Sunday, February 20, 2005

Defensive Stat

One of the statistics I have been looking at a lot lately has been the on court off court defensive stats at the 82 games site. Many believe figuring out who are good defenders and who are not is almost impossible. I think its difficult, but not impossible. I believe the following on court off court defensive statistic is one of the best barrometers I have found to giving a fairly accurate account as to who can play defense and who can't. What the following stat shows is who gave up more points against the other team when they were on the court as compared to their own teamates when they were off the court. I have calculated the top 100 or so players in the NBA plus anyone who recieved more then two votes in the ALL NBA defensive team voting in any of the last 3 seasons. I think its a complete list of the best players and defenders. The list is for the last 3 years starting with 3 years ago and finishing with their average for the last 3 seasons combined.

1-Tim Duncan-------///-9.0///-5.5///-8.2=-7.6
2-Theo Ratliff--------///-7.6///-6.9///-5.4=-6.6
3-Jeff Foster---------///-2.3///-8.8///-8.3=-6.5
4-Rasheed Wallace---///-6.8///-4.3///-8.0=-6.4
5-Bruce Bowen-------///-6.6///-4.5///-5.4=-5.5
6-Kevin Garnett------///-9.6///-6.5///+0.1=-5.3
7-Dirk Nowitzki-------///-5.7///-1.4///-6.0=-4.4
8-Kelvin Cato---------///-3.3///-4.8///-4.8=-4.3
9-Andre Kirilenko-----///+3.1///-2.5//-12.7=-4.0
10-Ron Artest---------///-1.6///-4.0///-5.6=-3.7
11-Antonio Davis------///-2.8///-2.0///-5.3=-3.4
12-Ben Wallace--------///-3.1///-3.0///-3.9=-3.3
13-Dikembe Mutumbo-///-0.4///-1.2///-8.3=-3.3
14-Shane Battier-------///-1.5///-1.4///-6.0=-3.0
15-Bobby Simmons----///****///-4.2///-1.7=-3.0
16-Brad Miller---------///+0.8///-5.5///-2.9=-2.5
17-Ray Allen-----------///-3.7///+1.0///-4.5=-2.4
18-Kirk Hinrich--------///****///-3.7///-0.9=-2.3
19-Larry Hughes-------///+1.5///-2.9///-5.5=-2.3
20-Reggie Miller-------///+1.2///-6.7///-1.3=-2.3
21-Roberty Horry------///-5.1///-0.8///-0.6=-2.2
22-Jason Kidd----------///+5.0///-6.1///-4.5=-1.9
23-Baron Davis---------///-3.3///-4.6///+2.3=-1.9
24-Bobby Jackson------///-2.4///-1.3///-1.5=-1.7
25-Jermaine Oneal-----///-0.5///-3.7///+1.6=-1.5
26-Tyson Chandler-----///+0.7///-3.8///-0.9=-1.3
27-Michael Finley------///-5.9///-2.2///+4.7=-1.3
28-Kenyon Martin-----///-0.6///-5.2///+2.1=-1.2
29-Eddie Jones---------///-1.3///-0.3///-2.0=-1.2
30-Shaq Oneal---------///+0.8///-3.9///-0.6=-1.2
31-Kobe Bryant--------///-0.6///+0.7///-3.3=-1.1
32-Elton Brand---------///-0.9///+3.9///-4.7=-0.8
33-Doug Christie-------///+1.0///+1.9///-5.2=-0.8
34-Andre Igoudala-----///****///****///-0.8=-0.8
35-Chris Bosh----------///****///+3.4///-4.7=-0.7
36-Josh Howard--------///****///+1.2///-2.3=-0.6
37-Emeka Okafor-------///****///****///-0.6=-0.6
38-Brian Grant----------///+2.6///-0.3///-4.1=-0.6
39-Vince Carter---------///-2.0///+1.8///-1.7=-0.6
40-Nazr Mohammed----///+1.5///-0.7///-2.6=-0.6
41-Manu Ginobili--------///+2.5///+3.4///-7.5=-0.5
42-Rchard Jefferson-----///+0.8///-0.9///-1.0=-0.4
43-Paul Pierce-----------///-0.4///-0.1///-0.8=-0.4
44-Darrell Armstrong---///+2.5///-1.8///-2.0=-0.4
45-Q Richardson--------///-2.5///+0.8///+0.5=-0.4
46-Steve Francis--------///+0.9///-1.9///+0.2=-0.3
47-Eric Snow------------///-1.1///-0.6///+0.7=-0.3
48-Hydayet Turkoglu---///+1.1///-2.5///+2.2=-0.3
49-Jamal MaGloire------///+1.0///+1.3///-2.6=-0.1
50-Raef Lafrentz--------///+3.0///-4.8///+1.6=-0.1
51-Zyd Ilgauskas--------///-4.0///+4.0///-0.1=-0.0
52-Jamal Tinsley--------///+4.6///-5.3///+0.7=-0.0
53-Tony Parker---------///-2.5///+4.1///-1.2=+0.1
54-Latrell Sprewell------///+4.5///-0.8///-3.3=+0.1
55-Tayshawn Prince----///+4.3///+0.9///-4.6=+0.2
56-Keith Van Horn------///+0.2///+0.8///-0.1=+0.3
57-Rueben Patterson----///+1.2///-1.3///+1.2=+0.4
58-Alonzo Morning------///****///+2.9///-2.1=+0.4
59-Mehmet Okur--------///-0.4///-1.7///+3.2=+0.4
60-Grant Hill------------///+1.7///****///-0.8=+0.5
61-Chauncey Billups-----///+3.5///+1.0///-2.7=+0.6
62-Dwight Howard------///****///****///+0.7=+0.7
63-Antawn Jamison-----///+4.8///+0.4///-2.4=+0.9
64-Jason Terry----------///+0.1///+4.1///-1.6=+0.9
65-James Posey----------///+1.2///-0.1///+1.9=+1.0
66-PJ Brown--------------///+5.7///-4.5///+2.7=+1.3
67-Kurt Thomas----------///-0.9///+2.1///+2.9=+1.4
68-Rip Hamilton----------///+3.3///+3.7///-2.7=+1.4
69-Carlos Boozer----------///+6.6///-0.6///-1.9=+1.4
70-Yao Ming--------------///+2.6///-1.6///+3.4=+1.5
71-Troy Murphy----------///+1.4///-0.1///+3.8=+1.7
72-Dewayne Wade--------///****///-1.4///+4.9=+1.8
73-Al Harrington----------///-2.5///+9.2///-1.4=+1.8
74-Lebron James---------///****///+5.2///-1.4=+1.9
75-Wally Z----------------///+3.1///-3.9///+6.4=+1.9
76-Cutino Mobley---------///+1.4///+1.9///+3.5=+2.3
77-Zach Randolph---------///+5.8///+2.0///-2.3=+2.3
78-Sam Cassell------------///+10.0//-1.7///-0.9=+2.5
79-Shawn Marion---------///+5.2///+1.2///+1.5=+2.6
80-Gilbert Arenas---------///+5.8///+4.2///-1.9=+2.7
81-Allen Iverson----------///+5.1///+0.9///+2.5=+2.8
82-Chris Webber----------///+3.6///-0.4///+5.3=+2.8
83-Mike Miller------------///+3.2///+3.9///+1.3=+2.8
84-Joe Johnson------------///+2.3///+1.4///+4.7=+2.8
85-Drew Gooden----------///+0.7///+6.6///+1.0=+2.8
86-Lamar Odom-----------///+4.6///+2.1///+2.2=+3.0
87-Antonio Daniels---------///+2.7///+2.3///+4.4=+3.1
88-Amare Stoudemire-----///+3.5///+2.2///+4.0=+3.2
89-Mike Bibby-------------///+5.7///+5.8///-1.9=+3.2
90-Steve Nash------------///+4.3///+3.1///+2.3=+3.2
91-Marcus Camby---------///+6.3///+1.4///+2.4=+3.4
92-Peja Stojacovic---------///+7.1///+2.5///+0.6=+3.4
93-Stephon Marbury------///+7.8///+1.9///+0.9=+3.5
94-Cliff Robinson----------///+3.1///+2.0///+5.6=+3.6
95-Desmond Mason--------///+5.4///-2.6///+8.1=+3.6
96-Jason Richardson-------///+7.3///-1.1///+5.0=+3.7
97-Carmelo Anthony------///****///+5.9///+1.4=+3.7
98-Andre Miller-----------///+8.2///+0.5///+2.8=+3.8
99-Gary Payton-----------///+5.2///+1.8///+4.7=+3.9
100-Rashard Lewis--------///+6.4///+2.1///+3.2=+3.9
101-Tracy McGrady-------///+6.4///+2.4///+3.4=+4.1
102-Matt Harpring--------///+3.1///+1.4///+8.5=+4.3
103-Corey Maggette-------///+6.2///+1.2///+5.7=+4.4
104-Jeff McCinnis----------///+8.4///+2.2///+4.7=+5.1
105-Michael Redd----------///+3.3///+9.1///+5.6=+6.0
106-Antoine Walker--------///+0.6///+4.6//+13.8=+6.3
107-Pau Gasol--------------///+10.8//+8.2///-0.4=+6.5

I am not saying this statistic is perfect or totally accurate. One common sense flaw is a team that has great starting defenders and a bench of bad defenders would skew any player on the team depending on whether they are a starter or backup. A great example of this is Manu Ginobili with the Spurs. He came off the bench his first two seasons so didn't play that much with Duncan or Bowen and his numbers were a weak +2.5 and +3.4. This year he starts with those two and he gets a -7.5. So who a player plays with can effect this stat. However, most players play with their teamates quite a bit eventually and 3 seasons is ussually going to have every player play with tons of different players and lineups so it will even out to some degree.

The 4 Mav players are interesting. Of course its great to see Dirk ranked in the top 10 of this stat. Eventually the media will have to start to accept the gathering evidence. Some may take issue with Fin ranked 27th. However, if you look closer you will see that Fin has a bad +- this season. Most of his points were gained 3 seasons ago. Remember, this stat is saying who were good for the last 3 seasons combined. I think Fins numbers show the accuracy of this stat more then anything. Josh is in nice shape at 36 and improving. And Jason Terry is a poor but not horrible 64th. A little below average.

Of the top 38 players on the list, I would call only Brad Miller, Ray Allen, Reggie Miller, Michael Finley, and Chris Bosh less then "very good" defenders. To have 33 of the top 38 players be "very good" or better defenders is very impressive IMO. And I would have called Fin very good 3 seasons ago. Reggie Millers numbers are skewed by his season two years ago when he was injured and played very little, so his -6.7 that season is probably very misleading. As for Brad Miller, Ray Allen, and Chris Bosh, maybe they are a little better then I thought.

As for those ranked in the bottom 25, only Gary Payton, Cliff Robinson, and Marcus Camby I would have called even "good" defenders. And Payton and Robinson are getting extremely old. Maybe they are more cooked then we think. So the only player that really surprised me was Camby. And his numbers are skewed by his +6.3 3 seasons ago when he played very little and so that stat and his ranking might be misleading.

Let me simply ask why Dirk is ranked so high in this stat? Where is the flaw in his ranking? I can't find any. He ussually starts with some real lousy defenders, which should hurt his stat. This year he is starting with Damp and Howard and occasionally he has started with Bradley in the past. However, he hasn't had much help starting with him the last 3 seasons. Bradley, Najera, Bell, and Josh Howard mostly came off the bench. And shouldn't the Mav tempo be higher when Dirk is on the court? So the other team should score more because of that shouldn't they?

All I know is when Duncan and Ratliff are ranked 1-2 and Gasol and Walker are dead last, I think its probably a solid defensive rating system. And Dirk is ranked 7th for the last 3 seasons combined.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Mid Season Report

Time for a mid season evaluation of the Dallas Mavericks. The Mavs are off to a slightly better then expected start. Their defense has improved to 7th at .434%, while their offense has dropped to 12th at .449%. They are rebounding about the same as last season[13th at +0.6]. They have a 29-14 record. This puts them on a 55 win pace. Not bad, but not great considering their strength of schedule[24th and 2nd easiest in the west]. Also as bad as they played last season, they actually had a 30-13 record the last 43 games. Thats better then the Mavs this year and they had a tougher schedule in that stretch.

However, there are 3 reasons this team is better. First, it is built more for the playoffs then last years team. Their scoring differential[+5.6, which translates to a 58 win pace] makes their won loss record this year a bit misleadingly bad. And with all the changes, a slow start was somewhat expected.

If changes are made, they should involve the departure of Jerry Stackhouse, the addition of another big man who can defend, and possibly the addition of Jason Kidd. Otherwise the team should stand pat.

Dirk Nowitzki---Having his best season yet. Deservedly a top 5 canidate for MVP. Playing aswell on defense as he ever has. His FG% is a bit low and his TO's are higher then ever, but otherwise a great statistical year.

Michael Finley---Playing a notch below the standard Fin game, especially lately. Unless his game starts to pick up, his minutes should start to decrease. I still think he is the Mavs 2nd best player, but this view is beginning to waver.

Josh Howard---My second favorite player and the teams 3rd best player. When he puts his focus on defense, he plays like a player deserving votes for the All Defensive team. Great rebounder. Can score. Trading Howard would likely be a huge mistake. He brings things to the Mavs that others can't.

Jason Terry---Terry has been coming on strong lately. His shot has been there all year[.520]. However, the teams passing is still a major concern with Terry's low assists leading the way. In the last 10 games, his assists per minute are down from his season stats. He is not improving in this area like many think. And his defense is still poor.

Erick Dampier---Dampier has played well on defense and has had occasional good all round games, but his overall performance has made the decision to acquire and sign him to a long term deal questionable at best. Yes, the Mavs desperately needed a player of his type. Considering the age, health, attitude, and performance questions his 7-70 dollar deal is disturbing. Not to mention the two number 1's that were traded to get him.

Jerry Stackhouse---Trade him please. His defense is awful. His rebounding is awful. His efficiency is awful. He brings almost nothing the Mavs need.

Marquis Daniels---Incomplete. His ankle injury has made it impossible to see whether signing him to his 40+ million dollar contract was smart or not. Hopefully he will get healthy the second half.

Devin Harris---So far, the term disappointment has to be made. However, he is young and athletic and shows signs of potential. Gain 10 pounds, smooth out the jumper and learn how to pretend to be a real PG and he could be very good still. Lets hope.

Alan Henderson---A pleasant surprise, although his +- of -15.5 says he has not been as good as some may think.

Shawn Bradley---It used to be that Bradley wasn't getting the minutes he deserved. Now his 10 minutes a game seems about right. His play has faded to an 18 foot baseline jumper and an occasional block. When Bradley isn't special at blocking shots any longer his value becomes very limited.

Armstrong---Old
Booth---Atleast he got rid of Danny Fortson.
Mbenga---Not ready
Abdul-Wahad---French, need I say more?
Podkolzine---Big
Coaching---Better then last season, thats for sure.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Draft Redux

1.(1) Orlando---Dwight Howard- Before the draft I had Okafor slightly ahead of Dwight Howard. However, as of today I slightly lean toward Howard. Either way you can't go wrong. So far this year, Okafor has out performed Howard. But Howard has been surprisingly good on the boards and defensively. Plus he has more size-athletic ability then Okafor. I predict Howard ends up in the top 10 players someday. Okafor about 15th. Call it 1-A and 1-B.

2.(2) Charlotte---Emeka Okafor- Okafor has been everything I expected. Cotton pickin good.

3.(9) Philadelphia---Andre Iguidala- I said I would have taken Iguidala 3rd before the draft. Why should I change my tune. When he smoothes out his shot there are going to be a lot of teams kicking themselves. A fantastic all round talent. Defense, rebounding, passing, athletic and a good attitude.

4.(7) Chicago---Luol Deng- A rock solid 19 year old. He may have less potential then some below him, but you know he will be a 20-7-3 guy who won't cause trouble and will play solid defense. Safe.

5.(30) Cleveland---Anderson Varejao- Absolute steal of the draft. I love this guy. He is big, he moves well. He plays hard and with energy. No softie here. Constant motion. Touch inside. Good hands on offense. Great hands on defense. Has 2.0 steal ability. Rebounds big time. Averaging 13.8 rebounds per 35 minutes his last 10 games. An above average +- of 2.7 and an above average defensive on court off court number of -2.5 this season. Already in the rotation of the second best team in the East. Seems like a good guy. The only question to me is should he be higher on this list. Every scout that watched this guy and didn't put him in the top 15 players from last years draft should be fired. Size, hands, athletic ability, attitude, production. What did they think the problem was?

6.(17) Atlanta---Josh Smith- The best athlete in the draft. Spectacular shot blocker. Defensive potential is off the charts. If he ever learns how to shoot and keeps his head on straight, oh my. The thing is, I think he might never learn how to shoot and his head is a concern. Could be a much better Dominique or just a better Gerald Wallace. All I know is I would want him on my team to find out.

7.(15) Boston---Al Jefferson- Jefferson is a Moses Malone clone. Well, a poor mans Moses Malone.

8.(4) Clippers---Shaun Livingston- I am sure others will have this guy higher, but what can I say except I am not that high on him. He is long and can pass. Nice skills. But he isn't a PG. And he is not a great athlete. And before his injury, he was getting raves from some, but his stats were dreadful. But I do see enough skill potential to put him here.

9.(3) Chicago---Ben Gordon- I wasn't that high on Gordon before the draft and he got off to an awful start. But he has been shooting well lately and helping the Bulls win a few games. So I guess he belongs somewhere on this list. But he is not a PG and 6-2 SG's are not that valuable. His season Tendex is still a weak 8.8 inspite of being a near 22 year old that has gotten good minutes. Lets just say I predict he bounces around the league a lot before his career is over. He will put up some points, but where is the passing, rebounding and steals?

10.Tie--(5) Dallas---Devin Harris (28) San Antonio---Beno Udrih- A couple of PG's on winning teams that are getting limited minutes. Udrih has been a real find. The Spurs are good at plucking gems in the late first or second round[Parker-Ginobili-Scola]. Beano plays within himself, can pass, shoot, and has basketball savvy that oozes through his pores like sweat through KG's scalp. Harris has not played as well as Udrih so far this season, however he has tons of athletic ability and some nice skills and defensive potential. He isn't a pure PG YET, but I see a lot of Chauncey Billups in him. How long did it take for Billups to bloom, 5 years? Give this guy some time and I think you will see he was a top 10 type player.

Friday, January 14, 2005

The Big Game

In past years there were always lots of big games to look forward to. Shaq-Kobe and the Lakers. Malone's punkdom and the Jazz. KG's punkdom and the Twolves. And of course the Spurs. With Shaq gone, Malone gone, and the T-Pups playing like dogs, all there really is to get excited about is the 4 Spurs games. And three of the four are already gone. Kind of sad.

So far the Spurs have dominated the Mavs in the 3 games this year. Tonights game was really no different then the other two. The Mavs simply can't score against the Spurs defense. Yes, the Mavs were without 3 of their rotation players[Dampier-Howard-Daniels], however, they are mainly known for their defense. The Mavs could only muster 95 points, putting their season average against the Spurs at 88.0. You don't win many games scoring at that pace. Especially if you are the Mavs. Last year they averaged 97.8 and were able to pull off 3 wins. The problem is that they simply cannot create easy hoops against the Spurs. None. Not sure if I saw even one driving layup, pass for a layup, or fast break for a layup all night. None. If there is some good news, its that the scoring trend is up[80-89-95]. Maybe that is something to have hope about.

The game started with the atmosphere of a bad CBA game with the early 7:00 start. I think there was only 800 people in the arena at tip off. Kind of ruined the hoopla a bit. Early starts stink. Then the Duncan baseline bank shots. Chaching, chaching, chaching. Then the Spurs stifling defense. Then a last ditch run by the Mavs that came up about two feet long on a Dirk 80 footer at the buzzer. Overall an ugly night for the Mavs.

How will we create easy shots when the Spurs start playing playoff defense? Maybe somebody can beat them before we have to play them in the playoffs. The Spurs are the team to beat and seem to matchup well with the Mavericks. The Mavs have a shot against every other team.

Friday, January 07, 2005

Ball Theory

I was watching TV the other day and they had a documentary on physics and it caused me to have a basketball epiphany. Either that or a really stupid idea. Anyway, if you don't like physics, skip the next paragraph or two, cause I am gonna discuss some science junk.

The documentary was about String Theory. String Theory is an attempt by scientists to come up with basically a theory on EVERYTHING with a simple mathematical formula that explains how the physical world works. Something like E=MC2. That is the extremely simple formula Einstein figured out that explained General Relativity or the laws of gravity. Einstein's final goal was to come up with a unifying theory of the 2 major forces of the universe[General relativity and quantum mechanics]. He hoped to come up with a master equation that explained everything. The problem is that the big things of the universe[general relativity-stars] don't seem to have the same laws as the tiniest of things[quantum mechanics-sub atomic particles]. In the world smaller then an atom, things are a little crazy and simple laws of science break down. The two laws conflict. So scientists have been trying for 100 years to come up with a theory that fixes those problems in a simple mathematical formula.

This is where String Theory was born. The theory involves a possible new discovery of the smallest building block of matter. Little vibrating strings of energy that make every matter what that matter is depending on how the strings vibrate. The tiny strings inside a slab of granite rock vibrate differently then the tiny strings inside a plastic spoon. Many scientists believe these vibrating strings of energy do exist and the understanding of these strings will help them come up with that simple mathematical formula that explains and unifies everything. One of the problems with string theory is that it takes 11 dimensions to work. Not just the 4 known dimensions[height-width-length-time]. Interestingly, this doesn't seem to bother scientists too much. They think these weird dimensions exist. Soon, scientists may come up with a simple formula that explains ALL the laws of the universe.


Which gets to my "Ball Theory". Ball Theory is my attempt to explain the laws of what makes a good basketball player and to come up with a simple mathematical formula to unify all of those laws. Just as in String Theory, Ball Theory takes 11 dimensions instead of just the 4 known dimensions [scoring-defense-passing-rebounding]. What are the other dimensions that should be taken into account? Certainly attitude is something that should. Or do you just look at Ron Artest or Antoine Walkers stats and say that stats are all that matters?

Why is a unifying theory needed? Because most rating systems just look at stats. Shouldn't teams use a rating system that calculates the "real value" of a player? Take into account ALL the things that make a player help a team win. Below is a list of the dimensions I think are important and the weighted scoring values in each area. Next is the top 100 players in the NBA according to my Ball Theory with how I calculated their scores. After the top 100, I will make a few more comments.

pts 1-20 efg% 1-5 ft% 1-5 TO 1-5=scoring---4-35
Defense------1-12
Passing------1-10
Rebounding---1-10
Position-----0-5 Big men win, PG's a must, SG-SF are dime a dozen
Center=5
PF-C=3
PF=2
PG=2
SF-PF=1
PG-SG=1
SF=0
SG=0
Attitude------0-6 Trouble makers, drugs, T's, suspensions, loners
Quick Motion--0-2 Energy guys, Don't need ball, NOT ball pounders
Versatility---0-2 Play multiple positions on defense
Experience----0-4 Rooks don't win. Experience brings a lot, ref calls
0-3 years=0
4-8 years=1
9+ years=2
play 20+ playoff games=1
win championship=1
Clutch--------0-2 Playoff performers, gutsy, makes late shots
Fundamentals--0-2 Do little things, sets picks, takes charges, smart

Player----------------p-fg-ft-to=sc--de--pa--re-po-at-qm-ve-ex-cl-fu=tot

1-Tim Duncan--------15-4-3-4=26--12--6--10--3--6--1--2--3--2--2--73
2-Kevin Garnett-----16-4-4-4=28--11--10--10--2--5--2--2--1--0--2-73
3-Shaq----------------14-5-1-4=24--11--6--9--5--5--1--0--4--2--2---69
4-Kobe Bryant--------20-2-4-1=27--10--10--9--1--2--1--2--3--2--1--68
5-Dirk Nowitzki------19-3-5-4=31--6--5--8--3--6--2--2--2--1--1----67
6-Lebron James------17-4-3-3=27--6--10--8--0--6--2--2--0--1--1---63
7-Dewayne Wade------16-4-3-2=25--7--9--7--1--6--1--2--0--1--1----60
8-Jermaine Oneal-----15-2-3-3=23--9--3--8--3--6--1--2--2--0--1----58
9-Tracy McGrady------17-2-3-5=27--4--9--8--0--2--2--2--1--2--0----57
10-Ben Wallace--------3-2-1-4=10--12--3--10--5--6--2--2--3--1--2---56
11-Chris Webber-------14-2-3-4=23--5--9--7--2--4--1--0--3--1--1----56
12-Ray Allen-----------17-4-5-4=30--5--7--2--0--5--2--0--3--1--1----56
13-Allen Iverson-------20-2-3-1=26--8--7--3--1--2--1--2--3--2--1----56
14-Jason Kidd----------6-2-3-3=14--8--10--9--2--2--2--2-3--1--2-----55
15-Shawn Marion------12-3-3-5=23--7--2--10--1--5--2--2--2--0--1---55
16-Amare Stoudemire-19-5-3-4=30--5--3--5--5--4--1--1--0--0--0----54
17-Andre Kirilenko-----8-4-3-4=19--11--4--6--1--4--2--2--2--0--2----53
18-Steve Nash----------8-5-5-4=22--2--10--2--2--6--2--1--3--1--2----53
19-Elton Brand---------11-4-3-3=21--8--6--5--2--6--2--1--1--0--1----53
20-Grant Hill-----------12-4-4-3=23--4--8--3--0--6--2--2--3--0--2----53
21-Paul Pierce----------14-2-4-3=23--7--7--5--0--4--1--1--2--1--1----52
22-Brad Miller----------7-4-4-5=20--5--8--5--5--4--1--0--2--0--1-----51
23-Manu Ginobili-------7-4-3-3=17--8--7--6--0--6--2--0--2--1--2-----51
24-Rchard Jefferson---15-2-4-1=22--7--6--6--0--5--1--1--2--0--1----51
25-Yao Ming-----------11-4-4-3=21--8--3--4--5--5--2--0--0--0--1----49
26-Pau Gasol-----------12-4-3-3=22--3--6--7--3--5--1--1--0--0--1----49
27-Baron Davis---------12-3-3-4=22--7--6--2--2--4--1--1--2--1--1----49
28-Steve Francis-------14-2-4-2=22--6--4--8--1--2--1--2--2--1--0----49
29-Carlos Boozer-------12-4-3-3=22--5--5--8--2--4--2--0--0--0--1----49
30-Michael Finley------11-3-4-4=22--5--4--3--0--6--2--2--3--1--1----49
31-Larry Hughes-------13-2-3-4=22--7--7--6--0--4--1--1--1--0--0----49
32-Rashard Lewis------14-4-3-5=26--5--4--2--1--4--2--2--1--1--0----48 33-Stephon Marbury---15-3-3-2=23--3--9--2--2--3--0--1--3--1--1----48 34-Rip Hamilton--------13-2-4-3=22--5--6--2--0--5--2--0--3--2--1----48
35-Ron Artest----------12-3-4-3=22--11--5--3--0--1--1--2--2--0--1---48
36-Chauncey Billups----9-1-5-4=19--7--3--3--2--4--2--1--3--2--1-----47
37-Emeka Okafor-------9-2-2-4=17--6--2--9--3--6--0--2--0--1--1-----47
38-Tayshawn Prince----5-3-3-4=15--7--5--5--0--5--2--1--3--2--2-----47
39-Lamar Odom--------7-4-2-3=16--5--7--8--2--3--1--2--1--0--1-----46
40-Michael Redd--------15-3-4-4=26--3--3--3--0--6--2--0--1--1--1----46
41-Kenyon Martin------8-3-2-3=16--10--5--4--2--2--2--2--2--0--1----46 42-Tony Parker--------10-4-2-3=19--5--4--3--2--5--2--1--2--2--1-----46 43-Doug Christie--------2-2-4-4=12--8--9--3--0--5--2--1--3--1--2-----46
44-PJ Brown------------3-2-4-4=14--7--5--5--2--5--1--2--3--0--2-----46
45-Zach Randolph------13-2-4-3=22--4--3--9--2--3--0--0--1--0--1----45
46-Mike Bibby----------9-3-3-4=19--4--3--5--2--5--2--0--2--2--1-----45
47-Antawn Jamison-----13-3-4-4=24--3--3--5--1--5--2--1--1--0--0----45
48-Sam Cassell----------7-3-5-4=19--4--4--2--2--5--1--1--4--2--1-----45
49-Marcus Camby-------2-3-3-4=12--8--3--7--3--4--2--2--3--0--1-----45
50-Keith Van Horn------10-4-5-4=23--3--3--4--1--5--2--1--2--1--0----45
51-Peja Stojacovic-----14-4-5-5=28--2--3--2--0--4--2--0--2--0--1----44
52-Mike Miller----------9-4-2-4=19--4--7--3--0--5--2--1--1--1--1-----44
53-Al Harrington--------10-3-2-3=18--5--6--6--0--5--1--0--1--0--1----43
54-Kirk Hinrich---------8-1-3-4=16--6--6--3--2--6--2--1--0--0--1-----43
55-Bobby Jackson-------7-3-3-4=17--7--1--4--1--5--2--2--2--1--1-----43
56-Gary Payton---------6-3-2-4=15--6--6--2--2--3--1--2--3--1--2-----43
57-Zyd Ilgauskas--------9-2-4-3=18--6--3--3--5--5--0--0--1--0--1-----42
58-Corey Maggette-----14-2-4-2=22--3--5--5--0--4--1--1--1--0--0----42
59-Jamal Tinsley--------8-2-2-3=15--7--8--3--2--3--1--0--2--0--1-----42
60-Rasheed Wallace----7-2-2-4=15--9--3--3--2--1--2--2--3--1--1-----42
61-Cutino Mobley-------9-3-3-4=19--6--2--3--0--6--2--0--2--1--1-----42 62-Chris Bosh--------10-3-3-3=19--5--3--3--3--5--2--1--0--0--1-------42
63-Tyson Chandler------3-4-2-3=12--7--2--9--3--5--1--2--0--0--1-----42
64-Kurt Thomas---------4-3-3-4=14--5--3--7--3--4--1--1--3--0--1-----42
65-Shane Battier--------5-3-3-5=16--6--2--5--0--6--2--1--1--1--2-----42 66-Jeff Foster-----------3-4-2-3=12--6--1--7--5--5--2--0--2--0--2-----42
67-Jason Richardson---13-2-2-3=20--3--7--4--0--5--1--0--1--0--0----41
68-Andre Miller---------8-3-4-4=19--2--7--4--2--4--0--1--1--0--1-----41
69-Josh Howard---------5-2-3-4=14--7--2--8--0--5--2--2--0--0--1-----41
70-Jamal MaGloire------7-3-2-2=14--7--2--5--5--5--0--0--2--0--1-----41
71-Dwight Howard------3-4-2-3=12--5--3--8--3--6--1--2--0--0--1-----41
72-Desmond Mason-----10-3-3-3=19--4--2--4--0--6--2--1--1--1--1----41
73-Matt Harpring-------7-4-3-3=17--4--3--6--0--5--1--0--2--1--2-----41
74-Troy Murphy--------9-2-3-3=17--4--2--9--2--5--0--0--0--1--1-----41
75-Reggie Miller--------8-3-5-4=20--3--4--1--0--5--2--0--3--2--1-----41 76-James Posey---------6-3-4-4=17--6--2--5--0--5--1--2--1--1--1-----41
77-Joe Johnson----------7-2-3-4=16--4--6-4--0--5--2--1--1--0--1------40
78-Gilbert Arenas-------15-3-3-2=23--4--3--3--1--3--0--1--1--1--0----40
79-Alonzo Morning------4-2-2-1=9--8--1--6--5--5--0--0--3--1--2------40
80-Bobby Simmons------8-4-4-3=19--5--4--5--0--5--1--0--0--0--1-----40
81-Kelvin Cato-----------2-4-3-3=12--8--2--6--5--3--1--0--2--0--1-----40
82-Hydayet Turkoglu----8-2-3-3=16--5--5--2--0--5--2--1--1--1--2-----40
83-Eddie Jones----------5-1-3-5=14--5--4--4--0--5--2--1--3--1--1-----40
84-Q Richardson---------8-1-3-5=17--5--2--8--0--5--1--1--0--0--1-----40
85-Mehmet Okur--------7-3-4-3=17--2--4--4--5--5--1--0--1--1--0-----40
86-Cliff Robinson--------4-1-2-3=10--7--5--1--3--5--2--2--3--1--1-----40 87-Vince Carter---------10-2-3-4=19--5--6--3--0--1--1--1--2--1--0----39
88-Drew Gooden---------7-4-4-4=19--4--2--7--2--4--1--0--0--0--0-----39
89-Raef Lafrentz--------4-4-3-5=16--4--2--3--5--4--2--1--2--0--0-----39
90-Jeff McCinnis--------8-3-3-4=18--4--4--2--2--4--2--1--1--1--0-----39
91-Nazr Mohammed----7-4-3-3=17--4--1--7--5--4--0--0--1--0--0-----39
92-Antoine Walker------13-2-1-1=17--3--7--4--2--1--0--1--2--1--1----39
93-Andre Igoudala-------3-3-3-3=12--6--5--7--0--5--1--2--0--0--1-----39
94-Wally Z---------------9-5-5-4=23--3--2--2--0--3--2--0--2--1--1-----39
95-Bruce Bowen--------2-2-1-5--10--10--3--1--0--5--2--2--3--1--2----39
96-Carmelo Anthony----14-1-3-2=20--4--5--4--0--3--0--0--0--1--1----38 97-Jason Terry------8-4-3-3=17--4--3--3--1--6--1--1--1--0--0--------38
98-Latrell Sprewell------6-2-4-4=16--7--3--2--0--1--2--1--3--2--1-----38
99-Antonio Daniels------7-2-3-5=17--4--5--1--2--4--2--1--1--0--1-----38 100-Theo Ratliff----------1-2-2-2=7--10--2--3--5--5--1--2--2--0--1----38



A few more explanations of how I graded the players. First, they were graded in rebounding and passing based on their positions expectations. So Brad Miller gets an 8 in passing and Steve Francis only a 4 even though Francis averages more assists then Brad Miller, because for a center, Miller is an excellent passer and for a PG Francis isn't very good. Same reason Quentin Richardson gets an 8 in rebounding while Amare Stoudemire only gets a 5. Secondly, I tried to go mostly with this years stats. But if there was large drops I looked at last years stats. I also gave injured guys like Kidd some benefit of the doubt, but not guys that have been injured for a long time like Webber and Carter. If Kidd doesn't improve soon he may drop further. And finally, for those players that had limited minutes such as Memphis Grizzlie players, I tried to get about 35 minute stats for all non centers and 30 minute stats for all centers that didn't reach those minutes. I did not punish players who played more minutes however.

The first time I sat down to compose the Ball Theory formula, I had points up to only a possible 15 and scoring at a possible 30 total. I noticed that the scorers were just too low rated and the defenders were too high. So I picked up points to a possible total of 20. Still felt the defenders were too high. So I then cut defense from a possible total of 20 to just 12. I then felt very comfortable with the results and still felt the logic of the values held up.

Here are the players I expect people might feel are too low rated....

Stoudemire
Peja
McGrady
RWallace
Carter Marbury
Randolph
Anthony
Arenas
Sprewell
Dampier
Rahim
A Walker


I wasn't surprised with where any of the bottom 8 guys ended up. I think they are all over rated. I think a huge part of the Carter, McGrady and R. Wallace ratings are simply the fact they are not the players they used to be. And the attitude problem with them is obvious. Peja and Stoudemire were the biggest surprises to me. Yet when I looked deeper at them as players, I started to see many of their flaws. Stoudemire is now a GREAT offensive player. He ranks second best in scoring in the ratings. Spectacular. But the rest of his game is clearly lacking if you look closer. His defense is still very raw. Mediocre passer. And surprisingly bad rebounder. If he just rebounded like KG he would jump to the 7th best player behind only 6 superstars. In other words, I think his rating is totally accurate. And Peja? Well, other then shoot, what is he actually any good at? His teammates don't seem very fond of him. I didn't like some of his interviews. His defense is awful. As is his rebounding and passing. I love 3 point shooters who don't need the ball. However, I think we have been all fooled at how good he is. No wonder the Kings have been discussing trades.



I imagine many would not be too pleased with Carmelo Anthony ranking only 94th. But hey, he ranks where he ranks. He is simply over rated. If his 8 loss Syracuse team had not found a way to win it all, I think people would see all his warts. Here is all I know. I don't want him on my team. If you like him you can have him. But I certainly don't think his ranking proves a weakness in my theory. I think the theory might prove the weakness in Carmelo.

Here are the players people might find are over rated in my rankings....

Prince
Battier
Nowitzki
Ginobili
Christi
PJ Brown
Bobby Jackson
Mike Miller



Since I have always liked these players and found them to be under rated in the past, I am happy they scored well. Maybe my bias affected the way I graded players, but I can't see where. I would love to know where my evaluations were faulty.

I am not saying this ranking system is the perfect way to rank players. I am sure I might continue to tweak it in the future adding or taking away factors and changing the weighted values. What I am saying is that every NBA team should have a formula like this. If they just rank their players based on stats and add the intangibles willy nilly when discussing players, they are sure to make major mistakes when making trades or signing or drafting players. It should be done mathematically with an updated ranking at all times so they won't ever get carried away during negotiations and forgetting some of the intangibles or ignoring them all together. Carmelo and Peja are purty and all, but its good to know exactly how over rated they are in the over all scheme of things. And to know it precisely to a specific number.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

You Might be Addicted to ESPN If

You might be addicted to ESPN if..... you have nightmares of Dick Vitale PTPing.

You might be addicted to ESPN if..... your wedding theme song was Da-Na-Na.....Da-Na-Na.

You might be addicted to ESPN if..... you style your hair like Mel Kiper Jr.

You might be addicted to ESPN if..... you long for the days of Australian Rules Football.

You might be addicted to ESPN if..... you have had fantasies of Dan Patrick, Linda Cohn and a pool table.

You might be addicted to ESPN if..... everytime you see a deck of cards you want to shake the Moneymaker.

You might be addicted to ESPN if..... you named your first born Biker Sherlock and it was a GIRL!

You might be addicted to ESPN if..... you hadn't watched ESPN in 24 hours and you are starting to get the shakes.

You might be addicted to ESPN if..... you have used the term "hole shot" today.

You might be addicted to ESPN if..... the two G's in your butt cheek "I Love Gayle Gardner" tatoo are beggining to sag.

You might be addicted to ESPN if..... you break out in cold sweats when you miss Cold Pizza.

You might be addicted to ESPN if..... the number 3 on your television remote has totally worn off.

You might be addicted to ESPN if..... you have already written your acceptance speech just in case your ever win a prestigious ESPY award.

You might be addicted to ESPN if..... you roam the streets late at night desperate to find anyone who taped the last ephisode of Bassmasters.

You might be addicted to ESPN if..... you already know the Swami is going to pick San Francisco and Bufflao.

You might be addicted to ESPN if..... your booya gets enfuego.

You might be addicted to ESPN if..... you have ever done a "you might be addicted to ESPN if.... list"

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

That's Dirk With a D

Yes, there really is a D in Dirk. In the past, Dirk Nowitzki had the nickname of Irk, because he had no D. That reputation was do to his first two seasons in the NBA when he was a 20 year old Euro puppy. However, Dirk Nowitzki is no longer a horrible defender. Not an awful defender either. Not bad. Not poor. Not even average. Dirk Nowitzki is a good defender and has been for the past 3 seasons. He should be called a good defender. If not, then use the term VERY GOOD DEFENDER. The negative comments about his defense should stop.

Why? Lets begin with a defensive rating system called the Tendex defensive rating system http://www.dougstats.com/04-05DefensiveTendex.html Dirk Nowitzki ranks 4th in the ENTIRE NBA in this statistical defensive rating system. This is the top 6 as of Janurary 2nd 2005.....

1) duncan,tim San 15.37
2) wallace,ben Det 12.70
3) mourning,alonzo Tor 11.29
4) nowitzki,dirk Dal 10.86
5) garnett,kevin Min 10.82
6) bryant,kobe LAL 10.76

That is one beautiful Dirk sandwich. Dirk is trailing 2 former two time defensive players of the year[Mourning and Wallace] and consistent first team All NBA defender Tim Duncan and is just ahead of two consistent first team ALL NBA defenders[Garnett and Kobe]. Nice company.

Not sold? How bout that he finished 9th for the entire 2002-2003 season in defensive Tendex rating. Here is the top 17 that year. See any defensive dogs here?

1) wallace,ben Det 14.48
2) duncan,tim San 11.32
3) garnett,kevin Min 10.34
4) o'neal,jermaine Ind 9.62
5) brand,elton LAC 9.53
6) marion,shawn Pho 9.37
7) magloire,jamaal NOr 9.35
8) robinson,david San 9.33
9) nowitzki,dirk Dal 9.21
10) martin,kenyon NJN 9.15
11) artest,ron Ind 9.12
12) iverson,allen Phi 8.84
13) malone,karl Uta 8.78
14) ming,yao Hou 8.38
15) o'neal,shaquille LAL 8.18
16) kirilenko,andrei Uta 8.10
17) ratliff,theo Atl 8.08

Are there any players on these lists that people feel the need to make fun of on defense? In the last 3 seasons including this season, only 5 players have been in the top 10 more then once in these defensive rankings.....

Tim Duncan
Kevin Garnett
Ben Wallace
Elton Brand
Dirk Nowitzki

Unsure about the accuracy of the Tendex defensive ratings? OK, lets talk about on court---off court defensive stats from the 82games site http://82games.com/04DAL10D.HTM These are fairly straight forward stats. When a player is on the court, how many points does the other team score and how many do they score when he is off the court sitting on the bench. A dead even number for both stats would indicate an average defender. So how has Dirk done in this stat?

2002-2003 on court----94.3 off court----100.1 -5.8
2003-2004 on court----108.6 off court----110.0 -1.4
2004-2005 on court----101.3 off court----104.8 -3.5

Minus is good. In other words, the Mavs play clearly better on defense when Dirk Nowitzki plays. Here are a few other players over the last few seasons and their on court off court defensive stats........

Four guys I thought might have good defensive on court-off court numbers at the forward position starting in 2002-2003.

Duncan
-8.0
-5.5
-4.7

Garnett
-9.6
-6.5
-2.3

J. Oneal
-0.5
-3.7
-4.3

Artest
-1.7
-4.0
-4.2

Clearly minus is good. Now 4 guys I thought might have bad numbers on defense....

Gasol
+10.8
+8.2
+3.3

Van Horn
+0.2
+4.0
+1.0

Stojakovic
+6.9
+2.5
+4.4

Randolph
+5.8
+2.1
-0.1

Looks like my guesses as to who stunk on defense was pretty good. Now which group do these numbers by Dirk Nowitzki belong to, the first group or the second group???

Nowitzki
-5.8
-1.4
-3.5

Still not impressed? How bout some observational common sense. Dirk Nowitzki is athletic. He has excellent feet. He is tall, fairly long, and solidly built with broad shoulders. He is also a smart player. The tools are there for defense. And there is no doubt he knows how to turn up his game when he needs to. Just check out his career stats in the playoffs vs. regular season if you don't believe me. He is one of the few players that plays much better in the playoffs then the regular season.

Need more proof statistically? How bout this. In the plus minus overall scoring stats that show how teams do when a player is on the court vs. off in overall scoring differential, Dirk Nowitzki is number 2 in the entire NBA this season. Numero dos http://82games.com/rolandratings0405.htm I believe these are his rankings the last 3 seasons....

2002-2003-----2nd
2003-2004-----19th
2004-2005-----2nd

Many people believe that plus minus stats can be very misleading. And there are often aberrations that can make this stat look bad. However, Duncan and Garnett have been in the top 20 the last 3 seasons along with Dirk. Nobody else has made it all 3 years. Dirk sure seems to keep good defensive company for being such a bad defender. Now ask yourself, if Dirk is so consistently fantastic in a stat such as this, is he doing it while playing horrible defense? Three straight years? BTW, I think Dirk ranked 2nd in 2000-2001 in this stat. It would be pretty amazing if he ranked in the top 2 in 4 of the last 5 seasons. Need to get my hands on the 2001-2002 plus minus stats.

Still not convinced? How bout some meat and potato defensive stats for the simple minded. They would of course be blocks and steals. From 2001-2004, only 4 players in the NBA had 75+ blocks and 75+ steals in all four of those seasons. They were Ben Wallace, Shawn Marion, Kevin Garnett, and...... Dirk Nowitzki. Only 6 other players even did it 3 of the 4 seasons. Dirk did it all 4 years and will make it 5 straight years around game 60 this year. Five straight years of 75+ steals and blocks. Still think he is a joke on defense?

First impressions are hard to break and reputations can last a lifetime. However, isn't it time to open your mind to atleast the possibility that Dirk Nowitzki is a good defender? That he is no longer a 20 year old softie Euro shooter, but a 26 year old athletic, ruggedly built strapper that knows what he is doing on the defensive side of the ball?

The next time you hear an announcer say that Dirk is a bad defender, remember what you read here.