Thursday, June 22, 2017

Pre-Draft Thoughts


While the trend to pick "one and done" guys and foreign players makes evaluation difficult, here are my thoughts on the 2017 NBA Draft before it ever happens.

Guys I Like

1) I think the most talented player in the draft is Josh Jackson of Kansas.  He reminds me a lot of Andrew Wiggins.  Big guard or small forward, freakish athlete, hard to stop when he is motivated.  His weaknesses are also the same as Wiggy - not a great shooter, doesn't always play hard. 


2) Jayson Tatum, Duke -- I think the Celtics should prefer Tatum over Jackson.  They already have freakish athlete Jaylen Brown.  Tatum just seems more like a Brad Stevens player in the mold of  guys Stevens likes to play.  Tatum's primary weaknesses are that he is an average shooter and average ballhandler.  What people do not realize about Tatum is that he is an incredible all-around player (plus defender, plus rebounder, plus shotblocker, great hands, very good passer).  

One rap on Tatum is that he is a poor isolation player who tries to play too much isolation.  True - but if you are a good NBA team with a good NBA coach, you will figure out that Tatum actually is an exceptional complimentary player to your true superstars. 

I think if he goes to Boston he will fit in great.  If he goes to Phoenix or Sacto, and they try to run stuff for him, that will be bad.

3) Markell Fultz - never seen play live, but his highlight packages remind me of Allan Houston, smooth shooter, can drive, 85% athlete.  I do not see Fultz as a superstar.  I think only Jackson has the athletic ability combined with size to be a superstar in the LeBron/Durant/Kobe mode.

4) Lonzo Ball -- you have to wonder what happened against Kentucky, but overall, the guy is a big PG and seems capable of running an offense right away.  Magic appears to like him, and Magic should know PGs. The name Jason Kidd comes up a lot.


5) Zach Collins -- if you watch his highlight and lowlight packages, two guys come to mind -- Karl-Anthony Towns and Christian Laettner.  He can do everything you need to be done on a basketball court.  His only physical limitation is strength, and one hopes that this is something he could gain with age. 

6) Dennis Smith, Jr. -- to be a star NBA player, you generally need a special athletic talent.  Dennis Smith has unbelievable athletic talent and has decent shooting form (doesn't always go in), so he is definitely worth a shot.  Feast or famine type guy -- will he try?  What is his level of effort? You cannot be a little guy AND lack effort in the NBA.

Guys I Do Not Like


7) Lauri Markkenen -- I just cannot get over his inability to guard Xavier's awful big man at the key moment of that game.  He is a 7" shooter, which is fine if your team is extremely good and plays at such a rapid pace that he can get wide open shots.  I don't see many teams fitting that bill.  if you want a stretch 4, Houston is trying to give away Ryan Anderson.

8) Jonathan Isaac -- I saw Florida State play several games this year.  When I watched, he never stood out as a player on his own team.  That is bad.  When you watched Jayson Tatum play for Duke, sometimes he was good, sometimes he was bad, but you always knew he was involved in the game and doing everything he could to win.  Isaac from a talent perspective reminds me of a taller Corey Brewer.  I am sure you could get the original version for cheap.

9) Frank Ntilikina -- one scouting report stated that "he is so raw offensively that it is impossible to evaluate him".  Um, OK.  His highlights tape is him playing good defense, his weaknesses tape is of him getting stripped of the ball while bringing it up the court and of him shooting numerous airballs.  I don't think a defense-first guard who cannot be trusted to bring the ball up should be a top 10 pick.

Duke Guys and Kentucky Guys


Look, I am not going to lie.  I have a genuine distaste for Kentucky guys and a love for most Duke guys, so I cannot be completely objective (I did review KAT's video highlights pre-draft and recommended he be picked over Okafor, so in extreme cases I can be fair).


Monk and Fox -- I think you need to give them each the benefit of the doubt.  Calipari's guys have generally over-performed as pros.  I mean, even one of the Harrisons saw rotation time.  If you are sitting there and you cannot pick one of my top 6 guys I like, picking a Kentucky guy is always a good idea.

Kennard and Harry Giles  --    Luke Kennard is an excellent basketball player.  For his size he is a plus-plus shooter and rebounder; he can finish with either hand; he will move his feet on defense and is pretty strong.  He is going to struggle some with lateral movement, and I do not see him as a steals+blocks guy.  He may never be a starter for a good team.  But I think he could provide bench scoring and get extremely hot in certain circumstances.  Top 17 pick,.

Harry Giles -- great hands, great rebounder, can jump straight up into the air a long way, might actually be 6'10" in bare feet, very good FT shooter, has some limited post moves.

The HUGE question with Harry Giles is whether he can move laterally at all.  At Duke his out on the floor defense and interior defense were both virtually impossible to watch.  Can he stay on the floor against bench players and do enough to contribute?  I don't know.

If by some MIRACLE his knees get 100% better, there is so much potential there - you can see why he was the #1 overall talent in HS. 


VERY low #1; 23 or lower.


Tuesday, June 13, 2017

What NBA Player Has Had the Most "Good Games" and "Great Games" Since 1983-84?

If you assume that a "Game Score" of 15 is good, 22.5 is really good and 30 and better is great, here are your guys with the most of these games in either the regular season or the playoffs since 1983-84 (when basketball-reference.com's database starts).


Some observations:  1) if you assume Magic and Bird were denied about 4 seasons each by the database cutoff, and give them their averages per season, they still don't rank top 5 in any category (except Bird in 30+ games); 2) Michael and LeBron are clearly the two best guys; 3) Game Score stat appears to favor offensive players and disfavor players such as Duncan and Garnett; 4) 7 guys in the top 10 on all 3 lists - Karl Malone, James, Jordan, Kobe, Shaq, Hakeem, Barkley.  5) surprising entries -- Nique????  not only present, but goes 16/14/15th place;  Kevin Johnson!  Chris Mullin!


I have always said that the belief that Steph Curry is substantially better than James Harden or Russell Westbrook (or has had a significantly better career) is not justified.  They are all very similar in my eyes.  Look at the "very good games" list - virtually identical.  On the "excellent games" list, Harden and Curry are almost identical while Westbrook trails slightly behind.  One would certainly be surprised that ESPN had Harden ranked in the 80s and Steph around 20.



* = Hall of Famer


Game Score 15 and above ("Good" Games):


PlayerPosFromToCount
1Karl Malone*F198620041190
2LeBron JamesF200420171045
3Michael Jordan*G198520031031
4Kobe BryantG19972016955
5Tim DuncanF19982016953
6Shaquille O'Neal*C19932011947
7Hakeem Olajuwon*C19852002918
8Dirk NowitzkiF19992017883
9Kevin GarnettF19962013854
10Charles Barkley*F19852000846
11John Stockton*G19852003831
12David Robinson*C19902003718
13Clyde Drexler*G19841998712
14Paul PierceF19992016668
15Patrick Ewing*C19862002666
16Dominique Wilkins*F19841999655
17Dwyane WadeG20042017653
18Reggie Miller*G19882005641
19Chris PaulG20062017635
20Kevin DurantF20082017631






21Magic Johnson*G19841996631 -- also played pre-1983
22Pau GasolF20022017621
23Gary Payton*G19912007617
24Allen Iverson*G19972010614
25Scottie Pippen*F19882004607
26Jason KiddG19952013601
27Carmelo AnthonyF20042017591
28Ray AllenG19972014570
29Steve NashG19972013558
30Larry Bird*F19841992542    -- also played pre-1983










Game Score over 22.5 -- "Very Good Games"


1 Michael Jordan*  672
2 LeBron James  648
3 Karl Malone*  575
4 Shaquille O'Neal*  491
5 Hakeem Olajuwon*  484
6 Kobe Bryant  464
7 Charles Barkley*  456
8 David Robinson*  382
9 Dirk Nowitzki  367
10 Kevin Durant 330
11 Tim Duncan  328
12 Magic Johnson*  327  -- also played pre-1983
13 Larry Bird*     323 -- also played pre-1983
14 Dominique Wilkins 313
15 Clyde Drexler*  312
16 Kevin Garnett  311
17 Allen Iverson* 305
18 Dwyane Wade  301
19 John Stockton* 291
20 Chris Paul  284
21 Patrick Ewing* 279
22 Paul Pierce  230
23 Carmelo Anthony  228
24 Tracy McGrady 219
25 Russell Westbrook  219
26 Stephen Curry  216
27 James Harden  216
28 Kevin Johnson  207
29 Vince Carter  202
30 Gary Payton*  200








Game Score over 30 -- "Excellent" Games


1 Michael Jordan*  305
2 LeBron James  186
3 Charles Barkley*  161
4 Hakeem Olajuwon* 152
5 Shaquille O'Neal*  149
6 Karl Malone*  148
7 Kobe Bryant  127
8 Larry Bird*  119  - also played pre-1983
9 David Robinson*  119
10 Magic Johnson*  99 - also played pre-1983
11 Dwyane Wade  94
12 Allen Iverson*  92
13 Clyde Drexler* 88
14 Kevin Durant  85
15 Dominique Wilkins* 81
16 Patrick Ewing* 77
17 James Harden  77
18 Stephen Curry  75
19 Chris Paul   69
20 Dirk Nowitzki  67
21 Tracy McGrady* 64
22 Russell Westbrook 62
23 Tim Duncan  61
24 Vince Carter 57
25 Kevin Garnett  56
26 Kevin Johnson 50
27 John Stockton* 50
28 Paul Pierce  46
29 Chris Mullin*  44
30 Carmelo Anthony 43 

Thursday, June 01, 2017

Key "Game Score" For LeBron in the Finals -- Must Reach 22.5

www.basketball-reference.com has a stat called "Game Score" which generally indicates how much production a player has had in a particular game.  You include all of the player's statistics for the game, and they are then converted into one stat -- Game Score.


A decent player having an OK game should have a Game Score of 10.


15 is a pretty good night.


20 is very good


25 and above is excellent


Anything above 30 is noteworthy.  You can get game Scores way up in the 40s, 50s and even 60+ (3 guys - Jordan, Kobe, Karl Malone).




OK, so to evaluate what level of play is necessary for a LeBron James-led team to win a Finals game, I used the site's sorting mechanism and came up with some amazing information:


Game Score under 10 -- LeBron 0-3 in the Finals


Game Score 10-20 -- LeBron 2-10 (.167 winning percentage)


Game Score 20-22.4 -- LeBron 2 and 8  (.200 winning percentage).


Let's stop there.  It makes virtually no difference whether LeBron has a 10 or a 22.4 Game Score.  His team will not win those games except in the rarest of instances.




Game Score 22.5-25 -- 3-1 (.750)


Game Score 25-30 -- 6-1 (..857)


Game Score 30 and above -- 4-1 (.800)




This is really remarkable.  LeBron has won 17 Finals games.  13 of those where his Game Score is over 22.5.   Only 4 with his Game Score below that figure.


So - there is your cutoff.  Go to basketball-reference's front page tomorrow and it will have the 5 best Game Score's posted.  If LeBron is below 22.5, he almost certainly lost.  Above 22.5, he almost certainly won. 


According to this Site, a Game Score of 22.5 is basically 27 points, 7 rebounds, 7 assists, 1 steal, 1 block, shooting 50% and 3 turnovers.  So that is your cutoff.  Better - LeBron almost always wins, Worse - he almost always loses.





Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Whose Butt?? European City Edition

Look, this is an easy one.  I am giving you the face also.  Clue - she used to date an allegedly reformed sex addict.




Wednesday, May 24, 2017

LeBron James' Dominance In Playoff Win Shares

If you review the list below, you can see exactly how dominant LeBron James has become as an all-time playoff performer.  Currently, there is no one who has achieved 90% of his playoff WS.  (Jordan 89.47%).


Guys who have achieved 80% of his WS -- Jordan, Duncan, Kareem


70% -- add Magic and Wilt.


60% -- down to Jerry West


50% -- down to #16.








1.
LeBron James 44.44
2.Michael Jordan* 39.76
3.Tim Duncan 37.84
4.Kareem Abdul-Jabbar* 35.56
5.Magic Johnson* 32.63
6.Wilt Chamberlain* 31.46
7.Shaquille O'Neal* 31.08
8.Kobe Bryant 28.26
9.Bill Russell* 27.76
10.Julius Erving* 26.89
11.Jerry West* 26.75
12.Larry Bird* 24.83
13.Scottie Pippen* 23.58
14.Dirk Nowitzki 23.13
15.Karl Malone* 22.99
16.Hakeem Olajuwon* 22.60
17.Dwyane Wade 21.54
18.John Stockton* 21.35
19.Kevin McHale* 20.67
20.Manu Ginobili 20.60

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Honor Student Banned from Graduation for Wearing Shirt

http://www.onenewspage.com/video/20170523/7582945/Honors-Student-Banned-From-Graduation-for-Wearing-This.htm


There is no doubt that part of what is occurring here is the current belief of people in positions of authority that they can never be questioned for anything they do.  This has become a common problem with school administrators, teachers, professors, and - in keeping with this Blog's typical content - referees/umpires.


When I was growing up and in school (1970-82) and when I used to play organized ball (1973-82) the people who were in charge would generally listen to you and try not to overreact.  Then came "zero tolerance" in schools and the teaching of officials/referees/umpires that you have to maintain absolute control at any cost -- just start handing out technical fouls and threatening to toss guys.  Don't improve your skills as an official, just assert absolute authority to be as shitty at your job as you want to be!


If you review the annual survey of players in the NBA, the two things that are consistent on rating officials are this -- 1) the best officials will engage with players and coaches and concede that it is possible that they did something incorrect; 2) the worst officials will never engage and will, instead, just hand out a ton of techs.  http://bballhaven.com/survey-danny-crawford-scott-foster-voted-best-and-worst-nba-ref/


When my daughter got in a dispute with school officials in 2012, I called the guidance counselor, who was my stated person to contact.  He gave me the "Well, I cannot do anything, we have a rule...." speech.  I replied "You know, my dad was a guidance counselor, and he viewed his job as being the advocate FOR students.  And I know my dad would advocate FOR his student here and not simply throw up his hands and do nothing.  But I guess we don't care about students anymore."  The guidance counselor told me there was nothing he could do, and said, "I guess you'd have to call the principal."  Which One?  "Ms. ___________"   So I called Ms. __________.  Her secretary literally would not allow me to talk to her or set up an appointment to do so!  "That is a set policy, she won't be able to change that."  Well, can I speak with her?  "No."  Set up a time to speak?  "No."  My tax dollars at work!  The guidance counselor called me the next day and apologized for saying that I should talk to the principal.  "I should have never said that."  I told him he had done nothing wrong and it sucked that the school had made him fall on his sword.


In any event, my daughter's problem was solved when it turned out that the whole thing had been an error anyway, so she got what she wanted. 


Now, let me add this - my calls made the guidance counselor feel so guilty that he went to the School Board and worked to change the thing my daughter had complained about and......succeeded!!  So - note to Ms. _________ -- fuck you!  I won.


Anyway, Ms. Summer Bond's errors here:  1) she is far more attractive than the female principal; 2) despite being far more attractive, she failed to kowtow to  the female principal's every whim; 3) just go put on the fucking other shirt - you know you are dealing with a psychopath dictator, should you have to comply?  No.  But is the psycho ever going to be reasonable?  Nope.  Just go put on a new shirt so the psycho isn't so upset that boys are looking at your goodies while considering her as an old dried-up hag.


HM

Friday, May 19, 2017

My Notes on the 2017 All-NBA Team

Voting summary (5 points for a first-team vote, 3 for 2nd-team, 1 for 3rd, 100 voters):


First Team All-NBA 2017


1. Harden received 100 first place votes, 0 second, 0 third, unanimous selection for The Beard.  Justifiable and well deserved,

2.  LeBron James 99-1-0 -- his 11th first team all-NBA selection, tying Kobe and Karl Malone for the most ever and surpassing numerous guys (including Michael Jordan) who had 10 first-team all-NBA selections.  His 13 first or 2nd team honors is also tied for the most all-time.

He probably deserves the one "didn't vote for him" finger poke in the eye b/c he took many games off and the Cavs were only 2nd best record in the East.  The first-team vote went to either Durant (who had 3) or Draymond Green (who had 2 at forward and 2 at center).

3.  Russell Westbrook -- 99-1-0 -- the other vote went to Curry -- I also cannot get too upset about that given Russ's ridiculous Usage Rate (an all-time high) and huge number of turnovers (#2 all-time to.....Harden!).  if you'd like your players to be less ball hoggy and let their teammates play, you may want to vote for Curry instead.

4.  Kawhi Leonard -- 96-3-1 -- Three votes went in some combination to Durant and Draymond.  Someone felt there were FOUR forwards who had a better year.

The feeling of Kawhi haters is he is a "system" player and the Spurs went 8-1 w/o him, so how good is he, really?   My general reply?  Some people are dicks.

5.  Anthony Davis -- 45-34-16.  Davis was left off 5 ballots completely and he only beat Rudy Gobert by 4 points (343-339).

Second Team All-NBA

6.  Rudy Gobert -- 43-38-10 -- the difference here was that, while Davis was left off 5 ballots, Gobert was left off 9 ballots.  5 more third-team votes would have given him the #1 spot.  Gobert is the #1 rim protector in the NBA, but basically a one-end player.  Interesting that the voters would rank him so highly and Karl-Anthony Towns (a mostly one-end player the other way) so lowly.  Given Gordon Hayward's pitiful showing, voters appeared to give Gobert virtually 100% credit for Utah's surge this year.

7.  Steph Curry -- 1-93-6 -- the only Second-team player to be on all 100 ballots.

8.  Antetokounmpo -- 0-81-15  -- this is far too high for the Greek Freak.  Media loves him more than the current state of his game justifies.  Left off only 4 ballots (Anthony Davis was left off 5)!

9.  Kevin Durant -- 3-66-26 -- was having a first-team all-NBA season before he missed 19 games.  Would have been interesting to see if he would have displaced Kawhi or LeBron,

10.  Isaiah Thomas -- 0-71-23 -- had a great year; but let's be honest, he is probably the worst player on the list of 15 and has the least trade value.  Still a proper choice - you vote on what the guy produces, not on his intrinsic value.

Third Team All-NBA

11.  Draymond Green -- 4-21-51  -- Draymond received two first-team votes for forward and two for center.  He should not get votes for center or at least after he doesn't win as a center his voters out to have to vote for a real center.  Does LeBron get votes for center?  He plays a fair amount of center when the Cavs go small.

12.  John Wall -- 0-19-68 -- got the most 3rd team votes of anyone.  Apparently NBA writers walk around doing word association of "John Wall?"  "Third team."

13.  Jimmy Butler -- 0-19-45 -- had a great year, well deserved.  Probably deserved even more votes.

14.  DeMar DeRozan -- 0-4-50 -- just squeaked by Chris Paul; Chris Paul probably deserved the honor more.

15.  DeAndre Jordan -- 3-17-18 -- it is amazing that you could make 3rd team all-NBA when 62% of the eligible voters did not believe you deserved to be 3rd team or better.

What this shows us is that there are a lot of centers in the league who received a lot of votes and the splintered voting allowed DeAndre to sneak in.  Consider this, however, why does DeAndre, the defensive anchor for a LAC team, record virtually the same as Utah, get 54 points worth of votes while Rudy Gobert gets 339 points worth of votes.  The two guys are virtually indistinguishable, and Jordan may actually be better.   He falls nearly 300 points short of Gobert?

Other Receiving Votes

KAT 50 points, 2 first-team votes
CP3 - 49 points
Marc Gasol - 48 points, 2 first-team votes
Boogie Cousins - 42 points, 2 first team votes
Paul George 40
Gordan Hayward 27
Hassan Whiteside - 18
Kyrie - 14
Klay - 14
Jokic - 12 points, one first-team vote
Lillard 12
Millsap 3
Aldridge 1
Blake Griffin 1
Al Horford 1

The worst set of votes are the two guys who voted for Griffin (61 games, 7.7 WS, getting worse as a player); and Horford (68 games, 6.3 WS, was actually a regular season disappointment). 

Hayward and George are not eligible for the "super max" contracts they could have received from Utah and Indiana respectively had they made a team.  Is Paul George a better player than Butler or DeRozan?  Sure.  But he didn't get the votes. 

The center voting was unbelievably weird.  9 first-team votes went to guys who were not 1st, 2nd or 3rd team all-NBA as centers:

-- Draymond 2
-- KAT 2
-- Gasol 2
-- Boogie 2
-- Jokic 1

Draymond's votes, as I stated earlier, should have been thrown back into the voting pot and re-cast.  He is not a center. 

KAT probably got screwed a little, since his team's sub-.500 mark and terrible defense (KAT's DRtg on basketball-reference.com is a dismal 110) led voters to discount his unbelievable season (12 WS, 25-12, 100+ threes).  But KAT is young and if this motivates him to work more on defense, I will be ecstatic.

Gasol is working off reputation now - he is a declining player.

Boogie seems to make his teams actually WORSE.  This hurts your chances to win post-season awards.  After Davis, he is probably the second most talented center in the league.  But geez, if you actually take a team and make it WORSE.....

Jokic's voter, I cannot really get mad at him or her.  I think a good argument could be made that Jokic has the greatest upside of anyone but Davis/Boogie/KAT and Embiid.  He is freaking enormous and highly skilled.  Now, does that justify a first-team all-NBA vote?  No.  But I see how someone might think it does.