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Sunday, March 03, 2013

OT: NBA Monthly Thread - March 2013

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: hunting and apostrophes.

The District Attorney Posted: March 03, 2013 at 05:37 PM | 843 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: basketball, nba, off-topic

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   501. Booey Posted: March 18, 2013 at 11:22 PM (#4390923)
flip
   502. RollingWave Posted: March 18, 2013 at 11:26 PM (#4390928)
Guy on OP picture is out for the season, who's going to pay him max money? anyone?
   503. steagles Posted: March 18, 2013 at 11:30 PM (#4390931)
Who's going to be desperate enough to pay him this summer?
with the new CBA, whether he's signed outright or with a sign and trade, only the sixers can offer him to a 5 year deal, so if any other team signs (or trades for him), it's a 4 year commitment, at most.


that could be $80 million for 8 games over 4 years, but considering that bynum averaged nearly 19 and 12 last year for the lakers, i'd roll the dice on that in a second. and that's after living through the bynum saga in philly over the last 8 months.

put simply, i'd prefer to pay 20 mil to bynum with only a possibility that he might be healthy rather than 20 mil to al jefferson with the guarantee that he would be.
   504. Russlan is fond of Dillon Gee Posted: March 18, 2013 at 11:31 PM (#4390932)
That was a really fun game to watch. LeBron pretty clearly wanted that one badly, considering that arena has been his house of horrors for most of the last 3-4 years. He showed more emotion than he usually does. Green obviously had a great offensive game but I was more impressed with how he defended James. He did a decent job all things considered.

I think Kareem has a better case for greatest basketball player of all time, including college, than he gets credit for. He's unlike Wilt and Russell in that he played in both the modern and pre-modern NBA and the fact that his numbers held up so well in the modern age is pretty remarkable, considering he was in his thirties for most of that. His durability was pretty incredible.
   505. Booey Posted: March 18, 2013 at 11:32 PM (#4390933)
Kareem in '74: 47 MPG (!!!), 32 ppg, 15.8 RPG, 4.9 APG, 2.4 blocks
Kareem in '77: 42.5 MPG, 34.6 ppg, 17.7 RPG, 4.1 APG, 3.5 blocks

Kareem's early career, he really was a force of nature. I think Kareem's playoff numbers are pretty comparable, tbh.


I think era adjustments probably need to come into play; the 70's generally are considered one of the weakest decades for individual talent, whereas the late 80's and 90's were pretty strong. You could also make a case using positional adjustments, since MJ is pretty clearly the best SG ever (likely by a comfortable margin), while Kareem is in a dogfight with Wilt and Russell at C. And lastly, MJ is the all time leader in PPG, PER, WS/48, and MVP shares. It's not that hard to make a peak argument for him over anybody. Kareem has the career advantage, but that depends partly on whether you give Jordan any credit for the missing peak seasons from his retirements.
   506. andrewberg Posted: March 18, 2013 at 11:42 PM (#4390935)
Barkley is a lot sharper at that sort of thing than Shaq is IMO.


Anyone who has seen Inside the NBA has to agree.
   507. RollingWave Posted: March 18, 2013 at 11:57 PM (#4390940)
I guess a team that's really going no where at this point could try to gamble that, like Phoenix I guess. but for a team that's 1 player away, that seems like a huge huge huge huge risk.
   508. Maxwn Posted: March 19, 2013 at 12:02 AM (#4390943)
but that depends partly on whether you give Jordan any credit for the missing peak seasons from his retirements.

I say no effing way. If you decide to retire in the middle of your peak for whatever reason, fair enough, but that is your problem. There should be no use of imputed seasons in any kind of ranking argument. If you are going to do that, you might as well give Shaq/Barkley/whoever credit for how they would have played if they'd decided to stay in shape more. Or Rudy Gay credit for how he would play if he decided to take it easy with the 20-footers. I can see the argument from the HOM context for crediting stuff like drafts/segregation that the player had no control over, but not something that he decided to do for his own reasons.
   509. Russlan is fond of Dillon Gee Posted: March 19, 2013 at 12:06 AM (#4390945)
How good are the Nuggets? They just won their 13th straight game and are battling for third spot in the West. But how good can you be in the NBA when you don't have a star player? They have nine quality guys but is that enough to win in the playoffs when it seems like superstars make all the difference.
   510. HMS Moses Taylor Posted: March 19, 2013 at 12:06 AM (#4390946)
Phoenix would be a great place for him to play, what with their magic and witchcraft and ability to raise the dead.

---

Bulls got the short end of a rule thing in their loss. Koufas got away with goaltending/offensive interference with just under a minute left to put the Nuggets up 1. The play isn't reviewed, because it has to be called goaltending on the floor to be reviewable. Last play of the game, Noah seemingly gets away with the same thing to put the Bulls up 1 with 1 sec left - the score changes and everything going in to the TO - then the refs huddle and decide to review and then overturn it. Bulls are claiming the refs didn't call goaltending on the floor and shouldn't have been able to review it, while also still steaming about the previous blown call.
   511. Booey Posted: March 19, 2013 at 12:13 AM (#4390949)
For the record, I do think Kareem tends to be underrated a little. I'd probably rank him #2 all time behind MJ, but I've seen lists that had him as low as 6th. Career value doesn't get enough recognition on basketball lists, IMO.
   512. NJ in DC (Now with temporary employment!) Posted: March 19, 2013 at 12:13 AM (#4390951)
[510] I've never seen a coach clearly rip referees as much as Thibs did after that call and not get a tech. I understand his being upset, but I was absolutely shocked the refs gave him that much leeway.
   513. andrewberg Posted: March 19, 2013 at 12:31 AM (#4390966)
But how good can you be in the NBA when you don't have a star player?


It has to help that they don't play any bad players. They have 11 guys who have played >300 minutes with WS/48 between .091 (Mozgov) and .185 (Koufos). Anthony Randolph is the only unproductive player who gets serious minutes for them.

Speaking of balance, the Mavs had 10 players with 2-5 assists in their win tonight. That team is nearly .500, which is a tribute to Carlisle.
   514. Maxwn Posted: March 19, 2013 at 12:56 AM (#4390969)
They have nine quality guys but is that enough to win in the playoffs when it seems like superstars make all the difference.

I have thought about this some and I think this argument is way overstated in the NBA. The main reason I think this is because usually the argument is made without taking team strength into account. I think the main reason that superstars usually win championships in the NBA is because it is much easier to build a great team if you have a superstar. That doesn't imply that if someone did manage to build a great team without a true superstar, they would be less likely to win a championship than other similarly great teams. If somebody someday puts together a non-superstar 60+ win juggernaut that rolls through the regular season, I think a lot of people will discount their championship chances relative to other 60+ win juggernauts and will be mostly wrong.

Denver's problem is therefore not so much that they have no superstar as it is that they aren't really a great team. This is a confusing argument because if they did have a superstar they very well might be a great team. Basically I'm arguing that their championship chances are probably not much worse than the chances of a team with a roughly similar record/margin/SRS/place-in-the-pecking-order/etc. that did have a superstar, which is to say pretty low.

That said, there is definitely some superstar effect, because players can in theory up their minutes and usage and therefore their impact in the playoffs. I just think it's is not as large as people generally assume because they are not controlling for the quality of the team. I wish I could think of a better way to phrase this, because I guess what I really mean by superstar effect is some effect above and beyond the fact that they make your team better in general.

I guess this sort of boils down to asking whether given a certain team quality, it's better to be top-heavy or more balanced in the playoffs. I think it's probably better to be top-heavy, but not by a huge amount. It just looks like a huge effect because the best balanced teams usually aren't as good as the best top-heavy teams.

Caveat 1, I have not studied this so I'm mostly just theorizing here. Someone else quite possibly has, and therefore I may be totally wrong. Caveat 2, it's very possible that someone else has made this point before in some previous iteration of this thread. I know we've talked about the superstar point before and I have no idea at this point if I picked up this idea off of someone else here or elsewhere. Caveat 3, I have no idea if this post makes any sense to any one but me.
   515. andrewberg Posted: March 19, 2013 at 01:01 AM (#4390971)
An oversimplified version of that sentiment would be that having a 20 win player makes it a lot easier to build a 60 win team, right?
   516. Maxwn Posted: March 19, 2013 at 01:09 AM (#4390975)
An oversimplified version of that sentiment would be that having a 20 win player makes it a lot easier to build a 60 win team, right?

Yeah, that's part 1. Part 2 is that if you somehow get a 60-win team without a 20-win player, I'm not sure you're that much worse off in the playoffs than any other 60 win team. My sense of most nba people is that they would tend to think you are. Maybe I'm misreading that though.
   517. RollingWave Posted: March 19, 2013 at 01:17 AM (#4390977)
Yeah, that's part 1. Part 2 is that if you somehow get a 60-win team without a 20-win player, I'm not sure you're that much worse off in the playoffs than any other 60 win team. My sense of most nba people is that they would tend to think you are. Maybe I'm misreading that though.


I think the argument is that in the playoffs you'll play your best player 40 mins most of the time, so depth does less unless you get an injury. as pointed out the Heat is kinda giving the other teams a chance by letting Norris Cole see 18.6 min a game, if they simply replace those Norris Cole mins by playing Lebron as the Point they'd be at a even higher level. hell Lebron as the point is probably a higher level than Chambers as the point, Chambers is kinda just their bring the ball up court guy.

   518. Maxwn Posted: March 19, 2013 at 01:24 AM (#4390979)
In this particular season, I would say an example of my point is that to the extent that LAC, MEM, and DEN are roughly the same quality of team, their chances to go deep in the playoffs and/or win a championship are roughly the same, despite their differing team makeups. The extent to which they are the same quality of team is pretty debatable though. There's a decent argument that LAC is better than both of the others. I think there's also a decent argument that MEM and DEN are better than LAC at this point in time. And obviously their ultimate chances in the playoffs will depend a fair amount on how this 3-4-5 battle falls out.

Just for the record, since I am a Grizzlies fan, I would like to say that I don't really see Memphis as a great example of this sort of balanced team anymore because Marc Gasol is pretty far and away their best player and is close to superstar-level value, in my opinion. They look more like a no-superstar team than they actually are because Gasol's main value is in stuff that is hard to put into metrics, I think, such as team defense. That said, I guess he's 7th in WS this year, so maybe it's more obvious than I think.

I would put them somewhere in between LAC and DEN in the superstar-no superstar continuum.
   519. tshipman Posted: March 19, 2013 at 01:27 AM (#4390980)
Denver's problem is that they have a significant advantage due to home court that mostly disappears in the playoffs.

Teams playing in Denver on the 2nd night of a B2B are something like 1-79 over ten years. (double edit: this is an exaggeration in case it isn't clear).

Edit: this year, they will play 17 out of 42 games against a team with short rest.
   520. RollingWave Posted: March 19, 2013 at 01:40 AM (#4390985)
Also, Kobeless Lakers lost to the Suns, former rockets Scola and Dragic doing their old team a big favor there, Scola exploded in the 4th in particular. guess he's taking a que on the Rocket's "only show up on the later half" team concept.

Amazingly, the Knicks pulled off one against the Jazz, it's probably not a good sign when you lose to a team who's best player on the floor may be Ray Felton. GSW won tonight too.

so as of now

GSW : 6th seed
HOU : 7th seed 2 back
LAL : 8th seed 1 back from HOU
UTA : 9th seed 1 back from LAL
DAL : 10th seed 3 back from LAL
POR : 11th seed 3.5 back from LAL

   521. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: March 19, 2013 at 02:54 AM (#4390994)
The Bird/Dirk thing is an interesting exercise, but let's not get carried away with it.
I don't think anyone is. Bird's reign as Greatest SF of All Time is just about over; as we're seeing every other night, the greatest SF of all time is crushing it while wearing a Heat jersey. In the ~20 years since the mid-1990s, the NBA's seen contenders for Greatest Ever at center (Shaq), power forward (Duncan), and small forward (James), along with a couple of Guys in the Discussion for top 5 at their positions (Bryant, Paul, Garnett, Kidd). The pedestals that Bird and Magic stand on now shouldn't go questioned.
   522. jmurph Posted: March 19, 2013 at 08:58 AM (#4391035)
that could be $80 million for 8 games over 4 years, but considering that bynum averaged nearly 19 and 12 last year for the lakers, i'd roll the dice on that in a second.


I don't see how Philly or anyone can do this. His best case is 60-65 games per year, right? And would you be surprised if he played less than 50 games of organized basketball the rest of his life? I wouldn't.
   523. Bitter Mouse Posted: March 19, 2013 at 09:10 AM (#4391041)
GOAT arguments in the NBA are always fun (positional or not). I think Kareem is undervalued. Jordan is iteresting because he has the rings, great great numbers (including the killer defense) and the best narrative arc of all time. I don't know that he is the best (I think Wilt and Kareem both can make a case, and someday Lebron might as well), but I know he is my favorite.

And as for Shaq as I said I love him and as a entertainer he is great (and honestly seems like a fun dude in many ways), but once I get past the "Holy Crap he did that" aspect of his game it is not appealing to me to watch. Of course point guard is my favorite position, so I might be biased against the big man.
   524. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: March 19, 2013 at 09:36 AM (#4391056)
I don't ever want to see this Bynum guy again. I'm about ready to turn off all images in my browser every time I consider opening this thread. What was the last NBA trade that worked out worse for a team than this one did for the Sixers? Did it involve the words "Joe", "Barry", and "Carroll"?
   525. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: March 19, 2013 at 09:49 AM (#4391067)
I don't ever want to see this Bynum guy again. I'm about ready to turn off all images in my browser every time I consider opening this thread.

If you have adblock, you can right click the image, and just add a filter for it. Just saying...
   526. Famous Original Joe C Posted: March 19, 2013 at 09:51 AM (#4391069)
How good are the Nuggets? They just won their 13th straight game and are battling for third spot in the West. But how good can you be in the NBA when you don't have a star player? They have nine quality guys but is that enough to win in the playoffs when it seems like superstars make all the difference.

Just good enough to lose a second round playoff series in seven games. They need homecourt advantage to beat even a good playoff opponent - if they end up in the five seed, I bet they're one and done. One of LAC/Mem/Den will end up there and be out early - a shame since I'd rather watch any of those teams play over whoever will eventually lose to the Heat in the East Finals (except the Celtics, but, well, you know.)

   527. GregD Posted: March 19, 2013 at 10:13 AM (#4391094)
Cool Grantland piece on the Raptors' use of analytics. Best part is about the ideal vs real positioning for help defense.
   528. Famous Original Joe C Posted: March 19, 2013 at 11:49 AM (#4391196)
that could be $80 million for 8 games over 4 years, but considering that bynum averaged nearly 19 and 12 last year for the lakers, i'd roll the dice on that in a second.

I don't see how Philly or anyone can do this. His best case is 60-65 games per year, right? And would you be surprised if he played less than 50 games of organized basketball the rest of his life? I wouldn't.


Yeah, 4/$80M for Bynum at this point would be madness. Heck, I'd call 4/$60 crazy. Bynum had missed 1/3 of his games over the past five years - entering this season. He just had surgery on *both* knees. Play index doesn't let you search for 7 footers who have missed full seasons with knee/lower body injuries, but if you could I'm guessing you wouldn't see too many guys playing healthy full seasons at a high level after that. Never mind that these past several seasons should have been Bynum's healthiest - while he's still only 25, what are those knees going to look like at 28 or 29? I'd pass on anything more than a 3/$30M type deal, and even that I'd have to think long and hard about.
   529. Famous Original Joe C Posted: March 19, 2013 at 12:06 PM (#4391249)
Bird's reign as Greatest SF of All Time is just about over; as we're seeing every other night, the greatest SF of all time is crushing it while wearing a Heat jersey. In the ~20 years since the mid-1990s, the NBA's seen contenders for Greatest Ever at center (Shaq), power forward (Duncan), and small forward (James), along with a couple of Guys in the Discussion for top 5 at their positions (Bryant, Paul, Garnett, Kidd). The pedestals that Bird and Magic stand on now shouldn't go questioned.


Yeah, no doubt about it, re: Bird. Lebron, if not there already, gets there easily with just a couple more seasons. It's an argument now; he'll be clearly ahead soon.

For the fun of it, if I was picking an all-time starting five (pre-Lebron's last few seasons), I'd have the following:
Magic '87
Jordan '96
Bird '86
Russell '62 (at PF)
Kareem '77

Keep in mind I want these guys to be able to play together. This isn't necessarily a top five all-time.
So, who does Lebron replace? I guess it's Bird, but it could also be Magic. Which - how great is Lebron when you could slot him in on a team like that at potentially two positions?

Starting five with careers starting since '80:
Magic '87
Jordan '96
Bird '86
Lebron '13
Duncan '03

I'll take Duncan > Shaq '00, at least for this exercise, even though Shaq '00 was a better season in a vacuum. Better passer, better teammate, better defender.
You might also prefer Lebron on a wing, Duncan at the 4, and Shaq at the 5. That's a better defensive team, but my team would be more fun to watch.
   530. smileyy Posted: March 19, 2013 at 12:37 PM (#4391291)
Re: Jordan's retired seasons -- there's so many ways to talk about the GOAT: is it peak, 5-year peak, total career value, hypothetical total value? In some ways, Jordan might be like Shaq, in that he had incredible peaks, but a career shortened/diminished for one reason or another (ennui, satisfaction, dissatisfaction, whatever reason Shaq got unmotivated and Jordan stopped playing). So I can see talking about missing seasons in that hypothetical light of some sort of "Total Greatness Potential". But when you start talking about that, you're going to get into really weird places without data like "Hypothetical Sam Bowie* vs. Olajuwon" or something like that. I don't think that's a very useful place to take the GOAT argument, and that sort of argument is better captured by "N-year peak".

*I watched the ESPN/SEC documentary on Sam Bowie over the weekend. He reminded me of a 7'1" Anthony Davis in terms of skills, and made me glad that Davis is in the NBA earning money while putting his body at risk. I found it interesting how Bowie freely admitted that he lied about his health before the draft (and I can't blame him). I'm not sure I would ever draft a C again if I were Portland.
   531. smileyy Posted: March 19, 2013 at 12:41 PM (#4391296)
[529] I think I'd take LeBron over Magic in that starting 5, purely on defensive grounds. I think Bird could hit a 3 to open the game, and then they could dribble out the shot clock on the rest of their possessions and win 3-0. That team would be a defensive beast.

Though Magic's passing was more...artistic?...than LeBron's. He has that certain PG flair that I've only seen in a few players like Kidd and Nash that's just really really fun to watch.
   532. kpelton Posted: March 19, 2013 at 01:15 PM (#4391347)
Here's the real question with the Nuggets: Is there a trade they could make for a notional superstar that would make them better? I don't think there realistically is. I mean, obviously, they had a "superstar" and were at best about as good as they are now.

Their problem is that only four teams win more than one playoff series, and that group doesn't tend to change very frequently.
   533. Famous Original Joe C Posted: March 19, 2013 at 01:21 PM (#4391363)
Though Magic's passing was more...artistic?...than LeBron's. He has that certain PG flair that I've only seen in a few players like Kidd and Nash that's just really really fun to watch.


Agreed on Magic for sure, Bird's too, actually. I think Bird was a more artistic/entertaining passer than Lebron, even if Lebron's passing has more on court value.
   534. NJ in DC (Now with temporary employment!) Posted: March 19, 2013 at 01:34 PM (#4391387)
[533] Agreed on Magic's passing for sure, based on highlights. Haven't seen enough Bird to say, though I am commenting just to point out that LeBron's one handed pocket pass out of the side PnR is a thing of beauty. I love watching him and Harden make that pass.

   535. Famous Original Joe C Posted: March 19, 2013 at 01:38 PM (#4391402)
Here's the real question with the Nuggets: Is there a trade they could make for a notional superstar that would make them better? I don't think there realistically is. I mean, obviously, they had a "superstar" and were at best about as good as they are now.


No, there probably isn't. I guess there's a chance Paul leaves the Clippers - that's the only thing even remotely plausible and also helpful to them I can see (having looked at this for all of five minutes), and even that is probably never going to happen. Still, there's plenty of benefit to winning 55 games or so for a few years and being highly entertaining if not quite truly elite. Win a few playoff series, maybe make a run to the conference finals, or get lucky with a Durant or Westbrook injury and suddenly the window is open for a season. You don't have to *only* build towards winning titles, especially if your chances of getting a superduperstar outside of the draft are close to nil.

   536. smileyy Posted: March 19, 2013 at 01:39 PM (#4391404)
[532] You're right that they had a "superstar", not a superstar. Are you asking if there's anyone notionally available that they could bring to the team?

I think the problem is, there aren't many guys who can reliably punch you a ticket to winning more than one playoff series, and those guys don't change teams very often. The only guys who are available are parts, not #1 guys.

OTOH: the Nuggets are 3rd in ORtg and 10th in DRtg. I wonder if switching those two numbers around, and finding (having? I don't know them well enough) a guy to get into Westbrook's head enough to disrupt the OKC offense. Superb defensive parts can be acquired easier than "stars", IMO.
   537. Famous Original Joe C Posted: March 19, 2013 at 01:43 PM (#4391406)
Haven't seen enough Bird to say


NJ, when you have a few minutes: This is part 1 of 3.

   538. Famous Original Joe C Posted: March 19, 2013 at 01:47 PM (#4391416)
Two other quick things then I really have to eat lunch:

1) I also can't recommend the piece GregD linked to in [527] highly enough. It's really something.

2) kpelton, if you're around, and not to put you on the spot, but I'd probably read 500-1500 words at some point on more of the "gravity" theory you were espousing on Twitter. Have you ever fleshed that out more?
   539. NJ in DC (Now with temporary employment!) Posted: March 19, 2013 at 01:56 PM (#4391435)
Joe C, will watch the link when I have a chance later. Thanks

Agree with Joe C that I would love to hear more about the theory. While reading that piece all I kept thinking was "man, this 'ideal' defense sounds a lot like what the Heat play," so I laughed out loud when I got to the part that mentioned they come the closest to replicating it.
   540. Maxwn Posted: March 19, 2013 at 02:01 PM (#4391446)
OTOH: the Nuggets are 3rd in ORtg and 10th in DRtg. I wonder if switching those two numbers around,

Memphis might be able to answer this question a little this year. They are 2nd in Def efficiency and while they are not near the top 10 in offense on the season, I believe they have been playing around 9th or so in offensive efficiency since the Gay trade while the Defensive numbers haven't really changed. The sample size is much smaller on that offensive number and until last week, the schedule had been pretty soft, so I'm not totally confident that they are actually that good on offense now. If they are somewhere in that ball park, then they are kind of a mirror image of Denver.
   541. Maxwn Posted: March 19, 2013 at 02:10 PM (#4391463)
I enjoyed that Lowe piece as well, but I must say that I am skeptical that the Raptors "ghost man" defense thing is actually doing what they say it is doing. Solving for the ideal positioning of 5 men in relation to 5 other guys through time when the other guys can make a very large number of possible moves at any point strikes me as nearly impossible to actually do. There have to be a number of simplifying assumptions that make this model run, so I would want to know what they are and also what the Raptors have done to try to validate the model before I bought all the way in. In particular this sentence:
The team could use that expected value system to build an "ideal" NBA defense irrespective of the Toronto scheme
sounds like a massive overbid to me, which may be why Lowe put that ideal in quotes. The conclusion they drew about NBA defenders under helping is certainly plausible, but I'd want to know a lot more about what they are actually doing before I totally believe them.
   542. Maxwn Posted: March 19, 2013 at 02:18 PM (#4391478)
Note, I don't expect the Raptors to actually provide that information publicly and there is no reason why they should. But there's a little bit of "the coaches are overly skeptical" vibe in that article and as written, I think I'd be on their side at this point. That doesn't mean this thing isn't pretty cool or doesn't potentially have a lot of value, but the problem they are trying to solve is pretty damn complicated and there seem to be a number of ways that you could go way wrong trying to model it.
   543. Bitter Mouse Posted: March 19, 2013 at 02:35 PM (#4391517)
I think NBA offense/defense has a whole pile of game theory in it, where you have to occasionally make a tactial "error" in order to keep the other side honest, and I don't think it is a static thing. Rather it is very dynamic and changes depending on who is playing, matchups and so on.*

* All this not having read anything but the posts. I will get to the various articles and such tonight I hope, so if what I am saying is crazy, obvious, or stupid (more so than usual) be kind to me.
   544. Fourth True Outcome Posted: March 19, 2013 at 02:36 PM (#4391519)
Note, I don't expect the Raptors to actually provide that information publicly and there is no reason why they should.


In some ways, the most surprising part of the article to me is that the Raptors were willing to open up about that stuff at all. It's a system that would take an immense amount of time and resources for a competitor to build from scratch, but still. I'm glad they did, but I expect most such systems that exist in the NBA will never see the light of a public discussion.
   545. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: March 19, 2013 at 03:27 PM (#4391631)
I enjoyed that Lowe piece as well, but I must say that I am skeptical that the Raptors "ghost man" defense thing is actually doing what they say it is doing. Solving for the ideal positioning of 5 men in relation to 5 other guys through time when the other guys can make a very large number of possible moves at any point strikes me as nearly impossible to actually do. There have to be a number of simplifying assumptions that make this model run

Now granted, I know preciously little about basketball. But the way I would approach the problem would be by simply taking snapshots in time, of the offensive positioning, and the defensive positioning, and average the outcome of the play for each set. So in that sense there isn't really anything to run as such.

Of course I am open to the possibility of being completely naive about this.
   546. Maxwn Posted: March 19, 2013 at 03:46 PM (#4391658)
average the outcome of the play for each set.

But how are you doing this? If you take a snapshot in time, and then say the defense should be positioned like this, instead of how they were positioned, the offense can then go several different routes other than the one they actually did. You can't just say "this defensive alignment is a best response to what the offense is doing here" because the offense can then change their response to better adapt to what you did. To actually figure out the ideal defense, you've got to calculate down a large number of possible decision trees, and I am doubtful that is possible.

Basically, I think this is a souped-version of what coaches and analysts have been doing for years with video analysis, where they show how this specific thing we did on defense led to this specific opening for the offense, and maybe if we'd done this instead it wouldn't have been open. And by factoring in the relative danger from different offensive players they are at least trying to think about potential responses to the alignment their system is suggesting. But that is a very complicated problem, so they have to be simplifying somehow. Those simplifications mean that these ghost man defenders may or may not be actually in superior positions to the real players. What they are doing potentially has an absolute ton of value. But it's a long way from actually proving that a given alignment is "ideal" or optimal. I'm definitely on board with them trying to do whatever they are doing, but I think there are pretty good reasons why a coaching staff would be shy about buying all the way into this at this point.
   547. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: March 19, 2013 at 03:58 PM (#4391671)
But how are you doing this? If you take a snapshot in time, and then say the defense should be positioned like this, instead of how they were positioned, the offense can then go several different routes other than the one they actually did. You can't just say "this defensive alignment is a best response to what the offense is doing here" because the offense can then change their response to better adapt to what you did. To actually figure out the ideal defense, you've got to calculate down a large number of possible decision trees, and I am doubtful that is possible.

Okay, lets say the offense is positioned in a certain way, call it O1.
Then you look at all the different defensive formations that were used against O1, call them D1, D2... Dn.
Then you look at the outcomes of each, like D1 gave up an average of x1 points, created y1 rebounds, z1 turnovers etc. So you can generate a point value for that set. Do the same for D2 through Dn.
The defensive formation with the best point score, is you "ideal" defensive positioning given the original offense. Then you do the same for every other offensive formation that shows up.

That way you have eliminated the need to go through all the decision trees, because you are only looking at what the offense did against the defense it faced, and not the defense it could have faced.
   548. Maxwn Posted: March 19, 2013 at 04:09 PM (#4391679)
That makes some sense and actually sounds like it might something like what they are doing. You still have the problem that if you change the mix of defensive strategies that you are using, the offense may change its mix of offensive strategies. If you were mostly using D1, and then notice D2 is working better and start using it more, the offense may start using O2 a lot more, which could change the values. A rarely used defensive strategy might show up as very effective in small samples because the offense wasn't prepared for it and made a bad choice, but if you start using it much more, the other teams may pick up on it and prepare a different counter that works much better. There isn't really a static point you can get to where you have an optimal strategy. Which isn't to say its not a worthwhile exercise to try.
   549. Maxwn Posted: March 19, 2013 at 04:12 PM (#4391681)
Another way of saying it is that just because strategy D2 works very well when I'm using it with probability p=0.05 doesn't mean that it will work the same if I use it at p=0.7.
   550. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: March 19, 2013 at 04:33 PM (#4391707)
You still have the problem that if you change the mix of defensive strategies that you are using, the offense may change its mix of offensive strategies. If you were mostly using D1, and then notice D2 is working better and start using it more, the offense may start using O2 a lot more, which could change the values

Well, if you have done the same calculations for O2, and O3 and all the other sets that show up often enough to worry about, you also know which D you want to run against that.

Agreed that it is something that you will have to continuously monitor, and observe and react to shifts in the data. I assume it is similar to pitch selection and sequencing in baseball. It's not something that you can definitively solve, but being good at it can definitely get you a leg up.
   551. Too Much Coffee Man Posted: March 19, 2013 at 04:37 PM (#4391721)
I noted this on an earlier page. The Nuggets are now 17-6 v. Western Conference playoff teams, 12-0 at home.

The argument about whether they are better with a superstar or "superstar" is largely hypothetical. In today's NBA, it's unlikely a true game changer will opt out of a contract to come to Denver, OKC, Indiana, Memphis. It's pretty cool that these are really good teams with varying shots at a playoff run despite their "geographical handicap."

Appreciate the Heat and good to see the Clippers succeed after so many years of ineptitude. As a hoops fan, good to see teams like Denver, Memphis, and OKC having great seasons using the draft and trades.
   552. kpelton Posted: March 19, 2013 at 04:43 PM (#4391731)
Are you asking if there's anyone notionally available that they could bring to the team?

Basically, the follow-up is, if it's tougher to win with a superstar, what of it? Should they dramatically overpay with their depth to try to get a nominal No. 1 guy? And I think we'd mostly agree, as Joe C in 535, that the answer is probably no and they're doing what they should be doing.

I'd probably read 500-1500 words at some point on more of the "gravity" theory you were espousing on Twitter. Have you ever fleshed that out more?

I haven't. Not sure there's a whole lot more to write, other than to show examples (comparing OKC's 1-3 P&Rs; with Harden at SG and Sefolosha at SG might be interesting), but I probably need to put it somewhere at some point if only so I have something to link.

- On the discussion of the Raptors' sim, while I agree they're surely not there and I know nothing about chess, doesn't chess offer similar game theory? The difference is that there's no fundamental limitation on possible "moves" in basketball as there is in chess, but there's an enormous number of possible moves in chess such that at one point it was unclear whether a computer could ever handle them all. And eventually programmers were able to simplify things to the point where those calculations were manageable. I think it's possible something similar could happen with a model of positioning.
   553. Maxwn Posted: March 19, 2013 at 05:21 PM (#4391772)
On the discussion of the Raptors' sim, while I agree they're surely not there and I know nothing about chess, doesn't chess offer similar game theory? The difference is that there's no fundamental limitation on possible "moves" in basketball as there is in chess

Kevin, I thought about the chess thing too. My gut reaction is that the fact 1)chess pieces are limited in the ways they can move and 2)only one piece can be moved at a time before I get to move again vastly simplifies the game theory from basketball where there isn't much of a limit on what players can do, all five players can do something at the same time, and they don't have to wait on me to do something before they move again. Someone who knows more than me about math and computers might have a different take, but it strikes me a vastly more complicated problem.

As you say though, the limitations on how close you can come to solving the game don't necessarily mean you can't make a lot of useful strides, as has happened in chess.
   554. GregD Posted: March 19, 2013 at 05:42 PM (#4391795)
This is in both #552 and #553 but worth saying even more simply as it shows both the Raptors' ambition and the incredible obstacles: while every bishop moves the same way, they are trying to create a program that recalculates every best positioning based upon the unique abilities of every NBA player. That's a monster of a problem. But awe-inspiring in the ambition.

It seems simultaneously more ambitious and less useful than what is coming out of baseball at this point. I imagine football must also have some fascinating work going on but I don't know about it.

The issue of fatigue that they bring up is also interesting. LeBron matches some of their crazy optimal defensive help rotations but that's in part because he's one of the few guys who can hop all over the court the whole game without wearing down. I don't know how you factor fatigue into it; if the optimal move takes tiring exertion, how do you factor that in, especially since different players recover more quickly than others.

I do think it would be great, though, to see the least optimal defensive players. How far is Melo away from his optimal rotations and helpside positioning?
   555. andrewberg Posted: March 19, 2013 at 06:31 PM (#4391841)
Nuggets star trade: Gallinari, Faried, Koufos and 2 #1s for Love. Does that help?
   556. Famous Original Joe C Posted: March 19, 2013 at 07:16 PM (#4391876)
Nuggets star trade: Gallinari, Faried, Koufos and 2 #1s for Love. Does that help?


"With this trade you have decreased this team's projected wins by 16."
   557. Bitter Mouse Posted: March 19, 2013 at 08:05 PM (#4391907)
Nuggets star trade: Gallinari, Faried, Koufos and 2 #1s for Love. Does that help?


My first thought was yes, it helps the Wolves. But now I am not sure. This year has been so Wolves-terrible that I am no longer rational about them and the team. I really just need to wait for next year, because all change is not good change.
   558. Spivey Posted: March 19, 2013 at 10:04 PM (#4392072)
That trade would completely gut the Nuggets. I'm assuming that andrewberg was being facetious, but I guess I don't know.
   559. Spivey Posted: March 19, 2013 at 10:07 PM (#4392074)
My first thought was yes, it helps the Wolves. But now I am not sure. This year has been so Wolves-terrible that I am no longer rational about them and the team. I really just need to wait for next year, because all change is not good change.


Well with that trade, you basically become the Nuggets, and you get 2 first round picks to boot. Sounds like a pretty good option to me.
   560. andrewberg Posted: March 19, 2013 at 10:20 PM (#4392094)
i doubt the Wolves would seek to trade Love. I was partially highlighting what it would look like to get the "superstar" because I agree with the sentiment above that it isn't worth it. They're not gutted, though. They'd have a depth chart of:

Lawson Miller
Iguodala Brewer
Chandler Hamilton
Love Randolph
Mcgee Mozgov

Does having Love get them closer to contending? Kind of hard to say. Maybe I'm overrating him, but he was one of the top WS guys last year.
   561. Russlan is fond of Dillon Gee Posted: March 19, 2013 at 10:45 PM (#4392119)
The Nuggets beat the Thunder by 10 in OKC tonight. That's pretty good.

I don't think I'd call Love a star player. I consider star players guys that can carry their teams to playoffs most years even with a poor supporting cast. I might be wrong about that and he might be better than I think he is. Right now, I'd call him a rich man's version of David Lee, a pretty good player but not a star.
   562. steagles Posted: March 19, 2013 at 10:58 PM (#4392128)
Well with that trade, you basically become the Nuggets, and you get 2 first round picks to boot. Sounds like a pretty good option to me.

rubio - barea - shved
galinari - kirilenko - budinger - williams
pekovic - faried - koufos - stiemsma

they could play big with rubio - budinger - kirilenko - faried - pekovic or small with rubio - barea - shved - kirilenko - faried or they could play for the 3 with barea - budinger - galinari - williams - koufos or go for max defense with rubio - shved - kirilenko - stiemsma - pekovic.

i'd watch that team.
   563. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: March 19, 2013 at 11:03 PM (#4392135)
That's an impressive feat, to make a trade that makes the Twolves even whiter. Maybe even include Mozgov instead of Faried too.
   564. Maxwn Posted: March 20, 2013 at 12:56 AM (#4392202)
Well, I was pissed earlier that OKC lost to DEN at home but I guess LAC just got wrecked in the 4th Qtr by the Kings of all teams. This 3-4-5 race is getting pretty ridiculous. I can't figure out what's going on in the ESPN standings, it's got it like this

3. MEM 45-21 .682 5.5 back
4. LAC 46-22 .676 5.5 back
5. DEN 47-22 .681 5.0 back

I can see the logic of MEM being ahead of both of them, since they have the highest win pct, but how the heck is LAC above DEN? Edit: It's that division winner thing, isn't it?

I just noticed LAC has a pretty big week coming up. They've got Philly and Brooklyn at home this week, which isn't that bad, but then next week they go @DAL/@NOH, @SAS/@HOU. That's not as bad as the Grizzlies 4-in-5 from last week, but it's no picnic. They'll be doing well to go 2-2 like we did. I am now leaning towards DEN catching LAC, the question is going to be whether MEM can stay ahead of either one of them.

Dear Grizz, Tomorrow would be a good time to beat OKC.
   565. RollingWave Posted: March 20, 2013 at 01:37 AM (#4392213)
Toney Douglas went off and scored 17 on the Clippers in the 4th.

Ex-Rockets: always good against LA in the 4th.

   566. Maxwn Posted: March 20, 2013 at 01:46 AM (#4392214)
Toney Douglas went off and scored 17 on the Clippers in the 4th.

Ah, of course. DWTDD. I didn't even know he was on the Kings.
   567. RollingWave Posted: March 20, 2013 at 02:24 AM (#4392217)
He's bounced back a bit this year, not back to his first 2 year level, but certainly a gigtantic improvement over last year's worse player in the league type of performance.
   568. PJ Martinez Posted: March 20, 2013 at 08:31 AM (#4392248)
562 looks like an Emily Dickinson poem translated into Russian.

That's all.
   569. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: March 20, 2013 at 09:21 AM (#4392272)
so i was checking out the espn site for the bucks and on the schedule area it shows tickets available and the lowest price listed.

milwaukee plays at charlotte in a few weeks and there are tickets listed for a dollar.

wow
   570. NJ in DC (Now with temporary employment!) Posted: March 20, 2013 at 09:25 AM (#4392275)
That 3-4-5 race in the West is awesome. Subjectively, it seems that the odds of advancing to Round 2 based on getting the 3rd seed are so much higher than they would be if you end up with the 4/5, given the relative quality of teams. IMO, whoever gets 3 should be able to beat GSW in 5. Whoever falls to 4/5 is looking at at least a 6 game first round series and likely a 7 gamer.
   571. Too Much Coffee Man Posted: March 20, 2013 at 09:45 AM (#4392295)
Denver's next 2 games:
Home to PHI, SAC, at NO
The Hornets game would be a loss in December, now it is looking like #16.

Clippers have 2 back-to-backs next week:
@DAL/@NO
@SA/@HOU

My understanding is that if the Nuggets finish with a better record than the Clippers, they get the #3 seed (assuming Memphis is below both). If they finish tied, the Clippers get the #3 seed by being the division leader.
   572. NJ in DC (Now with temporary employment!) Posted: March 20, 2013 at 09:54 AM (#4392301)
[571] I forgot about the stupid division thing. Doesn't the new rule guarantee that LAC will have, at worst, the 4th seed by virtue of winning their division?
   573. Famous Original Joe C Posted: March 20, 2013 at 10:05 AM (#4392307)
[571] I forgot about the stupid division thing. Doesn't the new rule guarantee that LAC will have, at worst, the 4th seed by virtue of winning their division?


No - the Celtics won their division last year but had to start on the road against the Hawks as the putative 5 seed because Atlanta finished one game better. All it guarantees is that you can't drop below that matchup. Confusing, I know.
   574. NJ in DC (Now with temporary employment!) Posted: March 20, 2013 at 10:41 AM (#4392344)
No - the Celtics won their division last year but had to start on the road against the Hawks as the putative 5 seed because Atlanta finished one game better. All it guarantees is that you can't drop below that matchup. Confusing, I know.

So if LAC wins their division with less wins than DEN, LAC would be the 4 seed and DEN the 5, but DEN would have home court advantage in the 1st round matchup? Also, I can't remember if this has ever come into play, but after the 1st round, is HCA determined by record or by seed? So if the 1 seed is upset by the 8 seed does the 8 seed have HCA over hypothetical 4 seed LAC above? What about hypothetical 5 seed DEN above?
   575. Maxwn Posted: March 20, 2013 at 11:22 AM (#4392392)
So if LAC wins their division with less wins than DEN, LAC would be the 4 seed and DEN the 5, but DEN would have home court advantage in the 1st round matchup

So basically at this point, if you get the 4 seed by winning your division only, it's just a empty honor, "Congratulations, you're the 4 seed, but the 5 seed gets home court?"
   576. Famous Original Joe C Posted: March 20, 2013 at 11:28 AM (#4392398)
Also, I can't remember if this has ever come into play, but after the 1st round, is HCA determined by record or by seed? So if the 1 seed is upset by the 8 seed does the 8 seed have HCA over hypothetical 4 seed LAC above? What about hypothetical 5 seed DEN above?


If the 1 seed is upset by the 8 seed, the 4/5 winner gets HCA in the 2nd round - this also happened with the Celtics last year.
   577. Famous Original Joe C Posted: March 20, 2013 at 11:33 AM (#4392403)
So basically at this point, if you get the 4 seed by winning your division only, it's just a empty honor, "Congratulations, you're the 4 seed, but the 5 seed gets home court?"


Yeah, basically - the "bonus" is you can't drop below that matchup. So, in a theoretical West where the LAC won their division by had the sixth best record in the conference, they'd still be in the 4/5 matchup, and wouldn't be stuck playing the three seed. However, W/L record, NOT seed, determines home court advantage.
   578. HMS Moses Taylor Posted: March 20, 2013 at 12:01 PM (#4392435)
If the 1 seed is upset by the 8 seed, the 4/5 winner gets HCA in the 2nd round - this also happened with the Celtics last year.

Well, the C's had a better record than the Sixers still. In my reading of NJ's hypothetical in [574], the 4 seed has the worst record of the 8 playoff teams but is the only team from their division to qualify for the playoffs. I have no idea what happens there, I'd guess it would still default to record.
   579. HMS Moses Taylor Posted: March 20, 2013 at 12:04 PM (#4392438)
I don't think I'd call Love a star player. I consider star players guys that can carry their teams to playoffs most years even with a poor supporting cast. I might be wrong about that and he might be better than I think he is. Right now, I'd call him a rich man's version of David Lee, a pretty good player but not a star.

We had this discussion quite a bit last year. Of course, Love has been alternately hurt and then less good this year, so it depends on whether this is just a bump in the road for him or if last year+ he was over his head.

Most of us here come (came?) down on the side of him being a star. I would love for the Bulls to find a way to pair him with Rose.
   580. Famous Original Joe C Posted: March 20, 2013 at 12:13 PM (#4392450)
I would love for the Bulls to find a way to pair him with Rose.


The even more perfect pairing would be Noah. Noah protects the rim, gets dirty inside, does all those little Noah things. Love can help spread the floor for Rose, shoot threes, and doesn't need to worry as much about post D/rim protection (things he's not so good at). You'd have great rebounding, floor spacing, and outstanding passing. He'd be a fantastic complement to those guys.
   581. Famous Original Joe C Posted: March 20, 2013 at 12:14 PM (#4392451)
Well, the C's had a better record than the Sixers still. In my reading of NJ's hypothetical in [574], the 4 seed has the worst record of the 8 playoff teams but is the only team from their division to qualify for the playoffs. I have no idea what happens there, I'd guess it would still default to record.


Yes - they'd play the team with the 4th best record in the 1st round, but then wouldn't have homecourt the rest of the way.
   582. HMS Moses Taylor Posted: March 20, 2013 at 12:22 PM (#4392461)
So, maybe Thibs wasn't the person most upset about that Noah goaltending call the other night:

Comcast SportsNet Chicago Bulls analyst Kendall Gill has been temporarily removed from his on-air duties after a physical altercation with Big Ten Network analyst Tim Doyle in the CSN newsroom Tuesday evening.

The incident followed the taping of "Sports Talk Live," a panel discussion on Comcast SportsNet Chicago that featured me, Mr. Doyle and Chicago Sun-Times reporter Herb Gould. Mr. Gill confronted Mr. Doyle in the newsroom over critical comments he had made on the air about Mr. Gill's analysis of the controversial final moments of Monday's Chicago Bulls-Denver Nuggets game. The referees ruled that what at first appeared to be a last-second basket by the Bulls would not be allowed, thus giving the win to the Nuggets.

The altercation happened right in front of me as Mr. Doyle and I were walking through the CSN newsroom on our way out of the building.

Mr. Gill approached Mr. Doyle and called him out for his comments, which escalated to a shoving match and ultimately Mr. Gill throwing a punch at Mr. Doyle. The two bumped up against a sign on the wall and a small amount of blood was drawn (though it was unclear exactly how) before the two were separated.
   583. Booey Posted: March 20, 2013 at 12:32 PM (#4392469)
Better record always has HC, regardless of seed. If an 8th seed upset a 1st seed, they'd start every subsequent series on the road (well, unless they ran into a really weak Finals opponent), even though they inherited the 1st seed's playoff path. Four of the five 8's to beat a 1 just went on to lose in the second round, in part cuz they didn't have HC (plus being the weaker team and all).

Winning your division guarantees a team at least a 4th seed, but that applies to playoff slotting only. The 5th seed will still have HC if they have a better record, so the 4th seed in this case will be the higher seed in name only. The Jazz were technically the 4th seed in both 2007 and 2008 since they won their division, but they started on the road against the 5th seeded Rockets both times.

Edit: partial cokes to several
   584. NJ in DC (Now with temporary employment!) Posted: March 20, 2013 at 12:34 PM (#4392471)
Thanks for the explanation on the seeding stuff.

Saw something earlier from ESPNStatsInfo about how the Nuggets have won the points in the paint battle for about 50 games in a row which is ~20 games longer than the previous record. This brought me back to the Nuggets need a star discussion we had last page and what the Nuggets probably need more/could benefit more from than a star is really just shooting. If they had one guy who the opposition could not leave open their offense could reach Heat-ian heights.
   585. Booey Posted: March 20, 2013 at 12:42 PM (#4392481)
So, maybe Thibs wasn't the person most upset about that Noah goaltending call the other night:


Speaking of questionable calls, isn't changing possession on an out of bounds call something officials can only do when the clock is at 2 minutes or less? There was a play with 8 minutes left in the 4th in the horrible Jazz/Knicks game from Monday where the ball went out of bounds and the refs originally ruled it Jazz ball, but the Knicks complained about it and the call was reversed to be New York possession. They didn't review the video, they just talked for a second and changed it on the spot. I don't know if it was the right call or not, I'm just wondering about the procedure. The Jazz play-by-play announcers said that shouldn't have been allowed since the clock wasn't below the 2 minute mark. Were they wrong? Anyone know the rule on this?
   586. Yardape Posted: March 20, 2013 at 12:46 PM (#4392486)
In 2006 the Clippers had home court advantage against the Nuggets, even though the Nuggets were ostensibly the third seed and the Clippers were the sixth seed. The Nuggets tied for the seventh-best record in the conference but won their division.
   587. kpelton Posted: March 20, 2013 at 12:48 PM (#4392490)
585: That only applies to replay. Referees have the right to change their calls whenever they want.
   588. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: March 20, 2013 at 01:07 PM (#4392527)
Mr. Gill approached Mr. Doyle and called him out for his comments, which escalated to a shoving match and ultimately Mr. Gill throwing a punch at Mr. Doyle. The two bumped up against a sign on the wall and a small amount of blood was drawn (though it was unclear exactly how) before the two were separated.


Gill, if y'all didn't know, had a brief career as a pro boxer after he washed out of the league. Don't be fooled by his record, the opponents were almost certainly professional tomato cans and Gill didn't show much technique, but as a trained fighter he should be sanctioned for assaulting someone unless he was attacked first.
   589. Booey Posted: March 20, 2013 at 01:08 PM (#4392531)
Thanks Kevin. That's what I had thought for years too, but I wasn't sure if it changed when the replay rule was instituted.
   590. smileyy Posted: March 20, 2013 at 01:22 PM (#4392557)
"washed out" is a bit of a harsh term for a guy who spent 15 years in the league, primarily as a starter.
   591. steagles Posted: March 20, 2013 at 01:49 PM (#4392603)
Saw something earlier from ESPNStatsInfo about how the Nuggets have won the points in the paint battle for about 50 games in a row which is ~20 games longer than the previous record. This brought me back to the Nuggets need a star discussion we had last page and what the Nuggets probably need more/could benefit more from than a star is really just shooting. If they had one guy who the opposition could not leave open their offense could reach Heat-ian heights.
danilo gallinari?
   592. NJ in DC (Now with temporary employment!) Posted: March 20, 2013 at 02:19 PM (#4392636)
[591] Gallo is very good, not great, from deep and I meant more of a Ray Allen/Steve Novak/Kyle Korver/Matt Bonner type. Someone who lives at 40%+ and can just stand at the 3 point line and quickly knock it down anytime they're left alone.
   593. Famous Original Joe C Posted: March 20, 2013 at 02:58 PM (#4392707)
Thinking about MVP candidates today. Okay, it's a little silly because Lebron is the MVP. Durant is solidly #2. After that?

I think I'd have the following three guys in spots 3-5 on my non-existent ballot:
-- Chris Paul: 3rd in PER, playing for a top five team, good defensively - just wish he played more than 33 minutes per game.
-- Tim Duncan: 5th in PER, best DRtg in the league, plays for team with best record - but only 30 minutes per game. Still, I like him better than Parker - I don't think Parker's playing time makes up the enormous defensive differences between the two. To me, Duncan is more indispensible to the Spurs than Parker.
-- James Harden: 8th in PER, has (along with some savvy marginal moves by Morey) made the Rockets both super entertaining and pretty good in a season they were supposed to stink. I like him the best of the "Guy who scores in high volume reasonably efficiently, gets 5-7 boards/assists, and plays zero defense" group, which also includes Tony Parker and Kobe.

Random sidebar: maybe we should vote our own awards? I'll set them up and tally them if others are interested.
   594. smileyy Posted: March 20, 2013 at 04:36 PM (#4392855)
Minutes arguments for basketball MVP seem similar to positional value arguments in baseball MVP consideration. If the Spurs thought it was more valuable to their season to play Tim Duncan more than 30 minutes a game, they would. And if they finish with the best record in the league (which I know is an "if"), it feels weird to discredit Duncan for not doing more to contribute more success that the Spurs didn't need.

Something sort of like "Value Under A Players Control" or "Value Contributing To A Team's Success".

   595. smileyy Posted: March 20, 2013 at 04:38 PM (#4392858)
I'd also be down with awards voting, with the encouragement of justification of the ballot. Not to the extent of, say, the Hall of Merit, but I'd love to see more than just lists from people.
   596. Russlan is fond of Dillon Gee Posted: March 20, 2013 at 05:25 PM (#4392956)
Tim Duncan: 5th in PER, best DRtg in the league, plays for team with best record

They don't have the best record anymore.
   597. Lassus Posted: March 20, 2013 at 05:36 PM (#4392972)
Allow me to state here that Keith Smart's name popping up on the goddammned Yahoo front page still manages to enrage me.
   598. Booey Posted: March 20, 2013 at 08:00 PM (#4393104)
I'd also be down with awards voting, with the encouragement of justification of the ballot. Not to the extent of, say, the Hall of Merit, but I'd love to see more than just lists from people.


Yeah, same. Especially since LeBron pretty much has to be a unanimous #1 and Durant a unanimous #2, the real interest will come from seeing people's 3-10 (if you want to go that deep) and their explanations as to why. I'd be up for that. Other awards (DPOY, ROY, COY, etc) wouldn't have to go 10 deep, obviously.
   599. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: March 20, 2013 at 08:00 PM (#4393105)
Kurt Rambis. Dude, listen to the things you're saying.
   600. robinred Posted: March 20, 2013 at 08:30 PM (#4393123)
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