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Sunday, December 21, 2014

Father Knickerbocker Knows Best: SCHOENE merely sorcery masked as science!

Father Knickerbocker Knows Best: SCHOENE merely sorcery masked as science!

Originally in “The Old Post”, October the 16th of 1803.

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Festooned as we are upon an age wherein matters of basketball opinion have been made readily available by dint of a free and noble public press, that spittle rag New York Post notwithstanding, it is nigh impossible to divorce oneself from the cacophony of opinion that is its wont. And basket ball, that equally democratic sport which has brought under awning all manner of man, save for certain breeds of Mongols, is no exception in this regard.

As such, the painter’s easel of prospects levied upon our scarlet horses have run a predictable gamut, from a steadfast success to one more tempered, either by time’s corporal curses or the hiring of improved stock by our competitors. Chief among them that malicious jack-of-legs Moscovite, now charged with taming the feral elements of wild and mountainous Brooklyn, rendered tender rich thanks to a lucrative native mining practice involving the extraction of tiny pups and comely kittens theretofore fed into incinerators to unfreeze a frozen people’s frozen souls.

But even that aforementioned Post, in vein love with its clever titles and ignorant of the rusty-gutted attendant prose, would not stoop so low as one Kenneth Pelton, lately of Everett’s Sporting Post Nightly, heretofore termed E.S.P.N. for sake of brevity. Owing to a strangely named brand of sorcery called SCHOENE, Mr. Pelton has come to predict our squad, one calendar round removed from a decade’s pinnacle performance, to tally a mere 37 fellings of foes.

I shall now afford you, dear reader, enough time as is necessary to consume a soldier’s bottle of strip-me-naked, to drive this absurdist drivel the way of an almshouse chamber pot.

Sufficient? Be sure to sweep away the vomit, lest a pack of Irish catch the scent! For I now wish to delve deeper into the so-called “analysis” of this Mr. Pelton, Protestant in name and pocket square sensibilities, a cavalier Catholic in hanktelo opinion and a flagrant Josephus Rex besides. As the base of this gooseberry’s brew, the rancid carrots and onions, is the suggestion that our team’s unrivaled prowess in converting From Downtowns would necessarily suffer a regression. I know not from which Gypsy staging ground Mr. Pelton commandeered such a colloquial crystal ball, but it seems to me it has taken to deceiving, as if the stage of its contents were some Florentine bank! For it stands to reason that the elements of spacing and horsebladder movement which marked the campaign previous should remain intact, the familiarity betwixt man and fellow only sharpened by a summer of frequenting punch houses hand in hand!

The next bone of contention of Dr. Pelton, PhD E.S.P.N., is with our charges’ rotations, specifically how General Woodson would deign to allow Antonio Bargnani, failed capital conscript, more time about the parquet pitch than the Portuguese family of twenty and seven hitherto tasked with cleaning said floor. To be sure, Bargnani’s weaknesses, beyond an Italian heraldry pocked with boulder-movers, are well documented. While stationed amongst the ferals and fur trappers that make up England’s arctic consolation, Bargnani displayed a shooter’s judgment worse than a Turk about a cannonade; seized re-bounds with all the tenacity and enthusiasm of a legless Quaker; and exhibited a Trojan’s defensive instincts.

However, as was so aptly pointed out by our dear friend Mr. Joseph Flynn, a rare breed of tempered Pogue now writing for Toast’s Post, what Mr. Pelton fails to take into account, hewn as he is to an academician’s marble tower, are the rotational luxuries which our squad’s unmatched depth affords General Woodson. For if Bargnani does indeed prove more a nitsqueeger than a basket-baller, we are hardly bereft of alternatives. Ditto the prospects of our resident Black Jew, now forced to fulfill career’s end by way of wooden legs, which while sturdy by virtue of their Franklin patent, risk splintering still. From deities to dustmen, ours is a roster replete with resources, bolstered anew by the acquisitions of vagabond mystic Metta World Peace, seasoned Slav Bennedictus Udrih, and the various amateur draftings.

But lest you, dear reader, believe this correspondent’s fair discourse enough to uncloud the peepers of Mr. Pelton and E.S.P.N., a dose of caution. For this outlet, now delivered to every stoop and silver dinner plate the young nation over, has long committed itself to brandishing vindictive venom at the expense of our ‘Bocker brethren! Indeed Mr. Pelton, with his strange Maimonidenian mathematics, which puts to pedestal efficiency above prowess – as if this were business of fabric looms! – has long made his disdain clear as crystal! As such, is it better to engorge ourselves with rage, thereby granting credence to this wanton wizardry? Or shrug it off a feeble fly’s brandy-faced buzzing?

I say the latter, and with a laugh! For if Mr. Pelton’s can attribute his cherished SCHOENE acronym to a favorite former basket baller, as he has stated, then surely we, free citizens that we are, might offer up our own!

Servile Charlatans Hailing Only Esoteric Numbers?

Enemies!

— F.N.

48 comments on “Father Knickerbocker Knows Best: SCHOENE merely sorcery masked as science!

  1. Eternal OptiKnist

    Not that i believe 37 wins is right, but just in general i cant help but feel so down on the outlook for this season. Even though i predicted 54 wins last year and everyone thought i was crazy, i dont have the same feeling of confidence this year…i dont know how much of that is just me vs every single talking head and article saying we suck.

  2. stratomatic

    37 wins sounds too pessimistic, but the loss of Kidd is being underrated by Knicks fans. He was terrible in the playoffs, but he was absolutely critical early in the season when they got off to a good start. He was one of the most productive players on the team for a good stretch. Second, as limited as Novak is as a scorer, he does one thing great. He was efficient on low usage and teams game planned to take him out of the offense. Bargnani is simply a poor player. He’s a more versatile scorer, but not really good at anything. He adds zero value as a scorer vs. a replacement player. When you add in that he’s below average for his position at multiple other facets of the game, the best thing that could happen is that he gets hurt and doesn’t play. The Knicks would be better off with other combinations.

  3. Brian Cronin

    37 wins sounds too pessimistic, but the loss of Kidd is being underrated by Knicks fans. He was terrible in the playoffs, but he was absolutely critical early in the season when they got off to a good start. He was one of the most productive players on the team for a good stretch. Second, as limited as Novak is as a scorer, he does one thing great. He was efficient on low usage and teams game planned to take him out of the offense. Bargnani is simply a poor player. He’s a more versatile scorer, but not really good at anything. He adds zero value as a scorer vs. a replacement player. When you add in that he’s below average for his position at multiple other facets of the game, the best thing that could happen is that he gets hurt and doesn’t play. The Knicks would be better off with other combinations.

    Yeah, I’ll definitely admit that the Knicks’ season was more or less made by two distinct stretches where they dominated. One of them was later in the season when K-Mart became a major contributor and Melo was on fire and the other was early in the season when Kidd was amazing. The rosy outlook on next season is to look at that later stretch and say that that will be the Knicks of next season and therefore they won’t miss the production from that first stretch. The less rosy outlook on next season is to say that they needed both stretches to get to 54 wins and losing Kidd will hurt. I don’t know which outlook is more accurate.

  4. Brian Cronin

    Not that i believe 37 wins is right, but just in general i cant help but feel so down on the outlook for this season. Even though i predicted 54 wins last year and everyone thought i was crazy, i dont have the same feeling of confidence this year…i dont know how much of that is just me vs every single talking head and article saying we suck.

    I think too much is made about how bleak predictions were last season. They really weren’t that bleak. I was just looking through the old threads and most people had 48 wins as the bottom rung of wins. There were lots of suggestions involving 52-55 wins. A whole lot of them. Heck, THCJ even predicted 52 wins if things went well.

  5. KnickfaninNJ

    A lot of the preseason predictions about the Knicks seem to rely on the logic that they shouldn’t have won as much as they did last year so this year they have to be worse because there isn’t much reason to think they are better than last year. Sort of like a pundit doubling down on his prediction from last year. Or maybe it’s “other teams in the league are stronger” so the Knicks must be worse. Either way, the pundits are ignoring at least part of reality.

    I think it’s possible the east is much stronger this year than last, but that doesn’t mean the Knicks victory total will go down. That said, I will be reasonably happy if they are in the top four of the East at the end of the season. That would be probably be good enough to make them real competitors for whomever they play.

  6. Brian Cronin

    I don’t even think that the East is all that improved. Some of the better teams improved but some of the other teams got worse. Boston got a lot worse. Philly got a lot worse. Orlando got worse. Atlanta got worse. Milwaukee likely got worse. Detroit improved a lot. Cleveland might have improved or might not have improved. Washington might have improved but then they lost their only real center to an injury. Raptors don’t look like they’ve necessarily improved.

    There’s still a lot of dead weight in the Eastern Conference. Enough, I think, to make up for the teams that legitimately did improve (Chicago, Brooklyn, Detroit and likely Indiana).

  7. lavor postell

    Every team has hot stretches and times when they are barely holding it together. I think at this point we can pretty much bank on Melo getting hot at some point in mid-March and closing out the season on a tear. That almost seems like a given at this point. Kidd was great at the beginning of last season, but I think Shump can replicate his shooting and be more of a plus defender than Kidd was last year. That will probably come at the expense of some increased turnovers, but I almost think that’s a wash.

    I expect us to finish somewhere between 50-55 wins with a puncher’s chance of of getting hot at the right time and making a deep playoff run. I expect our dRtg will improve to about 12th in the league and an drop in offensive efficiency to about 8th. Also while Brewer was a valuable contributor at the very beginning of the season, his impact diminished quickly and simply by getting minutes from MWP, Prigs and Shump to replace the minutes given to James White, Brewer and Kidd last year we should be okay. MWP will also probably account for some minutes that went to Novak and Cope last year. If THJR and Udrih are able to contribute I don’t really expect much if any dropoff.

  8. Eternal OptiKnist

    stratomatic: 37 wins sounds too pessimistic, but the loss of Kidd is being underrated by Knicks fans. He was terrible in the playoffs, but he was absolutely critical early in the season when they got off to a good start. He was one of the most productive players on the team for a good stretch.

    I dont feel like i hear this being talked about enough, He is a major loss in both physical production and, potentially even more importantly, leadership. I havent done my full annual game-by-game but my gut tells me 48 – 50 wins.

  9. KnickfaninNJ

    Brian Cronin:
    I don’t even think that the East is all that improved. Some of the better teams improved but some of the other teams got worse. Boston got a lot worse. Philly got a lot worse. Orlando got worse. Atlanta got worse. Milwaukee likely got worse. Detroit improved a lot. Cleveland might have improved or might not have improved. Washington might have improved but then they lost their only real center to an injury. Raptors don’t look like they’ve necessarily improved.

    There’s still a lot of dead weight in the Eastern Conference. Enough, I think, to make up for the teams that legitimately did improve (Chicago, Brooklyn, Detroit and likely Indiana).

    what you say is true, but when people talk about the strength of the east versus the west, what it seems they notice is that in the East you don’t even have to play .500 ball to make playoffs but in the West you have to be significantly better than this. By this standard, what matters is not whether Orlando or Phillie improves, but how well do the 6th, 7th and 8th teams in the conference do. Assume the Heat, Bulls, Nets, Pacers and Knicks (I hope) are all well over .500. Then if three other teams are also over .500, the East will probably be considered stronger than last year. I was thinking Washington and Atlanta would be over .500 (but didn’t know about a Washington injury) and thought that Detroit and Cleveland have potential to be over .500. Certainly this isn’t a given, but it is a real possibility

  10. Brian Cronin

    I dont feel like i hear this being talked about enough, He is a major loss in both physical production and, potentially even more importantly, leadership. I havent done my full annual game-by-game but my gut tells me 48 – 50 wins.

    It is very fair to note that one of the best things about the Knicks last year was their lack of turnovers, something that will not be as much of a strength this year.

  11. Brian Cronin

    One sports gambling website just released their over unders for wins and they have the Knicks at 49.5 wins.

  12. lavor postell

    Brian Cronin:
    One sports gambling website just released their over unders for wins and they have the Knicks at 49.5 wins.

    FWIW my book opened up the Knicks wins O/U at 49.5 also and it’s been bet up to 51.5. That’s a pretty big swing for any book that makes me think the smart action viewed the Knicks as an underrated prop and put some big money on it forcing the book to even out the action.

    Brian Cronin: It is very fair to note that one of the best things about the Knicks last year was their lack of turnovers, something that will not be as much of a strength this year.

    Agreed with this, though like I said I think we will be a more solid defensive team.

  13. irish2u2

    The only way the Knicks finish below .500 is if they suffer a catastrophic run of injuries and nobody can predict that accurately. The Knicks have taken proactive steps to limit the importance of getting Stoudemire back AND playing at a super high level by adding Andrea Bargnani and Metta World Peace. The Knicks have replaced Jason Kidd with the PG who was on the floor when the Knicks played their best basketball last season… Pablo Prigioni. Prigioni’s role will expand and keep in mind Beno Udrih as your third PG is pretty good.

    I do not think the Knicks will match last season’s win total. I do not think the Knicks will be the second best team in the East. It’s not just that Cleveland and Detroit have improved because that is countered by the rebuilding projects in Boston and Philadelphia but I do think the major improvements of Chicago, Indiana and Brooklyn plus basically the same Miami Heat team that has won two consecutive NBA titles make the competition at the top of the heap far more competitive while even the bad teams in the NBA will be more dangerous.

    I believe the Knicks are better than last year. They are younger. Deeper. HEALTHIER. They are not a 37 win team.

  14. thenamestsam

    Brian Cronin:
    One sports gambling website just released their over unders for wins and they have the Knicks at 49.5 wins.

    All the ones I’ve seen have been right around there which seems extremely fair to me. I’d personally take the over slightly but not with all that much gusto (plus I know where my own biases lie).

    I’ve made this argument before, but I’ll say again: if the guy who designed SCHOENE actually believed what his model is telling him he’d be insane to publish it on the internet for a piddling journalist’s salary when he could be printing money in Vegas. I don’t know exactly what kind of variance around his 37 win number he has, but I can’t see any way that it’s high enough for the model to project the Knicks to cover the 49.5 more than 5 or 10% of the time. That’s an insanely high expected value bet. The fact that he isn’t actually making that bet should tell you a lot about how much even the creator of the model thinks of its predictions.

  15. lavor postell

    thenamestsam: All the ones I’ve seen have been right around there which seems extremely fair to me. I’d personally take the over slightly but not with all that much gusto (plus I know where my own biases lie).

    I’ve made this argument before, but I’ll say again: if the guy who designed SCHOENE actually believed what his model is telling him he’d be insane to publish it on the internet for a piddling journalist’s salary when he could be printing money in Vegas. I don’t know exactly what kind of variance around his 37 win number he has, but I can’t see any way that it’s high enough for the model to project the Knicks to cover the 49.5 more than 5 or 10% of the time. That’s an insanely high expected value bet. The fact that he isn’t actually making that bet should tell you a lot about how much even the creator of the model thinks of its predictions.

    This. The fact the guy is writing articles for ESPN Insider rather than max betting this shit at every book in Vegas is revealing.

  16. lavor postell

    Robert Silverman: Here’s last year’s SCHOENE:

    48-34 (East 4th)
    Projected Offensive Rating – 108.9 (13)
    Projected Defensive Rating–106.3 (6)

    I think a lot of the projection models last year were favorable about the Knicks because of the presence of Kidd, Camby and Brewer. Camby played 5 minutes and Brewer was a factor in maybe the first 15 games of the year. Kidd obviously was amazing for the first two months of the year, but again after January he was a disaster. I could be completely wrong, but I feel like 48 wins is the minimum for this year, barring Melo or Chandler missing 20+ games.

  17. Hubert

    thenamestsam: All the ones I’ve seen have been right around there which seems extremely fair to me. I’d personally take the over slightly but not with all that much gusto (plus I know where my own biases lie).

    I’ve made this argument before, but I’ll say again: if the guy who designed SCHOENE actually believed what his model is telling him he’d be insane to publish it on the internet for a piddling journalist’s salary when he could be printing money in Vegas. I don’t know exactly what kind of variance around his 37 win number he has, but I can’t see any way that it’s high enough for the model to project the Knicks to cover the 49.5 more than 5 or 10% of the time. That’s an insanely high expected value bet. The fact that he isn’t actually making that bet should tell you a lot about how much even the creator of the model thinks of its predictions.

    I mean, I don’t think even he thinks it’s that exact.

    The act of making preseason predictions is one of the biggest fools’ games around. He has simply done it in a way that’s better than the guy who just goes with his gut. I give him credit for elevating the discussion. It’s much more fun to discuss his picks and his method than it is to discuss the echo chamber that is the page of “ESPN Contributor Predictions” that seem to be based on nothing.

    But yeah, he’s pretty much guessing like everyone else, he’s just using a model to make his guesses.

    I don’t think they’re going to finish ahead of us, but I do like his bold Detroit pick. Yes, Brandon Jennings is prominently involved. But I really love that Smith-Monroe-Drummond frontline. I would probably like them more if Monroe was dropped a little bit, tbh. Drummond, as we all know, is a beast. And Smith seems to work better as a 4. That’s an interesting team to watch.

  18. ephus

    I have a bet with THCJ on the Knicks record this year. 46 wins or more and he has to limit his comments to “+1″ of my comments in all of the post-game threads of the Knicks first round playoff series.

    Of course, 45 wins or less and I have to do the same for him.

  19. thenamestsam

    Hubert:
    I don’t think they’re going to finish ahead of us, but I do like his bold Detroit pick.Yes, Brandon Jennings is prominently involved.But I really love that Smith-Monroe-Drummond frontline.I would probably like them more if Monroe was dropped a little bit, tbh.Drummond, as we all know, is a beast.And Smith seems to work better as a 4.That’s an interesting team to watch.

    Super interesting team. I know for sure they’re going to be in my league pass rotation the first few weeks. I too love the front line, but I really worry about whether they have enough shooting to make that offense really work. I think they’re similar to Memphis in that they’re really going to have to work hard to find every sliver of space on the court because teams are going to pack it in big time against them. Singler was decent towards the end of last year, I liked Caldwell-Pope quite a bit in the draft, and some people apparently think this Euro guy Datome is going to be pretty good so maybe they will have enough, but I’m skeptical. An offense with that many spacing issues needs to be both patient and precise to really work in my opinion and the two guys who are going to carry a lot of the playmaking load, Jennings and Smith, aren’t exactly the poster-boys for those qualities.

    I think they’re incredibly intriguing and I see the upside there but I can’t project them to be a 50-win type team. Best case scenario, yes, but not as a median outcome.

  20. Nick C.

    Robert Silverman: Here’s last year’s SCHOENE:

    48-34 (East 4th)
    Projected Offensive Rating – 108.9 (13)
    Projected Defensive Rating–106.3 (6)

    Thanks. So they sort of flip flopped the offensive and defensive ratings. Were the predictions for the rest of the league in any sort of ball[park (and is this readily accessible so I don’t come off as the world’s laziest internet poster?)

  21. lavor postell

    thenamestsam: Super interesting team. I know for sure they’re going to be in my league pass rotation the first few weeks. I too love the front line, but I really worry about whether they have enough shooting to make that offense really work. I think they’re similar to Memphis in that they’re really going to have to work hard to find every sliver of space on the court because teams are going to pack it in big time against them. Singler was decent towards the end of last year, I liked Caldwell-Pope quite a bit in the draft, and some people apparently think this Euro guy Datome is going to be pretty good so maybe they will have enough, but I’m skeptical. An offense with that many spacing issues needs to be both patient and precise to really work in my opinion and the two guys who are going to carry a lot of the playmaking load, Jennings and Smith, aren’t exactly the poster-boys for those qualities.

    I think they’re incredibly intriguing and I see the upside there but I can’t project them to be a 50-win type team. Best case scenario, yes, but not as a median outcome.

    Yeah I have the same worries about this team. If they can flip Monroe for some additional help on the wings that might be a nice move. This is also a team with very little depth and any injury to Monroe, Smith or Jennings will really hurt them. Billups to me is barely a replacement level player at this point and if he feels that his veteran status affords him the right to pull up for 6 transition 3’s a game that will not be good.

  22. Robert Silverman

    Nick C.: Thanks. So they sort of flip flopped the offensive and defensive ratings. Were the predictions for the rest of the league in any sort of ball[park (and is this readily accessible so I don’t come off as the world’s laziest internet poster?)

    I pulled these from my copy of last year’s Basketball Prospectus. But I’m sure you can find them online somewhere.

  23. Hubert

    The more I look at these SCHOENE things, the stranger they seem to me.

    He has the best team in the East (Miami) winning a measly 54 games. Then teams 2-5 in the Easta (Brooklyn, Chicago, Indiana, Detroit) only win between 49-50 games.

    So in this top-heavy, craptastic, tankalicious Eastern conference, he’s actually predicting some sort of parity?

    I think even if Miami rests guys all year they’re winning 57 games or more. I think Chicago could easily break 60. I think a team that would normally win 50 games might win 52-54 this year.

    Those low win totals really surprise me.

  24. stratomatic

    It’s tough to put too much faith in any of these models. I agree that if anyone had a really good model it would be more lucrative to use it for gambling purposes than writing articles. As a general rule, I’d have to argue that the Vegas lines are going to be more accurate than anything you are going to see published. Not that the Vegas lines are going to all be perfect, but they are certainly going to be darn good in general.

  25. Owen

    We sure have spent a lot of time on these Schoene projections….

    I like the Knicks for 50 wins. 37 seems like an extreme worst case….

  26. johnno

    stratomatic: As a general rule, I’d have to argue that the Vegas lines are going to be more accurate than anything you are going to see published.

    Which is interesting since the Vegas lines are not meant to be accurate predictors of performance. They are meant to be reflections of what the public perceives to be accurate predictors of performance. Put another way, they are set so that half of the people bet the over and half bet the under (which is why the Knicks’ line has apparently moved up — too many people were betting the over). Same thing with point spreads — they are designed to entice half of the bettors to give the points and half to take the points. Which is why, when their is a huge upset, it is completely wrong to say, “The oddsmakers blew it.” Actually, the oddsmakers got it right if, by making the Colts a 19 point favorite over the Jets in the Super Bowl, they enticed half of the bettors to bet on the Jets.

  27. Nick C.

    found this from October 2012.

    How has SCHOENE performed?
    Honestly, not great. Of the six pure statistical projection systems tracked last year on the APBRmetrics message board, SCHOENE had the largest mean error, pegging teams wrong by an average of 5.0 wins over the 66-game schedule. However, when I studied possible adjustments over the summer, I found nothing that would have improved SCHOENE’s results over multiple previous years. So the system remains unchanged from last season, which is essentially the third incarnation of SCHOENE. (The first was used only in 2008-09. The second, rolled out for the first edition of Pro Basketball Prospectus in 2009-10, began incorporating multiple years of past player performance.)

    Historically, SCHOENE has proven more effective at pegging the direction teams are heading than their specific win total. So a different measure–which system was closest to each team’s final record–showed SCHOENE performing as effectively as any of the other systems. SCHOENE was closest to the pin on six teams; only a set of projections using regularized adjusted plus-minus as tracked by poster EvanZ did better, with seven.

    The moral of the story is to temper the most extreme projections. When SCHOENE projects that the Minnesota Timberwolves will be an elite team this year, the appropriate conclusion is that the Timberwolves are closer to contending than conventional wisdom would indicate, not that they are as good as anyone in the Western Conference.

  28. Frank O.

    Maybe it’s just silly of me, but you know, if the Knicks had what the Nets have, there would be a healthy number of folks pointing out that a hell of a lot has to turn right for the Nets to have a good year.
    They have a point guard who appeared to have a declining year, and traded for several players on the down slope of their career.
    Garnett, Johnson, Pierce, Terry, and even Kirelenko are getting old. Evans is old, and Blatche had one good year.
    We’d hear Lopez is a terrible rebounder for a center, and that his scoring efficiency would need to improve.
    And they have a rookie head coach, who is a hall of famer, but that doesn’t guarantee he’ll be a great coach right away.

    So, yeah, they made some high risk/high yield kinds of moves, but that team needs to stay healthy and they have to develop as a team before they get to be world beaters…

    Personally, I think the Knicks will have more continuity and their role players have been upgraded. Plus they have a star in his prime, great bench depth and they got younger.
    If Shump emerges as a potential elite 2, pushed by JR, or vice versa, this could be a pretty tough team.
    If Amare plays comparably to how he played when healthy last year, they could do a lot of damage. Certainly uncertainties. But not more than the Nets have.
    I like to look objectively at teams.

  29. BigBlueAL

    This might not be saying much but this is by far the best Ive felt about a Knicks team entering a season since the 1999-2000 season.

  30. d-mar

    Frank O.:
    Maybe it’s just silly of me, but you know, if the Knicks had what the Nets have, there would be a healthy number of folks pointing out that a hell of a lot has to turn right for the Nets to have a good year.
    They have a point guard who appeared to have a declining year, and traded for several players on the down slope of their career.
    Garnett, Johnson, Pierce, Terry, and even Kirelenko are getting old. Evans is old, and Blatche had one good year.
    We’d hear Lopez is a terrible rebounder for a center, and that his scoring efficiency would need to improve.
    And they have a rookie head coach, who is a hall of famer, but that doesn’t guarantee he’ll be a great coach right away.

    So, yeah, they made some high risk/high yield kinds of moves, but that team needs to stay healthy and they have to develop as a team before they get to be world beaters…

    Personally, I think the Knicks will have more continuity and their role players have been upgraded. Plus they have a star in his prime,great bench depth and they got younger.
    If Shump emerges as a potential elite 2, pushed by JR, or vice versa, this could be a pretty tough team.
    If Amare plays comparably to how he played when healthy last year, they could do a lot of damage. Certainly uncertainties. But not more than the Nets have.
    I like to look objectively at teams.

    Don’t forget that their starting PG might miss opening day with an ankle injury, and that Lopez had to have a bent screw replaced in his foot during the off season.

    Look, the Nets are going to be the “sexy” team in this area until they falter. Every starter has been an All Star at one time in their career, so that’s what people focus on.

  31. Donnie Walsh

    d-mar: Look, the Nets are going to be the “sexy” team in this area until they falter. Every starter has been an All Star at one time in their career, so that’s what people focus on.

    Haha. Yeah. And all the stars of Last Vegas are Oscar winning actors.

    (I’ll put the over under for Last Vegas winning Best Picture this year at 1/2. Do I have any takers for the over?)

  32. AvonBarksdale

    I had really hopes for this season but the damn coach seems to really be confused how to utilize the pieces or influence the outcome of any games whether offensively or defensively…he also seems to burn people out with the constant switching and crazy rotations, he also seems to be a CAA/DOLAN/MELO bitch and our team does have an ego problem like last year wearing all black or taking games off completely…37 wins sounds awful though i thought we could match last year but so far i’m getting bad vibes…..everyone looked like shit last pre-season game…EVERYONE except Diogu and Murray at times..that Ike dude was doing his best beasting..very exciting to watch someone actually put a rebound back up instead slapping that shit backwards to the 3 point line.

  33. mokers

    Nick C.:
    For the life of me I can’t understand why the age of Pierce and Garnett never gets referenced.

    Yeah, I wonder if SCHOENE incorporates the expected statistical decline of aging when projecting minutes, games played, etc. A three year average of a person who is just before or in their prime, is going to be different from and older player, even if those older players are hall of famers.

  34. thenamestsam

    mokers: Yeah, I wonder if SCHOENE incorporates the expected statistical decline of aging when projecting minutes, games played, etc. A three year average of a person who is just before or in their prime, is going to be different from and older player, even if those older players are hall of famers.

    It does incorporate aging curves for similar players. I really wonder what previews people are reading for the Nets that aren’t mentioning their age. I’m not entirely convinced such previews exist. I think everyone sees the potential downsides of their team. I just think a lot of Knicks fans have their heads in the sand about the potential upsides. They were a solid playoff team last year, and they just added two future hall-of-famers (both of whom are still playing at a high level) and AK47. They lost Gerald Wallace whose offensive game had become a huge liability, Kris Humphries who had lost his spot to Reggie Evans, and Marshon Brooks who was benched. They’re massively improved and their ceiling is higher than any team in the league outside of Miami in my opinion.

    Pierce and KG are going to lose it at some point and that point is probably going to be sooner rather than later. Maybe this year. But if it doesn’t happen and they stay healthy they have a chance to be really, really good. A good projection incorporates both possibilities and I think the stuff I’m seeing and reading for the Nets is right on the mark.

  35. DRed

    mokers: Yeah, I wonder if SCHOENE incorporates the expected statistical decline of aging when projecting minutes, games played, etc. A three year average of a person who is just before or in their prime, is going to be different from and older player, even if those older players are hall of famers.

    It does. It uses simliarity scores to do that. But it might run into problems with a player like Garnett, because there haven’t been too many big man to be as effective as he is at his age.

  36. Unreason

    Nick C.: How has SCHOENE performed?
    Honestly, not great.

    This is very helpful. Thanks.
    Do you know its prior accuracy in predicting the top 9 rankings in each conference (8 in the playoffs + 1 team(s) with the best record that didn’t make the playoffs)? Though ranks are much easier to predict than win totals, an avg error of 5 wins suggests it will only get a small % of ranks correct. Hard to guess how small without knowing the distribution of the error in predicted wins. But last season, for example, only 1 of the top 9 in each conference was separated by more than 5 games from the team ranked above or below it. If the median error in predicted Ws is also around 5, I’d guess SCHOENE only got between 3 and 5 of 18 ranks correct; probably a little less than 25% accuracy.

    I find it reassuring that it’s hard to predict even gross measures of relative success for a whole team over a whole season; which is obviously easier than making interesting predictions about single players or single games.

    Since I’m laid up and loopy with a bad cold, I’ll pompously posit the following Lemma and call it Unreason’s fundamental equation of sports fandom: Certainty = Boredom.

  37. ruruland

    thenamestsam: It does incorporate aging curves for similar players. I really wonder what previews people are reading for the Nets that aren’t mentioning their age. I’m not entirely convinced such previews exist. I think everyone sees the potential downsides of their team. I just think a lot of Knicks fans have their heads in the sand about the potential upsides. They were a solid playoff team last year, and they just added two future hall-of-famers (both of whom are still playing at a high level) and AK47. They lost Gerald Wallace whose offensive game had become a huge liability, Kris Humphries who had lost his spot to Reggie Evans, and Marshon Brooks who was benched. They’re massively improved and their ceiling is higher than any team in the league outside of Miami in my opinion.

    Pierce and KG are going to lose it at some point and that point is probably going to be sooner rather than later. Maybe this year. But if it doesn’t happen and they stay healthy they have a chance to be really, really good. A good projection incorporates both possibilities and I think the stuff I’m seeing and reading for the Nets is right on the mark.

    Paul Pierce made 39 shots (at a 37% clip) and had 32 turnovers against Knicks defenders in the playoffs without any extra attention.

    Let’s remember that prior to the trade there was plenty of talk about both players retiring.

  38. cgreene

    ruruland: Paul Pierce made 39 shots (at a 37% clip) and had 32 turnovers against Knicks defenders in the playoffs without any extra attention.

    Let’s remember that prior to the trade there was plenty of talk about both players retiring.

    I mentioned this before too. Dude had a negative WS and a 10 PER against Shumpert and Smith. I love the Felton Shumpert Melo Artest Chandler lineup against them with no doubling when they post the guards.

  39. mokers

    DRed: It does.It uses simliarity scores to do that.But it might run into problems with a player like Garnett, because there haven’t been too many big man to be as effective as he is at his age.

    ahh, thanks.

    OK, for people who are as lazy as me: SCHOENE is available to ESPN insider only and had only read about the projections at the ESPN link. However, the old basketball prospectus site goes into much better detail.

    http://www.basketballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=423

    Although this is from 2008, it seems pretty sound

    “Like PECOTA, SCHOENE attempts to acknowledge the uncertainty inherent in projecting player performance. While I’m not yet able to generate the kind of graphs and forecasts Baseball Prospectus does, I have recreated the familiar Improve/Breakout/Decline percentages, a breakout or decline (which I term “Coppage”) being defined as at least 20 percent improvement or drop-off.

    Magloire, who has plenty of room for improvement after a dismal 2007-08 season, scored the highest improvement percentage, albeit amongst the aforementioned four comparable players. Adam Morrison (86 percent) is second over a more legitimate sample as well as tops with a 54 percent chase of breaking out. In both cases, we’re seeing what Silver termed “The Ugueto Effect” after the light-hitting Mariners utilityman who showed a high likelihood of improving and breaking out the season PECOTA was introduced because he was previously so bad. Brent Barry (10 percent) has the lowest chance of improving, with Bobby Jackson (26 percent) having the most comps who declined dramatically the following season. Magloire was also the player with the largest improvement amongst comparable players (+24.4 percent), while Shaquille O’Neal (-11.9 percent) saw the biggest projected decline.”

    Does anybody think basketball prospectus is…

  40. ruruland

    cgreene: I mentioned this before too. Dude had a negative WS and a 10 PER against Shumpert and Smith. I love the Felton Shumpert Melo Artest Chandler lineup against them with no doubling when they post the guards.

    Yeah, I’m not very frightened by their offense. PP and KG are better spot-up shooters than they had last year, but still diminishing returns issues when you have five guys at their best creating offense.

    Defensively KG and Lopez will be very good, but their wing/perimeter defenders will be worse than what either Boston or the Nets had last year.

    Wallace has historically been a much tougher match-up for Melo than AK.

  41. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    Hey ruruland:

    Remember when you argued for about three dozen consecutive posts that Bargnani was good at boxing out for his teammates’ benefit, but bad at putting his hands on rebounds?

    Could you please put together a montage of any instance in which this is the case for the rest of the season? I don’t think we’ve seen a lick of it so far.

    Also, 37 wins. 45 will be a coup.

  42. thenamestsam

    ruruland: Paul Pierce made 39 shots (at a 37% clip) and had 32 turnovers against Knicks defenders in the playoffs without any extra attention.

    Let’s remember that prior to the trade there was plenty of talk about both players retiring.

    He played like crap in that series. He also got all-nba votes last year. As did KG. The talk about them retiring was because of the direction of the franchise, not because those guys can’t play. They were the two best players on a playoff team even if they weren’t very effective once they got there. They can still play plenty.

    ruruland: Yeah, I’m not very frightened by their offense. PP and KG are better spot-up shooters than they had last year, but still diminishing returns issues when you have five guys at their best creating offense.

    Haven’t we heard the exact opposite argument from you when it comes to other shot creators playing with Melo? That they both make each others games better?

    Also it’s not even really true that all 5 are at their best creating offense. KG is pretty much a pure spot up guy at this point. Joe Johnson has always been at his best as a spot up guy and secondary creator on the weak side going back to his days in PHX. Pierce has spent a ton of time without the ball in his hands playing with Rondo. Plus they have Evans (doesn’t need shots) and AK (class glue guy) as two of the first guys off the bench. It’s not exactly all gunners over there.

  43. ruruland

    The Honorable Cock Jowles:
    Hey ruruland:

    Remember when you argued for about three dozen consecutive posts that Bargnani was good at boxing out for his teammates’ benefit, but bad at putting his hands on rebounds?

    Could you please put together a montage of any instance in which this is the case for the rest of the season? I don’t think we’ve seen a lick of it so far.

    Also, 37 wins. 45 will be a coup.

    You’re predicting between 37 and 41 wins, correct?

  44. ruruland

    namestsam:

    Good spot-up shooters? Yeah, but much of the value each player has historically (including recent seasons) added has come from shot creation.

    Only KG is suited to be a good spot-up and defend player. Pierce and JJ are solid spot-ups guys, but are better at creating for teammates (adjusted for position.)

    Neither of them are very good defenders at this point. I actually can think of a bunch of better, significantly cheaper and lesser known players who would fit more synergestically around Williams, Lopez, and KG.

    Shumpert would be a much better fit than either Pierce or Johnson, and should be a significantly better player than both next year.

    We forget, KG and Pierce have been the center-pieces of offenses that have ranked 18th, 24th and 28th in offensive efficiency the last three years.

    KG finished with a .535 TS last year (lowest in 11 years), and in the playoffs, neither he nor Paul Pierce could consistently finish lightly contested layups. Pierce couldn’t dribble and chew gum at the same time (he also had the lowest regular season scoring efficiency and highest to % of the last nine years of his career)

    Pierce is 36 and has logged over 45,000 minutes.
    KG is 37 and has logged over 52,000 minutes.

    Yes, KG’s leadership, positioning and length on defense are quality additions to the Nets, but that Celtics team stayed competitive with a Knicks club — whose two best players were suffering from debilitating basketball injuries — because of perimeter defense, Jeff Green and Brandon Bass.

    Paul Pierce is a lateral move from Gerald Wallace in that environment.

    KG is a good addition, but forget age curves, he’s observably lost a lot of his pop and seems likely to hit the wall some point soon. Pierce is closer.

    In two years Shaq went from .211 WS/48 to .067 WS/48.

    In two years McHale went from .182 WS/48 to .082 WS/48.

    The Dream went from .175 WS/48 (age 36) to .72 WS/48 (37).

    It’s a cliff for most guys.

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