Friday, June 26, 2015

Generally, Young Small Rookie Point Guards Really Suck

The Wolves select Tyus Jones, whom I love (my son once hit a home run off Tyus Jones).  But history teaches us that only one small young rookie point guard has been very good -- Chris Paul. 

After that, Brandon Jennings, Tony Parker and Stephon Marbury were OK, Rajon Rondo and Isiah Thomas were mediocre and everyone else was pretty much flat out bad, even if they played a lot.

Of course, Isiah ended up in the Hall of Fame, as will Parker.  Brandon Jennings regressed.  Rondo was the PG on a title team.

So, it is safe to say that the rewards of picking Tyus Jones are unlikely to come in year 1. 
That said, the analytics guys who love Tyus state that his #1 comparable is...........Chris Paul.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Draft Express's Top 14 picks and Some of My Comparisons

14.  Cameron Payne -- Brandon Jennings

13. Kelly Oubre - Randy Foye

Willie Cauley-Stein - Brendan Haywood

Trey Lyles -- Channing Frye

Devin Booker -- Eric Gordon

Frank Kaminsky -- Mehmet Okur/Troy Murphy

Stanley Johnson -- Marvin Williams

Emmanuel Mudiay -- John Wall (good) or Robert Pack (bad)

Krispas Porzingas -- Andrea Bargnani

Justise Winslow -- Wilson Chandler

Mario Hezonja -- Peja Stoyakovic

D'Angelo Russell -- Deron Williams

2. Jahlil Okafor -- Al Jefferson/Zach Randolph

1.  Karl-Anthony Towns -- Rasheed Wallace/Kevin Garnett

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

2015 NBA Draft Guide

These guys do a great job:

Of particular interest is their description of players by category:

Traditional PGChris Paul
Scoring PGRussell Westbrook
High Usage SGDeMar DeRozan
Facilitating SGJames Harden
Two-Way WingJimmy Butler
SpecialistsKyle Korver/Tony Allen
3-and-D wingDeMarre Carroll
Point ForwardLeBron James
Stretch 4Kevin Love
Hustle 4Kenneth Faried
Scoring PostEnes Kanter
Rim ProtectorRudy Gobert
Help 5Joakim Noah

Doug Gottlieb's Big Board

I swear to God, if Karl-Anthony Towns is a "young Sam Perkins" and the Wolves select him, I will have to be talked down off the ledge.  A "young" Sam Perkins' best year was 15-8 and 1.2 blocks.

If Towns = Perkins, here is what that means:  0 all-star game appearances, 0 all-NBA appearances, a "Hall of Fame Probability" of 0.000.


I would much prefer to think of Towns as four-time all-star Rasheed Wallace or 3-time all-star and 3rd team all-NBA player Al Horford.

I mean, if you are going to compare Towns to Perkins, you might as well declare him an outright bust and pull out names like Larry Demic or James Ray or Bill Garnett or Kwame Brown or Michael Olowokandi.  Towns is #1 on your board and is considered as the #1 pick in the draft, for God's sake.  If you are drafting a guy who will never be an all-star and who has a 0.000% chance of the Hall of Fame, you sure as hell ought to draft someone else.  D'Angelo Russell is a Steph Curry/James Harden hybrid and you have him behind a guy who you think will never be an all-star or make an all-NBA club?

The new rip on Tyus Jones is that he has poor court vision?  What Duke games has Doug Gottlieb watched?  I have watched Tyus play since high school and have seen him in AAU games.  Guys who can score want to play with Tyus because their scoring averages will go up 10 ppg.  Reid Travis was a top 100 prospect - played one year of AAU with Tyus - top 40.  Brock Bertram as a freshman was ranked super high as a college prospect because.......he played with Tyus.  Once he started playing without Tyus - stock plummeted.  I never understood why Rashad Vaughn would not play more AAU with Tyus - he would have scored 35-40 a game. 

Tyus ran the Duke offense every single possession and played 35-40 minutes a game.  I guess Duke's championship and ridiculous record against top 15 teams (something like 12-3) was DESPITE the mediocre point guard play they were receiving on, well, every single offensive possession of every single game....

Friday, June 19, 2015

Matthew Dellavedova 2015 Playoffs -- Basically The Worst Guy Who Played Much

Of 22 guys who played the number of minutes he did (497) or more, Delly ranked:

Win Shares - last
WS.48 == last
Points Per Game - last
Rebounds per game - tie for last with JJ Redick
FG% - last
2 point % - next to last (beat out teammate Iman Shumpert)
3 point % - 14th
Effective FG%   -- last
True Shooting % -- last

Interestingly, if you open up the sort to only 400 minutes played, you do get guys who challenge Delly a little for suckiness.  Marc Gasol shot .394 with no 3s, so he had a worse FG% and eFG%.

Andrew Bogut, by the by, played less than Delly and shot 5-13 from the line.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

How Does LeBron's Playoff Work Compared to the Other Greats?

My top 36 Players of all-time:

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Ray Allen, Charles Barkley
 Rick Barry, Elgin Baylor, Larry Bird 
Kobe Bryant, Wilt Chamberlain, Clyde Drexler
 Tim Duncan, Kevin Durant, Julius Erving
 Patrick Ewing, Kevin Garnett, John Havlicek
 LeBron James, Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan
 Karl Malone, Moses Malone, George Mikan
 Reggie Miller, Steve Nash, Dirk Nowtizki
 Hakeem Olajuwon, Shaquille O'Neal, Chris Paul
 Gary Payton. Bob Petit, Scottie Pippen
 Oscar Robertson, David Robinson, Bill Russell
 John Stockton, Dwayne Wade. Jerry West.

On List and Went to 6+ finals:

Led Their Team to 6+ Finals -- That is, Were the Best Guy On 6 Finals Teams
Kareem (2 w/Bucks, I will give him 80, 82, 83, 84 w/Lakers)
Wilt (7 Finals, even by 1972 he was still 1st team all-NBA, so...)
Magic (I would say 5, but if you give him 84, which is about when the team became his, it goes along with 85, 87, 88, 89 and 91)
West (at least has an argument for the lion's share of the Lakers' appearances, I will leave him here, though it may not be possible to leave both him and Wilt on)

Guys Who Led Their Teams to 6+ Finals and Ended Up With Both More Titles (2) and More Finals MVPs (2) Than LeBron Now Has

Magic (3 MVP, 5 titles)  - note that Magic's teams lost Finals in 1983, 1984, 1989 and 1991. 
Michael (6 and 6)
Duncan (3 and 5)

Should add Bill Russell (11 titles) even though there was no Finals MVP back then.

So yes, LeBron haters, he is a terrible player and a disgrace to playoff basketball.  There are a grand total of 4 guys who have led their teams to the Finals as many times and done better overall. 

Explaining the NBA Finals 2015 Very Briefly

Most effective players in the finals:






This teaches us, of course, that James was the MVP and, if he was not, then it should have been Curry.  But, moving on.... 

If Mozgov was pretty good, why did the Cavs lose?  Well, the Cavs’ backcourt was SO awful that it wiped out virtually all of LeBron’s Wins Above Replacement (he had +1.7, they cost -1.5).

Delly, Smith, Shumpert and James Jones failed to play at a level equal to these guys:

Howard Eisley, JJ Barea and Gerald Henderson level of play would have netted the Cavs a title.

Unfortunately, rather than reaching this lofty "I am as good as a random replacement player" goal, Delly, for example, actually far, far worse.

Guys With at least 3 Win Shares in At Least 5 Playoff Seasons

1Michael Jordan*19891998CHINBA8
2LeBron James20072015TOTNBA7
3Magic Johnson*19841991LALNBA6
4Kareem Abdul-Jabbar*19711984TOTNBA5
5Wilt Chamberlain*19621972TOTNBA5
6Tim Duncan19992014SASNBA5
7Shaquille O'Neal19952004TOTNBA5

So, what you see here, once again, are my top 6 NBA players of all-time, slightly out of order (I have Magic at #6, he is #3, I have LeBron at #4, he is #2, etc.), plus Shaq (my #9 best NBA player).

If you tighten the criteria so that you also need to have a WS/48 greater than .200, you get:

1Michael Jordan*19891998CHINBA8
2Kareem Abdul-Jabbar*19711984TOTNBA5
3LeBron James20072014TOTNBA5
4Wilt Chamberlain*19621972TOTNBA4
5Tim Duncan19992014SASNBA4
6Shaquille O'Neal20002004LALNBA4
7Chauncey Billups20042009TOTNBA3
8Magic Johnson*19851987LALNBA3
9Jerry West*19661969LALNBA3

My top 6 guys plus Shaq, Jerry West and Chauncey.  How about Chauncey putting up over 3 WS on the 2009 Nuggets!?!?!?  Who remembers THAT?  Not me.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Consistently the Best Players in NBA Playoff History

I originally was looking for guys with the most 3+ Win Shares seasons (Michael first, LeBron and Magic next), but then I figured that Wilt and Russell and those guys didn't get super long playoffs to put up 3 WS, so I dropped it to 2WS and added that you actually had to be really good -- .200 WS/48 or better.

The .200 WS/48 figure with 2 WS is reachable (5 guys made it this year), yet it does present an obstacle to guys who have put up WS but not been particularly efficient (LeBron 2015 has 3 WS but is at .184).

So, without further ado:

1Michael Jordan*19881998CHINBA9
2Kareem Abdul-Jabbar*19701984TOTNBA6
3Wilt Chamberlain*19601972TOTNBA6
4LeBron James20072014TOTNBA6
5Magic Johnson*19801989LALNBA6
6Tim Duncan19992014SASNBA5
7Shaquille O'Neal20002004LALNBA5
8Hakeem Olajuwon*19861997HOUNBA5
9Chauncey Billups20042009TOTNBA4
10Jerry West*19621969LALNBA4
11Kevin Durant20112013OKCNBA3
12Bill Russell*19601965BOSNBA3
13Elgin Baylor*19601961TOTNBA2
14Larry Bird*19841986BOSNBA2
15Kobe Bryant20012009LALNBA2

Interestingly, the top 6 guys are also the guys I have listed in my Top 6 players of all-time.  I have 6-1 as Magic/Duncan/LeBron/Kareem/Wilt/Jordan, and this list, adjusted for alphabetical order, has Duncan and Magic flipped.

I have Shaq at #9 (behind Russell) and this list has him tied for 6th.  I had West 11, here he is tied for 9.    I had Russell 8, here he is tied for 11th.  Bird I had 13, he is tied for 13.  Kobe I had 18, he is tied for 13. 

Some outliers -- Hakeem I had 15, he is tied for 6th here.  Chauncey is not a top 36 player, but he is tied here with Jerry West for 9th.  Kevin Durant I had at 25, and I was, quite frankly, shocked to see his name on this list -- but that will give you pause to think about what an unbelievable career he has had in 7 years.  It will also tell you that if Durant can have 7 more years like his first 7 years that he will be a top 10 player of all-time and maybe better.

Monday, June 15, 2015

NBA Playoffs -- 400 Points, 100 Assista and 200 Rebounds in a Playoff Season

Duncan 2003 -- 593+127+369

Barkley 1993 -- 638+102+326

Bird 1984 -- 632+136+252

Bird 1987 -- 622+165+231

James 2012 -- 697+129+224

James 2015 (one game remaining) -- 569+160+208

Duncan 1089
Barkley 1066
Bird 84  1020
Bird 87  1018

James 12 1050
James 15   937

The most win shares -- Duncan.  The best WS/48 - James 2012.  The most minutes played - Barkley 1026. 

Assuming that James'15 can go 30-10-10, one more game will give him a total of 987.  Two more games at that pace 1037. 

James'15 also needs .2 WS to pass Bird'87 and get out of last on the WS list.  It is likely that James will stay ahead of Bird'87 on WS/48. 

Friday, June 12, 2015

Porzingas -- Pros and cons

When it looks like your biggest drawback as a player is that you are, for lack of a better word, a wuss, that does not bode well for your NBA career. Andrea Bargnani Part II. Good outside offense, nothing else.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Nearly 5 Years Have Passed -- Let's Relive Dan Gilbert's Letter Regarding LeBron -- Annotated By HM

Note 1 -- I don't have the ridiculous font Gilbert used.

In July of 2010m Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert posted this letter on the team's website after LeBron James' announcement he was leaving for the Miami Heat.

Dear Cleveland, All Of Northeast Ohio and Cleveland Cavaliers Supporters Wherever You May Be Tonight;

Note 2 -- As of that moment there were a lot of "Cavaliers Supporters" outside NE Ohio, then by 4 years later there were very few; now there are a bunch again.

As you now know, our former hero, who grew up in the very region that he deserted this evening, is no longer a Cleveland Cavalier.

Note 3 -- Ouch

This was announced with a several day, narcissistic, self-promotional build-up culminating with a national TV special of his "decision" unlike anything ever "witnessed" in the history of sports and probably the history of entertainment.

Note 4 -- True.  If LeBron was going to leave, he should have just left.  The Decision, as an event, only made sense if he were staying.

Clearly, this is bitterly disappointing to all of us.
The good news is that the ownership team and the rest of the hard-working, loyal, and driven staff over here at your hometown Cavaliers have not betrayed you nor NEVER will betray you.
There is so much more to tell you about the events of the recent past and our more than exciting future. Over the next several days and weeks, we will be communicating much of that to you.

Note 5 -- We really have our eye on a young man named Anthony Bennett.

You simply don't deserve this kind of cowardly betrayal.
You have given so much and deserve so much more.
In the meantime, I want to make one statement to you tonight:

Note 6 -- I wonder if fans ever collected on this alleged "guarantee."

You can take it to the bank.

Note 7 -- I tried, and no bank was willing to take Gilbert's word that the Cavs would win before the Heat.  I wonder if Cavs fans were able to obtain ticket refunds when James beat OKC in June of 2012?

If you thought we were motivated before tonight to bring the hardware to Cleveland, I can tell you that this shameful display of selfishness and betrayal by one of our very own has shifted our "motivation" to previously unknown and previously never experienced levels.
Some people think they should go to heaven but NOT have to die to get there.
Sorry, but that's simply not how it works.

Note 8 -- What the hell does that mean?  LeBron wanted to win a title but didn't want to die (i.e. stay in Cleveland) to do so?  Is that really a positive comment to your fans?  "Look, I know living in Cleveland fucking sucks, but LeBron should have to live here and pay that awful, awful, unthinkable price to win...."

This shocking act of disloyalty from our home grown "chosen one" sends the exact opposite lesson of what we would want our children to learn. And "who" we would want them to grow-up to become.

Note 9 -- What is the quoted "who" supposed to mean?  "Grow up" isn't a hyphenated term.  Come on, Dan, think of other similar usages.  "If I had a party would you show-up?"  "That issue with him is really going to blow-up."  Come on.

But the good news is that this heartless and callous action can only serve as the antidote to the so-called "curse" on Cleveland, Ohio.
The self-declared former "King" will be taking the "curse" with him down south.

Note 10 -- Nope.

And until he does "right" by Cleveland and Ohio, James (and the town where he plays) will unfortunately own this dreaded spell and bad karma.
Just watch.

Note 11 -- I watched.  He and the town where he played won 2 titles and went to 4 Finals while the Cavs slid into obscurity.

Sleep well, Cleveland.
Tomorrow is a new and much brighter day....
I PROMISE you that our energy, focus, capital, knowledge and experience will be directed at one thing and one thing only:
DELIVERING YOU the championship you have long deserved and is long overdue....

Note 12 -- This "energy" resulted in having the #1 pick and selecting Anthony Bennett, resulting in having the #1 pick again.  I cannot figure out the importance of the capitalized  "Delivering you."  If it is that crucial, wouldn't the "you" after I PROMISE be capitalized?  Rich people, clearly, are not always smart people.

Dan Gilbert
Majority Owner
Cleveland Cavaliers

Note 13 -- At least he put his name at the end.  He owns this pile of crap forever rather than just saying "The Cleveland Cavaliers Organization." 

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

What Have We Learned From LeBron James and Russell Westbrook and Their Ridiculous Usage Rates?

The Usage Rates of post-season James and regular-season Westbrook (sans Durant) have been astronomical.  While Kobe has still managed to hold down the all-time season mark for Usage (38.7% at age 27), had Westbrook had a full year without Durant, he could have been above 40% Usage.

James in the Finals Game 1 had a 45% Usage.  While that dropped under 40% in Game 2, having a 41.4 Usage % over two games is insane.

So, what have we learned? 

1) It is possible to hog the ball this much.  One would imagine that it would be so emotionally and physically exhausting to have the ball this much and have so much pressure on you that there is a physical limit for Usage that must be about 27 year old Kobe level (38.7%).   You'd think that would be the ceiling.

Not true.  If you literally feel that you have no choice except to lose, it appears that Usage of 40-41-45% is possible and the ball hogging player can come back night after night and play and continue at that same rate for a long period of time.

2) It Doesn't Necessarily Lead to Losing.  Westbrook was able to keep his team in the playoff chase and James has kept his Cavs in the title chase through a remarkable level of ball hogging.  Again - this is contrary to what most folks would believe.  Spread the ball around, allow more guys to touch it, you are going to win more.  Do the opposite, you will lose more.  Not necessarily true.

3) Opponents Will Not Necessarily Try to Take the Ball Out of the One Guy's Hands -- you would imagine that the opponent would pick up full court and double team and trap and do anything in its power to make the other guys (who are almost per se not very good) beat them.  You would be wrong.  Teams against the Thunder did not do so, and the Warriors continue to single team James and even go so far as to say that they are more concerned with him passing than scoring 40 points.

4) High One-Player Usage Can Be Used to Speed Up or Slow the Game -- Westbrook will get his shots and get them quickly.  He doesn't provide much thought process to what he is doing.  On the other hand, LeBron's hogging of the ball appears to serve the same purpose that the 1989-91 Minnesota Timberwolves offense did -- to slow the game WAY WAY down and limit possessions by a vastly superior opponent.  (In the 1984-1994 time period, those two Wolves teams ranked 2nd and 8th slowest out of roughly 250 team seasons for pace of play).    Remarkably, a very slow pace of play and isolation basketball has been successful in the past.  Both the 1990s Pistons and the 1992-93 Bulls were amongst the slowest playing teams of their eras, and both featured a ton of half court isolation ball.  Both won titles. 

5) It is Ugly Basketball -- not much else needs to be said on this point.  The Cavs have basically revisited Mike Brown's old "23 Stand" offense where #23 stands 23 feet from the basket and holds the ball for 23 seconds of the shot clock.  The only difference with the Cavs is that they do occasionally screen and they do occasionally run LeBron into the post.  But it is basically 23 Stand.  Westbrook's style is more akin to the guy who you just HATE playing pickup ball with who makes reckless forays into the paint time after time after time, hits 35% of his layups and then complains that he is being fouled every time. 

The one issue that will be interesting to see with LeBron is whether his Usage dips slightly after the first couple games here.  Westbrook about 75% of the way through the year was on path where maintaining his remarkable pace would have surpassed Kobe's all-time mark, but in the last month of so of the season, his rate suffered for whatever reason - one would expect that since Russ has no conscience that it had to be due mostly to fatigue.  The Finals will likely go at least 6 games.  It seems difficult to believe that a 265 pound man can maintain a 41.4% Usage rate over the next 180 minutes of play.  I mean, my God, he is being guarded by 3 very good defenders (Barnes, Iguodala, Green).  Try playing one-on-one until you score 10 baskets against three top flight different defenders who are rotated in.  You probably never reach 10.  Now imagine that after every shot you take you have to go to the other end and possibly be switched onto Steph Curry. 

Not pretty, unlike 48 year old Salma Hayek:


Monday, June 01, 2015

Ranking LeBron's Best and Worst Supporting Casts

Very, very interesting stuff.  What this will tell you is that LeBron's supporting casts have generally sucked.  But it also tells you this:

2007 -- 61st best team versus 1th best team the Spurs -- Spurs sweep.

2011 -- 10th best team versus 58th best team the Mavs -- Mavs in 6 - it really was as terrible of a choke job as we imagined.

2012 -- #21 versus the #25 OKC club -- easy win, so a better win that we imagined.

2013 -- #39 club versus the #2 Spurs -- you wonder why the Spurs were SOOOOO pissed that they lost?  They were much better than the Heat.

2014 -- #53 versus #7 Spurs -- Spurs in 5.  Spurs were way better.

2015 -- #60 versus #14 Warriors.     Looks like it should be Warriors in 5.