Statistical Analysis. Humor. Knicks.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Knicks 88, Pacers 76

Indiana Pacers 76 Final

Recap | Box Score

88 New York Knicks
Carmelo Anthony, SF 31 MIN | 9-22 FG | 7-8 FT | 9 REB | 0 AST | 26 PTS | +18

Carmelo continues to provide daily evidence that FG% and efficient offense are not the same thing. 26 points on 22 FGA’s, 8 FTA’s and zero turnovers? Sign for it with a smile. On a day when neither team’s shots were falling, the Knicks won this game with offensive rebounds (Melo had 4) and a +11 turnover margin (Melo had 2 steals and committed 0 turnovers in 25 possessions used). If you don’t bring help he goes to the rim, if you bring help he looks to pass. His defensive effort was there all game, a happening that has become so routine as to barely warrant mention. He has fitted his play to the character of each game this season and ,despite shooting that hasn’t met his normal standard, is the biggest reason this team is 7-1. The biggest reason that they haven’t really been tested in any of the 7 wins. Whether he can be the best player on a legitimate contender is no longer a compelling hypothetical. It’s happening before our eyes.

Ronnie Brewer, SF 23 MIN | 4-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 2 AST | 8 PTS | +17

The Knicks’ starting lineup includes 3 players with great handles, vision, and decision-making (Kidd, Felton, and (knock me over with a feather) Carmelo). It also includes two players with a preternatural sense of offensive spacing and when to do what off of the ball (Brewer, Chandler). Sometimes it’s difficult to figure out why lineups work well together. This is not one of those times. Ronnie Brewer was +17 in 23 minutes today. Sometimes single-game +/- stats can be misleading. This is not one of those times.

Tyson Chandler, C 28 MIN | 3-7 FG | 1-2 FT | 9 REB | 1 AST | 7 PTS | +8

Throw the stats out, this was his best game of the young season. Start with his incredibly active screening that created lanes for dribble penetration and forced defensive collapses when he rolled to the rim. Next, take Roy Hibbert’s line (a putrid 6/8/1 with 6 turnovers on 3/10 shooting) and stack Ian Mahinmi’s 0-for-6 on top of it for good measure. Finally, get a load of the Pacers overall 2 point shooting (20 for 51, or 39.2%), a reflection of their utter inability to finish in the paint and resulting willingness to settle for a lot of long 2′s, even early in the shot clock. Basketball is about movement above all else — player movement, ball movement, and the ability to prevent free-flowing movement by your opponent. If you’re wondering how Tyson Chandler could possibly be such a valuable NBA player without a jumper or any discernible post moves, that is your answer.

Jason Kidd, PG 23 MIN | 0-3 FG | 3-3 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 3 PTS | +12

A quiet outing after intentionally-drawn contact on a long jumper (a Kidd specialty) drew blood and birthed a new Twitter account. He was +12 in 23 minutes but didn’t touch the ball much.

Raymond Felton, PG 29 MIN | 5-15 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 8 AST | 11 PTS | +11

Uneven but ultimately effective outing from Ray. Still a few too many shots but since none of them were really forced I don’t think that’s really on him. Teams are looking to make sure that Felton jumpers are the best looks the Knicks get; it’s the coach’s job to make adjustments that get him more help. Sub-par shooting aside, 8 assists without a turnover is great and he did a nice job contesting looks from a very confused Indiana backcourt. Good but not great.

Rasheed Wallace, PF 17 MIN | 3-7 FG | 2-2 FT | 7 REB | 0 AST | 9 PTS | +7

Has thus far provided the steadiest (!) alternative to Carmelo when he needs a rest. Today’s effort was particularly encouraging because it was effective for a bunch of boring, sustainable reasons (7 boards and a block in 17 minutes) instead of dream-sequence-three-point-montage-romantic-puppy-surprise! reasons. Will be interesting to see what happens when Amar’e comes back (he would seem to be in the most danger of losing minutes) but if the playoffs started now and the rotation had to be shortened to 8 or 9 players, he would be safely in it.

Steve Novak, SF 24 MIN | 3-10 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 9 PTS | -2

It really says a whole lot about Novak’s Super-Mario-with-a-Star 2011-12 season that people have actually been stupefied at the demise of his 3-point shooting so far this year. He was 3 for 8 today (37.5%) and is now shooting 37.8% on the season. Reggie Miller shot 39.5% for his career (with a shorter line). Calm down. His defense has, however, regressed from “surprisingly passable” to “I wish this was baseball so we could DH him.”

Chris Copeland, SF 4 MIN | 1-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 2 PTS | -7

I think our official victory cigar this year should be Chris Copeland coming into a blowout, getting one clean path to the bucket, dunking, and hanging on the rim long enough to draw a technical foul (Joey Crawford stunningly declined to call it today but, make no mistake, it was there). That way if he hits the 16-tech suspension threshold it will be more a mark of the Knicks’ dominance than anything else. I’m not telling you how to do your job, Woody, just something to think about.

Marcus Camby, C 13 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-2 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS | -3

Apparently still on the team. Seriously, he has a uniform and everything. If you didn’t get teary-eyed seeing him hit the Garden floorboards for a rebound against the Pacers in a 28-24 game in the middle of the 2nd quarter, then I don’t even want to know you. If Woodson plays him in this role (basically the help-defending, rebounding yin to ‘Sheed’s chuck-and-grind yang) our frontcourt rotation starts to look pretty darn adaptable.

Pablo Prigioni, PG 16 MIN | 0-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 4 AST | 0 PTS | +1

I tweeted at the end of the third quarter that it was pretty hard to to play only 6 minutes and look worse than Pridgie had to that point. He then played a somewhat more passable 4th quarter, but against a lineup that would only have looked formidable at a Hansbrough family picnic. His first severe clunker of the year but it’s hard to see him staying in the rotation once Shump comes back (especially given Kidd’s Ponce de Leon act and JR Smith’s startling emergence as an offensive initiator (of which more below)).

James White, SG 4 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS | -7

Only 91 days to get your Slam Dunk Contest shopping done!

J.R. Smith, SG 30 MIN | 5-10 FG | 2-2 FT | 7 REB | 2 AST | 13 PTS | +5

SHIP CAPTAIN’S LOG: 71 DAYS SINCE THE WRECK

Food supply grows short and fresh water nears utter depletion. If they find this, dear Maisy, know that I have loved you and always shall. I have held out hope long enough that a passing freighter would see the bonfire that still rages on the beach but to no avail. Noises from the brush grow ever louder and stranger, though I fear I must face whatever awaits me therein or starve to death. Hunger and scurvy have driven me to near-delirium, I awake cold and sweaty from fevered dream of J.R. Smith creating efficient offense for himself and his teammates, defending with vigor, emerging as the third most important player on a 7-1 NBA team. The madness shall not claim me — I shall live by this island’s bounty and return to you, Maisy, or I shall die bravely facing its horrors.

Kurt Thomas, PF DNP COACH’S DECISION MIN | FG | FT | REB | AST | PTS |

Probably has to be either him or Camby unless someone gets injured. Today it was Camby. Maybe they can each play about half the games and stay fresh.

Five Things We Saw

  1. Thought this was a game that the Knicks needed to put their stamp on to nip any concerns that the Memphis loss may have exposed some fundamental flaw in their team construction. Despite sloppy shooting, I thought they generally succeeded to this end. David West had an efficient game but was confined to a minor role in the offense (10 shots in 34 minutes) thanks to Chandler’s one-man zone defense and Melo’s willingness to front him and ball-deny. Super-sized frontlines like those in Memphis and (to some extent) San Antonio are a bad matchup for the Knicks preferred lineup and probably will be all year. But that doesn’t mean any team with a post threat can exploit them (witness West’s low usage and the ongoing disaster that was Roy Hibbert’s afternoon) and I thought it was important for them to state that resoundingly today. Mission accomplished.
  2. Corollary to #1: just because Tony Parker and Mike Conley can get into the lane at will doesn’t mean your perimeter defense isn’t good. Paul George, George Hill, and Lance Stephenson were a combined 4/16 on two-point attempts in this game; Hill attempted only one shot in the paint. The early scouting report on the Knicks defense is that their perimeter switching and interior ball denial is good and that the best way to beat them is with a super-quick dribble penetrator and/or a strong, skilled post presence that can receive the ball high and muscle his way toward the basket. To that end, the Spurs/Grizzlies back-to-back might have been the single most difficult test their defense will face all year. And they went 1-1.
  3. The Knicks most effective offensive weapon last year — especially evident during Linsanity but also one of the bright spots of Douglistlessness — was any set that started with Chandler setting a high screen and diving to the rim. This maneuver had been mostly invisible to start this season, even as the Knicks sprinted to a 6-1 record. It was back today, producing it’s trademark blend of easy finishes, fouls, and shooters abandoned by collapsing defenders. That’s good. If they can implement it effectively with Carmelo or JR Smith as the ball-handler and Novak lurking in the shadows? That’s scary.
  4. The Knicks had a major offensive lull in the second quarter when they went away from the Felton-Kidd-Brewer-Melo-Chandler lineup in favor of a bigger look. Right now, most iterations of the big lineup only score when ‘Sheed is hot and the opposition’s respect for his outside shot is creating space for Felton/Prigioni/Melo/whoever to penetrate. When he’s cold it gets stilted and ineffective. Through 8 games, this looks like the biggest area that a healthy Amar’e might be able to really help out.
  5. The final point is the most important. The Knicks’ starting lineup (Raymond Felton, Jason Kidd, Ronnie Brewer, Carmelo Anthony, Tyson Chandler) was on the court together for 15 minutes today (tip-off until 8:48 of the first quarter; 5:39 of the second quarter until halftime; start of the third quarter until 5:58 of the third quarter). In those 15 minutes, each team had 27 possessions on which the Knicks scored 40 points (1.48 per possession) and the Pacers scored 24 (0.89 per possession). This is astonishingly good but basically an exaggeration of what they’ve done all year so far (1.18 per possession, 0.90 allowed per possession coming into today). That’s not simply great, it’s cartoonish. It’s happened against champions and also-rans, contenders and minnows. It’s happened against big teams and small. It’s happened at home and on the road.

    It’s real.

    I hope Amar’e and Shumpert come back. I hope they play great and serve to add two more elements to a team whose depth and diversity has been it’s most endearing feature. I couldn’t care less who is on the court when the game starts and I care only marginally more who is on the court when it ends. But if that lineup — those five players who have played against other teams’ starting lineups and absolutely trounced them — does not spend a significant portion of every game in which they are all healthy on the court together, then I simply have no idea what we’re even trying to do here.

109 comments on “Knicks 88, Pacers 76

  1. Will the Thrill

    Looked like Chandler read up on Ruruland’s posts regarding him before the game today! He looked like the dude from last year who won DPOY.

  2. d-mar

    Great writeup Kevin, I particularly liked your last line about Melo:

    “Whether he can be the best player on a legitimate contender is no longer a compelling hypothetical. It’s happening before our eyes.”

    It’s hard to find many flaws with this team. In the past, typical criticisms would be:

    – They don’t play defense
    – They have no interior presence
    – They don’t have a decent point guard
    – Their star should be the 2nd best player on a contender

    I think you can throw all those out this year, right? I don’t know what the limit is for this team, but there is nothing not to like about them right now.

  3. daJudge

    Nice job Kevin. Had my old man league today so I just finished watching the game. I play with a dude that started on the great Schenectady Linton Team featuring Barry Kramer (NYU/Knicks), who is also a Judge in our judicial district. I think Riley was a bit earlier. I heard some really cool stories about that era and their confrontations with NYC crews (who they always beat). Anyway, back to the game, I thought Camby looked great. Not to nitpick, but I would give him a B+, at least. I thought Novak deserved a C, at best. I thought Sheed looked great and deserved a B+. Also, Melo is absolutely studding. I just love the way he is playing. If Stat comes back with this mindset, which he will, look out. I’m pretty psyched.

  4. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    “Carmelo continues to provide daily evidence that FG% and efficient offense are not the same thing. 26 points on 22 FGA’s, 8 FTA’s and zero turnovers? Sign for it with a smile.”

    We know that eFG% =/= efficiency of offense. Turnovers and offensive rebounds and FTM/FGA matter. And because he had ZERO turnovers, he had an excellent game. No one would argue to the contrary.

  5. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    d-mar:
    Great writeup Kevin, I particularly liked your last line about Melo:

    “Whether he can be the best player on a legitimate contender is no longer a compelling hypothetical. It’s happening before our eyes.”

    It’s hard to find many flaws with this team. In the past, typical criticisms would be:

    – They don’t play defense– They have no interior presence– They don’t have a decent point guard– Their star should be the 2nd best player on a contender

    I think you can throw all those out this year, right? I don’t know what the limit is for this team, but there is nothing not to like about them right now.

    Carmelo IS the second-best player on a contender.

    ; )

  6. cgreene

    It’s so incredibly odd to put into perspective that the Knicks may actually be a contender. It’s surreal. But when you step back and look at the evidence both the numbers and the eye tests of game to game nuance it’s all there. So enjoyable.

  7. Colead

    Long time reader, first time commenter, so first off…hey guys. Fell in love with this team when I lived in NY a while back(pre decision), went to see them 8 times, they lost…8 times. However I did get to see Gallo airball a FT during a ot loss to Sacremento, you can’t make that stuff up like. Anyways was waiting with baited breath to see this team fall apart after failing to pull away while Indiana were flirting with the idea of making no more than 4 field goals a quarter, but these guys really seem for real. Melo’s shot selection, not getting too frustrated over the no calls under the basket, maybe surrounding Mel’s Bells

  8. Colead

    with all these geriatrics wasn’t such a bad idea after all? Also perhaps a stupid question but can anyone tell me why we dont see Amar’e on the bench next to say Shump during games? Where the hell has he been since he re-crocked himself actually? I’d feel better about his reintegration if he was getting caught up in these positive vibes a little more… Or is it just me?
    *Sorry have no idea how to edit posts

  9. d-mar

    Meanwhile, the Nets have a very deceptive 6-2 record, which includes wins over Toronto, Orlando (twice), Cleveland, Boston (without Rondo) and Sacramento. I’m sure we’ll hear all about how they’re just one game behind us in the standings, but it’ll be interesting to see how they handle upcoming games against the Lakers, Clips and us on Monday.

  10. jon abbey

    Colead:
    with all these geriatrics wasn’t such a bad idea after all? Also perhaps a stupid question but can anyone tell me why we dont see Amar’e on the bench next to say Shump during games? Where the hell has he been since he re-crocked himself actually? I’d feel better about his reintegration if he was getting caught up in these positive vibes a little more… Or is it just me?

    ruru probably knows better than me, but I think he’s mostly been rehabbing to try to get himself back as quickly as possible. I know he was at the game in San Antonio and after the game, his teammates gave him a cake for just turning 30 (at midnight) so I wouldn’t worry on this front.

  11. BigBlueAL

    Random comment, but damn does Kidd have some quick hands on defense. There was a sequence today where he deflected passes on like 3 consecutive defensive possessions, one of them stopped a fastbreak.

  12. Robtachi

    The Lin debacle this summer was just so typically Knicks-esque. They can’t possibly be so forcefully debunking all the usual negative feelings that come with this fandom, can they? Can they? I… I don’t even know what to do with such a positive outlook for this team. Send for help? Psycho-placebo self-improvement pamphlets? Should we hold a seance to determine the cosmos’ ultimate plan for this team and to shed some guiding light on this confusing and unfamiliar path down which we now tread? How about the world’s biggest game of Ouija? Stoppit, Jim, I can see you moving the planchette.

    I didn’t grasp the finer points of what made the mid-90s Knicks a great team when I was a wee young’un. This is well and truly my first experience with my beloved New York ballers playing at such a high level, and with such zealous purpose. It is 100% totally likeable and that just feels… alien.

    Guess I’ll just have to loosen my kung-fu armchair grip, un-clench my buttcheeks, and (gulp) try to enjoy some really freakin’ good basketball.

  13. Juany8

    I’m starting to think this year will be a banner year for how meaningless box score stats are on an individual level. Melo has become a more consistently willing passer than ever, yet his assists are down in some part because he’s playing far and away the slowest pace of his career. The Knicks have been outrebounded in all but 1 game, and it only felt like a problem when they were putting Melo on Marc Gasol. In other parts of the league, Lebron is putting up some of his more absurd numbers yet while playing at a lower level than last year, especially on defense (last year people got excited because he stopped settling for 3′s almost entirely, now it’s good that he’s made some heat checks?)

    Kobe and Kevin Martin became second/third options and started putting up career efficiency numbers, while James Harden became a first option and keeps crapping the bed any time he goes up against a good defender (After averaging a 67 TS% last season, James Harden has as many games blow 50 TS% this year as he has games above 60%). The Thunder lost arguably their best playmaker and now Durant is flirting with triple doubles. Jeremy Lin suddenly looks less effective now that he doesn’t have Chandler to run the pick and roll with and Novak isn’t standing in the strong corner. Felton turned back the clock like last year never happened.

    Maybe not all of those trends stick through the year, but I’m willing to bet a few will. I wonder what THCJ will say if the Knicks are playing in the ECF and the Nuggets, Timberwolves, and Rockets combine for about 3 playoff wins total. Remember, the Nuggets were supposed to be far and away better than the Thunder once they traded Harden for Martin, while the Rockets were now building around 2 superstars (Harden and Asik) Funniest moment of the off season was me hearing that the Rockets were going to win 50 now despite staying the same overall at the guard positions. Is Harden that much better than Lowry AND Martin?

  14. Z-man

    So the Rockets are 10 games in and Lin is one of the worst starting PGs in the league. Don’t fret, Rocket fans, Lin will start living up to that $25 mill contract any day now. Morey the genius also drafted a guy who may have to drop out of the NBA. Sometimes smart guys outsmart themselves.

  15. flossy

    @19, you can’t seriously be questioning whether the Harden trade was good for Houston, can you? In his first year as the #1 option on a team he’s putting up a .570 TS% on 30% usage. If he sustains those number they would basically represent a career year for Carmelo Anthony, so I’m gonna go ahead and say the Rockets are getting their money’s worth.

  16. johnno

    flossy: In his first year as the #1 option on a team he’s putting up a .570 TS% on 30% usage. If he sustains those number

    Or, if he sustains what he’s done for the last 8 games — i.e., shoot 37% from the field and 23% on 3 pointers on 30% usage — he will be looked at as an unrepentent ballstopper who is the single most overpaid and overrated player in the NBA. In other words, beware of small sample sizes. Could you imagine how this board would be exploding if the Knicks were 4-6 and Melo was the one putting up those numbers? Or if the Knicks were 4-6 and Felton was playing like Lin has played so far this year — i.e., 10 points a game on 34% shooting and 25% on 3 pointers? Or if the Knicks were 4-6 and they had matched Landry Fields’s contract? Or if the Knicks were 4-6 and their first round pick was not playing or practicing and publicly criticizing the team on twitter and in press releases?

  17. d-mar

    Z-man:
    So the Rockets are 10 games in and Lin is one of the worst starting PGs in the league. Don’t fret, Rocket fans, Lin will start living up to that $25 mill contract any day now. Morey the genius also drafted a guy who may have to drop out of the NBA. Sometimes smart guys outsmart themselves.

    He was a -20 last night, ouch.

  18. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    johnno: Or, if he sustains what he’s done for the last 8 games — i.e., shoot 37% from the field and 23% on 3 pointers on 30% usage — he will be looked at as an unrepentent ballstopper who is the single most overpaid and overrated player in the NBA.In other words, beware of small sample sizes.Could you imagine how this board would be exploding if the Knicks were 4-6 and Melo was the one putting up those numbers?Or if the Knicks were 4-6 and Felton was playing like Lin has played so far this year — i.e., 10 points a game on 34% shooting and 25% on 3 pointers?Or if the Knicks were 4-6 and they had matched Landry Fields’s contract? Or if the Knicks were 4-6 and their first round pick was not playing or practicing and publicly criticizing the team on twitter and in press releases?

    The White thing is an unfortunate disaster, but let’s not pretend that the Knicks didn’t totally luck out on getting Kidd, Brewer, and Camby, three of the most efficient players in the league, for peanuts. Felton may be an improvement over the PGs last year not named Lin, but Carmelo and Felton really haven’t done much to warrant a positive comparison to Lin.

    http://www.thenbageek.com/players/215-carmelo-anthony

    http://www.thenbageek.com/players/68-raymond-felton

  19. jon abbey

    The Honorable Cock Jowles: let’s not pretend that the Knicks didn’t totally luck out on getting Kidd, Brewer, and Camby, three of the most efficient players in the league, for peanuts.

    haha! they didn’t “luck out”, those guys and JR Smith and Sheed came because of the core Melo and CAA (and Grunwald) put together. you know, exactly what me and some other people said might happen in the wake of the Melo deal, and you and Mike K and others said was impossible.

    “Carmelo and Felton really haven’t done much to warrant a positive comparison to Lin.”

    oh my god, do you really believe this? it never occurs to you to rethink your fundamental (-ly wrong) perspective, huh? ok then.

    I said it in the game thread yesterday, but Jeremy Lin at 3/25 is not an asset, he is a millstone. he is probably not in the top 30 PGs in the league, in fact Hollinger had him 37th among PGs in PER when I checked yesterday (I know PER is less than ideal).

  20. jon abbey

    I doubt there’s a single GM in the league right now who if given the choice for this season* to build around Melo or Harden would still pick Harden after he’s been exposed like this in just 10 games.

    *long-term it’s less clear still as Harden is decidedly younger, but for this season, I don’t think there’s any question in anyone’s mind. well, except for THCJ and Berri anyway.

  21. jon abbey

    hey, and as long as I’m here, Andray Blatche, the guy you mocked as being worthless at the age of 26, has been killing it for the Nets off the bench.

    so much evidence already this year as to how surroundings and the role one is placed in affects the level of one’s play, I can’t wait to see if you and dingleBerri ever back down from your ridiculous positions along these lines.

  22. johnno

    The Honorable Cock Jowles: The White thing is an unfortunate disaster

    Yes, it is unfortunate that the poor guy apparently has a serious handicap. However, publicly criticizing the organization is just plain stupid — unless he’s got some ulterior motive other than trying to get healthy and have an NBA career.

    The Honorable Cock Jowles: but let’s not pretend that the Knicks didn’t totally luck out on getting Kidd, Brewer, and Camby

    I’m not sure what in the world that has to do with the point that I was making, which was that no conclusions should be reached based on small sample sizes. Do I think that for an 82 game season Lin and Harden are going to be as atrocious as they have been for the last 8 games? Obviously not. I also don’t think that, at the end of the year, Harden will be considered one of the top 10 players in the league and I don’t think that Lin will be considered one of the top 10 point guards. Besides, I don’t think that the Knicks acquired Kidd, Brewer and Camby without any knowledge of their track records or their ability and merely “lucked out” when they turned out to be pretty good — at least so far. I think that that is kinda why they went after them in the first place.

    The Honorable Cock Jowles: Felton may be an improvement over the PGs last year not named Lin, but Carmelo and Felton really haven’t done much to warrant a positive comparison to Lin.

    Huh? What the heck are you talking about? Do you watch games at all — or do you merely cherry pick stats to support your conclusions?

  23. jon abbey

    johnno: Do I think that for an 82 game season Lin and Harden are going to be as atrocious as they have been for the last 8 games?

    I wouldn’t bet either way, but my guess is that they’ll be lucky to maintain these levels. Harden had by far his best game on opening night and has been meh since, and I still will be surprised if Lin stays healthy for a whole season (although I haven’t seen him almost at all and his lower shot totals make me think he’s cut way down on the pinball approach to offense, slamming himself into the defender and then shooting).

  24. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    johnno: Yes, it is unfortunate that the poor guy apparently has a serious handicap.However, publicly criticizing the organization is just plain stupid — unless he’s got some ulterior motive other than trying to get healthy and have an NBA career.

    I’m not sure what in the world that has to do with the point that I was making, which was that no conclusions should be reached based on small sample sizes.Do I think that for an 82 game season Lin and Harden are going to be as atrocious as they have been for the last 8 games?Obviously not.I also don’t think that, at the end of the year, Harden will be considered one of the top 10 players in the league and I don’t think that Lin will be considered one of the top 10 point guards.Besides, I don’t think that the Knicks acquired Kidd, Brewer and Camby without any knowledge of their track records or their ability and merely “lucked out” when they turned out to be pretty good — at least so far.I think that that is kinda why they went after them in the first place.

    Huh?What the heck are you talking about?Do you watch games at all — or do you merely cherry pick stats to support your conclusions?

    zzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    “Do you watch the games?”

    zzzzzzzzzzzzzz

  25. Z-man

    The Honorable Cock Jowles: The White thing is an unfortunate disaster

    ..that was a major red flag going into the draft. It isn’t unfortunate from a GM’s perspective, it was a foolish reach.

    The Honorable Cock Jowles: Felton may be an improvement over the PGs last year not named Lin, but Carmelo and Felton really haven’t done much to warrant a positive comparison to Lin.

    If Lin’s and Felton’s stats were reversed, my guess is that you would have said exactly the same thing.

    The Honorable Cock Jowles: the Knicks didn’t totally luck out on getting Kidd, Brewer, and Camby, three of the most efficient players in the league, for peanuts

    And name me a GM oc a successful team that hasn’t “totally lucked out” in some way.

  26. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    Z-man: ..that was a major red flag going into the draft. It isn’t unfortunate from a GM’s perspective, it was a foolish reach.

    If Lin’s and Felton’s stats were reversed, my guess is that you would have said exactly the same thing.

    And name me a GM oc a successful team that hasn’t “totally lucked out” in some way.

    I just don’t think that Felton has been some sort of basketball god like others on this site have. I see that when I look at his numbers and they are nearly the same as they have been in the past. Yes, I watched that excellent turn-around pass he made the other day, and I applaud his willingness to penetrate into the paint, but he’s not an elite PG, certainly not head and shoulders above Lin. Perhaps the only thing that distinguishes him from his past performance is that he’s shooting a high usage and keeping his TO low. I have a hard time arguing that a PG who shoots 50% TS is good at basketball. Cry about it.

    And yeah, GMs luck out. Most of it has to do with turning lottery picks into franchise-defining superstars. If the Thunder had picked before Portland, they wouldn’t be where they are now. But who could have guessed that Brewer, a phenomenal basketball player, could be had with a vet minimum?

  27. flossy

    jon abbey: I doubt there’s a single GM in the league right now who if given the choice for this season* to build around Melo or Harden would still pick Harden after he’s been exposed like this in just 10 games.

    Harden has been exposed after 10 games?! LOL. Exposed as what, a legit #1 option on offense?

  28. jon abbey

    flossy: Harden has been exposed after 10 games?!LOL.Exposed as what, a legit #1 option on offense?

    as a guy who is not nearly as efficient as a first option as he was as a third option, as a guy who lets Kobe Bryant get a triple double on him, as a first option who will pile up points but not win many games, as a #2 option on a very good team who is over his head as a #1 option. you know, all the stuff we’ve been saying here for a year or two.

  29. flossy

    jon abbey: as a guy who is not nearly as efficient as a first option as he was as a third option, as a guy who lets Kobe Bryant get a triple double on him, as a first option who will pile up points but not win many games, as a #2 option on a very good team who is over his head as a #1 option. you know, all the stuff we’ve been saying here for a year or two.

    This is quite the load of bullshit, you know. Not as efficient as a #1 option? Gee whiz, only every single person who watches the NBA could have told you that would happen (nobody scores at a .660 TS% clip when they’re the only shot-creator on their team). The point is his scoring efficiency is still well above league average despite a massive uptick in usage.

    He let surefire first-ballot HOFer Kobe Byrant have a big game against him? Oh wow, he must be the first.

    Piles up points without leading to wins? How many games would the Rockets would have won at this point *without* Harden, may I ask? 1, 2? At most?

    Really, the funniest thing is that you’re pretty damn sure of your conclusions despite the fact that we’re so early in the season that JR Smith is still shooting more than 60% from downtown. Not only has Harden been excellent so far, all things considered, even if he hadn’t been it is WAY too early to conclude that he’s not up to his new role.

  30. Z-man

    I have yet to see anyone taken seriously on this site arguing that Felton is “elite” or “top-10″ or that Felton is head-and-shoulders a better player than Lin, or anything like that. What they (and I) have said is:

    Felton is a better fit for this team right now than Lin would have been

    Felton is a better defender than Lin

    Felton is more durable than Lin

    Felton is a better shooter than Lin

    Lin was way overrated based on the very brief period of Linsanity

    Lin is not worth the contract he signed and certainly not worth the massive luxury tax penalty

    Granted, Lin is still developing and may turn the corner at some point and become a consistent player, but it is silly to say that Lin has in any way, shape or form outplayed Felton thus far. Felton is shooting 3′s at a percentage consistent with his last 3 years (except for when he was fat andout of shape playing in a bad situation in Portland) and his FT% will surely go up.

    The Honorable Cock Jowles: I have a hard time arguing that a PG who shoots 50% TS is good at basketball. Cry about it.

    Jason Kidd had a TS% of below 50% in 10 of his 19 years (career: .507), so I guess he is bad at basketball too. Rondo was below 50% TS% in three of the last 6 years.

  31. jon abbey

    flossy: This is quite the load of bullshit, you know.Not as efficient as a #1 option?Gee whiz, only every single person who watches the NBA could have told you that would happen (nobody scores at a .660 TS% clip when they’re the only shot-creator on their team).

    haha, clearly you don’t read this site very often, since this was exactly the argument THCJ made ad nauseum all last year.

    I expect Harden to wear down as the season goes on, I think he’s going to end up regretting not staying in OKC, extra money and all.

  32. JK47

    When evaluating the Houston Rockets, you have to take this fact into consideration: Kevin McHale is about as smart as a box of rocks. He’s coaching in some sort of crazed “win-now” mode, playing his starters ridiculous minutes, essentially using an 8-man rotation. When Toney Douglas is one of the members of your eight-man rotation, it’s probably not necessary to be in “win-now” mode. Meanwhile Cole Aldrich is glued to the pine and Donatas Motiejunas and Scott Machado are toiling away in the D-League. Lin has been disappointing and Harden hasn’t been able to maintain his freakish efficiency, and those things aren’t McHale’s fault, but the way McHale is using is personnel seems very foolish to me.

  33. lavor postell

    jon abbey: as a guy who is not nearly as efficient as a first option as he was as a third option, as a guy who lets Kobe Bryant get a triple double on him, as a first option who will pile up points but not win many games, as a #2 option on a very good team who is over his head as a #1 option. you know, all the stuff we’ve been saying here for a year or two.

    Definitely agree with this, but as a no. 2 option on a very good team would get a max contract most likely Harden is still a good value. Bird in the hand and all. I think it’s fair to say there are some players in the NBA that wouldn’t mind moving to Houston to ball with Harden and enjoy the amazing nightlife. Also I don’t think he’s the first guy Kobe’s lit up.

    Lin and Asik are the the real criticisms I have of Houston’s entire offseason. Honestly in a vacuum, I think Lin will emerge as a solid starter and that his signing, while not being a new beacon of light, will also not be some catastrophic Allan Houston-esque crippling contract that weighs down a franchise, but I digress.

    What was the point though? You could have just kept Kyle Lowry who I think is comfortably better or Dragic who right now is playing better. And it’s not as if Lin is this great bargain bin find anymore.

    Asik is an absolute beast defensively as any look at his lineup stats on the defensive end were last year with the Bulls will show. That being said he simply is not a player that is going to turn a cellar dweller into a conference powerhouse. He is a travesty, a sham and a mockery, a traveshamockery on offense. He’s not really effective in the pNr game at all which is heavily contributing to Lin’s problems.

  34. flossy

    jon abbey: haha, clearly you don’t read this site very often, since this was exactly the argument THCJ made ad nauseum all last year.

    I expect Harden to wear down as the season goes on, I think he’s going to end up regretting not staying in OKC, extra money and all.

    Nice straw man, but I read this site plenty, and I don’t take THJC’s opinions as gospel. If you can find me even a single example of someone else besides THJC predicting that James Harden would continue to post a .660 TS% as a team’s number 1 option with a 30% usage, I’ll concede the point, but I’m not holding my breath.

    But it should go without saying that .570 TS% is pretty damn respectable when paired with a usage of 30%. Why, numbers like that (or worse!) are what made Carmelo Anthony a star, and he played with a muuuuuch better team around him.

  35. dgvertz

    Hey, maybe this is a dumb question, but was Carmelo fouled on a 3 point shot?

    I ask because 22 FG’s with 0 turnovers and 8 FT’s looks like it would equal at least 26 possessions (unless possessions, as a statistic, doesn’t include possessions ending with a trip to the line). i.e. 8 FT’s attempted means at least four trips to the line, so 22 shots plus 4 trips to the line equals 26 possessions, no?

    If trips to the line aren’t counted as “possessions” for purposes of that stat, than how did we get to 25? Without any turnovers, wouldn’t he have been at 22 possessions?

    I bet it was just a typo.

  36. johnno

    Z-man: Jason Kidd had a TS% of below 50% in 10 of his 19 years (career: .507),

    Wait just a minute! You had better check your stats. This cannot possibly be right! As THCJ points out, NO PG who has a TS% below 50% is any good and, in post #24 above, THCJ calls Kidd “one of the most efficient players in the league.” Since THCJ is NEVER wrong and his opinions are always INDISPUTABLE FACTS, the only thing that I can figure is that your data MUST be wrong…he says with tongue firmly implanted in cheek…

  37. Kevin McElroy Post author

    dgvertz:
    Hey, maybe this is a dumb question, but was Carmelo fouled on a 3 point shot?

    I ask because 22 FG’s with 0 turnovers and 8 FT’s looks like it would equal at least 26 possessions (unless possessions, as a statistic, doesn’t include possessions ending with a trip to the line). i.e. 8 FT’s attempted means at least four trips to the line, so 22 shots plus 4 trips to the line equals 26 possessions, no?

    If trips to the line aren’t counted as “possessions” for purposes of that stat, than how did we get to 25? Without any turnovers, wouldn’t he have been at 22 possessions?

    I bet it was just a typo.

    dgvertz,

    Give me a chance to look into this and see if I messed up.

  38. Kevin McElroy Post author

    dgvertz,

    I just went through the pbp and recounted and got 26 this time. My mistake and a good catch by you. FYI going forward, Melo could have had fewer possessions than FGA+(FTA/2) had some of his free throws come on and-1′s (Say 22 FGA’s + 3 two-shot fouls drawn + two one-shot fouls drawn that don’t count again because they are the same possessions as 2 of the FGA’s would equal 25 possessions). However in this case that did not happen, all of his fouls were two-shot fouls and the number in the recap should have been 26. Well done.

  39. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    johnno: Wait just a minute!You had better check your stats.This cannot possibly be right! As THCJ points out, NO PG who has a TS% below 50% is any good and, in post #24 above, THCJ calls Kidd “one of the most efficient players in the league.”Since THCJ is NEVER wrong and his opinions are always INDISPUTABLE FACTS, the only thing that I can figure is that your data MUST be wrong…he says with tongue firmly implanted in cheek…

    You ask, “Do you watch the games?” and I ask, “Can you look at numbers?” and we find ourselves — no, wait: you find yourself — being a huge fucking asshole about the difference.

    Sorry that you think that your memory is better than the recorded outcomes that the box score purports to report. Somehow you came up with the false dichotomy thing, but again, you sound like a fucking asshole.

  40. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    daJudge:
    THCJ: Can you describe what you mean by the “false dichotomy”.

    That a person who believes in the descriptive power of statistics must not do his part to try and interpret those stats according to what he sees on a basketball court. That somehow I only experience the box score and experience nothing on the basketball court. That the argument that statistics say more is essentially a belief that they are the only item of value in evaluation.

    Which, of course, is totally fraudulent and fallacious and all sorts of bullshitty.

    And for the record, Kidd is a top-5 player of all-time according to WP48, despite his average shooting efficiency (he’s below average in TS% but average in PPS). This is because he does other things very well.

  41. daJudge

    Sorry to double post, but I am becoming quite impressed with Ronnie Brewer. My question involves a healthy Shump and a healthy Brewer. How would you compare the two players relative to offense, defense and intangibles. Just a point, but while Shump seems to have much more athletic prowess (I love him), Brewer plays really stout D and moves so well without the ball, which is rare. Neither shoots too well. I know this sounds general, but I am interested in the response because perhaps one of them could be traded for a shooting guard that excels in pure shooting or a draft pick, both of which I think the Knicks lack. I really like them both, but I guess I’m just bored and I would love to get the offense spread.

  42. Z-man

    The Honorable Cock Jowles: I have a hard time arguing that a PG who shoots 50% TS is good at basketball. Cry about it

    The Honorable Cock Jowles: Kidd is a top-5 player of all-time according to WP48, despite his average shooting efficiency (he’s below average in TS% but average in PPS). This is because he does other things very well.

    Is it possible that the same person made these two statements? Nobody is saying that Felton is Kidd, but he has been, at the very least, good. WS48 has him at .120, which corresponds to “good.” Lin’s WS48 is at .76, which corresponds to “not good.”

    http://www.basketball-reference.com/play-index/pcm_finder.cgi?request=1&sum=0&p1=linje01&y1=2013&p2=feltora01&y2=2013

    Again, I have little doubt that if you reversed the names with the stats in the below comparison, you’d be all over Felton and his shitty .076 WS48, since you’ve been killing him from the moment he signed. At least have the balls to admit that.

  43. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    Z-man:
    Is it possible that the same person made these two statements? Nobody is saying that Felton is Kidd, but he has been, at the very least, good. WS48 has him at .120, which corresponds to “good.” Lin’s WS48 is at .76, which corresponds to “not good.”

    http://www.basketball-reference.com/play-index/pcm_finder.cgi?request=1&sum=0&p1=linje01&y1=2013&p2=feltora01&y2=2013

    Again, I have little doubt that if you reversed the names with the stats in the below comparison, you’d be all over Felton and his shitty .076 WS48, since you’ve been killing him from the moment he signed. At least have the balls to admit that.

    Lin has sucked this year. No doubt about that.

  44. Kevin McElroy Post author

    daJudge:
    Sorry to double post, but I am becoming quite impressed with Ronnie Brewer.My question involves a healthy Shump and a healthy Brewer.How would you compare the two players relative to offense, defense and intangibles.Just a point, but while Shump seems to have much more athletic prowess (I love him), Brewer plays really stout D and moves so well without the ball, which is rare. Neither shoots too well. I know this sounds general, but I am interested in the response because perhaps one of them could be traded for a shooting guard that excels in pure shooting or a draft pick, both of which I think the Knicks lack.I really like them both, but I guess I’m just bored and I would love to get the offense spread.

    We have to wait and see where Brewer’s perimeter shooting settles out (I think he’s probably running hot right now). If it’s anywhere close to this he’s a better fit for their current team than Shump who is a pretty bad offensive player (but bad in a lot of fixable ways). Defensively they have different strengths and either could be more useful depending on the matchup. If you told me I could only have one of them the rest of the year I’d pick Brewer (wouldn’t really be close, actually) but Shump’s development is important since he’ll be cheap for several more years and we will need to fill out roster spots with quality players once all the geriatrics retire. Just my $0.02.

  45. daJudge

    THCJ: Just so I’m clear, are you saying that using stats is not at all anathema to using perception, experience, reasoning and internal stats stored over time together with the reported advanced stats to predict and determine quality, production and results? If so, I am with you 100%. To think otherwise is IMO a false dichotomy. Also, I concede that I am not so great with the later approach. I’m just not a big numbers guy. Probably others are however limited in the former methods. I’m pretty solid with that style. So, to really analyze what occurred, it would hopefully be a combination of the two (which are really not different, but that is a separate discusion, if you know what I mean). Re Shump: I kind of agree with Kevin’s observations, but you think at this point it is not really close. Why?

  46. jon abbey

    Brewer can guard bigger guys than Shumpert, he’s guarded post scoring threats at times this year. also Shumpert I think has potentially more offensive upside, he’s supposedly been working like crazy on his jumper during his rehab.

    I personally like the idea of playing them together with one PG, Melo and Chandler. good luck to the other team trying to score on that lineup!!

  47. daJudge

    I’m pretty stoked to see them both as well. I also agree that Shump’s upside is higher offensively. However, Shump’s smarts is not on Brewer’s level, IMO, at all. Brewer’s cutting is really a treat. The cutting to me means he gets it on an advanced level. Wow, what a choice!

  48. Juany8

    I think Shump ends up taking Prigs spot if anything. Shump can be a passable Norris Cole no? JR is running a lot of offense nowadays anyways, and with Sheed as a post up option and Amar’e possibly back as an iso option, I think it could work. Just depends on how well Shump can shoot really, as long as he can space the floor and get the ball up against pressure he really wouldn’t be a significant downgrade on offense from either Brewer or Prigs. I do think Brewer will be a better defender for at least the next 2 years though, I really wouldn’t be too surprised to see Shump moved, might make it more appealing for someone to take Amar’e in return for a good player (my dream scenario is a 3 team trade that got us Millsap or even Ryan Anderson, they’d be perfect for this team)

  49. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    Z-man: Not nearly as bad as Tony Parker, one of the worst PGs in the league this year so far, according to WP48.

    http://www.thenbageek.com/players/310-tony-parker

    He’s been bad at shooting, which is the most important part of the game. He sits at 1.0 PPS instead of 1.24 PPS, his career average. This is a big deal.

    Consider how huge the difference between scoring 1.0 and 1.1 PPP as a team. League average is 92 possessions a game, so the team with a 1.1 PPP will average about 101 points per game. A team that averages 1.0 PPP will average 92 points per game. With defense being equal, that’s something like a 15-to-180-win swing.

    Likewise, it doesn’t seem like a big deal if a player is averaging 2.5 TOV/48 instead of 3.0. But if everyone on the team replicates that kind of reduction, you’re looking at an aggregate increase in possessions used in a scoring attempt, and a significant increase in overall offense.

  50. Juany8

    The Honorable Cock Jowles: He’s been bad at shooting, which is the most important part of the game. He sits at 1.0 PPS instead of 1.24 PPS, his career average. This is a big deal.

    Consider how huge the difference between scoring 1.0 and 1.1 PPP as a team. League average is 92 possessions a game, so the team with a 1.1 PPP will average about 101 points per game. A team that averages 1.0 PPP will average 92 points per game. With defense being equal, that’s something like a 15-to-180-win swing.

    Likewise, it doesn’t seem like a big deal if a player is averaging 2.5 TOV/48 instead of 3.0. But if everyone on the team replicates that kind of reduction, you’re looking at an aggregate increase in possessions used in a scoring attempt, and a significant increase in overall offense.

    Still not accounting for the fact that most of the shots made off his passes were made more in part because of him than the teammate that made it. Let’s look at the shooting efficiency of all the plays started by Tony Parker and I bet the number is top 10 in the league. By this same kind of measure I bet Steve Nash starts looking like one of the most ridiculous players of all time too.

  51. johnno

    Juany8: Still not accounting for the fact that most of the shots made off his passes were made more in part because of him than the teammate that made it. Let’s look at the shooting efficiency of all the plays started by Tony Parker and I bet the number is top 10 in the league. By this same kind of measure I bet Steve Nash starts looking like one of the most ridiculous players of all time too.

    Silly you. You don’t realize that, in THCJ’s world, all shots are precisely the same and context doesn’t matter at all? How could you not realize that a guy who can hit 47% of uncontested dunks and layups is infinitely more “efficient” than a guy who hits 43% of 20 foot jumpshots with one second left on the shot clock and two defenders in his face and another one stepping on his foot? That’s why Landry Fields was so darned efficient and he created so many wins per 48. Anyone who watched Fields shoot last year could easily see that his shot was broken. Yet, he had a decent shooting percentage. Tyson Chandler almost set an all-time record for field goal percentage (perhaps explained by the fact he hit a grand total of one shot the entire season outside the paint?). But, in TCHJ’s world, any smart coach would let Fields and Tyson Chandler take every single shot because they are efficient shooters! How could they ever lose?!?

  52. Juany8

    Underrated problem with Harden’s huge jump in responsibilities and minutes: He’s gone from an average defender to pure shit. Novak is literally the only person on the Knicks that is worse at defense than Harden, and I don’t think that’s getting fixed this year. Look I couldn’t be happier to have James Harden and Asik locked up (could have had Dragic or Lowry…) but it’s ridiculous to pretend these guys were ready to form the core of a contender. Does anyone still doubt that familiarity matters, unless you’re picking up veterans that just know how to play? Even Miami needed time to form last year’s juggernaut in the playoffs, still won’t be the least bit surprised to see the Lakers in the Finals.

  53. Juany8

    johnno: Silly you.You don’t realize that, in THCJ’s world, all shots are precisely the same and context doesn’t matter at all?How could you not realize that a guy who can hit 47% of uncontested dunks and layups is infinitely more “efficient” than a guy who hits 43% of 20 foot jumpshots with one second left on the shot clock and two defenders in his face and another one stepping on his foot?That’s why Landry Fields was so darned efficient and he created so many wins per 48.Anyone who watched Fields shoot last year could easily see that his shot was broken.Yet, he had a decent shooting percentage.Tyson Chandler almost set an all-time record for field goal percentage (perhaps explained by the fact he hit a grand total of one shot the entire season outside the paint?).But, in TCHJ’s world, any smart coach would let Fields and Tyson Chandler take every single shot because they are efficient shooters!How could they ever lose?!?

    Right, but I can at least see where THCJ needs to see some evidence of these interaction effects. That’s why I want to see, for instance, all the pick and roll plays that Parker starts. If Danny Green gets a corner 3, it’s not because Danny Green magically happened to be open. Nobody is that bad at defense. I bet that if you count all the plays Parker starts, as opposed to just his scores, the team efficiency is monstrous

  54. johnno

    Juany8: I bet that if you count all the plays Parker starts, as opposed to just his scores, the team efficiency is monstrous

    My point exactly. Everything that happens on a basketball court happens in context and, while statistics are a useful tool, they are not the be all and end all of player — or team — analysis.

  55. jon abbey

    Mike Kurylo:
    What did I say was impossible now?

    that an adequate supporting cast could be put around the max salaries of Melo and Amar’e, you were one of many people convinced that the Melo deal closed the window for success for this franchise for the next few years. is that not accurate?

  56. jon abbey

    Juany8:
    Underrated problem with Harden’s huge jump in responsibilities and minutes: He’s gone from an average defender to pure shit.

    this is what I was implicitly saying earlier, Kobe can score on anyone but it was only the 18th triple double of his 17 year career. Harden is learning just how much energy it takes for a player to be the man for 40 minutes night in and night out.

    meanwhile, Gallo just singlehandedly beat Memphis down the stretch, defending Gasol and forcing him into an offensive foul, getting a steal on the next possession, then hitting a three to give DEN a four point lead.

  57. Juany8

    I can’t believe the Nuggets beat the Grizzlies entirely because of offensive rebounds. Faried obviously played a bit part, but George karl sat him and they’re still getting around 2-3 shots a possession with Gallinari at PF. I guess that’s why one game sample sizes mean so little lol, but suddenly the Knicks have the best record in the league again (not to mention differential lol)

  58. ruruland

    flossy: Nice straw man, but I read this site plenty, and I don’t take THJC’s opinions as gospel.If you can find me even a single example of someone else besides THJC predicting that James Harden would continue to post a .660 TS% as a team’s number 1 option with a 30% usage, I’ll concede the point, but I’m not holding my breath.

    But it should go without saying that .570 TS% is pretty damn respectable when paired with a usage of 30%.

    THat’s the whole point,isn’t it flossy?

    it all comes down to what usage means.

    The Knics are a + 12.5 on offense with Melo this year, a total of + 12.4 in offensive efficiency. it’s the highest offensive +/- on the team.

    It’s quite interesting because Melo, who’s yet to convert at the rates he eventually will this season, has some of the lower shooting efficiency numbers on the team.

    So why is is that that the Knicks offense with Melo, with his extremely high usage and relatively low efficiency, is at its best not when all of its most efficient players on the court, but when Melo is “taking shots away from his teammates.”

    None of you goddamned people have the balls or (perhaps brains) to try to answer that question every time it’s been asked, in large part because it fundamentally breaks down the assumptions for which Berri stats are built.

  59. ruruland

    It also should be noted that Russell Westbrook has a higher career +/- than Kevin Durant per Pro Basketball Reference.

    IS that a paradox or is it just another anecdote that should force use to question some of the advanced states.

    Remember what Daryl Morey has said. Do we trust Jowles and Flossy’s opinion over Daryl Morey? Who do we think is more knowledgeable?

  60. ruruland

    Including preseason, Jeremy Lin has eclipsed .538 TS% in just 1 out of 16 games.

    Is that sample less important than the 15 game Linsanity?

    After tonight, his career ts % is below .520.

  61. jon abbey

    ruruland:
    None of you goddamned people have the balls or (perhaps brains) to try to answer that question every time it’s been asked, in large part because it fundamentally breaks down the assumptions for which Berri stats are built.

    I think actually probably the majority of people here at this point agree with you/me/Juany8 on these things, or at least they don’t talk much anymore. :)

  62. massive

    1) Yes, there are unquantifiable values that Kobe Bryant, Carmelo Anthony, and Russell Westbrook bring to the table. They command more defensive attention than most other players in the NBA, which allows for other players on their teams to attack an unbalanced and out of position defense. This should not be overlooked, but what also should not be overlooked is that they are also most likely to go on ego-trips that lead to 7/24 shooting nights that can ultimately bury their teams’ chances of winning games.

    2) I think WP/48 (and WS/48) should only be used when comparing players of similar usage. Is Kawhi Leonard a better role player than Kobe Bryant is a #1 option? I would say so, but that does not make Kawhi Leonard better at basketball than Kobe Bryant as they go up against different defensive attention.

    3) With that being said, Jeremy Lin’s WP/48 is .152 and Harden is at .146, so they aren’t exactly stinking up the joint either. The problem in Houston (as one would guess) is Toney Douglas and Patrick Patterson are terrible. They need to get Machado off that D-League team and onto their roster. They could also help their chances by giving Daequan Cook some minutes.

    4) I think the biggest thing WP/48 and every other stat known to the public misses is a player’s effect on the defense. Just because Melo’s WP/48 isn’t as good as James Harden A player that consistently draws double teams and willingly passes out of it helps a team by getting the defense off-balance and giving his teammates favorable scoring opportunities, even if they aren’t credited in the box score. Play making, to me, is the biggest thing a box score misses out on.

  63. johnlocke

    Massive – I agree 100%.
    On points #1/#2: Those who look at advanced stats to make statements that Fields is the best player on the Knicks or Leonard is better than Kobe Bryant are often looking at the data in absence of context. Data is the starting point for analysis, not the endpoint – I think that’s often the crux of the debate. What kind of shots is that player making or taking? Why/how are they able to get those shots? If the defense focused specifically on reducing that player’s efficiency what would the impact be? These are not just fun to debate, but meaningful when thinking about trades and value to a team. You don’t just look up who has the higher WS48 to make a trade, even though it’s good information to have.

    On point #4 – I think efficient NBA offenses are predicated on consistent ability to create double-teams, because that leads to helping, which leads to open shots because the ball is faster than the man. You get double-teams from a) pick and rolls, b) penetration into the paint and c) double-teams of good post-up players. The first two more often than the third leads to ‘direct assists’ at the basket, the 3rd (c) often leads to hockey assists – which do not show up the box score, and therefore minimize the value of that offensive player (e.g., Melo)

    massive:
    1) Yes, there are unquantifiable values that Kobe Bryant, Carmelo Anthony, and Russell Westbrook bring to the table. They command more defensive attention than most other players in the NBA, which allows for other players on their teams to attack an unbalanced and out of position defense.

    2) I think WP/48 (and WS/48) should only be used when comparing players of similar usage. I would say so, but that does not make Kawhi Leonard better at basketball than Kobe Bryant as they go up against different defensive attention.

    4) Play making, to me, is the biggest thing a box score…

  64. ruruland

    jon abbey: I think actually probably the majority of people here at this point agree with you/me/Juany8 on these things, or at least they don’t talk much anymore. :)

    Yeah, it’s the latter. I remember quite too well what this board was like when I got here.

  65. ruruland

    massive:
    1) Yes, there are unquantifiable values that Kobe Bryant, Carmelo Anthony, and Russell Westbrook bring to the table. They command more defensive attention than most other players in the NBA, which allows for other players on their teams to attack an unbalanced and out of position defense. This should not be overlooked, but what also should not be overlooked is that they are also most likely to go on ego-trips that lead to 7/24 shooting nights that can ultimately bury their teams’ chances of winning games.

    2) I think WP/48 (and WS/48) should only be used when comparing players of similar usage. Is Kawhi Leonard a better role player than Kobe Bryant is a #1 option? I would say so, but that does not make Kawhi Leonard better at basketball than Kobe Bryant as they go up against different defensive attention.

    3) With that being said, Jeremy Lin’s WP/48 is .152 and Harden is at .146, so they aren’t exactly stinking up the joint either. The problem in Houston (as one would guess) is Toney Douglas andPatrick Patterson are terrible. They need to get Machado off that D-League team and onto their roster. They could also help their chances by giving Daequan Cook some minutes.

    4) I think the biggest thing WP/48 and every other stat known to the public misses is a player’s effect on the defense. Just because Melo’s WP/48 isn’t as good as James Harden A player that consistently draws double teams and willingly passes out of it helps a team by getting the defense off-balance and giving his teammates favorable scoring opportunities, even if they aren’t credited in the box score. Play making, to me, is the biggest thing a box score misses out on.

    all of this is fair

  66. ruruland

    johnlocke:
    Massive – I agree 100%.
    On points #1/#2: Those who look at advanced stats to make statements that Fields is the best player on the Knicks or Leonard is better than Kobe Bryant are often looking at the data in absence of context. Data is the starting point for analysis, not the endpoint – I think that’s often the crux of the debate. What kind of shots is that player making or taking? Why/how are they able to get those shots? If the defense focused specifically on reducing that player’s efficiency what would the impact be? These are not just fun to debate, but meaningful when thinking about trades and value to a team. You don’t just look up who has the higher WS48 to make a trade, even though it’s good information to have.

    On point #4 – I think efficient NBA offenses are predicated on consistent ability to create double-teams, because that leads to helping, which leads to open shots because the ball is faster than the man. You get double-teams from a) pick and rolls, b) penetration into the paint and c) double-teams of good post-up players. The first two more often than the third leads to ‘direct assists’ at the basket, the 3rd (c) often leads to hockey assists – which do not show up the box score, and therefore minimize the value of that offensive player (e.g., Melo)

    And damn if all of this wasn’t what I was preaching from day one. So glad there many of you who have now reached the same conclusion and articulate it.

  67. jon abbey

    WP48 is totally worthless, totally worthless, totally worthless. without looking it up, try to guess how these PGs rank against each other in WP48 so far this season:

    Lin
    Felton
    Lowry
    Dragic
    Holiday
    Lillard

  68. johnlocke

    It’s useful as a starting point, b/c we all have lives and can’t spend every waking hour watching basketball. Not the endpoint because you need to interpret the stats using logic and empirical data.

    jon abbey:
    WP48 is totally worthless, totally worthless, totally worthless. without looking it up, try to guess how these PGs rank against each other in WP48 so far this season:

    Lin
    Felton
    Lowry
    Dragic
    Holiday
    Lillard

  69. jon abbey

    johnlocke:
    It’s useful as a starting point, b/c we all have lives and can’t spend every waking hour watching basketball. Not the endpoint because you need to interpret the stats using logic and empirical data.

    no, no, no. it’s not useful as a starting point, a middle point, an end point, nothing, it is WORTHLESS. it is not useful if you can see every game every night, it is not useful if you can only watch one game a week, it is not useful if you live on Mars. I would not use it on a train, I would not use it on a plane.

    seriously, utterly and totally worthless. if you want an equally useful “starting point” go with alphabetical order or social security numbers.

  70. johnlocke

    LOL. That’s where we disagree…I’m in between you and THCJ…

    jon abbey: no, no, no. it’s not useful as a starting point, a middle point, an end point, nothing, it is WORTHLESS. it is not useful if you can see every game every night, it is not useful if you can only watch one game a week, it is not useful if you live on Mars. I would not use it on a train, I would not use it on a plane.

    seriously, utterly and totally worthless. if you want an equally useful “starting point” go with alphabetical order or social security numbers.

  71. johnlocke

    and to clarify…by “it”…in “it is useful as a starting point”…I meant DATA…not necessarily the specific metric you threw out WP48….also the season is only 8 games in….all kinds of crazy stuff is happening now, the idea is that over the course of the season the data will normalize, irrespective of whether you’re looking at 3pt %…where JR is shooting 60+% or WP48 or any other data…

  72. jon abbey

    oh, I agree that some data is very useful, team turnovers for instance. I was talking very very specifically about WP48 here, not sure how that wasn’t clear.

    and over the course of the season, WP48 doesn’t normalize, it’s the metric that had Landry Fields as the 10th best player in the league year before last. yes, the same year that he played maybe the worst playoff series I’ve ever seen from a starting SG.

  73. flossy

    ruruland: THat’s the whole point,isn’t it flossy?

    it all comes down to what usage means.

    The Knics are a + 12.5 on offense with Melo this year, a total of + 12.4 in offensive efficiency. it’s the highest offensive +/- on the team.

    It’s quite interesting because Melo, who’s yet to convert at the rates he eventually will this season, has some of the lower shooting efficiency numbers on the team.

    So why is is that that the Knicks offense with Melo, with his extremely high usage and relatively low efficiency,is at its best not when all of its most efficient players on the court, but when Melo is “taking shots away from his teammates.”

    None of you goddamned people have the balls or (perhaps brains) to try to answer that question every time it’s been asked, in large part because it fundamentally breaks down the assumptions for which Berri stats are built.

    The fuck does this have to do with what I said? I’m pointing out that the same people who praise Melo for what he brings on offense are claiming James Harden is being “exposed” for putting up the exact same numbers (or better). You can’t have it both ways.

  74. Juany8

    flossy: The fuck does this have to do with what I said?I’m pointing out that the same people who praise Melo for what he brings on offense are claiming James Harden is being “exposed” for putting up the exact same numbers (or better).You can’t have it both ways.

    Let’s be clear here, I think at some point Harden is going to be a better overall offensive player than Melo some day, but he just isn’t at this point. When you bring up their similar usage and TS%, you’re ignoring that Harden has literally double the turnovers that Melo has. Sure he has some extra assists, but on a team with ball movement as good as the Knicks, assists are a terrible indicator of actual playmaking (too many hockey assists taking credit away from the guys drawing defensive attention) So although Melo and Harden might be putting up roughly similar points per shot, you’re not factoring that 1. Melo gets, and scores, on a lot of his own misses, perhaps to a greater degree than any other wing in the game. 2. A turnover is a worse result than a missed shot and 3. That Harden’s first 2 games were clear outliers and yet that’s about 15-20% of his production so far, he has more games under .500 TS% than over .550%

    Harden and Lin are actually quite nice case studies for what actually happens when someone has to take on more of the scoring load than they’re capable of. The scoring numbers and assists numbers will be pretty good, but the turnovers will be absurd. Harden is one of the smartest players in the league about attacking and he’s a fantastic passer, the only reason he’s putting up a monster amount of turnovers is because he simply can’t handle what he’s being asked to do. He’ll still have excellent games against poor defensive teams, but someone like Melo can get a shot off against anybody. Harden can’t, and it often results in fast break baskets the other way

  75. Nick C.

    ruruland: Yeah, it’s the latter. I remember quite too well what this board was like when I got here.

    But isn’t Melo doing things that a box score doesn’t capture, or at least my eye test tells me so, like playing committed defense all or almost all of the time, and making the hockey assist. as I recall when you came here we were seeing a lot of posts about Melo having high TS stretches for periods of his career “after he matured” (ie: was over 21). Rebuttals of stop cherry picking. Counter rebuttals about assisted baskets, other stats about Andre Miller or penetrating PGs and on and on and on and on. Quite frankly a team of eye test players is what was here when Isaiah was picking the team and they sucked. What this team has is a nice balance and a focus on defense as well as moving the ball. I give a lot of the credit to the coach and to Carmelo as the “leader” for doing his part.

  76. Juany8

    Watching Faried yesterday, I also have a theory that the reason so many unathletic and small players still manage to be fantastic rebounders is because they chase rebounds in the same way Jordan Crawford chases points. When they’re on defense, they will worry more about getting inside position for the rebound than actually stopping the opponent from scoring. They’ll also compete with their own teammates for rebounds all the time. That’s why guys like Dwight Howard and Tim Duncan don’t average 15+ rebounds per 36 minutes, they are willing to actually play defense first and then fight for the rebound after the shot goes up. They are also perfectly willing to simply box out so that anyone else can pick up the rebound.

    Note that this is independent of the issues with offensive rebounding and transition defense. Also note that rebounds aren’t pace or defense adjusted when comparing players right now, if you play a faster pace you’ll get more rebounds even if you’re not gathering up a higher percentage of the misses. I actually think points per minute is as valid a stat as assists, rebounds, blocks, or steals per minute, just as having more points than the other guy doesn’t make you a better scorer, having more rebounds than another guy doesn’t make you a better rebounder (and certainly not a better player)

  77. Juany8

    Nick C.: But isn’t Melo doing things that a box score doesn’t capture, or at least my eye test tells me so, like playing committed defense all or almost all of the time, and making the hockey assist. as I recall when you came here we were seeing a lot of posts about Melo having high TS stretches for periods of his career “after he matured” (ie: was over 21). Rebuttals of stop cherry picking. Counter rebuttals about assisted baskets, other stats about Andre Miller or penetrating PGs and on and on and on and on. Quite frankly a team of eye test players is what was here when Isaiah was picking the team and they sucked. What this team has is a nice balance and a focus on defense as well as moving the ball. I give a lot of the credit to the coach and to Carmelo as the “leader” for doing his part.

    That’s why everyone agrees loves Melo this season despite the fact that his numbers didn’t really improve. He’s playing elite defense on a nightly basis, that certainly has never been the case before. He’s also consistently making the right decision to pass, he would still make a ton of plays for his team before but now he doesn’t have frustrating stretches where he’s missing wide open teammates to take another jab step. He’s also attacking the rim a lot this year, although he hasn’t made a great percentage on those shots so far

  78. d-mar

    Juany8: That’s why everyone agrees loves Melo this season despite the fact that his numbers didn’t really improve. He’s playing elite defense on a nightly basis, that certainly has never been the case before. He’s also consistently making the right decision to pass, he would still make a ton of plays for his team before but now he doesn’t have frustrating stretches where he’s missing wide open teammates to take another jab step. He’s also attacking the rim a lot this year, although he hasn’t made a great percentage on those shots so far

    And we haven’s seen one of the biggest reasons to have a scorer like Melo, which is late game scoring, since none of our 8 games has come down to the wire. I love him having the ball in crunch time.

  79. Nick C.

    d-mar: And we haven’s seen one of the biggest reasons to have a scorer like Melo, which is late game scoring, since none of our 8 games has come down to the wire. I love him having the ball in crunch time.

    That was the one thing where, at least at one time, he absolutely crushed his competition. There was some data out there about game winning shots and he was sick, yet post after post, article after article, poll after poll would always laud Kobe (of the 20 some odd % success) as the Mamba killer, guy you want to take the last shot dude. NBA Game Winning Shots — leading players
    That’s the link whether I did it correctly is another story.

  80. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    d-mar: And we haven’s seen one of the biggest reasons to have a scorer like Melo, which is late game scoring, since none of our 8 games has come down to the wire. I love him having the ball in crunch time.

    But the counter-argument is that a significantly more efficient “superstar” would likely remove the necessity of such a “big shot,” as he would have contributed to a larger point gap between the teams at the end of the game.

  81. Z-man

    The Honorable Cock Jowles: But the counter-argument is that a significantly more efficient “superstar” would likely remove the necessity of such a “big shot,” as he would have contributed to a larger point gap between the teams at the end of the game.

    So you’re saying that if the Knicks’ high usage “superstar” and their second-highest usage PG were more efficient, they’d be leading the league in point differential. Oh, wait…

  82. ruruland

    The Honorable Cock Jowles: But the counter-argument is that a significantly more efficient “superstar” would likely remove the necessity of such a “big shot,” as he would have contributed to a larger point gap between the teams at the end of the game.

    That’s still an unsound argument. Teams with more efficient extreme usage superstars may have, in theory, higher point differentials, but that does not preclude the teams they play on from playing in a similar amount of close games that are decided by “clutch or unclutch” shot opportunities.

    In fact, Jowles, a team with a higher point differential may play in MORE close games as the their differential is indicative of not being blown out by other teams as frequently.

    Case in point, Melo has been far and away the most clutch last-second shooter in the NBA since he came into the league, but he’s actually taken fewer overall shots than players who’ve played on teams that historically have higher point differentials.

    so, again, you’re wrong Jowles. You’re wrong.

  83. johnno

    Juany8: Watching Faried yesterday, I also have a theory that the reason so many unathletic and small players still manage to be fantastic rebounders is because they chase rebounds in the same way Jordan Crawford chases points. When they’re on defense, they will worry more about getting inside position for the rebound than actually stopping the opponent from scoring. They’ll also compete with their own teammates for rebounds all the time.

    When I used to watch the Jordan Bulls, I used to think that one reason that Rodman was such a great offensive rebounder was that he was completely useless as a shooter. No one ever bothered guarding him (they were busy double teaming Jordan, Pippen, et al) so, when a shot went up, there was no one there to put a body on him to box him out. The same theory applies somewhat to Faried.

  84. johnno

    massive: They need to get Machado off that D-League team and onto their roster.

    If not one team in the entire NBA thought that a guy wasn’t worth a second round draft pick, and he is in the D-League because he can’t beat out Toney Douglas, of all people, for minutes, don’t you think that it’s at least possible that he’s not an NBA caliber point guard?

  85. Z-man

    johnno: If not one team in the entire NBA thought that a guy wasn’t worth a second round draft pick, and he is in the D-League because he can’t beat out Toney Douglas, of all people, for minutes, don’t you think that it’s at least possible that he’s not an NBA caliber point guard?

    Highly likely, but with Toney, it’s a certainty.

  86. massive

    johnno: If not one team in the entire NBA thought that a guy wasn’t worth a second round draft pick, and he is in the D-League because he can’t beat out Toney Douglas, of all people, for minutes, don’t you think that it’s at least possible that he’s not an NBA caliber point guard?

    No because Jeremy Lin also went undrafted, spent time on a D-League, and was benched in favor of Toney Douglas.

  87. johnno

    massive: No because Jeremy Lin also went undrafted, spent time on a D-League, and was benched in favor of Toney Douglas.

    But, if you remember, based on the last 25 games of the 2010-2011 season, a lot of people (including me) thought that the Toney Douglas Lin was sitting behind was a pretty good player. Other than Toney Douglas’s family, there aren’t a whole lot of people who think that the Toney Douglas Machado is sitting behind is even a competent NBA player.

  88. Juany8

    Toney Douglas is the worst NBA player in the league. I don’t know if Machado will actually be good, but I do know that you can’t be worse than Toney Douglas. At this point I’d take Derek Fisher if he’d be willing to come to Houston, Toney Douglas is the most astonishingly bad basketball player I have ever seen get serious minutes. I wonder If he just lights it up and runs everything perfectly in practice, there’s no explanation for why he gets so much leeway, the other night he played OT instead of Lin!!!!

  89. massive

    Toney Douglas getting minutes on an NBA roster speaks more about their decision makers than it speaks about the players behind him. According to WP/48, Toney Douglas has been the 15th worst basketball player in the NBA. Let’s say there are 500 players available (according to NBA Rankings). That means there are 485 better basketball players in the NBA. 15*30=450, so that leaves 35 players not on NBA rosters who should be playing instead of Toney Douglas lol. And when you consider that Josh Smith, Ersan Ilyasova, Andrea Bargnani, Klay Thompson and Mike Beasley are all below him at this point in the NBA season (I would bet that all of them have better seasons than him), you see how ridiculous it is that Toney Douglas still gets minutes lol.

  90. massive

    In other news, Anthony Davis will not be playing tonight. I was looking forward to watching him play against Tyson Chandler.

  91. Brian Cronin

    Another blowout win. Awesome! Good write-up, Kevin! I know these write-ups must be kind of hard when all the superlatives have been used with previous wins, so I appreciate the hard work you’re doing coming up with new stuff!

  92. Brian Cronin

    Also, sole possession of first place in the East! I wish Brooklyn would start losing more games, though. I want that lead in the Atlantic to be a lot bigger than two games.

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