Wednesday, October 03, 2018

22.5 Plus and 30 Plus "Game Scores" -- Who is the Best?

The idea of a "Game Score" statistic is basically to determine whether someone had a good game or not (rather than me searching through the box score, what generally would these stats, when combined, say about a player.

A Game Score is calculated as noted here

That calculator will also allow you to plug in some standard values for a player and figure out what that guy is probably doing on a nightly basis.  For example, LeBron so uniformly goes 27-7-7 with a steal and a block that the people have lobbied to have the 27-7-7 part called a "LeBron."  So if you plug in those values and have him shoot 50% from the floor and 70% from the line and turn it over 4 times, that is a 20.1 Game Score.

It is fair to say that a typical LeBron "Game Score" would be pretty welcome news to any coach in the league for any guy he had.  The inventor of Game Score says he intended for 10 to be a "good" starter Game Score.  I would consider the scale (based upon reviews I have done) to be as follows:

Good bench Game Score - 7
OK Starter Game Score - 10
Good Night for a Starter - 15
Very Good - 22,5
Outstanding (top 2 in the league that night) - 30
Superstar Level (rare for even great players) - 40
Call the Media - 50
Historically great 60 (it has happened 3 times)

With that as a baseline, I considered this question -- what NBA greats have had the most 22.5+ and 30+ games, and, more importantly, what percentage of their overall games were at these levels?

There were 23 guys who appeared on at least one of the "most total games" lists, limited to the top 20 in either category.

Of these 23 guys, here are how they did in percentage of regular season games over 22.5 Game Score

1.  Jordan 53%
James 51.3%
Durant 41.1%
Barkley 38.5%
David Robinson 35.6%
Karl Malone 35.5%
Larry Bird 34.3%
Shaq 34%
Hakeem 33.6%
Harden 33.5%
Curry 33.3%
Magic 33.2%
Iverson 31.2%
Nique 30.55%
Westbrook 30.3%
CP3 - 30%
Kobe 29.9%
Wade 29.8%
Clyde Drexler 25.7%
Dirk 21.5%
Stockton 20.2%
Garnett 19.9%
Duncan 19.3%

So, we should probably stop here. has records back to 1980.  So Bird and Magic are all in.  Kareem only gets the declining part of his career, Wilt, Oscar, West, Mikan, Pettit get nothing. 

And what we see is that Good Team Defense is not generally rewarded (Duncan, KG, Stockton, Wade, Kobe, CP3 all plus defenders) while big scoring generally is rewarded (Iverson and Dominique Wilkins are not better players than KG or Duncan). 

But, if you do a grading curve and say 10% get A's, 25% get B's, 35% get C's, 20% get Ds and 10% get Fs, you'd have

2 As - Jordan, James,
1 A minus -- Durant

1 B+ Barkley

6 Bs -- David, Karl, Bird, Shaq, Hakeem, Harden

8 Cs - Curry, Magic, Iverson, Nique, Westbrook, CP3, Kobe, Wade

1 D+  Drexler

2 Ds - Dirk, Stockton

1 D minus - Garnett

1 F - Duncan

On the 30 Plus Game Score, Michael Jordan so completely dominates this stat that he gets an A+ and literally no one else deserves an A.  Michael destroys the curve.

1 A plus -- Jordan 24%
1 B+ - James 14.3%

8 Bs - Barkley 13.2%, Harden 12.95%, Bird 12.5%, David 11.6%, Curry 11.4%, Durant and Hakeem 10.5%, Shaq 10.3%

5 Cs - Magic 9.7%, Karl Malone 9.4%, Iverson 8.9%, Westbrook 8.8%, Kobe 8.3%

4 D's -- Wade & Nique 7.8%, Clyde 7.5%, CP3 7.3%

4 Fs -- Dirk, Stockton, KG, Duncan (all under 4%).

The lesson here is that a Game Score of 30 is pretty rare, even for great players.  Jordan did it every 4 games, James every 7 games, but generally doing it even once out of every  8 games is pretty awesome and every 10 games is hard to do even for all-time greats.

If you drop down to 15+ as a Game Score, you will see that Jordan and James and Durant all are "good" or better 80% of the time (Jordan and James 81%, Durant 79%).  Charles and Karl are in the 70s and then everyone else is in the 60s or 50s.  Remarkably, Bird only had a 15+ Game Score 53% of the time, next to last after Stockton (50%).

We can examine that another time, but what is the answer here?  Who are the best and most consistent in the 22.5 and 30 Game Scores?

The guys who are top 12 players in those categories combined:

12th - Magic (ekes in, by far the least consistent of these 12)
11th - Shaq
10th - Curry (wins tie with Shaq as Curry has a 7th place v. Shaq's 8th)
9th - Karl Malone
8th -- Hakeem
7th - Harden
6th - Durant
5th - David Robinson
4th - Bird
3rd - Barkley
2nd - James
1st - Jordan

Upside surprises - Harden, David, Barkley

Downside surprises - Kobe, Russ, CP3.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Serena Williams - Has Only Herself to Blame

In response to:

"This happens to me all of the time here!" wailed Serena Williams as she was given code of conduct penalties.  Serena has played at the U.S. Open since 1998.  She has had 4 incidents in which she thought she was wronged.  In that same time period, she has won 6 U.S. Open titles.

So, to state that she has had bad things happen to her "all of the time" is ridiculous.  If you play 20+ years, you are going to have 4 rough calls that you think are against you.

What do all of Serena's incidents have in common?  1) They occur when she is struggling or feels she is going to possibly lose.  2) They are made far worse than they need to be by her subsequent behavior.

In her 2018 incident, Serena's coach is called for illegal coaching. She says he never coached her.  He says he always coaches her illegally, but it is a rule that is never called.  So this is sort of like an offensive lineman arguing that he wasn't holding and his coach saying, "Of course he was holding, that is how we teach them to block - it is never called."

Now, let's assume that we can trust Serena's coach and he was coaching but it is never called.  What occurs here is basically like LeBron James early in a Finals game being called for a touch foul when guarding a guy out front.  It is either a bad call or a call that is just never made.  LeBron now has two choices - he can either lose his mind or he can say "Geez, come on" and adjust his play accordingly.  I'd strongly suggest option #2.

Asked after the match whether the chair umpire and she had run-ins in the past, Serena said no.  She said the umpire had actually done many of her matches and performed quite well.  Therefore, based upon her own words, she has no reason to suspect person bias or animus against her.  What happened is you had a good referee make a bad call against you. 

Serena is struggling with Naomi Osaka.  Serena is concerned she is going to lose.  She makes a bad shot.  She then absolutely crushes her racket. This is, 100% of the time, a code violation.  The refs will look the other way if you just skim the ground or abuse the racket a little.  If you crush it and break the frame, that is a code violation 100% of the time.  Serena now loses a point.

This is where things get weird.  Serena thinks it should be a warning.  No - you got the coaching warning for your warning, this is now a point.  WHAT!?!?  I got a coaching warning?  Look, if you got a coaching warning; that was the time to contest that issue.  Now that you have lost a point, you suddenly feel offended?  "I have a kid.  I don't cheat."  Huh?  What sort of claim/statement is that?  I know a lot of players with a lot of kids.  Many of those players cheat.

But now Serena (again, who is losing) suddenly sees the world is against her.  She demands an apology.
This is sort of like LeBron in my example above walking up to the ref in the 3rd quarter after foul #4 and saying, "You owe me an apology for foul #1.  Remember back them?  I don't cheat; I have three kids."  That sort of exchange would be unthinkable.  But Serena is losing; she is melting down; the world is against her.  She oddly pulls out the "I am a mom" argument.

The chair umpire, unsurprisingly, fails to provide the requested apology.  This further angers Serena.  Now she sees a vast conspiracy against her to deny her the title she wants.  But we know at this point that Serena has two conduct violations; this is basically playing with four fouls.  This is not the time to tempt fate.  Serena now pushes her chips all in, "You are a thief.  You stole a point from me."

Now, I have played a lot of sports and coached a lot of sports.  I have had CONSTANT problems with officials.  All of the time. You want to know what "all of the time" is?  Basically every game.  I don't care for officials, and I generally think they don't do a great job.  That said, the general thing I would do in these situations is complain and complain and complain and then if the official told me to shut up, I'd shut up.  I only have ever received two technical fouls.  I have complained to referees 5,000+ times.

And I can tell you this - other than swearing at an official, the one thing they do NOT like is if you question their integrity.  You can get away with saying a call was awful or hurt your club or saying "how can you possibly miss that?"  What you cannot get away with - stuff like "Call it both ways" and "We all know who is supposed to win here."  They do NOT appreciate that.  And for good reason.  As a general rule, they are trying.  They may be bad, but they are trying.  So if you state or imply that they are dishonest or biased, you're treading on very thin ice.  If you call someone a mother-fucker or say they suck, that, in a way, is better than saying/implying that they are cheating against you. 

Against that background, Serena should have known that she shouldn't have impugned the integrity of the umpire.  The umpire in that situation now has been called a thief - dishonest, biased.  He now has three options - 1) pretend he didn't hear it; 2) issue what James Blake calls a "soft warning" (hey, don't say that again); or 3) give a code violation (1 game penalty).

Now, since the whole thing is being recorded and the sound amplified, it is hard to do #1, particularly when Serena has been in your face about it already and demanded that you apologize for trying to do your job.  If you do #2, you know what happens?  Serena says, "Yeah?  Well, you're a thief." and after the match she says "He baited me!  I was just minding my own business and he knew I was upset and he baited me!"  The chair umpire, eschewing these two worse options, did #3.

Now, the defenses of Serena are:

 (A) She was treated unfairly because she is a woman. McEnroe did basically the same thing in a 1990 Australian Open match that he was LEADING in, and he was straight out defaulted. 

Since Serena's opponent was, herself, a woman, it is a miracle that she somehow was able to abide by the conduct rules during such an unfair, anti-woman job of refereeing.  Yet, like Michael Scott, Somehow She Managed.

It really does a huge disservice to women to claim that when a ref doesn't officiate as you want that he is somehow anti-woman.  That sort of claim actually sets women back and separates them from men in a negative manner.  I saw Anthony Davis get ejected from an NBA game last year.  He deserved it.  I wanted to watch him play, but he was gone; straight tossed.  But he deserved it.  He felt he was getting a raw deal and he said too much. Why should Serena get a pass because she is a woman? 

(B)   She should have been treated differently because she was Serena.  Um, what do people CONSTANTLY bitch about with the NBA?  Star players getting star treatment.  Look, there is no evidence this umpire hated her.  She herself said she'd never had any issues with him.  So what the umpire was supposed to do (if we assume the coaching call was wrong) was spend the remainder of the match ignoring further violations?  Because she is Serena Williams?  I mean, wow.  Come on.

(C) Tennis has always rewarded bad behavior.  What I found most amusing about this defense is that it refers to incidents back in 1977-87 to state that this has always been the case in tennis.

As someone who was around back in 1977-87, I can assure you that there were multiple calls in the media and elsewhere to outright ban McEnroe for his tantrums.  Conners was given a little more leeway since people liked him more, but certainly no one in the media ever stood up and said, "Geez, that John McEnroe/Ilie Nastase, we really admire them!  Good for them for sticking up for themselves!"

(It should be noted here that McEnroe's dysfunction was really a terrible anger management problem.  It made no difference whether he was winning or losing, he was just a dick on the court.  If he were up 5-0, 30-love and the linesman missed a call, he'd lose his mind.  (See his default at Aussie 1990, where he was actually ahead).  Similarly, being hopelessly behind didn't calm him either.  McEnroe viewed a missed call as a personal affront, thus rendering the time or circumstances of the call irrelevant.  McEnroe lobbied endlessly for instant replay, way back in the late 70s early 80s. 

In any event, since McEnroe's last Grand Slam win in 1984, 34 years ago, who have been the non-Serena standard bearers for tennis?  Lendl was constantly carping about calls, but he never really did anything that caused a scene (he was once given a misconduct warning by an umpire who explained that "3 hours of constant bitching and moaning, even without profanity, adds up to a warning") Sampras (deadly boring, hardly spoke), Agassi (flashy and trash talking to his opponent, did some complaining but certainly not anywhere near McEnroe's class),  Federer, Nadal, Djokovic, Murray.  Absolutely none of these guys is known as someone who constantly confronts umpires.  Djokovic and Nadal can be a tad whiny when things don't go their way, but they push the envelope VERY little.  Federer, as a general rule, doesn't even like to challenge obvious missed calls.

On the women's side, Navratilova could be a little testy, but Evert was not, Graf was not, Seles was not,  Hingis was not, Clijsters was not, Henin was not.  So, again, we have to harken back 35 years to find someone who is a star tennis player who is a problem or who is "glorified" for abusive behavior.

This defense of Serena is apparently that Serena's behavior could have been a LOT worse.  OK, granted. Roberto Alomar once spit on an umpire and he is now in the Hall of Fame.  So what?  Serena reached the point where she should have known under any reasonable review of the situation that she should have kept quiet.  She did not.  When you reach that point as an athlete, you are playing with fire and you might get burned.  She got burned. 

If Serena really felt she had to call the umpire a "thief" to "stand up for what she believed in (which is a ridiculous position to take), then she should be ecstatic that she was sanctioned for it.  You really cannot have it both ways.  If I go into court as a lawyer and get so screwed over by a judge that I say, "Your honor, you are corrupt," then I better mean it and I better be willing to go to jail for contempt.  If, instead, I just don't like that I lost and I just am blowing off steam and saying something to make myself feel better, I then have............only myself to blame.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Sorting Through Old NBA MVP Award Voting Results

Sorting through some old MVP voting results on, I came up with some interesting tidbits:

1) Not all MVP balloting is the same.  For example, many years only First Place ballots were requested.  So, someone like LeBron James in 2017-18 got a higher "share" of potential "points" than did George Gervin in 1977-78, even though Gervin got more first place votes.

2) Voters have always been weird.  In 1956-57, 12 guys received first place votes.  Now, I realize that a league might be fairly even in talent level, but it seems hard to believe that 12 guys were deserving of 1st place MVP votes.  Were people really uncertain as to whether Mel Hutchins was a better player than Cousy or Pettit?  Cuz, ya know, Pettit lost by 2 votes, so maybe he could have used Hutchins' vote and/or Ray Felix's vote? 

Similarly, in 1979-80, a voter split his vote between Julius Erving and Gus Williams, thus leaving Doc with 31.5 first-place votes.  There appeared to be absolutely no good reason for doing this, but it was done.  Similarly, were there really 2 people in 1979-80 who believed Dan Roundfield was the best player in the entire league? 

Kelvin Ransey in 1980-81 received a first-place vote.  He received no other votes.  He had 2.8 Win Shares.  Someone apparently believed he was more valuable than either MVP Julius Erving or runner up Larry Bird.  Ransey's season was roughly half as good as the season of Caldwell Jones, who received one 11th place vote that same year

3) The stretch of MVP balloting from 1968 to 1979 is awfully rough to look at.  Winners include Wes Unseld, Willis Reed, Dave Cowens, and Bill Walton.  None of these players had particularly great years (McAdoo in 1975 and 1976 when he finished 1-2 at least had historically great years).

A fairly good argument could be made that Kareem (won in 1971-72-74-76-77) should have won 3 or 4 MORE MVPs than he did!  (Kareem's 1972-73 season he went 30-16-5 and had 22 Win Shares, He finished second to Dave Cowens' 20-16-4 with 12 Win Shares).

4) Wilt had ridiculous seasons where he failed to win MVP.  Wilt went 50-25 in 1961-62, finished 2nd.  Wilt followed that up with a 44-24 and finished.......7th (0 first-place votes).  But 1963-64 is the true crime.  Wilt posted arguably the best season of all-time - 37 points, 22 rebounds, 5 assists, 25 Win Shares, .325 Win Shares per 48. Won their division, reached the Finals, second best player was Tom Meschery.
Wilt posted the only season to that point (he later had another) where a player had over 10 offensive WS and over 10 defensive WS.  Wilt finished second to Oscar.

It was seemingly the case that when Wilt had huge numbers the voters felt huge numbers did not matter, but when other posted huge numbers, suddenly huge numbers mattered.

5) There is a belief on Twitter that somehow "Steve Nash screwed Kobe out of the MVP" in two straight years.  This is simply false.  In 2004-05, Nash probably should have lost to Miami Shaq, that is true, but Kobe received 0 votes.  Not 0 first-place votes.....0 votes.  Not top 15 in balloting.  In 2005-06, look, it was a terrible season overall (Heat beat Mavs in Finals).  But Kobe did not lead the league in WS or WS/48 (he was 4th in both) and he finished 4th in balloting.  His team was 45-37 and lost in the first round of the playoffs.  Sorry, he was not "screwed".  Now, should Nash (8th in WS, 8th in WS/48) have won?  Probably not, but.......

6) It is a common thread running through MVP results that point guards are generally overrated and get more MVP votes/awards than they deserve based upon their production.  Evidence?

Cousy in 1956-57 was a far worse player than Bob Pettit - Cousy won

Oscar should have lost to Wilt 1963-64

Magic probably should have lost to Jordan in 1989 and 1990 (or Barkley 1990)

Iverson was 8th in WS and 9th in WS/48 when he defeated Duncan and Shaq in 2000-01

Jason Kidd finished 2nd to Tim Duncan in 2001-02 when Kidd was 13th in the league in WS and 14th in WS/48

Nash probably did not deserve to win either 2005 or 2006 and Nash finished SECOND AGAIN in 2007!  In none of those years was Nash top 4 in Win Shares.

Derrick Rose in 2011 was 4th in the league in WS and 6th in WS/48.  Not only did he defeat LeBron,
Dwight Howard and Kobe, but he absolutely DESTROYED them in MVP balloting - 113-4-3-1 in first place votes.  So, in other words, while Rose was probably a top 5 player, voters treated his season as if it were Jordan 1996.  It wasn't.

Curry and Harden had roughly the same season in 2014-15.  Curry smoked Harden 100-25 in MVP balloting

Harden was the better player in 2016-17, but Russ' triple double gained him the nod over Harden.

7) The decision of voters to register a single vote for Carmelo in 2013 (over LeBron) and for Iverson over Shaq (2000) can only be seen as incredibly vindictive and designed just to hurt the legacies of those two winners.  These were two of the greatest seasons of all-time, yet one voter felt the need to somehow poke his finger in the eye of the winner. 

Even odder in the case of these two votes?  The decision to vote for Melo/Iverson could have been better handled by voting for some more deserving player.  For example, a Garnett/Durant set of votes in 2000/2013 would have looked far less like a "screw you" to LeBron/Shaq.

Similarly, the decision of voters to give 2 votes to Jermaine O'Neal and 1 vote to Peja in 2004 denied Garnett what should have been a unanimous MVP (Duncan only played 69 games, he finished 2nd overall in the race).

8) My list of the 36 best players of all-time generally contains the 1st and 2nd place winners of every year, except for the following:

Winners not in my top 36 -- Wes Unseld, Willis Reed, Dave Cowens, Bob McAdoo, Bill Walton, Iverson, Rose, Westbrook.

2nd place guys not mentioned above and not in my top 36 -- Dolph Schayes, Nate Thurmond, Lenny Wilkens, George Gervin, Bernard King, Nique, Clyde Drexler, Alonzo Mourning, Jason Kidd, Dwight Howard, Kawhi Leonard.

Winners and Runners Up Since 1956-57 (controversial results in my opinion are listed in ALL CAPS)

1955-56 Petit over Arizin

56-57 -- COUSY over PETTIT
57-58 Russell over Schayes
58-59 Pettit over Russell
59-60 Wilt over Russell
60-61 Russell over Pettit

61-62Russell over Wilt
63-64 Russell over Baylor


64-65 Russell over Oscar
65-66 Wilt over West
66-67 Wilt over Nate Thurmond
67-68 Wilt over Lenny Wilkins

1968-69 UNSELD OVER REED (Unseld not top 5 in WS)
69-70 Reed over West
70-71 Kareem over West

73-74 Kareem over McAdoo
74-75 McAdoo over Cowens

75-76 Kareem over McAdoo
76-77 Kareem over Walton

1977-78 WALTON OVER GERVIN (Walton played 58 games and had 8 WS, David Thompson or Gervin should have won MVP....or Kareem)

78-79 Moses over Gervin

79-80 Kareem over Doc
80-81 Doc over Bird
81-82 Moses over Bird
82-83 Moses over Bird

83-84 Bird over Bernard King
84-85 Bird over Magic

85-86 Bird over Dominique Wilkins

86-87 Magic over Jordan
87-88 Jordan over Bird
88-89 Magic over Jordan (this vote also involved 1/2 votes for MVP - a voter split his vote between
Johnson and Jordan)

1989-90 MAGIC OVER BARKLEY - Magic actually had fewer first-place votes than Barkley!!
(27-38) but the presence of Jordan (21 firsts) gave Barkley enough bad ballots that he lost, becoming the only MVP loser to get the most first-place votes - something that in many years was not possible, because only first-place votes were cast.

1990-91 Jordan over Magic
91-92 Jordan over Clyde Drexler

92-93 Barkley over Olajuwon

1993-94 HAKEEM over DAVID ROBINSON - while the urban legend is that David stole Hakeem's MVP in 1995, the fact is that David had 20 WS to Hakeem's 14 here.  In fact, Shaq had a better year than Hakeem and also would have been a better regular season MVP.

1994-95 David over Shaq (again, note, this is where lore states that Hakeem was screwed and got revenge in the playoffs; Hakeem's 1995 wasn't a great year, 9th in WS, received one 1st place vote.

1995-96 Jordan over David

This certainly is not a hugely controversial result (Malone had a HUGE year) but Jordan was still the better player and he had the slightly better year. Certainly when you consider that Jordan would fall one MVP short of Kareem, this one and 1989-90 have to sting.

97-98 Jordan over Karl Malone
98-99 Karl over Zo (50 game year - was a weird year, Karl deserved the award)

1999-2000 Shaq over KG

2000-01 IVERSON OVER DUNCAN -- Shaq, Duncan and Garnett were the league's 3 best players

2001-02 Duncan over Kidd (very weird that this was a close vote, Duncan the far superior player)

2002-03 Duncan over KG (note - this was the MONSTER year for Tracy McGrady, didn't do much for him - he finished 4th)

2003-04 KG over Duncan (worthy of note how great of a year Peja Stoyakovic had - roughly 30% better than any year he ever had.  This is the only year he ever had where he was top 10 in either VORP or WS....still didn't deserve his one first-place vote)! Jermaine O'Neal received one of his 2 first-place votes because a writer felt "I don't like how KG treats us in the locker room" 

2004-05 NASH OVER MIAMI SHAQ (note the number of times Shaq gets under-voted)

2005-06 NASH OVER LeBRON (probably should have been Dirk or LeBron)

06-07 Dirk over Nash (as stated above this was actually Nash's best year)

07-08 Kobe over CP3

08-09 LeBron over Kobe

2009-10 LeBron over Durant

2010-11 DERRICK ROSE OVER DWIGHT HOWARD (three best players were James, Howard, CP3)  The denial of LeBron here prevented him from winning 5 straight, no one has ever won even 4 straight.

11-12 James over Durant
12-13 James over Durant (this is the bizarre Melo first-place vote year)

13-14 Durant over James ("the real MVP" speech)

14-15 Curry over Harden (two guys had almost the same stats, HUGE blowout win for Curry)

15-16 Curry unanimous over Kawhi  -- now, Curry had a top 15 all-time season, but that does not answer the question of why he was suddenly unanimous MVP when others had had similar seasons before:  and not only NOT been unanimous winners, but had even lost!! with similar stats.

2016-17 WESTBROOK OVER HARDEN -- simply put, Harden had a better year than Westbrook, and Harden's team was better than Westbrook's.  This is the triumph of Usage Rate over careful consideration.  To make matters worse, the vote was not particularly close (69-22 in  first-place votes)


2017-18 Harden over LeBron

The end....for now.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Whether He Stays Or Not, LeBron James' Return to Cleveland Has Been A Stroke of Genius

After the Heat lost to the Spurs in 2014, LeBron figured (correctly) that Dwyane Wade as a player was shot, Chris Bosh wasn't going to get the job done as a reasonable #2 option, and LeBron had no chance to contend for a title in Miami.

Chris Bosh, post-LeBron, would play two years, register a total of 10 WS, and would be forced out of basketball due to health issues.
Dwyane Wade, since the 2014 Finals, has only put up 12.9 WS in 4 seasons and his best WS/48 season has been a .105 effort for Miami.  He is now, for lack of a better word, terrible and should, if his name were not Dwyane Wade, be out of the league.

By joining the Cavs, James went to a club whose 3 best returning WS players (on a 33-49 club) were:

Kyrie 6.7
Tristan Thompson 5.7
Varejao 5.4
and no one else above 3 WS/

In 2014-15, James added his 10.4 WS to the mix, and he was able to get the Cavs to trade for Kevin Love.
This gave the Cavs (between LeBron and Love) 19.1 WS they did not have (James 10.4 and Love 8.7).  Kyrie played better than he ever had (10.4 WS, up from 6.7) and the Cavs got 8 WS from players they eventually traded for (Mozgov, JR Smith). 

Result - the 33 win Cavs become the 53 win Cavs and went to the Finals.  Remarkably, in hindsight, the Cavs probably should have won that 2015 Finals series, except Kevin Love was assaulted by Kelly Olynyk in the playoffs and Kyrie Irving was physically shot by the end of Game 1 of the Finals and did not play again after Game 1.  Looking at the 2015 and 2016 Finals, it is altogether possible that the Cavs with a healthy Kyrie and a healthy Kevin Love actually win both series (recall that Love had nagging injuries on and off through the 2016 playoffs as well). Perhaps the greatest confirmation of this fact is that the Warriors understood that a healthy James, healthy Kyrie and healthy Love might be too much for them and acquired the #2 player in all of basketball - Kevin Durant.

In any event, it really cannot be disputed that the 2014-16 Cavs were far superior to any team the Heat could have fielded in that time perios, and the 2015-16 Cavs actually defeated the 73-win Warriors.

So, at this point in the evaluation, we have to say that LeBron did pretty well for himself in The Return.
The 2016-17 Cavs lost in 5 to the Warriors, blowing a game in Cleveland they could have won, The 2017-18 Cavaliers were forced into a Kyrie Irving trade they never should have made (taking on a still sub-par physically Isaiah Thomas) and picked up a worthless Dwyane Wade. LeBron still led that team to a 50-32 mark and an Eastern Conference title, only to be swept in the Finals.
I heard a person on the radio the other day saying that the constant pressure on the Cavs to keep LeBron happy has "cost the club the ability to build with young players for the future." As a matter of fact, the Cavs have managed to acquire Rodney Hood and Jordan Clarkson, two younger players who have played at a WS/48 rate in their careers (outside the playoffs) that is perfectly acceptable. Same can be said of Larry Nance, Jr. So, basically the Cavs have three decent younger players and George Hill, plus whatever Colin Sexton brings them (the #8 pick in the draft). They also have a 30 year old Kevin Love who has been an all-star multiple times (certainly Love is not a top 10 or top 12 player, but he is still a low-level all-star when healthy, so, a 30 year old player who is a top 25 player in the league.
The cupboard is not bare for Cleveland. If Sexton is good, they have adequate players at PG and SG, a top-25 PF, and an adequate (albeit overpaid) center in Tristan Thompson. The Cavs are not trotting out multiple 35 year olds like the 2012 Brooklyn Nets or the Barkley/Hakeem/Pippen Rockets.

The Cavs have gone 211-117 (.643) with a title and 4 conference titles during the Return. They have an OK base to be a .500 team in the East, even if they get ZERO when LeBron leaves. The Return has been a grand success for Cleveland Cavaliers fans. More to the point of the title of this item, The Return has been great for LeBron James. He took a chance on turning around Cleveland, kept Dan Gilbert's feet to the luxury tax fire and came out looking good.

Friday, June 22, 2018

Trump Suporters Dating in D.C.

The article has been read as saying Trump supporters/workers are having a tough time dating in D.C.  My general thought after reading the whole article is, "Not really."  Most of the people in the article  don't really seem to care, and,like any good religion/cult, they have opportunities to hang out together and they take advantage of that.  I don't see this article as really reflecting any huge problem or huge internal concern as a general rule.

Now, what are my thoughts outside of this article?  Well, I am a moderate Democrat. I despise Trump, but I have some beliefs that are not consistent with the Bernie Sanders wing of the party.  But as anyone who reads my Twitter feed (@hoopsmavenhm) knows, I am probably on the 70th percentile for liberal beliefs.  As a white guy, that places me among the top 30% of the 38% of white men who voted against Trump, so of white guys who vote, let's assume I am top 13% liberal -- 87% of white guys in the U.S. who vote are probably more conservative than I am.

My belief (again, outside of this article) is that women who work for the Trump Administration will have absolutely no problem dating.  First, they can pick from the 62% of the white male dating pool who voted for Trump (plus anyone who did not care enough about politics to vote against Trump). 
Second, would I date Tomi Lahren?  Yes.  Britt McHenry? Yes.  Would a young me date a young Ann Coulter?  Yes.  A young Michelle Malkin?  Yes.  A young Sarah Palin?  Yes.  Michele Bachmann - OK, close call, the wild eyes and religious fervor scare me.

So, what I am saying is that I REALLY doubt women who work for Trump are being rejected for dates solely or primarily due to their Trump affiliation. 

Now, on the other hand, are there liberal women who will not date guys who are not SUPER liberal?  Oh yes.  Again, I am a fairly liberal guy.  In 1988, working as a law clerk, I was telling a story at lunch about how I went to the bank and the "girl behind the counter gave me an umbrella for opening an account."  Outrage follows -- The What?  "Girl behind...."  Uh, woman!!  WOMAN!!  NOT a girl!!!!  "Well, she was younger than I...."  WOMAN!  Do not make me turn you in to Human Resources.  The two law clerk women (see, lesson learned) did not go to HR, but did report me to the recruiting coordinator who had a partner sit me down and explain to me that to survive the summer I needed to be more sensitive and stop offending people.  Again, this was 1988.  The two women at issue never spoke to me again for the remainder of the summer.

Now, imagine we have moved forward 30 years and you are a male Trump supporter.  The idea that you are actually a Trump supporter itself is probably a "microaggression," even if it is never announced.  Now, consider beyond THAT all of the anti-liberal things that Trump has stated and stands for.  He literally has admitted that he had sexually assaulted women for many years because he could get away with it! You WORK for him?  Recall that two 24 year old women in 1988 literally would not SPEAK to me and wanted me fired for telling a story at an informal lunch calling a 21 year old woman a girl.  (I am not kidding about this, this happened).  What could the possible reaction be from women of this sort 30 years later when a dating candidate announces "yeah, the Bible says we need to put all Mexican children who are infesting our country in cages."  I would suggest the reaction is not a good one.

I would also add that I knew some liberal women in law school who HATED me for not agreeing with 100% of what they said.  One such person, at a law school reunion, was chatting with a close friend of mine.  He stated, "Yeah, I have been hanging out with [Hoops Maven]."  Reply?  "Oh, wow, OK.  Yeah, moving on."

So, I would estimate that being a female Trump supporter reduces your dating options maybe 2%.  I would say being a male Trump supporter reduces your dating options 20-35%

That is just my opinion.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

The Top 36 NBA Players of All-Time (as of April 2018)

36. James Harden
35. Steph Curry
34. Steve Nash
33. Gary Payton
32. Patrick Ewing
31. Dwyane Wade

30. Bob Cousy
29. Scottie Pippen
28. John Havlicek
27. Chris Paul
26. John Stockton
25. Rick Barry
24. Elgin Baylor
23. Dirk Nowitzki
22. Kevin Durant
21. Kevin Garnett

20. Charles Barkley

19. Julius Erving
18. Moses Malone
17. Hakeem Olajuwon
16. Bob Pettit
15. David Robinson
14. George Mikan
13. Karl Malone
12. Kobe Bryant
11. Oscar Robertson

10. Jerry West
9. Larry Bird
8. Shaquille O'Neal
7. Bill Russell
6. Magic Johnson
5. Tim Duncan
4. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
3. Wilt Chamberlain
2.  LeBron James
1. Michael Jordan

Thursday, May 31, 2018

The 51 Worst Statistical Games of 2017-18

Well, try as I might to get the list down to 50, it appears that we have a 6-way tie for 46th worst Game Score (around Negative 4.8) , so we have to go with 51.

Here you go:

Congrats to the SUPER overrated...

 Kristaps Porzingis for winning "worst Game Score of 2017-18" (pre-NBA Finals Edition)

by posting a ridiculously terrible Negative 8.5.  In a home Knicks WIN(!!!) against the Celtics, Porzingis played 23 minutes, was 0-11 including 0-3 from 3-point range, 1 of 2 from the line.  He did manage to put up 5 rebounds and 1 assist (to 2 turnovers and 4 fouls).  0 steals, 0 blocks.

Josh Jackson's terrible 22 minute effort in a loss to Houston narrowly lost out to Kristaps (only Negative 8.1), probably because Jackson was 2-2 from the line and only had 3 fouls.

Some other notable efforts:

-- Dennis Smith makes the list while actually making 5 shots and having 5 assists, but that was not enough to offset his 5-17 with 9 turnovers and 6 fouls.

-- Of the bottom 51 performances, only 3 were in the playoffs thus far

    -- Trevor Ariza's recent Negative 5.3 (0 points, 0-12 including 0-9 from 3, did have some other positive stats)

     -- Paul George against Utah (2-16, 6 turnovers, 5 fouls) for  Negative 5.5

     -- Tying with PG13, Bojan Bogdanovic (1-9, 0 rebounds, 3 turnovers, 5 fouls).


Dragan Bender 2x
Josh Jackson 3x
Kyle Kuzma 2x
Frank Ntilikina 2x
Garrett Temple 3x

Those are your Final 4, so, who did the worst in those sucky games? 

Bender had the 6th and 44th worst games
Josh Jackson had the 2nd, 30th and 38th worst games
Kuzma had the 7th and 37th worst games
Ntilikina 8th and 20th worst
Temple had the 3rd, 17th and 46th worst games. 

On the basis of more terrible games (3 versus 2), I give Temple the win - his average terrible game was the 22nd worst while Jackson's were, on average, the 23rd worst.

Congrats Garrett Temple.