NBA All-Star Reserves (and Deserves)

The list is posted. Here are my thoughts based on their overall productivity.

West

Pau Gasol - acceptable pick.
David West - no way. slightly above average producer (but scores a lot of points).
Dirk Nowitzki - usually a given, this year he's still very good, but no all-star.
Tony Parker - one of his best seasons ever (but still not outstanding).
Chauncey Billups - absolutely.
Brandon Roy - acceptable.

East

Jameer Nelson - his best season yet.
Rashard Lewis - hmm. only acceptable as a small forward.
Paul Pierce - usually a given, having a down year though.
Joe Johnson - no way. average producer, prodigious shooter of the ball.
Chris Bosh - solid, but not exemplary, big man.
Devin Harris - best season yet.
Danny Granger - nope. see Joe Johnson. His primary problems are turnovers and poor rebounding (and average shooting efficiency).

Furthermore, the article gave mention to the following notable snubs:

East

Mo Williams - not even the most productive guard on his team (Delonte West). slightly above average producer for the same reasons as Granger.
Rajon Rondo - absolutely should have been a starter. most productive player on the Celtics so far this year. yes, i'm serious.
Ray Allen - eh. didn't deserve a spot, but he's productive.

West

Al Jefferson - he's playing just about as well as ever. very productive player, but there are others equally or more productive at his position (Gasol).
Steve Nash - has he really declined in production? looks like he has, but he's still more productive than some of the all-stars.

Production vs Skills

Nice, I got a new one done. Sadly, I got hilariously cut off at the end - if I hadn't commented on the fact that I was running out of time I would have made it. Oh well.

This marks the first mention of Larry Hughes.

Just me doing my part to help player evaluation in the NBA - hopefully one day players won't get extra credit for abilities that, while impressive, do not help his team win.


video

1st video

This is more of an introduction and 'test run' than anything else.

I have no idea what I'm saying half the time, but hey - it's all practice. I'll have specific things to discuss in the future.

Oh, and somehow I nailed the time limit! I got it right on the dot.


video

Yep

Looks like I'm going to make this a video blog. I recorded the first one just now, only I need to upload it (but I'm heading out in a second). Hopefully Blogger will let me upload a ton of video, cause I got lots to talk about.

OJ Mayo is not the rookie of the year

Not by a long shot. Off the top of my head I can think of four rookies who are producing at a greater rate than Mayo. If that's the case, why did Head 2 Head sports say yesterday, "Very few rookies in the history of the league have been as impressive as Mayo has been this season."

Simple. He scores more points per game than any other rookie. However, that stat is meaningless. Take more shots, score more points. What is important is how efficiently those points are scored.

In addition, there are many other factors other than scoring that affect the outcome of games. No, I'm not talking about "intangibles" (I hate that word). I'm talking about the box score.

Mayo shoots 45%. That's not good. Plus he takes a ton of shots, so that's not helping his team win, either. He's turnover prone and surprisingly doesn't generate many steals for a supposedly quick young guard. He rebounds relatively well, though.

All in all it adds up to merely average production for a SG (as calculated via Win Produced per 48 minutes). I should add that this is better than expected for Mayo, who was a below average performer in college. So perhaps he will become above average in future years.

I mentioned that there are at least four rookies with better production. Let's talk about one who was a second-round pick. Let's talk about Mario Chalmers.

A quick look at their efficiency stats (shooting) will show you that Mario is a worse shooter than Mayo (Chalmers is at 41%). However, Chalmers takes far fewer shots than Mayo, so ultimately he 'hurts his team less'.

Now let's move on to possession factors: rebounds, steals, blocks and turnovers. Chalmers lags a bit behind Mayo in rebounds per 48 minutes, but is a beast when it comes to steals (he's near the top of the league). Blocks are a wash, but Chalmers bests Mayo again in the turnover department, despite being a PG and thus, in theory, handling the ball more. (Even if he doesn't actually handle the ball more than Mayo, Chalmers still manages to get far more assists).

All told, Chalmers is a more valuable player in terms of gaining possessions for his team. He commits more fouls than Mayo, but this is more than offset by his superior assist total.

So, in non-scoring aspects Chalmers is much better than Mayo per 48 minutes. Mayo is the better shooter, but it's all relative - he's still not a great shooter, and Chalmers limits the damage caused by his inefficient shooting by not taking too many shots. In the end, Chalmers produces more wins per 48 minutes than Mayo.

Since the point of basketball is to wins games (not score points), I'd vote for Chalmers for MVP over Mayo any day.

I should also point out - Chalmers' production is not a surprise. Take a look at his college numbers. They were remarkably good, and consistent, for all three of his Kansas years. Due to his consistency I proclaimed him a sure bet in the NBA, and he has delivered (I wish I was doing this blog then, that would have been nice to have for posterity). So why was he taken in the second round?

Scoring. It's just plain overvalued. Enormously.

...and we're back

Hmm. It's been a year since I posted here. I've been watching tons of basketball this season and I'm starting to get frustrated again. So the blog is back.

What I'd really like to do is make this a video blog of some sort. It would be awesome to find a way to get feeds of NBA games sans audio commentary, so I could do my own. I don't think that's possible. What is possible is me doing ghetto espn-style coverage of each day's games, all told through the lens of statistical analysis. Gone will be all pointless references to "points scored" and "(blanks) per game", replaced by "FG/FT%" and "(blanks) per 48 minutes".

My biggest beef right now... ok, I'll make this a separate post.

End of an Era

Please, please click on the link over on the right to 'Hey Larry Hughes Please Stop Taking So Many Bad Shots'. The author has posted his final, well, post, and it's great. The highlight? A photo of Brian Fantana with the caption: "Larry Hughes' jumpshot; 33% of the time, it works every time."

There is a good chance that I'll print that out and hang it in my bedroom.

Ode to Larry

This site is called Rational Sports, but allow me a moment of irrational exuberance. The Cavs just pulled off a mega trade with the Bulls and Sonics, and the trade is so far in the Cavs' favor that I wet myself when I heard the news.

Here are the players involved, along with their WP48 production through the first half of the season:

Cavs get:
Ben Wallace .162
Wally Szczerbiak .055
Delonte West .004
Joe Smith .065

Bulls get:
Larry Hughes (!!!) -.080
Drew Gooden .074
Cedric Simmons -.125
Shannon Brown -.186

Sonics get:
Ira Newble .097
Donyell Marshall -.214
Adrian Griffin .040

Now, on the surface this doesn't look like such a huge trade for the Cavs. However, there is a chance that the Cavs pulled off this deal at critical 'buy low' times for many of the players involved. Ben Wallace has historically posted a WP48 in excess of .300. In other words, he has been stellar. It's true that he's old now, but it's also true that he has been unhappy in Chicago. Still, he has been playing twice as well as Gooden, who also has traditionally been a much better player, in the .180 range. But I'm happy to take a player whose play, when they don't live up to expectations, equals that of a player when he does live up to expectations.

Both West and Szczerbiak have been slightly above average in the past as well. This year both have seen very inconsistent minutes, and it has been shown that a reduction in minutes does has a negative impact on a player's production. It is likely that West and Wally will become the starting PG and SG for the Cavs, or, if Boobie Gibson starts, one of them will be the sixth man. The increase in minutes should bode well for their play.

Last, but certainly not least, the Cavs have gotten rid of Larry Hughes. Ah, Larry. I cannot overemphasize how important this is to the Cavs. Even if Wally and West do not improve at all, the loss of Hughes, whose WP48 is in the negative range, means a dramatic increase in production for the Cavs. Let's put it this way: I, a rational sports fan, jumped up from my computer and ran and talked excitedly to a near-stranger at my workplace (who I knew was a basketball fan) after hearing about the trade. I am very sad, however, that the fantastic heylarryhughespleasestoptakingsomanybadshots.com may be dead. There really is no replacement for a site like that in one's daily web routine.

All in all, there is no doubt - none - that this is a very beneficial trade for the Cavs. The only real assets they gave up were Gooden (having a terrible year so far) and Newble, who sees very limited minutes because of the NBA's scoring bias.

I might purchase an NBA league pass for the rest of this year now. Unbelievable.

few posts

I have been very busy at work lately, that is why there haven't been many posts lately. Well, that and because I am the only person who reads this thing.

LeBron vs Carmelo I

One NBA player lords over LeBron James.

Carmelo Anthony rules Cleveland's hoops King.

"I know he hates losing to me," Anthony said with a laugh.

This is how the AP writeup of last night's Cavs-Nuggets game began. But let's see who should be laughing. True, the Nuggets destroyed the Cavs last night. It was ugly. But the Cavs were without many of their main rotation players: Gooden, Gibson and Varejao. The Nuggets were pretty much at full strength.

I find it hard to believe that some people still consider Carmelo a better player than LeBron, but apparently they're out there. So I calculated the WP48 (wins per 48 minutes) of each player (see the Wages of Wins link to the right if you don't know what this means).

LeBron: .166
Carmelo: .464

And what we find is that in this case, the AP writer is correct (didn't see that one coming, did you?). LeBron played a horrible game, highlighted by his 5 turnovers. Looks like he shouldn't have been the one to sit alone at the end of the bench in the 4th quarter.

Of course, this is just one game. So before we jump to conclusions here is each player's WP48 score after the first 41 games of the season:

LeBron: .331
Carmelo: .101

These numbers are representative of each player's entire career. LeBron has been a far more productive player than Carmelo. It's really not even close.

For fun, here is Darko's WP48 this season:

Darko: -.075

Yes, that's a minus sign.