2/29 Two Quick Links

NYSUN: Vandeweghe Would Succeed Only if Isiah Isn’t Around

[Vandeweghe’s] record does come with some warts. He served as general manager of the Nuggets from 2001 through 2006, helping to rebuild Denver from a lottery team into a playoff contender. The key deal was, not surprisingly, a trade with the Knicks — he got Marcus Camby and the rights to big man Nene from New York in return for Antonio McDyess. He also made a solid move when he signed point guard Andre Miller to a free-agent deal.
However, the rest of his résumé looks spottier. He gave up three first-round picks in the sign-and-trade deal with New Jersey for Kenyon Martin, and Martin’s seven-year, $91 million contract has been one of the league’s worst values. He also passed on Amare Stoudemire in the 2002 draft … twice. One of them was the Nene choice, and the other was all-time bust Nikoloz Tskitishvili.
That said, if he’s hired by the Knicks his biggest move will be choosing the next coach … or rather, that’s what it should be. If he’s stuck with Isiah, he probably won’t accomplish much.
Nonetheless, it would offer a very slight glimmer of hope that perhaps things might get less awful. He’d presumably have the power to start trading the many misshapen pieces of this roster. And one hopes, at least, he’d have Dolan’s commitment to a genuine rebuilding project as opposed to the slapdash quick fix Isiah tried when he took over.
But it’s puzzling that Dolan can’t realize the huge public relations boost he’d get from cutting the cord with Isiah entirely. The fan base would be rejuvenated, to the point that they’d actually be willing to sit tight and support the team through the inevitable multi-year rebuilding job.

Diminishing Returns and the Value of Offensive and Defensive Rebounds
More Diminishing Returns

In some ways I think this study provides stronger evidence for the impact of diminishing returns on defensive rebounding than my previous post. The charts allow one to easily see the effects of diminishing returns, and by looking at the rebounding of all the players in each lineup, the issues brought up by coaches potentially pairing good rebounders with poor rebounders are largely eliminated.

The specific marginal values found of 0.8 for offensive rebounds and 0.3 for defensive rebounds are also interesting. These match closely with how John Hollinger’s PER weights offensive rebounds relative to defensive rebounds (ORB are weighted by the league DRB%, which is around 0.7, and DRB are weighted by the league ORB%, which is around 0.3). And again, these values suggest that Dave Berri’s Wins Produced greatly overvalues players with high defensive rebounding percentages and undervalues players with low defensive rebounding percentages because the system assumes that each player DRB contributes a full DRB on the team level. Alternative Win Score (or AWS), the variation on Wins Produced suggested by Dan Rosenbaum in his paper, “The Pot Calling the Kettle Black”, weights ORB at 0.7 and DRB at 0.3. While these values are based on an assumption and not backed by evidence (just like Berri’s assumption that both should be weighted at 1 is not backed by any evidence), the evidence from the study I have done here (and Cherokee_ACB’s study) suggests that AWS (and PER) may be a lot closer to the mark on rebounding than Wins Produced.

Knicks 113, Wizards 100 (OT) & Other News

NY Daily News:

With the trading deadline set for 3 p.m. tomorrow, Zach Randolph helped his cause for a change of address by scoring 24 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. He also got into a heated exchange with Nate Robinson that saw Randolph toss a cup of water at his teammate and Robinson respond by throwing a towel at Randolph.

“It was the heat of the moment,” Randolph said.

Isiah Thomas says making trades to get under cap ‘not our goal’

Thomas provided a jaw-dropping quote Tuesday when he was asked if his goal is to make trades that would help the Knicks to get under the salary cap.

“That’s not our goal,” Thomas said. “Our goal is to continue to get better, but be mindful of where we are. We’ve done a good job the last couple years of bringing the number down.

“So we’re in a good position. We’ve got young talent. We’ve got a cap that’s going down or a number that’s going down, but you want to turn that into some wins also.”


Isiah Thomas admitted the trade value of his players have dropped because of their awful season, which reduces the chances of the Knicks New York Knicks making a blockbuster at tomorrow’s deadline…

The Nuggets and Knicks have discussed a multi-player deal with Randolph, but it’s not expected to happen. Nuggets GM Mark Warkentien drafted Randolph in 2001 (19th overall) when he ran Portland’s scouting department. Linas Kleiza is an up-and-coming young big man the Knicks have interest in, but Randolph’s stock is not high enough to land him. The Nuggets believe Randolph would take away too many shots from Allen Iverson and Carmelo Anthony.

Answering Thomas B.’s Questions

Thomas B. Said:
Maybe you and I are not looking at the same stats when it comes to Denver’s defense.

Denver gives up 104 per game, that is good for 25th place in the NBA, that means only 5 teams give up more points. They only score 2.4 more points than their opponents, which is good for 10th place in the NBA.

Three teams score more points per game than Denver and none of those teams allow as many points as Denver….

Mike K. (KnickerBlogger) Said:

By points per possession allowed, Denver is 6th….

Thomas B. Said:
So does that mean Denver is actually a good defensive team? What would happen to the Knicks if they played at Denver’s pace? Would they give up 110 per because they now give the other team more chances to score?

1. So does that mean Denver is actually a good defensive team?

Up to this point, the Nuggets have allowed an average of 105.2 points for every 100 possessions. So yes, Denver is a good defensive team despite allowing the 6th most points per game in the league. I don’t want to get into the specifics, because I think A Layman’s Guide to Advanced NBA Statistics does a good job at it. I’ll just say, a team’s pace can affect the amount of points scored or allowed per game, so points per game isn’t a good measure of a team’s quality.

2. What would happen to the Knicks if they played at Denver’s pace?

Most likely Eddy Curry would have a heart attack and Zach Randolph would stop running back on defense altogether.

3. Would they give up 110 per because they now give the other team more chances to score?

Up to this point in the season, the Knicks have allowed 112.5 points per 100 possessions, they’ve averaged 89.4 possessions per game, and they’ve allowed 100.4 pts/g. In other words, they’re the worst defensive teams in the league (30th), but since they play at a slightly slow pace they’re only the 20th worst team on defense. So what if they played at Denver’s pace?

The Nuggets average 97.9 possessions per game, the most in the league. By simple arithmetic the Knicks would allow an average of 110.1 points per game if they played at that pace (97.9*112.5/100). That mark would be 5 points per game worse than the Nuggets are currently averaging now. It would easily be the worst in the league, more than the Warriors 107.1.

Colley Rankings 12/5/2008

Last year I unveiled OTTER, an objective team ranking system. It had two parts, a pre-season predictive team aspect and a in season aspect. Unfortunately I’ve decided to put part one on hold for now. I’d like to find a better way to predict performance from season to season.

However I’m still able to publish the second part which is team rankings based on the Colley Matrix. Dr. Colley invented this method of ranking teams by looking at only the results of games. That is each game is valued by strength of opponent. This ranking has a single advantage over other systems, in that it “sees” every single game played. I’ve modified Dr. Colley’s method slightly, accounting for home field advantage.

Team Rank SOS W L
Boston 0.886 8.9 14 2
Orlando 0.879 12.3 16 4
San Antonio 0.825 9.5 15 3
Phoenix 0.803 10.1 14 4
Detroit 0.731 9.4 12 5
Utah 0.729 10.8 13 6
Dallas 0.697 9.9 12 6
New Orleans 0.694 9.9 12 6
L.A. Lakers 0.655 11.1 10 8
Houston 0.635 11.7 9 9
Golden State 0.628 10.4 9 8
Cleveland 0.622 12.6 9 10
Denver 0.603 9.1 11 7
Toronto 0.599 10 10 8
New Jersey 0.575 10.5 9 9
Milwaukee 0.574 9.3 8 8
Washington 0.555 10 8 9
Indiana 0.535 10.7 9 10
Sacramento 0.519 10.4 7 10
Atlanta 0.483 9.7 7 10
Portland 0.476 11.5 6 12
L.A. Clippers 0.439 8.9 6 10
New York 0.438 9.9 5 11
Memphis 0.436 9.8 6 11
Charlotte 0.417 8.5 6 10
Philadelphia 0.397 10 5 12
Miami 0.392 11 4 13
Chicago 0.368 8.8 4 11
Seattle 0.295 10.9 3 15
Minnesota 0.262 9.7 2 14

As for the results: early on it looks like the East has caught up to the West. Not only has the rebuilt Celtics taken the top spot over the usual suspects in the West, but the Orlando Magic is right behind them. The results are a bit shocking, since Phoenix beat Orlando twice this year, but it seems that Orlando has faced one of the toughest schedules so far. The Suns are about league average with respect to their opponent strength. Additionally from this data it seems that the Cavs have been hurt by their schedule, while the Nuggets might have received a bit of an advantage.

Tonight’s 4 Factors (@ DEN, 11/17/07)

After each game this season, we’ll be taking a look at what the four factors have to say about the game– how the winner won and the loser lost. For an intro to the four factors, see A Layman’s Guide to Advanced NBA Statistics.

Knicks lose to Nuggets, 83 – 115

	Pace	Eff	eFG	FT/FG	OREB%	TOr
NYK	92.0	90.2	40.5%	17.9	34.0	18.5
DEN		125.0	55.1%	20.5	38.3	12.0

Another game, another discouraging loss. The Nuggets dominated on both ends of the court. The Knicks had another awful offensive performance, driven by horrific shooting and ball handling. It was the third consecutive game New York shot under 43% eFG. Meanwhile, Denver scored at will, and on the rare occasions when they did miss they simply crushed the Knicks on the offensive glass, despite being a below average offensive rebounding team coming into the game.

It’s early in the season, yes, but the Knicks are in trouble. It was expected that they would be bad on D. But aside from a flash in the pan in the season’s first few games, the offense has looked just about as bad as the D. It’s not that the offense hasn’t been living up to expectations, but rather it’s been genuinely bad, bottom-third of the league bad. If the Knicks can’t work out the offensive kinks, they’ll be bottom feeders on both ends of the court and knocked out of the playoff picture shockingly early.

4 factor stats were acquired using the ESPN4Factors script by Cherokee of the ABPRmetrics board. Firefox users can use this script (after installing the Greasemonkey extension) to see 4 factor stats automatically displayed in all NBA boxscores on espn.com.