What should be debated is whether it is possible to isolate these things from the stats we use that measure RESULTS and not what contributed to them.

  43. jon abbey

    Pietrus is a fantastic athlete, a very consistent wing defender/effort guy. he’s out of control on offense a little too much, but also Nellie jerked his role around incredibly from game to game, I’m sure more consistent minutes will help, not to mention playing with Howard. his three point shooting numbers are better than I thought, I think he’s very streaky (there and in general). he’s much

    “Davis, Gordon/Mobley, Maggette, Thornton and Kaman? That’s not, like, awful. ”

    that’s an ugly defensive team, that has to be near the bottom of the West overall.

    it’d be wild if Sterling or Baron backed out, he wouldn’t have many good options left. hey, here’s an idea: maybe he could come to NY for a year for $1 million and somehow make it up in endorsement money. DREAMING IS FREE…

  44. Ben R

    The main reason I think we should get rid of Steph is at this point both Duhon and Robinson are better fits.

    Personality aside I would rather have a 25 year old starting PG with good three point shooting, good defense and a very good a/to ratio and a 24 year old combo guard who while very short has a great shot and, when he wants, good pesky defense, than a 31 year old fading all-star who dominates the ball and plays bad defense.

    It is questionable if Marbury playing well and behaving would even equal more wins, than just cutting him and it would definatly equal less development for Nate so I say buy him out and let our young players develop. Best case he is not that much of an upgrade over Nate and Duhon so I do not see why we should give a player who is not part of our future valuable playing time.

  45. Jose B

    As a life long New Yorker and Knicks fan relocated to Philly for the last 2 years, here is my take:

    We need to exercise patience much like the Sixers…once they had A.I. and Webber, an old roster to boot, now they have the team who was probably top 2-3 most improved in the NBA last season and in the position to add Brand this off-season (plus 1-2 vets for the MLE/minimum salary) and vault themselves ahead of the Raptors and Wizards to compete with the Magic for the 3 seed in the east.

    Miller, Green, Young, Brand, Dalembert with Williams, Speights, Smith plus 1-2 more FA additions and this team is set.

  46. Caleb Post author

    “There are things going on that impact results that go beyond the raw abilities of the athletes that I am shocked people need to discuss this kind of thing.”

    That’s not what we’re talking about — whether someone has maximized their potential. When people talk about intangibles and addition by subtraction, they’re suggesting that there’s more going on than is reflected in the statistics — that Jason Kidd isn’t REALLY that much better than Stephon Marbury but somehow gives off a glow that improves the play of everyone around him.

    Now I realize that every sportswriter and sports announcer and pretty much every player and coach believes it, but it’s a matter of faith, not something with any basis in reality.

    I say people “suggest” this because the idea is so hazy and undefined — what ARE they saying? That Marbury’s statistics are great, but he’s not a great player? That the team would play better if it were 4 on 5 and he were in the locker room? Better if he were replaced with the worst starting point guard in the league? (a “replacement-level player”) Better if he were replaced with an average point guard? What’s the standard? And what does it have to do with “intangibles?” If other players would be better with anyone, then what was Curry’s problem in Chicago, when he played even worse, next to guys with allegedly great “intangibles?” Why did Quentin Richardson have his best season playing next to Steph? etc.

    Since you brought up the non-sports world yesterday, I’ll say – I’ve worked with people I liked and people I hated, and I think my work was equally good in both situations. (Coaching — or management using our talents — is another story :))

  47. daaarn

    Well, w/ Brand off to Philly now, there goes are, admittedly slim, chances of pawning off Z-Bo to Philly.

  48. Brian Cronin

    Yeah, daarn, but it might give the Knicks a chance at pawning him off on the Clippers. Maybe even the Warriors.

  49. daaarn

    Good point guys. Hopefully Sterling gets desperate and pulls the trigger on a deal for Z-Bo. I would hate for him to clam up now.

  50. Brian Cronin

    Here’s a (in my mind, at least) brilliantly out of the box idea!

    Clippers sign and trade Maggette for Randolph, giving Maggette a redonkulous $20 million one year deal/$40 million two years deal (or whatever it would take to match Randolph’s contract, probably no more than, like, $13 million).

    The Clips get Randolph, who fills in for Brand, the Knicks get rid of Randolph without taking on salary beyond 2010, Maggette gets a redonkulous amount of money, allowing him to then go play for a contender for the mid-level next season/two years from now.

  51. Jose B

    I hope you know that the Clippers would force us to take old fan favorite Tim Thomas…LOL

  52. Brian Cronin

    Hmmm…wait, if they lose Brand, the Clippers could actually trade for Randolph for anything, right? Like a second-round draft pick, or whatever. Because they’d be under the cap (even with signing Davis). And then they could re-sign Maggette.

    Am I wrong there?

  53. Jose B

    Hmmm…Mobley and Thomas both come off the books right in time for the Summer of LeBron…interesting, salaries work out in the espn trade machine…as long as we aren’t throwing in any first round picks I’ll take that deal

  54. Caleb Post author

    I would aim for Mobley, Thomas, Fazekas and DeAndre Jordan for Randolph… with a plan of setting the vets free immediately… send one of those limo greeters to the airport with a “Mobblee” and a “Tomas” sign, pick ‘em up and drop ‘em off in the swamp on the way to town.

    If Clips wanted to keep them for some reason, yeah, they wouldn’t have to send back salaries… with no Brand or Maggette, they could swallow Randolph’s whole deal.

    And — if Brand dumps Philly at the last minute — and they whiff on Josh Smith — who knows, maybe they would take on Zach.

    Does anyone think Baron is going to be pissed if Brand comes east? Aren’t those guys (weren’t those guys) pals?

  55. Brian Cronin

    Okay, with Davis, the Clippers are at $41 million (before signing Gordon).

    Randolph is about $15 million, so that’d be $56. The cap is going to about $59 million, so they’d be able to do it, except they also need to have the money to sign their pick, so yeah, the Knicks would have to take a player back.

  56. Jose B

    A team of Duhon, Crawford, Gallinari, Lee, Curry with Mobley, Thomas, Balkman, Nate off the bench is not winning more than 35 games either, unless the Rooster develops into Nowitzki very quickly.

    So that should give us more than enough cap space to lure LeBron to the Garden, plus a couple of lottery picks to further bolster the roster. If God is listening please make this reality…

  57. Brian Cronin

    At least as far as my understanding of the rules, go, which isn’t saying much. ;)

  58. Brian Cronin

    Yeah, I am actually getting pretty excited. I can totally see this actually happening, and if so, it would be amazing.

  59. caleb

    I couldn’t find news of a maggette signing…

    You know, if the clips shipped thomas and mobley for randolph, they could devise a deal that still left them enough cap room to offer josh smith or deng or iguodala about 14 million – put on real pressure for someone to match. If they wanted they could probably re-sign mobley and thomas for minimum deals 3 days later, after we buy them out.

    Or instead of those guys, they could make a huge offer to get okafor, then flip him to another team for a 2-guard in that salary range.

  60. Danisrob

    Man I would be stoked to get a 2nd round pick for Zach, come on LA you need to replace Brand!

  61. Brian Cronin

    I love that Maggette literally just accepted whatever team gave him more than the mid-level. It’s like, “Yeah, whatever, man, just as long as it is more than the mid-level, I’ll take it!” Is taking, like, $6 million from Golden State really better than taking $5 from Boston?

  62. cwod

    If the Clippers do want to conduct business with us, I like the idea of trying to get Fazekas. Reminds me of Moneyball when Beane tried to get Youkilis as a throw-in.

  63. daaarn

    Why exactly is Maggette getting such “low” offers anyway? Seems like he’d be the type of player a team would sign to an overvalued contract.

  64. cwod

    Probably because Philly was getting ready to acquire Brand, Memphis is really cheap, and Golden State wants to throw a bunch of money at an RFA.

  65. Brian Cronin

    If the Clippers do want to conduct business with us, I like the idea of trying to get Fazekas. Reminds me of Moneyball when Beane tried to get Youkilis as a throw-in.

    Ha! That was a great scene (is it still a scene if it actually happened?).

    And actually, if they trade Randolph, the Knicks would need another 4, so yeah, Fazekas would be great (on top of him being a good prospect period).

  66. Jose B

    Maggette is basically a below average defender, but he is, at the very worst, one of the better forwards in the NBA on offense. He was 5th in John Hollinger’s PER among small forwards last season behind only LeBron, Melo, Butler, and Pierce and better than guys like Igoudala (headed for a near-max contract this off-season), Artest, and Josh Howard. He suffers from the “Joe Johnson Syndrome”, where he’d rather be the star on a lottery-bound team than a role player on a contender. It seems like GMs went from maxing out any player who can score 20+ ppg to the opposite end of the spectrum and now are probably going to be overpaying for things like rebounding and defense in the wake of this past Celtics championship.

  67. caleb

    Before signing maggette, GS had 25 mil in cap room… Signing maggette means they’re tryung to stay competitive, so they’ll probably try and sign those same restricted FAs (smith, okafor, deng, iguodala, childress)… But depnding how that goes, in a few weeks they might be a destination for zach… For a future pick. Or crawford, for a pick.

    If maggette signed for 7 mil, I think they could even take zach AND craw, if we took back al harrington (expires 2010).

  68. Jose B

    Imagine the Warriors somehow manage to snag Josh Smith or Igoudala now. Could be the Dunk Contest everyday in practice with Smith/Igoudala competing with Maggette, Ellis, and co.

    Funny image in my mind at least lol…

  69. Ess-dog

    “If maggette signed for 7 mil, I think they could even take zach AND craw, if we took back al harrington (expires 2010).”

    Caleb, a lineup with Crawford, Magette and Zach?
    I’ve been wanting to see a team score 200 pts and still lose…

  70. jon abbey

    the LA Times reports the Maggette/GS deal is 5 years/$50 million, and the Clippers are now going after Josh Smith, not Zach freaking Randolph. I did say dreaming was free, but there are still a lot of restricted free agents out there who LAC can give massive offers to, Okafor is another.

  71. Thomas B.

    “If maggette signed for 7 mil, I think they could even take zach AND craw, if we took back al harrington (expires 2010).”
    Caleb, a lineup with Crawford, Magette and Zach?I’ve been wanting to see a team score 200 pts and still lose…

    Damn, thats funny!

  72. Ess-dog

    “Damn, thats funny!”

    I’m here every night this week at 8pm with a late show on friday. Don’t forget to try the fish!

  73. Jose B

    I don’t see the Clippers having any success luring either Josh Smith or Emeka Okafor because the Hawks and the Bobcats will match any offer for those players. They spent a ton of money on Baron, I don’t see them just stopping there when they still need a scorer down low to replace Brand. Moreover, Randolph will be a financial wash for them if they dump Mobley and Thomas on the Knicks, and there is no way they can really expect to compete in the LeBron sweepstakes so keeping the summer of 2010 open is not a concern for them. Their concern is fielding a playoff team in the next season or two, in order to retain the season ticket holders they gained during their playoff run three years ago. A frontcourt of Kaman and Randolph, with Al Thornton and Eric Gordon on the wings, and Baron running the show gives them a realistic chance to compete for a playoff seed. I say that this is a possibility if Walsh decides to pursue it.

  74. Z

    “Yeah, I am actually getting pretty excited. I can totally see this actually happening, and if so, it would be amazing.”

    I’m shaking with excitement– the thought that there might actually be a taker for Zach Randolph out there!!!!!!!

    The Clips are a perfect environment for him to bring his polished act. Not only are LA fans apathetic, but being the JV to the Laker’s Varsity really makes fans not expect much of the following: defense; effort; entertaining basketball; winning; attractive cheerleaders.

    Plus, the clubs are open late, everybody has a gun, and celebrities are always acquitted.

    Zach Randolph, PACK YOUR BAGS BABY!

    Damn, I shouldn’t have read this thread before bed. I don’t know if I’ll be able to sleep tonight….

  75. Thomas B.

    I don’t see the Clippers having any success luring either Josh Smith or Emeka Okafor because the Hawks and the Bobcats will match any offer for those players. They spent a ton of money on Baron, I don’t see them just stopping there when they still need a scorer down low to replace Brand. Moreover, Randolph will be a financial wash for them if they dump Mobley and Thomas on the Knicks, and there is no way they can really expect to compete in the LeBron sweepstakes so keeping the summer of 2010 open is not a concern for them. Their concern is fielding a playoff team in the next season or two, in order to retain the season ticket holders they gained during their playoff run three years ago. A frontcourt of Kaman and Randolph, with Al Thornton and Eric Gordon on the wings, and Baron running the show gives them a realistic chance to compete for a playoff seed. I say that this is a possibility if Walsh decides to pursue it.

    Hey reunite Tim Thomas with Marbs. We made the playoffs last time that happened.

  76. Dave

    That suggested trade back there was very interesting. Never happen but very interesting. The Cuttino+Thomas for Zach Randolph deal.

    Let’s face it, the Clips taking Zach for nothing is a pipe dream, but moving two of their bad contracts and getting Zach in return? that’s plausible. They take a chance on a player who clearly can provide more for them than Cuttino/Thomas and only give up one year’s extra guaranteed salary. The Knicks get their cap space for 2010 and can build the team they want. Beautiful.

    That would leave the Clippers with their cap plus Baron/Gordon/Thornton/Kaman on their roster. Add Zach Randolph to the mix. Then go all out on Andre Igoudala. That’s has the ability to be a very good team. Imagine the creativity of Iggy and Baron in the backcourt. The scoring in the wings from the youngsters. Kaman doing his thing in the middle. Then Zach proving his scoring, jump shot, and great rebounding. That’s a good team.

    That’s a better team than the other options they’re going to face.

    It’s a great deal for the Knicks. Anything that lines up that cap space without giving away the future (picks, Lee) is good.

  77. Thomas B.

    Thomas and Mobley for Zach could work, but thats asking the Clips to eat 17 million on that third year that they would not have to pay if they stood pat. We may have to include a young player or the 2012 draft pick-that is the earliest pick that we can legally trade-to make it worth it for them. I would still do it, even if we had to include Chandler or the 2012 pick. Gallanari could possibly be better than Chnadler, so I would not mind including him in that deal.

  78. Caleb Post author

    I wouldn’t throw in any assets to move Zach, at this point. It’s always an option later.

  79. Ess-dog

    Yes, I would actally want like a first round draft pick in there as well as not giving up a youngster or draft pick of our own. Zach’s a pretty good player. Getting 20 pts and 10 boards from a guy is nothing to sniff at. The problem is his huge contract and questionable defense. And also, Zach is more of a halfcourt player. He would be great in the Clippers system, not so much in D’antoni’s. I really don’t want TT back, but if it needs to happen then so be it.

  80. Ted Nelson

    “Nevermind Nichols, how about Carlos Boozer, where the Cavs released him from a rookie deal as a FAVOR in order to sign him long term only to see him immediately renege on the agreement and bolt to the Jazz? The ultimate handshake deal gone awry.”

    This got mixed coverage in the media, but as Brian said Cleveland didn’t let him go as a “FAVOR.” They new they were going to sign a $10 million plus per season bigman for somewhere in the neighborhood of $5-7 mill per. Remember that this was before the “Arenas rule” and if Boozer had a monster year he would have been a free agent who the Cavs couldn’t have even gone over the cap to retain.
    He knew he was worth more than 5-7 mill per, and he was (after a couple of injury marred seasons). Some talking heads latched onto the fact that the Cavs owner was blind, and made Boozer out to be a bad guy for screwing the “poor, helpless” blind billionaire who was really trying to screw him by paying him 50% of his market value.

    “No one really measures the fact that one player might get a tight sphincter when he’s forced to shoot the critical free throws at the end of an important game and another guy might not. They observe it over time.”

    82games.com measures this, and it is definitely something that has to be measured. Isiah thought Jamal Crawford was a great clutch player, but if you look at the stats he’s one of the worst in the league.

    “I don’t mean to be insulting in any way. It’s just so obvious to me that there are things going on that impact results that go beyond the raw abilities of the athletes that I am shocked people need to discuss this kind of thing.”

    “It’s obvious because I know” is just not a logical argument that’s going to cut it on this board. Discussion is important in moving things forward, as is proving things even if they seem obvious.

    “what ARE they saying? That Marbury’s statistics are great, but he’s not a great player?”

    I’ve stayed mostly away from the “addition by subtraction” topic precisely because it is so hazy and because I think it’s really a case-by-case thing and there is no way to talk about an absolute definition of addition by subtraction: cutting C-Webb was clearly addition by subtraction because he was no longer an NBA player; trading AI for Andre Miller is a different scenario because while most observers and even statistical analyses will tell you AI was better, Miller was clearly a better fit and probably a better player overall.

    With Marbury I think it’s (roughly speaking) a combination of C-Webb and AI. Marbury’s a guy who wants the ball in his hands when he’s on the court and has never adapted to any other style. Since having lost a step his jump shot HAS improved, but it’s a risk to expect him to play within a team concept since he has been either incapable or unwilling to do so for 80% of his career or so.

    The AI part comes from being a high-usage/low-efficiency PG and a poor defender. Why is Andre Miller better than AI? He certainly doesn’t score as much (about 24 pts/36 vs. about 15 pts/36). He does score a bit more efficiently than AI though and is a better playmaker for others as evidenced by ast/36 and ast-rate. Two other things that Miller does better than AI which don’t show up much in individual stats are 1. run an offense and 2. defend.

    Marbury’s lower-usage/higher efficiency than AI, but if you can get a slightly more efficient scorer who is a defensive upgrade and runs the offense better (ensures that teammates get the ball in spots where they can be efficient and the efficient scorers get more shots), I think you’ve upgraded the team. Duhon is capable of those three things.

    I would say that there are a few things that don’t show up well or at all in individual stats: defense a bit in +/- and the blocks, steals, charges, etc., leadership not really at all. A leader doesn’t magically make teammates better: he gets them the ball in better position to score (accounted for to a large extent by assists) but also motivates them to practice harder, play harder, and stay in line (by getting in their ear, showing them the way, not passing them the ball, etc.). It’s not as important as being a good player (unless you’re sitting at the end of bench, maybe), but I do think it’s possible to have two guys put up the exact same stats and one have a more positive impact on the team.

  81. Italian Stallion

    “There are things going on that impact results that go beyond the raw abilities of the athletes that I am shocked people need to discuss this kind of thing.”
    That’s not what we’re talking about — whether someone has maximized their potential. When people talk about intangibles and addition by subtraction, they’re suggesting that there’s more going on than is reflected in the statistics

    Caleb,

    The thing that many of you are missing is than even though everything is reflected in the statistics, the statistics are measuring RESULTS not CAUSES!!!!

    If several players on a team absolutely hate each other and they aren’t professional enough to play good hard team ball despite that, the poor results will be reflected in the statistics, but not the fact that the reason was the intangible dislike they have for each other.

    If a coach is spending 5-10 hours a week preparing for/dealing with a court trial and coping with a very disruptive personality, that’s 5-10 hours a week he’s not watching game films, working on game plans etc… It will be reflected in the results, but the cause will not. Neither wil the fact that it is easily removed.

    If a team doesn’t have any really good playmakers and the coach hasn’t worked out a decent offensive scheme for the players he has, some key players are going to be forced to take bad shots with time expiring more often than on a more balanced and well coached team. That will impact their FG% and efficiency rating negatively without it having anything to do with their individual ability.

    If one player doesn’t take outside shots even when he’s open because he knows he’s a low probability shooter from 15 feet out and more, but another player who is somewhat better does, the stats won’t relect ability. They will reflect those decisions. Perhaps if the team added a great shooter, the latter player would no longer need to take those mediocre shots and his efficiency stats would roar higher.

    There are an endless number of examples related to team and individual stats that are measured, but dependent are things you need to observe (related to ability, personality, chemistry etc…)

  82. Italian Stallion

    Ted,

    “82games.com measures this, and it is definitely something that has to be measured. Isiah thought Jamal Crawford was a great clutch player, but if you look at the stats he’s one of the worst in the league”.

    I haven’t looked at Crawford’s stats, but I would argue that the stats are but probably flawed (though useful) without even looking at them.

    Part of a players stats in the clutch are dependent on the type of shots he gets. The Knicks overall offensive scheme was so bad the Knicks were constantly getting horrible shots in those key spots. So whoever is taking the shots will probably look worse than a player on a more balanced and well coached team that gets good looks in those spots more often even if they are equal.

    Second, the reason Isiah gave the ball to Crawford so often in those spots was because he was willing to take the shot. That in itself is an intangible quality – being a player willing to be the hero or goat. Nate has that quality also, but many players on the Knicks do not.

    “It’s obvious because I know” is just not a logical argument that’s going to cut it on this board. Discussion is important in moving things forward, as is proving things even if they seem obvious.”

    I have observed that there are typically 2 types of people when it comes to subjects like this.

    1. numbers oriented people
    2. feel, observation, etc.. type people

    I have also observed, that very few from either camp seem willing to concede that the other side has a lot to offer.

    I started out as a numbers guy because that’s where my intellectual aptitude is, but experience has taught me better. IMO the stats are the most important tool for analysis, but they don’t tell the whole story.

    I think if the almost totally numbers oriented people would suspend their desire that the world be simple enough to measure almost perfectly using numbers, they would realize how obvious it is that some things that are reflected in stats are not isolated well as to cause.

    It became obvious to me in my 20s both playing high level pool and observing the greatest billards players almost daily. I often knew what was going to happen between players based soley on their personalities, intangible qualities as people etc… The stats would tell everyone that player “A” was clearly better, but player “A” would always find a way to lose under tight pressure. The list of things like that is unending and is applicable to every sport if you just observe it carefully.

  83. Caleb Post author

    “the statistics are measuring RESULTS not CAUSES!!!!”

    Sure, but so what? Here’s the problem with the “intangible” & add/subtract debate… people who say those factors are important, don’t even bother specifying what they’re trying to argue. If I want to put myself in their shoes, I could say — The statistics/results of the team/players are significantly hurt by the presence of Marbury (or whoever’s being bashed by the Post that day). But “hurt” compared to what?

    If a bad chemistry effect exists at all, it’s clearly minimal. In theory, players might shoot a higher percentage paired with a certain PG vs. another PG, but check out the player pairs data at 82games and you will struggle to find any differences.

    Another example, of a player affecting others on the court. As you say…
    “If one player doesn’t take outside shots even when he’s open because he knows he’s a low probability shooter from 15 feet out and more, but another player who is somewhat better does, the stats won’t relect ability. They will reflect those decisions.”

    Sure, but again, so what? We are re-hashing the David Lee saga for the zillionth time, but when you look at the offensive numbers for Lee’s teammates, you’ll see that their shooting numbers aren’t hurt at all by his limited jumpshot — they all perform as well, or even better, when he’s on the court. We could argue the why, but it wouldn’t look this way if the defenders sagging off Lee had more than a miniscule negative effect on everyone else.

    As for bad attitude and effort… as you say, it’s already there in the numbers. You don’t have to think about it as some extra, invisible consideration. As far as players affecting each other’s effort, even in the most extreme, dramatic case, like the Knicks last year, it’s hard to argue that it makes a big difference. Here’s what I mean: In 2006-2007, everyone agreed the Knicks played hard and had good chemistry, and the team won 33 games. In 2007-2008 — chemistry aside– they lost the starting PG for 3/4 of the season, cut the best player’s minutes by 20 percent, cut the best defender’s minutes by more than half, and saw the starting small forward go from above average to pretty much worst in the league. The team was 10 games worse. But surely those “non-chemistry” items can be blamed for a good chunk of that? Which leaves what, 3 or 4 games lost to effort and chemistry? In one of the worst train wrecks in history? And what of that is any one player’s share?

    p.s. Thought experiment — why doesn’t anyone claim that Quentin Richardson had a terrible season because his spirit was broken by sharing a locker room with “Starbury?”

  84. Thomas B.

    I wouldn’t throw in any assets to move Zach, at this point. It’s always an option later.

    How else would you get the Clips to eat the 17 million on the last year of the deal. 17 and 10 is nothing to sniff at, as one poster noted, but the 17 million is nothing to sniff at either. What is the incentive for the Clips to take back that much more salary? Particularly when Randolph does not play well with others, holds the ball, plays no D, takes poor shots, has never contributed to a winning team, ect…

    Maybe D’antoni can raise Zach’s stock, but otherwise, the Knicks may have to sweeten the deal. Look if the Clips dont ask for it, I would not offer it. But if they do want a future 1st or a Chandler, to clear the cap space for a LBJ or Bosh, you have to do it.

  85. Caleb Post author

    “How else would you get the Clips to eat the 17 million on the last year of the deal. …What is the incentive for the Clips to take back that much more salary?”

    Randolph isn’t Jerome James — he can play a little. They might think he’s worth $17 million, even if he isn’t worth $40 million over 3 years. If they whiff in free agency, anyone else they take back in a trade will have some kind of warts..

  86. Thomas B.

    “Sure, but so what? Here’s the problem with the “intangible” & add/subtract debate… people who say those factors are important, don’t even bother specifying what they’re trying to argue. If I want to put myself in their shoes, I could say — The statistics/results of the team/players are significantly hurt by the presence of Marbury (or whoever’s being bashed by the Post that day). But “hurt” compared to what?”

    And the church says AMEN!!! I have been trying to get people to see the light on this one. Hallelujah!! “Bad Chemistry.” “Ball Hog.” Those are the terms of the Devil! He uses them to confuse the mind of those who have not embraced the righteousness of holy statistical analysis!

    “why doesn’t anyone claim that Quentin Richardson had a terrible season because his spirit was broken by sharing a locker room with “Starbury?””

    Because we righteous few know that the proximate cause of Brother Richardson’s struggles was the degenerative condition that resulted in the removal of a disc from his back. The righteous few remember that Brother Richardson played very well in his first year with the Knicks. He played D, he grabbed boards, he shot a decent percentage from the floor. He did that while he despised Marbury. But lo the following year, Brother Richardson developed problems with his back. And this caused the drop in his production.

  87. Thomas B.

    “How else would you get the Clips to eat the 17 million on the last year of the deal. …What is the incentive for the Clips to take back that much more salary?”
    Randolph isn’t Jerome James — he can play a little. They might think he’s worth $17 million, even if he isn’t worth $40 million over 3 years. If they whiff in free agency, anyone else they take back in a trade will have some kind of warts..

    Thats one hell of a wart, but I’ll keep my fingers crossed that this comes to pass. I just keep asking myself, “If I were the GM of the Clips, would I make that trade?” My answer continues to be “No, unless young, cheap assets come hither.”

  88. Ted Nelson

    IS,

    It is true that Isiah ran a lot of clear out plays where 4 other guys stood along the sidelines and Crawford effectively went 1 on 5.

    The other side of the coin is that due to this you can’t really blame anyone else for not being “willing to take those shots.” Whenever they tried something more creative they’d get a tip in by David Lee or a 3-pointer by Eddy Curry. (Curry was willing to take a 3 for God’s sake, how can you say no one else was willing to take the last shot?)

    The clutch stats on 82 games, though, record the last 5 minutes of the 4th Q and overtime when no team is ahead by more than 5 points. So, not just last second plays. You look at the guys who do well in the clutch and they’re mostly the guys you’d expect. Crawford, on the other hand, is among the worst shooters in clutch minutes in the NBA (not a huge suprise because he’s a bad shooter overall). For someone with such a high “aptitude” you’re pretty quick to rush to decisions with absolutely no evidence.

    “I have also observed, that very few from either camp seem willing to concede that the other side has a lot to offer. I started out as a numbers guy because that’s where my intellectual aptitude is, but experience has taught me better.”

    What you observed can clearly be recorded statistically. You feel Crawford is a “clutch” player, he does not shoot well in the clutch, other players on bad teams did MUCH better statistically in clutch minutes than Crawford. This evidence would lead most people with any “aptitude” to change their opinion (those same people would probably at least look at the stats before rushing to judgement http://www.82games.com/CSORT11.HTM).

    It’s like the crap excuse Crawford offered that his shooting % is low because he’s forced to take a lot of shots late in the shot clock: he doesn’t take significantly more shots late in the shot clock than most shooting guards (this also can be seen on 82games.com). I was glad to see that Crawford put together a somewhat respectable season shooting the ball and publically admitted that his shot selection is a problem, but the guy still can’t shoot.

    “I think if the almost totally numbers oriented people would suspend their desire that the world be simple enough to measure almost perfectly using numbers, they would realize how obvious it is that some things that are reflected in stats are not isolated well as to cause.”

    If some people who weren’t arrogant, selfrighteous pricks would stop making assumptions about everyone else on the board maybe we could have a real discussion. Forgot, you already know because you’ve seen everything and have no interest in discussing it. Unlike billiards, basketball is not an individual sport.

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