Since I stopped following college ball much (the one-and-done rule and the overly high ratio of physicality to skill has robbed that version of the game of much of it's aesthetic appeal), I don't have a ton to say about this year's crop of prospects, other than I LOVE Joel Embiid. However, as a sort of meta-commentary on the prospecting and projecting, I do want to say that I think people are focusing far too much on "measurables."
In Which I Lambaste Mike Brown (with a poke at Doc Rivers as well)
I don't understand, that always worked with Lebron
The other week when I talked about the horrorshow that is the Cleveland offense, I stated that Mike Brown is a bad offensive coach, figuring I didn't need to provide examples. But he provides them anyway, and not just of his teams' "get the worst shot possible given our talent" philosophy with the ball, but for a guy with a supposed great pedigree for defensive principles, oversees a team prone to some shocking breakdowns.
Holiday Bonus Podcast: Better Than Jam of the Month Club
We knew we'd be good, right Bled?
Today being one of the few days on the calendar between opening night and the playoffs with no game action, Rob and I decided it would be a good time to add to the overall holiday mirth with that good podcast stuff. We went a little long today, probably because Rob gave me the floor to revise and extend my remarks about the Phoenix Suns. Podcast link, download and extras after the jump.
Familiarity, Contempt and Regular Season Only Scoring Plays
SHAQ WOULD YOU LET ME FINISH?
A common piece of received NBA wisdom is that certain things will change in the playoffs "when the game slows down." Matt from Chicken Noodle Hoop and I were conversing over twitter the other day about Charles Barkley constantly stating but not really explaining why jump shooting teams might struggle in the playoffs - he never is really given time to go deeper than "live by the jumper, die by the jumper" before Shaq offers some 'insight '.
Having guys who can space the floor is at the same time both underrated and overrated in today's NBA. The recent rise to prominence of "Three and D" wing players - guys who can play effective defense but have offensive skillsets limited to shooting spot up 3s and possibly finishing in transition - has players occupying what was a Moneyball-like area of exploitable market inefficiency almost overrated.
So, a quick intro. I'm a mid 3os lifelong NBA fan, who's been obsessed with sports statistics in general and basketball statistics specifically for as long as I remember. I'm also a fan of the game as a game, with how the players interact with each other across time and space. And not that it matters terribly much, but I also played a little small college ball, which I hope gives me some small insight as to how the game works.
I very much enjoy the discussion that the advances in SABR-style research on the NBA allow us to have, which allow us to say no, Kobe vs. Lebron is not a reasonable discussion (for the last several years it has just been unequivocally true that Lebron is substantially, measurably better), Chris Paul is historically elite and Golden State Monta Ellis was overrated by "CasualFan" because he scored a lot.
However, looking at basketball on paper (though you should read Basketball on Paper) and stopping there is a trap too many (at least in the online discussion community) fall into. Which brings us to the mascot of this blog: Kyle Korver. Korver is not my favorite basketball player, (nor is Ashton Kutcher for that matter.) But he is the poster child for the extreme strawman version of Analytics Only Guy.
AOG looks at his alltime record pace (through 10 games at the time of this writing) .710 True Shooting Percentage (defined here, though I'm assuming if you are reading this blog, you have a passing familiarity with at least basic box score statistics as well as the first generation of advanced metrics such as TS% or PER) and wonders why Atlanta doesn't let him shoot more three pointers, especially from the corner as a Kyle Korver Korner 3 is close to the platonic ideal of a perfect basketball possession.
And the reason Korver doesn't shoot more 3s is because he can't. By NBA standards he's not particularly tall, strong, quick, fast or athletic. And the players on the other team are fairly well compensated to stop Mr. Korver from launching said three. (Well some of the opposition are well compensated to do some stopping, and some are Jamal Crawford or play for the New York Knickerbockers, below the fold we ask where are you going, Mr. Shumpert?)