Friday, March 31, 2017

Is Andrew Wiggins a Good Player? Future Superstar? Bust?

I have previously opined upon Andrew Wiggins and determined that he is an "inefficient scorer" type of player who is deficient in rebounding, assists and defense.  So, he is basically a bad Dale Ellis or a bad 32 year old Carmelo Anthony.  Glen Rice's name came up.

For some reason, there is suddenly a very spirited debate on Twitter that consists of two primary groups:

-- Andrew Wiggins is a complete bust
-- Andrew Wiggins is a future superstar and the second coming of Kobe Bryant.

If you do not agree with either camp, you are immediately lumped into the other camp.  You say, "Hey, look, Wiggy is no Kobe...never will be..."  Reply, OH SURE!  YOU CLAIM HE IS A BUST!  20 points a game scorer, HORRIBLE BUST!

You say, "I haven't completely given up on Wiggy as a player.  He is young...."  Reply, OH SURE!!  CAN WE WAIVE THE WAITING PERIOD AND ELECT HIM TO THE HALL OF FAME TODAY!?!?  NOT QUICK ENOUGH FOR YOU?!?

The primary problem with evaluating Andrew Wiggins is he just turned 22 and he is really streaky, so he has some games where he looks great and some games where as a Wolves fan if you see one more horrid "possession of Wiggy" you'd like to take a gun and shoot yourself.

His game, overall, is remarkably inefficient.  His defense, rebounding and assist stats are terrible, and he has never been on a winning team.  He has poor WS, WS/48 and VORP stats.  On the other hand, he has impressive scoring stats and he is an OK shooter who gets to the line a fair amount.

So, the issue really comes down to -- is he "good" and if so, how "good"?  Well, if you look for guys who are high Usage (25.9% or higher) and low WS/48 players (.100 or lower) and not super great defenders (104 or higher DRtg), you get the following list of guys who have played at least 8,500 minutes in the NBA:

Jerry Stackhouse
Pete Maravich
Glenn Robinson
Antoine Walker
Ray Williams
Ben Gordon
(The Less Good) Cliff Robinson
JR Rider
Darrell Griffith
Super John Williamson
Michael Beasley
"San" Quintin Dailey  and
Andrew Wiggins

Now, Wiggy is at the bottom of the list because he has the fewest WS of anyone on the list.  It should be noted, however, that someone like Pete Maravich has roughly double the WS/48 that Wiggy has. So Wiggy ain't Pete Maravich yet, or, for that matter, Jerry Stackhouse.

But the real question to be asked here is -- are these guys "good"?  Are they, or were they, "good" NBA players.  It all depends upon what you want, correct?   Every guy on the list was a pretty effective scorer.  There are some all-star appearances on the list.  Maravich is a Hall of Famer and ESPN has him as a top 100 NBA player.  So what you really need to evaluate is 1) whether you consider these guys to be "good" and 2) whether if Wiggins ends his career equal to these guys, would you be happy with that?

I'd say that if Wiggy ended up as good as Stack or Maravich or Big Dog or Antoine Walker or Ray Williams that most people would consider that as "good" and be fairly happy. 

Ben Gordon and Darrell Griffith - probably not as happy

Robinson and Super John -- unhappy

Rider, Beasley, Dailey -- very unhappy.

But let's put to bed the fiction that there is any realistic chance that Wiggy will ever be Kobe or Durant.  When Kobe was 21 he had a PER of 22 and accounted for almost 11 Win Shares, got 6 rebounds, 5 assists and 2.5 steals + blocks a game.  His Defensive Rating was 98 (Wiggy is 114). 

Durant at age 21 has a 26 PER and put up 16 WS.  He would have won the MVP had LeBron not been having an insanely great season (18.5 WS, .299 WS/48).

So, is Andrew Wiggins an absolute Kwame-Brown-esque bust?  No.  Has he demonstrated ANYTHING close to being or becoming a Kobe or a Durant (two of my top 25 players of all-time)?  Certainly not.    Will Wiggy ever approach these players' career.  I say no, and I say no confidently.  That will never happen.  Could he become a Glen Rice or a Glenn Robinson or maybe a poor man's Carmelo Anthony or DeMar DeRozan? Certainly.  So you need to ask yourself - is that "good"?  Would you consider Wiggy to be "good" if he reached that level of play? 

I cannot make that judgment for you -- but that is where the truth lies; Wiggy could be kinda disappointing, or he could be a couple time all-star.  It is up to him.  Whether you consider that "good" or not, is an entirely subjective call.

And your response to this item should start with "OH SURE!"

Monday, March 27, 2017

Liam Payne (23) Has a Kid With Cheryl Cole (33)?

He, like I, must remember her from these two pics taken 10+ years ago when she was Cheryl Tweedy.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Aaron Hernandez Killed a Guy For a Spilled Drink

Was concerned he was considered as "soft."


Well, let this be a life lesson to you young men out there.  If you are in a "club" where huge men congregate and where you kind of get the feeling that the law does not apply, be extremely careful with what occurs.

Now, I have never once entered a "gentlemen's club" or "strip bar" or "strip joint," but here is what I have learned from independent third-party accounts:  1) many of the gentlemen in the establishment are not actually "gentlemen" in the common understanding of the word; 2) they are, instead, often people with nothing to lose; 3) they are there to drink a lot and establish their general overall dominance over someone; 4) they'd really like to kick someone's ass if at all possible.

Based upon these reports, I would suggest that if someone comes up to you at 11PM or later in such an establishment and suggest that you "get the fuck out of here" that you do not hesitate to leave forthwith.  You do not inquire as to why.  You do not engage the person in conversation.  You leave.

There are certain places in the world (southern Waffle House after midnight for example) where you are dealing with people who generally have very, very little to lose.  They are angry, and you happen to be in the way.  Get out of the way.  When this gentleman spilled a drink on the enormous Aaron Hernandez, he should have immediately apologized, offered to do whatever it took to get in Hernandez's good graces, and, failing that, have left ASAP.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Russell Westbrook, Chandler Parsons and KAT Call the NBA Offices

Of the 3, KAT is best, then Parsons close behind.  Russ by far the worst.

Russell Westbrook's Usage Rate Explosion

Russell Westbrook has always been a guy who had a high "Usage Rate".  Usage Rate, broadly defined, is the % of your team's plays that you are involved in while you are on the floor.  Even more broadly stated, it measures how much of a ball hog you are.  Because if you are not touching the ball, you are not "using" the possession.

The guys who tend to have the ball all of the time and dribble around wildly and either pass for an assist or shoot are the guys with big Usage.

So, going onto the 2016-17 season, the top 6 all-time ball hogs were:

6.  Carmelo
5. LeBron
4. Allen Iverson
3. Kobe
2. Dwyane Wade
1.  Michael Jordan

Obviously, it helps to be really talented to be on this list, because no matter how much you WANT to possess the ball, if you suck, your coach will eventually not allow you to possess the ball.

This is, of course, why the pairing of Wade and LeBron was such an awful idea.  You generally don't want to pair two super high usage players.  In Year 1 of that experiment, LeBron reduced his Usage 2 points in the regular season and 4+ points in the playoffs, deferring to Wade.  The LeBron/Wade experiment only worked after Wade reduced his Usage, LeBron jacked his back up, and LeBron became a far more efficient player.

Anyway, moving on.  The Holy Grail of seasonal Usage was accomplished by Kobe in 2005-06.  In 2004-05 the Lakers had missed the playoffs with Kobe at his typically high 31.7 Usage.  Kobe went bazonkers (technical term) in 2005-06 and raised his Usage by 7% to an NBA record 38.7%. 

Kobe's ball hogging during the 2005-06 season was so legendary that, after he was criticized for shooting too much in Game 6 of the First Round playoff series against the Suns, Kobe went into full tank mode and REFUSED to shoot in the second half of Game 7, thus insuring a Lakers loss.  One of the most vile and childish acts ever seen from an NBA all-star:

In any event, having witnessed the ballhoggery of the 27 year old Kobe (at the height of his physical powers and his mental selfishness) I really never felt his Usage mark would ever be challenged. 

But then came Russell Westbrook without Kevin Durant.  In 2014-15 Durant was hurt for a substantial stretch of games, and Westbrook went Usage mad, taking his mark up from around a career median of 32 to a shocking 38.4.  Only a late season lack of physical energy kept Russ from reaching Kobe's magical 38.7% mark.  In 2015-16 Durant returned and Westbrook's usage went down to a still-high but rational 31.5 for a season.  Then Durant left.

Russell Westbrook is 28 years old.  So one would imagine that while he might challenge Kobe's mark that it would be at least a close contest.  It has not been a close contest.  Russ is at a 42.1% Usage.  He is shattering Kobe's mark.  No one this season even approaches this level of Usage.  No one in history approaches this level of Usage. 

Westbrook's Usage in 2016-17 has been so high that he has gone from 7th place all-time in career Usage to SECOND.  He trails only Jordan.  This year he has passed such Usage greats as Carmelo, LeBron, Iverson, Kobe, and Wade.  If he has a similar year in 2017-18, Russ will move ahead of Jordan for career Usage %.

What Russ is doing is really a tribute to his mental and physical endurance and his "don't give a fuck" attitude.  I really never thought anyone could combine these three attributes like Kobe.  But Russ has gone Kobe plus 9%. 

To give some perspective, in 2014-15 when LeBron James was playing in the playoffs with Cleveland and basically any decent Cav was hurt, his Usage for the playoff stretch was only 37.6.  In the Finals, when the Cavs were basically running "23 stand" where LeBron held the ball for 23 seconds and then tried to make a play, LeBron's Usage was only 40.8.  LeBron would complain after every game that he knew this was not close to the correct way to play basketball, but he had no real choice if he wanted a chance to win.

Westbrook has registered a 42.1 (versus Finals LeBron 40.8) and Russ has done it for an entire season.  So, Kudos to Russ.  I just hope we never have to see this again.

Thursday, March 09, 2017

Sam Bradford Checking on the Vikings' Offensive Line Progress

Monday, March 06, 2017