Monthly Archives: April 2010

Hotheady

     I heard Ken Drews and Dan Filowitz use an absolutely splendiferous new word on the Disciples of Clyde podcast today. The word, Hotheady, which I hadn’t ever come across before, was used to reference the Denver Nuggets. I believe the context was (not a direct quote) the Denver Nuggets wouldn’t be able to keep it together in their playoff series against the Jazz because they were sure to do something “Hotheady.”

       Obviously this is not a completely new word, but an adjective form of the word hot-head. I for one, will be doing my part to make sure this wonderful word becomes a part of the mainstream basketball vernacular. I’d also like to submit the following entry to Urban Dictionary.

hot-head-y (hät-ˌhed- ē) adjective
1. reacting with a bad or quick temper 2. giving a hasty, passionate, or violent response
(see: Martin, Kenyon and Cousins, DeMarcus)

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Sharing is Caring

       The lengthy post I have been working on about Jim O’Brien just went up at Indycornrows. The stats definitely tell some contradictory stories. If anyone is interested and has some time to read it, I would love to hear some other people’s opinions.
       I am also working on a new glossary page here at Hickory High with some of the statistical terms I throw around with reckless abandon and meager understanding. It’s tough to do this without blatantly cutting and pasting from Basketball Reference, so give me a few weeks.

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Black, White, Red, Yellow or Purple

       Of all the elements of basketball which get me excited, cultural and social implications are pretty low on the list. I am primarily interested with what take place on court. Over the past few weeks, however, an issue has been building which is causing me to put on my “sociologist hat” today. With the Indiana Pacers not participating in the playoffs, the attention of the fans (myself included) has turned mostly to draft recommendations and prognostications. Unfortunately, I have seen some really disturbing posts around the internets referrencing a perceived racist bent by the Pacers front office. A few examples:

“pacers draft strategy: take the best available white guy”

“It’s got to be a 4 year college guy that isn’t really an NBA prospect.
Robby Hummel
Luke Harangody
Matt Bouldin
A guy from Butler
The White guy from Nevada
Any A**hole from Duke”

“I already know what we’re gonna do though. We’re gonna pick Patrick Patterson. He’s a junior and he shoots the 3. If this guy were white he would be Larry Bird’s and Jim O’Brien’s dream player.”

         To begin with, I disagree with the premise that the Pacers or Bird in particular have a preference for white players. Last year Bird drafted Hansbrough, a white PF. Since 2003, when he became President of Basketball Operations, he has drafted exactly one other white player, Erazem Lorbek, a 2nd rounder in 2005. He brought in Mike Dunleavy and Troy Murphy. What else was being offerred for Stephen Jackson and Al Harrington?
         My second point is, Who Cares? Along with their counterparts of other ethnicities, white players have led the league in scoring (Pete Maravich ’76-’77), rebounding (Bill Laimbeer ’85-’86), assists (Steve Nash ’05-’07), steals (John Stockton ’91-’92), and blocks (Shawn Bradley ’96-’97). There are slow, white shooters, fitting the prevailing stereotypes. There are also white players who have built careers on their athleticism, such as Chris Anderson, David Lee and Bob Sura. There have been white MVP’s and a white slam dunk champion. Does anyone really think the Pacers have been losing lately because they have too many white players? I think they have been losing because they don’t hit shots and they don’t guard anyone. Everyone on the team, white and black, has played a role in them stinking up Conseco Fieldhouse.
          I don’t want this to sound like some white pride rant. My point is that race is not and should not be a factor in evaluating basketball talent. I don’t care what color a player’s skin is, if he has the skills to help my team then I want my front office to go get them. I have a dream. A dream that one day basketball players will be judged solely on their physical talent and mental makeup, and not stereotyped by the color of their skin. And with that said, I’ll hop off my soapbox and put it back in the basement where it belongs.

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I’m Not Great With Names . . .

        Jim O’Brien may have had a tough season as coach of the Indiana Pacers, but at least he knows the names of all our players. I guess the same can’t be said for Vinny Del Negro. How does this guy still have a job?

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Content Shift

         I’m excited to be posting that I have been invited to become a contributor at Indycornrows.com.  My new Pacers related material will be appearing there for the forseeable future. You can continue to find my poorly written and sporadically punctuated pieces on college basketball and the NBA in general here at Hickory High. Thanks for reading!

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Mergers and Acquisitions

          Last year’s off-season was filled with player movement. Atlanta signing Jamal Crawford, Ron Artest switching teams with Trevor Ariza, Washington adding Mike Miller and Randy Foye, and of course Shaq moving to Cleveland were all considered huge upgrades for each team. Now that the season is over it’s time to take a look at some of these changes and assess the value each team received from their new players. For each graph I used Win Shares and compared it to each player’s salary for last year. I only included players who were traded or signed last summer before the season began, and spent the entire season with their new teams. I also had to leave off a few players who basically played zero minutes for their new teams. The first table is the Top 10 in terms of Win Shares produced for their new teams.

Player Team Win Shares ’09-’10 Salary $ per Win Share
Zack Randolph MEM 9.7 16,000,000.00 1,649,484.54
Vince Carter ORL 7.4 16,000,000.00 2,162,162.16
Jamal Crawford ATL 7.3 9,360,000.00 1,282,191.78
Andre Miller POR 7.0 6,730,800.00 961,542.86
Channing Frye PHO 6.4 2,000,000.00 312,500.00
Richard Jefferson SAS 6.0 14,200,000.00 2,366,666.67
Matt Barnes ORL 5.9 1,600,000.00 271,186.44
Quentin Richardson MIA 5.8 9,352,400.00 1,612,482.76
Ersan Ilyasova MIL 5.8 2,100,000.00 362,068.97
Emeka Okafor NOR 5.5 10,538,937.00 1,916,170.36

             Not many surprises with this list. It does emphasize the incredible contributions made by Zack Randolph this year. The next table shows the Top 10 in terms of Win Shares produced per dollars spent in salary. These are the players who produced the most, for the least amount of money; essentially the players who provided the most value.

Player Team Win Shares ’09-’10 Salary $ per Win Share
Arron Afflalo DEN 4.2 1,086,240.00 258,628.57
Matt Barnes ORL 5.9 1,600,000.00 271,186.44
Jason Williams ORL 4.5 1,306,455.00 290,323.33
Carlos Arroyo MIA 3.7 1,107,572.00 299,343.78
Channing Frye PHO 6.4 2,000,000.00 312,500.00
Ersan Ilyasova MIL 5.8 2,100,000.00 362,068.97
Keith Bogans SAS 2.6 1,033,342.00 397,439.23
Courtney Lee NJN 3.1 1,264,440.00 407,883.87
Shelden Williams BOS 2.0 825,497.00 412,748.50
Ryan Anderson ORL 3.1 1,317,120.00 424,877.42

             Here, some surprises start to show up. Orlando comes out looking great. The huge amount they paid for production from Vince Carter and non-production from Brandon Bass, is off-set by the incredibly cheap production they received from Barnes, Anderson and Williams. I haven’t heard his name mentioned, and he will ultimately be judged by how the team (and Carter) performs in the playoffs, but Otis Smith, Executive of the Year? They will miss Courtney Lee in a few years though. He produced a fourth of New Jersey’s 12 wins this year for an extremely reasonable price. Denver looks great for letting Dahntay Jones walk and finding a cheaper more effective replacement in Arron Afflalo. This is also a great representation of what an important signing Channing Frye was for Phoenix. Now, the flip side of the coin. Here are the Top 10 players in terms of most dollars spent per Win Share produced. These are the players whose production was the most expensive, the players who provided the least value to their teams. I left off Stephen Hunter, Malik Allen, Reggie Evans, Chris Wilcox and Jarron Collins, because they played so few minutes that the numbers were extremely skewed.

Player Team Win Shares ’09-’10 Salary $ per Win Share
Shaquille O’Neal CLE 2.1 20,000,000.00 9,523,809.52
Marcus Williams MEM 0.1 855,189.00 8,551,890.00
Ben Gordon DET 2.1 10,000,000.00 4,761,904.76
Kevin Ollie OKC 0.3 1,306,455.00 4,354,850.00
Tyson Chandler CHA 2.9 11,850,000.00 4,086,206.90
Darius Songaila NOR 1.3 4,526,000.00 3,481,538.46
Ramon Sessions MIN 1.1 3,670,667.00 3,336,970.00
Fabricio Oberto WAS 0.6 1,800,000.00 3,000,000.00
Sean May SAC 0.3 884,881.00 2,949,603.33
Hedo Turkoglu TOR 3.4 9,000,000.00 2,647,058.82

             Again, not many surprises here. The acquisitions of Chandler, Turkoglu and Gordon have been viewed as flops most of the season. In Gordon’s case before the season even started. I understand that some of these players provide value beyond what shows up in the Win Share statistic. O’Neal was brought in by Cleveland mostly to offer an additional post presence to combat Dwight Howard and the Magic in the playoffs. If they win the title, getting any sort of contribution from Shaq, I guarantee everyone in Cleveland will recognize that it was worth every dollar. However, the lack of value from some less heralded additions such as Oberto and Sessions is pretty striking.

             With so many top tier free agents and so much cap space, this is sure to be a wild summer. My only advice would be “Buyer Beware“. There are some game changing values available, but just as many bank-breaking lemons. To satisfy curiousity, I included the entire list of acquisitions from last summer below.

A few minutes after posting I noticed this post on The Baseline about acquisitions from last summer making big impacts in the playoffs. They mentioned Grant Hill and Glen Davis who aren’t included on my list because they both re-signed with their previous teams. They also pointed out Jamario Moon and Andre Miller. Both players are produced a decent quantity of Win Shares this season, each at less then $1 million per. I went back in and bolded their names on my big list.

Detroit fans – Examine at your own risk!

Player Team Win Shares 09-10 Salary $ per WS
Jamal Crawford ATL 7.3 9,360,000.00 1,282,191.78
Joe Smith ATL 0.9 1,306,455.00 1,451,616.67
Marquis Daniels BOS 1.3 1,990,000.00 1,530,769.23
Rasheed Wallace BOS 3.6 5,584,000.00 1,551,111.11
Shelden Williams BOS 2.0 825,497.00 412,748.50
Stephen Graham CHA 1.6 884,881.00 553,050.63
Tyson Chandler CHA 2.9 11,850,000.00 4,086,206.90
Jannero Pargo CHI -0.3 2,000,000.00 -6,666,666.67
Anthony Parker CLE 4.9 2,644,320.00 539,657.14
Jamario Moon CLE 2.9 2,750,000.00 948,275.86
Leon Powe CLE 0.5 855,189.00 1,710,378.00
Shaquille O’Neal CLE 2.1 20,000,000.00 9,523,809.52
Tim Thomas DAL 0.7 1,306,455.00 1,866,364.29
Arron Afflalo DEN 4.2 1,086,240.00 258,628.57
Joey Graham DEN 1.1 884,881.00 804,437.27
Malik Allen DEN 0.1 1,300,000.00 13,000,000.00
Ben Gordon DET 2.1 10,000,000.00 4,761,904.76
Charlie Villanueva DET 3.5 6,500,000.00 1,857,142.86
Chris Wilcox DET 0.2 3,000,000.00 15,000,000.00
Devean George GSW 1.3 1,600,000.00 1,230,769.23
Mikki Moore GSW 0.6 537,952.00 896,586.67
David Anderson HOU 1.3 2,300,000.00 1,769,230.77
Trevor Ariza HOU 3.2 5,854,000.00 1,829,375.00
Dahntay Jones IND 1.8 2,500,000.00 1,388,888.89
Earl Watson IND 2.6 2,800,000.00 1,076,923.08
Luther Head IND 0.6 884,881.00 1,474,801.67
Solomon Jones IND 0.8 1,620,000.00 2,025,000.00
Rasual Butler LAC 2.7 3,945,000.00 1,461,111.11
Ron Artest LAL 5.3 5,854,000.00 1,104,528.30
Jamal Tinsley MEM -0.3 990,300.00 -3,301,000.00
Marcus Williams MEM 0.1 855,189.00 8,551,890.00
Stephen Hunter MEM 0.1 3,696,000.00 36,960,000.00
Zack Randolph MEM 9.7 16,000,000.00 1,649,484.54
Carlos Arroyo MIA 3.7 1,107,572.00 299,343.78
Quentin Richardson MIA 5.8 9,352,400.00 1,612,482.76
Carlos Delfino MIL 4.8 3,500,000.00 729,166.67
Ersan Ilyasova MIL 5.8 2,100,000.00 362,068.97
Kurt Thomas MIL 2.1 3,800,000.00 1,809,523.81
Ramon Sessions MIN 1.1 3,670,667.00 3,336,970.00
Ryan Hollins MIN 1.2 2,183,333.00 1,819,444.17
Sasha Pavlovic MIN -1.2 1,500,000.00 -1,250,000.00
Courtney Lee NJN 3.1 1,264,440.00 407,883.87
Darius Songaila NOR 1.3 4,526,000.00 3,481,538.46
Emeka Okafor NOR 5.5 10,538,937.00 1,916,170.36
Kevin Ollie OKC 0.3 1,306,455.00 4,354,850.00
Brandon Bass ORL 2.0 4,000,000.00 2,000,000.00
Jason Williams ORL 4.5 1,306,455.00 290,323.33
Matt Barnes ORL 5.9 1,600,000.00 271,186.44
Ryan Anderson ORL 3.1 1,317,120.00 424,877.42
Vince Carter ORL 7.4 16,000,000.00 2,162,162.16
Rodney Carney PHI 0.6 855,189.00 1,425,315.00
Channing Frye PHO 6.4 2,000,000.00 312,500.00
Jarron Collins PHO 0.1 1,181,803.00 11,818,030.00
Andre Miller POR 7.0 6,730,800.00 961,542.86
Juwan Howard POR 2.6 1,306,455.00 502,482.69
Ime Udoka SAC 0.8 838,034.00 1,047,542.50
Sean May SAC 0.3 884,881.00 2,949,603.33
Keith Bogans SAS 2.6 1,033,342.00 397,439.23
Richard Jefferson SAS 6.0 14,200,000.00 2,366,666.67
Amir Johnson TOR 4.5 3,666,666.00 814,814.67
Hedo Turkoglu TOR 3.4 9,000,000.00 2,647,058.82
Jarrett Jack TOR 4.8 4,500,000.00 937,500.00
Rasho Nesterovic TOR 0.8 1,990,000.00 2,487,500.00
Reggie Evans TOR 0.2 4,960,000.00 24,800,000.00
Sonny Weems TOR 1.3 736,420.00 566,476.92
Fabricio Oberto WAS 0.6 1,800,000.00 3,000,000.00
Mike Miller WAS 3.9 9,750,000.00 2,500,000.00
Randy Foye WAS 2.2 3,575,761.00 1,625,345.91

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Efficiency Addendum

        One of my first posts here at Hickory High was called Efficiency. It was in response to a quote from Daryl Morey, calling Kevin Martin one of the game’s most efficient scorers. His statistical rationale was that Martin had played two full seasons in which he averaged 8.0+ FTA/game and shot over 40% on 3Pts. He was the only player over the last 30 years to have accomplished that feat. In my post I took a look at incoming and historical college players who had approached or surpassed those benchmarks.

        Now that the playoffs have begun, I wanted to review this perspective on scoring efficiency, using this season’s stats. No one attained those benchmarks together this season, but if you lower them to 7.0+ FTA/game and 35% 3PT% you are left with 5 players:

Player FTA/Game 3PT%
Dirk Nowitzki 7.2 42.1%
Chauncey Billups 7.0 38.6%
Gerald Wallace 7.2 37.1%
Kevin Durant 10.2 36.5%
Kevin Martin 7.0 35.5%
  • Paul Pierce and Danny Granger just miss making the list because of FTA’s. Pierce averages 6.1 FTA/game, Granger averages 6.9 FTA/game.
  • I also left Chris Bosh off. He qualifies based on percentages but averages less then 0.5  3PTA per game.
  • The obvious surprise here is Gerald Wallace. I don’t think anyone, off-the-top of their head, would have put him on a list of the most efficient scorers in the league.

           I am still new to a lot of the advanced statistics, but the two other measures for individual offensive efficiency that I know fairly well are True Shooting% and Points Per Shot. True Shooting Percentage is a metric that incorporates a player’s 3PT% and FT% with their FG% to give an overall portrait of their accuracy as a shooter. Points Per Shot is exactly what it sounds like; the number of points a player scores divided by the number of shots they took. This metric favors players who score around the basket, as well those that have a high 3PT% (an extra point for each made shot) and get to the line alot (extra points with “no shots”). I incorporated those numbers into the same graph and added the player’s NBA rank for each statistic.

Player FTA/Game 3PT% TS% Rank PPS Rank
Dirk Nowitzki 7.2 42.1% .578 36th 1.35 22st
Chauncey Billups 7.0 38.6% .601 17th 1.48 8th
Gerald Wallace 7.2 37.1% .586 30th 1.47 11th
Kevin Durant 10.2 36.5% .607 13th 1.48 9th
Kevin Martin 7.0 35.5% .561 65th 1.36 21st

          None of these players are traditional post threats. Despite doing much of their scoring outside the paint, they are obviously among the most efficient scorers in the league. I really appreciate Daryl Morey offerring us his opinion on a specific statistical tool, even if it was unintentional. He has been part of a revolution in talent assessment, but is understandably protective of the metrics and techniques that he favors. This is one to certainly keep on an eye throughout the playoffs and into next season. I also hope it is one the Pacers look at when they are evaluating free agent talent this summer.

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