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Thursday, April 03, 2014

OT: NBA Monthly Thread - April 2014

I estimate only 10-12 Primates care about the NBA, but with our own thread, we won’t detract from what this site is really about, which I forgot.

Have posts been building up inside you?

The District Attorney Posted: April 03, 2014 at 05:26 PM | 2387 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: basketball, nba, off-topic

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   1101. stanmvp48 Posted: May 04, 2014 at 08:59 PM (#4700127)
He was held while they were trying to get the ball in; he was tripped when he split defenders and PP came down on him after the block
   1102. tshipman Posted: May 04, 2014 at 09:07 PM (#4700129)
What does all this have to do with Westbrook?

I would think you would be in favor then of the Thunder replacing Westbrook with somebody who distributes better, to take better advantage of Ibaka's catch and shoot abilities.


Westbrook is creating those opportunities, by and large. Teams suck in to cut off penetration, which leaves Ibaka open on the pick and pop, or as the roll man. How many guards get more penetration than Westbrook? I mean, if you can trade Westbrook for Chris Paul, I would advise the Thunder to make that trade.

If you had Ibaka take five or ten more shots per game, his production would plummet. His TS% declined this year when he took more shots compared to last year.
   1103. Publius Publicola Posted: May 04, 2014 at 09:27 PM (#4700134)
If you had Ibaka take five or ten more shots per game, his production would plummet.


First, that's a brutal exaggeration of what the Thunder would do if they switched point guards and had a pass first point instead of Westbrook. By taking 10 more, that would mean Ibaka would shoot more than Durant. That's absurd. All he has to do is get 2-4 more shots a game and Westbrook get 2-4 shots less. That's eminently doable. One extra make a game moves their point differential from 6.4 to 8.4 a game. That moves them from a distant third to best in the league. Heck, one extra FG in games 4 and 5 and they close out Memphis 4-1. There's no way the Grizzlies should have given them the trouble they did. What the hell is Westbrook doing shooting more than Durant? It's insane.

And that .479 TS% and .412 eFG% is not the stuff of which champions are made either.
   1104. Publius Publicola Posted: May 04, 2014 at 09:36 PM (#4700140)
He was held while they were trying to get the ball in; he was tripped when he split defenders and PP came down on him after the block


Correction: He was walled off by three defenders trying to get the ball in; and the ball was poked away from him while he was trying to split the defenders and PP never left his feet for the block and so could not have come down on him.
   1105. Maxwn Posted: May 04, 2014 at 09:48 PM (#4700145)
Ibaka's TS% was all of 30 pts higher than Westbrook's this year. Ibaka took 2 more shots/36 this year than last year and his TS% dropped about 40 pts. I don't see any reason in particular to think that if he took 2-4 more shots a game he'd be any more efficient than Westbrook. Maybe he would but its not anything like a certainty.

Also Memphis was damn near a .700 team this year when Gasol was in the lineup and they match up pretty well with OKC. Thinking its inexplicable that OKC didn't just blow the doors off MEM is just stupid.
   1106. Paul D(uda) Posted: May 04, 2014 at 09:57 PM (#4700148)
   1107. Spivey Posted: May 04, 2014 at 10:17 PM (#4700155)
I loathe Brooklyn and loathe Pierce even more, but that wasn't a foul on him. It was a good block. And Pierce was pretty gracious and complimentary of Toronto in victory. Toronto's "problem", if you can call it that - because they've got a young, good team - is that they are a Paul George away from being a contender. And it's quite unlikely any of their guys turn into Paul George, and it's also unlikely they're going to get one in the draft. But they can be the #2 or #3 seed the next couple of years, and I assume everyone in the East feels like they're one LeBron injury away from making a run to the finals.
   1108. Spivey Posted: May 04, 2014 at 10:25 PM (#4700159)
The look on KG's face is pretty awesome though. That's a "I don't want my career to be over" look.
   1109. Paul D(uda) Posted: May 04, 2014 at 10:56 PM (#4700166)
It's pretty hard to imagine the refs calling a foul in that situation, no matter what happens. Toronto needs a better 4th big man than Chuck Hayes, and needs some kind of answer for big SFs - Joe Johnson just killed them today. Maybe Vince.
   1110. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: May 04, 2014 at 11:09 PM (#4700172)
My 1st rd predictions were pretty close (from post 308)

IND over ATL in 6
MIA over CHA in 4
BKN over TOR in 6
WAS over CHI in 6

SAS over DAL in 4
OKC over MEM in 7
LAC over GSW in 6
POR over HOU in 6


I haven't followed the NBA that much until the playoffs started to have made any predictions, but except for Miami all the teams I wanted to advance did so. I can't believe I'm watching the playoffs without the Celtics being in it, but these were all terrific series. (Well, except for Miami-Charlotte)

Next round:

Bullets over the Pacers in 6
Miami over the Dodgers in 6

Spurs over Portland in 7
Clippers over Oklahoma in 7

   1111. NJ in DC (Now with temporary employment!) Posted: May 04, 2014 at 11:52 PM (#4700178)
IND over ATL in 4
MIA over CHA in 5
TOR over BKN in 7
WAS over CHI in 7

WAS over IND in 7
MIA over TOR in 5

MIA over WAS in 5

SAS over DAL in 5
OKC over MEM in 7
LAC over GSW in 6
HOU over POR in 5

HOU over SAS in 7
LAC over OKC in 7

LAC over HOU in 6

MIA over LAC in 6


Well, my Finals is still intact. Based on the 1st round I expect SAS over POR in 4, LAC over OKC in 7, MIA over BKN in 5, IND over WAS in 6.
   1112. Kurt Posted: May 05, 2014 at 12:25 AM (#4700184)
Based on the first round you're switching from the Wizards to Indiana? When you thought the Pacers would sweep Atlanta? That seems odd.
   1113. Russlan is fond of Dillon Gee Posted: May 05, 2014 at 12:48 AM (#4700187)
Based on the 1st round I expect SAS over POR in 4, LAC over OKC in 7, MIA over BKN in 5, IND over WAS in 6.

I expect San Antonio to win the series but I can't see any series in the West being that one sided.
   1114. Athletic Supporter can feel the slow rot Posted: May 05, 2014 at 01:29 AM (#4700190)
I can easily see SAS or OKC running roughshod over POR and LAC (something like 5 game series with 3 wins where the opponent isn't within 5 points in the 4th quarter). Especially if Paul is still not at 100%.
   1115. Publius Publicola Posted: May 05, 2014 at 09:31 AM (#4700215)
Thinking its inexplicable that OKC didn't just blow the doors off MEM is just stupid.


WTF?? I just explained in detail why it was entirely explicable OKC didn't blow their doors off- OKC has an inefficient point guard.

Now, if you don't believe Westbrook is inefficient, I would like to hear your reasoning for that.
   1116. King Mekong Posted: May 05, 2014 at 10:21 AM (#4700241)
TIL Derek Fisher leads the NBA in playoff games played. He just passed big shot brob. Duncan will pass Kobe this series for 4th all time. http://www.basketball-reference.com/leaders/g_career_p.html
   1117. tshipman Posted: May 05, 2014 at 10:37 AM (#4700254)
Now, if you don't believe Westbrook is inefficient, I would like to hear your reasoning for that.


Westbrook has an above average TS% and assist %.
   1118. HMS Moses Taylor Posted: May 05, 2014 at 10:48 AM (#4700264)
It's pretty hard to imagine the refs calling a foul in that situation, no matter what happens. Toronto needs a better 4th big man than Chuck Hayes, and needs some kind of answer for big SFs - Joe Johnson just killed them today. Maybe Vince.

Where's the foul there? They virtually never call hand on hand contact after the shot as a foul - and in this case it was a clean block through that point. It also clearly shows Pierce isn't coming down on him. If anyone is fouling Lowry there, it's Patterson. Perhaps Lowry maybe should have thought about passing the ball about 5 different times that possession.
   1119. Spivey Posted: May 05, 2014 at 11:00 AM (#4700273)
Perhaps Lowry maybe should have thought about passing the ball about 5 different times that possession.

This. He really forced that. There was obviously nothing that could have happened that play that was going to lead to him passing the ball.
   1120. Publius Publicola Posted: May 05, 2014 at 12:23 PM (#4700373)
Where's the foul there?


Nowhere. It was a purely partisan comment.
   1121. Publius Publicola Posted: May 05, 2014 at 12:36 PM (#4700387)
Westbrook has an above average TS% and assist %.


His AS/TO ratio is poor as well, 1.80, 134th in the league. What makes that doubly troubling is that he's a low percentage, high volume shooter, and so shouldn't have problems wih his turnover rate.

He shouldn't handle the ball so much, especially on a team that has another player who is capable of doing so much more with it.

   1122. Maxwn Posted: May 05, 2014 at 12:48 PM (#4700402)
WTF?? I just explained in detail why it was entirely explicable OKC didn't blow their doors off- OKC has an inefficient point guard.

First as tshipman pointed out, Westbrook isn't really inefficient. Second, your analysis was of the form: arbitrarily move shots from Westbrook to Ibaka, assume that nothing changes but that they make 1 more shot a game, therefore they are better. But you haven't established that this would be the case, it all hangs on the idea that because Ibaka's a little more efficient than Westbrook on the shots they take now he will continue to be more efficient if you add 2-4 shots to him. That is debatable at best.

A great deal of Ibaka's efficiency comes from the fact that he shoots an incredibly high percentage at the rim. In all likelihood its because most of those shots he takes are wide open. 69% of them are assisted which probably means dunks on lobs, transition baskets, etc. To the extent that he can get more of those, sure that would make the Thunder more efficient. But getting more wide-open shots at the rim is easier said than done.

The assist point is another thing that tshipman mentioned earlier but is really important to this sort of arbitrary shot shifting. Nearly 80% of Ibaka's shots are assisted. Less than 35% of Westbrook's are. Those are very different types of shots. It is by no means obvious that you just snap your fingers and turn one into the other on a 1-to-1 basis. It is most definitely not obvious that you can turn Westbrook's non-assisted shots into assisted shots by Ibaka that are of the same quality as the assisted shots Ibaka is taking now. It seems very likely to me that they would be worse shots. That makes the idea that more Ibaka less Westbrook would improve the Thunder offense a very uncertain proposition. Maybe it would, but it could just as easily make them worse. If it caused Ibaka to be taking more tough jumpers and Westbrook's foul rate to drop, it could lead to a worse offense overall.

You can't just pick the things you want to change and assume everything else will stay the same. Moving one thing is going to change a lot of other things in the flow of a basketball game. You have to think through how that is going to work or you haven't really done anything but assume your conclusions.
   1123. Booey Posted: May 05, 2014 at 12:50 PM (#4700408)
Giving credit where it's due - with 15 BBTF playoff predictions, King Mekong is the only poster who nailed all 8 first round series. No one else got more than 6. Kudos.
   1124. Publius Publicola Posted: May 05, 2014 at 12:52 PM (#4700413)
First as tshipman pointed out, Westbrook isn't really inefficient.


And as Publius pointed out, tshipment only looked at those things which make Westbrook look good and neglected obvious counterfactual information.
Nearly 80% of Ibaka's shots are assisted. Less than 35% of Westbrook's are.


Of course not. An assist cannot be recorded when Westbrook shoots the ball without ever another teammate touching the ball on a possession.
   1125. jmurph Posted: May 05, 2014 at 01:00 PM (#4700427)
The point is that others, frequently Westbrook, are doing a great deal of the work to get Ibaka open shots. They're not isos, they're not post-ups.
   1126. Publius Publicola Posted: May 05, 2014 at 01:11 PM (#4700440)
The point is that others, frequently Westbrook, are doing a great deal of the work to get Ibaka open shots.


And the point I'm making is that Westbrook is settling for his own shot first and not trying to get Ibaka, and others on the team who shoot the ball better than Westbrook does, more open looks than they are getting now.

It's Westbrook's JOB to get Ibaka open looks. That's the reason a point guard exists - to get the ball to people who can do the most damage with it. It's not to jack up 18 footers with 18 seconds left on the clock.
   1127. JJ1986 Posted: May 05, 2014 at 01:14 PM (#4700444)
But Ibaka doesn't "shoot the ball better" than Westbrook. He has higher percentages because of the shots he takes.
   1128. Publius Publicola Posted: May 05, 2014 at 01:35 PM (#4700461)
But Ibaka doesn't "shoot the ball better" than Westbrook. He has higher percentages because of the shots he takes.


Both are true. He shoots better AND he takes better shots.
   1129. King Mekong Posted: May 05, 2014 at 01:37 PM (#4700464)
Seems like the goalposts keep moving on this Westbrook conversation. In general I think the common ground is that Westbrook should take fewer shots early in the shot clock (outside of fastbreaks).

SBnation had a nice video where they broke down Westbrook's decision making, I'll see if I can find the link if people are interested.

1123 - *bows*
   1130. Publius Publicola Posted: May 05, 2014 at 01:47 PM (#4700478)
   1131. Amit Posted: May 05, 2014 at 01:56 PM (#4700487)
[1130]Well, in that picture, the Thunder were down by 3 with 29 seconds, so an open 3 is not a terrible option. And it was Kendrick Perkins under the basket, so passing for the 2 is not a sure thing either.
   1132. King Mekong Posted: May 05, 2014 at 01:58 PM (#4700489)
   1133. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: May 05, 2014 at 02:01 PM (#4700492)
From 82games.com:

Russell Westbrook shooting with less than 10 seconds used on the shot clock: 49% of 17.2 total FGA/G, .514 eFG%, 34% assisted

Other point guards in the same split:
Chris Paul: 45% of 14.0 attempts, .531 eFG%, 20% assisted
Steph Curry: 48% of 17.7 attempts, .597 eFG%, 33% assisted
Damian Lillard: 45% of 15.9 attempts, .569 eFG%, 41% assisted
Tony Parker: 36% of 13.4 attempts, .535 eFG%, 30% assisted
Ty Lawson: 48% of 13.0 attempts, .517 eFG%, 23% assisted

This does not include foul-drawing; Westbrook's overall rate of foul-drawing is quite a bit higher than any of the others listed except for Lawson, so it would be reasonable to expect this to be true on early shots as well, but I suppose that's not guaranteed to be the case.
   1134. AROM Posted: May 05, 2014 at 02:07 PM (#4700496)
Westbrook is good for the OKC offense. You can argue all day about his low FG% vs. his ability to create for teammates. But here's the bottom line:

Westbrook on court: .526 EFG%, 113.5 O-rating.
Westbrook Off court: .516 EFG%, 108.7 O-rating.

He does turn the ball over a lot, but the team's turnovers are about the same with him or without.
   1135. Publius Publicola Posted: May 05, 2014 at 02:19 PM (#4700505)
He does turn the ball over a lot, but the team's turnovers are about the same with him or without.


Aren't you kind of missing the point here though, AROM? The argument isn't hether Westbrook contributes better than replacment level. The argument is whether he contributes better than a player of equal ability who takes car of he ball better.
   1136. jmurph Posted: May 05, 2014 at 02:35 PM (#4700514)
The argument isn't hether Westbrook contributes better than replacment level. The argument is whether he contributes better than a player of equal ability who takes car of he ball better.


For example?
   1137. NJ in DC (Now with temporary employment!) Posted: May 05, 2014 at 02:35 PM (#4700515)
The argument is whether he contributes better than a player of equal ability who takes car of he ball better.

So...the argument is whether Westbrook contributes better than a hypothetical better player?
   1138. Athletic Supporter can feel the slow rot Posted: May 05, 2014 at 02:40 PM (#4700517)
[1133] Looking at shots early in the shot clock includes easy transition opportunities, so I'm not sure those numbers tell us much of anything.

While I think people are making some good points arguing against the one-man wall, I think there are good points to be made on the other side also. Here are the eFG% and percentage of overall shots by time left on the shot clock (unfortunately 82games does not seem to have TS% with this split):

Time / RW / RW% / SI / SI%
14-24 / .502 / 43 / .661 / 37
9-13 / .463 / 26 / .513 / 26
4-8 / .451 / 20 / .545 / 23
0-3 / .398 / 11 / .586 / 15

So, Westbrook is taking more shots earlier in the shot clock. A lot of these are presumably nondiscretionary transition opportunities, but it does appear from this that Westbrook may be taking too many shots early in the shot clock -- though OKC's opponents have a +39 differential between 14-24 eFG% and 9-13, same as Westbrook, so maybe it's just that Ibaka is unusually good at transition. (sadly I can't find a league average here).

Overall, the 4-8 and 9-13 numbers here are probably the discretionary ones, and the difference between the two players' stats here is something like 70 points. This mirrors the 67 point overall eFG% difference, so while I was hoping to find an adjustment from isolating the discretionary possessions, it seems that using their overall numbers ends up in roughly the right place.

I think one other thing hasn't been mentioned which is that while you can't assume the possessions shifted to Ibaka result in equal efficiency to his current average (they almost certainly don't), you also can't assume that the ones taken away are at Westbrook's average. What the hypothetical Westbrook replacement or improved version does is pass on some of his marginal decisions instead of shooting on them, so you really are comparing a marginal Westbrook shot to a marginal Westbrook pass (and Ibaka shot). I see no reason to believe that the distributions of Westbrook's current shots and passes are unusual so I think it's likely that looking at the overall averages will yield a basically correct differential for the marginal decisions.

That said, 2-4 shots a game at .030 of TS% is not "1 basket" or 2 points, it's .09 baskets or .18 points a game. If that's all we're talking about doing in the hypothetical universe it's really not a big deal. We also haven't talked about secondary effects, e.g. Westbrook's threes and shots at the rim have higher offensive rebound rates than Ibaka's twos, both because threes are higher and because Ibaka is available to rebound as opposed to in the case of a midrange two by Air Congo; also, Westbrook draws more fouls which helps the team get into the bonus / gets opponents in foul trouble.
   1139. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: May 05, 2014 at 02:43 PM (#4700520)
Right, the question is whether taking care of the ball is a good thing or a bad thing. I'll take the "bad" position because we've got hours to fill on this show, Romey!
   1140. Publius Publicola Posted: May 05, 2014 at 02:48 PM (#4700522)
So...the argument is whether Westbrook contributes better than a hypothetical better player?


Sigh. No, a player who maybe doesn't score so much or rebound so much but plays with a pass-first orientation and is more efficient in other areas.
   1141. Paul D(uda) Posted: May 05, 2014 at 02:49 PM (#4700524)
Where's the foul there? They virtually never call hand on hand contact after the shot as a foul - and in this case it was a clean block through that point. It also clearly shows Pierce isn't coming down on him. If anyone is fouling Lowry there, it's Patterson. Perhaps Lowry maybe should have thought about passing the ball about 5 different times that possession.

Sorry, I meant that as a separate comment. No matter what happened, it's hard to imagine a foul in that situation. And if there was a foul, it was the two guys who hit Lowry before he got to Pearce. But again, you can't have any expectation of a foul in that situation, and I don't think that fans should be complaining. I think there are legit complaints about other calls in the game, but not there. I suppose that's true of every team in every playoff game though. The Raptors lost because they had no answer for Joe Johnson (or because they wouldn't unleash Landry Fields on him).
   1142. Eddo Posted: May 05, 2014 at 03:08 PM (#4700535)
The argument is whether he contributes better than a player of equal ability who takes car of he ball better.

Has there even been any set of two players of equal ability where the one who takes care of the ball better is NOT the better player?

Does LeBron James contributes better than a player of equal ability who takes care of the ball better?

You could literally make the same argument about any player.

EDIT: Cokes to jmurph and NJ in DC.
   1143. Eddo Posted: May 05, 2014 at 03:09 PM (#4700538)
Sigh. No, a player who maybe doesn't score so much or rebound so much but plays with a pass-first orientation and is more efficient in other areas.

OK, that's an argument we could have (and have been having).

But the player in that argument would not have "equal ability" of Westbrook.
   1144. King Mekong Posted: May 05, 2014 at 03:16 PM (#4700541)
As I said back in 1129
Seems like the goalposts keep moving on this Westbrook conversation.
   1145. Publius Publicola Posted: May 05, 2014 at 03:27 PM (#4700548)
Has there even been any set of two players of equal ability where the one who takes care of the ball better is NOT the better player?


Of course. For instance, Westbrook isn't any better than, say, Rondo or Curry or Lillard. They are all very different players. Westbrook might have the most raw ability. But realized ability? He's probably behind those guys. I'm sure he's behind Curry.
   1146. HMS Moses Taylor Posted: May 05, 2014 at 03:47 PM (#4700562)
unleash Landry Fields

I doubt he's ever been unleashed, or ever will be unleashed.

And my bad, I should have quoted the picture there, didn't mean to call you out.
   1147. jmurph Posted: May 05, 2014 at 03:49 PM (#4700565)
I've got Westbrook somewhere between wildly and dramatically better than Rondo. And definitely better than Lillard. Paul and Curry are definitely ahead of him. If I knew for sure that Parker could still play 40 minutes a night he'd be in the conversation, too.
   1148. HMS Moses Taylor Posted: May 05, 2014 at 03:51 PM (#4700567)
Seems like the goalposts keep moving on this Westbrook conversation.

This should be a surprise to no one.
   1149. Paul D(uda) Posted: May 05, 2014 at 03:52 PM (#4700568)
And my bad, I should have quoted the picture there, didn't mean to call you out.

Ah, it's alright, I can see how you got that implication.

By the way, to everyone in this thread, as a lurker and casual basketball fan, I really enjoy it. Between this and the Starters I feel pretty well covered for the playoffs.

   1150. robinred Posted: May 05, 2014 at 04:35 PM (#4700589)
This Westbrook discussion in similar in many ways to conversations I have had with PP and others about Kobe Bryant over the years. Westbrook, incidentally, grew up in LA and was a big KB fan as a kid. Couple of points:

1. As I have said, there is evidence from the 2009-2012 period that Bynum's and Gasol's EFF numbers dropped when Bryant missed time. Gasol and Bynum would complain very vocally sometimes when Bryant shot a lot more than they did. But when Bryant was out, they generally did not get as many easy looks although they were both shooting much more. A lot of Bryant's value was tied to the fact that the D could never forget about him and had to account for him all over the floor, which opened up space and opportunity for other guys, even though he certainly did take bad shots sometimes. Westbrook is similar IMO.
2. I don't have any links or studies off-hand, but I have read anecdotal stuff in the literature about Cousy and Bill Bradley taking vision tests BITD and having unusally large peripheral vision fields. It is my personal opinion that Westbrook (and Bryant) if tested in a similar way would have good, but not great, peripheral vision and it would not be as good as a guy like James' or Paul's would. Getting to that All-Star level requires addressing weaknesses--but also developing and playing to strengths. I think that is what Westbrook is doing.
   1151. HMS Moses Taylor Posted: May 05, 2014 at 04:46 PM (#4700596)
I said it when Rose won (or was about to win) the MVP in 2011, but I think it's odd writers feel the need to ask LBJ for his opinion on not winning the MVP. Maybe this happened before and I just don't remember it, or maybe LeBron answers it more specifically. I dunno.

It's expected that the Thunder star will be announced as winner this week. James has lauded Durant's play this season several times recently and did so again Monday.

"Much respect to him and he deserves it," James said. "He had a big-time MVP season."
   1152. Publius Publicola Posted: May 05, 2014 at 04:57 PM (#4700607)
I've got Westbrook somewhere between wildly and dramatically better than Rondo.


Numbers say otherwise.

And definitely better than Lillard.


It's a little early on Lillard but trending numbers strongly suggest otherwise.

If I knew for sure that Parker could still play 40 minutes a night he'd be in the conversation, too.



Numbers, and three other things that are round and you wear around your finger, also say otherwise.

   1153. Publius Publicola Posted: May 05, 2014 at 05:03 PM (#4700613)
Getting to that All-Star level requires addressing weaknesses--but also developing and playing to strengths. I think that is what Westbrook is doing.


This is probably true. But having good peripheral vision is a genuine asset for a basketball player, like having a quick and accurate jumpshot is. Or being 7:1 and having long arms is. If Westbrook lacks something, even if it's something he can't fix, he doesn't get a pass for it. That's just who he is as a baller and he gets properly demerited for it.

Although, the drifting off to the right and shooting a quick jumper thing- that's a choice. That doesn't have to do with natural ability. He can certainly fix that.
   1154. Publius Publicola Posted: May 05, 2014 at 05:11 PM (#4700620)
Westbrook's threes and shots at the rim have higher offensive rebound rates than Ibaka's twos, both because threes are higher and because Ibaka is available to rebound as opposed to in the case of a midrange two by Air Congo;


This is countered by the fact that Ibaka shooting a mid-range jumper drags one of the oppositions key defensive rebounders away for the basket, opening up opportunities for easy putbacks. Long rebounds don't lead to easy putbacks. And, of course, the chance of a rebound on an Ibaka mid-range shot is dramatically lower than an Westbrook three, for an obvious reason. And that reason is very, very good for the Thunder.
   1155. JJ1986 Posted: May 05, 2014 at 05:12 PM (#4700622)
Which numbers don't have Westbrook as better than Rondo?
   1156. King Mekong Posted: May 05, 2014 at 05:41 PM (#4700647)
Not any of the advanced ones... Maybe Ast% and raw assist totals.
   1157. Publius Publicola Posted: May 05, 2014 at 05:48 PM (#4700653)
WS numbers listed in bb-ref. they are essentially equal. Rondos playoff numbers are a little better, and his teams have generally done better, so I give him a small edge.

He's not the same player since the knee injury so that might change things but prior to that, Rondo gets the edge.
   1158. King Mekong Posted: May 05, 2014 at 05:58 PM (#4700663)
Well, Westbrook has only played 6 seasons, and he's had higher WS in the last 4.
   1159. JJ1986 Posted: May 05, 2014 at 06:01 PM (#4700668)
WS numbers listed in bb-ref. they are essentially equal.


Maybe if you go back 6 years and weigh the older years more.

Over the last 4, Westbrook out WS's Rondo 34.2 to 15.9 with the 3 best seasons. Over the last 5 it's 40.4 to 25.5.
   1160. Athletic Supporter can feel the slow rot Posted: May 05, 2014 at 06:18 PM (#4700679)
This is countered by the fact that Ibaka shooting a mid-range jumper drags one of the oppositions key defensive rebounders away for the basket,


Numbers say otherwise.

And, of course, the chance of a rebound on an Ibaka mid-range shot is dramatically lower than an Westbrook three, for an obvious reason.


Holding offensive rebound rate constant, shooting 33% on threes is better than shooting 50% on twos, for an obvious reason.
   1161. Quaker Posted: May 05, 2014 at 06:25 PM (#4700680)
Have to hand it to Kevin--it's quite a feat of intellectual dishonesty to claim that Rondo has out WS'ed Westbrook when in fact the opposite is true by a 2:1 over the last 4 years.
   1162. Dandy Little Glove Man Posted: May 05, 2014 at 06:34 PM (#4700682)
I think we can all agree that 6 years ago Rondo was better than Westbrook.

Moving on, to test the theory that Westbrook is not a great fit for the Thunder, I think the question should be what plausible Westbrook trade would make the Thunder better. I honestly don't think there are many, which suggests he's not such a bad fit.

One intriguing idea might be Westbrook for Horford. Horford's the ultimate jack-of-all-trades big man who can efficiently absorb 20-25% of the possessions while keeping the ball in Durant's hands more. He should be a bigger step up from Perkins/Adams than the step down from Westbrook to more Reggie Jackson and an MLE point guard (Horford makes about $4M less per year, and to a team that treats the luxury tax as a hard cap, that matters). For the Hawks, they could then utilize the Suns approach of floor spacers in the frontcourt and dynamic, penetrating guards.

Another thought experiment is whether the Thunder would be better with Kyle Lowry in place of Westbrook. By the advanced stats they're similarly effective using Lowry's 2013-14 as his new level of performance. Lowry has an above-average Usg% but nowhere near Westbrook's, along with 2-3% better shooting efficiency and a much better A/TO ratio. Who would give the Thunder a better chance to win it all? My inclination is still Westbrook based on his higher ceiling (better at his best), but I'd be interested in arguments either way.
   1163. Juilin Sandar to Conkling Speedwell (Arjun) Posted: May 05, 2014 at 06:38 PM (#4700683)
Moving on, to test the theory that Westbrook is not a great fit for the Thunder, I think the question should be what plausible Westbrook trade would make the Thunder better. I honestly don't think there are many, which suggests he's not such a bad fit.

One that Lowe has floated in the past, not as something that is being discussed but as a trade which definitely could be an interesting thought experiment, is Westbrook for Rubio, Pekovic, and Barea. Would give the Thunder a serious inside presence, a pass-first point guard, and a leader for their second unit, and whatever the potential problems with Rubio in crunch time are largely alleviated by Durant's ability to make his own shot. I'm a lot more lukewarm on this one in comparison to the Horford deal, because I'm not sure Pekovic actually is as good as this deal assumes, but it's an interesting thought.
   1164. andrewberg Posted: May 05, 2014 at 06:40 PM (#4700684)
One that Lowe has floated in the past, not as something that is being discussed but as a trade which definitely could be an interesting thought experiment, is Westbrook for Rubio, Pekovic, and Barea. Would give the Thunder a serious inside presence, a pass-first point guard, and a leader for their second unit, and whatever the potential problems with Rubio in crunch time are largely alleviated by Durant's ability to make his own shot. I'm a lot more lukewarm on this one in comparison to the Horford deal, because I'm not sure Pekovic actually is as good as this deal assumes, but it's an interesting thought.


It's probably not a good deal for OKC based only on the fact that Rubio is my favorite player and I desperately would want the Wolves to make that trade.
   1165. Publius Publicola Posted: May 05, 2014 at 06:53 PM (#4700690)
it's quite a feat of intellectual dishonesty to claim that Rondo has out WS'ed Westbrook when in fact the opposite is true by a 2:1 over the last 4 years.


Now who's being dishonest?

Check out those playoff numbers, Quaker. Let's do the numbers from top to bottom:

Westbrook- .208
Rondo- .155
Westbrook- .144
Westbrook- .133
Rondo- .131
Rondo- .130
Westbrook- .122
Rondo- .121
Rondo- .102
Westbrook- .084

Career:

Westbrook- .124
Rondo- .131

So, it might seem at first glance that Westbrook has most of the best seasons. But his top two scores amount to a total of 8 games. And his team lost both series. Rondo's team has consistently gone deeper in the playoffs, and Rondo has been more consistent and a better player. And it's the playoffs that really count. Who gives a crap who the better regular season player is? Nobody ever remembers that. Players are remembered for what they do in the playoffs.

You all are making a common mistake, believing that since the team that wins is the one that scores the most points, then the best player is the one that scores the most points.

   1166. Yardape Posted: May 05, 2014 at 06:58 PM (#4700692)
Rondo's team has consistently gone deeper in the playoffs


This is not true.

Players are remembered for what they do in the playoffs.


Riding Garnett, Pierce and Allen to an NBA championship? I think we can all agree that if Westbrook were merely the fourth-best player on the Thunder, they would be favourites for the title.
   1167. Juilin Sandar to Conkling Speedwell (Arjun) Posted: May 05, 2014 at 07:03 PM (#4700694)
Nearly forty posts later, the first line of King Mekong's 1129 is still correct.
   1168. Publius Publicola Posted: May 05, 2014 at 07:23 PM (#4700701)
This is not true.


It's undeniably true. Rondo made it to the Finals twice, winning it once and coming within about 8 minutes of winning another. And he missed a third by 1 game. Westbrook made it to the Finals once, and lost, and made it to the Western Conference finals once more, and lost,and has won only one other playoff series in his career. In that last series, against the Heat, Rondo was the best player on the team, better than Pierce and Garnett, going up against a team with the best player in the league. And he nearly pulled it off.

Criminy, these are easily looked up facts.

Riding Garnett, Pierce and Allen to an NBA championship?


And Westbrook rode Durant and Ibaka to...nowhere.
   1169. Juilin Sandar to Conkling Speedwell (Arjun) Posted: May 05, 2014 at 07:24 PM (#4700702)
I wonder if these Pacers might be an interesting possibility in the Westbrook discussion. Hibbert very clearly needs a change of scenery (and an anchored rim protector would be perfect alongside Ibaka - similar to the thinking w.r.t. Pekovic in the previous trade) and George Hill is exactly the kind of defense-first, passing PG/combo guard that the Thunder could use well (and would work well alongside Reggie Jackson). I'm not sure of a way to make it entirely fair to both sides (whither Kendrick Perkins?), but it's another fun potential idea.
   1170. JJ1986 Posted: May 05, 2014 at 07:27 PM (#4700706)
Comparing stats from the Eastern and Western playoffs over the last few years isn't really fair.
   1171. Publius Publicola Posted: May 05, 2014 at 07:32 PM (#4700713)
What do the Pacers get in return? Westbrook and Perkins? Westbrook is kind of redundant on that team, with Stephenson and George slotted in there. It would just be trading one problem for another.
   1172. A Fatty Cow That Need Two Seats Posted: May 05, 2014 at 07:37 PM (#4700717)
With kevin blocked, this page has been awesomely surreal, especially given that he's rarely quoted. Points of merit, all addressing the same issue for an entire day, are continuously swatted away by one terrible troll. Now we're down to count da ringzzz.
   1173. Athletic Supporter can feel the slow rot Posted: May 05, 2014 at 08:36 PM (#4700760)
I think we can all agree that if Westbrook were merely the fourth-best player on the Thunder, they would be favourites for the title.


But Westbrook is the fourth-best player on the Thunder! Behind Durant, Ibaka, and of course Perkins (look at his playoff success!).
   1174. JJ1986 Posted: May 05, 2014 at 08:54 PM (#4700773)
The Wizards scored 2 points on 0 field goals made in the last 6 minutes of quarter 3.
   1175. Publius Publicola Posted: May 05, 2014 at 09:02 PM (#4700777)
Behind Durant, Ibaka, and of course Perkins (look at his playoff success!).


Certainly Durant and Ibaka. When they had Harden, his numbers were better too.
   1176. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: May 05, 2014 at 09:11 PM (#4700784)
WALL! WADE! IT'S THE EASTERN CONFERENCE FINALS ON TNT!
   1177. AROM Posted: May 05, 2014 at 09:37 PM (#4700797)
What's the question, whether Rondo has had a better career than Westbrook to date, or which one is a better player right now.

1st q, Rondo

2nd q, Westbrook
   1178. Yardape Posted: May 05, 2014 at 09:43 PM (#4700801)
What's the question


Good question.
   1179. tshipman Posted: May 05, 2014 at 09:47 PM (#4700806)
What do the Pacers get in return? Westbrook and Perkins? Westbrook is kind of redundant on that team, with Stephenson and George slotted in there. It would just be trading one problem for another.


This is insane. The Pacers biggest problem is that they don't have competent passing/ball handling. Westbrook would be a huge upgrade over George Hill. The Pacers would complete this trade before you managed to get the whole thing out of your mouth. At this point, when Hibbert is putting up bagels in the playoffs, I'm not sure he's worth a warm bucket of spit.

Another thought experiment is whether the Thunder would be better with Kyle Lowry in place of Westbrook. By the advanced stats they're similarly effective using Lowry's 2013-14 as his new level of performance. Lowry has an above-average Usg% but nowhere near Westbrook's, along with 2-3% better shooting efficiency and a much better A/TO ratio. Who would give the Thunder a better chance to win it all? My inclination is still Westbrook based on his higher ceiling (better at his best), but I'd be interested in arguments either way.


This is a good hypothetical trade. I would also submit John Wall as a potential option for a "better distributor."

Can the Jim get around to re-banning Kevin?
   1180. Publius Publicola Posted: May 05, 2014 at 09:56 PM (#4700808)
Paul's handle is so good.
   1181. Publius Publicola Posted: May 05, 2014 at 10:04 PM (#4700815)
And he can shoot a little too.
   1182. Publius Publicola Posted: May 05, 2014 at 10:34 PM (#4700845)
If I had a vote for "league's cleanest player", I think it would go to Blake Griffin.
   1183. Russlan is fond of Dillon Gee Posted: May 05, 2014 at 10:42 PM (#4700850)
Let me be the 14283472389427th person to ask this question but is up with Roy Hibbert? 18 minutes tonight with 0 points and 0 rebounds. How is that even possible for a guy who is a legitimate seven footer?
   1184. Darkness and the howling fantods Posted: May 05, 2014 at 10:47 PM (#4700854)
If I had a vote for "league's cleanest player", I think it would go to Blake Griffin.
He's so clean that he even helps the opposing team's fans to wash themselves.
   1185. steagles Posted: May 05, 2014 at 11:36 PM (#4700882)
If I had a vote for "league's cleanest player", I think it would go to Blake Griffin.
charlie villanueva. the guy is so clean he doesn't even have hair!! and we all know that that's what carries the disease.
   1186. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: May 06, 2014 at 12:00 AM (#4700897)
Why you guys continue to engage with a demonstrated liar and fraud, like kevin, is beyond me. So many folks on this site are fundamentally honest that engaging with a classic internet "nobody knows he's a dog" guy is madness.
   1187. Athletic Supporter can feel the slow rot Posted: May 06, 2014 at 01:24 AM (#4700933)
I can easily see SAS or OKC running roughshod over POR and LAC (something like 5 game series with 3 wins where the opponent isn't within 5 points in the 4th quarter). Especially if Paul is still not at 100%.


Or I could be totally wrong and Paul could go nuts.
   1188. RollingWave Posted: May 06, 2014 at 01:51 AM (#4700939)
The West is so so crazy at this point.

Also, it seems that the Wizards have a pretty decent chance of getting past the Pacers, if so, this would be the first time they made it past the 2nd round since.........1978.

   1189. Publius Publicola Posted: May 06, 2014 at 07:18 AM (#4700956)
Also, it seems that the Wizards have a pretty decent chance of getting past the Pacers, if so, this would be the first time they made it past the 2nd round since.........1978.


'79.
   1190. Kurt Posted: May 06, 2014 at 09:47 AM (#4701005)
Also, it seems that the Wizards have a pretty decent chance of getting past the Pacers, if so, this would be the first time they made it past the 2nd round since.........1978.


Yesterday was the first second round *game* they've won since 1982. I mean, I knew their history was not good, but wow.
   1191. GregD Posted: May 06, 2014 at 09:51 AM (#4701009)
I am looking forward to the next round of people listing other players' attributes that John Wall does not have. Undoubtedly he could be a smarter or more in-control player and a better shooter, but it is also becoming apparent that his strengths are interesting enough that focusing on his weaknesses misses the point.
   1192. AROM Posted: May 06, 2014 at 10:03 AM (#4701021)
Wall is pretty good right now but is still getting better. Keep in mind that if he stayed in school 4 years like the old timers did, this would be his rookie season.
   1193. Quaker Posted: May 06, 2014 at 10:36 AM (#4701042)
Yes Kevin, the .007 difference in playoff WS/48, drawn largely in Rondo's case from the 2008-10 playoffs (i.e. 4-6 yrs ago) has convinced me that Rondo is indeed a better player than Westbrook. Nevermind that Westbrook has had the higher WS/48 in each of the last 4 regular seasons. I'll also disregard the fact that Westbrook posted the higher WS/48 in each of the last two seasons in which both OKC & Bos made the playoffs (2011 & 2012). I concede Rondo's clear superiority and apologize for my dishonesty.
   1194. outl13r Posted: May 06, 2014 at 10:49 AM (#4701056)
If all point guards were more like Chris Paul, they would be better.

Right now, DX is projecting Wiggins to go #1. Assuming that MIL gets first pick and takes him, do the 76ers go with Embiid at #2 and hedge their bets that one of their big men pan out? Or, should they play it "safe" and go with Randle/Parker? I can't see Exum being an option for them since he's so similar MCW...
   1195. bob gee Posted: May 06, 2014 at 11:11 AM (#4701084)
1172 - yup!

chris paul's passing often times looks textbook. and his shot often looks like it's perfect, even when it's not going in.

last night's game was amazing to watch, because he looked so perfect. even though i thought the third foul call (the one where durant knocked him down, then paul got the foul for the trip) was pretty weak.

it's pretty awful that kendrick perkins is still starting - wasn't it two or three years ago that the thought was brooks shouldn't play him? i understand ok city fans' annoyance with brooks coaching...
   1196. CFBF Is A Golden Spider Duck Posted: May 06, 2014 at 11:12 AM (#4701086)
I started reading Ender's Game the other day, and I was slightly taken aback to find that the main character's full name is "Andrew Wigin."

That's the kind of hard-hitting basketball analysis you can expect from me throughout these playoffs.
   1197. Quaker Posted: May 06, 2014 at 11:35 AM (#4701128)
I don't think the 76ers will take Randle given their statistical bent, and I don't think he's really in the conversation w/Parker & Wiggins in general. I really, really like Exum personally.
   1198. HMS Moses Taylor Posted: May 06, 2014 at 11:49 AM (#4701150)
MVP
1. Durant
2. LBJ
3. Griffin
4. Noah
5. Harden

I don't see the link with the actual ballots up yet.
   1199. Bitter Mouse Posted: May 06, 2014 at 12:08 PM (#4701164)
It's probably not a good deal for OKC based only on the fact that Rubio is my favorite player and I desperately would want the Wolves to make that trade.


Ditto. OKC would never make that trade.
   1200. Publius Publicola Posted: May 06, 2014 at 12:17 PM (#4701176)
I am looking forward to the next round of people listing other players' attributes that John Wall does not have. Undoubtedly he could be a smarter or more in-control player and a better shooter, but it is also becoming apparent that his strengths are interesting enough that focusing on his weaknesses misses the point.


This shot is inconsistent but not terrible. But he's so damn fast, he can pretty much blow by anybody and he has a remarkable ability to block shots and get rebounds you don't think he has a chance to get. Tthe point situation is a big mismatch in favor of the Wizards.
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