Iverson

This is for you, James. There were only three games, so there's not much meat. But here goes...

The Nuggets' first-half defense: Personally? I think 70 points is a lot to surrender in one half, no matter how efficiently it was given up.

The Mavericks' second-half offense: After a 70-point first half, Dallas scored only 35 in the second, mostly due to forced shots and careless passing. But that's what Denver does to you. They lure you into rushing up the first open shot you get and flinging the ball around haphazardly. And the Mavs did a swan dive right into the trap. They're now only one game ahead of the Nuggets in the Western Conference playoff race. And they should be really worried about that.

Mark Cuban: The NBA finally stepped in and ended Cuban's one-billionaire war against the blogging menace. Never one to be shown up, Cuban has officially opened up the Dallas locker room to everybody. And I really do mean everybody. "We will encourage all bloggers to apply [for press credentials], whether they be someone on blogspot who has been posting for a couple weeks, kids blogging for their middle school Web site or those that work for big companies. We won't discriminate at all." Oh, that Mark Cuban is so wiley and clever! I bet...wait, whooOOOPPS!! Sorry. I just slipped on a banana peel and fell face-first into a cream pie. Or at least that's how it feels.

Eddie Jones: The wiley veteran has almost disappeared completely from Avery Johnson's rotation, despite the absence of Dirk Nowitzki. Last night he played just under two minutes, missed both his shots, and ended the night with zero points and 1 personal foul. I bet he's sooooo glad he signed with the Mavericks in the off-season.

Chucky Atkins and Yakhouba Diawara: Chucky earned a one trillion and Yakhwhatever played only 19 seconds. Ah, sweet garbage time. Nene also scored a trillion, but it was his first game back from having a testicle removed. Ergo, I'm gonna cut him some slack.

Miami Heat: I know they're tankin...I mean, they've suffered a lot of injuries. But scoring only 69 points on 35 percent shooting will get any team mentioned here, regardless of the circumstances. Thank Zeus they didn't show this one on TNT...

Greg Oden: Greg, Greg, Greg...when a professional basketball team makes a huge, long-term investment in your body, and that body gets injured before you play even a single game for them, and they're waiting patiently for your return and diligently monitoring your health care because you are The Future of the franchise, it's a bad idea to sneak around behind their backs so you can play a few games of pickup hoops at a local gym. You do get that, right?

Portland Trail Blazers: I certainly understand why the Blazers got all huffy about Oden's little pickup foray, but they didn't have to make their hang-wringing hissy fit quite so public did they? It just seems like something they could have handled quietly behind closed doors and been done with. Now everybody's talking about it, and Portland coach Nate McMillan is complaining to the press, etc. Oden's young, and he hardly needs all the negative publicity over something that, frankly, is pretty innocent. A behind-the-scenes rebuke and a bunch of "no comments" from everyone in the organization probably would have been a better way to handle the whole thing. And hey, maybe the team could have used the situation as leverage to make sure Greg never, ever cuts another mohawk into his head.

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12 Comments:
Anonymous Anonymous said...
So, wait, I imagined all those turnovers Denver forced in the second half last night, precisely the way people had mentioned that their defense worked (when it does work)? Against Jason Kidd, still supposedly one of the best points in the league?

Or if you prefer this line, Hollinger's PER would tell you Kidd's in serious decline and increasingly turnover prone (and thus susceptible to Denver's strategy), but Hollinger's got no leg to stand on, right?

Gee, the Denver's bad defense/Mav's bad offense dynamic you're putting up there looks a lot like heads-I-win-Tails-you-lose. Did you notice that?

I recognize I'm being inordinately sarcastic here, but you really do make it tempting to do so when you base so much of what you write on tearing people down for one game or short term results instead of looking at more reliable longer trends.

For what it's worth I think your (and Kevin Pelton's) larger point about Denver's defense not working against top points and teams which take care of the ball is valid; I just think the list of those teams is actually pretty small, which is what defensive efficiency is telling us. The larger story then becomes: a good, if unusual defensive team who have trouble against certain offenses, and will likely have a degree of difficulty in the playoffs as they'll face a greater number of teams which play in that style. Which is a lot more detailed and probably accurate an analysis than "they suck/they're good", and the sort of thing which requires both advanced stats and paying attention to more than one game at a time to notice.

- Brendan

Blogger James said...
yess, thanks buddy, I found your blog like a week ago and it's definitely the most fun to read. Keep up the awfulness!

Blogger James said...
Oh also, I think the Dallas GM should get awful for the rest of the season for that Kidd trade. Harris is killing it and Kidd is the most unimpressive star I've ever seen. His triple doubles don't mean crap to me, and he hasn't even gotten one since he got to Dallas. Kidd might be the 13th best point guard in the West, let's see...

Paul, Nash, Williams, Davis, Parker, Iverson... ok 7th best. Still, trading 2 big pieces of your team for the 7th best point guard in the West? Wow, what were they thinking. At least they made life that much easier for my team, Suns baby.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
Brenden -- Wait, you were being "inordinately sarcastic "? Oh! I get it! And here I just thought you were being a wanker.

See. Now I'm being sarcastic. See what you started?

First off, you'll notice I commented only on Denver's first-half defense, right? You did read that correctly, didn't you? Or were you so excited about being sarcastic that you forgot?

Second, when and where did I claim anywhere on this site that J-Kidd is still one of the best point guards in the league? Please provide me the link, 'cause I forgot all about that post.

Third, "reliable longer trend" regarding Denver's defense has holes...as I've pointed out. For instance, as Bill Simmons said: "They've lost 16 games by double-digits and six by 20 or more, which might be the craziest stat of the year considering they're 15 games over .500 and stayed healthy all season."

But that's about what I'd expect from a gimmick defense. Which, no offense, is what it is. It's not just the fact that the defense is uniquely vulnerable against the good, patient teams. It's that, while effective enough to win a lot of games, it offends my sense of basketball purity. I much prefer the solid, fundamental defensive strategies of, say, the Boston Celtics. They may average fewer turnovers, but they do a much better job of contesting each and every shot all game long. And, ultimately, I think that will be the more successful defense, and the more successful team.

And these are points I make here and there...as you've no doubt noticed. However, my Worst of the Night posts focus on game-to-game occurences. I enjoy doing that. If you don't like it, don't read it. If you like debating what I have to say, have at it. That's obviously what the comments section is for. But if your whole point is to tell me I'm doing something wrong somehow...sorry, but I disagree. My approach is probably going to stay the same, thanks.

james -- Happy to oblige. Yes, the Kidd trade hasn't worked out thus far. In fact, it's been bad. Although I think part of the reason is that the Mavs just went "plug and play." There really wasn't any time of ideological switch in how the offense is run. It's still basically the same limited, iso-heavy offense...only run by J-Kidd, a player not well suited to it.

Either Avery will have to switch things up next season, or he'll have to leave.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
That was a substantial point of what I was saying- your claiming the first half was all about Denver's bad defense and the second half was all about Dallas's bad offense reads as an attempt to put what's happening into preconceived notions, which I made a point of saying in my third paragraph. We can play the reading comprehension game forever.

And honestly, let's not cite Bill Simmons- if Denver is a gimmick defense, he's a gimmick columnist. Do I even need to point out that Nene had a torn thumb and cancer to answer his point?

Back to Denver:

It may be that Denver offends your sense of purity- and I'm not going to argue against that. That's a real concern, and entertainment counts. I find them fun to watch, you don't, fair minded people can differ on this. I'm a Knicks fan who thought the '93 version was the most fun team to watch ever, so I understand where you're coming from. But when it comes to analysis of what they are and how they play- that's an empirical question, and a pretty well settled one in my opinion based on the stats and games like that against the Mavs. That we're even discussing aesthetics and not quality seems to me to suggest that you realize this too- it's like the Arsenal vs. Chelsea debates in England.

If you want to complain about them, hey, your blog. But I will say that the major objection I've read off of your stuff relates to efficacy and not aesthetics, so your intent isn't always clear.

As for WOTN- I'm not telling you you shouldn't do it, I'm telling you to see the limits of it. Hollinger's worked for years, published books, and has people around the nation looking at the validity of his work; so has Dave Berri, Justin Kubatko, and a wide variety of other people. If you read them, understood their work and dismissed it, I'd be interested in seeing your reasons why because you're clearly a good writer and a smart guy. But mostly what I read is snarky, sarcastic comments about advanced stats with little evidence of understanding what you're dismissing.

If my sarcasm makes me a wanker, which it may, what does yours make you?

Links:

ABPR advanced stats board: http://sonicscentral.com/apbrmetrics/index.php

A link from your blog about Kidd: http://basketbawful.blogspot.com/2008_02_01_archive.html

"...Jason Kidd who is the starting point guard, the team's only true playmaker, and one of the greatest passers in the history of the NBA."

- Brendan

Blogger stephanie g said...
It's been a good couple of days if you like seeing the Lakers spectacularly fail. On their home court. To Darko. And the Bobcats. Oh god...can't breath...

Blogger James said...
If you're going to give the lakers a WotN, you got to chalk one up to Sasha. I was watching that game and if I was Kobe, I'd be pissed with how many shots he was taking considering how hot Kobe was.

Anonymous double J said...
why isn´t there a basketbabe of the week section anymore?

i recently discovered the few basketbabe entries and i´ll have to say they´re the funniest thing on this site... hell, they´re the funniest thing on the www!!

i´d recommend everybody who hasn´t already done so, to check them out

Blogger James said...
I just looked at the box score for that Lakers game. Mbenga single handed lost the game for the Lakers. He has a -18, while the second worst on the Lakers is -6. I've never seen something like this before...

Anonymous Wormboy said...
Brendan, I'm going to defend Bawful here.

Yes, the blog is snarky. Kind of the point, I believe. Matt's not claiming to be one of these basketball analysis eggheads, he is a funny, sarcastic guy who likes to poke fun at people. Enver has a big-ass target painted on themselves in that regard, in large part due tot he Melo-AI matching headbands and arm sleeve hype that surrounds this team with remarkably little history of success.

Enver has quite the flashy cast for so little success. That demands an explanation, does it not? Iverson taking crazy risks to snag steals doesn't help that much, especially when he'll often hoist an ill-considered jump shot on the next possession. But it will boost their defensive efficiency rating. Camby is an incredible shot blocker in large part because the perimeter D is so lame that it is trivial for opposing point guards to get into the paint. Again, lots of blocks, but also fairly porous defense.

Of the West teams in the playoff race, Denver has one of the worst records against winning clubs: they blow out lots of losers through their scoring firepower, but they also get blown out by efficient clubs due to their lack of consistent team defense. Sadly, the Suns are the other worst team in that regard, also consistent with lame-ass defense.

So climb down off of that high horse. Enver really is more of a circus act than a contender. More's the pity, as I was a big fan of those remorseless defensive traps that the Payton/Kemp Sonics used to run under George Karl, back before the man-child (Kemp) dissolved into a sea of alcohol and they traded him for another alcoholic (Vin Baker). Sigh.

Blogger carlo said...
he didn't just play one game, but Oden said he played two because he lost the first!

Now does THAT sound like franchise material?

i dont think so.

Blogger Wild Yams said...
IMO anyone who watched either of those Laker losses to the Bobcats & Grizzlies shouldn't think Kobe has a reason to be upset with anyone but himself. Sure, Kobe probably won't see it that way, but from an outsider's standpoint it was pretty obvious Kobe lost both of those games for the Lakers. In the first game he lost it by playing super lazy in the first half and then getting thrown out in the second half; and in the second game he lost it cause he totally sacrificed the whole team concept in an attempt to make some kind of statement as a response to getting tossed from the previous game. I guess against Memphis Kobe figured they were crappy as hell so if he went Teen Wolf on them the Lakers would get the win while he scored over 50 points and all the headlines would be about what a great rebound game it was for him. Instead his team trailed most of the way and they lost to the worst road team in the league because in the end Kobe never let any of his teammates get going offensively.

Is anyone still debating whether Chris Paul is the MVP this year?

BTW, to the people in these comments who are criticizing Mr. Bawful, you really should stop. This is hands down one of the most entertaining basketball blogs out there, and even though there is a lot of real solid hoops knowledge behind it, it is mainly here for fun. If you have no sense of humor, this may not be the site for you.

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