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Saturday, December 20, 2014

Knicks Morning News (Monday, Nov 12 2012)

  • [New York Daily News] Practice makes Knicks perfect (Mon, 12 Nov 2012 04:05:46 GMT)
    If the Knicks continue to get three days off between games, maybe they will go 82-0. The schedule, altered when the season opener in Brooklyn was postponed due to Hurricane Sandy, has been kind to Mike Woodson’s club.

  • [New York Times] Lakers Hire D’Antoni After Jackson Talks Falter (Mon, 12 Nov 2012 09:57:02 GMT)
    The Lakers signed Mike D’Antoni, the former Knicks coach, to a four-year head coaching contract after negotiations broke down with the former Lakers coach Phil Jackson.

  • [New York Times] On Pro Basketball: Nets Need Brook Lopez to be Meaner (Mon, 12 Nov 2012 08:56:05 GMT)
    The Nets’ Brook Lopez is one of the most skilled scorers at center but he is not an inside force, yet.

  • [New York Times] When Times Look Bleak, Lakers Call On Phil Jackson (Mon, 12 Nov 2012 06:47:11 GMT)
    If Phil Jackson returns to coach the Lakers, it would not be the first time the team has turned to him as a second choice.

  • [New York Times] Nets 82, Magic 74: Nets Beat Orlando Magic as Brook Lopez Scores 20 (Mon, 12 Nov 2012 06:41:49 GMT)
    After beating the Magic by 39 points on the road on Friday, the Nets, out of sync and unable to hit their jump shots, still managed to beat them once more, at home on Sunday.

  • [New York Times] N.B.A. Roundup: Memphis Grizzlies Win 5th in Row, Beating Miami Heat (Mon, 12 Nov 2012 06:40:06 GMT)
    Wayne Ellington hit seven 3-pointers and scored 25 points, both career highs, as Memphis won at home against the defending champions.

  • [New York Times] Lakers Beat Kings, Move to 2-0 Under Bickerstaff (Mon, 12 Nov 2012 05:09:54 GMT)
    Dwight Howard had 23 points and 18 rebounds, Kobe Bryant scored 20 and the in-transition Los Angeles Lakers continued warming up for a possible return by Phil Jackson with a 103-89 victory over the Sacramento Kings on Sunday night.

  • [New York Times] Westbrook’s Spree Spurs Thunder Past Cavs 106-91 (Mon, 12 Nov 2012 02:48:18 GMT)
    Russell Westbrook banked in a half-court shot during a rough-and-tumble 27-point outing, Kevin Durant added 26 points and the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 106-91 on Sunday night.

  • [New York Times] Grizzlies Beat Heat 104-86 for 5th Straight Win (Mon, 12 Nov 2012 01:57:06 GMT)
    Reserve Wayne Ellington had career bests with seven 3-pointers and 25 points, leading the Memphis Grizzlies over the Miami Heat 104-86 on Sunday for their fifth straight win.

  • [New York Times] Clippers Down Hawks With Late Flourish (Mon, 12 Nov 2012 00:56:53 GMT)
    With their reserve players sparking play in the final quarter, the Los Angeles Clippers pulled away from the pesky Atlanta Hawks to end a tightly contested game with a flourish and an 89-76 win on Sunday.

  • [New York Times] Kings Center Cousins Suspended for Two Games (Mon, 12 Nov 2012 00:38:53 GMT)
    Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins has been suspended for two games by the National Basketball Association for confronting an announcer in a hostile manner, the league said on Sunday.

  • [New York Post] Stern Woody making all right moves for perfect Knicks (Mon, 12 Nov 2012 04:19:15 -0500)
    Mike Woodson has his own television show now, but no nickname for his offense like Mike D’Antoni does, or a cute nickname for himself like “The Zen Master.”
    Let the Lakers bring back Phil Jackson. The Knicks have “Woody” and perhaps they also have the 2012-13 Coach of the…

  • [New York Post] Amar’e lends a hand in the Rockaways (Mon, 12 Nov 2012 04:03:53 -0500)
    Amar’e Stoudemire still can’t get on the court after left-knee surgery, but he can get out to the Rockaways and aid the Hurricane Sandy-ravaged peninsula â?? perhaps the hardest-hit community in New York City.
    On Saturday, Stoudemire spent part of the day giving out food, clothing and blankets in…

  • 116 comments on “Knicks Morning News (Monday, Nov 12 2012)

    1. Peter87

      Well, like most of you, I’m really enjoying this season so far.

      I wasn’t very optimistic at the outset, and decided I’d wait until December before getting NBA League Pass. Well, after the first game against the Heat, I shelled out for it (LMAO at myself).

      There’s lots of great aspects so far, but I’m really loving coach Woody. His miked up sessions are great, you can tell he really has authority with the players. There was a hilarious one from pre-season, in which he glares at two players and says, “Are you guys playing buddy ball on me? Are you playing buddy-buddy ball?” And he separates them and tells’em he doesn’t want them playing together anymore. Reminded me of a camp councillor separating disruptive best-friends who aren’t taking arts-and-crafts seriously. Anyway, he seems to keep the mood light, while clearly being in charge. I think this psychological aspect of coaching is as important as the X’s and O’s.

      Is Knickerblogger selling an “I’ve got a woody for Woody” T-shirt yet?

    2. Z-man

      I was a big fan of hiring D’Antoni at the time, but progressively soured on him as time went on. Right from the ourset, I did not like the way he handled the Steph situation. As time went on, it seemed pretty clear that he was a rigid, system-driven thinker. He always seemed to put his system and philosophy before the players he was dealt, and defensive responsibility seemed a very small part of that system. His doghouse was a cold, dark place that alienated players.

      To his credit, he did bring our the best in some players for long stretches, especially PGs like Duhon, Felton and Lin, but it never felt like anything he incorporated was sustainable or likely to be successful in the grind-it-out world of the playoffs.

      Every player has a gap between who he currently is and who he potentially can be on a consistent basis, even when the stakes are highest. Melo is a great example. Statistically, Melo has not played like a top-5 player over his career, but he is one of the very few players that has the potential to be a top-5 player. Woodson has embraced the challenge of bringing out the best in Melo, whereas D’Antoni seemed disgusted that Melo would not play the way he wanted him to play. That an unheralded guy like Woodson, criticized for being unimaginative and iso-happy, has stepped in and tailored the offensive and defensive philosophy to 1. the players he has and 2. a style that corresponds with successful EC playoff basketball, puts D’Antoni’s flaws into context. Woodson has shattered the D’Antoni myth for me, and I am thrilled to be rid of him.

    3. Frank

      You know, with all the Knick related moves in the past–
      – Lin to Houston
      – Woodson hire
      – signing of the Jurassic 5
      – D’Antoni to Lakers

      It all seems to be working out for everyone. It’s like a win-win-win-win situation so far. Lin was not going to flourish here with this roster. Woodson is obviously doing a great job and seems to have really gotten through to Melo and JR, the old guys are playing very very well right now, and MDA lands in a spot where he has a (much) better chance to succeed. Doesn’t have to be a zero sum game.

      I know it’s early, but I really feel like Christmas day will have the final four of the NBA playoffs playing.

    4. ess-dog

      I’ll reiterate that the Lakers O will be fine under D’Antoni. Pau can do whatever was asked of Boris freakin Diaw. World Peace is a poor mans Marion (very poor, but still).
      My biggest concern with MDA, aside fron defense, is that his game play calling is suspect, but Nash will cover a lot of those faults. And I don’t think pace is a concern. The system is more about passing and scoring, something we lacked most of his tenure, lol. The D might not be great but it can’t be that bad with D12 defending the rim

    5. Frank

      Will be fascinating this week to see how Woodson decides to play against Memphis and their Z-Bo/Gasol front line. Z-Bo will be a very tough cover for Melo (even if Melo is a very good post-defender), but on the other side, Melo will just destroy Z-Bo.

      If I’m Woodson, I let Melo at least start at PF and let the 2 PFs go after each other. Chances are there will be doubling on both sides which could make for lots of open 3 point chances for both teams. I’ll take our shooters over theirs.

    6. Z-man

      @4 Not sure I agree that everyone wins.

      -Houston might bave been better off keeping either Lowry or Dragic
      -D’Antoni might be fool’s gold in LA
      -As Old Man Nash goes, so goes the Lakers.

      As we go forward, I’m interested to see how Nash and Lin do vs. Felton, Kidd and Shump.

    7. Z-man

      Just to elaborate, I understand that the Lin deal could be considered a win AFTER Lowry and Dragic were already gone, and in that sense was a win. I wonder, how much did McHale’s influence factor into the decisions to let them go?

    8. Juany8

      The D’Antoni myth really should have been shattered when the Alvin Gentry Suns made the WCF when their 3rd best player was Grant Hill instead of Shawn Marion. If the Phoenix Suns team that made D’Antoni famous was just as good, if not better, without him, why is he considered a good coach? Maybe an average coach, there’s guys like McHale and Del Negro that are clearly worse, but Phoenix had success because of Nash and Amar’e, not D’Antoni. Nash had no problem leading number 1 offenses without D’Antoni and with all kinds of different teammates, D’Antoni is no better than freaking Alvin Gentry (and might possibly be worse)

    9. Juany8

      Z-man:
      Just to elaborate, I understand that the Lin deal could be considered a win AFTER Lowry and Dragic were already gone, and in that sense was a win. I wonder, how much did McHale’s influence factor into the decisions to let them go?

      McHale is an awful coach, and the fact that he might have been a leading cause in why Lowry was traded pisses me off, even if I’m not sure the Harden trade still works without Toronto’s lottery pick

    10. Frank

      Truth is – the Lakers will be fine in the regular season. Question will be in the playoffs whether they can get stops and make teams pay when they trap the PNR – not every team has Wade/LBJ rotating, but there is just no shooting on this Laker team to make teams pay for split-second-late rotations. And remember, there is still the Hack-a-Dwight strategy – if that takes Dwight out of games late, then that D really suffers. You know for sure that Pop will try that.

    11. Juany8

      Frank:
      Truth is – the Lakers will be fine in the regular season. Question will be in the playoffs whether they can get stops and make teams pay when they trap the PNR – not every team has Wade/LBJ rotating, but there is just no shooting on this Laker team to make teams pay for split-second-late rotations.And remember, there is still the Hack-a-Dwight strategy – if that takes Dwight out of games late, then that D really suffers. You know for sure that Pop will try that.

      Hack-a-Shaq worked when the Spurs didn’t care about offense much and were willing to play a plodding, slow style that valued keeping possessions more than anything else. Now that the Spurs like to run and get into quick sets, especially against an old team like the Lakers, Hack-a-Dwight won’t work as well since it will allow the Lakers to get set on defense every time.

    12. Frank

      Juany8: Now that the Spurs like to run and get into quick sets, especially against an old team like the Lakers, Hack-a-Dwight won’t work as well since it will allow the Lakers to get set on defense every time.

      SA’s half-court offense is absolute artistry. With no Dwight, SA would score 150 points/100 poss against whatever is left out there on the court regardless of whether or not Jordan Hill is set, don’t you think?

    13. Z-man

      Juany8: McHale is an awful coach, and the fact that he might have been a leading cause in why Lowry was traded pisses me off, even if I’m not sure the Harden trade still works without Toronto’s lottery pick

      Are we sure that Harden for the max is a win? :-)

    14. jon abbey

      interesting note in today’s Post on NY’s low turnovers so far:

      “The Knicks’ low turnover rate is no coincidence. On his show, Woodson talked about a contest he has employed with the players to stay under 13 a game. For every turnover over 13, the players have to run a base-line-to-baseline sprint. (He deducts a turnover for every charge taken.)

      If the club finishes under 13, the coaches have to run one sprint for every turnover under 13, even hefty Lasalle Thompson. The coaches have done a lot of running — three of the four games the total has been less than 13.”

      http://www.nypost.com/p/sports/knicks/stern_woody_making_all_right_moves_bCZLgtauCQFHp2Zlo8xyaP

    15. Frank

      In addition to whatever else happened to Melo this offseason at the Olympics, he definitely went to PR school– from NY Post on D’Antoni’s hiring:

      “Despite all the hoopla and the BS going on between me and
      Mike, we actually had a pretty good relationship especially behind closed doors and practice. We actually talked a lot, talked basketball. What he’s able to bring to the Lakers organization, hopefully he brings positive energy. Whenever a team’s losing there’s negativity and negative energy. Sometimes a change is better.’’

      Re: JR –
      he’s always been a very low TO guy considering how much he handles the ball. This 6% TO-R is probably unsustainable though. But he was only 9.7% last year.

    16. Z-man

      The Honorable Cock Jowles: Six games. Do you think Smith’s going to keep that historically low TOV%?

      Of course not, and the 3-pt %s are wacked out too. However, I do think they are roughly comparable players. I’m not a believer in Harden as a top dog, and don’t think he can sustain his WP48 dominance at a 30+ usage rate, but agree that the current sample size is way too small to judge. On the other hand, I am concerned that JR can go off the rails at any time, especially if we become dependent on him to do what he’s doing now, but at $3 million per, he is as good of a contract for a veteran player as Amare’s is a bad one. JR’s balls-out defensive effort has really been a pleasant surprise.

    17. Juany8

      Z-man: Of course not, and the 3-pt %s are wacked out too. However, I do think they are roughly comparable players. I’m not a believer in Harden as a top dog, and don’t think he can sustain his WP48 dominance at a 30+ usage rate, but agree that the current sample size is way too small to judge. On the other hand, I am concerned that JR can go off the rails at any time, especially if we become dependent on him to do what he’s doing now, but at $3 million per, he is as good of a contract for a veteran player as Amare’s is a bad one. JR’s balls-out defensive effort has really been a pleasant surprise.

      The value of “top dogs” has never really been their shooting efficiency, the real value someone like Melo or Kobe brings is the ability to have a monster usage with very low turnovers per shot (turnovers per minute is a worse stat than points per minute, no shit someone who never touches the ball isn’t going to have a lot of turnovers) Basically, giving the ball to Melo might not result in a good shot, but it will result in a shot, which has a chance of being put back in and which isn’t as damaging to your defense as a turnover (offense and defense are not independent of each other) Obviously someone like Lebron is the dream prize, he can avoid turnovers, get a lot of assists, and score efficiently.

      Harden up to this point has not shown this ability. His turnovers basically look like Lin’s from last year, which is not a coincidence. He simply can’t isolate against good defenders right now, and the pick and roll is too easy to trap with Houston’s current players. Doesn’t help that McHale is a crap coach. Basically, Harden is only scoring efficiently right now when he has at least a small bit of space, he has not been able to initiate the offense at all against guys like Tony Allen and Iguodala. Not what you want from your main option

    18. d-mar

      @19 I saw that, and I think it’s great. Also, Hahn’s blog talked about how the Woodson Knicks are dominating 3rd quarters (unlike under a certain prior regime) and offered this insight, which shows you what leadership is all about:

      “What’s the difference? Adjustments by the coaching staff, for one, but a notable difference is a mindset that starts in the locker room when the players talk before they head back out to the court. In Philadelphia, after the Knicks rallied from an early 10-point deficit, they talked at halftime about how great their potential is for a team that is still getting to know each other. Then on Friday, after taking a two-point deficit into the half, Tyson Chandler, one of the strongest voices in the room, laid down a challenge.

      “We’re not going to come back into this locker room disappointed and feel like we let one get away,” he said.

      “Tyson’s always vocal,” Carmelo Anthony said. “He was very vocal about not letting this one slip away.”

      Jason Kidd then brought the group together into a huddle before the half started and implored them to “buckle down,get into the passing lanes” and “make it hard on them.” He then added, “No easy shots.”

      Kidd then put his words to action, with a pair of steals and he also drew an offensive charge while scoring four points in 4:46 in the quarter. The Knicks outscored the Mavs, 29-21, took an 84-78 lead into the fourth quarter and never looked back.”

      Great stuff.

    19. Frank

      Some damning quotes re: D’Antoni:

      from Woj–
      “They’ll play plenty of pick-and-roll, but the biggest issue for D’Antoni’s defense has never been where it was ranked in the league, but how the Suns players – including Steve Nash – never believed they were prepared for the big possessions, the big moments, in series with San Antonio. There was a discipline missing, a mindset, an understanding, in those moments of truths.”

      And apparently from the SSOL book via Zach Lowe:

      “It’s hard to imagine a coach from any really good defensive team saying what Gentry said before a 2006 conference finals game against Dallas (via McCallum’s book):

      “I’ll be honest with you guys. If you asked me right now what we’re supposed to do if Jason Terry and somebody screen-and-roll, I wouldn’t know if we’re doubling, trapping, or doing nothing. I just think we’re getting too many things going on.””

      Very interesting stuff. But Dwight might just cover it all up.

    20. Frank O.

      Okay. It feels like the season is about to begin.
      They go a long time now with no more than two days between games.
      It has been great watching them so handily beating teams. Great feeling like the games were almost never in doubt. Great that I felt assured that at least you knew there would be no panic, no loss of focus, and a feel that this team knows what it is doing.
      Also nice that they have had a lot of practice together, something that was sorely lacking in the D’Antoni years.
      But I’m ready to start watching the games on a fairly regular basis. Time to see how they play back to backs. Time to see whether they are rugged enough to sustain this level of play.
      I think the rotations will be a challenge all year. Woodson will be challenged getting guys minutes.
      It will take more than just saying suck it up and be pros. We have seen unprofessional behavior from some of the best players in the league.
      He will need to manage minutes at every position. And it only gets tougher as Amare and Shump play back into the rotation.
      we’re going to see Melo get minutes at the three and four, Amare will get minutes at the 4 and 5. Camby will mostly get minutes at the 5. Wallace will get minutes at the 4 and 5.
      You will see Brewer at the 2 and 3. Prigioni likely will see most of his minutes at the one, behind Felton. Kidd will split minutes at the 1 and 2. Beyond that, unless their are injuries, the rest will be hard pressed to get any time.
      Two important notes: Beating the Heat wasn’t a fluke, and the 76ers are better than they looked against the Knicks. Both are good signs for the home team.

    21. Juany8

      Frank O.:

      Two important notes: Beating the Heat wasn’t a fluke, and the 76ers are better than they looked against the Knicks. Both are good signs for the home team.

      The 76ers have a point differential of +10 per game when they haven’t been playing the Knicks this season, and even a half-hearted Miami is better than most of the dregs of the league (and I don’t think they were blowing off the game)

      One thing I will say it almost total confidence is that the Knicks won’t be struggling with shitty teams the way they did last season. They lost to the freaking Bobcats, the worst team of all time. The defense and leadership on this team is going to allow the Knicks to dominate undisciplined teams

    22. Frank O.

      Juany8: The 76ers have a point differential of +10 per game when they haven’t been playing the Knicks this season, and even a half-hearted Miami is better than most of the dregs of the league (and I don’t think they were blowing off the game)

      One thing I will say it almost total confidence is that the Knicks won’t be struggling with shitty teams the way they did last season. They lost to the freaking Bobcats, the worst team of all time. The defense and leadership on this team is going to allow the Knicks to dominate undisciplined teams

      I believe they lost twice to the Bobcats…

    23. Juany8

      Frank O.: I believe they lost twice to the Bobcats…

      Yea I know, really should have pointed that out considering they won 5 other games the rest of the year. Although Miami did need a buzzer beater to win over them early in the season

    24. Frank O.

      Frank O.:
      The Knicks lost the Bobcats
      Jan 4, 110-118
      I stand corrected.

      It was Cleveland that they dropped two games to. Cleveland had 21 wins last year.

    25. Frank O.

      Frank O.: It was Cleveland that they dropped two games to. Cleveland had 21 wins last year.

      they also lost twice to Toronto, which had 23 wins last year.

    26. Frank O.

      The point, I guess, is they lost a lot of winnable games to bad teams last season. Not likely to see that as much this year.

    27. The Honorable Cock Jowles

      Frank O.:
      The point, I guess, is they lost a lot of winnable games to bad teams last season. Not likely to see that as much this year.

      It won’t have to do with veteran focus. It will have to do with having three new players who are WP48 stars (Kidd, Camby, Brewer) and an upgrade in Felton (compared to Douglas).

      Juany8 can call it leadership, but it’s increased productivity.

    28. daJudge

      THCJ, I think it’s both, but certainly better play at the 1 is striking and Ruru’s turnover observations are crucial. You yourself once noted, I believe, that you coached a traveling B-Ball team. I think I remember that. My guess is despite your ability to break down and rely on certain stats, you also factored in many intangibles for you team, such as veteran savvy/leadership, which really isn’t intangible (it is not metaphysical and it is very concrete), just hard to measure, IMO. BTW, I’m not sure that Brewer is out-playing the healthy Shump and Camby has had no measurable impact to date, but it’s an argument relative to the other point guards. Either way, has someone crunched numbers since Woodson took over, because that is a variable we can all agree on. I’m not a D’Antoni hater per se, but I would love to see this. I don’t mean to be lazy, but I simply can’t do it. These first 4 games are such a small sample, but since Woody took over increases the sample size and maybe we can draw some conclusions that bear out my own impressions with some hard stats. Any takers? PS-thank G-d for spell check.

    29. Juany8

      The Honorable Cock Jowles: It won’t have to do with veteran focus. It will have to do with having three new players who are WP48 stars (Kidd, Camby, Brewer) and an upgrade in Felton (compared to Douglas).

      Juany8 can call it leadership, but it’s increased productivity.

      Lol I guess you think Carmelo Anthony gave exactly the same effort every game last year. I also suppose that you consider the Knicks massive jump in quality at the end of the season under Woodson to be some kind of weird outlier, since none of the players you mentioned were getting time and this team was still doing fantastic. It’s almost like effort is a variable that you’ve left entirely unaccounted for, and it just happens to be correlated with EVERYTHING a player does on a basketball court. But hey, that’s what happens when you think the average of a set of numbers tells you anything meaningful about those numbers on its own

    30. BigBlueAL

      I just realized that Melo is currently leading the league in scoring. Think he has a chance to finish that way??

    31. d-mar

      BigBlueAL:
      I just realized that Melo is currently leading the league in scoring.Think he has a chance to finish that way??

      I couldn’t care less, and hopefully, neither does he

    32. The Honorable Cock Jowles

      daJudge:
      My guess is despite your ability to break down and rely on certain stats, you also factored in many intangibles for you team, such as veteran savvy/leadership, which really isn’t intangible (it is not metaphysical and it is very concrete), just hard to measure, IMO.

      I think I had simply questioned how people could assume my level and intensity of basketball experience without knowing who I am.

      But on the subject, we’re not talking about low-level basketball. We’re talking about the best 400 players in the world (excluding Ryan Hollins and Andrea Bargnani, et al.). These guys simply do not become NBA players without mental toughness and focus. Now, is there a difference in the “will to win” between last year’s Bobcats and last year’s Heat? Absolutely. But by and large, we simply can’t assume that one team “wants it more” or is better at “focus” or whatever. Yes, there are differences in culture on the team level and desire/leadership/focus on the individual level (these are human beings, after all), but I think that those interpersonal influences are exaggerated based on anecdotal evidence and the like. I do think that defensive ability can be changed, but let’s also remember that these guys are, by the time they get to the NBA, largely finished products. After thousands of hours of repetition, one’s shot or defensive stance or rebound-timing is a difficult habit to break.

    33. Glew

      The Honorable Cock Jowles: I think I had simply questioned how people could assume my level and intensity of basketball experience without knowing who I am.

      But on the subject, we’re not talking about low-level basketball. We’re talking about the best 400 players in the world (excluding Ryan Hollins and Andrea Bargnani, et al.). These guys simply do not become NBA players without mental toughness and focus. Now, is there a difference in the “will to win” between last year’s Bobcats and last year’s Heat? Absolutely. But by and large, we simply can’t assume that one team “wants it more” or is better at “focus” or whatever. Yes, there are differences in culture on the team level and desire/leadership/focus on the individual level (these are human beings, after all), but I think that those interpersonal influences are exaggerated based on anecdotal evidence and the like. I do think that defensive ability can be changed, but let’s also remember that these guys are, by the time they get to the NBA, largely finished products. After thousands of hours of repetition, one’s shot or defensive stance or rebound-timing is a difficult habit to break.

      I have to disagree with this post on all levels. First of all Bargnani is far from being the leagues worst player, he’s a 7 footer with a nice jump shot. Granted, he was the first overall pick in ’06 but far from being a complete bust like say the 3rd overall pick Adam Morrison. His advanced stats are poor because his usage is so high as a results of playing for a bum ridden squad which is something I am not sure that you grasp. If there is no one with the ability to score/create someone will have to shoot more than necessary to try to bear the load i.e. Melo last year.

    34. Glew

      Also at any level of competitive sports there are people who can consistently “bring it” every night and there are others who are more sporadic with their effort and this is very important. I think we will see this play out this year with our Knicks and having players like Kidd instead of Fields. Instead of looking at box scores perhaps you should research stories from the locker rooms of people who played with Magic, MJ or Kobe to further understand the difference between players who really want it or players who just play.

    35. BigBlueAL

      d-mar: I couldn’t care less, and hopefully, neither does he

      I agree, but you know if it gets late into the season and he is in the top 2 or 3 (if not still leading) it will become a topic of conversation in the media at least.

    36. jon abbey

      let’s not forget that Quentin Richardson led the league in 3s while playing under D’Antoni as a 4th or 5th option. I think Bargnani would be a great fit alongside Howard/Kobe/Nash and his defensive shortcomings would be at least partly covered by Howard. going from 1st option to 4th option offensively is a huge deal, almost as much as Harden’s attempt to jump from 3rd option to 1st (an older example would be Joe Johnson).

    37. daJudge

      Or perhaps since they are all uber-talented at this level, that will to win, coaching, guts, balls, savvy, leadership, hustle and the other so-called intangibles are simply what differentiates the players; not merely abstract stats without this context. The minor differences are really just that–abstract. Maybe the combination is the real predictor. That’s my view for what it’s worth–no diss implied. Again, without being presumptuous, think about your own team THCJ. Who do you want to shoot the ball?

    38. jon abbey

      the “best 400 players in the world” thing is a red herring, there are still huge differences in talent and desire up and down the league.

    39. Robtachi

      Z-man:
      I was a big fan of hiring D’Antoni at the time, but progressively soured on him as time went on. Right from the ourset, I did not like the way he handled the Steph situation. As time went on, it seemed pretty clear that he was a rigid, system-driven thinker. He always seemed to put his system and philosophy before the players he was dealt, and defensive responsibility seemed a very small part of that system. His doghouse was a cold, dark place that alienated players.

      To his credit, he did bring our the best in some players for long stretches, especially PGs like Duhon, Felton and Lin, but it never felt like anything he incorporated was sustainable or likely to be successful in the grind-it-out world of the playoffs.

      Every player has a gap between who he currently is and who he potentially can be on a consistent basis, even when the stakes are highest. Melo is a great example. Statistically, Melo has not played like a top-5 player over his career, but he is one of the very few players that has the potential to be a top-5 player. Woodson has embraced the challenge of bringing out the best in Melo, whereas D’Antoni seemed disgusted that Melo would not play the way he wanted him to play. That an unheralded guy like Woodson, criticized for being unimaginative and iso-happy, has stepped in and tailored the offensive and defensive philosophy to 1. the players he has and 2. a style that corresponds with successful EC playoff basketball, puts D’Antoni’s flaws into context. Woodson has shattered the D’Antoni myth for me, and I am thrilled to be rid of him.

      Can’t put it any better than that.

    40. PD

      Frank:
      Some damning quotes re: D’Antoni:

      from Woj–
      “They’ll play plenty of pick-and-roll, but the biggest issue for D’Antoni’s defense has never been where it was ranked in the league, but how the Suns players – including Steve Nash – never believed they were prepared for the big possessions, the big moments, in series with San Antonio. There was a discipline missing, a mindset, an understanding, in those moments of truths.”

      And apparently from the SSOL book via Zach Lowe:

      “It’s hard to imagine a coach from any really good defensive team saying what Gentry said before a 2006 conference finals game against Dallas (via McCallum’s book):

      “I’ll be honest with you guys. If you asked me right now what we’re supposed to do if Jason Terry and somebody screen-and-roll, I wouldn’t know if we’re doubling, trapping, or doing nothing. I just think we’re getting too many things going on.””

      Very interesting stuff.But Dwight might just cover it all up.

      i read the zach lowe article. you are kind of cherry picking. there was other paragraphs in the piece stating the theory that d’antoni doesn’t coach defense is bunk. he was just saying that he isn’t a brilliant defensive tactician like thibs. which i don’t think anyone will argue with.

      also i read the jack macallum book. gentry’s quotes were generally presented with a tongue in cheek humor. he was the coach who always tried too add levity to the stress of thier jobs.

    41. Juany8

      jon abbey:
      let’s not forget that Quentin Richardson led the league in 3s while playing under D’Antoni as a 4th or 5th option. I think Bargnani would be a great fit alongside Howard/Kobe/Nash and his defensive shortcomings would be at least partly covered by Howard. going from 1st option to 4th option offensively is a huge deal, almost as much as Harden’s attempt to jump from 3rd option to 1st (an older example would be Joe Johnson).

      While I don’t think Bargnani is the worst player in the league, I’m going to have to agree with THCJ that Bargnani is just not a good player. Everyone gets excited for a 7 footer that can space the floor, but Ryan Anderson gives you that shooting ability, plus rebounding and some level of competent defense. Bargnani can’t play the pick and roll all that well, can’t pass too well, he’s basically just a taller version of Gallinari that somehow rebounds less. While the Lakers do need spacing next to Howard, and he does cover some issues with rebounding and defense, Bargs is not the answer, you can’t just ignore defense at the 4 unless you have fantastic defensive wings. Howard is already going to be covering up for Nash, imagine what would happen against the Spurs when Duncan and Parker are running pick and rolls.

      Also, Pau Gasol is worth ALOT more than Calderon and Bargniani and pretty much any team in the league. Gasol isn’t too hard a player to fit in

    42. Juany8

      Man I’m watching the Heat-Rockets game and I just wish I could get some of whatever drugs make Berri think Harden is a better player than Wade. It’s such a blatant mismatch when they’re going up against one another.

    43. jon abbey

      Juany8: While I don’t think Bargnani is the worst player in the league, I’m going to have to agree with THCJ that Bargnani is just not a good player. Everyone gets excited for a 7 footer that can space the floor, but Ryan Anderson gives you that shooting ability, plus rebounding and some level of competent defense. Bargnani can’t play the pick and roll all that well, can’t pass too well, he’s basically just a taller version of Gallinari that somehow rebounds less. While the Lakers do need spacing next to Howard, and he does cover some issues with rebounding and defense, Bargs is not the answer, you can’t just ignore defense at the 4 unless you have fantastic defensive wings. Howard is already going to be covering up for Nash, imagine what would happen against the Spurs when Duncan and Parker are running pick and rolls.

      Also, Pau Gasol is worth ALOT more than Calderon and Bargniani and pretty much any team in the league. Gasol isn’t too hard a player to fit in

      agreed that Anderson would be a way better fit than Bargnani, he also has all of that experience playing off Howard already. Gasol has looked cooked for much of recent playoff seasons, I’m not sure what he’s got left.

    44. jon abbey

      Juany8:
      Man I’m watching the Heat-Rockets game and I just wish I could get some of whatever drugs make Berri think Harden is a better player than Wade. It’s such a blatant mismatch when they’re going up against one another.

      Lin must see Chalmers and that trapping D in his nightmares.

    45. Juany8

      jon abbey: Lin must see Chalmers and that trapping D in his nightmares.

      Actually I’m sticking with my previous assessment of the Heat, this team just does not look the same defensively, and I think a big part of it is effort right now. Either that or they have a massive weakness against bigs who can set great screens and roll hard, something they never faced with their small lineup in the playoffs. In that case, hello Tyson Chandler!

    46. ruruland

      Juany8: Actually I’m sticking with my previous assessment of the Heat, this team just does not look the same defensively, and I think a big part of it is effort right now. Either that or they have a massive weakness against bigs who can set great screens and roll hard, something they never faced with their small lineup in the playoffs. In that case, hello Tyson Chandler!

      No, the Heat’s weakness is their strength. They are a great trapping, hedging, ball-denial team that can absolutely blitz opponents that don’t have the personnel or smarts to handle it.

      But teams that can penetrate, pass out of double teams, split double teams — and most importantly make the extra pass against the trap– can use the Heat’s aggression against it.

      That’s why I don’t care how fast and athletic they are, as Jason Kidd said, there is no defense faster than good ball movement. That ball movement is created by the over-aggression.

      How many good shots have teams like the Pacers, Celtics, and Mavericks — not NBA offensive juggernauts — gotten against the Heat in the playoffs?

    47. ruruland

      And the Heat cannot be effective any other way, especially against bigger teams.

      It takes a ton of energy to play that style of defense, which is why the Heat have reltively speaking, underperformed in the playoffs. They get gassed at times.

    48. The Honorable Cock Jowles

      jon abbey:
      the “best 400 players in the world” thing is a red herring, there are still huge differences in talent and desire up and down the league.

      There ARE huge differences in talent (especially between “max” level talent and the average player) and there certainly are differences in “work ethic” and all that (Jamal Crawford saying that he’s never worked on his shot in the offseason, Eddy Curry eating his way out of the league [almost]), etc.) but let’s face it: you have to be one serious athlete to make it to the league without being indomitable under pressure. Nearly every player in the NBA was an NCAA All-American or a standout, McDonald’s All-American high school player (showing that kind of resolve as a teenager is something of a mystery to me). People don’t become professional athletes by mistake. Maybe a few of them skate by on natural ability, but most are hard-working, mentally tough (on the floor) athletes.

    49. The Honorable Cock Jowles

      Juany8:
      Man I’m watching the Heat-Rockets game and I just wish I could get some of whatever drugs make Berri think Harden is a better player than Wade. It’s such a blatant mismatch when they’re going up against one another.

      Whatever the mismatch you perceive, Harden’s got 22 pts on 13 FGA and only 2 turnovers. Wade’s got 19 on 17 FGA.

    50. jock cowles

      Can’t wait until the Knicks get to join in on this NBA season.

      The Thunder have now played twice as many games as New York (8 to 4). How does that happen???

    51. Z-man

      The Honorable Cock Jowles: There ARE huge differences in talent (especially between “max” level talent and the average player) and there certainly are differences in “work ethic” and all that (Jamal Crawford saying that he’s never worked on his shot in the offseason, Eddy Curry eating his way out of the league [almost]), etc.) but let’s face it: you have to be one serious athlete to make it to the league without being indomitable under pressure. Nearly every player in the NBA was an NCAA All-American or a standout, McDonald’s All-American high school player (showing that kind of resolve as a teenager is something of a mystery to me). People don’t become professional athletes by mistake. Maybe a few of them skate by on natural ability, but most are hard-working, mentally tough (on the floor) athletes.

      It’s not just talent, though, roles often change. PFs become SFs, PGs become SGs, etc. Sometimes a player has to develop a skill he never needed in colllege or below. David Lee’s a good example of someone who was successful at it, Adam Morrison is an example of someone who was not.

    52. ruruland

      The Honorable Cock Jowles: Whatever the mismatch you perceive, Harden’s got 22 pts on 13 FGA and only 2 turnovers. Wade’s got 19 on 17 FGA.

      22 on 17 with a .51 TS with the ballin hands all throughout crunch time. Still decent game though. He’s a very good player. But no surprise his efficiency has gone way down as No.1

    53. ruruland

      daJudge:
      Or perhaps since they are all uber-talented at this level, that will to win, coaching, guts, balls, savvy, leadership, hustle and the other so-called intangibles are simply what differentiates the players; not merely abstract stats without this context.The minor differences are really just that–abstract.Maybe the combination is the real predictor.That’s myview for what it’s worth–no diss implied.Again, without being presumptuous, think about your own team THCJ.Who do you want to shoot the ball?

      Nice post.

    54. Brian Cronin

      That game is a great example of how lackadaisical the Heat have been in the regular season so far. It’s like they think that they can just turn it on whenever they feel like it and pull victories out of their ass. Tonight and against Charlotte they did, but you have to figure that’ll eventually come back to haunt them as the season goes on.

      Of course, they play with a different intensity come playoff time, but still, it is kind of disappointing to watch.

    55. ruruland

      Frank O.:
      Okay. It feels like the season is about to begin.
      They go a long time now with no more than two days between games.
      It has been great watching them so handily beating teams. Great feeling like the games were almost never in doubt. Great that I felt assured that at least you knew there would be no panic, no loss of focus, and a feel that this team knows what it is doing.
      Also nice that they have had a lot of practice together, something that was sorely lacking in the D’Antoni years.
      But I’m ready to start watching the games on a fairly regular basis. Time to see how they play back to backs. Time to see whether they are rugged enough to sustain this level of play.
      I think the rotations will be a challenge all year. Woodson will be challenged getting guys minutes.
      It will take more than just saying suck it up and be pros. We have seen unprofessional behavior from some of the best players in the league.
      He will need to manage minutes at every position. And it only gets tougher as Amare and Shump play back into the rotation.
      we’re going to see Melo get minutes at the three and four, Amare will get minutes at the 4 and 5. Camby will mostly get minutes at the 5. Wallace will get minutes at the 4 and 5.
      You will see Brewer at the 2 and 3. Prigioni likely will see most of his minutes at the one, behind Felton. Kidd will split minutes at the 1 and 2. Beyond that, unless their are injuries, the rest will be hard pressed to get any time.
      Two important notes: Beating the Heat wasn’t a fluke, and the 76ers are better than they looked against the Knicks. Both are good signs for the home team.

      Re: minutes

      Amare 24
      Camby 17
      Chandler 27
      Novak 14
      Shumpert 18
      Brewer 22
      Smith 24
      Kidd 22
      Felton 29
      Melo 35
      Wallace 8

      That’s the allotment I like best.

    56. ruruland

      Brian Cronin:
      That game is a great example of how lackadaisical the Heat have been in the regular season so far. It’s like they think that they can just turn it on whenever they feel like it and pull victories out of their ass. Tonight and against Charlotte they did, but you have to figure that’ll eventually come back to haunt them as the season goes on.

      Of course, they play with a different intensity come playoff time, but still, it is kind of disappointing to watch.

      1st seed baby.

      Champs almost always coast, which makes even more sense for a team that plays like the HEat.

      If the Knicks get Miami with HCA, I honestly think they have a shot. Not likely, but a shot.

    57. ruruland

      daJudge:
      THCJ, I think it’s both, but certainly better play at the 1 is striking and Ruru’s turnover observations are crucial.You yourself once noted, I believe, that you coached a traveling B-Ball team.I think I remember that.My guess is despite your ability to break down and rely on certain stats, you also factored in many intangibles for you team, such as veteran savvy/leadership, which really isn’t intangible (it is not metaphysical and it is very concrete), just hard to measure, IMO.BTW, I’m not sure that Brewer is out-playing the healthy Shump and Camby has had no measurable impact to date, but it’s an argument relative to the other point guards. Either way, has someone crunched numbers since Woodson took over, because that is a variable we can all agree on.I’m not a D’Antoni hater per se, but I would love to see this.I don’t mean to be lazy, but I simply can’t do it.These first 4 games are such a small sample, but since Woody took over increases the sample size and maybe we can draw some conclusions that bear out my own impressions with some hard stats. Any takers? PS-thank G-d for spell check.

      THCJ says he coached a traveling basketball team? I would love to hear more about that.

    58. Gideon Zaga

      So u just dumped Prigiocalypse! Damn shame he and Amares will click so well.

      ruruland: Re: minutes

      Amare 24
      Camby 17
      Chandler 27
      Novak 14
      Shumpert 18
      Brewer 22
      Smith 24
      Kidd 22
      Felton 29
      Melo 35
      Wallace 8

      That’s the allotment I like best.

    59. ruruland

      Gideon Zaga:
      So u just dumped Prigiocalypse! Damn shame he and Amares will click so well.

      IDK, Shump and Smith can both be decent pnr passers. I like Prig, but he’s not one of the 11 best players on the team IMO.

    60. nicos

      ruruland: IDK, Shump and Smith can both be decent pnr passers. I like Prig, but he’s not one of the 11 best players on the team IMO.

      Shump definitely needs to work on the pnr- too often last year he just drifted horizontally off the screen (a la TD, unfortunately) and backed it back out. Potential is there but he’s got a ways to go.

    61. The Honorable Cock Jowles

      Brian Cronin: Holy shit, he closed that game out amazingly. Tough loss for the Rockets.

      26 FGA… 0 TO. Dude is gunning for “best ever” designation. That’s just an absurd line to have 0 TO.

    62. Brian Cronin

      Phil’s PR position is weird here. He keeps trying to argue that the contract terms were leaked by the Lakers or D’Antoni and that he never discussed contract demands with the Lakers. Which I bet is literally correct (or I wouldn’t be surprised if it was literally correct) but almost certainly is untrue when it comes to his agent discussing contract demands with the Lakers.

    63. ruruland

      nicos: Shump definitely needs to work on the pnr- too often last year he just drifted horizontally off the screen (a la TD, unfortunately) and backed it back out.Potential is there but he’s got a ways to go.

      yeah

    64. jon abbey

      Brian Cronin: With the way the Heat are playing, it definitely looks possible, doesn’t it?

      not really, let’s see us win some quality road games before we start talking top two seed, let alone #1. again, we will know a lot more about the non-Amare/Shumpie version of this team in a few more weeks.

    65. BigBlueAL

      jon abbey: not really, let’s see us win some quality road games before we start talking top two seed, let alone #1. again, we will know a lot more about the non-Amare/Shumpie version of this team in a few more weeks.

      I think we can legitimately talk top 2 seed if only because who besides the Heat in the East is really better than the Knicks??

      I do agree though that talking about the 1 seed ahead of the Heat is way too premature right now, all this talk about the Heat playing poorly yet they are 6-2.

    66. jon abbey

      this Celtics core (admittedly now without Allen) has won too many games in recent years for them to not be faves for the #2 seed until and unless we get a lot more evidence to the contrary IMO, a lot more than a few November games.

    67. Brian Cronin

      Oh, I don’t think it is yet probable, but you have to figure it is at least possible, no? The Knicks have looked very good, the Celtics have not, Bynum is out for five more weeks, the Heat are half-assing it (but are so good that they can still win by turning it on in the fourth quarter), Granger is out for a long while, Rose is out, the Knicks look like they have a possible chance at the top seed.

      Of course it is very early, but things look good.

    68. jon abbey

      I’m going to need to see at least 20 or 30 games at this level before buying into that, I think a top 4 seed is a reasonable expectation/hope as of now.

    69. massive

      I can’t wait until we play the Celtics. I think the main reason everyone is still high on Boston is because they pushed the Heat to 7 games last year in the ECF. Well, take this into account:

      1) They didn’t have homecourt last year.
      2) The Bulls’ two best players went down with injuries in the 1st round, allowing them to play an inferior 76ers team.
      3) The 8th seeded 76ers pushed them to 7 games.
      4) The Heat were without Chris Bosh during most of that series.

      In other words, the Celtics got really lucky last year in the playoffs. I don’t buy that they’re still a top team in the NBA, especially since they haven’t looked impressive at ALL this year. I also hate the Celtics and Paul Pierce’s face.

    70. jon abbey

      I can hold my own with any Boston hater, but they added Jason Terry, Courtney Lee, Sullinger, got Jeff Green back, and only lost Ray Allen. Pierce is their third best player at this point, who is NY’s third best player?

    71. massive

      At this point, a healthy Amar’e Stoudemire (if he’s injured, JR Smith). And every player they added is a one dimensional player with the exception of Jared Sullinger. They have also developed too large of a dependency on KG since they have no other viable options at center. They’re a non-athletic small ball team whose best player is a PG with a jumper less reliable than a flat tire. I think we eat them alive this year.

    72. ruruland

      massive:
      At this point, a healthy Amar’e Stoudemire (if he’s injured, JR Smith). And every player they added is a one dimensional player with the exception of Jared Sullinger. They have also developed too large of a dependency on KG since they have no other viable options at center. They’re a non-athletic small ball team whose best player is a PG with a jumper less reliable than a flat tire. I think we eat them alive this year.

      Agreed.

      Not sure what is so impressive about Sullinger, Lee or Green. All decent players mind you.

      Terry is a somewhat substantial downgrade from Allen.

      Knicks are better at both ends.

    73. Juany8

      Note: The Knicks had virtually the same point differential as the Celtics last season, and were a 4th seed (behind the immortal Joe Johnson Hawks) the second time they went to the Finals. To say the Celtics win a lot in the regular season is to ignore what actually happens in real life, I admit that I don’t know if the Knicks can beat them in the playoffs, but I’m willing to bet some serious amount of money that the Celtics won’t be the 2nd seed. Why? Because they don’t give a fuck, and no one who doesn’t care has ever played consistently hard. See: 2001 Lakers, 2010 Lakers, 2007 Heat, and this year’s Heat

    74. Juany8

      The Honorable Cock Jowles: Whatever the mismatch you perceive, Harden’s got 22 pts on 13 FGA and only 2 turnovers. Wade’s got 19 on 17 FGA.

      Not only were half those points made when Wade was sitting, Harden has only had one game above .510 TS% since his 2 game explosion, and it came against the Pistons (and included 5 turnovers) , which means out of the 3 games this season he’s had a .510 or above TS%, 2 have come against the worst team in the league by a notable margin

      James Harden has played 2 out of 7 games where he was an above average offensive player (he’s a nonfactor on defense). I don’t care how amazing those games are, that’s a terrible ratio and one that’s not going away until the Rockets have a another player who can handle at least as high a usage as Harden to discourage double teams. Unless the Hawks just give away Al Horford or the Blazers give away Aldridge, I don’t see how that happens any time soon, and yet the Rockets refuse to play their 3 intriguing rookie PFs in a lost season lol

    75. Frank

      Juany8: To say the Celtics win a lot in the regular season is to ignore what actually happens in real life, I admit that I don’t know if the Knicks can beat them in the playoffs, but I’m willing … that the Celtics won’t be the 2nd seed. Why? Because they don’t give a fuck

      Totally agree about Boston. Given the age of Pierce/Garnett, I think Doc is going to try and coast into the playoffs playing each guy <30 min/game, then turn it on in the postseason like last year. With any kind of real PG play last year outside of ~15 games or so of Linsanity, we would have won that division handily.

      I know it's early, but outside of Miami, no one in this conference impresses me anymore. Chicago may be very tough – no one is talking about them. My feeling is they win the division even without Rose and get in as a 3 or 4 seed, and then Rose comes back making them a tough out in the playoffs. Thibs is just an amazing defensive coach – I wish to God we would have hired him rather than MDA (and said so many times). I think the ECF semis will probably be Miami-BOS, NYK-CHI, with the caveat that if Garnett goes down with any sort of an injury, Boston will fall out of the playoffs. They absolutely cannot win without him.

      Re: Harden – I don't think he'll be nearly as efficient as he was last year, but this is how it goes in this league. You destroy the bad teams and hope to get by against the good ones – then at the end of the day you get an average of the goods and the bads. It's no surprise he looked bad against Memphis and Miami – they have maybe 3 of the 5 best wing defenders in the entire league (Wade, Lebron if he chooses to guard the wing, and Tony Allen). Everyone struggles against them. I’ll predict per-36 24p, 5 assists, 5 rebounds, TS 58. Still very good #s, but until he gets better on D, not a top 10-15 or even 20 player.

    76. Frank

      Interesting line from Lee Jenkins article in SI re: Lakers:

      “The Lakers do not have the floor-spacers the Suns did, but Jodie Meeks was the best spot-up shooter off the pick-and-roll in the NBA last season according to Synergy Sports, and he should occupy a major role reminiscent of Raja Bell.”

      Any synergy users out there know how to get this next level analysis? I just get PNR ball handler/roll man or spot up but not “spot up off PNR”. Is there another menu to go into?

    77. Juany8

      To put it in perspective, Chicago and San Antonio have been the only 60 win teams in the least 2 seasons, and both have been the number 1 team in the conference the past 2 seasons. Did that make anyone think that they were really the best team in the conference at any point? Does anyone think the Bulls beat Miami if Rose doesn’t get injured? What about Lebron’s Cavaliers, 2 years with the top record in the league followed by a playoff run that showed they were clearly not even a top 3 team. The regular season just doesn’t mean that much, the fact that Miami just won a championship last year is essentially worth a +10-15 win boost for any playoff projections. In fact the most predictive playoff model I’ve seen online used previous championship experience as a massive numerical factor for their model. Count the rings is actually a very persuasive argument on a team level.

    78. Frank

      @103-
      I tend to agree with you re: the regular season, but I think lots of people thought SA was the best team out west last year AND they have more rings than anyone in the last 10 years (or close to it). I don’t remember the Vegas odds but my guess is that SA was a favorite against OKC? And i might have taken SA in a 7 game series against Miami because they have Duncan who would have destroyed Joel Anthony or Bosh in the middle, and they have better ball movement than anyone.

      It was fun to watch OKC-MIA, and after the 1st 2 games it looked like it could be a great series, but my guess is that SA-MIA would ultimately have been a more competitive series.

    79. ghill

      If we consider a player’s stats to stay relatively consistent across a large enough sample (understood there’s not 100% agreement on this or how big that sample needs to be) AND it’s fact that those same stats fluctuate between games THEN shouldn’t we focus on why they fluctuate? It seems like the key to predicting wins is not only comparing the players averages between the two teams but also adjusting for the individual players fluctuation between games. Aren’t things like the opponent’s defensive skills and other things not captured by stats (like Jalen Rose’s night before the game nightclub influence) a driver for the fluctuation in easily measurable offensive stats?

      Am I just stating the obvious? Is this too generic a question?

    80. Juany8

      ghill:
      If we consider a player’s stats to stay relatively consistent across a large enough sample (understood there’s not 100% agreement on this or how big that sample needs to be) AND it’s fact that those same stats fluctuate between games THEN shouldn’t we focus on why they fluctuate?It seems like the key to predicting wins is not only comparing the players averages between the two teams but also adjusting for the individual players fluctuation between games.Aren’t things like the opponent’s defensive skills and other things not captured by stats (like Jalen Rose’s night before the game nightclub influence) a driver for the fluctuation in easily measurable offensive stats?

      Am I just stating the obvious?Is this too generic a question?

      No actually I think you’re totally right, a player’s average performance doesn’t tell you much about how he will perform in a more specific situation. The problem is most models available online are built by people who assume any fluctuations are due to outliers or noise in the numbers, they think that anything you can’t measure (like effort or leadership) is not worth seriously discussing in an objective way. The problem is that they therefore lock themselves out of adjusting for variables that exist but can’t be arbitrarily defined by a number. Since basketball players are human beings and not robots that have settings like “Shoots 40% from 3″, this approach tends to fall short of anything substantial

    81. PD

      Frank:
      @103-
      I tend to agree with you re: the regular season, but I think lots of people thought SA was the best team out west last year AND they have more rings than anyone in the last 10 years (or close to it).I don’t remember the Vegas odds but my guess is that SA was a favorite against OKC? And i might have taken SA in a 7 game series against Miami because they have Duncan who would have destroyed Joel Anthony or Bosh in the middle, and they have better ball movement than anyone.

      It was fun to watch OKC-MIA, and after the 1st 2 games it looked like it could be a great series, but my guess is that SA-MIA would ultimately have been a more competitive series.

      the spurs were so dominant those 1st 10 playoff games. i was really surprised how it ended up. a weird mix of bad breaks for them. some decent adjustments by brooks (who knew?). spurs roll players going cold. durant going off sometimes. harden doing his thing and being clutch. and to be honest some weird lineup choices by pop in the later part of series.

      i was pretty certain they would win going into the series.

    82. The Honorable Cock Jowles

      ghill:
      If we consider a player’s stats to stay relatively consistent across a large enough sample (understood there’s not 100% agreement on this or how big that sample needs to be) AND it’s fact that those same stats fluctuate between games THEN shouldn’t we focus on why they fluctuate?It seems like the key to predicting wins is not only comparing the players averages between the two teams but also adjusting for the individual players fluctuation between games.Aren’t things like the opponent’s defensive skills and other things not captured by stats (like Jalen Rose’s night before the game nightclub influence) a driver for the fluctuation in easily measurable offensive stats?

      Am I just stating the obvious?Is this too generic a question?

      This is a valid point, of course, and a flaw with “averages,” as Juany8 keeps saying, but if we start making causal arguments about every game (or possession), it’s going to be very easy to slip into a lot of confirmation bias and subjective analyses that attempt to assume causality for whatever factors we privilege.

      I mean, to what do we attribute missed free throws? Should we assume that a player who plays 40 mpg will have a more difficult time making his free throws than a player who plays 5 mpg — due to fatigue? Or should we consider fatigue-based factors like flight time, timezone changes, hotel accommodations, diet, pre-game warmup routine, scheduling variances, etc.? Or should we try to account for the fact that some players may be more “used to” traveling than others, and thus perform better after long trips? Or should we account for the mental health of each player w/r/t spousal/parental/filial/familial relationships, or their financial situations, or other stress-related performance factors?

      My argument has simply been that using stats, however flawed, is preferable to not using stats.

    83. ghill

      The Honorable Cock Jowles: This is a valid point, of course, and a flaw with “averages,” as Juany8 keeps saying, but if we start making causal arguments about every game (or possession), it’s going to be very easy to slip into a lot of confirmation bias and subjective analyses that attempt to assume causality for whatever factors we privilege.

      I mean, to what do we attribute missed free throws? Should we assume that a player who plays 40 mpg will have a more difficult time making his free throws than a player who plays 5 mpg — due to fatigue? Or should we consider fatigue-based factors like flight time, timezone changes, hotel accommodations, diet, pre-game warmup routine, scheduling variances, etc.? Or should we try to account for the fact that some players may be more “used to” traveling than others, and thus perform better after long trips? Or should we account for the mental health of each player w/r/t spousal/parental/filial/familial relationships, or their financial situations, or other stress-related performance factors?

      My argument has simply been that using stats, however flawed, is preferable to not using stats.

      Interesting. That makes a lot of sense. Taking it a step further…. Are more stats always better than less stats? If so, is there a way to confirm that a stat we do use is legitimate? I’m sure this is Introductory Statistics 101 but I thought I’d ask here.

      It would be cool to try and measure some of the items you mention above and see if they are legit. I’m write code for a living so I’d be willing to help people crunch some non-structured data if it helps.

    84. Frank

      The Honorable Cock Jowles:
      I mean, to what do we attribute missed free throws? Should we assume that a player who plays 40 mpg will have a more difficult time making his free throws than a player who plays 5 mpg — due to fatigue? Or should we consider fatigue-based factors like flight time, timezone changes, hotel accommodations, diet, pre-game warmup routine, scheduling variances, etc.? Or should we try to account for the fact that some players may be more “used to” traveling than others, and thus perform better after long trips? Or should we account for the mental health of each player w/r/t spousal/parental/filial/familial relationships, or their financial situations, or other stress-related performance factors?

      My argument has simply been that using stats, however flawed, is preferable to not using stats.

      I certainly don’t know this for sure, but my guess is that the people who really do this stuff for a living (Vegas) really do get that granular. They know travel times, how certain teams and players play on this many days of rest, who’s wife is mad at them etc. etc. For people who have no time for that stuff (like people with other jobs), it’s too much detail, but that doesn’t mean that the details aren’t important.

      And I have to disagree with your last statement – using stats that might be wrong probably is much worse than not using stats at all, if only because it gives you a false sense of security that prevents you from changing your mind (I will refrain from using your devotion to Berri as an example. Oops, I just did it! =)). Bad stats can be confounded/massaged/misread etc. in any number of ways, and certainly in the medical field, have led to countless adverse outcomes

    85. Frank

      sorry who’s wife should be whose wife. Got caught in my own pet peeve again (I wrote your for you’re the other day). This site needs an edit post button!!!

    86. Juany8

      ghill: Interesting.That makes a lot of sense. Taking it a step further…. Are more stats always better than less stats?If so, is there a way to confirm that a stat we do use is legitimate?I’m sure this is Introductory Statistics 101 but I thought I’d ask here.

      It would be cool to try and measure some of the items you mention above and see if they are legit.I’m write code for a living so I’d be willing to help people crunch some non-structured data if it helps.

      You posed the problem perfectly in your comment, which stats should be used and which shouldn’t be? Personally I think the box score is fundamentally flawed to the point that I find it worthless to look at for anything but very general comparisons. The idea behind statistical analysis is that you can analyze the observed events in a basketball game as data points that have a set value.

      Unfortunately, the box score does a poor job of giving credit to more than one person on any given offensive possession, defensive possession, and rebounding opportunity. All of those activities are fully influenced by all 10 players on the court at once, as well as the coach, and disentangling the contributions into discrete, directly comparable numbers for all 10 players is insanely difficult.

      I’m pretty good at coding too and do predictive statistical analysis as a big part of my job, however the real problem is collecting meaningful data upon which you can construct a model. For instance, the little personal factors that THCJ gave as an example do have a very real and very noticeable effect on performance. There is just no way to possibly collect that kind of data. I’m not comfortable ignoring real data points just because I have no way of measuring them, to the point where I will subjectively try to adjust for those factors rather than blindly assuming they are negligible.

    87. Juany8

      Frank:

      And I have to disagree with your last statement – using stats that might be wrong probably is much worse than not using stats at all, if only because it gives you a false sense of security that prevents you from changing your mind (I will refrain from using your devotion to Berri as an example. Oops, I just did it! =)).Bad stats can be confounded/massaged/misread etc. in any number of ways, and certainly in the medical field, have led to countless adverse outcomes

      Here’s the best analogy I’ve heard to explain this little issue: Imagine you lost your keys in a large, messy room that is only lit near the center of the room, leaving large portions of the room dark and difficult to see in. It is obviously easier to search in the lit area since it provides the most sensory information and thus would be the smart place to look. If it’s not in the lit area though, you are eventually going to have to search in the dark area, in which you’re basically fumbling around trying to feel for your keys.

      The lit area represents events that can be easily be described in an objective way by numbers, while the dark area is everything else, stuff that can’t be easily observed or arbitrarily defined very easily, but still exists. Saying that using statistics is always better than not using statistics would be like refusing to look anywhere but the lit area since it’s better to look by light. At some point the truth won’t always be found in the numbers, dogmatically tying yourself to statistics means you’re locking yourself out of anything that can’t be measured. Statistics should be used when they can be, if I said that Kobe is a better 3 point shooter than Novak, it is very easy to objectively prove me wrong. [start off looking in lit area] But if none of the available data is giving me the answer I need, it’s time to start looking in the dark

    88. The Honorable Cock Jowles

      Juany8: Here’s the best analogy I’ve heard to explain this little issue: Imagine you lost your keys in a large, messy room that is only lit near the center of the room, leaving large portions of the room dark and difficult to see in. It is obviously easier to search in the lit area since it provides the most sensory information and thus would be the smart place to look. If it’s not in the lit area though, you are eventually going to have to search in the dark area, in which you’re basically fumbling around trying to feel for your keys.
      used when they can be, if I said that Kobe is a better 3 point shooter than Novak, it is very easy to objectively prove me wrong. [start off looking in lit area] But if none of the available data is giving me the answer I need, it’s time to start looking in the dark

      That’s a good analogy, but our differences on whether box scores contain ENOUGH information are predicated on the assumption that basketball players either are or are not responsible (primarily) for their own production. Maybe individual defense is hard to quantify (although conjecture about “bad gambling” on aggressive steal or blocking technique drives me made on this site) but offense is something that the box score does well enough. What could be improved? Percentage of assisted shots, points per scoring attempt, a breakdown of shots by distance to the goal, perhaps a rating system of “points against expected points” (based on the exact spot in which the ball is shot against the player’s career averages)? Right now, the box score gives us 99% of what we need to know on a team level. So you want to throw it out because of the possibility of all of these questions producing substantial noise, but we can still use it on the team level.

    89. Juany8

      The Honorable Cock Jowles: That’s a good analogy, but our differences on whether box scores contain ENOUGH information are predicated on the assumption that basketball players either are or are not responsible (primarily) for their own production. Maybe individual defense is hard to quantify (although conjecture about “bad gambling” on aggressive steal or blocking technique drives me made on this site) but offense is something that the box score does well enough. What could be improved? Percentage of assisted shots, points per scoring attempt, a breakdown of shots by distance to the goal, perhaps a rating system of “points against expected points” (based on the exact spot in which the ball is shot against the player’s career averages)? Right now, the box score gives us 99% of what we need to know on a team level. So you want to throw it out because of the possibility of all of these questions producing substantial noise, but we can still use it on the team level.

      Actually I will fully agree that these stats work on a team level. Team rebounds, offensive efficiency, defensive efficiency, etc. are well defined, and their relation to wins is pretty clear, although I think it could be tweaked some for the playoffs.

      Either way, my problem is that there is no valid proof that the value of team stats can simply be transferred down to individuals. Scoring efficiently is always the goal, I just think that a “finishers” like Novak or Chandler are getting too much credit for their excellent shooting and no penalty for their limitations. For instance, there is no penalty for wasting shot clock for someone like Novak who can’t do anything but reset the offense if his shot is covered. Someone like Kidd or Felton would be able to take advantage of the rotating defense, Novak has to kick it back out and make the possession more difficult

    90. Juany8

      The Honorable Cock Jowles: That’s a good analogy, but our differences on whether box scores contain ENOUGH information are predicated on the assumption that basketball players either are or are not responsible (primarily) for their own production. Maybe individual defense is hard to quantify (although conjecture about “bad gambling” on aggressive steal or blocking technique drives me made on this site) but offense is something that the box score does well enough. What could be improved? Percentage of assisted shots, points per scoring attempt, a breakdown of shots by distance to the goal, perhaps a rating system of “points against expected points” (based on the exact spot in which the ball is shot against the player’s career averages)? Right now, the box score gives us 99% of what we need to know on a team level. So you want to throw it out because of the possibility of all of these questions producing substantial noise, but we can still use it on the team level.

      As far as “gambling” the problem is that you are not taking into account failed block and steal attempts. If Ibaka jumps on every pump fake to boost his block totals, he will get a ton of blocks but he will also get burned a lot jumping in the air, especially by smart players who realize Ibaka has this weakness. Steals and Blocks are always valuable, that we can all agree with, but CHASING steals and blocks is not always a good strategy.

      It’s essentially the same thing as counting all the shots a player makes but ignoring the misses. Every time Monta Ellis makes a bucket it provides value to the team, it doesn’t mean he should be constantly trying to shoot, even though a miss could also be put back to mitigate the damage. Going after high blocks per minute isn’t much better than going after a high points per minute, the goal is efficient defense above all

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