Statistical Analysis. Humor. Knicks.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Knicks Morning News (Saturday, Oct 19 2013)

  • [New York Times] Lillard Leads Blazers Over Clippers, 94-84 (Sat, 19 Oct 2013 05:30:47 GMT)
    Damian Lillard scored 12 of his 16 points in the third quarter to lead the Portland Trail Blazers to a 94-84 exhibition victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday night.    

  • [New York Times] Sports Briefing | Basketball: Bayern Munich Can Play Basketball, Too (Sat, 19 Oct 2013 03:57:32 GMT)
    Bayern Munich made a memorable debut in the Euroleague, romping to a 94-73 victory at Stelmet Zielona Gora of Poland.    

  • [New York Times] Rose Scores 32 to Lead Bulls Over Pacers (Sat, 19 Oct 2013 03:10:16 GMT)
    Derrick Rose scored 32 points, including eight in the final three minutes, and Luol Deng added 22 as the Chicago Bulls remained unbeaten this preseason with a 103-98 victory over the Indiana Pacers on Friday night.    

  • [New York Times] Mike Miller Scores 19, Grizzlies Down Magic 97-91 (Sat, 19 Oct 2013 01:42:49 GMT)
    Mike Miller had 19 points and 11 rebounds, Ed Davis added 16 points and 10 boards, and the Memphis Grizzlies earned their third straight preseason win with a 97-91 victory over the Orlando Magic on Friday night.    

  • [New York Daily News] Isola: Melo move rings true (Sat, 19 Oct 2013 02:20:05 GMT)
    Carmelo Anthony has this free agent thing down to a science. In one breath he admits that testing the waters appeals to him while in the next he pledges his undying loyalty to New York.    

  • 46 comments on “Knicks Morning News (Saturday, Oct 19 2013)

    1. SeeWhyDee77

      A lot of folks are worked up over Melo testing free agency. Like I said in an earlier thread, I’m not. To me this looks like a Kobe-esque ploy to motivate the FO to put championship pieces around him. Melo, like any player should have a plan B. I don’t necessarily think it’s a lock for Melo to remain a Knick, but it’s not a lock for him to leave either. He’s probably just as shocked at the Mills hiring as the rest of the basketball world, and is therefore putting the onus on the new “leadership”. This is more of him thinking “I have faith in this city and team, but my best options to help are injured, worse in the playoffs, unreliable and unproven.” Hence his plan B just incase Mills can’t make moves to improve the roster enough to get the team closer to a chip.

    2. massive

      I think it’s more to do with Melo’s own security. The fact that he’s choosing this summer to be a free agent says a lot to me. There’s nobody on the market. The Lakers? They’re long overdue for some suck. Dallas? Cleveland? Phoenix? Charlotte(lol)? He’s not leaving. It’s more of a “how much money” thing than a “where is he going” situation.

      I’m interested in if they’re really going to let him pick his teammates, or if they’re just going to let him get one guy and fill in around those two. Like maybe we get Rondo in 2015 and just build around Shump, Rondo, TH2, and Melo. I’m feeling good about the team whether we give Melo $1 billion or not.

    3. danvt

      I like the idea of Aldrich but Diogu has been much better. I also really like Tour’e. Do these guys have a real chance to make the team? There’s so many guys ahead of them and yet they look like legit NBA players.

    4. danvt

      More questions:

      According to smart hipster NBA blogger types ppg is a useless stat. I have also been told that fg% is overrated. I see both arguments. PPG can be just a question of who takes the most shots, often. FG% can be misleading because bad players can take easy shots and look better than they are. So, how do you evaluate offensive ability?

    5. danvt

      OK, so, I have now actually watched Bargnani play for NYK. Positives are that he doesn’t seem injured and seems to be able to score in a multitude of ways. His aggressiveness in taking it to the hoop and his ability to convert FT’s (and to get calls) has been impressive. The three point stroke does no seem to be there yet, however, and it is very alarming how many offensive rebounds the other team gets when he’s on the floor. He definitely needs Tyson out there with him. I don’t love him as a backup 5. I think Woody would like to give him minutes there (and then maybe keep Ike and ditch Coleekins). I don’t think he’s quite in game shape so maybe he can get a carom or two more once the real games begin but I’m not optimistic.

    6. danvt

      On Melo: He reminds me so much of Eli Manning before the Super Bowls. People laughed when he compared himself to Brady but he had the last laugh. Not because he is as good but because it didn’t matter. Smart game planning and violent nasty defense put him in a position to make game winning throws. Too bad NYK hasn’t shown themselves to be in a class with NYG as an organization (0-6 this year notwithstanding).

    7. danvt

      I think IND is overrated. As is BKLYN. IND is a smart organization that was able to take advantage of the K’s injuries last spring but they don’t really scare me. I think it’s not a forgone conclusion that Pierce / KG will be better than Wallace / Humphries. This year, it seems, there’s parody in the NBA after MIA. OKC has blown their chance to be a true threat to them. I don’t think HOU will win the big prize as long as DHoward has to shoot FT’s. Who else?

      Not saying K’s deserve better than 11 in the power rankings right now. Only that 2-16 is probably bunched a lot closer than in years past.

    8. The Honorable Cock Jowles

      danvt:
      More questions:

      According to smart hipster NBA blogger types ppg is a useless stat.I have also been told that fg% is overrated.I see both arguments.PPG can be just a question of who takes the most shots, often.FG% can be misleading because bad players can take easy shots and look better than they are.So, how do you evaluate offensive ability?

      Is this a serious question?

    9. danvt

      One more:

      I won’t consider MIA a historically great team until they beat another historically great team. SAS was great once but not last year. It was impressive what they did but the fact that they were within a few seconds of a title last year had more to do with a down year in the western conference and MIA’s lack of historical greatness.

      I’m back baby. Soup starter for this blog on a Saturday morning. Gimme what you got people!

    10. The Honorable Cock Jowles

      danvt: Yeah, you yourself told me no one cares about ppg or fg%.I guess I’m just dumb, but how do I evaluate offense?

      Depends on what you want to do. I like xPPS because it considers expected point value on shots and shows relative value. PPG is totally worthless. Anyone can put up a shot in the NBA.

    11. lavor postell

      danvt:
      I think IND is overrated.As is BKLYN.IND is a smart organization that was able to take advantage of the K’s injuries last spring but they don’t really scare me.I think it’s not a forgone conclusion that Pierce / KG will be better than Wallace / Humphries.This year, it seems, there’s parody in the NBA after MIA.OKC has blown their chance to be a true threat to them.I don’t think HOU will win the big prize as long as DHoward has to shoot FT’s.Who else?

      Not saying K’s deserve better than 11 in the power rankings right now.Only that 2-16 is probably bunched a lot closer than in years past.

      I really just think that Indiana and Brooklyn are overrated in regards to the Knicks since that seems to be their measuring stick for whatever reason. For the umpteenth time a team that lost to a depleted Bulls team and added Pierce and Garnett that looked their age towards the end of last season, particularly against the Knicks in the playoffs, certainly projects to be improved, but not to me as a vastly superior team to the Knicks. The pieces definitely fit together nicely in Brooklyn, but there are a lot of questions that need to be answered and rotations that need to be pieced together by a rookie coach.

      Indiana is a very good team and one that I think certainly presents us with difficult matchup problems. They also certainly got lucky that they played us during a time period in which Chandler was a huge minus, Melo was banged up and JR and Kidd couldn’t buy a buckets though they played big minutes because of Woodson’s inability to adjust to changing realities. I think Indiana could beat us in a best of of 7, but I certainly think NYK can take them down in that same scenario with a little more luck than last year.

    12. lavor postell

      I think the Knicks still pose the same problems to Miami that made us a difficult match up for them last year. The high pNr with Chandler and spreading the floor with shooters compromises their aggressive rotations more than almost any other team in the league. Miami would definitely be the favorite against us, but I think that we have a pretty good chance at beating them, especially if Melo is on point. Houston-Miami should be an interesting matchup to watch this year.

      Chicago is the one team I absolutely do not want to face in the playoffs. I don’t think we match up with them particularly well and if they are healthy come playoff time (a big if considering Thibodeau’s tendency to overwork guys in the regular season) I can’t see us overcoming their combination of physicality, size and rebounding ability.

    13. thenamestsam

      lavor postell:

      Chicago is the one team I absolutely do not want to face in the playoffs.I don’t think we match up with them particularly well and if they are healthy come playoff time (a big if considering Thibodeau’s tendency to overwork guys in the regular season) I can’t see us overcoming their combination of physicality, size and rebounding ability.

      I feel like Thibs has to have learned that lesson finally. I mean that guy is absolutely one of the sharpest coaches around. The idea that he can’t see something that is just staring everyone in the face is ahrd for me to believe. I feel like this has to be the year where he backs off the gas pedal a little bit.

      The Honorable Cock Jowles: Depends on what you want to do. I like xPPS because it considers expected point value on shots and shows relative value. PPG is totally worthless. Anyone can put up a shot in the NBA.

      I think the “depends on what you want to do” is the critical part of the answer here. In my opinion the stats that are available tend to work best when they’re used in the narrowest way possible. If we ask “Who is the best corner 3-pt shooter in the league?” we can probably answer that question pretty well. There are some confounding factors in terms of one players looks being systematically more open than another players, but we can still get a reasonable answer. “Who is the best offensive player?”, on the other hand, is such an incredibly broad question that it’s extremely difficult to answer with any one statistic (in my opinion).

    14. thenamestsam

      lavor postell:
      I think the Knicks still pose the same problems to Miami that made us a difficult match up for them last year.

      Obviously we’re still pretty much speculating when we talk about what this team’s style of play is going to look like, but one thing I wanted to add to your point is that one of the reasons I loved that matchup for us last year is that we just didn’t turn the ball over, and avoiding turnovers takes away a huge area of strength from Miami. I think it’s slightly doubtful that we’re going to be as stingy this year and if we aren’t they’re going to be a lot more potent against us, even if we still are able to punish them from downtown.

    15. d-mar

      thenamestsam: I feel like Thibs has to have learned that lesson finally. I mean that guy is absolutely one of the sharpest coaches around. The idea that he can’t see something that is just staring everyone in the face is ahrd for me to believe. I feel like this has to be the year where he backs off the gas pedal a little bit.

      Well, he played Deng and Rose 31 minutes each last night in a preseason game, so it doesn’t look that way (and every time I see him interviewed he reminds me of Biff Tannen from the Back to the Future movies)

    16. The Honorable Cock Jowles

      thenamestsam: I think the “depends on what you want to do” is the critical part of the answer here. In my opinion the stats that are available tend to work best when they’re used in the narrowest way possible. If we ask “Who is the best corner 3-pt shooter in the league?” we can probably answer that question pretty well. There are some confounding factors in terms of one players looks being systematically more open than another players, but we can still get a reasonable answer. “Who is the best offensive player?”, on the other hand, is such an incredibly broad question that it’s extremely difficult to answer with any one statistic (in my opinion).

      I don’t think it’s unreasonable to look at TS% and take it as an indicator of shot selection and shooting ability. Add in a breakdown of shot frequency and placement and you have quite the solid basis upon which to evaluate. Is Steve Novak a better offensive player than Carmelo Anthony? In some ways, yes; in other ways, no. I think that Novak’s best season (offensively) is more productive than Anthony’s, though, simply because of how rare Novak’s sky-high TS% was.

    17. danvt

      lavor postell: Chicago is the one team I absolutely do not want to face in the playoffs.

      That’s the one team I wasn’t thinking about. They might be the true test for MIA, and, of course, they might be demonstrably better than us. Still, right now, I’m going to hope that Amar’e plays a full season, our other important players avoid injury, and that we finally get a true read of what this team can do. I think we’ve seen excellent but not historically great teams give MIA problems. Maybe we can be that team this year.

    18. lavor postell

      thenamestsam: Obviously we’re still pretty much speculating when we talk about what this team’s style of play is going to look like, but one thing I wanted to add to your point is that one of the reasons I loved that matchup for us last year is that we just didn’t turn the ball over, and avoiding turnovers takes away a huge area of strength from Miami. I think it’s slightly doubtful that we’re going to be as stingy this year and if we aren’t they’re going to be a lot more potent against us, even if we still are able to punish them from downtown.

      Yeah I think that’s definitely a valid concern, but I would also counter that I think a Felton-Shump-MWP-Melo-Chandler lineup presents problems for them on both ends of the floor that we did not have available for us last year. MWP clearly isn’t the best perimeter shooter, but he hits at a high enough clip to make teams pay. If we can restrict his tendency to isolate in the post on a whim then I really like what he can add to this team.

      We won’t be a historically low turnover team but should still be among the league’s best. Bargs and MWP for all their flaws are low turnover players. We also have more guys that can create off the dribble and make the Heat pay for their incessant rotations in lieu of losing Novak and Kidd. Both are extremely low turnover players, but how many times did we see them pass up opportunities to drive because of their simple inability to do so?

      Miami has been to 3 straight finals and won 2 in a row for a reason, but I’d rather face them than Chicago. Ideally a path in which we play them in the 2nd round and allow two of Chicago/Indiana/Brooklyn to beat the shit out of each other before playing the winner in the ECF. Getting really far ahead of myself here but I see us finishing somewhere between 3-5 and I’d be a fan of Woody willfully losing to get a favorable draw.

    19. lavor postell

      danvt: That’s the one team I wasn’t thinking about.They might be the true test for MIA, and, of course, they might be demonstrably better than us.Still, right now, I’m going to hope that Amar’e plays a full season, our other important players avoid injury, and that we finally get a true read of what this team can do.I think we’ve seen excellent but not historically great teams give MIA problems.Maybe we can be that team this year.

      Man, if Amar’e can even be productive in a limited 15-20 minute role that would be such a massive boost to this team. Amar’e is a guy that poses massive headaches for Miami and lineups with Melo-STAT-Chandler showed a lot of promise last year which would be huge against the Indianas and Chicagos of the world.

    20. er

      The Honorable Cock Jowles: I think that Novak’s best season (offensively) is more productive than Anthony’s, though, simply because of how rare Novak’s sky-high TS% was.

      Say this sentence in public let me know what happens.

    21. The Honorable Cock Jowles

      er: Say this sentence in public let me know what happens.

      Who cares what happens when I say it in public? I keep hearing paid commentators on NFL broadcasts chiding a coach for going for it on 4th and inches on the opponent’s 10-yard-line. And then the little gnats in the bar chime in, “Yeah, what a dumbass! You gotta kick it in that situation.”

      Who fucks a heck about popular opinion, honestly?

    22. thenamestsam

      d-mar: Well, he played Deng and Rose 31 minutes each last night in a preseason game, so it doesn’t look that way (and every time I see him interviewed he reminds me of Biff Tannen from the Back to the Future movies)

      Wow. Thanks for sharing. Maybe I’m giving him too much credit. That’s…completely nuts. I just don’t understand how someone who is by all indications one of the sharpest coaches around can keep doing that. It’s probably the simplest aspect of coaching, Too weird.

    23. flossy

      The Honorable Cock Jowles: Who cares what happens when I say it in public? I keep hearing paid commentators on NFL broadcasts chiding a coach for going for it on 4th and inches on the opponent’s 10-yard-line. And then the little gnats in the bar chime in, “Yeah, what a dumbass! You gotta kick it in that situation.”

      Who fucks a heck about popular opinion, honestly?

      It’s not just a “popular opinion.” Literally nobody connected to the NBA in any capacity, save for the WoW cultists, would take seriously for one millisecond the idea that Carmelo Anthony is not a vastly superior offensive player to Novak, both on any given day and at their respective best for a full season. No coach, no GM, no scout, no analyst, no player, probably not even Novak himself. And that includes not just the hacks, but the Daryl Moreys, Chris Herrings, Zach Lowes, all the forward-thinking people both inside and outside the league itself who use and value analytics.

      Just because some football talking heads spout incorrect conventional wisdom about tactics in a particular situation does not mean that any and all conventional wisdom about the NBA is wrong. Sorry.

    24. ruruland

      At least Jowles is somewhat consistent. He’s off-hand mentioned that Kerr was better at offense than Jordan. Pretty obv. Just like everyone knows Damon Jones was the offensive MVP of the Lebron Cavs.

    25. SeeWhyDee77

      danvt:
      I think IND is overrated.As is BKLYN.IND is a smart organization that was able to take advantage of the K’s injuries last spring but they don’t really scare me.I think it’s not a forgone conclusion that Pierce / KG will be better than Wallace / Humphries.This year, it seems, there’s parody in the NBA after MIA.OKC has blown their chance to be a true threat to them.I don’t think HOU will win the big prize as long as DHoward has to shoot FT’s.Who else?

      Not saying K’s deserve better than 11 in the power rankings right now.Only that 2-16 is probably bunched a lot closer than in years past.

      I’m not a big fan of Indy either. I don’t think their elite much like Larry Brown’ Pistons. They’ve got solid players, great coaching, a smart FO, and a budding young star. Their best players have completely bought in on what Vogel wants. Solid solid team. I don’t think they are better from a talent perspective, but they kinda scare me. If Tyson is healthy, then not so much..especially with MWP and Bargnani on the roster. But their FO has been doing a phenomenal job adding the right players to their mix. It’s hard for me to talk about them because I don’t think they are better per se, but they do a helluva job sticking to the script and playing to their strengths. Brooklyn looks good on paper, but there are a few things that seem to get overlooked. Rookie coach freshly removed from playing. Minutes control for KG and Pierce. Williams and Lopez seem to be injury prone..definitely Lopez. Terry is washed up. Love him..but what made him so dangerous is just not there anymore. With Chicago, people let the name Derrick Rose overshadow the brilliance of Thibideaux. They are still Rose and a buncha guys. No disrespect to Noah and Deng. Those guys are great at what they do within the scheme. But they are not star level players, Thibideaux has just coached…

    26. SeeWhyDee77

      ..and I happen to believe that we can match up well with Chicago. No knock on either of those teams but I think analysts and such are kinda overhyping them. Like they added a LeBron type or something. They all look good..but so does the Knicks. Do we look good enough to take the East? Dunno..games haven’t been played yet. Regular season games with real weight. But that applies for each of those teams I mentioned. Miami is the defending champs and the only team who’s talent u can’t question. The way I see it, there’s a logjam and a helluva fight for the 2 seed where there are 3 teams good enough to take it. It just pisses me off to turn on the tv or go to espn.com and see people just damn near write us off like our guys are no good. Maybe they wanted to see us land D12 or CP3 this offseason, I don’t know. Pisses me off nonetheless.

    27. Unreason

      flossy: It’s not just a “popular opinion.” Literally nobody connected to the NBA in any capacity, save for the WoW cultists, would take seriously for one millisecond the idea that Carmelo Anthony is not a vastly superior offensive player to Novak

      I wonder if these conversations keep going nowhere because they’re too vague. It often seems that one person means “efficient at hitting 3s” when they say “better” and another means “able to score in a variety of ways and carry the main scoring burden of a team”.

      THCJ. Does it make sense to you to use the same word to compare the offense of guys who only roll and dunk or only shoot threes (role players) to guys with more varied talents who carry the main scoring burden of their team (go-to guys)? Doesn’t the specialized nature of the role player’s skill set warrant a more precise vocabulary than “better at offense” or a similarly vague term? Using more specific terms that reflect the fact that they’re actually doing different things under very different conditions seems like an easy way to avoid confusion.

      For example, I doubt you’d say that Novak is “a more versatile scorer” than Anthony. I doubt Flossy would say that Anthony is “more efficient at shooting 3s” than Novak. I think you’d agree with each other on both those points. If the real issue is how evenly to distribute shot attempts among more versatile and more specialized players, I think the conversation might have a better chance of going somewhere if the points about issue were made directly rather than conflating them with “who is better” arguments.

    28. Donnie Walsh

      The Honorable Cock Jowles: Who fucks a heck about popular opinion, honestly?

      Yes. Tyranny of the Majority– the greatest byproduct of democracy.

      The world is flat; sex is for deviants; witches float; Neil Diamond can sing. Conventional wisdom is as idiotic as the fringes a lot of the time. I’d much rather be seen as a guy with tin-foil on my head than as a lemming.

      Is Carmelo Anthony better than Steve Novak? I can see the argument. But at the same time the gap may be a lot smaller than the masses are willing to accept.

    29. ruruland

      Donnie Walsh: Yes. Tyranny of the Majority– the greatest byproduct of democracy.

      Is Carmelo Anthony better than Steve Novak? I can see the argument. But at the same time the gap may be a lot smaller than the masses are willing to accept.

      You’re absolutely right. Gap is really small. The only reason Novak doesn’t take a lot more shots and score more points is because Anthony is selfish and wants to make a lot of money and dumb basketball people are willing to pay him and not Novak.

      Novak could definitely approximate what Anthony does on offense if he ever had a smart coach who would just give him a chance. And we all know, Anthony takes the same proportion of 3-point shots off the pass as Novak, so I really doubt Anthony would ever be able to come close to Novak’s shooting, which is really all that matters on offense.

      Defenses treat every player about the same, and basically every team has players with the same skill sets, so passing and creating shots is basically a myth.

      Dribbling and moving with the ball at the same time is bullshit, too.

    30. ruruland

      Unreason: I wonder if these conversations keep going nowhere because they’re too vague. It often seems that one person means “efficient at hitting 3s” when they say “better” and another means “able to score in a variety of ways and carry the main scoring burden of a team”.

      THCJ. Does it make sense to you to use the same word to compare the offense of guys who only roll and dunk or only shoot threes (role players) to guys with more varied talents who carry the main scoring burden of their team (go-to guys)? Doesn’t the specialized nature of the role player’s skill set warrant a more precise vocabulary than “better at offense” or a similarly vague term? Using more specific terms that reflect the fact that they’re actually doing different things under very different conditions seems like an easy way to avoid confusion.

      For example, I doubt you’d say that Novak is “a more versatile scorer” than Anthony. I doubt Flossy would say that Anthony is “more efficient at shooting 3s” than Novak. I think you’d agree with each other on both those points. If the real issue is how evenly to distribute shot attempts among more versatile and more specialized players, I think the conversation might have a better chance of going somewhere if the points about issue were made directly rather than conflating them with “who is better” arguments.

      Jowles thinks versatility is meaningless. All that matters is scoring efficiency. The amount of shots a player takes is not dependent on anything but coaches and teammates willingness to allow players to shoot.

      Chandler and Novak’s usage is artificially inhibited.

    31. flossy

      Unreason: For example, I doubt you’d say that Novak is “a more versatile scorer” than Anthony. I doubt Flossy would say that Anthony is “more efficient at shooting 3s” than Novak. I think you’d agree with each other on both those points. If the real issue is how evenly to distribute shot attempts among more versatile and more specialized players, I think the conversation might have a better chance of going somewhere if the points about issue were made directly rather than conflating them with “who is better” arguments.

      Nobody disagrees over who is the better 3 point shooter, or even who is the more efficient scorer in the narrowly-defined, context-free TS%-only sense. Jowles said that Novak’s best offensive season was more productive than Anthony’s, which I think only he and he alone could possibly believe.

      It’s not the Jowles denies the reality that Novak is a specialist who can do literally one thing only on the basketball court, and whose specialty is so narrow that he is incapable of using on anything more than well-below-average proportion of his team’s offensive possessions. It’s that he maintains, beyond all reason, that this kind of player is more productive and somehow contributes more to the overall success of the Knicks than Carmelo, who managed to use more than a third of the offensive possessions for a team with the #3 offense in the league while maintaing above average personal scoring efficiency.

      It’s not that he doesn’t understand the massive difference in their roles and skill sets. It’s that he does understand it, and still maintains beyond all reason that Novak is the “more productive” or “in some ways better” offensive player. And that is why nobody takes THCJ seriously.

    32. thenamestsam

      Unreason: I wonder if these conversations keep going nowhere because they’re too vague. It often seems that one person means “efficient at hitting 3s” when they say “better” and another means “able to score in a variety of ways and carry the main scoring burden of a team”.

      Good post. This is what I was trying to get at above with the distinction between narrow questions and broad questions. Outside of THCJ and maybe a few others on here I think pretty much everyone on here accepts that a question like “Who is better at offense?” is a really difficult question with a really complex answer. Way too complex for any single stat to shine much light on. How do you weigh Chris Paul’s passing vs. Durant’s scoring? How do you weight Chandler’s efficiency vs. Melo’s usage? I really don’t think these questions have simple answers or even necessarily have universal answers at all (i.e. in some team contexts Chandler’s usage might be more ‘valuable’ than Mel’s usage, but not in all). That’s why stats perform best when used in a more limited way. TS% is a good stat. It answers a specific question (how efficient was this player at making the shots that he took?). But I don’t think you can take a stat that answers a narrow question and think that it effectively answers a much broader question.

    33. EB

      thenamestsam: Good post. This is what I was trying to get at above with the distinction between narrow questions and broad questions. Outside of THCJ and maybe a few others on here I think pretty much everyone on here accepts that a question like “Who is better at offense?” is a really difficult question with a really complex answer. Way too complex for any single stat to shine much light on. How do you weigh Chris Paul’s passing vs. Durant’s scoring? How do you weight Chandler’s efficiency vs. Melo’s usage? I really don’t think these questions have simple answers or even necessarily have universal answers at all (i.e. in some team contexts Chandler’s usage might be more ‘valuable’ than Mel’s usage, but not in all). That’s why stats perform best when used in a more limited way. TS% is a good stat. It answers a specific question (how efficient was this player at making the shots that he took?). But I don’t think you can take a stat that answers a narrow question and think that it effectively answers a much broader question.

      I agree with this. The different talents of different players are really incommensurable, I don’t think it even makes coherent sense to compare passing to scoring or rebounding. Its a huge flaw in the composite stats like Wins Produced, PER, or Win Shares. You can’t compare Melo’s ability to score the ball on a high usage to Novak’s shooting 3′s from the corner or even worse is thinking you can compare Bargnani’s scoring to Jason Kidd’s rebounding. They are two completely incomparable things.

    34. Unreason

      thenamestsam: Good post. This is what I was trying to get at above with the distinction between narrow questions and broad questions. … I don’t think you can take a stat that answers a narrow question and think that it effectively answers a much broader question.

      I agree. And my post just amplified a bit on what you’d already said more succinctly.

      flossy: nobody takes THCJ seriously.

      I do. I’m surprised you spend time writing thoughtful responses to him if you don’t.

      He seems like one of several standard bearers for a strong belief that numeric/objective indicators are almost always better than qualitative/subjective ones. Because of the kinds of hoops data that have been available till recently, that’s not a faith I usually share when it comes to basketball. But this site is kinda founded on the idea that those indicators have value if used properly. I think there’s often a lot of defensible room for disagreement about what constitutes proper use.

      I like the conversations here because they there’s often at least three sides: stats faithful; expert observers; passionate non-experts. Most poster don’t fall neatly into one of those three. More extreme/pure positions are polarizing but can benefit conversations by helping clarify gray areas, IMO.

    35. Z-man

      Nice to see my Jets take it to the hated Pats. That said, I’m rooting for the Red Sox. I went to the first Sox-Yankees game at Fenway this summer, and at one point the PA announcer thanked NY for its support after the Marathon bombing and then played Sinatra’s New York, New York, and the crowd sang along loudly. As much as I hate the Celts and Pats, it would be a nice thing for the Sox to win this one.

    36. Z-man

      Unreason: flossy: nobody takes THCJ seriously.

      I do. I’m surprised you spend time writing thoughtful responses to him if you don’t.

      He seems like one of several standard bearers for a strong belief that numeric/objective indicators are almost always better than qualitative/subjective ones. Because of the kinds of hoops data that have been available till recently, that’s not a faith I usually share when it comes to basketball. But this site is kinda founded on the idea that those indicators have value if used properly. I think there’s often a lot of defensible room for disagreement about what constitutes proper use.

      I like the conversations here because they there’s often at least three sides: stats faithful; expert observers; passionate non-experts. Most poster don’t fall neatly into one of those three. More extreme/pure positions are polarizing but can benefit conversations by helping clarify gray areas, IMO.

      I also agree, and take THCJ seriously even though I disagree with him much of the time. He and the WoW crowd do make for thought-provoking discussion. But in this case, I am totally with flossy. Novak is a not-ready-for-prime (playoff) time scrub who is clinging to a rotation spot on a non-contending team. Melo has been the #1 option on 10 playoff teams in 10 years and is a sure-fire HOFer. The gulf between them is so wide that it is asinine to compare them one-to-one in any meaningful way. If you want to argue whether Melo is a top-20 player, or whether he’s worth a max salary, or whether he can be the #1 option on a championship team, we can have a serious discussion.

    37. Owen

      Novak vs. Melo huh? That’s not going to be a conversation worth having. I will say, I am going to miss Novak a lot. My wife too. Heartwarming story and the best pure shooter I have ever seen. I don’t think Bargnani will be an upgrade, obviously. I think the offense will miss the production he gave us for 1600 minutes last year more than people realize.

      Regarding the larger question of the “numbers crowd,” as someone who has been following this for years, all I can say is that a lot has changed. The profusion of new analytics in basketball is pretty astounding and while Berri lost the battle to make Wins Produced the metric of choice for understanding the NBA, he was definitely on the side that won the war. I would say a lot of people probably did the fighting a little more effectively (B-Ref, APBR, 82games, True Hoop, B-Pro, and of course Knickerblogger among others). But looking out at the NBA there is no question that the game is understood far far differently than it was 15 years ago. And a lot of people are getting paid to do work in management that would have been inconceivable back then.

      I’d be curious to see what happened if Berri ran the salary correlations he did in the WOW again to see what kind of impact things like ppg, scoring efficiency, turnovers, steals, etc have these days versus 15 years ago. I am betting you would see a pretty big difference.

      I do still think it’s relatively early days in the stat revolution. Someting which I can’t say I realized six years ago. Basketball is more complicated to understand than baseball. New tools are emerging. There will be breakthroughs. But I give credit to all the people who pushed the conversation forward.

    38. Z-man

      Owen:

      Regarding the larger question of the “numbers crowd,” as someone who has been following this for years, all I can say is that a lot has changed. The profusion of new analytics in basketball is pretty astounding and while Berri lost the battle to make Wins Produced the metric of choice for understanding the NBA, he was definitely on the side that won the war. I would say a lot of people probably did the fighting a little more effectively (B-Ref, APBR, 82games, True Hoop, B-Pro, and of course Knickerblogger among others). But looking out at the NBA there is no question that the game is understood far far differently than it was 15 years ago. And a lot of people are getting paid to do work in management that would have been inconceivable back then.

      I’d be curious to see what happened if Berri ran the salary correlations he did in the WOW again to see what kind of impact things like ppg, scoring efficiency, turnovers, steals, etc have these days versus 15 years ago. I am betting you would see a pretty big difference.

      I do still think it’s relatively early days in the stat revolution. Someting which I can’t say I realized six years ago. Basketball is more complicated to understand than baseball. New tools are emerging. There will be breakthroughs. But I give credit to all the people who pushed the conversation forward.

      Very reasoned and fair, Owen. I’m totally with you. What’s more, I think that as our knowledge of the metrics increases, what we see with the “eye test” evolves as well. This makes sense because ultimately, all the data comes from visual observation of some kind.

      As to Novak, I prefer to withhold judgment and monitor how Bargnani and Hardaway come along. For example, Bargnani’s ability to get to the line might offset Novak’s better 3-pt%.

    39. flossy

      Unreason: flossy: nobody takes THCJ seriously.

      I do. I’m surprised you spend time writing thoughtful responses to him if you don’t.

      He seems like one of several standard bearers for a strong belief that numeric/objective indicators are almost always better than qualitative/subjective ones. Because of the kinds of hoops data that have been available till recently, that’s not a faith I usually share when it comes to basketball. But this site is kinda founded on the idea that those indicators have value if used properly. I think there’s often a lot of defensible room for disagreement about what constitutes proper use.

      I take the analytics/advanced stats movement seriously (why would I be here otherwise?), and I agree in general sense with the WoW folks that possession creation is important and that that aspect of the game does not get the same kind of popular, casual fan appreciation that shot creation/possession usage does.

      I absolutely do not take seriously the opinion of anyone who can claim with a straight face and total certainty that someone like Ronnie Brewer produced more wins last season that Carmelo Anthony, or that Steve Novak is–in any way you define the term–a better or more productive overall offensive player than Melo. Sorry. If Jowles is a “standard bearer” for serious statistical analysis, then he diminishes and discredits the principles he stands for by taking every argument to its logical extreme. For him, those ideas have quite clearly turned into an inflexible ideology, and that is what I dismiss.

      Similarly, I am broadly sympathetic to the notion that our National Debt is a long term problem and that our country should run a surplus during peacetime, but I categorically reject the fundamentalist fanatics who would force a default on the debt and shut down the government in order to reign in spending. Ya dig?

    40. thenamestsam

      Owen:
      Novak vs. Melo huh? That’s not going to be a conversation worth having. I will say, I am going to miss Novak a lot. My wife too. Heartwarming story and the best pure shooter I have ever seen. I don’t think Bargnani will be an upgrade, obviously. I think the offense will miss the production he gave us for 1600 minutes last year more than people realize.

      Regarding the larger question of the “numbers crowd,” as someone who has been following this for years, all I can say is that a lot has changed. The profusion of new analytics in basketball is pretty astounding and while Berri lost the battle to make Wins Produced the metric of choice for understanding the NBA, he was definitely on the side that won the war. I would say a lot of people probably did the fighting a little more effectively (B-Ref, APBR, 82games, True Hoop, B-Pro, and of course Knickerblogger among others). But looking out at the NBA there is no question that the game is understood far far differently than it was 15 years ago. And a lot of people are getting paid to do work in management that would have been inconceivable back then.

      I’d be curious to see what happened if Berri ran the salary correlations he did in the WOW again to see what kind of impact things like ppg, scoring efficiency, turnovers, steals, etc have these days versus 15 years ago. I am betting you would see a pretty big difference.

      I do still think it’s relatively early days in the stat revolution. Someting which I can’t say I realized six years ago. Basketball is more complicated to understand than baseball. New tools are emerging. There will be breakthroughs. But I give credit to all the people who pushed the conversation forward.

      Nice post Owen. But seriously, Steph Curry is obviously a better pure shooter than Novak, to name one.

    41. Owen

      Well, it’s a matter of how you define it. If a pure shooter is someone who puts the ball in the hoop from all over the court and in many different situations, than yes, Novak isn’t in the conversation. If it’s just a question of putting the ball in the hoop from a long long way away than he certainly merits consideration.

      But whatever, it’s not really important. Best pure shooter I have seen in a Knicks uniform, leave it at that….

      thenamestsam: Nice post Owen. But seriously, Steph Curry is obviously a better pure shooter than Novak, to name one.

    42. thenamestsam

      Owen:
      Well, it’s a matter of how you define it. If a pure shooter is someone who puts the ball in the hoop from all over the court and in many different situations, than yes, Novak isn’t in the conversation. If it’s just a question of putting the ball in the hoop from a long long way away than he certainly merits consideration.

      But whatever, it’s not really important. Best pure shooter I have seen in a Knicks uniform, leave it at that….

      Just busting your chops. Novak is an amazing shooter obviously.

    43. Unreason

      flossy: I agree in general sense with the WoW folks that possession creation is important and that that aspect of the game does not get the same kind of popular, casual fan appreciation that shot creation/possession usage does.

      Nice point.

      flossy: If Jowles is a “standard bearer” for serious statistical analysis, then he diminishes and discredits the principles he stands for by taking every argument to its logical extreme.

      I’m not dissing THCJ when I say that I wasn’t calling him a standard bearer for serious statistical analysis. I was saying that his posts consistently show a strong preference for quantitative analyses over qualitative opinion. By standard bearer I just meant that his posts are among the most frequent to take that position. Many posters who seem as familiar with advanced metrics as he does don’t share that preference.

      Like you I often disagree with that position. And I agree; suggesting that Anthony has a smaller net positive impact on offense than Novak seems extreme. But that makes it kind of interesting to me because it would seem to require more ingenuity to defend. I’d like to see what he or like minded posters come up with that might persuade me. Giving clear signs of respect when disagreeing risks seeming mamby pamby, but it keeps the focus on ideas.

      I like a lot of what you post and I’m sorry that I’m singling you out. That’s not my intent. Your exchange with THCJ just struck me as an example of a very generic KBer pattern that many of us have engaged in and might be worth highlighting.

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