Thursday, December 07, 2017

What We Can Learn by Using the Stat "Game Score" to Evaluate Players

There is a stat called "Game Score" that is designed to evaluate the overall production and efficiency of a player on a game-by-game basis, using their stats.

While the commentary to the above link indicates that 10 is a good "Game Score", my review of various games (and a review of the top 5 Game Scores posted every day on is that a starter who has a good (i.e. just above average) game generally has a Game Score of around 15.  In addition, my review of LeBron James' Finals history (posted elsewhere on this blog) indicates that a very good Game Score for a game is 22.5.  If you have a 22.5 Game Score, you are generally a top 5 performer in the NBA on a given night.  If you have a 30+ Game Score, you have had a great night.

You can achieve negative Game Scores (see my last blog entry) and you can achieve Game Scores over 60.  So, there is a wide range.

What does Game Score not capture?  Well, as you might expect, it does not capture any positive or negative play that cannot be statistically captured in a box score.  So, if you are a terrible individual or team defender, your Game Score will overrate you. If you are a great positional defender but don't get a lot of steals or blocks, your Game Score will underrate you. For example, if you look at a list with a lot of minutes played but poor Game Scores you'll get guys like Shane Battier, Raja Bell, Bruce Bowen, Charles Oakley, Joe Dumars, Derek Fisher. Defenders who didn't get a lot of steals or blocks. These are the sort of players likely to be underrated.

The guys who will be overrated?  Guys who are excellent offensive players but sieves defensively (particularly if they get a steal and a block a game).  So, Game Score is not a perfect statistic. 

BUT if you look at the list of guys with the most 15+ Game Scores (post 1982) you are going to see guys who rank very high on most all-time lists and who played a long time:

What Game Score will definitely tell you is the guys who played super hard every night and were productive every night. 

For example, the king of the Game Score is Michael Jordan.  if you look at Game Score greater than 22.5, Jordan has 567, LeBron 551, Karl Malone 524. 

But if you go to Game Score efforts of greater than a 30 Game Score, it gets even more heavily unbalanced in Jordan's favor.

10th Place - Magic 85 games
9th Bird 108
8th Kobe 112
7th David Robinson 114
6th Shaq 124
5th Hakeem 130
4th Karl Malone 139
3rd Barkley 142
2nd LeBron 151

#1?  Michael Jordan -- 257  !!!!!!!!!!!!!!  So, if you took LeBron and Bird combined, they'd have 2 more great regular season games than Jordan.

Similarly, in the playoffs, Game Score over 30 is again owned by Jordan

Duncan 14 games
Kobe 15
Wade 17
Bird 18
Barkley 19
Magic 20
Hakeem 22
Shaq 25
LeBron 32
Jordan 48.     So add LeBron with Kobe and you still have one less great game than Michael.

It should be noted, however, that if you set the bar at 22.5 Game Score, LeBron becomes the playoff king

Dirk 51 games
Karl Malone 51
Bird 57
Duncan 59
Kobe  62
Hakeem 68
Magic 72
Shaq 80
Jordan 105
LeBron 113.

One thing we learn from Game Score reviews, LeBron James has played at a high level for a long, long time.  His consistency as a great player will almost certainly place him #1 on the all-time Game Score >15 and Game Score > 22.5 lists for both regular season and playoff and NBA Finals.

Jordan, on the other hand, simply played at a level so high that no one else, even LeBron, challenged him for either great individual games or for most season games with a great Game Score (30+).

Look, for example, at Jordan's dominance here:  and here:

Jordan also had a season where he had 80!!! games with a Game Score of at least 15.  if you watched Jordan and wondered whether he was going to have a bad game..........he wasn't.

So, if you take this list and you ask for the top 60 most consistent seasons of very good play every night, what you see out of those 60 seasons, is that Jordan absolutely dominates the list, but dig a little deeper and you see:

of the top 60 seasons, 11 guys have one super season full of consistently great games (Ewing, Dantley, KG, Curry, Davis, TMac, AI, Love, CP3, Wade, Westbrook).

3 guys have 2 such seasons (Magic, Kobe, Durant)

3 guys have 3 of the top 60 seasons (Barkley, Hakeem, Harden)

3 Guys have 4 such seasons (Shaq, Bird, David Robinson)

1 Guy has 5 (Karl Malone)

James has 8
Jordan has 9.

And what all of these Game Score lists tend to show us is that since 1983-84, Jordan has been the best player, then there is a gap to LeBron, then there is a pretty big gap to anyone else (Barkley, Karl Malone, Shaq, Hakeem).

This "Jordan Gap LeBron Gap" becomes less pronounced when you look at the NBA Finals - and  Jordan and James become virtually tied and Shaq and Magic burst way up and become in the conversation as well.

When you use Game Score to evaluate a player, it is pretty safe to say that the best players generally put up great Game Scores.  The two guys probably hurt the worst by the stat are Duncan and KG and the two guys probably helped the most by the stat are Nique and Iverson. 

Guys definitely on a run in the past few years?  Durant, Westbrook, Harden, Anthony Davis   .  and the old man, LeBron James.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

The 10 Worst Single-Game Statistical Efforts in the Past 35 NBA Seasons

I was watching Kris Dunn's 1-11 stat line last night and thinking "God, Kris Dunn isn't very good." But then I recalled that Kris Dunn's Game Score of Negative 2.2 was FAR better than a number of Game Scores I have seen when reviewing games. 

So, I asked myself, based upon our database from our friends at, what are the 10 worst Game Scores achieved since those folks compiled the records (starting in 1983-84).

Well, here you go:

The key cutoff mark is a Game Score of Negative 9.1.  If you are better than that - too good to be on this list.  Some key events here --

1) Only 3 of these 10 guys made a shot from the floor. 

2) No one on the list made (or even attempted) a free throw.

3) In the 10 games at issue, these guys committed 51 turnovers.  The BEST performance on the list for turnovers was D.J. Augustin who managed to commit 4 turnovers but played 32 minutes.

The worst?  Delaney Rudd turned the ball over 6 times in 9 minutes.

4) Foul trouble - a lot.  Hollis Thompson, Delaney Rudd and Darius Miles played 50 combined minutes and fouled 16 times.

5) 3 players (Rudd, Nash Augustin) failed to get a rebound.  Thurl Bailey did get 8 rebounds to lead this group   But that solid work was overcome by his 5 turnovers and 2 for 20 shooting.

6) D.J. Augustin gets the "best" Game Score of Negative 9.1 despite virtually no production in 32 minutes (0 of 8, no FT, 0 rebounds, 1 assist).

7) David Wesley has the all-time worst Game Score due to his 0 for 13, 1 rebound, 1 assist, 4 TO and 4 fouls performance. 

8) There are guys on the list who had all-star appearances -- Steve Nash and Tom Gugliotta,
Nash was 37 years old and Gugs was 22 when their terrible games occurred.  As you will see below, Gugs also had another terrible game that almost made the list.  When Gugs was bad to start a game, he never got better during that game.  You were better off sitting him.

9) The 20 year old Larry Hughes makes an appearance - he goes 0-6 with 6 turnovers in only 12 MP.

10) David Wesley's Negative 11.7 Game Score is the worst in 35 years, but his 0 of 13 shooting effort only reaches a tie for 5th worst in the past 35 years.

0 of 13 - Wesley, Gugs (in a different game!), Maxwell, Leavell, Stanley Johnson, Vince Carter, Gerald Wilkins, Russell Westbrook, Derrick Favors, Metta World Peace

0 for 14 - Dino Radja, Junior Bridgeman - both had some slight amounts of production in other areas to avoid the "10 worst Game Score" list.

0 for 15 - Rodney McCray - (Game Score helped by 8 boards and 8 assists)

0 for 17 -- Tim Hardaway, Sr. (in a win versus the Timberwolves, where he also had 13 assists) -- Game Score only Negative 3.2

Remarkably, in David Wesley's terrible performance, his team held the opponent to 78 points and actually won by 2 points and Wesley's "plus-minus" was a +2!!!  By contrast, in Nash's loss,. he was a negative 22.

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Can We Please Stop Saying Dwight Howard Doesn't Belong In the Hall of Fame! Dwight Howard Belongs in the Hall of Fame

The Timberwolves recently played the Charlotte Hornets, and the Timberwolves' announcer asked a poll on Twitter - is Dwight Howard a Hall of Famer?  The results were roughly 50-50%.  This, folks, is insane.

Let me state, quite simply, that Dwight Howard (unless he kills someone or engages in Harvey Weinstein type behavior) will be in the basketball Hall of Fame.  He is easily in, and it is not close.

There are guys in the Basketball Hall of Fame who have never been 1st team all-NBA.  Dwight Howard has been first-team all-NBA 5 times; He has been on the all-NBA team 8 times. 

Guys who haven't been 5x First-team all-NBA:

Dirk, Russell, Havlicek, Stockton, David Robinson, Kevin Garnett.  These are some of the 30 greatest players of all-time, and they don't have the First Team All-NBA cred of Howard.

Guys who were great, great NBA players who certainly deserve to be in the HOF --

Elvin Hayes
Bob Lanier
Kevin McHale
Bob McAdoo
Willis Reed
Dave Cowens

None of these guys have anywhere near the level of all-NBA selections that Dwght Howard has.

Now, let's say that the argument is that Dwight Howard was playing against no one - he basically was the best of a bad lot of centers.  Well, then let's examine his worth versus actual Hall of Famer Yao Ming.  Howard defeated Yao for first-team honors in 2008 and 2009. 

Continuing on -- Howard was 3rd team all-NBA as a Laker, and 2nd-team all-NBA as a Rocket! 

For raw stats - there are 13 guys in the history of the NBA who have over 16,000 points and over 12,000 rebounds.  They are all in the Hall of Fame or will be in the Hall of Fame. 

Dwight Howard was the Defensive Player of the Year three times.  Three times!  Best defensive player in the NBA at ANY position 3 years.  First-team all-defense 4 times.  His 99 career Defensive Rating places him in the top 10 of players who have played since 1984.
On defensive presence alone, Howard is in the HOF.  And he certainly has been a FAR better offensive player than guys such as Dikembe Mutombo or Alonzo Mourning or Dennis Rodman, all of whom are in the HOF.

With about 2,800 more career rebounds, Dwight Howard will end up in the top 8 all-time in rebounding.  He currently has the 4th best Rebound Percentage in NBA history.

He will end up in the top 35 in Win Shares and the top 65 in VORP.  He finished in the top 7 in MVP balloting 5 times, top 5 4 times, and he finished 2nd in 2010-11.  Guys with fewer MVP Award Shares than Dwight Howard (all with stars are Hall of Famers): 

Billy Cunningham* 1.081
39.Spencer Haywood* 1.079
40.Willis Reed* 1.048
41.Doug Moe 1.006
42.Derrick Rose 0.981
43.Kawhi Leonard 0.980
44.Alonzo Mourning* 0.968
45.Jason Kidd 0.933
46.Artis Gilmore* 0.918
47.George Gervin* 0.905
48.Bob Cousy* 0.872
49.Tracy McGrady* 0.855
50.Dominique Wilkins* 0.845
51.Gary Payton* 0.823
52.Dwyane Wade 0.793
53.Clyde Drexler* 0.778
54.Zelmo Beaty* 0.767
55.Dolph Schayes* 0.730
56.Scottie Pippen* 0.716
57.Sidney Moncrief 0.695
58.Wes Unseld* 0.655
59.Bernard King* 0.625
60.Jimmy Jones 0.608
61.Chris Webber 0.588
62.Charlie Scott 0.582
63.Dan Issel* 0.576
64.Elvin Hayes* 0.572
65.Grant Hill 0.529
66.Bob Lanier* 0.527
67.Bill Walton* 0.522 places his "Hall of Fame Probability" at 99.2%.  This certainly makes sense when you consider that Chris Webber (see above) was a Hall of Fame finalist LAST YEAR and his stats are nowhere near Dwight Howard in any way, shape or form. 

Webber - 85 WS, 17,000 points, 8,000 rebounds, 1,200 blocks, 1X 1st-team all-NBA, 5X overall
Howard - 121 WS, 16,000 points, 12,000 rebounds, 1,900 blocks, 5x and 8x

The only real arguments against Howard are that he came in at the end of Shaq and before the recent wave of great centers, so he wasn't actually THAT good, he was just good by comparison.  He also isn't a great offensive player, so if you look at A-TO and stats that are more offense-oriented, he isn't that great either.  If we are going to go that route, then we really need to figure out what great defenders and rebounders get in (Rodman, Mutombo, Mourning) and which get left out (Howard apparently).

The true reason many people hate Howard is that he left Orlando (where, by the by, he led them to an EC championship) and went to L.A. (who people hate).  In a rare 1-2 punch of hatred, the Lakers fans ALSO hate him because they thought he'd bring a 6th title to Kobe and instead Kobe hated him so much that he regularly called him soft.  Then Harden hated/blamed him for Houston's playoff failure.  Now he is dumped into Charlotte.

While Howard can certainly be blamed for never developing a great set of offensive moves, he did have 5 season where he scored over 18 ppg and his career FG% is over 58% (8 years with FG% over 59%).

Anyway -- haters gonna hate, but there is no objective argument for saying Dwight Howard is not a Hall of Fame player.  He is.  And I believe he should be a first ballot guy as well.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Being 25 and Optimistic Versus Being 53 -- Learning How the World Works

When I was 25, I got my first lawyer job.  I was a very smart kid, and I believed that the world was run by intelligent people who would see my skill set, accept my various quirks, needs and limitations, and I would take the world by storm.  I was as bad as any stereotypical Millennial you read about today. 

I was disabused of all of my notions of how the world worked pretty quickly.

Here were a few of the things I learned during the five years I worked for my first law firm 1989-1994:

1) People pay a LOT of attention to how you dress and present yourself.  I was voted "worst dressed" in my law school graduating class.  I was always told growing up that it made no difference how you looked, it was your merit - your intelligence, your wit.  This is and was false.  Whenever I dressed poorly, it was commented upon by my superiors.  Few people enjoy your wit.

2) It really mattered A LOT who you knew.  I gravitated toward very intelligent attorneys who I was very impressed with -- they were very good at their jobs.  We won virtually every case we ever had.  I was told about 2 years in, "Why do you work for those guys?  You need to work for the business getters.  You will never succeed here working for those guys." 

2B) Similarly, if your dad was wealthy or if you knew a lot of young wealthy people, you were heavily valued as a young attorney.  If you were, say, the son of a guidance counselor from out of state?  Not so much.

3) Sure, we want you to do efficient work, but, ya know, just sort of efficient work.  When I got moved to doing banking work a couple years in, "You are a good attorney, you will get your own cases start to finish, they have a lot of work" I learned that the banking department has a shitload of cases, and damn easy cases.  Folks had borrowed money and never paid it back - pretty easy to win those cases.  But there were PILES of them. 

I developed a method of getting cases filed and getting discovery out, etc.  I could process 4 complaints in the time my fellow associate could do 1.  So I would work 9-6 and bill 6.5 hours and crank out an ungodly amount of work. My fellow associate?  She would work 7-7 and bill 9.5 hours and do....almost nothing compared to me.  Time for evaluations:  "You aren't making your hours."  Uh, I do 4 times the work that....."You aren't making your hours."  Do you want me to work 10-12 hours a day and do 25% of the work I do now?  "Well, we want you to work more AND do the same level of work."  But she makes the same amount of mon....."She brings in 20-25% more money for the firm."  By billing the shit out of the client.  "Not our concern - get your hours up."  So it is better to do a little bit of shitty work than a load of really good work?  "not shitty - average."

Lesson - we run a business here.  The fact that you are 400% better than your co-worker does not matter one fuck to us.  Bring us more money!

Let's stop here one minute, because this is the part that inspired this item.  Jemele Hill just got suspended from ESPN for saying that people should boycott the Dallas Cowboys.  Much like my old law firm SHOULD have cared about how much work I did and the quality, ESPN SHOULD care about allowing its employees to express their points of view - to report on what the Cowboys are doing (demanding the players stand for the anthem or get benched) and to express whether that is good or bad.  I mean, ESPN is a news organization, right?  It should care?  Much like my old law firm, the fact of the matter is, ESPN is a business.  ESPN management is jerking off the NFL so hard that ESPN management must be getting carpal tunnel syndrome.  An employee who comes out and suggests boycotting an NFL team?  You may as well go into the boss's office and suggest that he take $2M of his salary and distribute it to you and your family.  You just cannot do it.  You cannot call for the boycott of your employer's best customer.  Not in any way, shape or form.  Do I think Jerry Jones is right and Jemele Hill is wrong?  No.  I think the opposite.  But I am 53 years old - I am no longer na├»ve regarding how the world actually works.

4) Oh!  New story - when I was 27 the partners at the law firm gave a big presentation in late October 1991 to the associates about how "year end money" worked and was distributed.  They constantly talked about how money was placed in the associate bonus pool and how we would get paid out of the associate bonus pool.  I asked, "Well, how much money is in the associate bonus pool right now?"  None.  "None?  Well how is it a pool?"  We just call it that.  "But, no money - it is just a concept?"  Well, we don't escrow for that if that is what you mean.  "So, 100% of the pool is 100% discretionary?"  Correct.  If you want to talk about that later, come see me.

I received a visit from my Department Chair.-- "What the heck is wrong with you?"  What?  "I just got a call saying you made a fool of yourself at the associate meeting."  Uh....."Did you ask about whether there was a pool of money?"  Yes, they call it a pool and there is no pool.  "Do you want to keep your job?"  Um, yeah.  "Stop asking stupid fucking questions."  O.....K.......

5) Some other things I learned from my Department Chair when I was a 3-5 year attorney:

-- If you are not making your billable hours, you need to stay every night "until every piece of work is off your desk.  If every piece of work is off your desk, you can go home. Then in the morning you walk around to every possible attorney and ask for more work."

-- Taking paternity leave for my first child (which was offered by the firm - it is right in the handbook) was quote "a terrible idea....I mean, why would you do that?  Do you realize what message that sends to the partners here?  It says you do not give a damn about your job or the firm.  I'd really ask that you reconsider that idea."  I decided to work 3 days a week for 3 weeks instead of really taking an actual leave. "That is still a really, really bad idea.  It will cost you."

-- "I'd really like to see you on nights and weekends."  But you aren't in here on...."Not me, per se, the FIRM needs to see you here on nights and weekends."  Why?  "Shows you care. We just really get the feeling you do not care about the firm."  (There was one young associate who came in at 7AM every Saturday to read the newspaper - he'd make sure that when "his" partner got in that he had some document to "review" (even if he wasn't billing for it) so the partner saw him at work.  His job reviews?  Great "loves the firm, in early every Saturday.")

-- The term for people like me?  "Lack of fire in the belly."  I got my job review after year 3 -- (these are from like 4 different people I never did any work for) -- "Doesn't say hello to me in the hall.  Never seems interested in firm matters.  I doubt he can succeed in the long term because he lacks fire in the belly. Would like to see more nights and weekends.  Not gung ho - needs to be one for all and all for one."   Now, let me add that I worked for 3 people when I did banking law.  Three.  I never lost a case.  I probably foreclosed on $200 million worth of properties over a three-year period and I probably collected $40,000,000 of unsecured debt.  And I did 4 times the work of my fellow associate in about 75% of the time billed.  I was getting negative employee "performance" reviews based upon the perception (and also the fact) that I wasn't willing to lay down my life for the firm.

6)  Your Supervisors and Their Bosses Don't Know, and/or They Really Do NOT Care -- After my fifth year as a lawyer (again, never lost a case, outperformed my cohort by miles) I was up for the coveted Senior Associate position - then it was deemed a pathway to partnership.  Now, look, they loved the fact that as a 3-4-5 year attorney I could run a case from beginning to end and win it.  They loved knowing they'd never have to do any work or show up in court.  But they hated me.  I mean, I had a lot of friends at the firm, probably 10-20 attorneys included.  But I never kissed the asses of the powers that be.  I didn't make senior associate, and I was told that I really needed to improve my attitude and bill 2,000 hours and be at the firm 50-60 hours a week.  Then I MIGHT make it.

Now, one would think that the female partner for whom I did much of my (her) work would have known this evaluation well before I did.  She did not.  She asked for an emergency meeting with me and came into my office with the head of the entire section of the firm I was assigned to (so, like the 3rd in command) and said, "How could this happen?  Where is your improvement plan?  I think in 2-3 years we can fix all this."  She was clueless, but someone had said to her "your associate didn't make it".  So it reflected poorly upon HER. 

The Department Chair (see #5 above) was less hysterical.  He said, "well, I told you so."  He basically told me that perception was a bitch and he had the same perception.  "I wish I could tell you I disagreed, but I don't."  I laughed and said, "so..........?"  He said "It ain't ever going to get any better......."

He didn't care.  She didn't care.  One guy came to my office and said, "Geez, that is too bad.  I guess you just never got the necessary mentoring to be a good lawyer."   He didn't even care enough to know why I hadn't been given the advancement.  The short lesson is that if you are an employee, your job is to make money for the people above you.  If you don't make enough money, you better start trying to make more.  If you are unwilling to do so, you are deemed a liability.   It is the obligation of a business to limit liabilities.

7)  This Type of Person Is "Hard to Retain."  There are certain types of people that large companies want to retain - it varies by year and trend, but here are some examples I have seen -- a) women; b) minorities; c) young people; d) Millenials; e) corporate attorneys; f) patent attorneys; g) service employees without horrific tattoos.

The statements about these people is that they are "hard to retain" because they are, in some manner, unreasonable.  What the world has taught me is that these people are not unreasonable, but, rather, they simply have opportunities for work and changing work that others do not have (they are sought after and do not have to put up with a shitty environment). 

A final life lesson - when you take a job, you are agreeing to accept money in return for a piece of yourself.  You may have to dress better, act better, suck up some, laugh at bad jokes, whatever.  You may not WANT to do any of these things, but you accept the money in return for surrendering that part of yourself, surrendering your feelings about what is going on. 

People go to work every day and hate it.  That doesn't mean they do not do a good job (studies have indicated no direct correlation between job performance and job satisfaction -- there are many people who hate what they do but are good at it).  But never take a job and assume that you do not surrender something of yourself - you do.  Never take a job and assume you will always be happy - you won't. 

Never take a job and assume your bosses care about you - they generally do not.  We take jobs to make money.  If you do not like the conditions that come with making money, quit, or wait to be fired.

Finally - I have moved on and been an attorney for 28 years now.  I do fine.  I generally win my cases if there is any real chance at winning.  I still don't really enjoy what I do, but I am in a better atmosphere and generally people either like me or leave me alone.  I am nationally recognized as an excellent lawyer and speaker. 

And every day I go to work and sell a little of myself for enough money that my kids go to college and I am not in debt.   I have come to terms with that and the fact that I can never afford to keep health insurance unless I work until I am 67. That isn't a great thing to know/realize, but it is what I do - and I get up each day knowing that is the sacrifice I make.  That is just how the world works.

Friday, September 15, 2017

LeBron James Has Dominated the 21st Centrury Thus Far

If you look at playoff performance from the 2000-01 season through today, you get these stats:

James has 45.8 Playoff Win Shares.  One other player is within 30% of that figure -- Tim Duncan (32.9).  If you even say "who has HALF of LeBron's Playoff WS?" you get Duncan, Kobe and Dirk.

Well, LeBron has played a long time, so he has an advantage.  What if we go with WS/48 and give the young stars a chance?  Of guys who have logged 2,000 playoff minutes,  NO ONE comes within 10% of the playing level of LeBron.  And only three guys play at even 90% of his playoff level

Kawhi Leonard, Chris Paul, Stephen Curry. 

Guys who have not played at even 60% of LeBron's playoff level despite far fewer minutes?  Ray Allen, Steve Nash, Paul Pierce, Jason Kidd.

Don't care for Advanced Stats?

Minutes Played - LeBron
Baskets Made - LeBron (400+ more than 2nd place Duncan)
Rebounds - Duncan, then LeBron (+468 on 3rd place Ben Wallace)
Assists -- LeBron (+390 on 2nd place Jason Kidd)
Steals - LeBron (+104 on Ginobili)
Points -- LeBron (+1,316 on Kobe)

The reason that LeBron James is always compared to players of the past (Jordan, Kareem, Wilt) is that he simply has no fair comparison against players of his own era.  If you are an excellent player and have played in the 21st Century, it is your HOPE that you have been 80-85% of the player that LeBron James has been.  If so, you are an excellent player of the Century, you might be 20-45% less productive than LeBron James.

And he is STILL better than you (#ESPNRANK ranks James as the #1 NBA player again this year).

Look at playoff wins this century

1LeBron JamesF20062017144
2Tim DuncanF20012016138
3Tony ParkerG20022017136
4Derek FisherG20012014134
5Manu GinobiliG20032017134
6Kobe BryantG20012012108
7Dwyane WadeG20042017104

No one else has 100 playoff wins.  Only ONE of James' teammates (Wade for 4 years) has 100 wins, and he has 40 fewer than LeBron.  Duncan, Parker and Ginobili all played together.  Most of Fisher's and Kobe's wins came playing together.   LeBron carried guys for several years in Cleveland - who never again did anything, then he carried Wade for 4 years in Miami - who has never since done anything, and now he has carried guys in Cleveland (Kyrie, Love, Delly, Tristan) who have never done anything in (or even reached) the playoffs without him.

Is it conceivable that Kawhi Leonard or Kevin Durant could go on a 6-9 year tear and surpass LeBron?  Possible,  But neither has even 20 WS.  LeBron is likely to end with around 50-60 WS and a WS/48 around .22-.24.  That means Kawho and Durant would need to have around 9seasons of 4+ WS at a rate of .300 WS/48 to match LeBron.

There has only been ONE such playoff season in the past 17 years - by LeBron.
If you assume that you could play 9 years and get 4 WS per playoff year and play at a rate of .241 WS/48 and eventually come CLOSE to the stats of a declining LeBron (not true, but assume that), since 2000-01 there have been 10 such seasons.  LeBron has 6 of them (Duncan, Manu, Howard, Dirk). 

The 21st Century has been dominated by LeBron James.  It is likely that the next guy who matches his production has not appeared in the NBA as of today.

Friday, September 01, 2017

A Goodbye to Mrs. P - Sort of Another Old Story

When I was 18, I went to college and became roommates with the #1 engineering student at my college.  We lived together for 4 years before i moved away and went to Duke and then to Minneapolis.   We were very good friends.  We were in each other's weddings. We even saw each other 2 years ago (which, given what a terrible friend I generally am, is an indicator of what good friends we were).  

Anyway - my roommate lived in the Albany area and he always told me "anytime you want, come out and visit and we can go to SPAC or the track."   SPAC was the Saratoga Performing Arts Center and "the track" was Saratoga, as in "I hear you went up to Saratoga, and your horse naturally won" and The Whitney.   So from 1983 to probably 1988 or 1989 I used to go out to the Albany area 1-2 times a year and go drinking and go to the track.  

From my house to Albany was around 5 hours and I'd drive it in my Mercury Lynx and later VW Rabbit.  One time I drove from Durham to Albany at 80 mph through a driving rain, only to get my driver's side door caved in in a car accident at 9pm only 3 miles from my destination - dry road, no rain, 30 mph speed zone when the accident occurred. 

I loved going to Saratoga, even though I never had any luck with the local girls in the bars/dance clubs I was lucky enough to at least avoid arrest when throwing up or urinating in alleys, as sometimes occurred.  The track was more my speed.  We'd go to the nearest liquor warehouse and buy whatever was the cheapest beer they had that we could stand.  Then we'd take giant coolers and go out to the infield and drink.  My roomie would bring his long-time gf and I'd always go solo.  But the gf was a nice girl so she'd always be cool to hang with (she became my roomie's wife and still is)

SPAC was our other hangout and we (and seemingly everyone else) would go drink in the park before the concerts (journey, foreigner, fabulous thunderbirds, talking heads, Bryan Adams, etc).   Then we always sat on the hill and watched while we sobered up. Then we'd go home. One SPAC concert my roomie's wife saw a friend she knew named Donna and asked her to come over and drink with us. At the time, I was probably around 200 pounds, pretty powerfully built.   These words would also describe Donna, who played college rugby. About 4 Pabst Blue Ribbon 16 ouncers into our drinking, Donna whispers to me "I will drive you back to their house after the concert -- but we won't go STRAIGHT home, if you catch my drift".  I did and I immediately panicked.  Fortunately, some begging with my roomie's gf got her to make Donna back off. I am not sure I could have outfought her otherwise.  In hindsight, I'd give myself a 30% chance. 

Anyway - these 6-7 years worth of trips were a great time in my life and my roomie's house was like a second home for me.  I'd drive the 5 hours out.  I always ate on the way, but the second I reached my Albany destination, my roomie's mom would say "come in, sit down, I will make you a sandwich".  I'd reply that I had already eaten. "Come on, sit at the table, I will get you a beer ". She'd always make me a sandwich with about 6-8 potato chips (she always had Store brand ruffled) on a small plate. She'd open a beer for me and we'd sit and chat.   Mrs P was the nicest lady in the world. She'd talk to me about mom things and "how is school" and "how are the folks" and she was just a great mom figure (like a much much much much nicer version of my actual mom).  

The other thing I remember about Mrs. P is she didn't care if we drank and got drunk and stumbled home at all hours. But she also showed no mercy when we were hungover. She used to say "you're gonna drink, you gotta pay the piper".   I bet I was hungover 12-15 times in her house - never an "oh that it too bad, Maven".  Not once. 

I learned today that Mrs. P just died.   She had been sick for a few months and just sort of went bad suddenly.  She was a great lady.  She treated me as a family member and I always considered her a family member. Sadly, I have not seen her in 25 years or more.  This fact makes me feel really shitty. But I have to hope that she knew how much I cared about her and how great I think she is, I guess "was."   There are not many people in your life who care that much about you. You always remember  the ones who do. 

Her daughter is a Facebook friend and messaged me to tell me Mrs. P had died and how. She said "my mom adored you and she always talked about how great it was when you visited".   Right back at you, Mrs.P.   While I am not a religious guy, I really hope there is heaven or a place like heaven, because I'd really like to see her again some day - have a beer and a sandwich and like 8 ruffled potato chips and just chat about things again.  Good bye and good luck, Mrs. P - you made my life much better.  

Friday, August 25, 2017

Who Was the Best During the Seasons They Were First Team All-NBA?

Thanks to a glitch in the system, I was able to look at the stats of NBA players for ONLY the season where they were 1st Team All-NBA. 
Here is the link --  Hopefully the glitch will not be fixed. 

One thing about evaluating players' careers is that most guys stay a little (or a lot) too long or start at age 18, so they just aren't very good for 2-4 years of their career.  That gets tossed into the evaluation mix.

With data that ONLY identifies how the guys played during the years they were (subjectively) evaluated as an all-NBA guy, you can evaluate 1) how many years was the guy truly great; 2) how was he performing as a player during those years; and 3) how does he compare to other all-time greats.

At 14,700 minutes as a 1st Team All-NBA player, Charles Barkley has the 20th most minutes at that level.  So I cut it off at Charles so we could get a top 20.

From 20 to 6 in MP as a First Team all-NBAer -- Barkley, Durant, Barry, Schayes, Olajuwon, O'Neal, Magic, Wilt, Cousy, Duncan, Bird, West, Petit, Baylor, Oscar 

Most Minutes Played as an All-NBA player
Karl Malone

Most Minutes Per Game While 1st Team All-NBA

Kareem and LeBron (tie)

Karl Malone



Karl Malone

karl Malone

Karl Malone

Effective FG%

True Sh%