Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Deconstructing Kobe the Great

In Uncategorized on March 30, 2012 at 3:06 pm

In 16 seasons, Kobe Bryant has never led the league in Win Shares or Win Shares/48 Minutes. He has been the best guard in the NBA only twice. And, most damningly, he has been the best player on his team just 5 times.

This wouldn’t be a problem for one of the better players to ever play the game. However, Kobe is often perceived as one of the greatest. The biggest problem you’ll encounter when evaluating Kobe Bryant’s entire career is the amount of time you’ll be forced to spend undoing a number of perceived “truths” about him. Read the rest of this entry »


Kobe v. LeBron: 627 Games

In Uncategorized on June 22, 2011 at 7:11 pm

Through 8 seasons in the NBA, LeBron James has played in 627 regular season games; the exact same number of games played by Kobe Bryant in his first 9 seasons. I thought I’d match up their numbers over their first 627 games and see what sticks out. The results should exploit some similarities and differences between two superstars early in their careers; each argued at one point to have been the best in the world. Read the rest of this entry »

Finals Retrospective: Was It Quantitatively “Exciting”?

In Uncategorized on June 14, 2011 at 8:12 pm

I’ll spare no time in telling you what you likely already know: Dallas-Miami was one of the closest series in NBA Finals history.

Games from this past series were decided (on average) by 5.66 points; the 9th lowest point differential of any Finals series, and the lowest point differential of any NBA Finals to last exactly 6 games. Read the rest of this entry »

Ben Wallace scores a career-high with… 23 points?

In Uncategorized on January 30, 2011 at 8:14 pm

Though it was in a terrible loss, Ben Wallace scored a career-high 23 points. He just barely got there, too, after taking and making a 3PT shot at the buzzer.

It’s hard to believe that Ben Wallace has never scored more than 23 points. The four-time Defensive Player of the Year has scored 20 or more points just 4 times in nearly 1,000 games.

Dennis Rodman, another prolific rebounder not known for his shooting, averaged 7.3 PPG on his career; compared to Big Ben’s 6.1 PPG. Yet Rodman managed to score 20+ points a total of 16 times in 911 career games.

The comparison of Wallace to Rodman falls apart pretty quickly. Wallace is a hugely valuable defensive asset, whereas Rodman was not as noted for his work on defense.   Rodman averaged significantly more OREB, likely accounting, to some degree, for his increased scoring. And, perhaps most notably, Wallace shoots 41.5% from the free throw line; the worst in NBA history, and 16.9% worse than Rodman’s 58.4 FT%.   Still, all these things considered, I feel my initial surprise was understandable. Few are capable of becoming well-known in today’s league despite scoring 20+ points just 4 times.

…And that leads me to the most amazing thing about all of this: Wallace has had 42 games with 20+ TRB.

He’s a different kind of special. No wonder he’s famous.

RELATED STORY: Joakim Noah and Dennis Rodman are kindred spirits

Celtics compensate for low Total Rebounds (TRB) with high FG%

In Uncategorized on December 10, 2010 at 11:17 pm

The Celtics are 27th in the league in terms of team rebounding, with an average of 39.3 TRB/game.  However, they rank 11th in TRB differential — that is to say that the Celtics still out-rebound their opponents by 1.3 TRB/game.  …How can this be? If you aren’t pulling down a lot of boards, and your opponent isn’t pulling down a lot of boards, then one of two things is true, either: a). both teams are making a lot of their shots, or b). one team is shooting tremendously better than the other. In the Celtics case, it’s the latter. Read the rest of this entry »

Kevin Love Goes Streaking

In Uncategorized on December 5, 2010 at 11:05 pm

Kevin Love has strung together 6 consecutive games with at least 15 total rebounds. He’s currently tied with Tyson Chandler for the longest 15+ rebound streak since Ben Wallace put together 14 consecutive games covering March to April, 2003.

Love’s next game is Monday, Dec. 6th @ the Knicks. He’ll have a solid opportunity to move into a tie with Dikembe Mutombo for 3rd longest streak this decade. Both teams attempt a lot of shots (New York ranks 13th in FGA; Minnesota ranks 1st) and the Knicks are often out-rebounded (NY ranks 21st in team rebounding differential (-1.4); MIN (+4.6) ranks 1st).  …Who says Knicks fans don’t have any games worth watching? Read the rest of this entry »

Photo of the Day (and Some Numbers Behind It)

In Uncategorized on November 18, 2010 at 6:39 am

Game 1 or 2 of the 2010 Western Conference semifinals; Utah Jazz @ L.A. Lakers [Staples Center]
I believe I found this picture on May 5, 2010. It was almost certainly from Game 1 (May 2nd) or 2 (May 4th).

Kobe Bryant wants to rip Deron Williams face off. Deron would be very grateful if he could just get his ball back.

Kobe Bryant‘s top-seeded Lakers were coming off a close first round series against the 8-seeded Oklahoma City Thunder, in which L.A. clinched the series with a thrilling 95-94 Game 6 victory on OKC’s home court.

The first round wasn’t exactly a cakewalk for Deron Williams and the Utah Jazz, either. This was a year in which every Western Conference playoff team had at least 50 wins in the regular season, and seemingly every a team in the West had some chance of reaching the Finals. (It’s hard to imagine a time when that was ever true in the East.)  But the Jazz got the job done against the 53-win, 4th-seeded Nuggets in a 6-game series, despite an output of 30-PPG by Carmelo Anthony in the series.

What happened after this picture? Kobe’s Lakers would sweep the series against the Jazz, although the final scores were close: the Lakers won Game 1 by 5-points; Game 2 by 8-points; and Game 3 by 1-point.

And despite what his fearsome face in the picture above might suggest, the MVP of the series wouldn’t be Kobe Bryant, but Pau Gasol. The Lakers’ PF averaged 23.5-PPG and 14.5-RBPG in the series, and never pulled down fewer than 12 boards in a game against the Jazz.    …Although I’m sure the Bill Russell Award made for a fine consolation prize for Bryant.

The Big, Bad Atlanta Hawks

In Uncategorized on September 23, 2010 at 11:10 pm

During the playoffs, I noticed Atlanta attempting a remarkable number of jump shots.

It turns out what they did was quite astounding:

The chart above displays a breakdown of field goals attempts in the 2010 NBA playoffs.  Atlanta attempted the third highest percentage of mid-range shots. Only two other teams made it to the second round of the playoffs while shooting 36+% of their total FGA from mid-range: Boston (36.18%) and San Antonio (40.61%).  It doesn’t appear to be a recipe for success.

Generally speaking, the further away from the basket a player is, the lower the likelihood of making a shot. So mid-range shots maintain a similar level of difficulty as 3-pointers, but they remain 1-point less valuable.  Therefore, mid-range shots are the worst of these three kinds of shots.

However, I didn’t find the Hawks game play blog-worthy because of their poor shot selection alone – I found it fascinating that a team as big and athletic as Atlanta would settle like they did.

Since Mike Bibby was moved to Atlanta in 07-08, the Hawks have had one of the most consistent starting lineups in the NBA, as well as one that presents exceptional matchup problems.

Listed at 6 feet-8 inches tall, SG Joe Johnson is tied with Sasha Pavlovic and Devean George as the tallest guards in the NBA last season (min. 30 games played).

Thus making the Hawks the only team in the NBA last season with four starters over 6-8.  Only Orlando (with Vince Carter), Toronto (DeRozen) and Utah (up until Brewer was traded) routinely put out starting lineups with four players over 6-7.

The Hawks size and vast skill set have privileged them with one of the most dynamic starting 5’s of the past three seasons.    Yet they still find themselves in trouble when it comes to playing inside, as demonstrated in the chart above.

Statistics were gathered using nba.com/hotspots and Basketball-Reference.com

For the purposes of this post, the following definitions were applied:

Short Range is represented by the red area;    Mid-Range – gray area;    3-PT Range – blue area

HOF-less: The Top 250 in Points, Steals, and Rebounds

In Uncategorized on August 22, 2010 at 8:09 pm

Since 1946, approximately 3,562 players have played at least 1 game of professional basketball in the BAA/NBA and ABA.

62 players rank in the top 250 for three major categories: points, assists and rebounds. This is a select group: approx. 1.74% of those who have ever stepped on the hardwood.

Yet 28 of the 62 are not in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. 295 individuals are in the Basketball HOF. Of the 295, 142 have been inducted as players and 3 have been inducted as a player & a coach.

There are a couple simple reasons why some of the 28 are not in the Hall of Fame:
– 10 of the 28 players still active.
– 5 of the 28 players retired recently, and remain ineligible for induction because the HOF requirement that “players must have been retired for at least five years before becoming eligible.”

So 13 players have not been inducted despite being eligible. Three of these players just became eligible for induction in 2010: Charles Oakley, Mark Jackson and Horace Grant. However, they were not chosen to be part of a winning class that included Scottie Pippen and Karl Malone.

The Top 13 HOF Outsiders:
1. Paul Silas (65-80)
2. Bob Dandridge (70-82)
3. George McGinnis (72-82)
4. Mickey Johnson (75-86)
5. Artis Gilmore (72-88)
6. Alvan Adams (76-88, PHO)
7. Jack Sikma (78-91)
8. Bernard King (78-93)
9. Chuck Person (87-00)
10. Detlef Schrempf (86-01)
11. Horace Grant (88-04)
12. Mark Jackson (88-04)
13. Charles Oakley (86-04)

Retired players on the verge of HOF eligibility:
Vlade Divac (90-05)
Gary Payton (91-07)
Clifford Robinson (90-07)
Chris Webber (94-08)
Antoine Walker (97-08)

I will highlight these players in an upcoming feature; evaluating their careers to see if a legitimate case for the HOF can be made.

This is essentially an exploration of your standard box score. I’m foregoing more telling measurements like PER or WS per 48. This is also a largely offensive achievement for players; insignificant in many ways because it doesn’t account for basic defensive categories such as steals and blocks, which I chose to exclude because they weren’t recorded until the 73-74 season.

By no means do I view this as the end-all in HOF conversations. I mean, Juwan Howard (95-Present) is in the Top 250 for points, steals, and rebounds. It is, however, a terrific starting point.

Kobe Bryant vs. LeBron James

In Uncategorized on August 9, 2010 at 6:34 am

This post is currently under construction. Sorry!