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Thursday, October 2, 2014

Don’t Call Him A Defensive Coach (Because He’s Not)

The Knicks hired Mike Woodson as an assistant coach, providing an ending to all those rumors stating D’Antoni needed a defensive guru. Matt Moore of CBSSports stated Woodson “joins the Knicks as a defensive assistant to help shore up the Knicks’ porous D” and Alan Raskin boldly stated “The New York Knicks finally have a defense.” However, is Woodson the defensive minded coach that he appears to be?

Looking at points allowed per game, in Woodson’s 6 season in Atlanta, the Hawks ranked 15th or better 4 times. Unfortunately that was partially due to his grind it out style. In that same time span, the team has been above league average in pace only once (his first year). In reality, the Hawks have been a better than average defensive team only 2 times in 6 years, and only once has his defense been ranked higher than his offense.

Year Off. PPG Def. PPG Pace Off. Eff. Def. Eff.
2005 28 29 13 29 29
2006 16 26 17 12 27
2007 30 15 24 29 23
2008 15 15 18 16 18
2009 19 10 24 10 12
2010 13 10 27 2 13

Even though Woodson isn’t the defensive ying to D’Antoni’s yang, it doesn’t mean he can’t help the team. His team won more games each year he was there & dropped 9 wins after he left. Woodson’s ran a iso-heavy offense, something that may better fit the talents of the Knicks new star player, Carmelo Anthony. And Atlanta had the league’s second best offense in Woodson’s last year.

On the other hand, this move isn’t all positive. Woodson seemed to wear out his welcome in Atlanta, and he made his fair share of gaffs. Additionally hiring Woodson has just fueled the New York media’s paranoia. Could Woodson’s arrival combined with the departure of Walsh mean the end of the D’Antoni era? No doubt the rumors will dog the team for the entire 2012 season, whenever that might begin.

88 comments on “Don’t Call Him A Defensive Coach (Because He’s Not)

  1. jon abbey

    this was exactly my thought, thanks for writing this. on top of what you wrote, Atlanta had maybe the best collection of young athletes in the league, so a good defensive coach would have had plenty of raw material to work with. also, as a player, Woodson was a shooter and I believe kind of a sieve on D, although that’s all based on ancient memories.

    anyway, none of this really matters, as we all know. Wilson Chandler probably has the right idea, I wish players would form their own 6-8 team league and leave the owners holding worthless franchises.

  2. Jax

    Thanks for the article. I find it interesting that a team that is #2 in offensive efficiency and #13 in defensive efficiency ends up in a fight on a yearly basis to get out of the first round of the playoffs.

    Where were the knicks in offensive efficiency last year? Is that truly the best metric to conlcude they were the second best offense? Maybe the 2nd most efficient, but slowing the pace does not always equal wins…

  3. Ted Nelson

    While I think it’s important to point out that Woodson is not necessarily some sort of Jeff Van Gundy defensive-wizard, you can only coach the talent you have. We have to consider the talent Woodson had on his roster to see how much he helped or hurt turn that talent into production. I’m not saying this is a negative or positive for him, hard to tell.

    One thing we can say is that Woodson had the #13 defense in 2009-10, and Larry Drew also had a similar team at #13 in 10-11. Not much, but something.

    jon abbey: Atlanta had maybe the best collection of young athletes in the league

    I think that’s unfair and inaccurate.

    Jamal Crawford/Flip Murray, Joe Johnson, and Mike Bibby were in his top 6. Plus Marvin Williams is a good athlete but not known as Shane Battier or Ron Artest.

    Josh Smith is a better blocker than he is defender, especially until the last few years when his coach was… Woodson.

    Horford is undersized at C.

    Jax: Is that truly the best metric to conlcude they were the second best offense? Maybe the 2nd most efficient, but slowing the pace does not always equal wins…

    I don’t understand. Offensive Efficiency is pace-neutral. It’s the number of points scored per possession. So a team with 10 points in 10 possessions has the same efficiency as a team with 12 points in 12 possessions. This is because every one of your possessions is necessarily followed by a possession for the opponent.
    http://www.basketball-reference.com/about/glossary.html#off_rtg

  4. BigBlueAL

    Interesting that for someone who got so criticized for his offensive coaching style his team had the 2nd most efficient offense in the NBA during his final season. Kinda makes you think that isolating your best offensive players one-on-one is a pretty good strategy at times.

    Now imagine an offense that mixes in isolating your best players on offense with using PnR’s while also pushing the ball alot and emphasizing shooting 3pters and getting to the foul line. Oh wait thats right that was the Melo Knicks!! :-)

  5. massive

    Mike Woodson had the 2nd best offense in the league running Joe Johnson isos? Well, we can all agree that Melo is a better player than him, so I think that bodes well for us. Also, having Woodson around Billups would be good seeing that they were both on that 2004 Pistons team. But defense? Umm, let’s see. First, you need good defensive players. That gives us Shumpert, Turiaf, Douglas, Jeffries, Extra E, and Melo when he puts forth the effort (Pierce had some pretty bad games against him). Amar’e is a good shotblocker and that’s where it stops, Balkman won’t see the floor despite being a good defender, and Billups (at this stage in his career) is at least a heady defender. So, as the roster currently stands, we only have one complete sieve on defense in Landry Fields, but he makes up for that on the glass.

    What we really need, IMO, is rebounding. Hopefully we get Dalembert or Jeff Foster (who has a much prettier WS/48) to take care of that.

  6. Jax

    Tad – my point was I am trying to understand how a team that finished 26th in scoring last year can be considered the 2nd best offense. Yes they were number 2 in efficiency, but that does not, in my mind, mean if they played at a faster tempo it would translate. Furthermore, other teams scored more points against them than they scored last year (95.0:95.8).

    It just seems like an odd result to have a team be the 2nd best offensive team, and a top 15 defensive team when they do not outscore their opponents….

  7. Jax

    To put it another way: when other NBA teams played iso ball against the Hawks they were, collectively, more efficient than the hawks because the gave up less points and scored more.

  8. Ted Nelson

    Jax: Tad – my point was I am trying to understand how a team that finished 26th in scoring last year can be considered the 2nd best offense. Yes they were number 2 in efficiency, but that does not, in my mind, mean if they played at a faster tempo it would translate. Furthermore, other teams scored more points against them than they scored last year (95.0:95.8).

    First I think you need to understand what Offensive Efficiency is, and then I think it will make sense to you. That’s what I’m trying to say.

    Every time a team ends a possession, the other team gets the ball and starts its own possession. That’s what the game of basketball is all about. Besides for when the quarter is about to end, that’s always the case. This is why offensive efficiency is superior to points per game. While it is a timed game, basketball is all about possessions. You can’t just keep the ball after you end a possession.

    Say two teams average 100 points per game. One does so on 115 possessions, the other on 100. This means that one team’s opponents will also have 115 possessions in which to score, while the other team’s will have only 100.

    Basketball on Paper by Dean Oliver is the book to read.

    Jax: It just seems like an odd result to have a team be the 2nd best offensive team, and a top 15 defensive team when they do not outscore their opponents….

    That didn’t happen. I’m not sure what you’re talking about. The 2009-10 Hawks have the 2nd O and 13th D, and they DID outscore their opponents by almost 5 ppg. http://www.basketball-reference.com/teams/ATL/2010.html

  9. Ted Nelson

    Jax: To put it another way: when other NBA teams played iso ball against the Hawks they were, collectively, more efficient than the hawks because the gave up less points and scored more.

    I don’t see what you are referring to.

    Mike Woodson was not the coach of the 2010-11 Hawks, Larry Drew was. They got outscored but they were not the 2nd best offense in the NBA… they were the 20th best. 20th offense, 13th defense. Mike Woodson was not associated with the team in any official capacity that I’m aware of.

    The Hawks outscored their opponents in each of Woodson’s last two seasons. They were outscored in each of his first four seasons and had losing records.

    Since a team and its opponents have roughly the same number of possessions per game, the split between per game and per possession offense vs. defense is going to be pretty constant.

  10. Z-man

    Ted, if a team gets more offensive rebounds than the other team, wouldn’t it have more possessions? Or when you rebound your own shot is that considered only one possession?

  11. jon abbey

    Ted Nelson:
    Basketball on Paper by Dean Oliver is the book to read.

    someone should write a book called “Basketball on Wood” with Nick Fazekas on the cover. :)

  12. Jim Cavan (@JPCavan)

    @16 +1

    I certainly don’t think this is a harbinger of D’Antoni’s demise. A challenge? In a way. As you pointed out, Woodson’s is much more of a mixed bag when it comes to offensive and defensive numbers. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Like some of you’ve already pointed out, Melo is at least a notch above Joe Johnson at this point, and really a lot more than one. Johnson himself isn’t a bad defender, so maybe Woodson can help Melo on that front.

    D’Antoni needed things shaken up, but he’s still the coach. I see Woodson tweaking and perfecting more than changing or transforming their focus on either side of the ball. That being said, the fact that we might end up having a 50-game season (if we’re lucky) could mean that a bad start out of the gate and the threat of missing the playoffs could mean D’Antoni gets the boot. There’s more a chance of that happening in a shorter season, I think, so having Woodson there is at the very least a good stop-gap measure. I for one just hope it doesn’t come to that.

  13. BigBlueAL

    Mike Kurylo: “Basketball On Clutch Playoff Performance?”

    Thats right forgot how he “dominated” the Kings (minus Webber) and Duncan during the 2005 playoffs.

    Easily Isiah’s most brilliant coaching move was starting Jerome James along side Eddy Curry for 11 games during the 2006-2007 season. I mean they were 7-4 in those games yet Isiah inexplicably removed James from the starting lineup!!

  14. BigBlueAL

    Jim Cavan (@JPCavan):
    @16 +1

    I certainly don’t think this is a harbinger of D’Antoni’s demise. A challenge? In a way. As you pointed out, Woodson’s is much more of a mixed bag when it comes to offensive and defensive numbers. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Like some of you’ve already pointed out, Melo is at least a notch above Joe Johnson at this point, and really a lot more than one. Johnson himself isn’t a bad defender, so maybe Woodson can help Melo on that front.

    D’Antoni needed things shaken up, but he’s still the coach. I see Woodson tweaking and perfecting more than changing or transforming their focus on either side of the ball. That being said, the fact that we might end up having a 50-game season (if we’re lucky) could mean that a bad start out of the gate and the threat of missing the playoffs could mean D’Antoni gets the boot. There’s more a chance of that happening in a shorter season, I think, so having Woodson there is at the very least a good stop-gap measure. I for one just hope it doesn’t come to that.

    I read also in one article about how much Billups and Woodson like each other from their Pistons days. Of course considering Billups is in the final year of his contract not sure how relevant that really is.

    Im going to continue to keep on my rose-colored glasses and look at this as a good thing. Adding a pretty well qualified asst coach can only be a good thing. But yes definitely getting off to a good start regardless of the length of the season probably becomes even more important for D’Antoni now that there is a qualified head coaching candidate on his staff to immediately replace him.

  15. Ted Nelson

    Z-man: Ted, if a team gets more offensive rebounds than the other team, wouldn’t it have more possessions? Or when you rebound your own shot is that considered only one possession?

    Yeah, in this definition of a possession an OReb extends the same possession. A possession ends when your team relinquishes control of the ball, which necessarily means the other team has gained control.

  16. Ted Nelson

    Jim Cavan (@JPCavan): Like some of you’ve already pointed out, Melo is at least a notch above Joe Johnson at this point, and really a lot more than one.

    I think that’s dubious. Johnson had his best season in Woodson’s last season, and his offensive stats were right in line with Melo’s. Better Ast and TO, lower TS%.

  17. spydermaan

    Ted Nelson: First I think you need to understand what Offensive Efficiency is, and then I think it will make sense to you. That’s what I’m trying to say.

    Every time a team ends a possession, the other team gets the ball and starts its own possession. That’s what the game of basketball is all about. Besides for when the quarter is about to end, that’s always the case. This is why offensive efficiency is superior to points per game. While it is a timed game, basketball is all about possessions. You can’t just keep the ball after you end a possession.

    Say two teams average 100 points per game. One does so on 115 possessions, the other on 100. This means that one team’s opponents will also have 115 possessions in which to score, while the other team’s will have only 100.

    Basketball on Paper by Dean Oliver is the book to read.

    That didn’t happen. I’m not sure what you’re talking about. The 2009-10 Hawks have the 2nd O and 13th D, and they DID outscore their opponents by almost 5 ppg. http://www.basketball-reference.com/teams/ATL/2010.html

    Definitely some good points there but the offensive efficiency doesn’t take into account offensive rebounding, since offensive rebounds by all accounts and in the era of the shot clock are considered extra possessions. So I think this is a big flaw. This why I am not into advanced stats. Just give me a top 10 offense and top 10 defense and I will be happy with the balanced team.

  18. spydermaan

    Ted Nelson: Yeah, in this definition of a possession an OReb extends the same possession. A possession ends when your team relinquishes control of the ball, which necessarily means the other team has gained control.

    Sorry but I just refreshed my page, so I didn’t see you address this. I disagree with this sentiment of the Oreb extending the original possession, no it doesn’t, if it did the shot clock wouldn’t be reset. After an Oreb u get a new shot clock and therefore a new possession.

  19. Jim Cavan (@JPCavan)

    Ted Nelson: I think that’s dubious. Johnson had his best season in Woodson’s last season, and his offensive stats were right in line with Melo’s. Better Ast and TO, lower TS%.

    I meant more at this point in their respective careers. Johnson had quite a dropoff last season (although it’s far too simple to attribute it to the coaching change), whereas Melo is still fully in his prime. Maybe Johnson has a bounce-back year (he was recovering from surgery if I remember correctly), but once a player like that gets into his 30s, you never know. My only point is that, if you put a gun to Mike Woodson’s head, he takes Melo over Johnson in their respective prime’s. Is that pure conjecture? Sure. But that doesn’t mean I’m wrong.

  20. Ted Nelson

    spydermaan: I disagree with this sentiment of the Oreb extending the original possession, no it doesn’t, if it did the shot clock wouldn’t be reset. After an Oreb u get a new shot clock and therefore a new possession.

    That is the definition of a possession as we are using it. There’s nothing to disagree with. It’s just a fact. It’s like disagreeing with the dictionary. It’s just a common reference that we can all use. And it’s used by pretty much anyone with any understanding of basketball stats as well as any understanding of the English language. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/possession Having the ball is a possession. If your player shoots the ball and another one of your players gets the rebound… you have never lost possession of the ball.

    Like I suggested to someone above, read up about advanced stats. You clearly don’t understand them, yet have dismissed them out of ignorance. Offensive rebounds absolutely are accounted for. On a team level they extend a possession and give a team another chance to create a shot in the same possession. In an individual sense they are easily counted and OReb% and OReb/36 are common stats.

    Your reference to the shot clock again shows your lack of understanding. Who cares if the shot clock is extended other than the very end of a quarter? You have to give the ball to the other team at the end of a possession. Basketball is a turn based game that’s timed.

  21. Ted Nelson

    Jim Cavan (@JPCavan): I meant more at this point in their respective careers.

    Woodson doesn’t coach the Hawks anymore and didn’t coach them last season… Why are we comparing them now instead of when Woodson coached/coaches them?

    Jim Cavan (@JPCavan): My only point is that, if you put a gun to Mike Woodson’s head, he takes Melo over Johnson in their respective prime’s. Is that pure conjecture? Sure. But that doesn’t mean I’m wrong.

    A. It doesn’t mean you’re right either.

    B. Coaches are wrong in valuing players all the time.

    C. I don’t see how this matters.

  22. Jim Cavan (@JPCavan)

    Ted Nelson: Woodson doesn’t coach the Hawks anymore and didn’t coach them last season… Why are we comparing them now instead of when Woodson coached/coaches them?

    Ted Nelson: C. I don’t see how this matters.

    If it matters that Woodson was coach during Johnson’s best years, then his presence should matter when it comes to coaching players of a similar caliber / skillset, i.e. Melo — even if its in an assistant’s role. You’re right, it doesn’t really “matter” who Mike Woodson would pick in a vacuum or with a gun to his head. All I said was that, in my opinion, and according to a good grip of stats, Melo is the better player than Joe Johnson right now. And if Johnson’s drop-off really was partially the product of not having Woodson as coach, then it’s not unreasonable to expect Melo to improve even more under Woodson’s tutelage, such that a comparison between the two would be easier to make. That’s all.

  23. Ted Nelson

    Jim Cavan (@JPCavan): it’s not unreasonable to expect Melo to improve even more under Woodson’s tutelage

    Hopefully. That makes sense. I just wanted to point out that when the Hawks were #2 in offense Johnson’s numbers were just as good as Melo’s have been. The earlier comment comparing the two that you referred to made it seem like Melo was way better. I was discussing a different point than the one you were making I believe.

  24. Jim Cavan (@JPCavan)

    Ted Nelson: Hopefully. That makes sense. I just wanted to point out that when the Hawks were #2 in offense Johnson’s numbers were just as good as Melo’s have been. The earlier comment comparing the two that you referred to made it seem like Melo was way better. I was discussing a different point than the one you were making I believe.

    I hear ya. I guess it depends on how you define “notches above”. It’s all semantic really, but I stand by my earlier comment that Melo is a few notches above Johnson. Which I think makes sense if you take as the context that, for instance, LeBron is a few more notches above Melo.

    The advanced stats are certainly a mixed bag. But I also think we’re forgetting that Johnson’s had a stronger supporting cast than Melo — particularly in the last few years (pre-trade). Having Josh Smith and Al Horford — both players with decent mid-range games — to space the floor has made life much easier for Johnson than it’s been for Melo, who’s two top low post guys (Nene & K-Mart) just aren’t as dynamic. Or as good. Billups is an obvious exception, but he’s also very much a combo-guard who often looks for his own offense.

    Anyway, the point is we all hope Woodson can bring something to the table on both sides of the ball. He’s not a defensive guru by any stretch, but he’s certainly an upgrade. On offense, I think he and D’Antoni can work to strike a balance between two outwardly opposing styles, and hopefully hone Melo’s strengths while also mending his weaknesses.

  25. flossy

    I don’t think of Melo and Joe Johnson as being particularly similar?

    But, hey, if Mike Woodson can somehow get Melo’s AST% even in the same time zone as his USG%, then maybe he *should* be our next head coach.

  26. spydermaan

    Agree with Jim, Woodson most definitely not a guru but also an upgrade from Dan D’antoni.

  27. Frank O.

    I’m a bit mystified by the Woodson move.
    First, it introduces into the NY market the disruptive danger of creating a coaching competition. I can see it now: The Knicks start slowly and suddenly tabloids start running the D’Antoni watch with Woodson in the wings.
    I also think this could cause problems with Chauncy, who clearly prefers the slower-paced approach Woodson is known for.
    Further, if the Knicks had a problem last year, it was primarily on the defensive end. Woodson is not a big defensive upgrade on the bench.
    And based on D’Antoni’s statements it appears he feels he may need to watch his back. I just don’t see this as very helpful.
    If you think I’m wrong, I’m willing to be convinced otherwise.

  28. Robert Silverman

    I think you have to be my FB friend to read it. Much ado about nothing. In brief, he complimented Tom Waits. I wrote “Damn skippy,” meaning that I concurred w/his pro-Waits stance. He thought I was calling him, “Skippy,” which is evidently an insult in Bucher-land.

    I wrote to pre-apologize and he wrote back explaining the above. Sorry, team. I’m, alas, not ruffling any feathers at the mothership

  29. Z-man

    Ted Nelson: Yeah, in this definition of a possession an OReb extends the same possession. A possession ends when your team relinquishes control of the ball, which necessarily means the other team has gained control.

    I personally can see issues with this interpretation. My feeling is that when a shot is attempted, control of the ball is relinquished. Aside from the clock resetting, a foul committed after the ball hits the backboard/rim on a shot is called a loose ball foul, not an offensive or defensive foul. On the other hand, if the ball goes out of bounds after hitting the rim, it goes to the defensive team, yet I don’t think it is considered a turnover. It does impact the points per possession stat, i.e. if a team gets 100 points on 80 possessions (OR does not count as an extra possession) vs. 100 points on 90 possessions (OR counts as an extra possession). In a sense, it means that when a missed shot leads to an offensive rebound, the miss doesn’t count.

  30. jon abbey

    Robert Silverman:
    I think you have to be my FB friend to read it. Much ado about nothing. In brief, he complimented Tom Waits. I wrote “Damn skippy,” meaning that I concurred w/his pro-Waits stance. He thought I was calling him, “Skippy,” which is evidently an insult in Bucher-land.

    I wrote to pre-apologize and he wrote back explaining the above. Sorry, team. I’m, alas, not ruffling any feathers at the mothership

    he awesomely spelled both “closed-minded” and “poseur” wrong. nicely done, Ric(k).

  31. jon abbey

    Z-man: My feeling is that when a shot is attempted, control of the ball is relinquished.

    yes, I agree with this. the other team hasn’t gained possession, but you have lost it temporarily, hence the concept of a “loose ball foul”.

  32. Z-man

    Here’s another bizarre but plausible twist on the “possession” issue. Suppose a guy makes a shot and is fouled. He misses the free throw but there is an offensive rebound, a put-back and foul. As such, a 5,6,7 or more-pt possession is a possibility. Just seems weird that this is possible.

    Another incongruity is on a jump ball. To say that if the team that last had the ball wins the jump ball just continues the previous possession just sounds weird.

  33. Z-man

    I suppose you could counter-argue that on the loose ball foul issue, all such fouls are actually defensive fouls, with the commission of the foul itself determining possession. I don’t like this interpretation, but it is reasonable.

    I’m thinking way too much about this, probably out of b-ball withdrawal. PLEASE end the lockout soon!!!

  34. Ted Nelson

    I have no idea if you are “wrong” because I don’t know much outside of that he was hired. Who made the decision? Why? Woodson’s coaching ability? I don’t know.

    Frank O.: it introduces into the NY market the disruptive danger of creating a coaching competition.

    I don’t think they can operate out of fear of what might happen should things go poorly. If they think Woodson adds to the coaching staff and makes them a better team, I think they should hire him rather than worrying about what will happen if they stink… Especially since if they stink with 3 stars D’Antoni’s head will be called for whether he has a former head coach on the bench with him or not. Lots of teams have former head coaches as assistants, and I can’t remember too many calls for a replacement nationally (not that I follow many teams locally).

    Frank O.: Woodson is not a big defensive upgrade on the bench.

    Based on what? The defensive efficiency of his teams? You can only do so much as a coach, most of it’s on the players. The Knicks have literally spoken to the man, and probably asked about his defensive philosophy and specific defensive strategy Qs. Unless you’ve done the same or similar I would be careful assuming you know more about his coaching ability.

    Frank O.: And based on D’Antoni’s statements it appears he feels he may need to watch his back. I just don’t see this as very helpful.

    I would hope that D’Antoni signed off on the decision… but who knows. If not maybe there is something brewing. If the team wins I don’t think he’s got anything to worry about. And if Woodson is really a better coach for this team than D’Antoni…

  35. Ted Nelson

    Z-man: I personally can see issues with this interpretation. My feeling is that when a shot is attempted, control of the ball is relinquished.

    You’re arguing over semantics. In different contexts you can use the term different ways. As it relates to measuring statistics, “possessions” are well defined and commonly excepted. If you think of it differently while you’re watching a game… good for you.

    Z-man: a foul committed after the ball hits the backboard/rim on a shot is called a loose ball foul

    Who cares what it’s called? I can call an apple an orange and that doesn’t change what it is. When did the other team have possession of the ball? Never. If you want to think of loose balls as a sort of purgatory… so be it. That’s basically what they are. When the offensive team maintains possession of the ball without the defensive team once having established possession… it’s still their possession. It’s simple logic.

    “In a sense, it means that when a missed shot leads to an offensive rebound, the miss doesn’t count.”

    I did not make this stuff up. Read Basketball on Paper. The miss absolutely does count. It counts for the team because they did not score points. It counts for the individual who missed the shot. HOWEVER, the team has another chance to score on the SAME POSSESSION without THE OTHER TEAM EVER ONCE HAVING POSSESSED THE BALL. Simple English. When did the other team possess the ball? Never. Hence they never once had possession of the ball.

  36. Ted Nelson

    Z-man: As such, a 5,6,7 or more-pt possession is a possibility. Just seems weird that this is possible.

    Yet that’s how the game of basketball is played…

    Z-man: To say that if the team that last had the ball wins the jump ball just continues the previous possession just sounds weird.

    When did the other team possess the ball? If the other team possesses the ball, it’s their possession. If they do not possess the ball… it’s not their possession.

    “Loose balls” such as missed shot attempts/reboundable balls, tipped balls, jump balls… they are neither team’s possession. The ball is up for grabs. I see where you are coming from… but again it’s semantics. It does not impact the stats we are talking about as they are defined and as they work to measure what they are attempting to measure.

  37. Ted Nelson

    I have heard of teams measuring deflection stats, and there’s probably some value in that… x% of deflections may results in TOs. As far as simple box score stats we have to work with, though, it just needlessly complicates the issue. Possession did not change as a result of the deflection/missed shot/jump ball/etc… therefore, the original team *maintained* possession. If possession did change (say I grab the defensive rebound but you almost immediately steal it back from me)… that’s a different story.

  38. Jafa

    So, to summarize Ted Nelson’s point on possessions:

    Team A’s possession ends when Team B’s possession begins. Possessions can end for several reasons, but can only end when the other team gains possession of the ball.

  39. Jafa

    To summarize opposing views to Ted Nelson’s point on possessions:

    Team A’s possession “should” end when it is not in possession of the ball anymore due to certain things, and not necessarily when Team B gains possession of the ball. These things include, but are not limited to, loose balls, missed shots that go out of bounds after hitting the rim, fouls called against Team B that give possession of the ball to Team A, offensive rebounds that give possession of the ball to team A, etc.

  40. Jafa

    My takeaway from the possessions debate:

    Ted Nelson’s definition is the one being used when assembling and calculation basketball metrics. Hence, when I look at data like points per possession, I should also take a look at eFG%, FT/game and offensive rebounds/game. These metrics tell me more about how a team manufactures its point in each possession.

    So Team A and Team B may both average the same number of possessions a game and average 2 points per possession each, but Team A does it with a higher eFG% while Team B does it with a lower eFG% but a higher number of FT/game and offensive rebounds/game.

  41. Frank

    @46 – what Ted considers a possession is sort of immaterial – no knock on Ted intended. Since Dean Oliver’s book, this is how a possession has commonly been defined. If everyone talks about a possession the same way, then it’s all fine, isn’t it? There are any # of ways one could define it – but the current definition (as summarized by you in #45) is just fine with me.

  42. spydermaan

    Hmm interesting Points. I think both sides have valid points but it also proves that this is very debatable with regards to offensive efficiency. Personally I think that stat is flawed anyway but who cares what I think. I guess I’m kind of thinking about this in the line of an onside kick, the kicking team creates an opportunity for another possession same with a loose ball, jump ball, missed shot situations. As always what’s good on paper doesn’t necessarily look the same with the eye test. I’ll leave it at that. In other news, did you guys see how Melo’s body looked in the recent summer league. I think he looked great. Looks like he’s lost a few extra pounds and by the account his wife has been giving about him working 3x daily I guess there is no doubt about this. I was never an advocate to the sentiment from some media ppl that he always played with a few extra pounds and wasn’t as cut as say Amare but it surprises me that these NY athletes do pay attention to the critcisms and the bleachers. However, it worries me more that it seems he’s working more on his body than his skill set. Maybe I’m just a hopeless fanatic. Please end the lock out.

  43. KnickfaninNJ

    I think we have a chance to see a really good season by Carmelo this coming year (assuming there is a season). Not only is he apparently working hard and in great shape, but also he’s no longer a disgruntled player who doesn’t like his coach’s system, he’s now playing for D’Antoni, which tends to boost offensive production, and he’s got a lot of pride at stake, and wants to do well.

    If we ever get to actual NBA basketball, it might be fun to watch

  44. Ted Nelson

    Jafa: Hence, when I look at data like points per possession, I should also take a look at eFG%, FT/game and offensive rebounds/game.

    Yeah, definitely. Offensive efficiency just tell us how efficient overall a team is with its offensive possessions. The four factors are a quick way to look at what ways a team is efficient. Knickerblogger stats page uses the four factors model.

    Jafa: Team A’s possession “should” end when it is not in possession of the ball anymore due to certain things, and not necessarily when Team B gains possession of the ball.

    I think your summaries are accurate, but I still disagree with this point. A possession as I am defining it should and does end when the other team gains possession. If other people want to call an orange a naranja, that doesn’t mean they are wrong it just means they are speaking a different language than I am. In terms of measuring offensive efficiency, this is how possessions are defined and I have yet to see a convincing argument here otherwise. Offensive rebounding is an offensive skill different players have to different degrees. Whether my team scores two points on my jumper or my teammate’s put-back of my missed jumper… my team has scored two points without relinquishing control of the basketball to the other team.

  45. Ted Nelson

    Frank: what Ted considers a possession is sort of immaterial – no knock on Ted intended. Since Dean Oliver’s book

    This has been a point I’ve been trying to make the whole time… I didn’t make this up.

    Frank: If everyone talks about a possession the same way, then it’s all fine, isn’t it? There are any # of ways one could define it

    I agree with the first part… but I would take it a step further. To discuss offensive and defensive efficiency, I do not think there’s really another way to define it. Basketball is a very free-flowing game, so the lines between offense and defense are not black and white (a steal or missed basket can lead to an easy shot… for example)… however in measuring a team’s overall offensive and defensive efficiency and effectiveness… I think this is the way to do it. I think starting a new possession every single time a ball is deflected without the other team gaining control of the ball would lead to a definitely worse measure of offensive and defensive efficiency and effectiveness. Since the other team never got the ball to do anything with, this deflection or missed shot or tie up did not have an impact on the game outside of its chance in the offensive team’s ability to score points on that possession (running down/re-starting shot clock, better/worse position to score, etc.).

  46. Ted Nelson

    The number of loose balls a team loses/recovers over the course of a season is already included in their offensive/defensive efficiency. That’s why I don’t get people’s objections. People keep acting like this is not included… but it is. This is why I keep referring to ignorance and how people should read up on it before just dismissing it.

    Take the argument for jump balls (same applies to missed shots/rebounds and deflections). The times the team wins and loses the jump ball is already accounted for in offensive/defensive efficiency. Say, for simplicity, a team has 10 jump balls in a given period (a season, a game, a month, a playoff series… whatever). They win five and lose five. 5 possessions will have necessarily ended without the opportunity to score any additional points, while 5 will be extended and give them a chance to operate their offense. This is accounted for in calculating offensive efficiency. I don’t know how important winning jump balls is, but rebounding is certainly an important skill. A better offensive rebounding team will extend more possessions and have more chances to put up points… included in OE. A worse one will extend fewer possessions… included in OE.

  47. Ted Nelson

    spydermaan: proves that this is very debatable with regards to offensive efficiency

    I don’t think it proves that at all. I think it proves that some people don’t have a strong understanding of offensive efficiency. I’m not claiming to be some all-knowing genius, but I have at least read a bit about it. I have seen arguments about how loose balls are sort of “unpossessed” balls… but I have seen absolutely no argument about the failings of offensive efficiency as a stat. Please feel free to make one.

    spydermaan: As always what’s good on paper doesn’t necessarily look the same with the eye test. I’ll leave it at that.

    You point is incomprehensible as it stands, so you should probably expand on it and not leave it at that.

    spydermaan: Personally I think that stat is flawed anyway but who cares what I think.

    Well we’re discussing what we all think… so if you feel that way please elaborate. I have no idea why you feel that way based on what you’re written.

    spydermaan: it surprises me that these NY athletes do pay attention to the critcisms and the bleachers

    How did you reach that conclusion? Why is the only reason Melo is working hard because he read criticism? He can’t just be motivated? It couldn’t be because someone in the org. or his personal life called him out?

    spydermaan: it worries me more that it seems he’s working more on his body than his skill set.

    Again… how did you reach this conclusion? How do you know what…

  48. Jim Cavan (@JPCavan)

    Just out of curiosity, I went back and looked at the offensive and defensive efficiency rankings for the last 12 NBA Champions (and last year’s Knicks, for reference):

    Knicks (2011): 7th, in Off Rtg, 22nd in Def Rtg
    Dallas (2011): 8th, 8th
    LA (2010): 11th, 4th
    LA (2009): 3rd, 6th
    Boston (2008): 10th, 1st
    San Antonio (2007): 5th, 2nd
    Miami (2006): 7th, 9th
    San Antonio (2005): 8th, 1st
    Detroit (2004): 18th, 2nd
    San Antonio (2003): 7th, 3rd
    LA (2002): 2nd, 7th
    LA (2001): 2nd, 21st
    LA (2000): 5th, 1st

    A few things stick out:

    1) Detroit and LA were able to win despite finishing in the bottom third in offense and defense, respectively.

    2) LA went from 1st to 21st in defense between the first two championships of their three-peat. Wow.

    3) Almost every team is in at least the top ten for both.

    Which brings us back to Woodson. He might not be a defensive guru, but even if our offense stands pat in the 5-10 range, and our defense moves into the top half — or even the top third — we wouldn’t be too far off from the template here.

    As many have pointed out before, just as important as being in the top-tier for both offense and defense is playoff matchups. Many times, the eventual champions vanquished team(s) which had a higher rankings in one, the other, or as a combined factor (Dallas’ 8 and 8 would make for a 16 — so the lower, the better).

    It’s not about being the most efficient in one or the other (although Boston, San Antonio and the 2000 Lakers were exceptions when it came to defense), but to be at least in the top third for both. After that, it’s all about matchups and execution. I for one don’t buy into the false choice between improving on defense, and sacrificing efficiency on offense. If anything, the ability to get more stops and score in transition would only help our offensive efficiency.

    Anyway, just some food for thought.

  49. spydermaan

    @Ted, the reason I spoke about being worried that MELO is working more on his body not his skill set is because of a) the comments his wife made in the review of the first episode of her new reality show, I’m not quoting exactly what she said but she said MELO had three workouts everyday and I recall she mentioning a cardio and boxing work out and b) following MELO on twitter and instagram, aside from him working with CP3 in china in a gym, the other two pics he posted were of a tire strength workout and some other one where he had just completed weight lifting. I’m not jumping to any conclusions here but since I haven’t seen any pics of drills or seen a tweet about an expert trainer, i just assumed this. Also MELO was rehabbing his shoulder b4 the start of the lockout and maybe this is just a result of the process. Now I agree I may be wrong about this but it’s fun speculating. Plus you have to agree that he looks like he is in the greatest of shape and maybe he’s been focusing on his body more. Either way I’m happy he looks crisp and ready to go. About my comment about athletes being influenced by the NY media, I think my point is valid based on my opinion. I think it can be positive ergo Mark Sanchez and can be negative eg AJ Brunette (hope I spelled this right). My point is the so called spotlight of NY can either raise or shrink the level of an athlete depending on how he or she receives it. And looking at how Melo’s family openly talk about the side issues; and I’m referring to his wife in radio interviews and other stuff talking about the side issues and the criticism, it leads me to believe that they hear the bleachers and the tabloids so yes MELO pays attention as do Sanchez and Brunette. Maybe Jeter doesn’t but most of the others do. Even Amare talked about how much he despised the Knicks jokes earlier in the season and made it his mission to bring some respect to the franchise; so yeah they do pay attention.

  50. Z-man

    Z-man: a foul committed after the ball hits the backboard/rim on a shot is called a loose ball foul

    Who cares what it’s called? I can call an apple an orange and that doesn’t change what it is. When did the other team have possession of the ball? Never. If you want to think of loose balls as a sort of purgatory… so be it. That’s basically what they are. When the offensive team maintains possession of the ball without the defensive team once having established possession… it’s still their possession. It’s simple logic.

    “In a sense, it means that when a missed shot leads to an offensive rebound, the miss doesn’t count.”

    I did not make this stuff up. Read Basketball on Paper. The miss absolutely does count. It counts for the team because they did not score points. It counts for the individual who missed the shot. HOWEVER, the team has another chance to score on the SAME POSSESSION without THE OTHER TEAM EVER ONCE HAVING POSSESSED THE BALL. Simple English. When did the other team possess the ball? Never. Hence they never once had possession of the ball.”

    Actually, you (or someone else) DID make it up. This is backed up by the official definition of “loose ball foul”

    http://www.basketball.com/nba/rules/rule12.shtml#BVIII

    Section VIII-Loose Ball Fouls

    a. A personal foul, which is neither a punching, flagrant or an elbow foul, committed while there is no team possession, ….
    Since the RULE BOOK says “THERE IS NO POSSESSION” then it is indisputable that the previous possession has ended BY RULE. An by rule, and therefore, by the rules of logic which are grounded in official definitions, you can’t continue something that does not exist. Just because one (or a million) statisticians arbitrarily decide that the offensive possession does not end on a shot IN CONTRADICTION WITH THE CRYSTAL-CLEAR LANGUAGE OF THE RULE BOOK, doesn’t make those who accept the official language of the rule book “ignorant” or deny-ers of “simple logic.” It makes…

  51. Ted Nelson

    spydermaan: I’m not jumping to any conclusions here

    I sort of think you were/are. The first conclusion you are jumping to is that working on his skills is more important than working on his general physical shape. I have never really heard Melo’s basketball skills as such questioned… more the mental and physical aspect of things: he shoots bad shots and doesn’t go hard on defense all the time. The second is that he’s not working on his skills.

    “My point is the so called spotlight of NY can either raise or shrink the level of an athlete depending on how he or she receives it.”

    I pretty much disagree. When an athlete has a bad season or declines in a small market it’s just what? Skill? Not the media in that market. But when an athlete does the same thing in NYC… it’s the media?

    Sure, I think there’s a mental and personal side of sports. I don’t think it’s as simple as there being a few more reporters in the room totally changing a player’s performance, though. There are also reporters, fans, talk radio, etc. in LA, Chicago, Milwaukee, Cleveland… every city where there is a pro sports team. In some cases I think there’s a difference, and different players might react differently to different environments. However, I wouldn’t just to the conclusion it’s the media. Not that he’s necessarily right, but Carl Crawford attributes part of his slump this season to having a longer drive to the ballpark apparently.

    spydermaan: so yeah they do pay attention.

    Being cognizant of the world is not the same as attributing player performance and even the decision to work-out to outside influence… and going even further to say Melo is responding to the NYC media in a way he didn’t to Denver’s.

  52. spydermaan

    Well I respect your opinions but I really do think the media and the fans in say the east coast really do care about athletes and their teams more than say the rest of the country. I have pretty much lived in some places and I think I know what I’m talking about. For example I was in NY through much of the first of the first round of the playoffs in April/ May and everyone would agree the east coast fans demand the best of their sports teams and wouldn’t take any excuses or let a team that underperforms go Scott free. This is why sports radio is huge in NY and most of the East Coast and part of the Midwest more so than the West Coast. Currently im in LA and I have been here since the Lakers got booted and I didn’t sense the reaction as pressing as what the Knicks got or what the rangers got. So it’s not much a matter of the the media raising the level of play but the fans demanding the best by being extremely passionate and making their demands known through the media. I mean Bynum behaved like a child in the laker loss to Dallas and all I heard people say the next day was “oh they were frustrated”. MELO failed to chase D west down for a foul after a great performance and the east coast fans are calling for him and D’antoni’s head. Oh and I made reference to AJ Brunette, did u see him last night. He looked better all of a sudden. Do u think he just happened to find some motivation. No he has responded to the demand of the fans through the media calling for his head. It’s not a matter of thought, it’s a fact, the east coast, NY, Bos fans and media in those areas do raise the drive of their athletes, the sports teams and even the owners of the teams ask Mr. Dolan. Why do u think Fank McCourt still owns the Dodgers, nobody cares out here in LA. It’s even funny how Knick fans keep calling for Dolan’s head for the Isiah situation which was a long time ago and McCourt still owns the Dodgers. It’s clear which fans care and demand more.

  53. Ted Nelson

    Whether fans react differently in different cities is not the same as how that reaction impacts players.

    I also think your strereotyping “east coast” and “west coast” is overly simplistic. I read a whole lot of pro-NYC bias in your comments. Criticizing more doesn’t mean caring more or getting better results. NY has its own attitude, doesn’t mean it’s better.

    “Oh and I made reference to AJ Brunette, did u see him last night. He looked better all of a sudden. Do u think he just happened to find some motivation. No he has responded to the demand of the fans through the media calling for his head.”

    This is beyond ridiculous. The media has been on him non-stop for almost two seasons now. They have basically called him a redneck hillbilly and all sorts of other insults. Suddenly based on one half decent start after three years in NYC… he suddenly listened to the media and fans????????????? What about all those other starts? He wasn’t listening all season… and suddenly he started last night? Beyond ridiculous.

    “It’s not a matter of thought, it’s a fact, the east coast, NY, Bos fans and media in those areas do raise the drive of their athletes”

    That is not a fact. That is a theory. You have done nothing to prove this theory but cite your own personal experience. The Lakers have tons of NBA championships… how did they win those with their relaxed West Coast fans?

    “ask Mr. Dolan”

    I have personal experience with James Dolan, and the man deserves any criticism that comes his way. He is not a good person or a good manager.

    “It’s even funny how Knick fans keep calling for Dolan’s head for the Isiah situation which was a long time ago and McCourt still owns the Dodgers. It’s clear which fans care and demand more.”

    Again… ridiculous. Dolan still owns the Knicks too. Unless they scratch their money together to buy the team from him (and he’s gotten offers he’s refused), what are fans going to do? It’s a private business…

  54. Z-man

    Ted,
    From the official NBA rule book:

    Section IV-Fouls

    e. A loose ball foul is illegal contact, after the ball is alive, when team possession does not exist.

    Section II-Starting and Stopping of 24-Second Clock

    a. The 24-second clock will start when a team gains new possession of a ball which is in play.

    b. On a throw-in, the 24-second clock shall start when the ball is legally touched on the court by a player.

    c. A team in possession of the ball must attempt a field goal within 24 seconds after gaining possession of the ball. To constitute a legal field goal attempt, the following conditions must be complied with:

    (1) The ball must leave the player’s hand(s) prior to the expiration of 24 seconds.

    (2) After leaving the player’s hand(s), the ball must make contact with the basket ring. If it fails to do so within 24 seconds, a 24-second violation has occurred.

    d. A team is considered in possession of the ball when holding, passing or dribbling. The team is considered in possession of the ball even though the ball has been batted away but the opponent has not gained possession. No 3-second violation can occur under these conditions.

    e. Team control ends when:

    (1) There is a try for a field goal.

    (2) The opponent gains possession.

    (3) The ball becomes dead.

    f. If a ball is touched by a defensive player who does not gain possession of the ball, the 24-second clock shall continue to run.

    g. If a defensive player causes the ball to go out-of-bounds or causes the ball to enter the basket ring from below, the 24-second clock is stopped and the offensive team shall be awarded the ball on the sideline for a throw-in. The offensive team shall have only the unexpired time remaining on the 24-second clock in which to attempt a field goal. If the 24-second clock reads 0, a 24-second violation has occurred, even though the horn may not have sounded.

  55. Z-man

    As such, you (or your sources) actually ARE making stuff up. If a loose ball foul occurs, according to the concise language in the rule book, WHEN TEAM POSSESSION DOES NOT EXIST, then the fact that a statistician decided to define “posession” differently than the “law of the land” for convenience or usefulness does not magically turn it into a correct interpretation. The rule book clearly states that a possession implies control, and control ends when there is a try for a field goal, and that the 24 second clock restarts when a team gains NEW POSSESSION OF THE BALL.

    Something that BY RULE DOESN’T EXIST can’t be continued, except in the arbitrary world of the statistician and fan. The rule book says that there is indeed a purgatory, to use your language, and the fact that the 24 second clock resets on an offensive rebound (actually before) and is referred to as a NEW possession means that statisticians are indeed making stuff up, and calling apples oranges. It is not semantics, it is a definition that contradicts the rule book, which, if you haven’t noticed, is about as “basketball” as you can get.

  56. Z

    I think the important thing with regard to the definition of a possession as it pertains to the advanced measure of efficiency is that all stat keepers follow the same definition of possession. I don’t think it really matters whether they follow the NBA’s official definition or not (especially if the official definition makes it harder to keep such stats).

    I think the thing that should be debated (if any of this truly warrants debate) is whether Dean Oliver and other stat-keepers like definition is fundamentally flawed from a data gathering perspective. And, if so, whether following a different definition of possession, like say the NBA rulebooks definition, would make for better data.

    On a side note, I think that NBATV should fill their lockout programing with a Ted Nelson call-in show. There’s no better way than to while away the dog days of a lost season than listening to Ted uniformly rip commenters to shreds, even when they are agreeing with him :)

  57. Jim Cavan (@JPCavan)

    @64

    Well said. At the end of the day, we can decide to hang our hats on any statistic we want; offensive efficiency; defensive efficiency; TPF (tattoos per forearm); APT (arrests per team); or whatever. And we can — and have… and do — argue about the semantics of said statistics. What matters is whether or not, and how, the stats translate into wins, and ultimately championships.

  58. Z-man

    I won’t argue that using the correct definition of “possession” per the rule book would more accurately predict anything. I only wanted to refute Ted’s unnecessarily dismissive and, worse, grossly inaccurate characterization of what turns out to be the only correct definition of the word in the context of NBA basketball. The notion of an outstanding offensive rebounder actually adding to a team’s possessions rather than just lengthening them is an interesting construct, but on the whole, I don’t think it would make enough of a difference to matter regarding the predictive power of the stats. And if it doesn’t matter that much, why vary from the rule book in the first place?

    Any stat, however, should be based on the factual contextual definitions in the rule book, especially when they are clearly spelled out; and variations should include language explaining how (and why)the definition is being altered, or better yet, just control with appropriate multipliers (as is done with TS% and eFG%.) In baseball, slugging pct. essentially counts a double as “two hits,” but it is explained that it really means “total bases per at-bat” and does not alter the definition of a hit as per the rules.

  59. Caleb

    The point of measuring efficiency is simple: on average, how many points does a team score when it gets the ball? If it gets those points by making more shots, or missing a few extra but making it up through offensive rebounds, doesn’t really matter. That’s why it is much more useful to consider a missed shot/O-Rebound a single possession. Otherwise, what are you measuring?

  60. Caleb

    That wasn’t too clear – what I mean is, if you count a missed shot/O-rebound as multiple posessions, then you end up with a team’s offensive efficiency being lower for every offensive rebound they gather in. That doesn’t make sense.

  61. Z-man

    Caleb, you could simply clarify the needed “multiplier” by defining offensive efficiency as total points / (# of possessions minus # of offensive rebounds) or something like that. Just don’t call it “points per possession”. Think of all the elements there are to PER, yet nobody seems to mind (other than its inherent weaknesses…)

    “Efficiency” is not a term that is defined in the NBA rules, so you can use whatever stats you want to define it. However, you shouldn’t mess with the definitions of “offensive rebound” or “point” or “shot” in defining “efficiency” for the sake of expediency, at least in my opinion.

  62. spydermaan

    Oh Whaaa Whaaa Whaa @Ted. And @Z man. Thanks for making sense of this rule, I have been trying rap my head around this for the last few days to support our stance. Although I still think the arguement can be still made both ways, which I think Ted is making right now to support his stance, I am still glad that your argument holds some water. Mr. Caleb, exactly why I say this STAT is flawed because it doesn’t factor in the effect of the Oreb because the statisticians who came up with this know that it will be low for every team. Thanks to Jim for giving me a good laugh. In other news, cab we talk about the Eurobasket and Fiba games. Who is watching? I’m definitely not. I wander why.

  63. BigBlueAL

    Hell I might as well chime in, I definitely believe an offensive rebound is a continuation of possession. Now its settled!!! lol

  64. Z-man

    And I believe a 18-ft turnaround fade-away with a hand in your face should worth more than a wide open 22 footer from the corner. Unfortunately, the rule book says differently.

  65. Z-man

    Looking at it another way, why should an OReb by team A be treated any differently than a DReb by tean B followed by a strip in the backcourt by tean A? In both cases, the initial shot by tean A was missed and therefore, that possession was inefficient in terms of scoring. The only difference was that team B had a possession (brief and inefficient) in between the two possessions. It could be argued that an offensive rebound is actually more of a defensive play in that it denies the opposing team a possession, i.e. an opportunity to score. This is not accounted for when the “correct” definition of possession is used in efficiency stats since the (flawed) assumption is that possessions even out in every game and don’t need to be considered.

  66. Z-man

    Another take (I know, I’m beating this to death!): Possession implies an opportunity to score. Having more opportunities to score implies that you will probably score more points. Offensive rebounds increase the number of possessions. However, they do not make an offensive possession any more “efficient.” If a team gets three consecutive offensive rebounds, converts them into 3 scoring opportunities, and misses all three, to conclude that it was just one long possession with the same impact as one missed shot. It makes more “common sense” to me that if you had three scoring opportunities and came up empty on all three, you should be penalized equally for each of those times in terms of efficiency, regardless of whether the opposing team had possessions (scoring opportunities) in between your possessions or not.

  67. spydermaan

    In Other news, it looks like the Knick players are gonna have a mini camp in Florida in early October, if there is no preseason or training camp.

  68. Z-man

    Has anyone been following the Shumpert workout videos? Can’t read too much into it but the kid is an absolutely sick athlete and an awesome attitude. Would love to see him play in some of these pickup games with the pros, anything!!

  69. BigBlueAL

    Z-man:
    Has anyone been following the Shumpert workout videos? Can’t read too much into it but the kid is an absolutely sick athlete and an awesome attitude.Would love to see him play in some of these pickup games with the pros, anything!!

    Only thing I dont like is he does too many drills shooting 18-20 foot jumpers lol

    Work on your damn 3pt shooting and ball-handling!!

  70. Z-man

    Caleb:
    That wasn’t too clear – what I mean is, if you count a missed shot/O-rebound as multiple posessions, then you end up with a team’s offensive efficiency being lower for every offensive rebound they gather in. That doesn’t make sense.

    You could also modify the terminology to “points per ncp” where ncp refers to non-consecutive possessions in a quarter. Doing this would maintain the integrity of the advanced statistic and the definition of the component statistic.

    I wonder what the great Dean Oliver would say to this…

  71. Ted Nelson

    Z-man: As such, you (or your sources) actually ARE making stuff up.

    No, you did not read my comments and are the one making stuff up. I never once talked about NBA rules. Please show me where I did. I talked about stats. I specifically said countless times that I was defining possessions as a statistical construct.

    You are getting into semantics. Word-play. As I’ve said countless times in this thread, the same word can have different definitions in different contexts. I made it very clear what context I was talking about. If you did not read what I wrote or did not understand it… I can’t help you.

    Z-man: The rule book says that there is indeed a purgatory, to use your language, and the fact that the 24 second clock resets on an offensive rebound

    Again smart guy, where did I ever once argue otherwise???????? I argued that this IS the case. I then said it doesn’t matter at all for stats. I never once talked about the rule book. If the baseball rule book defines a win as a pitcher stat and not a team stat (no idea if it does or doesn’t)… that doesn’t make it true. We are arguing apples and oranges.

  72. Ted Nelson

    Z-man: I only wanted to refute Ted’s unnecessarily dismissive and, worse, grossly inaccurate characterization of what turns out to be the only correct definition of the word in the context of NBA basketball.

    No. You are incorrect. If we are talking about referees you are correct. If we are talking about stats… you are incorrect.

    Z-man: you shouldn’t mess with the definitions of “offensive rebound” or “point” or “shot” in defining “efficiency” for the sake of expediency, at least in my opinion.

    No one messed with any of those 3. You are way out there in left field.

    Z-man: In baseball, slugging pct. essentially counts a double as “two hits,” but it is explained that it really means “total bases per at-bat” and does not alter the definition of a hit as per the rules.

    Again… you are arguing about SEMANTICS. If we simply call them “stat possessions” and “rulebook possessions” you would be happy, or at least have no point. Do you not see how petty that is?

    Z-man: Caleb, you could simply clarify the needed “multiplier” by defining offensive efficiency as total points / (# of possessions minus # of offensive rebounds) or something like that. Just don’t call it “points per possession”.

    Again… going on and on in an OCD manner about words. Who cares what you call it? In baseball you are not given an AB when you fly out if the runner on 3B tags up… you would be given an AB if you hit a grounder to the right side that results in the same runner scoring… is that fair? That’s how an AB is defined. Doesn’t make it better…

  73. Ted Nelson

    spydermaan: Mr. Caleb, exactly why I say this STAT is flawed because it doesn’t factor in the effect of the Oreb because the statisticians who came up with this know that it will be low for every team.

    Again… you don’t understand the stat. It does account for ORebs. Your argument is blatantly wrong. I’m sure there are legitimate reasons to criticize this as a stat. Not accounting for ORebs is just not one of them. I can’t believe that we have been arguing about this stat for a week or so now, and you have not yet bothered to gain a working understanding of the stat. It would take about 10 minutes to google some explanations.

    Z-man: And I believe a 18-ft turnaround fade-away with a hand in your face should worth more than a wide open 22 footer from the corner. Unfortunately, the rule book says differently.

    The rule book is defining it for a different purpose: the shot clock. No one is arguing the shot clock doesn’t reset after the ball hits the rim/bboard. You are arguing against a strawman.

    Z-man: the (flawed) assumption is that possessions even out in every game and don’t need to be considered.

    Apparently you don’t understand the stat either. No one makes the assumption that “rulebook possessions” even out. They make the assumption that “stat possessions” even out.

  74. Ted Nelson

    Z-man: I wonder what the great Dean Oliver would say to this…

    Probably…

    A. Who on earth cares what you call it if it measures the same thing?

    B. You don’t seem to have a working understanding of what the stat is meant to measure based on your objections to its use of “possession.”

  75. Ted Nelson

    To conclude… by arguing about the semantics of using the word “possessions” both in the context of re-setting the shot clock and the context of measuring a team’s offensive and defensive effectiveness, you are establishing nothing that I am aware of. You really think Dean Oliver, John Hollinger, Daryl Morey, etc. are not aware that the shot clock re-sets after a shot hits the backboard and/or rim?

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