I’ve been writing about the NBA for over 5 few years now, and I don’t think my disdain for writers using the same old cliches in lieu of true analysis has been hidden. This is especially true for articles on the Knicks, a team I’ve covered closely in that time span. A few years ago the best place for top notch basketball analysis was the Basketball Prospectus, the brainchild of John Hollinger. But after signing with ESPN, Hollinger moved his team and player analysis to ESPN’s Insider. Although I’m far from a luddite and Hollinger’s eye was just as sharp, it just wasn’t the same at it’s new location. Perhaps it’s heresy for a blogger to say, but there’s something to be said for reading things outside of a web page.
Well this year the Basketball Prospectus is back, written by Bradford Doolittle, Kevin Pelton, and the rest of the BP crew. Not only is this year’s addition similar to its predecessors in that they cover every team and player, but there are plenty of additions. SCHOENE, their similarity system, not only comes up with comparable players based on historical data but extends this data to the team level as well. Additionally the player stat section is enhanced with lots of new metrics. Each player has their own skill rating in key areas (rebounding, passing, hands, etc.), salary data is included, and per minute stats are replaced by percentage based stats.
But more importantly is that the analysis is spot on, and from my perspective they nailed the Knicks. They correctly identified Wilson Chandler as “an exceptional athlete” who needs to “draw more fouls going forward”, and astutely pointed out that the hiring of D’Antoni was “not just bringing in a proven winner, [but] a style, a brand.” There’s tons of great information about the whole league, including articles on fantasy advice, trends, the economy and microfracture surgery.
The 2009-10 Basketball Prospectus is available from their web site, in either PDF or paper format.