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Friday, May 21, 2021

NBA 2021 Playoffs+ thread

I estimate there are maybe 10-12 Primates left on this site, and they all post in the NBA thread.

Moses Taylor hashes out the rumpus Posted: May 21, 2021 at 01:07 PM | 4930 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: clutch, narratives, nba, off topic, redemption

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   2701. Hombre Brotani Posted: July 20, 2021 at 11:44 PM (#6029778)
Watching Giannis make history was something else. What a singular performance.
   2702. My name is Votto, and I love to get Moppo Posted: July 20, 2021 at 11:45 PM (#6029779)
What a player, and this was a pretty entertaining Finals. Congrats to Griffey, Spivey, and the Bucks fans.
   2703. tshipman Posted: July 20, 2021 at 11:45 PM (#6029780)
Congrats to the Bucks and their fans.
   2704. spivey 2 Posted: July 20, 2021 at 11:46 PM (#6029781)
I love that Mark Jackson snuck in a Giannis got a text to be legendary with like 20 seconds left.
   2705. My name is Votto, and I love to get Moppo Posted: July 20, 2021 at 11:48 PM (#6029782)
Any chance Bud still gets fired?
   2706. Der-K's emotional investment is way up Posted: July 20, 2021 at 11:48 PM (#6029783)
Congrats Bucks fans!
   2707. asinwreck Posted: July 20, 2021 at 11:49 PM (#6029784)
Congratulations to the Bucks and Bucks fans. And great to see Giannis add a paragraph to his Naismith candidacy right after it looked like he'd be on the shelf for a year.
   2708. spivey 2 Posted: July 21, 2021 at 12:02 AM (#6029789)
I love post Finals interviews cause they can just hit really deep. The JR Cleveland Interview was I think the all time best.
   2709. Athletic Supporter is USDA certified lean Posted: July 21, 2021 at 12:09 AM (#6029790)
Congrats to spivey, Griffey, and everyone associated with the Bucks. Great NBA season despite the injuries with a solid outcome and really happy for Giannis. I've said this before, but it's remarkable how likable pretty much all the young NBA stars are, the league is in great hands.
   2710. spivey 2 Posted: July 21, 2021 at 12:27 AM (#6029792)
Where the postgame interviews at
   2711. Der-K's emotional investment is way up Posted: July 21, 2021 at 12:39 AM (#6029793)
Is Monty williams possibly the top human being coaching in the league? Every clip I’ve ever seen of him exudes solid, thoughtful dude vibes.
   2712. spivey 2 Posted: July 21, 2021 at 01:00 AM (#6029796)
I love Monty Williams.

I also think Bud flipped a switch after the blowout in Game 2 vs Brooklyn.
   2713. spivey 2 Posted: July 21, 2021 at 01:09 AM (#6029797)
Bobby Portis gets buckets. Every team should have a guy like that on their bench.
   2714. rr: cosmopolitan elite Posted: July 21, 2021 at 02:35 AM (#6029800)
Congrats to Milwaukee.
   2715. Hombre Brotani Posted: July 21, 2021 at 03:40 AM (#6029801)
So.... time to reevaluate Championship coach Bud?
   2716. Ken Griffey's Grotesquely Swollen Jaw Posted: July 21, 2021 at 04:36 AM (#6029802)
Just got back home (Chicago) from the Deer District-- what a great night. Still can't believe Giannis hit all those free throws.
   2717. jmurph Posted: July 21, 2021 at 08:55 AM (#6029808)
So.... time to reevaluate Championship coach Bud?

There are no asterisks, flags fly forever, etc. Also they were Durant's big toe from going home in round 2 against a Nets team playing without Kyrie or (really) Harden, in which case he almost certainly would have been fired.

I don't know, I don't feel super confident evaluating coaches these days, but this is definitely a huge boost to Giannis's reputation. Which was already great, obviously, but it seemed like he was taking a hit with the free throws and bad shot selection prior to the Finals.
   2718. PJ Martinez Posted: July 21, 2021 at 09:26 AM (#6029816)
I haven't looked at the numbers, but Bud did finally begin running his starters out there for big minutes, didn't he?
   2719. PJ Martinez Posted: July 21, 2021 at 10:06 AM (#6029822)
Two seasons ago we got a title team with no top-10 picks.

This season we get a title team with no single-digit picks.
   2720. Dandy Little Glove Man Posted: July 21, 2021 at 10:18 AM (#6029825)
I haven't looked at the numbers, but Bud did finally begin running his starters out there for big minutes, didn't he?

Yeah. Giannis, Middleton, and Jrue averaged 41.3 minutes per game in the Finals. The Suns didn't have anyone play that much.

It just dawned on me that the East will likely be stronger than the West next year, and perhaps much stronger. With Kawhi and Murray out, Harden on the Nets, Conley and CP3's uncertain futures, Lillard's possible trade, and the rising stars in the second tier of the East (Trae, Tatum, Bam), the conference imbalance could flip at least temporarily.
   2721. jmurph Posted: July 21, 2021 at 10:30 AM (#6029826)
We probably always overlearn lessons from playoff results (I'm also 100% guilty of this, I'm not judging), but this year seems especially open to such things.
   2722. jmurph Posted: July 21, 2021 at 10:38 AM (#6029828)
It just dawned on me that the East will likely be stronger than the West next year, and perhaps much stronger. With Kawhi and Murray out, Harden on the Nets, Conley and CP3's uncertain futures, Lillard's possible trade, and the rising stars in the second tier of the East (Trae, Tatum, Bam), the conference imbalance could flip at least temporarily.

You make a fair case, but I'll remain skeptical until it happens, I guess. There were really only 3 good teams in the East this year, arguably only two actual contenders. It will take a pretty big swing to turn that around.
   2723. Crosseyed and Painless Posted: July 21, 2021 at 10:43 AM (#6029831)
Way too early NBA Title Odds from BetMGM

Nets +225
Lakers +450
Bucks +800
Warriors +1200
Jazz +1200
Suns +1400
Sixers +1600
Clippers +1800
Nuggets +2000
Mavericks +3000
Hawks +3500
Heat +3500
Celtics +4000
Blazers +4000
Knicks +8000

Not sure why but I like guessing the 10 Christmas teams/games

Nets v Bucks
Lakers v Suns
Warriors v Jazz
Sixers v Hawks
Mavs v Knicks

Guess that leaves out the Clippers and the MVP. (EDIT - so I should probably switch out Jazz for Clippers)
   2724. spivey 2 Posted: July 21, 2021 at 10:56 AM (#6029836)
Bud did a lot of good things this playoffs and this series. He started running his starters a ton. Middleton was playing like 43 minutes every game. Him, or someone, talked to Giannis midway in the Brooklyn series and got him to pretty significantly change his offensive approach and seriously dial back the Giannis at the top of the key stuff, and when he did do it, he was looking to drive much more. Against Atlanta, the switch everything the last couple of games really kind of flummoxed them. Against Phoenix, they just really, really turned them into a mid-range team. Didn't overreact to them making a lot of those shots, either, which would have been easy to do. Milwaukee won the battle vs. Phoenix of not allowing corner 3s, which their offense is pretty good at generating. Pushing the ball so aggressively. Killed every team on the glass, in an age of don't offensive rebound, just get back.

The team has now won 7 playoff series in the last 3 years. That's the most in the NBA. I think it's overly reductive to say "BUT THE TOE!". Also worth noting that Kyrie did play half the series, Brooklyn's stars are injury prone, and the Nets on/off rating with Durant by himself was very, very good this season. I think if we go back and look at pre-playoff picks, many people were questioning if Brooklyn would be able to stay healthy enough to beat Milwaukee. Milwaukee had a wide open Middleton 3 at the end of Game 3 against Toronto that would have changed that series. Giannis fouled out at the end of that game on an extremely bad call. Point is, there's a lot of these small margins that tip series, and Milwaukee's had some of that go against them in the past. This year they had it go for them.


This was pretty fun. I've obviously not been a fan as long as Griffey or most, really. In 2018-19, a friend and I got a 12 game flex package to watch Milwaukee. I mostly did it just to scratch the itch of live basketball, and there was excitement with the team with a new coach, and a more modern offense and defense with Bud. Early on we realized it was a pretty special team we saw coming together. I started more casually rooting for them, and was just enjoying the playoff run that first year. Sometimes you don't even realize you care that much with sports until it's crunch time, and the last game or two of that Toronto series I realized, ok, I'm definitely a Bucks fan now. Each playoff series and year I've rooted more and more for them, to where I'm now a big fan. I love these players, the people they seem to be, I love Milwaukee the city.
   2725. spivey 2 Posted: July 21, 2021 at 11:01 AM (#6029838)
I think the odds in 2723 are a good representation of how I view the conferences. The Nets are the best team if they're healthy. Lakers and Milwaukee are next. So, the East has the best team and the 2nd or 3rd best team, probably. But then like 6 of the next 7 are West teams. And if Kawhi actually tries to come back quick so he's in shape for the playoffs (stay with me now), they're up there with the top 3.
   2726. jmurph Posted: July 21, 2021 at 11:09 AM (#6029839)
Scrolling through posts from last night, gotta agree with spivey on Jrue's offense, which frequently looked terrible.

He's another example where fortunes really turn on the results: saw multiple tweets last night about Horst being the best young GM in the game. If this series goes the other way there would have been a loooooot of questions about the Holiday deal.
   2727. jmurph Posted: July 21, 2021 at 11:11 AM (#6029841)
This is incredible:
Kirk Goldsberry @kirkgoldsberry
Points In The Paint, 2021 Finals

1. Giannis ... 134
2. Booker ..... 60
3. Ayton ....... 58
4. Lopez ...... 46
5. Holiday .... 44
   2728. spivey 2 Posted: July 21, 2021 at 11:14 AM (#6029844)
I love Jrue Holiday. Good person, great defender, good player. But as I reflected on my anxiety-laden screaming and posting last night, I stand by that. I still think, in the playoffs, they need to find a way to really have Jrue be a tertiary initiator. I just don't think he has natural PG instincts - which is ok, he brings enough else to the table, but against the best teams I don't think you can use him like a true PG.
   2729. Ken Griffey's Grotesquely Swollen Jaw Posted: July 21, 2021 at 11:21 AM (#6029846)
Congrats spivey! What a great run. I love Milwaukee too and it's corny but true: I feel a lot of pride and happiness for Giannis and the rest of the guys. They saw their moment and rose to the occasion.

I think Bud got up to a few of his old tricks last night but now's not the time to nitpick: he made most of the big decisions correctly during the series. My appreciation for him has grown over the last few weeks.
   2730. Mike A Posted: July 21, 2021 at 11:31 AM (#6029849)
Odds for the Lakers and Warriors seem high to me. Older, injury-prone teams are not something I want to lay money down on.

Mavs seem high as well. They're basically a one-man team and a bit of a mess behind the scenes.

The rest seem about right. If I were a betting man, I'd probably go with the odds on the Jazz/Nuggets/Clippers.
   2731. kubiwan Posted: July 21, 2021 at 11:51 AM (#6029851)
So.... time to reevaluate Championship coach Bud?


Man, if there is one thing I have learned is that for many commentators (both on and off this board and both on basketball and other sports), actual results literally don't matter when they evaluate coaches. Basically, if they think someone is a good coach, well, it is difficult to convince them otherwise and if they think someone is a bad coach, they are always a bad coach and all evidence to the contrary is dismissed as "getting lucky" or "the players overcame the bad coaching" or whatever. I find this all to be completely baffling, but whatever.
   2732. jmurph Posted: July 21, 2021 at 12:06 PM (#6029853)
Outstanding:
Julius Hodge @Follow24Hodge
My son: “Chris Paul plays basketball? He’s from the commercials.”

Me: yes son. He’s the one that....

My son: oh, I thought he was a good guy.
   2733. 57i66135 is available to babysit, for a price Posted: July 21, 2021 at 12:21 PM (#6029856)
Julius Hodge @Follow24Hodge
My son: “Chris Paul plays basketball? He’s from the commercials.”

Me: yes son. He’s the one that....

My son: oh, I thought he was a good guy.

that is just great.
   2734. jmurph Posted: July 21, 2021 at 12:28 PM (#6029858)
Giannis making a run at being everyone's favorite athlete.

(Video of him ordering a 50 piece at chick-fil-a live on IG, apparently with the trophies also in the car.)
   2735. tshipman Posted: July 21, 2021 at 01:22 PM (#6029863)
Re: Evaluating Bud as a coach:

You have to use results and the process. Bud ended up being good enough to win a championship when his team got a lot of breaks. That's not nothing.

As a coach, Bud strongly prefers to play big, defend the rim, rebound and have a "good enough" offense to win. That worked well against Phoenix, who insisted on playing a big at all times. It also was fine against Atlanta, a not very talented team that overachieved to reach the conference finals.

Bud's weaknesses are coming up with a lineup that doesn't involve two bigs, making quick adjustments, and identifying weak spots in the opponent game plan. All of those weaknesses were still on display. The only thing that Bud really improved at was getting his stars on the court for more minutes.

As soon as he's up against a team that likes to go small, I think Bud will struggle.
   2736. Der-K's emotional investment is way up Posted: July 21, 2021 at 01:36 PM (#6029865)
Bud: I’ve always liked him more that the consensus here, for a few reasons. 1) I’m less championship focused than many (this ties into my how many people are “starter level” question from the other day); 2) I root for the Hawks and saw what he did there; 3) my personal coaching preferences overlap with his in significant ways
It was nice to see him make faster, more meaningful adjustments this year (and not just in the finals). Turns out - coaching in the NBA is hard!

Jrue: he’s definitely not a traditional floor general but I’m comfortable with him as my point guard. Some of this is because I value guard defense more than many people do but also I like (and the nba has moved toward) having multiple initiators on the floor at a given time. Giannis, Middleton, and Dante are all above average at playmaking and you can let matchups dictate who is setting up and who is finishing plays. Having said that!, that doesn’t work as well against some teams and the playoffs are a place where this can break down. So, I’d really prioritize having a good playmaking backup that you can give more minutes to when needed.
   2737. aberg Posted: July 21, 2021 at 01:39 PM (#6029866)
Almost every year, someone will point out that the champion's path to the title was a relatively easy one. This year, the argument is that the Nets had injuries, the Hawks weren't really that good, and the Suns were flawed at the level of being a Finals team. I know that this topic came up with the Lakers last year and almost every year Lebron carried a lesser team through the East.

I think one issue is that the Champ is definitively the last team standing. Every other playoff team lost their last series, so they had some fatal flaw exposed. It's almost like saying, "Milwaukee beat Phoenix, but that can't mean that much since Phoenix isn't even good enough to beat Milwaukee!" Phoenix wasn't a perfect team, but they were really good! Milwaukee took it to another level, both schematically and in execution. Middleton and Giannis both played some of the best basketball they have played together over those last four games. I like both these teams and had a great time watching the series.

   2738. jmurph Posted: July 21, 2021 at 01:42 PM (#6029867)
There's no getting around the fact that we had a historic level of injuries to star players. That's not a shot at the Bucks to point that out. It's also true that the Bucks were one of the handful of real contenders heading into the post-season anyway, it isn't like (I'll take a shot at my own team) some mediocre team like this year's Celtics or Mavs getting 4 straight easy series and winning a fluke title.

EDIT: And again, I'm definitively team No Asterisk! I don't think this was the hardest run that a title winner has ever had. But you're ranking title winners, at that point, they all count the same.
   2739. aberg Posted: July 21, 2021 at 01:59 PM (#6029872)
There's no getting around the fact that we had a historic level of injuries to star players. That's not a shot at the Bucks to point that out.


To be fair, Giannis also hyperextended his knee and somehow didn't miss any time.
   2740. jmurph Posted: July 21, 2021 at 02:01 PM (#6029873)
To be fair, Giannis also hyperextended his knee and somehow didn't miss any time.

Missed two games, then grew a new knee it seems.
   2741. aberg Posted: July 21, 2021 at 02:08 PM (#6029874)
Missed two games, then grew a new knee it seems.


Right, yeah, I was thinking "in the Finals," but should've said that.
   2742. kubiwan Posted: July 21, 2021 at 02:15 PM (#6029877)
There's no getting around the fact that we had a historic level of injuries to star players. That's not a shot at the Bucks to point that out.


The Bucks also lost one of their starters, Donte DiVincenzo, for almost the entire playoffs.
   2743. spivey 2 Posted: July 21, 2021 at 02:16 PM (#6029878)
Milwaukee did switch more this year and this playoffs including just pulling it out unexpectedly in Game 5 vs. Atlanta which I don't think they were expecting, used Giannis much more as a roll man and post up guy on the elbow (Lowe's mentioned the stats that almost all of Giannis' top pick setting games were in this playoffs), made a decision not to double/help on Paul/Booker which not all coaches would do, was fine giving Trae tons of tear drops for kind of the same reason, and they do play big but at least one big part of that is Divincenzo, the starting SG and nomimal playoff backup PG, was hurt. Forbes also forced his hand by not shooting well the last few series. Bud actually had a couple of nice ATOs. Played Giannis at center a ton this series, which many analytics people have asked for.

No stupid challenges, never really let the team get in a situation where they wouldn't be able to advance the ball end of game because they were out of timeouts. I dunno, I don't love him, don't totally love the "be random" offense in the halfcourt, but I think he's responded to the criticism.

Also, Milwaukee slowly wore teams down, and were very resilient across the playoffs. Again, it's hard to know exactly how much credit the coach gets for some of this stuff, but at the very least it files in the no news is good news.
   2744. spivey 2 Posted: July 21, 2021 at 02:19 PM (#6029879)
Milwaukee shot 32% from 3 in the playoffs. Pretty much all playoffs shot way below their shot quality metrics. It's actually supremely impressive to me as a fan of them they were able to win it all while getting shot varianced!
   2745. Der-K's emotional investment is way up Posted: July 21, 2021 at 02:22 PM (#6029880)
That mention of Julius Hodge makes me want to point out just how weird and hard a pro basketball player’s life can be (in some respects).

For those who don’t remember him, he was a dominant college player - wing sized slasher who could play the point for NC State, 3x all-conference, eventually ACC POTY and AA. Nuggets picked him 20th overall.

But - he was skinny, not a perimeter shooter, and struggled to get playing time (though he did well in G League action, culminating in a 24/8/6 year, shooting 60/0/69 in his abbreviated third pro season - yes, he made no threes). It didn’t help that he was shot and almost died in a highway incident late in his first Nuggets season. I don’t know how much that impacted him athletically going forward. In any case, his NBA career lasted parts of 2 seasons, 98 minutes of game time.

From there, he went on a real world tour. Italy to Australia to Venezuela to China to Iran to Belarus back to China to Vietnam to France to Canada - with the occasional nba tryout mixed in there. At least three of those teams were slow to make or didn’t make scheduled contract payments.

I can’t imagine what that might feel like as a first round pick who just kind of … fizzled out. Lifelong star to itinerant worker. (He stayed all four years in school, got a degree, got that guaranteed first round money, was/is? a D1 assistant, I imagine he’s doing fine —- just that it had to be a shock at some points along the way.)
   2746. aberg Posted: July 21, 2021 at 02:32 PM (#6029881)
Looking back at some stats. Here are some things that jump out at me.

-Connaughton's 3pt shooting was really important. He made 15 of the team's 66 for the series, which is crazy. Without him, the team shot 33% from 3, which is bad. That's a huge benefit and definitely helped a thin team compensate for losing Divincenzo.
-Brook Lopez sucked on 3s, but shot 62% on 2s. I guess a lot of those were layups and put-backs.
-The turnover disparity got some play early in the series, but the rebounding was a bigger gap in the four factors. 29% to 17% in OREB rate. Milwaukee's OREB would've been #1 in the regular season by a fair margin (they were 9th). Phoenix's would've been dead last, just behind the Warriors, who were a fair distance from #29 Miami (PHX was 24th). You'd expect the 9th best rebounding team to be better than the 24th best, but this became an ENORMOUS gap that Phoenix's better shot-making couldn't compensate for.
-Portis had the best DRTG for anyone in Milwaukee's rotation (lots of noise in a short sample).
-Should Paul have been more assertive offensively? Booker's usage was 33.5 to Paul's 25.7. Paul's eFG was 62% to Booker's 54%. Booker played really well and made lots of tough shots to keep that rate in spite of poor 3pt shooting. Phoenix relied on him a ton. Some of that had to do with defense, and the way MIL picked up Paul and pressured him forced the ball out of his hands more. Still, a question worth asking in the post mortem.
-Losing Saric might have mattered more than I expected at the time. Crowder isn't a good rebounder. Saric can rebound some. Kaminsky played terribly. If Saric didn't get hurt, it would've kept Kaminsky off the court and given Wiliams an option for another good rebounder to put next to Ayton. Booker, Bridges, Johnson, Payne, and Craig are all average or worse rebounders for their position. They really rely heavily on Ayton in that area.


-Just to put this in one place, Giannis in the Finals- 35-13-5-1-2, 62% shooting, 66% FTs, 63% eFG, only 14 total TOs.
   2747. tshipman Posted: July 21, 2021 at 02:39 PM (#6029882)
Milwaukee shot 32% from 3 in the playoffs. Pretty much all playoffs shot way below their shot quality metrics. It's actually supremely impressive to me as a fan of them they were able to win it all while getting shot varianced!


At least some of that was who was taking the 3s. Giannis shot 9% of their 3s in the playoffs at a blistering 19% shooting. Outside of Giannis, they shot 34%. Jrue was the other bricklayer from deep.

No stupid challenges, never really let the team get in a situation where they wouldn't be able to advance the ball end of game because they were out of timeouts. I dunno, I don't love him, don't totally love the "be random" offense in the halfcourt, but I think he's responded to the criticism.


To be clear, like a lot of coaches, Bud has some weak spots and strengths. Bud was good enough for the run that he had, which is not nothing. I think he's a clear step below some of the top playoff coaches (Spo, Ty Lue, maybe Kerr).
   2748. spivey 2 Posted: July 21, 2021 at 02:46 PM (#6029883)
At least some of that was who was taking the 3s. Giannis shot 9% of their 3s in the playoffs at a blistering 19% shooting. Outside of Giannis, they shot 34%. Jrue was the other bricklayer from deep.


I'm talking about second spectrum data that accounts for shooter, defender, and I think(?) off the dribble vs. catch-and-shoot. Really, pretty much everyone shot worse than expected from 3.

Of course, some of that is Jrue and Giannis. And they're not good 3 point shooters, but Jrue was 39% for the year and 36% for his career, and Giannis is bad, but he's not 19% bad.
   2749. Der-K's emotional investment is way up Posted: July 21, 2021 at 02:53 PM (#6029884)
not to be obvious, but by the end of the series, i think paul's tank was empty.
losing saric ALONG WITH craig made a real difference. that really hurt their defensive options when ayton wasn't on the floor.
the rebounding edge was what really jumped out at me as the series progressed. it compensated for milwaukee's iffy halfcourt offense and jumpstarted their transition game.
i wouldn't place any stock in individual playoff drtg; ymmv
   2750. asinwreck Posted: July 21, 2021 at 03:15 PM (#6029886)
I was in the crowd who thought the winner of the Nets-Bucks series would win it all, so no asterisk for me. The Bucks played great defense, even in the final two games against Atlanta with Giannis out. That said, the real luck here was that Giannis was not seriously injured. We lost the opportunity to see so many stars at the top of their game due to injuries this year, and I'm delighted we were able to see Giannis so dominant in the Finals.
   2751. rr: cosmopolitan elite Posted: July 21, 2021 at 03:33 PM (#6029889)
We probably always overlearn lessons from playoff results


Indeed. Whatever Budenholzer's flaws may be, he almost certainly still has them. He did shorten his rotations and ride his horses more, which was one of the main complaints. Like I have said, I think all, or most, of the coaches are probably pretty smart, and in today's NBA, everybody has their bench full of assistants, video and analytics teams, and their passel of trainers, conditioning people, and doctors. I am sure that there are differences in skill levels among these people, and that affects results on the margins in ways we can't always see. I expect one way might be assistant coaches helping players with specific skills. One example that I am aware of as a Lakers fan: Ingram, Ball and Hart have all done MUCH better at the stripe in New Orleans than they did here, whereas Davis dropped off coming here and the Lakers are bad at the line in general. That seems like a coaching/video thing.

But ultimately, it is a talent league and a superstars league. New Orleans is still in flux and has issues, and the Lakers, with James and Davis, put up another banner. For years, we heard about the Spurs' "culture" and there were puff pieces on Popovich's personality and leadership genius. But without a top-tier star, San Antonio is just another team. I don't think that Steve Kerr has gotten any dumber since 2017. This year, Antetokounmpo put up an historic game with the money on the table, and Middleton and Holiday came up big in a few games when the team needed them, and here we are. As I noted, Monty Williams had, frankly, a pretty bad record until this year. At the end, Milwaukee had the best player in the Finals, and they won.

In terms of narratives, three things happen: one is that old-school MSM types, and to some extent cool-kid types like Lowe and Hollinger, tend to decide which coaches rock and which don't, and mostly stick to that. Lowe loves Carlisle no matter what his teams do, and Hollinger's Twitter feed had little shots at Budenholzer any time Milwaukee started losing a game or Teague was on the court for two minutes. The second is that fans get frustrated and don't want to say stuff like, "This is just not our year" or "This other team is just better than we are" or "Player X whom I love with my fanboy soul just is not as good as I thought he was" so they start slagging rotations and what they see as tactics. Some Lakers fans were all over Vogel during the Phoenix series, which I thought was dumb. The third is that focusing on the margins and little things makes you sound smart; saying "Giannis Rocked It!" makes you sound like Bill Simmons, so a lot of convos focus on the former.

This is not to say that coaches don't matter, but I think that most of them are both more competent and more interchangeable than is often believed.

As to the Bucks title, every team that wins catches some breaks, and like I said at the start of the playoffs Milwaukee has a mostly durable, MVP-level guy at the his absolute physical peak. In the end, that made the difference. Phoenix getting the Lakers without Davis and the Clippers without Leonard was more notable in terms of luck, but those guys had injury concerns going in.

   2752. Der-K's emotional investment is way up Posted: July 21, 2021 at 03:38 PM (#6029890)
yes to all of that, rr (and i'm certainly guilty of at least some of these things)
   2753. Der-K's emotional investment is way up Posted: July 21, 2021 at 04:12 PM (#6029896)
draft is in 8 days; that's wild
you know, i've been high on scottie barnes for awhile but then i think about ben simmons and wonder - how is barnes going to be better than simmons (if the shot doesn't come around)?
--
us plays key rival france in the olympics in less than 90 hours after a brutal warmup schedule - also wild.
--
free agency starts in 12 days
   2754. aberg Posted: July 21, 2021 at 04:23 PM (#6029898)
you know, i've been high on scottie barnes for awhile but then i think about ben simmons and wonder - how is barnes going to be better than simmons (if the shot doesn't come around)?


If you get Simmons with the ~6th pick, but without the baggage of being 1 overall and a big prize of The Process, isn't that a win?
   2755. asinwreck Posted: July 21, 2021 at 04:35 PM (#6029902)
Marc J. Spears:
According to sources, LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers have been on the hunt for a veteran point guard, and Paul is on the list. There have also been talks about Washington Wizards star Russell Westbrook being a potential candidate to move back home to Los Angeles in a sign-and-trade deal that could include free agent point guard Dennis Schroder, forward Kyle Kuzma and guard Talen Horton-Tucker, sources said.
   2756. Der-K's emotional investment is way up Posted: July 21, 2021 at 04:42 PM (#6029903)
2754 - yeah, plus he might learn how to shoot
   2757. mike f Posted: July 21, 2021 at 04:42 PM (#6029904)
No bbtf draft this year?
   2758. tshipman Posted: July 21, 2021 at 05:05 PM (#6029908)
But ultimately, it is a talent league and a superstars league. New Orleans is still in flux and has issues, and the Lakers, with James and Davis, put up another banner. For years, we heard about the Spurs' "culture" and there were puff pieces on Popovich's personality and leadership genius. But without a top-tier star, San Antonio is just another team. I don't think that Steve Kerr has gotten any dumber since 2017. This year, Antetokounmpo put up an historic game with the money on the table, and Middleton and Holiday came up big in a few games when the team needed them, and here we are. As I noted, Monty Williams had, frankly, a pretty bad record until this year. At the end, Milwaukee had the best player in the Finals, and they won.

In terms of narratives, three things happen: one is that old-school MSM types, and to some extent cool-kid types like Lowe and Hollinger, tend to decide which coaches rock and which don't, and mostly stick to that. Lowe loves Carlisle no matter what his teams do, and Hollinger's Twitter feed had little shots at Budenholzer any time Milwaukee started losing a game or Teague was on the court for two minutes. The second is that fans get frustrated and don't want to say stuff like, "This is just not our year" or "This other team is just better than we are" or "Player X whom I love with my fanboy soul just is not as good as I thought he was" so they start slagging rotations and what they see as tactics. Some Lakers fans were all over Vogel during the Phoenix series, which I thought was dumb. The third is that focusing on the margins and little things makes you sound smart; saying "Giannis Rocked It!" makes you sound like Bill Simmons, so a lot of convos focus on the former.


I mean, sure, but this gets reductive. Why didn't Giannis win last year? Did he get better this offseason? Did Jimmy Butler get worse? Or did coaching make a difference?

To me, it's really clear that coaching was the largest difference between this year and last year. Bud had a year to think about adjustments, and the ones he came up with were all the ones that were trendy on the blogosphere after game 2 of last year's series. To me, that's pretty good confirmation that Bud did an awful job last year.

Why did the Bucks struggle against the Nets? They had more stars. However, they struggled to score against a historically poor defense. Why? To me, again, the answer is coaching.
   2759. rr: cosmopolitan elite Posted: July 21, 2021 at 05:47 PM (#6029911)
If you want to go with gotcha questions, it is simple to turn that around: If coaching is so important, why did Spoelstra's team get steamrolled? You have been telling us for a long time how smart Spoelstra is. Why aren't Golden State and San Antonio better? Why didn't Monty Williams's teams in New Orleans do better? How did the Clippers lose to Denver last year? They had Leonard for that series and you are a big Ty Lue guy.

In the fact-based world, last year against Milwaukee, Jimmy Butler shot .532 from the floor and .455 from the arc. This time, he shot .297 from the floor and .267 from the arc. Middleton in the Miami series last year: .417/.333. This year: .492/.407. If you want to say that was mostly "adjustments", fair enough. We can agree to disagree.

As to Antetokounmpo, he actually had a bad series this year against Miami, but he was very good against Brooklyn, great against Atlanta, and as berg noted, better than great against Phoenix. GA's basic metrics for that series represent the best postseason series in his career. Why did that happen? Partly matchups, partly as Der-K noted some low-profile injuries that compromised Phoenix's defense, and, also, to go all Sports Guy, maybe GA maturing, getting more comfortable being The Man etc. Mostly though, it was the guy on the floor with the most talent taking advantage of circumstances and making the difference, which is what superstars and MVPs do. Not every time, but more often than other guys--that is why they are MVPs and superstars.

Getting it away from argument, this issue, like so many, is a question of degree. It is not that I think coaches make no difference; I think, they do, at the margins, and at times more than that. But I think that you underrate stuff that we can't see--like how Antetokounmpo gets along with/feels about Budenholzer--and overrate tactical adjustments. Also, talent: Holiday is a flawed player, but he is good, and he is better than Bledsoe. Like I said about this in preseason: why did Horst upgrade the support guys instead of firing Budenholzer, if Budenholzer's coaching was the big problem?

My fave example of this: Phil Jackson's last exit interview in 2011. First question was, "How did you have so much success?" Phil, without missing a beat: "Talent. I have coached some of the greatest talent ever to play this game."

   2760. aberg Posted: July 21, 2021 at 05:57 PM (#6029913)
Why did the Bucks struggle against the Nets? They had more stars. However, they struggled to score against a historically poor defense. Why? To me, again, the answer is coaching.


Ok, but the Bucks' defense held a very good Brooklyn offense to even fewer points than the lowly, poorly-coached Milwaukee offense could muster. Does coaching get any credit for that?
   2761. tshipman Posted: July 21, 2021 at 06:05 PM (#6029914)
If coaching is so important, why did Spoelstra's team get steamrolled?


Because they could not make another adjustment after Milwaukee made the obvious tweaks.

Why aren't Golden State and San Antonio better?


Coaching is necessary, but not sufficient.

Why didn't Monty Williams's teams in New Orleans do better?


I don't think Monty Williams is a particularly astute coach. I think I've said several times that the Suns were extraordinarily lucky with injuries this year.

How did the Clippers lose to Denver last year? They had Leonard for that series and you are a big Ty Lue guy.


Ty Lue was not the head coach last year.

In the fact-based world, last year against Milwaukee, Jimmy Butler shot .532 from the floor and .455 from the arc. This time, he shot .297 from the floor and .267 from the arc. Middleton in the Miami series last year: .417/.333. This year: .492/.407. If you want to say that was mostly "adjustments", fair enough. We can agree to disagree.


The major adjustment was Giannis guarding Jimmy Butler. So yeah, I would say that was a significant factor--Butler also overperformed last year.

***

Talent and coaching are synergistic. You have to have both.
   2762. tshipman Posted: July 21, 2021 at 06:05 PM (#6029915)
Ok, but the Bucks' defense held a very good Brooklyn offense to even fewer points than the lowly, poorly-coached Milwaukee offense could muster. Does coaching get any credit for that?


Yes, but Brooklyn was also hampered by injury on offense.
   2763. Der-K's emotional investment is way up Posted: July 21, 2021 at 06:21 PM (#6029918)
beyond talent and coaching, there's matchups, there's luck, there's a lot.
(helpful!)
   2764. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: July 21, 2021 at 06:32 PM (#6029919)
No bbtf draft this year?


If we do I demand to have the Wolves. :)
   2765. rr: cosmopolitan elite Posted: July 21, 2021 at 06:45 PM (#6029921)
Because they could not make another adjustment after Milwaukee made the obvious tweaks.


Because they didn't have the horses. Talent and coaching may be "synergistic", but at the NBA level, but I think talent is far more important, and if Spoelstra "could not make another adjustment" to Budenholzer putting Antetokounmpo on Butler, then I think that illustrates as much.

As to Lue, fair point, I forgot about that.

   2766. rr: cosmopolitan elite Posted: July 21, 2021 at 06:48 PM (#6029922)
beyond talent and coaching, there's matchups, there's luck, there's a lot.


Sure--the other thing is, there may be cases where the coach sees the "obvious tweaks" but can't or won't make them because of internal team dynamics that we can't see from the outside.
   2767. Der-K's emotional investment is way up Posted: July 21, 2021 at 06:58 PM (#6029924)
yup.
---
beyond all this - the nets were literally inches from vanquishing milwaukee two rounds earlier. it's not the weighted roulette wheel of march madness but narratives about what does and doesn't matter are really sensitive to things that should matter less than they do.
   2768. tshipman Posted: July 21, 2021 at 07:40 PM (#6029929)
beyond all this - the nets were literally inches from vanquishing milwaukee two rounds earlier.


Maybe I am overweighting this, but at the time, I thought Bud did an absolutely awful job in the Nets series, and I think I said as much and said that he was likely to win a championship and would still be a bad playoff coach.

So maybe I am trying too hard to be consistent.
   2769. rr: cosmopolitan elite Posted: July 21, 2021 at 07:48 PM (#6029930)
No bbtf draft this year?


I think it should be a "Trade Ben Simmons" contest. Assign like 10 guys different teams, then have 4 or 5 other different guys run their own versions of the Ghost 76ers. Best deal voted on by posters.
   2770. rr: cosmopolitan elite Posted: July 21, 2021 at 07:50 PM (#6029931)
beyond all this - the nets were literally inches from vanquishing milwaukee two rounds earlier.


Yeah. I don't believe in *s. But if I were a Brooklyn fan, I probably sort of would right now.
   2771. 57i66135 is available to babysit, for a price Posted: July 21, 2021 at 08:14 PM (#6029935)
Yeah. I don't believe in *s. But if I were a Brooklyn fan, I probably sort of would right now.
asterisks don't matter when your team wins.
   2772. rr: cosmopolitan elite Posted: July 21, 2021 at 08:42 PM (#6029939)
>>>>>>asterisks don't matter when your team wins.

That is correct.
   2773. rr: cosmopolitan elite Posted: July 21, 2021 at 08:43 PM (#6029940)
asterisks don't matter when your team wins.
   2774. DCA Posted: July 21, 2021 at 08:44 PM (#6029941)
I think it should be a "Trade Ben Simmons" contest. Assign like 10 guys different teams, then have 4 or 5 other different guys run their own versions of the Ghost 76ers. Best deal voted on by posters.

As long as nobody gets the Blazers. Simmons + Maxey + picks for Lillard is the most obvious deal that gives both sides exactly what they want since Senzel + prospects for Lindor.
   2775. Dandy Little Glove Man Posted: July 21, 2021 at 08:54 PM (#6029942)
I always enjoy the mock draft here, so I hope we still do it. I would take any team that has a 1st round pick.
   2776. DCA Posted: July 21, 2021 at 08:56 PM (#6029943)
If we do a mock I'll take GSW again.
   2777. What if I planted tomatoes Posted: July 21, 2021 at 09:45 PM (#6029946)
Totally get Bud's tactical issues. My understanding is that he excels in the 'leadership' part of the job. Keeping everyone engaged whatever the playing time. Having guys in the right headspace. FWIW

Really enjoyed the Bucks. Fun ride.
   2778. mike f Posted: July 22, 2021 at 08:54 AM (#6030000)
The final BBTF 2020 draft is here.

I'll take Portland again.
   2779. Der-K's emotional investment is way up Posted: July 22, 2021 at 09:41 AM (#6030007)
if we do a draft, i'm in - would take whatever team others don't want. (if mike a or someone else wants atlanta. if they don't want atlanta, i'll do them.)
   2780. Willard Baseball Posted: July 22, 2021 at 09:51 AM (#6030008)
I will take Memphis again!
   2781. asinwreck Posted: July 22, 2021 at 10:22 AM (#6030014)
I'll do Chicago if no one else wants the Bulls.
   2782. Crosseyed and Painless Posted: July 22, 2021 at 10:54 AM (#6030018)
I've done Detroit before and would again to get this going. Also I can copy-paste results a few times if you all find that helpful. I don't know if there's someone actually in charge of this typically:

1. Detroit
2. Houston
3. Cleveland
4. Toronto
5. Orlando
6. Oklahoma City
7. Golden State
8. Orlando
9. Sacramento
10. New Orleans
11. Charlotte
12. San Antonio
13. Indiana
14. Golden State
15. Washington
16. Oklahoma City
17. Memphis
18. Oklahoma City
19. New York
20. Atlanta
21. New York
22. LA Lakers
23. Houston
24. Houston
25. LA Clippers
26. Denver
27. Brooklyn
28. Philadelphia
29. Phoenix
30. Utah

31. Milwaukee
32. New York
33. Orlando
34. Oklahoma City
35. New Orleans
36. Oklahoma City
37. Detroit
38. Chicago
39. Sacramento
40. New Orleans
41. San Antonio
42. Detroit
43. New Orleans
44. Brooklyn
45. Boston
46. Toronto
47. Toronto
48. Atlanta
49. Brooklyn
50. Philadelphia
51. Memphis
52. Detroit
53. New Orleans
54. Indiana
55. Oklahoma City
56. Charlotte
57. Charlotte
58. New York
59. Brooklyn
60. Indiana
   2783. mike f Posted: July 22, 2021 at 11:20 AM (#6030023)
And now I remember Portland doesn't have any picks. I'm taking offers for everyone.
   2784. Ken Griffey's Grotesquely Swollen Jaw Posted: July 22, 2021 at 11:22 AM (#6030025)
I'll take the Bucks unless spivey wants them. If he does I can take a random team.
   2785. spivey 2 Posted: July 22, 2021 at 11:45 AM (#6030027)
Nah, go for it. I did see that ESPN.com had Milwaukee pegged to take a raw center who shoots 52% from the line from UNC with their 31st pick. In what's supposed to be a deep draft, I really hope that doesn't happen.
   2786. Der-K's emotional investment is way up Posted: July 22, 2021 at 12:01 PM (#6030030)
Sharpe? He was in an interesting position in that UNC had a deep frontcourt where the backups (he and Kessler, who now is at Auburn) were likely better than the starters (Brooks - 2nd team all conference last year, Bacot - 3rd team this year) and on a team with nooooo spacing (only one guy, a bleh rotation wing, hit even a third of his threes (min 10 attempts)). He's likely quite a bit better than his stats suggest. Good passer and very good rebounder.
That said, he's an anachronistic player and he wouldn't thrill me either.
   2787. spivey 2 Posted: July 22, 2021 at 12:19 PM (#6030031)
Yes, looks like it is Sharpe. I think Milwaukee's window is not super long before they'll have to refresh the core around Giannis, and getting a guy like that who probably isn't moving the needle for at least a couple of years even if he pans out is not great. I also think Milwaukee is a team who should be able to be near the front of the line for cheap, ring chasing bigs. I'd rather them focus on skilled positions in the draft.

Edit: Also just don't think they should target anyone with no shot given they have Giannis.
   2788. Der-K's emotional investment is way up Posted: July 22, 2021 at 12:49 PM (#6030035)
all of that makes sense to me, spivey
---
does anyone know of good analytic based takes on this year's draft? i used to model this stuff a billion years ago but stopped because the kevin pelton's of the world were too and my #s were in the same ballpark as the consensus of theirs. this year, though - i haven't found anything...
   2789. spivey 2 Posted: July 22, 2021 at 01:04 PM (#6030037)
I've not dug into a bunch, but ESPN's draft page looks like it has write ups by the Draft Express guy, and then if you go to the Projections tab it has projected RPM and RPM rank for their 4th NBA season, opponent adjusted TS%/eFG% in college, etc. I have insider, so unsure if this is behind the paywall or not. Not sure if that's the detail you're looking for. But there's definitely more there than just a 2 sentence blurb about wingspan and shooting ability.
   2790. tshipman Posted: July 22, 2021 at 01:10 PM (#6030039)
I kinda feel like you shouldn't take any big with a first round pick. Like, maybe that leads you astray a bit, but not as badly as taking bigs. I think Bam and Zion are the only bigs from the last 5 years that have been worth the lottery pick. Maybe Michael Porter, Jr if you think of him as a big.

***

Happy to take any team to make stuff work. Not aware of any good analytical draft content.
   2791. Der-K's emotional investment is way up Posted: July 22, 2021 at 01:11 PM (#6030040)
i hadn't seen that (i have insider as well) - thanks!
edit: the model seems like it's generating the rpm from the draft ranking as much as anything. don't like that.
---
the sam v draft guide on the athletic is out (~140 pages!!). it's really good, though not analytics focused, just good.
   2792. Der-K's emotional investment is way up Posted: July 22, 2021 at 01:33 PM (#6030041)
edit2 on espn projections: they're trash. not an indictment of the reasonable looking rankings, but the bpms/rankings make no sense (imo) and look like relatively simple assumptions made by working backwards from the rankings.
   2793. 57i66135 is available to babysit, for a price Posted: July 22, 2021 at 01:54 PM (#6030044)
does anyone know of good analytic based takes on this year's draft? i used to model this stuff a billion years ago but stopped because the kevin pelton's of the world were too and my #s were in the same ballpark as the consensus of theirs. this year, though - i haven't found anything...


i used to be a big reader of (and linker to) the stepien, but i haven't followed college basketball very closely since last march, so i can't necessarily vouch for the quality of their current product. it could still be a good place to start, though.
   2794. Der-K's emotional investment is way up Posted: July 22, 2021 at 02:05 PM (#6030047)
i liked the stepien (though they had some brain drain), but i'm specifically looking for a model that is mostly #s. those aren't a better way to do things, but there's value in looking at them separately or for where they differ the consensus. (old timers could note that hollinger has draft ratings out and that those are closer to what i'm asking for.)
   2795. KronicFatigue Posted: July 22, 2021 at 02:22 PM (#6030052)
I thought of this too late, and don't actually have the ability to mentally control an entire arena, but it would have been hilarious if Bucks fans counted really slowly during Giannis' free throws.

ONE.....TWO.....TWO and a half......
   2796. Harlond Posted: July 22, 2021 at 03:28 PM (#6030062)
Unless there’s a Thunder fan here who wants them, I’ll take OKC.
   2797. JJ1986 Posted: July 22, 2021 at 05:07 PM (#6030073)
I'll take a team in the late lottery that no one else wants. Horcats or Pelicans or Spurs.
   2798. aberg Posted: July 22, 2021 at 05:15 PM (#6030074)
I'll take Denver if nobody else claims them.
   2799. . . . . . . Posted: July 22, 2021 at 06:23 PM (#6030080)
I'm also happy to take a team if we need a live body.
   2800. Athletic Supporter is USDA certified lean Posted: July 22, 2021 at 10:37 PM (#6030097)
Always happy to POBO the Magic, although I'm traveling so unlikely to repeat the wheeling and dealing of years past. Also, we suck and have nothing left to wheel or deal.
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