Make or Miss Podcast #24: Finals, Love, World Cup (with draft bonus)
Long time, no see, hear or read. Along with everyone else, I took a little time to decompress from the NBA finals, as well as throw myself into the World Cup. But good news, WOH is back with a brand new invention. Or really, just a new podcast with Rob, where we spend 90 minutes, first talking about the rumored Kevin Love deals with Golden State, (I get my Klay Thompson hate ON), break down the Spurs victory in the finals, before finishing up with some World Cup talk. We recorded pre-draft and pre USA NUMBER 1's winning-by-losing effort against Germany, so that's why it might sound dated.
After giving Rob a week off to talk Jazz with Ben Dowsett, we're back at it for the end of the beginning. By which I mean we hand out our versions of the NBA awards. Well, I hand out versions of them and Rob cheats to fit his favored guys into the mix. He also wrote (!) about some of his picks at PPP. I take some final shots at this seasons' Timberwolves, but it's not my fault, I was goaded into it by what Rob had to say (after the jump) about Kevin Love!
Make Or Miss Podcast: Playoff Races & Covering The Right Places
In this week's addition of the Make or Miss Podcast, bear with my scratchy throat, our usual peripatetic natures, and maybe even a dose of HotTakes as Rob and I discuss the perception versus reality of the NBA's national TV product before talking some Eastern and Western Conference playoff races, with some focus on the Hawks, Mavs and Suns.
One of the great pleasures of The Wire is watching characters grow and develop like, well, actual human beings rather than the dueling position papers you might get on other prestige shows. Anyway, one of the great moment's of the first season is when Lance Reddick's "Lt. Daniels" character finally has had enough of BPD bureaucracy and several episodes' worth of slow burn is replaced by his explosion that the chosen tactic of an officer who outranks him, to go for a quick rip rather than a detailed investigation. Basically the boss wants the equivalent of Nick Young gunning for glory on this year's Lakers.
Mid-Season Updates to Rim Protection and True Usage Stats (SportVU aided)
As you might have noticed, NBA.COM now includes (some) SportVU player tracking data in each game's box score (e.g.). I'll have a longer piece soon on using and interpreting this box score level data. But, now that we're at the All-Star Break, now seems like a natural time to update the Isolated Rim Protection and TrueUsage/TrueTurnover Rate metrics I've been looking at all season.
Slowly but surely, the air is leaking out of the Timberwolves season. Not so much a punctured balloon, but an unattended bagpipe, complete with discordant moans and sighs. The realization is dawning that despite high hopes and a quick start, this is going to be yet another year of squandered opportunities and frustration. With only so many mulligans available in the competitive West, matchups against teams which would be just as happy, organizationally speaking, to never win again are actual rather than cliche "must wins." To put it in less overwrought terms, you have to beat the ****** Pelicans when they're missing 3 of their top 6.
Make or Miss Podcast #3: Trade Deadline Discussion
Right now is sort of the silly season in the NBA. All the discussion of who was and wasn't snubbed for the all-star game is dying down (now that Anthony Davis has been added, Al Jefferson, Kyle Lowry, Mike Conley and DeMarcus Cousins, thanks for asking), trade talks are still just talks with the deadline weeks away, and players not participating in All-Star weekend are starting to show the focus one might expect of a bunch of bros in the 10 days before they had to Cabo for spring break. That said, the internet trade rumor mill is in full swing, and Rob and I can throw stuff against the trade machine wall as well as the next guy, so why not?
As you might have heard, the Minnesota Timberwolves are 1-12 in close games, and are floundering around .500 (currently 23-24) when their Pythagorean Record (what their record "should be" based on season long point differential) is 30-17. Generally speaking, large divergence from expected W-L is mostly down to luck. Very few players and teams have consistently shown an ability to out- or under-perform this measure, though one notable exception is Dirk Nowitzki, whose game translates to late game situations better than any player in recent memory. However in the case of the Timberwolves, there is something more than bad luck at work.
One of the biggest issues with theIsolated Rim Protection metric has been been adjusting for shot "deterrence" and pace. Basically, from the defensive perspective, the best shot at the rim is the one not taken at all. And while I had accounted for this previously with a team adjustment, that was fairly blunt, as it is clear as day that there is a great difference in the intimidation factor presented by a Dwight Howard and by his current backup Donatas Motiejunas .
In this edition, Rob and I spend about twice as long as we thought we would talking about one topic: guys around the league who should play more. Both of us tend to focus on the same type of player - the promising young player stuck behind a below average veteran on a team going nowhere. But Rob especially has some wild cards to discuss. There's a little audio glitch about 25 minutes in but I think we stitched it together. Pod and downloadable file after the jump.