Just a quick update for the people hanging on my every word, the blog is not dead, I'm not taking a break or anything like that. New stuff will be coming soon. Rob and I hope to do at least one pod to coincide with the Sloan Conference this weekend. In the meantime, I wrote (with help from Darryl of Backboard Blues) a lengthy piece on the new NBA.com"player tracking boxscores" for Hickory High, where they've been kind enough to put me on staff. I should have part 2 of that piece, concerning season long SportVU data and trends sometime this week or early next. Don't want to give too much away but I also have a big old piece coming later this week on BBall Breakdown talking about how some of the top scorers in the league fair versus the top defenses in the league. Finally, I've been participating in ClipperBlog's "Last Call" post games and hope to continue to do so in the future. I also have about 10 half-finished posts which need to get, well, finished as time permits and inspiration allows.
David Lee is by any reasonable accounting an excellent offensive basketball player. Whether or not he gives it all back on defense is another question, but his cutting, passing and ability to score in traffic with either hand make him highly proficient at helping his team score the ball. I feel like that needs to be restated right off the top, because from much of the reaction to last night's Warriors/Rockets OT thriller, one would be excused for thinking he was a recent D-League call up, thrown into a a pressure packed, high-leverage situation which was above his paygrade.
Make or Miss Podcast #6: Breaking Down Deadline Day Deals
Up until the Danny Granger for Evan Turner and Lavoy Allen swap, we didn't think there was going to be enough to talk about to do a full podcast on just the trade deadline. But even without that, we still managed to talk, and talk...and talk. We give our thoughts on the deadline in general and say a few words about each trade in turn.
Short version, big winners for moves they made were Golden State and Washington for shoring up the backup PG slot with Steve Blake and Andre Miller respectively. I also like what Milwaukee did, if for no other reason that it indicates that they are going to see where the Nate Wolters train takes them. (Hint: good places). I also think Miami was a de facto winner both by virtue of opening up a slot for a buyout guy themselves, Oklahoma City not making a move and Indiana making a move I think hurts the Pacers.
Make or Miss Podcast #5: When to Give Up On Young Guys?
As we wind down towards the trade deadline, Rob and I talked for a good long bit about a topic very closely related to the deadline: when should a team move on from a young player? After the jump, we also talked briefly about the Nets/Kings swap of Marcus Thornton for Jason Terry and Reggie Evans, and got into it a bit about this current rookie class. Thanks to Quentin for the topic suggesting.
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.
Make or Miss Podcast: Firings, Firing Away, Free Styling
In a special post Valentine's Day edition of the Make or Miss Podcast, after the jump Rob and I talk about the recent firings of coaches and GMs in Detroit and Cleveland respectively; discussed the wisdom and plausibility of "making someone else beat you" with respect to LeBron's game winner at Golden State on Wednesday and finished up with a little talk about the Warriors' prospects.
Detroit Pistons' New Energy Or Just The Dead Cat Bounce?
After the surprising firing of Detroit Pistons Head Coach Mo Cheeks on Sunday, one of the big stories of this abbreviated, pre-All Star week is how Detroit would perform under interim coach John Loyer. With the important caveats that it's just one game, and they were playing a Spurs team without 3 of its top 6, Monday's 109-100 victory was nonetheless impressive. Especially noticeable was the Pistons' offensive execution. Under Mo Cheeks they ran some of the most boring, vanilla sets in the entire league. While Monday night was not perfect (Brandon Jennings still likes to pound the ball. Josh Smith still likes to take jump shots early in the shot clock), it was markedly better. One word comes to mind to describe how the Pistons were attacking, and up til now had only been associated with the variety of ways in which they squandered fourth quarter leads:
Muttered Thoughts About Team Construction and Relative Player Value
The NBA's salary cap (really more of a "net" than a "cap") makes particular aspects of team building problematic. Simply identifying the best players and throwing money at them can't work, so teams are required to maximize their talent through the use of a byzantine network of exceptions, allowances and loopholes.
But the bottom line is that in general teams need multiple players to "outperform" their contracts to be championship contenders.
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?