Friday, March 29, 2013

The New LeBron - Some Thoughts

Very interesting analysis.

Let me propose a different theory -- those of you who read the Blog know that no one loves LeBron more than I do.  But let me propose this theory -- he got lucky.

When LeBron came to Miami, Wade was healthier, Bosh was still a star level player, and LeBron was a couple years younger and more spry.  They reached the Finals.  They should have won.  But Dallas was playing awfully well. 

Recall that Dallas just absolutely whacked the Lakers and Phil Jackson in an embarrassing sweep.  The Lakers played so poorly against Dallas that it almost imploded the whole Lakers team.  Phil Jackson left, Gasol was almost run out of town, people decided that the Lakers didn't need Bynum.  That Dallas team was just red-effing hot.  Kidd was burying 3s, Terry was burying 3s, Dirk was unconscious, Tyson Chandler was holding down the middle like a man possessed.  Shawn Marion had found the fountain of youth.

That Dallas team had 5 guys with a playoff PER over 15.  Miami had 3.  The only way Miami beats Dallas in that series is if James plays like James can - he didn't.

Fast forward to 2011-12.  The Heat actually were WORSE in the Eastern Conference playoffs then they had been in 2010-11.  They rode LeBron's ridiculous 30 playoff PER into the finals, but again - only 3 guys had above a 15 playoff PER (and recall that Bosh did not play a lot due to injury).

So what happened?  The Heat faced not the Mavs or the Lakers or the Spurs, but the team that had beaten all 3 - Oklahoma City.  And, to put it mildly, OKC wasn't ready for prime time.  In Games 3, 4, and 5 the "big 3" for OKC had the following differentials between Offensive Rating and Defensive Rating:

Durant -- minus 11, minus 2, minus 19
Westbrook - minus 8, plus 7, minus 38!!
Harden -- minus 21, minus 48!!!  +2.

These are your BEST players.  Harden had a 67/115 in Game 2.  67 - Ben Wallace's ORtg is generally better than

The Heat won, and James played well.  But let's face it.  The Thunder sucked, so the Heat won a title. 

That is nothing to be ashamed of.  I mean, Bird's Celtics only once beat the Lakers (1984) and two of their titles were against Houston teams who were just lucky to be there (1981 and 1986).    Philly was East champion in 1980, 82 and 83 and the Lakers beat the Celtics in 1985 and 87.  No one takes those Houston titles away from Bird, but a fair assessment would be that the Celts were lucky to face Houston and that the Lakers were probably the best team in 1981 and 1986 as well.  Similarly, if you look at Hakeem's career statistically, he does not measure up to guys in the top 20 all-time, but he won two titles, so he is thought more highly of than he should be.  Why did he win two titles?  Michael Jordan retired and John Starks shot one for a million in Game 7 in 1994.  Hakeem was lucky. 

James and the Heat were lucky, but that doesn't mean they cannot ride that wave a little.  Winning a title gives you an aura and it gives you a calm in difficult situations.  When people question you, you can reply, "Hey, we are champions, we know how to win."  Even if it is bullshit, how can they really reply? 

The article above implies that James has become a better player.  Not really.  His defensive effort is down, he doesn't quite have the fresh legs he once did, his scoring is down, and his assists and rebounds are basically flat from his last two years in Cleveland.

What James has done is become comfortable in Miami and (with Wade's decline) achieve roughly the same production he was achieving at the end of his Cleveland days.  He shows up every night and carries his team....just as he has always done.  His shot selection is different, but he has fully regained the LeBron greatness after deferring to Wade for too long. 

Thursday, March 28, 2013

The 24 Greatest NBA Individual Statistical Seasons of All-Time

Statistically if you require a PER of over 28, a Win Shares of over 17 and a Win Share per 48 Minutes of Over .25, there are only 24 such seasons:

Jordan 6
Wilt 4
Kareem 3
David Robinson 3
LeBron 3 (2 plus this one, so almost certainly 3 barring an 11 game collapse)
Chris Paul 2
That is 21, then you add three recent seasons:

Shaq's MVP in 1999-00 KG's MVP in 2003-04 Dirk's PRE-MVP season in 2005-06 (Nash was the MVP in 2005-06, his numbers do not approach Dirk's)

9 guys own the top 24 seasons. (No Kobe, no Karl Malone, no Stockton).

Let's try to sort it down to top 10: If you up PER to 29.7 and WS/48 to .29, you get:

LeBron 3
Michael 3
1 each for Kareem, Wilt, Chris Paul and David Robinson

Then if you sort down to a 30 PER and a .3 WS/48 you get your Top 5:

1.  Wilt 1963-64 (probably the greatest statistical season ever)
2.  Michael 1987-88 (slight nod above #3 since MJ played more minutes)
3. LeBron 2008-09
4. Jordan 1990-91
5. James 2012-13

Title winners in the first 4 - Jordan in 1990-91. Wilt lost to the Celtics (come on Wilt! You had Tom Meschery as your #2 guy and you still lost!?!?); Jordan lost to the Pistons; LeBron lost to the Magic And the 2012-13 season is not yet over.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Michele Bachmann - Again A Fraud

There has never been anyone who makes mor eoutrageous statements and then just says, "Well, somebody told me that" more often than this woman. Add this bizarre effort to her recent request to spend like $3 billion on pork to widen I-94 in her district and she may have finally come off the rails once and for all -- which of course makes her all the more lovable to her voter base.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Lighten Up, Francis

The new Pope has decided to go with "Pope Francis," which reminds me of the movie Stripes, which reminds me of this story:

1984, summer.  I used to play tennis with a group of old high school friends (as previously reported, summer of 1984 was the greatest summer of my life, I weighed 168 pounds).

Anyway, playing tennis one night, the one girl who played with our group most nights was wearing 1980s terry cloth shorts.  1980s terry cloth shorts for girls were never designed to provide full coverage unless the girl stood completely still.  They were basically Hooters shorts, just terry cloth.

So anyway, this girl and I had been friends in high school, but I was still bitter that I hit on her in 8th grade and got rejected.  She ended up with a 25 year old boyfriend named Burt who, by all accounts, was a completely horrible person.  My friend Chris loved her (we will call her Terry) but she just tormented him as in the movie "Just Friends" and he was stuck in the friend zone.  Meanwhile, reports were that Burt enjoyed the blessings of having a 16-18 year old girlfriend with low self-esteem as a 25 year old guy.....a lot.  She dumped Burt at 19.

Moving on - playing tennis, she is 20 and just remarkably hot.  Or I was 20 and just remarkably desperate, or some combination thereof, cuz I just cannot stop staring at her ass.  Tennis ends.  I drive away.  As I am leaving the park, I see that she is awaiting a ride, so I stop and say hi.

"Nice of you to stop and say hi.  I guess that is the least you can do since you stared at my ass the whole night."

What!?!?  Oh come on.

"Come on, my God, how obvious could you be?  You are awful."

Well, your shorts don't fit real well.

"Does that mean you can stare at my ass?"
OK - well, gotta go home.

"Why is it that you think staring at my ass is OK, but you cannot even sit and talk to me?"

I thought you viewed me as a disgusting pervert.

"Hey, idiot, I am trying to get you to make some sort of move."

Uhhhhhhhh - would you like to go to the movies Friday?

"Drive in?"


"I guess."

So, showing was a double feature of Ghostbusters and Stripes.  I had already seen Stripes, since it was 3 years old.  About halfway through Ghostbusters, she said, "This is the worst movie date I have ever been on."


"And I want you to know that I always hated you in high school.  You were such a pathetic know-it-all."


"So, do you have anything to say?"

Why are you here?  Did you need to see the movie?

"I have seen both movies, HM.  I am bored, I need something to do.  Why don't you keep me occupied?"

She then stuck her hand inside the top 2 buttons of my shirt and her tongue in my mouth.  We made out for probably two hours, stopping only for air and to try to wipe steam off the windows.

That was the start of a great summer. 

I learned in 2005 or so that Terry had died in a one car crash.  She apparently was a pretty big drinker (insert joke at my expense here) and it caught up to her.

As old as I am, it was well more than half a lifetime ago, in a world where I drove a 1970 Olds and was 168 pounds.    Wild what your memory can bring up when you even just hear a name like Francis.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Judge Strikes Down NYC Soda ban

I am sorry, but since I do not believe that there is some sort of fundamental right to sell or consume fattening amounts of soda, I think that the judge's analysis is wrong.  Under the rational basis test, the question is not the overbreadth or underbreadth of the law, it is whether the governing body could possibly and rationally find that this regulation might help the health, safety or morals of the public.

Might it help the public if I make it harder to drink 1,200 calories of soda from one container?  Yes.  End of inquiry.

Ted Cruz - Ineligible to Be President

Damn foreigners.

Poor Brandon Knight - Posterized

Chris Webber once dunked on an old and washed-up Charles Barkley and reported that Webber imagined Barkley saying after jumping, "Oh no!  He's too high!  He's too high!"

Brandon Knight gets thoroughly outmanned here........and he gets called for a foul.....I imagine that in the 4 seconds after getting dunked on, Knight was saying, "What the fuck was that?"

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Drake Rains Down $50,000 of Ones at a Charlotte Strip Club

I intend to do the same thing in West Des Moines on Thirsday night........except with $50, and at an Applebee's.  My waitress will be ecstatic!

Monday, March 04, 2013

Ibaka, In My Opinion, Should Get 5 Games

I am sorry, but when you cannot push a guy away from the basket, you are holding him, and once you get your hand free you slug him as hard as possible in the groin, that is a 5 game suspension.

Maybe had he been ejected from the game, he gets only 4, but my lord - this was one of the dirtiest plays I have ever seen.

I would also add that the entire officating crew deserves to be fined one game's pay.  How you could watch a guy punch another guy in the balls IN SLOW MOTION ON A HIGH DEF MONITOR and then conclude that it was a flagrant foul 1 (no ejection) is incomprehensible.

As one NFL official once stated about guys throwing punches - "You either pretend you don't see it, or you eject the guy.  There is no other way to deal with a guy throwing a punch."

Danny Crawford - shame on you.

Miss Teen Delaware - Only Got $1,500, Was Denied Further Scenes

And she was the one who went looking for them!  Yikes.  "Please pay me $1,500 to take some baby batter on my face."  OK, I guess.  "OK, now let's shoot some more scenes."  Yeah, no thank you.  I don't know which is more degrading (OK, I do, forget I said that).


Brendan Fraser - Time For The Mummy Part 7?

$50K/month for alimony.  Wow.  He pays roughy $1.5M in professional fees every year?

Poor Miss Teen Delaware

While all visual evidence confirms that she is a terrible actress, she clearly has some issues.  For someone who seemingly enjoys sex so little, she is remarkably compliant.

Hey, Melissa - go steal some money out of that bus change box.  Um, OK.

Friday, March 01, 2013

Bill Simmons on the Lockout Winner and LeBron Being Worth $75M a Year

Once a year, Forbes magazine breaks down the team value of every NBA franchise. This year's report was especially fascinating — Forbes reported that the average value of the 30 teams had risen to $509 million, a 30 percent increase from last year, saying that "the increase is due to higher revenue from television, new and renovated arenas, and the NBA's new collective-bargaining agreement, which reduced player costs from 57% of revenues to roughly 50%." Translation: The owners didn't just beat the players in that last lockout; they trounced them like it was one of those Cowboys-Bills Super Bowls.

Anyway, in 2009, Forbes valued the Cavaliers at $476 million and the Heat at $364 million. Four years later, they valued the Cavaliers at $434 million … and the Heat at $625 million. Gee, I wonder what changed.
(LeBron James, you deserve a raise. A massive one. Just know that you won't get it.)

Simmons opines that LeBron's value on a non-cap, non-tax market would be $75 million.

Since James came into the league in 2003-04, he has had a 27.6 PER and accounted for 147.3 Win Shares.

Guys With over 95 Win Shares and a 24 PER during that time period:

Dirk, KG, Kobe, Duncan, Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade.

Paul has played two fewer seasons than LeBron, so he is not a fair comparison, but let's assume that had he played 2 seasons he would have had 24 Win Shares and his same career 25.5 PER.

LeBron's Win Shares of 147.3; Giving Paul his extra 24 Win Shares would get him to 122.4

James - 147.3
Paul (est) - 122.4
Dirk - 118.0
KG - 108.2
Kobe 107.8
Duncan 99.7
Wade 97.2

Think about this - Paul accounts for roughly 83% of the wins that James has.  Dirk 80%. KG and Kobe 73%.  Duncan and Wade - 67-68%.    These are first ballot Hall of Fame players.

James - 27.6
Wade 25.6
Paul 25.5
Duncan 24.6
Dirk 24.3
KG 24.2
Kobe 24.2

If we assume that a PER scale is arithmetic rather than logarithmic (doubtful) and that two points at the top of the scale equals two points in the middle of the scale (very doubtful) then we see that

Wade and Paul produce at about 93% of James's level.  Duncan at about 89% and the others at about 88%.

Summary - if you had LeBron James the past 10 years, you would have received production at a level somewhere around 110% to 140% of first ballot Hall of Fame players.  James' performance per minute is about 10% greater, and when added to the fact that he has logged so many more minutes than most of the others, his TOTAL production is simply astounding - example - Kobe and KG would have had to up their production by roughly 36% to get as many Win Shares as LeBron. 

Assume that Kobe and KG are worth about $30-40M a year.  James' value is somewhere between $33M and $56M.

Now - how about winning games?  Before LeBron reached Cleveland they won 15 games.  After he left Cleveland, they won 19 games.  In between they won 35, 42, 50, 45, 66, and 61 games.

Before James reached Miami, they went 47-35 and were eliminated in round 1 by Boston (4-1).  Since his arrival, they have gone 103-58, reaching the finals twice and winning once.

James's team has never lost in the first round of the playoffs.  Never.  He has lost in the second round 3 times, conference finals once, finals twice, and has a title.   

Since 2003-04 season, he has by far the most playoff Win Shares and by far the highest playoff PER of any player.  He has 5 more Win Shares than Chauncey and over 6 more Win Shares than Kobe.  Again - consider this - Kobe is one of the winningest playoff performers of all-time.  In the past 10 years, James has 37% more win shares than Kobe. 

Kobe has played 220 playoff games - he has around 28 Win Shares.  LeBron has played 115 playoff games, he has over 24 Win Shares.  If the Lakers do not make the playoff and the Heat reach the finals, it is possible that LeBron will pass Kobe for career playoff win shares, having played around 90 fewer playoff games.

So, what exactly is James worth.  Assume you are, say, Milwaukee -- winning 50% of your games and hoping for one round of playoffs.  You sign James, you get 60 wins a year and average an Eastern Conference finals every year, maybe a finals.