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Wednesday, April 08, 2020

OT – NBA CoronaThread 2020

I estimate only 10-12 Primates care about the NBA, and hopefully all of them survive these next few weeks.

BBTF Corona Draft Tournament Voting Page

BBTF Corona Tournament Brackets

BBTF Corona Draft and Rosters Page

Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: April 08, 2020 at 04:54 AM | 3283 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: nba, off-topic

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   3101. Moses Taylor, glorified meat shield Posted: May 28, 2020 at 04:04 PM (#5954192)
In case winters is too busy to check in, do we have an alternate voting site we could at least use temporarily?
   3102. tshipman Posted: May 28, 2020 at 04:28 PM (#5954203)
it's pretty fast to set up a google form.

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeIJdaBRpHrjA0NYjuCJG9uvsn_iWUtNJvqoM749R8NI1o-_A/viewform?usp=sf_link
   3103. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: May 28, 2020 at 04:38 PM (#5954206)
If I can't reach Winter in the next few hours, we'll push it, but I'd really rather not.
   3104. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: May 28, 2020 at 05:02 PM (#5954213)
Winter's on it. The voting pages have been updated.
   3105. DCA Posted: May 28, 2020 at 05:09 PM (#5954216)
First to vote!
   3106. If on a winter's night a traveling violation Posted: May 28, 2020 at 05:13 PM (#5954219)
Sorry folks! I've had a really busy last two weeks at work, so I haven't been checking in as often as usual. Things should ease up considerably starting next week: I will be over the hump on my current work project and my wife will be finished with the new season of Michael Lewis' podcast (obligatory plug goes here). I've updated the matchups so you all can vote and I installed Flip Saunders as Dolf's coach (if anyone wants Thibodeau, better post fast before the Knicks sign him).

I've been thinking about the easiest way to add a schedule-updating page to the site, so I could be less of a bottleneck; no individual piece of the work would be hard, I just need to move all the matchup data from the code to the database and that will be a little bit of a schlep.
   3107. never forget: the pee tape is 57i66135 Posted: May 28, 2020 at 06:25 PM (#5954230)
I've been thinking about the easiest way to add a schedule-updating page to the site, so I could be less of a bottleneck; no individual piece of the work would be hard, I just need to move all the matchup data from the code to the database and that will be a little bit of a schlep.
it would probably be good enough to tweak the splash page, so the placeholder text for each future matchup is "[winner/loser] of game [x]", instead of just "TBD".

   3108. jmurph Posted: May 29, 2020 at 08:38 AM (#5954298)
Despite their lack of relative success in the tournament, I think the two teams in the tship vs stiggles matchup are my two favorite ones assembled. If these teams were actually able to play I think it would be exactly the kind of basketball I like to watch.
   3109. Moses Taylor, glorified meat shield Posted: May 29, 2020 at 12:07 PM (#5954335)
I said the same thing in my rationale, which hopefully the person I didn't vote for sees as a moral victory.
   3110. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: May 29, 2020 at 12:49 PM (#5954348)
For all my talk about getting people to vote, I forgot to do it myself. Fortunately, it wasn't close enough to matter, but I would have voted for STIGGLES, because having Gianni's and Kawhi on Magic feels like 1991 to me.

I know for the guys going out early, it's pretty frustrating. Just try to have fun with it, and don't take it personally.
   3111. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: May 29, 2020 at 01:01 PM (#5954350)
There is a 538 piece on Jerry Sloan as a coach.
   3112. If on a winter's night a traveling violation Posted: May 29, 2020 at 01:15 PM (#5954357)
This one I couldn't decide how to vote in time to vote, and now with the pressure gone, it's even harder to call. I will say, though, I would pay out the nose for a pair of tickets to see prime Rodman defending most-prime-to-date Giannis. And the Magic/Walton passing game. And the Giannis/Yao pick and roll. These rosters truly are preposterous when you take a step back.
it would probably be good enough to tweak the splash page, so the placeholder text for each future matchup is "[winner/loser] of game [x]", instead of just "TBD".
You had me at "probably".
   3113. tshipman Posted: May 29, 2020 at 01:25 PM (#5954360)
And the Giannis/Yao pick and roll.


You can see giraffes humping at the zoo. Or even on Youtube, probably.

***

Stiggles' team was one of my favorites, and I'm sad to see it go. I felt like while he reached for Yao, the rest of his team was really interesting. Gerald Wallace is my kind of pick, and I was surprised at how highly Shawn Kemp rated out in this analysis.

To me, the challenge with Stiggles' lineup is Giannis and how to evaluate him. His numbers are preposterous, but were also highly dependent on playing with an incredibly spaced lineup. The modern players are really challenging in that it may be correct for some players to apply a penalty.
   3114. never forget: the pee tape is 57i66135 Posted: May 29, 2020 at 02:16 PM (#5954369)
sees as a moral victory
knowing that tshipman will have to write up another blurb that he has no interest in doing is enough of a moral victory for me.
   3115. Athletic Supporter is USDA certified lean Posted: May 29, 2020 at 02:58 PM (#5954381)
#7 TSHIPMAN 10, #12 STIGGLES 7
TShip stays alive in two-loss bracket; STIGGLES eliminated

Well, if the winner can't be bothered to write a blurb I'm not going to do it either. This breaks a run of four straight wins for the lower "seeded" team -- teams with the higher first pick edge back ahead overall, 10-9. Incidentally, this is the first of the four TShipman games where the higher seeded team has won (his #7 team beat the #6 team (Lucky) and lost to the #9 and #11 teams).

STIGGLES epitaph: Lost 20-5 to Hombre; lost 14-10 to NJ; beat Slivers 16-3; lost 10-7 to tship

Well, the freakshow team is gone, one that we all found entertaining but where the voters simply didn't have enough imagination to see how a nonstandard juggernaut would work. Shame on you, voters.

Biggest fans: jmurph voted for the Stiggles team three straight times, only to abandon them in their moment of need (this matchup). Harlond voted for Stiggles twice and against him zero times, as did tship (not counting this matchup). DCA and Dolf Lucky each voted for team Stiggles in their last three games after voting against him in the first game against Hombre where he got blown out.

Biggest skeptics: FancyPantsHandle voted against Stiggles all three times (abstaining from this vote, his first miss). A number of posters only voted for Stiggles in his blowout win against Slivers and against him the other three times: Mellow Mouse, JJ1986, JTSports, NJ, and Spivey (who abstained from the Slivers match and voted against him all three times).

NEXT UP: BaseballObscura vs. NJ in another elimination game. Votes due noon ET Monday. Enjoy the weekend!
   3116. jmurph Posted: May 29, 2020 at 03:17 PM (#5954388)
Biggest fans: jmurph voted for the Stiggles team three straight times, only to abandon them in their moment of need (this matchup).

I think I've voted for tship every time, too? Something had to give!
   3117. never forget: the pee tape is 57i66135 Posted: May 29, 2020 at 09:04 PM (#5954445)
To me, the challenge with Stiggles' lineup is Giannis and how to evaluate him. His numbers are preposterous, but were also highly dependent on playing with an incredibly spaced lineup
i think it's ridiculous to think the performance of a massively talented 6'13" unicorn is in any way dependent on the offensive contributions of brook lopez.

what held giannis back wasn't some mythical "floor spacing" fairydust; it was jason shithead kidd.
Well, the freakshow team is gone, one that we all found entertaining but where the voters simply didn't have enough imagination to see how a nonstandard juggernaut would work. Shame on you, voters.
####### right.

i've said it before and i'll say it again: democracy simply doesn't work.
   3118. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: May 29, 2020 at 10:45 PM (#5954453)
I voted for Team STIGGLES three times, or would have, if I had remembered to vote this last time out. Once there was an actual PG out there who could take care of the ball, that team felt uniquely unstoppable. I mean, we're all unstoppable in some ways, but a team with Giammis and Kawhi on the wings is unlike anyone else in the tourney.

I blame Shawn Kemp.
   3119. tshipman Posted: May 29, 2020 at 11:32 PM (#5954458)
what held giannis back wasn't some mythical "floor spacing" fairydust; it was jason shithead kidd.


a team with Giammis and Kawhi on the wings is unlike anyone else in the tourney.


You guys are a lot higher than I am on Giannis apparently.
   3120. NJ in NY (Now with two kids!) Posted: May 30, 2020 at 01:13 PM (#5954494)
Post coming in the next hour.
   3121. BaseballObscura Posted: May 30, 2020 at 01:20 PM (#5954495)
Russell 36

Duncan 36

Marion 36

Allen 36

Doncic 36

Cunningham - 24

Stoudamire - 12

Dumars - 18

Blaylock - 6

King - 6

When NJ has the ball:

Will cover man-to-man down low, don't need to double the bigs because I have two of best defensive bigs ever:
Russell will stay on Dwight and use his shot blocking/intelligence to neutralize Howard's post game.
Duncan on McHale - Duncan has size matchup

Howard/McHale are both zeros when it comes to passing, so I can have my perimeters guys focus on NJ's perimeter exclusively and trying to force shots in coverage and prevent open threes.

Russell and Duncan provide elite rim protection, so am not worried about cutters and since Howard is plodding down low, I don't have to worry about Russell straying to far from the paint and created open lanes for NJ's cutters.

Marion will be tasked with guarding Gervin/Miller, depending on who has the hot hand, or in case of switches. Doncic will guard Steph as best as he can.

Off the bench, I will use Dumars and Mookie to really harass Steph (and/or Russ) up court, like Raptors used VanVleet in finals and try to force bad turnovers from Steph. We will be very physical with Steph.

Russell or Duncan will be on the floor at all times. 24 together and 12 of each man.

Cunningham will spell Marion in guarding Miller and Gervin.

Stoudamire will pair with Russell.

My team has better defensive rebounding that NJ, particularly in my guards/forwards, and if he tries to crash boards, we will just outrebound and push in transition.

When I have the ball:

Lots of PnR - Doncic - Duncan and Doncic/Mookie to Stoudamire when Duncan sits.

Curry won't be able to guard Doncic in any meaningful way, so will really try to exploit the size advantage I have. He doesn't have anyone who can guard Doncic without giving up a lot of offense.

Offense will run through Duncan downlow, he will either work in post on McHale, or draw the big away from basket. He will pass out of double teams to my shooters.

I have the better rebounding and will push the ball in transition whenever I can and rely on Russell/Duncan's outlet passing and elite finishing ability of Doncic/Allen/Marion/King/Cunningham.

King comes off the bench as a microwave.

In conclusion:

I have a better paint defense and I have enough versatility to guard his best offensive threats.
He has better 3 point shooting with Curry and Miller, but gives up a lot with Curry on d and neither McHale or Howard are the kind of bigs who will facilitate offense through their passing. That means both Curry and Miller will be running around a lot looking for passes that never arrive.

Duncan is a better offensive player than any of his bigs as well.
   3122. NJ in NY (Now with two kids!) Posted: May 30, 2020 at 02:35 PM (#5954508)
Did not read BO's post

PG Curry '15-'16 (36)
SG Miller '93-'94 (36)
SF Ellis '88-'89 (30)
PF Bosh '13-'14 (36)
C Howard '10-'11 (36)

Gervin '79-'80 (24)
Iguodala '08-'09 (18)
Westbrook '16-'17 (12)
McHale '86-'87 (6)
Deng '10-'11 (6)

OFFENSE: So...we probably won't be running PnRs against The Greatest Interior Defense Ever. Instead, the gameplan is to take the action away from the basket and force BO's defense to operate in space. That means lots of Dale Ellis (48% from 3) and Reggie (42% from 3) coming off of screens. The guys I assume would be charged with the responsibility of stopping those 2 from raining 3s are Shawn Marion and Billy Cunningham. I respect their defensive abilities, but I don't view thema s effective chase my guy around millions of screens kind of defenders. Similarly, I don't think there's a Steph stopper on his roster. With his quickness and ballhandling, Steph can get by BO's wing defenders and with his range, Steph can shoot right over Mookie who is giving up several inches in that matchup. I also look at Dumars as a team defender and Mookie as a passing lane guy moreso than shutdown one on one defenders. YMMV.

DEFENSE: Dwight Howard will get the Timmy defensive assignment with my lesser defensive big getting the Russell assignment. In this case that means Russell gets a lot of McHale and Bosh and a drop of Deng/Iguodala in extreme small lineups. I don't subscribe to the Bill Russell is Ben Wallace way of thinking, but I like the mobility of my options here and how that will allow them to help off of Russell given his relative offensive ineffectiveness in this league. We are going to rotate the Ray Allen assignment between our perimeter guys to keep them fresh. While guys like Reggie and Dale Ellis are by no means great defenders I like the fact that they are long and are familiar with the off ball screen game. Luka is at his best with the threat of verticality and shooters around him because he's not an efficient one on one scorer at this point. BO does not have enough of both to really open up Luka's game and I will use spot assignments from Iggy and Deng to cool him down as well.

CONCLUSION: I think this is a great matchup for us where the math is overwhelmingly on our side.
   3123. never forget: the pee tape is 57i66135 Posted: May 30, 2020 at 02:36 PM (#5954509)
So...we probably won't be running PnRs against The Greatest Interior Defense Ever
#####.
   3124. tshipman Posted: May 30, 2020 at 03:18 PM (#5954516)
I haven't run the numbers, but I have to imagine this is just a terrible matchup for Baseball Obscura.

Edit: Baseball Obscura is at 246 minutes. I took Dumars down to 12, let me know if that's wrong.
   3125. BaseballObscura Posted: May 30, 2020 at 03:31 PM (#5954518)
yes, that works, will update on the voting page.
   3126. JJ1986 Posted: May 30, 2020 at 03:37 PM (#5954519)
I haven't made up my mind and will study more before voting, but my first thought on this matchup is that Doncic is just going to get absolutely cooked with few places to hide him. Putting him on Steph seems like suicide.
   3127. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: May 30, 2020 at 07:22 PM (#5954542)
I don't see a whole lot of perimeter defense on either end, and I think the long-range shooters are going to light the nets on fire. Just gotta figure out who is going to light up who more.
   3128. tshipman Posted: May 30, 2020 at 07:59 PM (#5954548)
Based on playing time, I project NJ to take 36 3s, and Baseball Obscura to take about 25.

NJ's team is significantly more accurate: about 42% vs 37% (weighted for attempts).
   3129. tshipman Posted: May 31, 2020 at 10:07 PM (#5954632)
Because we are in the weirdest timeline:

On the anniversary of forgetting the score in a Finals game, JR Smith beats the living crap out of some guy who smashed his car window.
   3130. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: June 01, 2020 at 12:24 AM (#5954652)
I came here to post exactly that. JR can hit from close range.
   3131. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: June 01, 2020 at 02:37 AM (#5954658)
Remember to vote! BaseballObscura vs NJ in an elimination match!
   3132. jmurph Posted: June 01, 2020 at 09:10 AM (#5954672)
Really considering punishing NJ exclusively for giving the (dramatically) inferior Bosh 36 minutes to McHale's 6. Absolute madness.
   3133. NJ in NY (Now with two kids!) Posted: June 01, 2020 at 10:24 AM (#5954681)
Really considering punishing NJ exclusively for giving the (dramatically) inferior Bosh 36 minutes to McHale's 6. Absolute madness.

Love McHale. Loved drafting him. No interest in running offense through him against Duncan and/or Russell.
   3134. DCA Posted: June 01, 2020 at 10:34 AM (#5954685)
Yes, also Ellis over Gervin and Miller/Iguodala/Ellis/Gervin over Westbrook. I get playing slightly lesser players in order to put an entirely different skillset on the court, but these are direct substitutions.
   3135. DCA Posted: June 01, 2020 at 10:37 AM (#5954687)
No interest in running offense through him against Duncan and/or Russell.

But how is old Bosh, playing 36 minutes vs 32 IRL, a better option?
   3136. NJ in NY (Now with two kids!) Posted: June 01, 2020 at 10:49 AM (#5954697)
Yes, also Ellis over Gervin and Miller/Iguodala/Ellis/Gervin over Westbrook. I get playing slightly lesser players in order to put an entirely different skillset on the court, but these are direct substitutions

Ellis over Gervin - One guy is playing 30 minutes and the other 24, so I don't look at that as much of a difference. I want more Ellis minutes in this matchup to prioritize perimeter offense, especially in those 24 Twin Towers minutes.

Miller/Iguodala/Ellis/Gervin over Westbrook - My perception of general board hatred for Westbrook has had some impact on his PT. That plus I like to use Westbrook to run the offense when I feel the opposing team either has (1) weak rim protection, opening up the threat of Westbrook attacking where he's more good than great in terms of attacking to score (2) a strong on-ball defender for Steph. BO has fantastic rim protection and he's planning to guard Steph with Luka (didn't know it would be Luka at the time, but also didn't feel he had strong options for stopping Steph on ball). Those things taken together lead to less Westbrook minutes than "normal."
   3137. NJ in NY (Now with two kids!) Posted: June 01, 2020 at 10:59 AM (#5954701)
But how is old Bosh, playing 36 minutes vs 32 IRL, a better option?

Bosh shot 36% (playoffs included) from 3 that year and 38% the next year. He's a fourth option on offense, there to keep one of Russell or Duncan honest. McHale might be the better player, but I think Bosh fits the role I wanted much better. As for the minutes, Bosh ramped up to 34 minutes a game in the playoffs that year (was in the 95th percentile of total regular season minutes) and played 35 minutes a game the year after. I think 32 MPG that year was more a function of coaching choice then physical inability and don't feel asking him to play 36 represents a significant stretch. YMMV.

EDIT: This was also his age-29 season. I feel like Bosh probably feels older because he retired so soon after, but that wasn't due to wear and tear, it was just a freak medical condition.
   3138. jmurph Posted: June 01, 2020 at 11:10 AM (#5954707)
I get playing slightly lesser players in order to put an entirely different skillset on the court, but these are direct substitutions.

Yeah this Bosh/McHale thing is one of the first times I remember throughout this voting process just thinking no no no no, not a good call.
   3139. Scott Lange Posted: June 01, 2020 at 11:36 AM (#5954719)
Chris Bosh is good. Moving the game to the perimeter when the opponent is very strong inside and very weak outside is good. I'm generally with the "play your best guys" crowd, but I understand the move. I'm not sure it's good, but I am sure its not ridiculous.
   3140. Scott Lange Posted: June 01, 2020 at 12:07 PM (#5954727)
Matchup: JJ1986 v. Scott Lange

JJ1986’s Opening Argument

My team is finally starting our original projected lineup in this series. Billups gets a minutes increase and Artest is way down. Paul George is going to get the primary responsibility on Jerry West (although that’s also a task that Kobe is up for) while Bryant sticks to Penny. When only one of Scott’s ballhandlers is in the game, we’ll turn to Artest and Bledsoe off the bench (alongside our primary defenders) and put real pressure on our opponent to initiate an offensive set. ‘Zo will match-up with Hakeem as much as possible.

Starting Lineup:
Chauncey Billups (05-06) (32 minutes)
Kobe Bryant (02-03) (36 minutes)
Paul George (18-19) (36 minutes)
LeBron James (12-13) (36 minutes)
Alonzo Mourning (99-00) (34 minutes)

Bench:
Metta World Peace (03-04) (16 minutes)
Eric Bledsoe (12-13) (16 minutes)
Karl-Anthony Towns (17-18) (14 minutes)
Dan Majerle (92-93) (10 minutes)
Buck Williams (82-83) (10 minutes)

(Minutes are a starting point)

Offense: My opponent has a good defense, including Jones to put on LeBron and Olajuwon to defend the basket, so we’re looking for any edges that we have. We’re going to try to use our big advantage on passing to get more open looks. We’re also going to spread the floor and let LeBron and Kobe go to work one-on-one or with a pick from Mourning/Williams. When we drive, we’ll look to create contact and draw fouls, and we’ll also have plenty of shooting on the floor at all times. Assuming LeBron is shadowed by Jones, we’re going to try to spot him when Hakeem is off the floor and surround those units with shooting so that James has a clear path to the basket.

Defense: Scott’s got a strong defense and play finishers everywhere, but his weakness is initiation and we plan to take advantage of that. For half the game, he only has one of Jerry West or Penny Hardaway on the floor, flanked by wings like Klay Thompson and James Posey who don’t create. We’re going to hound the ball carriers with Paul George and Kobe Bryant (both big steals guys) and also try to put one of Eric Bledsoe or Ron Artest on the floor at the same time. Against one-initiator lineups, we’ll often utilize a trap and will blitz pick and rolls looking to create turnovers and extra opportunities.

We have the guys to stick to Thompson/Posey/Green and will cover Schayes with Metta World Peace when he’s on the perimeter. Olajuwon was older by the time ‘Zo was in the league, but Mourning typically defended him well when they matched-up.

Overall: This is a tough contest where I have to trust that our defense is going to be the side of the ball to win games. We have a couple of advantages. One – LeBron James. Two – Scott has a lot of two-way players, but many of them are more 3-and-D (or dunks-and-D) and he lacks ballhandling and initiation. Three – My team has more passingand I make us as slightly better at getting to the line. Four – we are going to steal the ball a lot.


Scott Lange’s Opening Argument

Hakeem Olajuwon (1992-93) 36
Jerry West (1965-66) 36
Klay Thompson (2014-15) 36
Penny Hardaway (1995-96) 36
Bobby Jones (1976-77) 30
------
James Posey (2003-04) 30
Arvydas Sabonis (1995-96) 12
Dolph Schayes (1957-58) 12
Danny Green (2011-12) 6
Dominique Wilkins (1992-93) 6

Minutes Notes: When LeBron is on the floor, we’re employing switch-heavy lineups consisting of 5 of Hakeem, West, Klay, Penny, Jones, Posey, and Green. Sabonis and Schayes play together when LeBron leaves the floor. West and Penny have 24 minutes together and 12 minutes each apart.

James and Jordan were the #1 and #2 picks, and their teams have cruised with a combined margin of 67 votes to 21 votes thus far. I built my squad with those two matchups in mind. Has my team got what it takes to take down a GOAT? It just might!

When JJ has the ball: LeBron is obviously the focus of the defense. We’re moving Bobby Jones into the starting lineup as the primary James-defender. Jones, in the middle of a run of ten consecutive first-team all-defense appearances (two in the ABA prior to the selected year) has the size (listed at 6’9”) and the athleticism to at least hold his own. And when Jones rests, James Posey will get the call to guard James, as he has done with some substantial success in real life.

You can probably see that this core lineup (Penny/West/Klay/Posey/Jones/Olajuwon) is absolutely loaded with tall, long-armed defensive freaks. But did you realize that Hakeem has the #1 steals+blocks (stocks) season in the tournament at 5.46 per 36 minutes? And did you realize that the #2 season is Bobby Jones at 5.18? And that Ben Wallace (5.13) is the only other player who is even within 10% of Jones?

It gets better. Jerry West was notorious for using his unique length to generate turnovers on defense, but the NBA didn’t start tracking steals or blocks until the final season of his career. He was 35 years old and slowed by injury that year, but he still racked up an unreal 3.87 stocks/36, a total that would rank 12th in the tournament (and third among guards behind Alvin Robertson at 4.27 and MJ at 4.24). Stocks drop off quickly with age, and his tournament season was 1966, when he was eight years younger. Where is ‘66 West? 4.5? 5.0? Higher? Its impossible to say, but I think you have to estimate him as the #1 stocks guard in the tournament and a third top-ten player on this squad.

Even the “weak links” have solid defensive resumes. Klay is regularly described as one of the best defensive wings in the league (Backpicks has a nine-minute video on his defense that concludes he’s well above average and underrated by the all-in-one defensive metrics), and Penny was considered a good defender before his knee injury as well.

We’ll go outside that core 7-man rotation for 12 minutes when LeBron is off the floor, and since Sabonis and Schayes are less mobile, we won’t be switching or be quite as smothering. But these are still good defensive lineups - Sabonis, Schayes, and Green were all well above average defensively.

As for JJ’s personnel, LeBron is as good as it gets, but the rest honestly don’t scare me. Kobe is a volume scorer *cough*offense-clogging-ball-hog*cough* and there’s not one other above-average scoring threat on the roster. JJ says he’s going to “surround James with shooting,” but I don’t see any shooters on his roster that can compare to either West or Klay. He’s also giving minutes to Metta World Peace (.310 from behind the arc). All in all, I think we’ve got what it takes to frustrate LeBron, generate a ton of turnovers, and hold JJ’s offense in check.

When we have the ball: When the core seven are playing, Olajuwon in the high post or pick-and-roll is the #1 option. Zo is a better matchup than most teams have to offer, but there’s never been a center on earth who could guard prime Olajuwon without help (ask David Robinson). If/when that help comes, I want to draw particular attention to the comparison of Kobe and West. Both can put up points - Kobe averaged 30.0 PPG (#2 in his league) while West was at 31.3 (also #2). But West does it vastly more efficiently - he led his league in true shooting at .573 (with zero 3P credit) while Kobe was 49th in his league at .550 (with threes). West is a vastly more efficient second-option.

And don’t think of Jones as a defense-only guy who is going to gum up the offense. He was a dynamic rim-runner with a serviceable jumper - good enough for a .605 TS% (second only to Kareem). He was also known as the hardest cutter in the league, constantly flying around the court to open passing lanes and draw defenders away from teammates. He doesn’t have Schayes’ three-point range, but he’s going to create space for teammates, not take it away.

We admittedly don’t have as much ball-handling as some other teams, but as I’ve said before, the idea that West and Penny can’t bring the ball up the floor and create offense - that they are mere “combo guards” - is misguided. Both played like 2-guards because they were among the very best scorers in their leagues, not because they weren’t effective creators. Backpicks has Penny’s season in the 90th percentile among guards as a passer. West was 6th in his league in assist percentage, which is quite a feat when you’re second (only to Wilt) in scoring at the same time! These are both excellent playmakers - more than capable of getting the ball up the floor and initiating the offense. (And no, the prospect of being guarded by Kobe doesn’t terrify either of them.)

Oh, and those 14 minutes that Karl Anthony Towns are on the floor are going to turn into a layup line for somebody. Can’t wait for that.

Summary: I think we’ve got the defense to keep LeBron under control and stifle everyone else. I think our offense is much more efficient than the opposition, and if Kobe & Co generate more extra possessions from defense than Hakeem/Jones/West, I’ll eat my hat. I think we’re gonna shock the world and send the #1 pick to the one-loss bracket. Let's do this!
   3141. Scott Lange Posted: June 01, 2020 at 12:09 PM (#5954729)
JJ’s Rebuttal

I’m going to mostly use some stats in my rebuttal.

Our shooters are Billups (42%), Majerle (38% on good volume for his time), Towns (42%) and PG (39% on 9.5 3PA per 36). Kobe and LeBron can also shoot. Even this Bledsoe shot 40%.

Towns may have a weakness on defense, but we think an older, out-of-shape Sabonis is going to be so exhausted from chasing him on the other end of the floor that we’ll take that tradeoff. And our strategy for preventing layups is to prevent the ball from getting into the paint.

As mentioned in previous write-ups, PG lead the league in steals, Kobe was third, World Peace was third and Bledsoe average 2.5 steals per 36.

In head-to-head play, over 15 career games, Olajuwon averaged only 16.7 points against Mourning in 33 minutes. (Through the 1996 season it was 22.2 points in 38.4 minutes).

Scott’s key lineups are going go offer awesome defense and good iso scoring, but in addition to lacking ballhandling, units with Hakeem, Bobby Jones and Penny are going to have limited spacing, even giving West all the shooting credit in the world. Hardaway shot 31% from deep with the short three-point line.

In conclusion, both teams are going to be slowed down significantly on offense, both one-on-one and team-wide. In a game like that, I trust LeBron to generate offense of his own more than Jerry West (given the defenders I can throw at The Logo). We don’t have a Klay Thompson-level shooter (whose limited FTAs hamper his own efficiency), but we have more minutes allocated to more players who can shoot it from deep. Our starting lineup and our bench unit will both feature significantly more ball-handling than Scott’s.

Scott’s Rebuttal

If Sabonis was “older (and) out of shape,” it was only in comparison to his early European career when many analysts say he made a case as a top-five all-time center. Even below that peak, he was still a highly-effective player, with a .617 TS% (9th in his league). He and Towns are actually quite similar offensively - efficient scorers with excellent range, though Sabonis was a much better and more willing passer. The main difference between them is Sabonis is an excellent defender and Towns is absymal. Sabonis posted 2.9 DPBM, second only to David Robinson’s 3.1 and ahead of Mutumbo among others. Towns was at 0.2, 83rd in the league.

And honestly, even that 0.2 is deceptively generous to Towns, who was even worse than his stats indicated. Here’s an excerpt from a Zach Lowe column written during the very season JJ picked:
Towns is a chronic block-chaser, leaping waaaaay late at rejections he has no chance to get and leaving the defensive glass naked behind him. If you start your jump when the shooter is about to release the ball, you might as well stay ground-bound and box someone the hell out -- something else Towns doesn't really like to do. He is also among the very best at the Andrea Bargnani fake fly-by contest -- the little sideways jump con artists use to pretend like they are playing defense when they are really getting out of the way. Remember verticality? This is horizontality. Opponents have grabbed 25.6 percent of their own misses against the Wolves, the fourth-highest share in the league, and that number skyrockets when Towns is on the floor, per NBA.com. That's not all on him, but some of it is. For someone who zooms in a blur on offense, Towns can look strangely leaden on defense. He lurches in robotic, two-footed shifts. He positions his body at weird angles that reveal driving lanes. He also flat doesn't play as hard as he does on offense.

Sabonis and Schayes - two players with every bit of Towns offensive acumen who also try hard - are going to eat him for lunch. In these tournament games - where every player is good and weak links are few and far between - even one glaringly exploitable weakness is a game changer. And yes, this is “only” 14 minutes, but that’s about 1/3rd of the game where we’re going to be scoring at will. I think my starters are going to battle JJ’s to at least a draw - maybe better - but even if you give JJ’s starters a small edge, we can make it up by abusing this matchup and the overall bench advantage.

I don’t have much to add on the shooting/spacing argument. Penny is an elite slasher who JJ can’t afford to allow a downhill run at the basket. Jones is, by reputation, one of the best off-ball movement guys in league history. And Klay and West are the two best shooters on the floor for either team. I think that adds up to more space than Zo & Co can generate.

And finally, JJ cites Hakeem’s 16 PPG in head-to-head matchups with Zo. Problem #1 is its 15 games. Problem #2 is that it elides Mourning playing more minutes. Problem #3 is that it covers Hakeem from Age 30-39 and Mourning from Age 23 to 31. Problem #4 is that even comparing Mourning’s prime to Hakeem’s decline phase, Hakeem still wipes the floor with him! Yes, Hakeem scored “only” 18.2 points per 36 in those games, but Mourning scored just 16.0. Hakeem also had more than double the assists (2.9 to 1.4), more than double the steals (1.9 to 0.8), and significantly more blocks (2.7 to 2.0). Mourning does have a tiny edge on the boards - 10.1 to 9.7. But perhaps the most telling category is turnovers, where Mourning coughed the ball up a whopping 4.6 times per 36, while Hakeem was at just 1.8. (That’s a 1.61 AST/TO ration for Hakeem vs 0.30 for Zo, a +436% advantage for The Dream).

Now is that meaningful? I’d argue that Hakeem’s season- and career-long dominance matter more. But if the best case for Mourning holding up against Hakeem JJ can make is 15 games from Zo’s 20s against Olajuwon’s 30s in which Hakeem was a vastly more effective player, I think that tells you something.

That’s it. Thanks for reading, and thanks again to JJ for participating in the joint writeup. May the best team win!
   3142. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: June 01, 2020 at 12:36 PM (#5954738)
Now that is a game (series) I truly wish I could watch. Fun to walk through it in my mind to decide who I should vote for, and I am less confident in my decision than normal.
   3143. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: June 01, 2020 at 12:42 PM (#5954739)
Ellis over Gervin - One guy is playing 30 minutes and the other 24, so I don't look at that as much of a difference. I want more Ellis minutes in this matchup to prioritize perimeter offense, especially in those 24 Twin Towers minutes.
I thought the guy who should have been getting those minutes was Iguodala, who is dramatically better than Ellis at everything except shooting. I voted for you, but you could have used that defense, that's for sure.
   3144. spivey Posted: June 01, 2020 at 01:11 PM (#5954746)
I thought the guy who should have been getting those minutes was Iguodala, who is dramatically better than Ellis at everything except shooting. I voted for you, but you could have used that defense, that's for sure.


See, I think leaning into the shooting made sense. I don't see how BO was getting any offense as efficient as every extra 3 (or general shooting from Gervin) that NJ was taking.
   3145. tshipman Posted: June 01, 2020 at 03:09 PM (#5954771)
NJ wastes all his hot takes on the voting page. Here's this muy picante take:

Bill Russell is just Ben Wallace with a better PR team
.

I also enjoyed this from Spivey:
Hopefully at least one game devolves into an absurd Gervin/King dick waving contest where they each put up 40.
   3146. Dandy Little Glove Man Posted: June 01, 2020 at 03:54 PM (#5954777)
Tship: LeBron is one of the most talented one on one scorers in NBA history. He has guided his team to the top offense in the NBA exactly zero times. . . I guess I'm curious what you think went wrong with the LeBron/Wade Heat and why they weren't the greatest offense of all time.

Hombre: Because a 32-year-old Wade kicking out to Chris Bosh and a 38-year-old Ray Allen isn't what fairy tales are made of, and it turns out that Dirk and Tim Duncan are pretty good, too.

I mostly agree with Tship on this one. The arguments that LeBron's supporting casts weren't really that talented don't square with reality.

The central tension with LeBron, both historically and in this tournament, is that he is seemingly the easiest player ever to build a contender around, yet he's never been on a historically great team despite playing on teams that looked historically great on paper and playing in an era where such teams have been relatively more common.

By tools like SRS and point differential, in LeBron's prime he hasn't been on a team as good at its peak as the Warriors (either with or without KD), the Spurs, KG's Celtics, or Giannis's Bucks [I'm deliberately leaving out the KD Thunder because KD's individual on-court +/- wasn't higher than LeBron's best, unlike the leaders of the teams mentioned].

In Miami, LeBron teamed up with someone who had been either the #2 or #3 player in the league each of the previous 2 seasons (Wade) entering his age 29 year, plus a player in the #8-15 range (Bosh) entering his age 26 year. Wade did not decline until their 4th and final season together (the one Hombre referenced), and Bosh was healthy throughout. Yet Miami peaked at the #74 spot historically by SRS and only won 60 games once, including prorating the shortened season, in a weak conference.

In Cleveland, LeBron formed another big 3 with players who looked like perhaps a better fit. Both Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving could shoot 3s, handle, and pass. Love was a top-5 player entering his age 26 season. Kyrie was a 22-year-old All-Star. Those Cavs never won 60 games, and peaked as the league's #4 team by SRS at a time when all the great teams were in the West.

But at his best LeBron could also win 60+ games surrounded by a collection of role players who could shoot and defend. He supplied enough shot creation pretty much on his own. Statistically his best team was the 2009 Cavs, a roster of lights-out shooters and hyperactive defender/rebounder/screener types.

In sum, LeBron has consistently elevated those types of role players while detracting from other shot creators on the floor. He'll make Delonte West shine but turns stars like Kevin Love into catch-and-shoot players. That's because he's so good on the ball and surprisingly ineffective off of it, and his game is much more static than other star players -- they adapt to him, he doesn't adapt to them. That makes me wonder what the right strategy is when drafting him in a league like this. Do you go mostly for great role players who can play off of him, or do you draft other shot creators and hope they adapt?
   3147. Harlond Posted: June 01, 2020 at 03:59 PM (#5954779)
#3140--I have David Robinson at 4.7 stocks per 36 minutes, which I believe is within 10% of 5.18. Guess it depends whether you're measuring up or down.
   3148. tshipman Posted: June 01, 2020 at 04:01 PM (#5954781)
To steal the format of NJ's hot take, and riffing on 3146:

What if LeBron isn't the evolutionary Jordan or Magic?

What if LeBron is Allen Iverson, but 8 inches taller and with a better PR team?
   3149. tshipman Posted: June 01, 2020 at 04:04 PM (#5954782)
#3140--I have David Robinson at 4.7 stocks per 36 minutes, which I believe is within 10% of 5.18. Guess it depends whether you're measuring up or down.


Also probably, but not certainly, underrates Bill Russell.
   3150. Scott Lange Posted: June 01, 2020 at 04:41 PM (#5954787)
#3140--I have David Robinson at 4.7 stocks per 36 minutes, which I believe is within 10% of 5.18. Guess it depends whether you're measuring up or down.

1995 Robinson had 134 steals and 262 blocks in 3074 minutes. That puts Robinson at 4.64 and Jones at 5.18. 5.18/4.64 = 111.6%. Even the other way, it's 89.6%. Unless I made an error, which is always possible!

Also probably, but not certainly, underrates Bill Russell.

That's totally fair - I fully expect Russell would be in that top-four-or-five somewhere. Maybe even first. But if it's Russell, Ben, and two or three of my guys, I'm feeling pretty good.
   3151. Scott Lange Posted: June 01, 2020 at 04:50 PM (#5954789)
*resisting the urge to defend LeBron against this slander until after 12pm Wednesday*
   3152. tshipman Posted: June 01, 2020 at 04:55 PM (#5954792)
That's totally fair - I fully expect Russell would be in that top-four-or-five somewhere. Maybe even first. But if it's Russell, Ben, and two or three of my guys, I'm feeling pretty good.


You're also missing Kirilenko (4.6) and Gerald Wallace (4.8). And possibly also Kareem, although that's harder to tell.

I get that Stocks are a "thing", but they're kind of a bad stat at the extremes. A steal is worth way more than a block. Blocks are also easier to accumulate than steals, so the list tends to be dominated by big men.

The all time leader is "stocks" for example, I believe is Mark Eaton, who averaged 0.6 steals and 7.4 blocks per 100 possessions in 1985.
   3153. spivey Posted: June 01, 2020 at 05:44 PM (#5954801)
Get the #### out of here with this LeBron can't run a great offense stuff. His prime is littered with top 5-6 team ORtgs, including a 4th and a 6th on those early Cavs teams he was single handedly carrying. Mo Williams was his best teammate those years. Mo Williams.

I would argue that Miami's roster, spots 4-12, was really, really bad. Like worst in the NBA bad, pretty much the entire run. Now you kind of knew that would happen when you use all of the cap space on 3 people. But it needs to be considered when you think about why they weren't even better. I would argue Wade did peak young, which isn't a shock for a super physical guard like him. After his first year with the Heatles, he was still very good, but he was not 2nd or 3rd best player in the NBA Wade anymore. Bosh didn't really develop into a good 3pt shooter until right when LeBron left. Of those 3, LeBron was the best shooter. But he was also the best at most everything else.

Kevin Love was never a top 5 player in the NBA either, gtfo with that. And Kyrie was a below average player by many advanced metrics until LeBron came there. I'm not sure how much credit LeBron deserves, very talented guards tend to improve a lot from their first couple of seasons to their mid-20s.

LeBron's offense I think generally plays well in the playoffs, and although I don't feel like trying to find these numbers, I'm pretty sure many of the teams he was on were ####### trainwrecks whenever he was off the floor. I feel like that's been a theme of Zach Lowe articles for years when he was in Cleveland. I'm happy to be corrected on that.

I think it's fair to say LeBron isn't a great off ball player, he's not a good cutter. I think that's true with a lot of this generation and is perhaps a reflection of how the top players are learning basketball. Perhaps you also have to blame LeBron the GM due to roster makeup.
   3154. tshipman Posted: June 01, 2020 at 06:07 PM (#5954805)
Get the #### out of here with this LeBron can't run a great offense stuff. His prime is littered with top 5-6 team ORtgs, including a 4th and a 6th on those early Cavs teams he was single handedly carrying. Mo Williams was his best teammate those years. Mo Williams.


I think the nuance here is that LeBron + Role players is a proven formula for a great offense.

However, you get almost the same results with LeBron + role players that you do with LeBron + stars.

As a result, LeBron is a cheat code for a great offense, but he has never achieved the kind of stupendous, all-time in NBA history kind of offenses that some other players have (most notably Nash, Magic and Curry).
   3155. JJ1986 Posted: June 01, 2020 at 06:22 PM (#5954806)
I mostly agree with Spivey. Kevin Love was a floor raiser who played the same position as LeBron, who wasn't a superstar-elite level player and the league was evolving away from him as he played with James.

In his seventeenth season, at age 35, LeBron is finally playing with someone who is both a superstar and a great complimentary player and it's working out.

I can't imagine that LeBron wouldn't have elevated Klay Thompson or young Amare or old Kareem or even Kevin Durant. He just hasn't ever really played with a #2 who would perfectly fit with his game.

Now, he did pick who he was playing with, so maybe most of that's on him.
   3156. Scott Lange Posted: June 01, 2020 at 06:24 PM (#5954807)
You're also missing Kirilenko (4.6) and Gerald Wallace (4.8). And possibly also Kareem, although that's harder to tell.


Wait, what? I'm not missing Kirilenko. He had 150 steals and 215 blocks in 2895 minutes. That's 365*36/2895 or 4.54 (not 4.6). That's less than Robinson, who is more than 10% below Jones as discussed above.

Wallace did have 4.81 (still 7% less than Jones), but he missed my minutes cutoff due to injury and he never approached those heights in a full season. (His next best total appears to be 3.48, and even that was in another shortened season).

And I didn't even "miss" Russell in the sense you seem to be using it- he just played before they collected the stats in question. I don't know what you want me to do about that.

Again, I apologize for any errors, but I don't think you've actually caught one yet.
   3157. Scott Lange Posted: June 01, 2020 at 06:33 PM (#5954808)
I get that Stocks are a "thing", but they're kind of a bad stat at the extremes. A steal is worth way more than a block. Blocks are also easier to accumulate than steals, so the list tends to be dominated by big men.

The all time leader is "stocks" for example, I believe is Mark Eaton, who averaged 0.6 steals and 7.4 blocks per 100 possessions in 1985.

This is a fair critique, or it would be if it weren't for the fact that Jones and West both made the list mainly with steals. Jones was 2.8 steals/36 and 2.4 blocks, while West was 3.0 steals and 0.9 blocks. Even Hakeem wasn't an Eaton-esque blocks-only guy - he had 1.7 steals and 3.8 blocks.
   3158. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: June 01, 2020 at 06:41 PM (#5954809)
However, you get almost the same results with LeBron + role players that you do with LeBron + stars.
In that case, to take it back to the comment that started this:
I guess I'm curious what you think went wrong with the LeBron/Wade Heat and why they weren't the greatest offense of all time.
It's not so much about the type of player LeBron is so much as that it's LeBron. And it should be noted that the team with arguably the greatest regular season offense got beat by LeBron in the Finals.
   3159. tshipman Posted: June 01, 2020 at 07:10 PM (#5954813)
I can't imagine that LeBron wouldn't have elevated Klay Thompson or young Amare or old Kareem or even Kevin Durant. He just hasn't ever really played with a #2 who would perfectly fit with his game.

Now, he did pick who he was playing with, so maybe most of that's on him.


I mean, *everyone* that Nash or Curry or Magic played with seemed to fit perfectly, while LeBron never found that perfect fit with another star.

Is that just really luck?

Maybe, and to be clear we don't have enough data to say for sure.

I think that basketball statistics are fairly crude. We still don't really know how to credit both halves of a PnR. Is Clint Capela or James Harden more valuable when they run PnR? Who creates the value? What about when it's Tyson Chandler and Jeremy Lin?

While individual statistics are important, there are additional dynamics created by team play that are not fully captured in statistics. It's possible that guys like Nash are doing things that create that extra valuable offense, and it's also possible that they were just in the right place at the right time.

Depending on your priors, you will probably believe that either Magic/Riley got lucky to have a perfect mesh with Worthy and old Kareem, or you will believe that Magic could have played with anyone and gotten the best out of them.

LeBron never found that perfect running mate. Maybe that's the running mates, but maybe it's him.
   3160. CFBF's Overflowing Pathos Posted: June 01, 2020 at 07:43 PM (#5954826)
Man, this thread is a tough crowd.
   3161. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: June 01, 2020 at 08:29 PM (#5954830)
I know, right? Lebron's so good, we're inventing reasons to say he's not so good.
   3162. BaseballObscura Posted: June 01, 2020 at 09:35 PM (#5954842)
Gotta say, getting eliminated leaves me feeling a little salty.

Biggest mistake was drafting Bill Russell apparently, since there was no consensus on how to interpret his value in this kind of tournament. For most, he seemed to be a huge offensive liability, while his defense/intangibles seemed to make zero dent in my results.

Second biggest mistake was drafting Luka Doncic. Basically, he was perceived as basically incapable of running an efficient offense, while being useless on defense.

Should have just gone David Robinson or Tim Duncan first since no one questions their offensive capabilities, while providing excellent rim protection. Basically Bill Russell plus offense.

Doncic could have been Penny, and then I would have had an excellent point guard, with size, scoring ability and with all-defense capabilities.

Bernard King was probably my other miss, since he was not great on D, and his offense was not valued by folks on the board. Stoudamire to a lesser extent as well.
Since Russell seems to be polarizing, how would y'all have utilized him?
   3163. tshipman Posted: June 01, 2020 at 10:05 PM (#5954845)
Biggest mistake was drafting Bill Russell apparently, since there was no consensus on how to interpret his value in this kind of tournament. For most, he seemed to be a huge offensive liability, while his defense/intangibles seemed to make zero dent in my results.


My guy, I tried to find a way to vote for you every time. I specifically changed the whole way I was voting just because I felt like it was unfair to Russell.

Second biggest mistake was drafting Luka Doncic. Basically, he was perceived as basically incapable of running an efficient offense, while being useless on defense.

Doncic could have been Penny, and then I would have had an excellent point guard, with size, scoring ability and with all-defense capabilities.


Now this is just tilt. Doncic is better in basically every way than Penny Hardaway. Don't let people snow you.


Since Russell seems to be polarizing, how would y'all have utilized him?


For me, I would have tried to go small around Russell, and utilize him as the sole big in a PnR based system. Doncic is a good fit with that, so is Ray Allen.

Duncan is an awkward fit, and I think someone like Kawhi would have been a better match. Duncan was not all that efficient for this kind of environment, and his 1.13 points per shot was below your team average in every match.

the last parts of your line-up were awkward: Mookie Blaylock and Shawn Marion didn't offer a ton on offense. Shawn Marion could have been Khris Middleton. Mookie could have been Brent Barry.

I dunno, though. Maybe you're right that it was impossible to win after drafting Russell. It's certainly not crazy to think that. It's very hard to have a great offense in this league with Russell playing significant minutes. I worked extra hard to find a way to give him credit, and I probably still undervalued him.
   3164. DCA Posted: June 01, 2020 at 10:16 PM (#5954847)
Russell can go join Stiggles' unicorn pity party. He's really hard to evaluate. He really was bad on offense, that's fair, but he's so off the charts good on defense that it's just hard to understand, especially as we are missing some stats. Like in the last game, he had more DWS than Duncan and Howard combined. And Duncan and Howard are good defensive centers and fairly credited as such (Howard led the league in DWS and Duncan was second).

Anyhow I think the draft mistake is Duncan. Good value but poor fit. Not only does more elite inside defense not have much marginal value once you already have Russell, he doesn't fit the style that I'd play with Russell, who I think you need to view as a one-man fast-break generator. Rebound/block/steal and then toss it out to some streaking small. You have some of that, but not Duncan.

West or Nash would have been good in round 2. Kawhi would have been tempting. Among the mid/late round guys, I do like Stoudamire alongside Russell. King is fine but I like your team a lot better with Marion in that spot.
   3165. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: June 01, 2020 at 10:25 PM (#5954849)
Lots of folks seem really high on Khris Middleton, and I'm not seeing it. Here is his BPM for every year of his career before 2020: -1.9, -2.3, 1.6, 0.6, -0.3, 0.0, 0.8. That's thoroughly mediocre.

I guess everyone is hanging their hat on 2020, and assuming that it's not a small sample-size issue, but an expression of a major jump in true talent? Maybe, but I'm not convinced.
   3166. tshipman Posted: June 01, 2020 at 10:28 PM (#5954850)
well, for this exercise it doesn't matter if it's a small sample size issue or not. Draymond isn't a good 3p shooter, but he gets to be in this exercise.
   3167. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: June 01, 2020 at 10:38 PM (#5954852)

well, for this exercise it doesn't matter if it's a small sample size issue or not.


It does matter, otherwise Eric Mobley '95 and Gundars Vetra '93 would have been top picks.
   3168. Scott Lange Posted: June 01, 2020 at 11:42 PM (#5954856)
Now this is just tilt. Doncic is better in basically every way than Penny Hardaway. Don't let people snow you.


Player   WS/48    TS%           Stocks/48  MVP Ballot
Penny    .229     .605 
(14th)   3.6        3rd
Doncic   .215     .584 
(67th)   1.4        ??

?? = 
TBD but 6th on the Zach Lowe ballot per his 4/3/20 podcast


So... like.. not every way.

Don't get me wrong - Luka's great. Love his shot making, love his play making. I don't even think its crazy to prefer him to Penny, though for me, Penny's efficiency and my desire to avoid carrying someone who can't guard anybody tilt the scale his way. But the claim that Doncic is better "in basically ever way"... I don't know, man. It feels like you're determined to pay me back for not valuing Magic the way you do, even though (more or less?) nobody else did either.

Hey, while I've got you, any explanation for 3152? You keep saying stuff about my players that's not true, and I'm like "oh man, I must've goofed," and I spend 30 or 40 minutes double checking everything, and then it turns out you just weren't telling the truth. Then I point out your error and... you vanish. The first time (like 2,000 posts ago) I figured it was just a mistake and you didn't feel like saying "sorry, my bad" when I pointed it out. But it's getting to be a pattern...
   3169. Booey Posted: June 02, 2020 at 12:20 AM (#5954860)
#3162 and others lamenting their elimination -

I know it's easy for me to say since I didn't create my own team to be picked apart by the masses (the hell with you all if you don't think an elite garbage man like Adam Keefe would make a worthy 2nd pick!), but I want to remind everyone that being voted against - even regularly - doesn't necessarily mean that we think your team is weak overall or that you made any major drafting mistakes. All these teams are loaded with all time greats and the difference between winning and losing is often razor thin. Simply put, we HAVE to vote against SOMEONE. IMO, none of the teams are unbeatable and none of them were just plain drafted poorly and have fatal flaws that would make them lose to anybody. It's really all about match ups, and there's a lot of luck involved with that.

To out myself before Athletic Supporter does it in Baseball Obscura's epitaph, I'm pretty sure I voted against BO in every series...yet I still don't think he has a weak team. In my defense:

A) There's one game of his where I would change my vote if I could. I was on the fence to begin with and then other posters brought up some good points in their rationales that I hadn't given enough consideration. My bad on that.

...and most importantly,

B) BO's run is a perfect example of how match up specific this tournament is (at least for me). With Russell and Duncan, I think he had the best interior defense in the tournament; so much so in fact, that I would've voted for him against every team whose offense I felt relied heavily on post ups and points in the paint - DCA, Slivers, Hombre, probably Harlond, possibly Stiggles...but of course, he didn't play ANY of those teams. He played mainly jump shooting teams, which I felt were his weakness. A simple dumb luck reshuffling of the brackets and BO could have been 4-0 or 3-1 with my votes rather than 0-4. And I suspect the same would be true of several other teams if I took the time to look into it (and vice versa; some of the teams I've voted FOR every game have gotten a bit lucky in their brackets and have so far avoided the teams I think would beat them).

In a full season, the schedule would even out. In a short tourney, it doesn't. It is what it is.
   3170. Dandy Little Glove Man Posted: June 02, 2020 at 12:21 AM (#5954861)
In his seventeenth season, at age 35, LeBron is finally playing with someone who is both a superstar and a great complimentary player and it's working out.

I can't imagine that LeBron wouldn't have elevated Klay Thompson or young Amare or old Kareem or even Kevin Durant. He just hasn't ever really played with a #2 who would perfectly fit with his game.

I have no doubt that LeBron would pair spectacularly with Klay Thompson; he fits the mold of a great dependent player. The others are less clear. For as well as the Lakers have played this year, they've actually been better offensively when Anthony Davis is on the bench.

LeBron has exhibited a consistent pattern in his career, in that when paired with good dependent/role players (3&D, high energy defender/rebounder) his teams exceed expectations and when paired with other creators they fall short of expectations. The extreme weakness of the East largely hid how neither of LeBron's Big 3 teams met their projections.

In many/most contexts, you would say that it's better to have a guy who essentially guarantees a contender featuring a top-5 offense and an above average defense regardless of his teammates [LeBron], as opposed to someone who might make you a low level playoff team with a mediocre supporting cast yet produce the league's best offense when surrounded by high-end talent. I just question whether this tournament is such a context.

For example, would you rather have LeBron's offense or Chris Paul's offense on a team of stars? Chris Paul's team has led the league offensively at least 3 times, in two very different contexts (Lob City and Moreyball). Even this year OKC's offense with CP3 on the court is better than LA's offense with LeBron on the court. You can pair Chris Paul with pretty much any type of star player or collection of good offensive talent and get an elite offense, yet in New Orleans without such talent he had some very average teams.

This is not a normal situation. It's splitting hairs trying to determine who would be the best building block where every roster is filled with the best of the best historically. There's no obvious right answer, and every player has weaknesses. MJ's 3-point shot. Kareem's struggles against elite defenders. Steph's defense. For LeBron, his weakness is his relative ineffectiveness off the ball and fit with other shot creators. I don't consider identifying these weaknesses to be some sort of slander. Rather, I think it's the point of the exercise.
   3171. tshipman Posted: June 02, 2020 at 12:38 AM (#5954863)
Hey, while I've got you, any explanation for 3152? You keep saying stuff about my players that's not true, and I'm like "oh man, I must've goofed," and I spend 30 or 40 minutes double checking everything, and then it turns out you just weren't telling the truth. Then I point out your error and... you vanish. The first time (like 2,000 posts ago) I figured it was just a mistake and you didn't feel like saying "sorry, my bad" when I pointed it out. But it's getting to be a pattern...


1. When I disagree with you, I've learned the hard way it's pointless to continue. So I stop posting rather than drag the board down.
2. The overarching point is that "STOCKS" is a bullshit stat and relatively bad to use (edit: except for evaluating college prospects or otherwise evaluating athleticism in a vacuum). Steals and blocks aren't valued the same. So arguing about how you are using two players with extremely high pace (Jerry West and Bobby Jones both played at over a 111 pace) and not accurately controlling for that while touting their production in this bullshit stat is kind of pointless because I don't even think the metric is valuable.
3. Your players do have a high amount of steals for their position so I don't even really disagree that they are good defenders. I just specifically think that emphasizing "STOCKS" is stupid.
4. It's ironic that the guy who keeps pushing Dolph Schayes as an elite 3p shooter is saying that we can't evaluate whether Bill Russell or Kareem would actually be top 5 in "STOCKS" because we don't know what their values were in the year identified.
5. I don't actually care about a bullshit stat and resent being dragged back to respond.
   3172. Scott Lange Posted: June 02, 2020 at 12:53 AM (#5954869)
Me on Russell's stocks:
(The suggestion that Russell would make the top-10 if they counted steals and blocks in his era is) totally fair - I fully expect Russell would be in that top-four-or-five somewhere. Maybe even first.


You on me on Russell's stocks:
(You are) saying that we can't evaluate whether Bill Russell or Kareem would actually be top 5 in "STOCKS"


I mean... I literally say "I fully expect Russell would be in that top-four-or-five." And your response is to accuse me of saying "we can't evaluate whether Bill Russell or Kareem would actually be top 5." It's the exact opposite of what I said. And you don't even have to page through the thread. You barely have to scroll!

I don't actually care about a bullshit stat

Then why dispute the issue in the first place? And why post false numbers about it?

Ugh. Sorry, everyone. I'm just going to ignore Shipman posts from now on and we'll all be a lot happier.
   3173. Athletic Supporter is USDA certified lean Posted: June 02, 2020 at 12:54 AM (#5954870)
well, for this exercise it doesn't matter if it's a small sample size issue or not. Draymond isn't a good 3p shooter, but he gets to be in this exercise.


Well, that's your interpretation. I (and many others) aren't taking their strat cards like this, we're taking our best guess as to their true talent in that year (which involves some regression to the mean of the surrounding seasons, as well as an understanding of the context they compiled the stats in, and at least in my case, allowing Dolph Schayes to practice a jumper or whatever).
   3174. NJ in NY (Now with two kids!) Posted: June 02, 2020 at 12:56 AM (#5954871)
Relevant for our exercise, Bask-ref now has era adjusted shooting stats.
   3175. tshipman Posted: June 02, 2020 at 01:00 AM (#5954872)
And I didn't even "miss" Russell in the sense you seem to be using it- he just played before they collected the stats in question. I don't know what you want me to do about that.

Again, I apologize for any errors, but I don't think you've actually caught one yet.



Quote the piece I'm actually responding to.

Then why pick an argument in the first place? And why post false numbers about it?


I dunno man, why not bother to pace adjust when you say that your guys are the best ever at a bullshit stat that doesn't matter and no one else is within 10% of you?

Then freak out about whether people adding up per 36 numbers instead of doing the math longhand are shortchanging your guys?

Particularly when Kirilenko has way more of your fake stat than either Bobby Jones or your made up values for Jerry West once you pace adjust? (also slightly more than Hakeem, but that's closer)
   3176. Scott Lange Posted: June 02, 2020 at 01:07 AM (#5954873)
OK, man.
   3177. Athletic Supporter is USDA certified lean Posted: June 02, 2020 at 01:27 AM (#5954875)
#4 NJ 16, #13 BO 4
BaseballObscura eliminated; NJ remains in two-loss bracket

Essentially this matchup boiled down to the fact that people saw BO's strength of interior defense as not playing well in this matchup against a perimeter-oriented team. It ended up not being close, with a pretty strong consensus on that narrative.

BO voters:
<< I think it's a worse matchup for NJ. Even though he can generate 40% looks from deep at will, that's about all he can do on a better-than-average-NBA-team level, and it's not going to be enough. BO is going to have multiple mismatches in his favor on every possession, is going to score efficiently inside and out, and rebound half of his misses. >>
<< I think it comes down to the Marion vs. Ellis matchup, and I give the nod to Marion in this one. >>

Some NJ voters:
<< I'm casting a sort of reluctant vote for NJ, because I think BO wins the synergy/strategy battle but it's just not enough to counter the superior shooters. >>
<< No one is scoring inside on Russell/Duncan; luckily for NJ, his team doesn't need to. He's got the shooters to overcome that >>
<< The Russell/Duncan combo loses much of its appeal against a team that's mostly just bombing away from beyond the arc >>
<< Team Obscura's dominant interior defense is largely wasted here. >>
<< I don't think Duncan and Russell will be able to match up against the 4 out system that NJ has, while I like NJ's ability to match up against Luka as a team -- Russell is someone you can cheat off of on D. >>
<< Bad matchup for BO IMO. NJ can beat you outside the paint, and will here. I just don't see how BO is going to guard NJ's scorers, or keep up. >>

BaseballObscura epitaph: Lost to Scott Lange 13-7; lost to JTSports 12-6; beat Dolf Lucky 10-5; lost to NJ 16-4

In the end, having two of the greatest defensive big men ever wasn't enough for BaseballObscura. Voters generally preferred perimeter-oriented teams against him, in this matchup most of all, and spending the first two picks on true bigs left the team lacking in perimeter talent. It didn't help that Luka Doncic, likely a below-average primary initiator, was pretty much left to generate all the perimeter offense, with no other real perimeter shot creators other than the one-dimensional microwave Bernard King.

BO's biggest fans: FancyPantsHandle and Harlond both voted for BO three times and against him only once, but his biggest fan was actually tshipman, who voted for him three times and against him zero times (abstained from this matchup).

BO's biggest skeptics: Booey and Mellow Mouse both voted against BO in all four matchups. Scott Lange voted against him in all four matchups as well, although one of those was a self-vote. Willard voted against him all three times he voted (abstained vs Lucky).

Ten teams remain: four in the winners' bracket, four in the one-loss bracket, and two in the two-loss bracket.

NEXT UP: A return to the winners' bracket and a reprieve from cruel elimination, as we get Scott Lange vs. JJ1986 (writeups in this thread, votes due Wednesday at noon ET).
   3178. Booey Posted: June 02, 2020 at 01:06 PM (#5954921)
RIP Wes Unseld
   3179. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: June 02, 2020 at 04:20 PM (#5954971)
BO's biggest skeptics: Booey and Mellow Mouse both voted against BO in all four matchups.


I love both Russell & Duncan, but I really am not fond of the fit between them because of the overlap of post defense (which I don't think "adds" well) and Russell is (IMO) very much a defense and transition guy who plays offense best with pace, while Duncan is much slower and half-court for his best offense. Combine that with a bit of Luka skepticism (defense and his youth) and a run of opponents that could play reasonable perimeter games and I just had a hard time with that team.

That could easily be a failure on my part in understanding the team though, I fully admit.
   3180. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: June 02, 2020 at 05:31 PM (#5954991)
BO's run is a perfect example of how match up specific this tournament is (at least for me). With Russell and Duncan, I think he had the best interior defense in the tournament; so much so in fact, that I would've voted for him against every team whose offense I felt relied heavily on post ups and points in the paint - DCA, Slivers, Hombre, probably Harlond, possibly Stiggles...but of course, he didn't play ANY of those teams.
I've said it a few times, but it bears repeating: With just a handful of games, getting unlucky in match-ups can be lethal. I'm not gonna lie, I'm thrilled BO is out because that's the one team I know I can't beat.

That said, yeah, having a Twin Towers set in a league full of outstanding shooters and jackrabbits wasn't going to win the tourney. If it was just Russell by himself in the paint with four shooters and slashers, that would have been a great fit. Russell's Celtics led the league in pace every season but one in his prime, because of his defense, rebounding, and ability to start the break. Having Duncan and Russell on the floor together for 24 minutes means you're clogging the paint for slashers, AND one of the two guys down there can't score efficiently to boot. Other teams can be less mobile, and if they're running a stretch 4 out there, that's a problem for Duncan.
   3181. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: June 02, 2020 at 05:50 PM (#5954997)
So who pairs well with Duncan?
   3182. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: June 02, 2020 at 05:54 PM (#5954999)
Why, David Robinson, of course!

Seriously, though, in this tourney, with most teams looking to play a very modern brand of basketball, the truly dominant big men probably operate best alone, along side a PF who can step out.
   3183. Moses Taylor, glorified meat shield Posted: June 02, 2020 at 06:05 PM (#5955001)
Dirk would be a great guy to pair with any of those dominant bigs.

---

Adrian Wojnarowski @wojespn

ESPN Sources: As the NBA models a 22-team format for a July 31 resumption in Orlando, the proposed timeline for teams as the last possible date for an NBA Finals Game 7: October 12.
   3184. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: June 02, 2020 at 06:11 PM (#5955003)
Dirk would be a great guy to pair with any of those dominant bigs.
He would have been. He went early in the draft, end of the 2nd round.
   3185. tshipman Posted: June 02, 2020 at 06:57 PM (#5955006)
So who pairs well with Duncan?


I think Duncan got taken too early. If you think of Duncan as a Center, which I would argue he is in this format, he probably belongs more in the Alonzo Mourning/Walton/Gobert tier than in the David Robinson/Wilt/Russell tier where he was taken.

And just so that it's clear I'm not just criticizing other people:

My biggest mistakes were drafting Rasheed Wallace 5th and Gordon Hayward 8th.
   3186. puck Posted: June 02, 2020 at 08:44 PM (#5955027)
Wes Unseld was a bit early for me. "Never saw him play." Wish I had. Always loved the idea of him, strong widebody fighting the trees for position and rebounding.
   3187. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: June 02, 2020 at 09:21 PM (#5955029)

I think Duncan got taken too early. If you think of Duncan as a Center, which I would argue he is in this format, he probably belongs more in the Alonzo Mourning/Walton/Gobert tier than in the David Robinson/Wilt/Russell tier where he was taken.


Harsh for a top #10 all-time player. I get the feeling that the board as a whole is rating the 90s/early 00s as the nadir of professional basketball. Backpicks rates him as having a better defensive peak than Kevin Garnett.
   3188. DCA Posted: June 02, 2020 at 09:50 PM (#5955032)
Duncan suffers from a lesser version of the same issue we discussed around Stockton before he was picked. He doesn't have a peak. He basically has two decades of functionally identical performance, only tailing off toward the end because he was playing fewer minutes. So it's understandable that in a "best season" draft he is picked somewhat lower than his "career value" would predict.
   3189. Athletic Supporter is USDA certified lean Posted: June 03, 2020 at 06:44 AM (#5955050)
DeMarcus Cousins' trolling revenge on Grant Napear is truly a work of art.
   3190. spivey Posted: June 03, 2020 at 08:52 AM (#5955063)
I think there is some underrating of Duncan's athleticism and all around game when he was young. He was a good passer and dribbler for a big man.

But his big strength over some of the other centers taken around him, imo, was that he was a bit more offensively resilient in the playoffs than guys like Robinson and Garnett. Of course, in a league where every team has 1-2 monster post defenders, he's probably still not doing that at an efficiency that you can win in this league with, and he's probably not even really generating doubles either or anything like that where it can initiate actions. I remember Sheed defending him pretty well in the Pistons/Spurs series, and Sheed, while a good defender, isn't as good as a lot of the defenders Duncan would be going against here.

Duncan and Kobe's offense also both played up in that era of basketball. Efficiency was a lot lower than we see today. You can argue they'd adjust to a more efficient game, and I think there's some truth to that. But I also think they were in the right time and place for their skills of basketball, which has an impact with their dominance.
   3191. Der-K's emotional investment is way up Posted: June 03, 2020 at 11:38 AM (#5955092)
   3192. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: June 03, 2020 at 11:44 AM (#5955096)
On Duncan: "Duncan is one of the favorites of the plus-minus family. In every scaled season from 2001 to 2008, he falls in the 99th percentile historically, and each of his first 14 seasons is above the 95th percentile. He is the only other player besides Kevin Garnett with top-50 APM peaks on both sides of the ball."

As for being a player without a peak: "He, KG and Wilt all have similar peaks."
   3193. CFBF's Overflowing Pathos Posted: June 03, 2020 at 11:53 AM (#5955100)
Not to take away from the serious issues in Der-K's link, but I'll never not be amused by reporters describing tweets in a totally straight-faced, self-serious journalistic manner.

Webber, whose No. 4 was retired by the Kings, said this is who Napear has always been and finished his tweet in support of Cousins with two clown emojis.
   3194. JJ1986 Posted: June 03, 2020 at 11:55 AM (#5955101)
It sounds like 22 teams are going to Orlando and each of them will play 8 regular season games. A play-in tournament may happen depending on standings.
   3195. Scott Lange Posted: June 03, 2020 at 12:43 PM (#5955111)
Congratulations to JJ on the win! I'm glad we played it close, and I would love to get a shot at his squad "in reality," but as a huge LeBron believer, I can't argue with the result.
   3196. tshipman Posted: June 03, 2020 at 12:51 PM (#5955115)
I've always disliked Napear. He was a giant homer when the Kings were good and frequently whined about the officials.

I am mildly shocked that his relatively mild statement to Boogie resulted in his firing. The NBA has different lines for conduct than any other pro sports league, but I think Napear comfortably rides this out if he were in baseball. Maybe he gets promoted if he is a football broadcaster.

I think that is something I generally support, but I sincerely hope the team dug up more than was made public. The public comments were awful, but more of an opportunity for education than a professional death sentence.
   3197. Moses Taylor, glorified meat shield Posted: June 03, 2020 at 02:21 PM (#5955140)
Last straw, right? This specific type of comment is pretty inflammatory at this point, especially in the NBA, so it's not really a surprise.
   3198. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: June 03, 2020 at 02:54 PM (#5955143)
Always loved the idea of him, strong widebody fighting the trees for position and rebounding.


Unseld completely embodied that idea. The man was a box out machine. The thing that I loved about him was his outlet passing. Often times he’d come down with the ball with two hands and fire a two handed overhead pass to the outlet man. Relentless like Moses and as smart as they came on the court.

Edit: in other words, the Bizarro Jahlir Okafur.
   3199. tshipman Posted: June 03, 2020 at 02:58 PM (#5955144)
Not for nothing, but I believe the guy who owns this website has said something very similar, and we all still post here ...

On Duncan: "Duncan is one of the favorites of the plus-minus family. In every scaled season from 2001 to 2008, he falls in the 99th percentile historically, and each of his first 14 seasons is above the 95th percentile. He is the only other player besides Kevin Garnett with top-50 APM peaks on both sides of the ball."

As for being a player without a peak: "He, KG and Wilt all have similar peaks."


1. the peak comparison is to a multi-year peak, not a single year, and includes the playoffs.
2. Duncan performs so well in on/off because of factors like team defense that are difficult to port to a tournament like this one. How do you quantify the unseen value of Duncan's positioning vs drives and cutters? There has been a clear bias towards quantifiable value in this tournament.
   3200. Scott Lange Posted: June 03, 2020 at 03:44 PM (#5955146)
Not for nothing, but I believe the guy who owns this website has said something very similar, and we all still post here ...

He said worse on my Facebook page years ago before I defriended him. I assume he doesn't make any real money off my page views though, and I basically never interact with him, so posting here doesn't bother me much.
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