Posts Tagged ‘TrueHoop’

The correct answer to the key question about the 76ers …

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012

is that:


Justin Kubatko, of Basketball-Reference, doesn’t mess around with numbers. He doesn’t get all excited about things that don’t matter. And the other day in The New York Times he wrote:

There have been 38 teams in N.B.A. history with a point differential of at least plus-10.0 points a game through their first 18 games. The median winning percentage of those teams was .753, which translates to 49.7 wins over a 66-game season. Additionally, 24 of those teams advanced to the N.B.A. finals, with 19 claiming the championship.

In short, mediocre teams do not go on extended runs in which they routinely outscored opponents by double-digit margins. If history serves as a guide, Philadelphia is a contender.

In other words, there are interesting numbers to suggest the Sixers are even money to win the title this year. Which is one nutty thing to suggest.

On the other hand, half the teams that have started this hot in NBA history did not win the title. And there is good reason to suspect these Sixers may fall into that category. They have played just about the easiest schedule in the NBA. When they have played the power teams on the road they have generally lost — at Portland, at Utah, at New York, and badly at Miami. They have also lost at home to the Nuggets and (gulp) Nets.


Unfortunately, Philadelphia is not yet a legitimate contender to win the NBA Championship this season … since there are 5 teams in the Eastern Conference with more overall talent on their roster.

Although Philadelphia is a much better team than many so-called “NBA experts” may have erroneously projected in the off and/or pre season, in reality, this team is also not nearly as good as the number-crunchers might try to tell you it is, at this point in the season, based on their marginal of victory to-date … and, until the 76ers actually have Top 4 talent on their roster, they should not ever be considered as one of the few legitimate contending teams in the hunt for the NBA Championship in a given season, at least, by an authentic NBA expert.

Magic and Power of the internet …

Monday, August 15th, 2011

It really is quite interesting to see how the internet actually works, especially in the world of sports.

If you take a look at the following two links:

#1. Basketball on Paper WAR and the Best Peak Regular-Season Players Since 1978 [Wed-Jul-27-2011];


#2. Real minutes played [Mon-Aug-15-2011].

then, you should be able to tell that:

i. Henry Abbott is a regular visitor to;

ii. At least some of what actually gets written on the subject of “accurate player evaluation, in the NBA,” across the blogosphere, by other “reputable” sources, may in fact, have it’s point of origin properly associated with yours truly [e.g. including, the ridiculously simple concept of assessing “like” individual basketball players according to their:

a. League Championships won;
b. Conf. Championships won;
c. Playoff Series wins;
d. Playoff Games wins;
e. Minutes Played.


PS. In fact, it should come as no surprise, at all, to see yet another “one-size-fits-all” metric soon developed by someone else, to capture this exact information in a handy-dandy table. ;)

ROI – Tyson Chandler unplugged

Thursday, August 4th, 2011

Read this fantastic interview from today’s TrueHoop:


Tyson Chandler, speaking freely

When I watch JaVale McGee, he reminds me of young you. So long and jumping so high. When I see him jump so often, I can’t help but think: Save a little of that, JaVale! Do you see that?

When you’re young, they say you’re young and you’re dumb. You can’t gain that knowledge except for just playing. There are some Dwight Howards who come in and blossom early and are able to dominate. Then you have guys like myself, and Andrew Bynum, and I think the same thing about JaVale McGee. It’s going to take him a while before he truly gets it. But his athletic ability and his just physical capability … he should be able to change a game. And I definitely think he will.

It’s just time and understanding and placing, coaching, guys working with him, before he dominates out there. He has something that you can’t teach.


and it should then become impossible to deny the proper place that first-rate:

#1. Ownership,
#2. GMing,
#3. Coaching, and
#4. Players [themselves],

ALL have to play in the creation of a championship-winning environment in the NBA.

‘Success’ without internal happiness is not really ‘success’ at all

Friday, July 29th, 2011

Read the following article from today’s version of TrueHoop:


Keith Richards’ school of Public Relations

Tough talk
Richards’ story is a macho one — women play minor roles, ex-convicts are his real friends. He presents himself as a swashbuckler, entirely unafraid of pulling a gun (unlicensed, of course), throwing a knife, picking a fight or, for that matter, ingesting a mighty eight grams of pure Merck pharmaceutical grade cocaine — the high lasted days — on a dare.

There is no shortage of tough talkers in this world, but Richards stands way the hell out for keeping his tough guy hat on even when it’s time to tell what actually happened.

Many of the most important relationships of his life — with Jagger, with the family of his wife Patti Hansen, with the mother of his older children Anita Pallenberg, with record companies, promoters and drug dealers — all got rocky and are all discussed in reckless specificity. He pilots his pen like he piloted his Bentley — with a lot of scrapes. Let the chips fall where they may.

If there’s value in honesty, this is an international treasure. That kind of truth won’t please many PR experts and I’m sure the lawyers had conniptions, but you’ve got to hand it to the guy. He sure keeps things from straying too far from the truth, and that’s exhilarating. What a lovely break from the saccharine sanitized version of things. It may be ugly, but at least it’s real. And in the case of Richards, his frankness is informative. His rules are interesting. No mainlining the heroin, for instance — only in the muscle. No crack. No freebasing. And only the absolute highest grade of everything. If the heroin gets out of hand, these are some remedies. These are the real stresses of the spotlight. This is what groupies mean to rock stars. This is what friendship feels like in the eye of the media hurricane.


then, thoroughly examine the following sentence which appears in the middle of the piece:

“And yet, there is all kinds of evidence that Richards’ approach has more than succeeded.”

and ask yourself the following question:

What does the Life & Times of someone like Keith Richards really demonstrate about the True Meaning of the word Success?

In the opinion of this corner, the real answer to THAT question is:

“Unfortunately, not very much at all.”



Wisdom from the Wizard of Westwood

Dean Oliver gets it right, re: What determined the outcome of the NBA Finals … except for one, small, detail

Thursday, June 16th, 2011

For the most part, today’s article by one of ‘The Godfathers of modern-day statistical-based analysis for the NBA game’ – i.e. Dean Oliver – strikes the right note:


How Mavs’ style swap beat the Heat

Credit the Mavs and don’t kill LeBron. The Mavs’ defense did a great job keeping creators out of the paint. If you want to criticize someone, criticize the coaches, Scotty Brooks and Erik Spoelstra, for not figuring out how to attack the Mavs’ defense in a more decentralized way.

What team did the best against the Mavs’ defense this year? The Orlando Magic, who shoot 3s like maniacs. The Heat could have done more to spread the floor by running more sets for perimeter shooters, but they were also reportedly hampered a bit by an injury to James Jones. Don’t get me wrong, Brooks and Spoelstra are good coaches who just couldn’t quite match the moves quickly enough. And, of all the voices criticizing Westbrook and LeBron for what they did and didn’t do, [#1] I didn’t hear any of them offering constructive criticism for how to beat the Mavs’ defense.

A final lesson for the playoffs: When teams are fairly close, the NBA playoffs become a chess match. This makes it difficult to have basic statistics characterize a series. There are no great rebounding or shooting or turnover statistics to characterize the 2011 Finals, because adaptations constantly change what wins.

Even MVP Dirk Nowitzki had a statistically bad game in the clincher. Did he have a good series? Absolutely. [#2] But the tactical moves were what won this series.


in an effort to explain accurately what happened in the NBA Finals.

re: Bolded Text #2

This observation is 100% accurate.

re: Bolded Text #1

This observation, however, is not completely 100% accurate. :-)

i.e. Exhibit A and B

ROI: TrueHoop gets one right, re: summer homework for LeBron James

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

After being in a prolonged ‘slump’, Henry Abbott finally nails one:


The post is not the priority

James has fairly consistently made about a third of his NBA 3-pointers. Somewhere around that percentage is the point where you’re bad enough that defenses want you to shoot 3s.

As you improve from 33 percent, however, every opportunity you get to take an open 3 is likely to improve your whole team’s offensive efficiency. Open 3s for 40 percent 3-point shooters win games, and defenses know that and go to great lengths to prevent shots like that. Making more 3s would give James a way to move defenders away from the rim — which has the potential to vastly improve the entire team’s offense.

In addition to helping the whole offense, it would simply gift the Heat important points even if you changed nothing else. Had James shot 40 percent from downtown this season the team would have had scored a dozen more points over their 21 playoff games. It’s hard to imagine any other way the Heat could improve results like that without changing anything else.


clear out of the park.

Suspect definitions lead to false conclusions

Saturday, June 11th, 2011

The real goal of ‘crunch time’ in the NBA game … in sharp contrast to what ’TrueHoop’ might try to tell you:


Today’s crunch-time best vs Air Jordan

Pattani painstakingly identified every close playoff game of Jordan’s career (see below for the complete list of qualifying shots), then went to the video, the game recaps in newspapers, and any other resource he could find to find Jordan’s shots that matched Pattani’s “core-sampling” criteria:

  • Playoff games only (no regular season)
  • Go-ahead or game-tying shot attempts (free throws, turnovers and the like were ignored)
  • Final 24 seconds of the fourth quarter or overtime

While those aren’t the only crucial situations, they do allow an apples-to-apples comparison with today’s players.

Why not look at shots when up one point? Or down three points? In short, because those are times when weird things happen with intentional fouling. If you want a fair measure of crunch shot-making, it’s good to keep the sample pure. Teams that are tied or behind by two or less just want points, and they’re fighting for them against honest defense.


… is to actually have IT occur as EARLY in a game as possible, with the outcome in favour of your team.

The best teams and players in NBA history are those few that have been good enough to dominate their opponent in the earlier stages of a specific contest, such that the play which actually takes place in the final 24 seconds of a game is rendered mostly irrelevant, given the margin of points which exists between the teams. 

A proposed definition that constricts ‘crunch time’ to only the final 24 seconds of a game with the score at +/- 2 points is simply not a valid measurement of player performance in this phase of the game … and akin to comparing one red herring to another, rather than apples to apples.

‘Usage rate’ is a useless stat for measuring individual player ‘involvement’

Wednesday, June 8th, 2011

Usage Rate is a so-called “advanced statistic” which purports to measure an individual player’s involvement in his team’s performance at the offensive end of the floor.   


LeBron James not “used” to these struggles

It’s been a crazy couple of weeks for LeBron James. He entered the Finals having outplayed regular season MVP Derrick Rose in the previous series. Scottie Pippen even went as far to say that James might be better than his former teammate Michael Jordan.

Fast forward to Game 4 of the NBA Finals, where for the first time in his 90 career playoff games, James failed to reach double figures. He was noticeably absent in the fourth quarter where he was held scoreless and has only contributed nine points for the series.

Even with his seven assists, LeBron scored or assisted on only 22 of the Heat’s points in Game 4 against the Mavericks. That’s the fewest total points he’s contributed to his team in any single playoff game in his career.

So what happened to James on the offensive end in Game 4?

A good way to measure LeBron’s involvement in his team’s offense is with the advanced statistic Usage Rate. Usage Rate is how often per 40 minutes that a player shoots, assists, gets to the line or commits a turnover.


What does it really measure, however:


i. Field Goal Attempts

ii. Free Throw Attempts

iii. Assists


i. Turnovers

 when it groups together, both, “positive” and “negative” performance stat categories, while disregarding other pertinent “positive” stats that are noted by astute observers:

[for example]

- Facilitating Passes Made

- Effective Screens Set

- Effective Picks Set

- Offensive Rebounds Obtained

- Defensive Double-teams Drawn

- Effective Cuts Made [... which create space for a teammate]

- Effective Space-outs [... which anchor a specific defender to them]

when they watch and assess the actual “involvement” of a specific player, on offense, in a basketball game?

ROI: Hollinger analysis heads in right direction, this time

Wednesday, June 8th, 2011

As was mentioned here last week

Contrary to popular belief, coaching really does matter in the NBA, when it comes to distinguishing winners from losers, actually a great deal:


Carlisle’s moves give Mavs Game 4 edge

Rick Carlisle said the players win the game, and in the big picture he’s right about that.

But in a series of razor-thin margins between the players on the Miami Heat and Dallas Mavericks, the slightest of adjustments can have an outsized impact. Three straight final-possession games have the Mavs and Heat justifiably tied at two apiece, and Tuesday it was the subtle adjustments Dallas’ coach made before and during the game that swung it.

We talked about Dallas’ superior depth heading into the series, but look at the box score and you’ll realize the Mavs were using a tighter rotation than Miami’s. Carlisle made a fairly complex series of adjustments that involved changing his starting backcourt so that he could entirely reupholster his forward rotation, and then threw a few more wrinkles into his special fourth-quarter sauce as the Mavs once again rallied late.

Ultimately, he was using a 7.5-man rotation, with Brian Cardinal as the 0.5 with “remove only in case of emergency” tattooed on his warm-ups. Dallas’ bench only played 71 total minutes, barely more than the 67 from Miami; only six Mavericks scored.

And Carlisle made it work.


When basketball is played properly, at the highest level ofcompetition, it’s a game of highly specific ‘individual [i.e. micro] match-ups’ and ‘split-second decision-making’, by, both, players and coaches, involving:

[for example]

i. Player X from Team A vs Player Y from Team B;

ii. Teammate 1 with Teammates 2, and 3, and 4, and 5;

iii. Team A’s 5-man unit vs Team B’s 5-man unit;

iv. Team A’s specific strategies vs Team B’s specific strategies;

v. Team A’s specific tactics vs Team’s specific strategies;

rather than ‘macro-based statistical number crunching’ concerned with “averages” and “standard rates of performance”.

TrueHoop’s Stat Geek Smackdown: NBA Playoffs, 1st Round Series Winners

Friday, April 15th, 2011


This is the “unofficial entry” for yours truly in the annual contest run by Henry Abbott: 

Eastern Conference, Quarter-finals

[1] Chicago [QIR/#1] vs [8] Indiana [QIR/#19]
SELECTION: Bulls in 5.

[4] Orlando [QIR/#3] vs [5] Atlanta [QIR/#15]
SELECTION: Magic in 7.


[2] Miami [QIR/#2] vs [7] Philadelphia [QIR/#13]
SELECTION: Heat in 5.

[3] Boston [QIR/#5] vs [6] New York [QIR/#25]
SELECTION: Celtics in 6.


Western Conference, Quarter-finals

[1] San Antonio [QIR/#7] vs [8] Memphis [QIR/#9]
SELECTION: Spurs in 5.

[4] Oklahoma City [QIR/#9] vs [5] Denver [QIR/#12]
SELECTION: Nuggets in 6.


[2] Los Angeles [QIR/#4] vs [7] New Orleans [QIR/#6]
SELECTION: Lakers in 5.

[3] Dallas [QIR/#7] vs [6] Portland [QIR/#11]
SELECTION: Trail Blazers in 6.


PS. You might also benefit from knowing that no other “NBA Analyst” has forecast more playoff series accurately, in advance, over the course of the last 4 years, than yours truly. ;-)