Love it live

Every year, in the final days before the All-Star Break, teams start to cash it in both mentally and physically. This results in some of the worst ball of the season. There were 10 games on the slate last night. Six of them were blowouts, and the Suns had to scramble to avoid geting blown out at home.

In honor of the pre-All-Star bawfulness, each of today's entries is preceded by a demotivational line from Despair, Inc. It just seemed appropriate.

Agony: Not all pain is gain: To the Chicago Bulls, who got blown out at home 107-87 by the Orlando Magic. This game ended two minutes and 26 seconds into the first quarter when Derrick Rose drove to the cup and got dropped by Dwight Howard. Rose left the game with a bruised right hip and did not return. The Bulls -- who were down by only three points when D-Rose made his exit -- fell behind 41-17 by the end of the quarter. Chicago probably would have just conceded the game, but David Stern is a real stickler for that whole "playing a full 48 minutes" thing.

Underachievement: The tallest blade of grass is the first to be cut by the lawnmower: The Hawks entered last night's game as one of the league's best home teams. The Heat, meanwhile, were strictly middle of the pack no matter where they play. Maybe worse. But Miami's 94-76 win in Atlanta makes you wonder: Are the Heat actually that good -- and I mean potentially -- or are the Hawks just who we kind of thought they were?

It's hard to say. But Miami outscored Atlanta 27-12 in the final 12 minutes. Said Hawks coach Mike Woodson: "Just an awful fourth quarter. We just ran out of juice or just didn't have the energy to get through it."

Remember: Some people would have you believe the Hawks are contenders. Sometimes high expectations just lead to a longer, harder fall. Just sayin'.

By the way, Basketbawful reader Mike F. noticed some grand underachievement by the Atlanta pine riders, who were missing Jamal Crawford and Zaza Howeveryouspellhislastname: "I had to take my contacts out and put in glasses for the rest of my night after watching the Atlanta Hawks in the 4th Quarter. It's bad enough when you get outscored 27-12 and they got beat by Deaquan Cook all game long but when watching the game I noticed just how badly their bench played. So I looked at the box score after the game. The Miami Heat bench outscored the Hawks 45-8. I know they were without Zaza and Crawford. Still, thats some serious laction. Good thing I hadn't eaten dinner yet."

Teamwork: None of us is as dumb as all of us: The Philadelphia 76ers had won five games in a row, including two straight at home for the first time all season. And all of a sudden, people were talking about how Philly's season "isn't over" and that they "still had a chance to make the playoffs."

Really?

Last night's 104-93 road loss to the Craptors was a bitter dose of reality. Not only did the Sixers lose, Elton "The 80 Million Dollar Man" Brand got all pissy when Philly coach Eddie Jordan replaced him with guard Royal Ivey to start the second half. Ivey played the entire third quarter while Brand sulked on the bench until 1:48 remained in the third. When Brand finally got off his ass, the Sixers were down 76-53.

Bitched Brand: "I don't call the shots, I just go out there and play the best I can. I don't feel it was my fault, but I'm easy to get pulled, it seems."

Said Jordan: "I went with a small lineup and it backfired. It happens."

Continue Brand: "We weren't down enough to switch what we've been doing in a five-game win streak. That's what we did and we paid for it. We were down too much to fight back, even though we almost won it."

Meanwhile, Louis Williams wasn't so sure Jordan made the wrong move: "I wouldn't say it backfired because guys took the message. The message was, 'If you guys don't want to play, especially before the [All-Star] break, we'll play other guys.' Once other guys came in the game, the message was very clear. We played that second half like we should have played the first half."

One big happy family, those Sixers.

Mistakes: It could be that the purpose of your life is only to serve as a warning to other: A few short years ago, Joe Dumars was widely regarded as one of the top GMs in the NBA. He made the Pistons into one of the league's best teams even though they didn't really have a true superstar. Joe seemed untouchable, even if he picked Darko Milicic over guys like Carmelo Anthony and Dwyane Wade.

That's all changed, especially in the last couple years, what with his exile of Chauncey Billups (for Allen Iverson!) and the $90 million he overpaid for Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva. The Pistons are now one of the league's worst teams, whether they're hurt or healthy, apparently. Chuckie V finished with 11 points and 3 boards, Gordon went 0-for-8, and Detroit lost at home...to the Excremento Kings.

And the Pistons fell vicitm to a scoring explosion for -- wait for it...waaaaait for it -- Beno Udrih, who scored 18 of his 22 points in the first half. Getting whupped by Beno might be a new low point of a very low season for Detroit.

Said Piston's coach John Kuester: "Udrih just lit us up. He barely played in New York, but he was great tonight. Guys like that are in the NBA for a reason, and you have to respect them."

But you don't have to respect the Pistons. Not anymore.

Said Villaneuva: "This was very disappointing. We gave them that game."

Mmmm. Sour grapy.

Losing: If at first you don't succeed, failure may just be your style: No demotivational saying could be more appropriate for the 2009-10 New Jersey Nyets, who lost at home last night to the Milwaukee Bucks. And the opening of the AP recap sums things up pretty well:

It was a sad sight in a sorry season.

In front of about 1,000 fans, the New Jersey Nets lost for the 48th time before the All-Star break, trounced 97-77 by the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday night.
Update! Here's a bonus empty arena pic from Basketbawful reader Pat:

empty arena
If you find yourself struggling with loneliness, you're
not alone. And yet you are alone. So very, very alone.

To be fair, the sparse crowd was at least partly due to a storm called "snowmageddon" that dumped more than a foot of snow on the New York region. But the Nyets haven't exactly been selling out the IZOD center recently...know what I'm sayin'?

Mind you, the Bucks were coming off an ugly loss to the lowly Pistons. But that didn't stop them from introducing the Nyets to their pimp hand.

Said Nets interim taskmaster Kiki Vandeweghe: "I'm not sure exactly what happened, but this is the first time in I think eight or nine games where we didn't compete in the second half. I'm not sure exactly what happened...people looked very tired to me."

Yeah. Tired of sucking. That takes a lot out of people.

More sad Brook
We know, Brooke. We know.

By the way, Devin Harris was back with 27 points and 9 assists. But you never would have known it.

Overconfidence: Before you attempt to beat the odds, be sure you can survive he odds beating you: The Boston Celtics began the season with dreams of a 70-win season. According to Rasheed Wallace, anyway. But history should have taught the Celtics that those "Guaran'sheeds" can backfire wildly, even tragically. That's been the case this season, as the Celtics have fallen from "Championship Contender" to "probably going down in the second round...again."

Paul Pierce played...poorly (4-for-11, 8 turnovers). Ray Allen did not (back spasms). The Unlucky Leprechauns built a 12-point halftime lead before bricking 10 of their 13 second-half free throw attempts and getting lit the hell up by a rookie who's being forced to carry a "Little Mermaid" suitcase around with him (Darren Collison scored 13 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter, including 11 straight at one point).

FAIL.

Of course, Collison also set a Hornets franchise record by committing 10 turnovers, making him one assist shy of the ultra-rare triple-bumble. If only he'd dished one more dime!

Collison might have owned the Celtics in the fourth quarter, but Boston's collapse started in the third, when they were outscored 29-12.

Said Doc Rivers: "Our defense was terrible in the third quarter." Uh...what about your offense? I mean...12 points?!

Delusions: There is no joy greater than soaring high on the wings of your dreams, except maybe the joy of watching a dreamer who has nowhere to land buin the ocean of reality: Boy...every time you start to think the Phoenix Suns are right there, you find out "there" isn't really where you want them to be. Not if you're a Phoenix fan, anyway. After 4-0 road trip, the Suns were riding a five-game winning streak and five full days of rest. The Frail Blazers, on the other hand, were still without Brandon Roy and didn't arrive in Phoenix until 3 a.m. following a humiliating 89-77 home loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Yet Portland built a 16-point halftime lead and went on to win 108-101.

Said Suns coach Alvin Gentry: "They outhustled us, they came up with big plays, they made good passes. They did everything that we didn't do. ... We weren't ready to play and we didn't play with a whole lot of energy and passion, and when we don't do that, we're not very good. We become a very, very, very average team."

Very.

Basketbawful reader Hajt provided an even better quote from Gentry: "We sucked. We sucked. I mean we sucked. In all phases of it. They drove it to the basket. They made jump shots. We had to end up double-teaming and they swung the ball and either made jump shots or drove it to the basket. We didn't play. They scored 66 last night. They had 60 at the half. So our defense was terrible. In the five games we won we were pretty good defensively and did a pretty good job. We didn't tonight. Thanks."

No, Alvin. Thank you.

Incompetence: When you earnestly believe you can compensate for a lack of skill by doubling your efforts, there's no end to what you can't do. In the second quarter of last night's home game against the Bobcats, the Minnesota Timberpoops fell face-first into 21-point hole. However, they cut the lead to 10 points after three quarters and then mounted a furious fourth-quarter comeback, outscoring Charlotte 22-13 in final 12 minutes. Heck, they even took a three-point lead on Al Jefferson's jump-hook with less than a minute to play.

You know where this is going, right?

Of course you do. But it's even more bawful than you know. With less than 10 seconds left and the Timberpoops up by a single point, Boris Diaw bricked a 21-footer...but Minnesota's Corey Brewer saved the ball from going out of bounds right into the hands of Charlotte's Nazr Mohammed, who dunked the 'Cats to a 93-92 win.


Said Minny coach Kurt Rambis: "Normally you don't want to throw the ball back under your opponent's basket."

Normally.

Added Rambis: "But we also had three players who were standing around 20 feet from the basket and not one of them made a move to the basket when the shot went up."

Good point, Kurt. It was definitely a team fail as opposed to an individual fail. Thanks for straightening that out.

Limitations: Until you spread your wings, you'll have no idea how far you can walk: The Utah Jazz appeared to be red-hot heading into last night's matchup with the Lakers. The Mormon Musicians had won nine in a row and 13 of their last 14 games. And they were playing at home. And L.A. was still without Kobe Bryant and Andrew Bynum.

No matter.

The Lakers jumped out to a 31-18 lead after one quarter and went on to win 96-81 over a Jazz team that apparently needed some 5-Hour Energy.

Said Jerry Sloan: "Where our energy was is beyond me. Our energy level was very, very low."

Added Deron Williams: "They had more energy than us tonight. They played harder, competed harder and looked like they wanted the game more."

By the way, Pau Gasol had another monster game: 22 points (10-for-15), 19 rebounds, 4 assists and 5 blocked shots. Honestly? Kobe or no Kobe, I think Pau may be the best player on this team. I doubt anybody will ever take that assertion seriously because Pau won't ever average 30 PPG or hit all the tough (and, really, needlessly difficult) shots Kobe does, but Gasol really does do everything you want a player to do. There's a reason L.A.'s fortunes turned around when Mitch Kupchak pulled off the heist that brought Pau to the Lakers.

Think Chris Kaveman is ready to stop bitching about Pau being an All-Star?

Also, Lamar Odom said "Get out of my way, Saturn!" with a 25-point, 11-rebound performance.

By the way: The Jazz missed 12 free throws. Gak.

Ineptitude: If you can’t learn to do something well, learn to enjoy doing it poorly: That's really the best possible advice I could give to each and every single player on the Los Angeles Clippers. And I'm talking past, present and future. The Other L.A. Team is forever doomed to be who we thought they were. This never seemed any more true than after their 132-102 road loss to the Gol_en State Warriors, who are embroiled in a pathetic slap fight with the Minnesota Timberpoops for the honor of being the Second-Worst Team in the League.

Since Mike Dunleavy got canned, the Clippers have lost three in a row by a total of 57 points.

Said Clippers interim prisoner coach Kim Hughes: "We have to find out what caused this tonight [and] if I have to adjust playing time to figure it out, then that's what I have to do. We didn't play any defense tonight."

Added Baron Davis: "We didn't have any rhythm or continuity on offense, and our defense was even worse. It's going to take some soul searching from each and every individual. We have been spiraling down and we need to stop that."

Yes. Stop that.

Stat check: The Warriors shot 62 percent from the field and nearly 60 from downtown. To further break that down for you, they hit 76 percent of their shots at the rim (16-for-21), 75 percent of their shots inside 10 feet (6-for-8), 60 percent of their shots from 10-15 feet (3-for-5), 50 percent of their shots from 16-23 feet (11-for-22) and 59 percent of their treys (13-for-22).

Hands? Faces? Anybody? Bueller?

By the way, Chris "Wah! Pau Gasol shouldn't be an All-Star! Wah!" Kaveman -- who, after much bitching and complaining became an All-Star injury replacement -- finished with 13 points, 4 rebounds, zero blocks and 3 turnovers.

Lacktion report: Chris is flying high thanks to Sacto's two-game winning streak. But not too high to report last night's lactivity:

Heat-Hawks: Jason Collins fouled twice and lost the rock once in 3:51 for a +3 suck differential that also doubled as a 3:0 Voskuhl! THE Mario West continues his never-ending mission to climb a few ladders to rescue Pauline, as seen with tonight's 55 second Mario.

Kings-Pistons: Jon Brockman may be known as the "Brock Ness Monster" for his critical blocking skills, but tonight he took down a celebratory monsterous money pile worth 3.25 trillion (3:15)!

Bucks-Nyets: In his continuing return to bench duty, Chris Douglas-Roberts bricked once in 3:35 for a +1.

Bobcats-Wolves: Tyson Chandler earned himself a 100% shooting percentage (via one field goal) and two boards in 11:31, but also racked up four fouls and a giveaway for a 5:4 Voskuhl.

Celtics-Hornets: Julian Wright fouled once while cleaning a drain in 43 seconds for a Mario that also doubles as a +1.

Lakers-Jazz: Sure, his career will forever be defined by that game-winner against the Crabs, but Sundiata Gaines continues to spend more time in lacktivity than anything else, as seen with tonight's +2 in 2:50 via brick and block.

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51 Comments:
Blogger Cortez said...
"I think Pau may be the best player on this team."

Although I get your point (I think), let's not get all crazy like a soup sandwich.

"I doubt anybody will ever take that assertion seriously because Pau won't ever average 30 PPG.

I think it has more to do with Pau being, how shall I put this, a finesse player who, at times, wilts under hard defensive pressure.

Remember when some people used to suggest that Pippen was the Bulls "best player" because he (seemingly) did more things than Jordan on a nightly basis with less shots? Remember how batty that sounded.

Now, scan your memory and get a picture of Pau getting his shot rejected (which seems to happen more than it should) because he went up like a baby dandelion.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
Cortez -- There's no question Pau is a Spanish Marshmallow who will once again, someday, be roasted over an open flame.

That said, his post play and rebounding, especially on the offensive end, provides the best part of the foundation of L.A.'s offense.

Pau doesn't have the toughness or killer instinct necessary to carry a team long-term, which is where Kobe comes in. But Pau's finesse and efficiency are crucial, especially in the face of Kobe's wildly inefficient shot selection and occasional desire to go off-script.

Blogger Basebawful said...
David Berri of the Wages of Wins Blog posted the Wins Produced of every player at the midpoint of the season.

It shows clearly that Pau Gasol is LA's best player, and that Lamar Odom is producing way more than Kobe.

Also, Andrew Bynum is not that far behind.

Watch for yourselves every player of every team in the following link:

http://www.wagesofwins.com/AllTeamMid0910.html

And the blog post:

http://dberri.wordpress.com/2010/01/24/every-team-and-player-at-the-midpoint-of-the-2009-10-season/

Anonymous NarSARSsist said...
Kobe not being able to play really is a blessing for the Lakers. He started the season okay, but really started getting increasingly selfish as more and more people started saying he should rest his fingers and back. Hopefully when he comes back he'll reduce the "See? I'm healthy! *jacks up shot* I'm perfectly healthy! *jacks up another shot* There's nothing wrong with me! *jacks up terrible shot* Stop telling me to rest! *jacks up even terrible-r shot*".

Anonymous Simos said...
But who's to say that it's toughness and killer instinct that carry a team. Anyone of us who has played basketball at any team level knows that the guy that keeps the team united through his passing and smartness can equally make his teammates rise.

And what's with the Pau softness. Dude looks soft, but last year's finals should have put that to rest. I mean, u can't be mentally strong at a Finals level (and Olympics, Euros,World Ch.) and then be soft. It's more of a bad game (out of being tired, bored or whatever) that is attributed to softness just because of his lanky white looks.

And if it isn;t clear, I totall agree that Pau is the best player, and the cog that makes that machine work.

Blogger Cortez said...
You are 100% percent correct. I knew got your point.

I'm not as dumb as I seem at times (I hope).

"Kobe's wildly inefficient shot selection and occasional desire to go off-script."

The thing that drives me absolutely insane is that it is a well accepted basketball axiom that great offensive ability and execution has a vast advantage over great defense. If you have the best players and execution why wouldn't you stick with the script.

I've watched Hoosiers one too many times it would seem. Combined with a lifetime of unremarkable athletic achievements makes me a bitter fool, I guess.

Anonymous The Other Chris said...
Another night of NBA action, another classic example of fail personified. Today I'd like to draw the readers' attention to the NBA "dunk of the night":

http://www.nba.com/video/channels/top_plays/2010/02/10/20100210_dotn.nba/?ls=iref:nbahpt2

Now as a Craptors fan this play made me very happy, especially since I had been drinking for several hours when it occurred.

Even in my semi-coherent state, however, I immediately noticed the complete lacktivity of the 76ers on this play. Check out what the red shirts are doing on this play. Standing around. All five of them. Nobody boxed out, nobody made even the slightest attempt to prevent Demar DeRozan from streaking down the lane. Special mention also has to go to Willie Green, for half-heartedly leaking out/cherry picking instead of making even the slightest attempt to stop his man getting an offensive rebound and easy bucket.

This is an NBA game.. and you're rolling out the red carpet for your opposition, right down the middle of the lane? What.. you were assuming Jarrett Jack was going to make the layup? Did you not notice that he's a midget and is going to have a contested shot around the rim?

I have not seen such an outstanding example of an ENTIRE NBA TEAM standing around holding their junk in some time. Impressive in it's Bawfulness. The NBA: where not caring, and completely fundamentally unsound play, gift your opponent a highlight reel play. Thanks Sixers! You're turrible. Enjoy the lottery, and the undoubtedly looming CAnswer soap opera.

Yes, the Nets drew about 1,000 fans to their game last night. I know the storm was brutal, but that is pathetic!

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
Hats off to ya Bawful, this was a fresh spin on an old and tired Internet theme, which I thought was impossible.

Also, I'm now attributing the 76ers success on trying to get players showcased for trades, which inadvertantly caused their successful run. Iggy + Dalembert for Stoudemire please make this happen Kerr thanks in advance.

Blogger Charlie said...
Wow, do the Celtics look bad. I agree, I think part of the problem with the team is the ego's. I hate to say it about KG because he's one of my all time favorites; but he should be in some kind of rehab. program not out on the floor. He's out there hobbling around like an old man getting schooled by Morris Peterson. Big Baby, who's not always the best choice happened to be the only player having a good game last night but they took him out to let pierce and kg launch bricks for the whole 4th. Doc Rivers can't be a coach with this team; he's more like a sideline cheerleader. About the Hawks, Crawford has been saving them in the 4th quarter with multiple three pointers for as many games as I have seen them play. About the only thing they have going for them without Crawford is Horfords bench press skills and Smiths jumping ability.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous NarSARSsist said...
Yes, the Nets drew about 1,000 fans to their game last night. I know the storm was brutal, but that is pathetic!
And the storm a few days earlier cancelled a Hawks-Generals game. I guess God is not a fan of bad ball? You better be careful Bawful, dedicating a shrine to all that is Basketbawful is like erecting a shrine to the Devil.

David Berri of the Wages of Wins Blog posted the Wins Produced of every player at the midpoint of the season.
Why is the win produced number so ridiculously skewed towards rebounders? Big Ben has produced 7 wins for the Pistons? Yes, rebounding is important, but not THAT important. Something like this assumes that you can't replace most of the rebounding with someone else. An inferior replacement rebounder might not produce as many boards as Ben Wallace, but the actual dropoff for the team wouldn't be more than a couple of rebounds. That would translate to a couple of points, but definitely not as many wins as the score would indicate.

Here's my question to all the bawful readers. How would you rank the worth of each of the stats?

WV: barry.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
The thing that drives me absolutely insane is that it is a well accepted basketball axiom that great offensive ability and execution has a vast advantage over great defense. If you have the best players and execution why wouldn't you stick with the script.

Honestly, everything non-basketball aside, that has been my biggest reason for disliking Kobe the Basketball Player over the years. The Triangle is a proven system, yet when it suits his own personal desires, Kobe will kick it to the curb. The Lakers -- both during the Shaq era and now -- function better offensively as an inside-out team. But Kobe seems to believe in his Mamba-y heart that L.A. should work outside-in, with him doing most of the outside work.

Kobe's Usage Rate (33.1) is much higher than Pau's (20.3). Yet Gasol is 2nd on the team (to Andy Bynum) in eFG% (.524) while Bryant is 7th (.492). And Pau's Offensive Rating (121) is much better than Kobe's (110).

There is NO reason why Mamba's Usage Rate should be that much higher than Gasol's. Based on objective measures, Pau is the better offensive player right now. Defensive rating says he's better on the other end, too.

There's also no good reason for Odom to be 10th in Usage Rate (16.4). But that's another story.

The Lakers are, at their absolute worst, the second-best team in basketball. If Kobe embraced the Triangle and Pau's offensive superiority with 100 percent of his black heart, I think the Lakers could become truly unstoppable. But he can't do that. He must prove that he is the best player, by far, in the league and on his own team. That's why he and Shaq divorced. That's why he goes off-script and takes crazy shots against tough defense instead of throwing the ball inside.

It's infuriating.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
Hats off to ya Bawful, this was a fresh spin on an old and tired Internet theme, which I thought was impossible.

Thanks, dude. I know how you hate overused Web material, so I take that as a high compliment.

Blogger chris said...
Why does that photo of the Hoffaland compound remind me so much of Dan B.'s NBA2K10 gym stints!??!

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
BTW, if you guys can't wrap your heads around the ~1000 attendance figure, last night's Flyers-Devils game (that's Philadelphia vs New Jersey in NHL-speak) drew 5,580.

Which is great, since it also makes you say "wait, isn't 1,000 simultaneously higher than expected?"

Blogger Basketbawful said...
Here's my question to all the bawful readers. How would you rank the worth of each of the stats?

I don't really have the time to get into this, but I will say I'm not a big fan of Wins Produced. I'm cool with, for instance, jamming all of a player's stats into PER (although it's not an end-all stat), but I will never believe you can objectively measure how much a player contributed to a win. There are way too many intangibles involved in a win (or a loss).

Anonymous NarSARSsist said...
BTW, if you guys can't wrap your heads around the ~1000 attendance figure, last night's Flyers-Devils game (that's Philadelphia vs New Jersey in NHL-speak) drew 5,580.
Yeah, but according to ESPN, almost 13,000 people were there at the Nets game! The funny thing is, even on a normal day, would anyone believe there were almost 13k people watching the Nets play the Bucks?

I don't really have the time to get into this, but I will say I'm not a big fan of Wins Produced. I'm cool with, for instance, jamming all of a player's stats into PER (although it's not an end-all stat), but I will never believe you can objectively measure how much a player contributed to a win. There are way too many intangibles involved in a win (or a loss).
I definitely agree. At least with stats like efficiency and PER, you have some leeway to interpret. "This person plays in a certain manner which makes it easier/harder to bolster their PER." With wins produced, the only subjective leeway you get is across teams. There should never be a measure that indicates that Nene is more valuable to the Nuggets than Billups and Melo, or even imply from a cursory scan of raw numbers that Ben Wallace is more valuable than most of the players in the league.

Anonymous Matt said...
There are way too many intangibles involved in a win (or a loss).


I agree with this, despite being much more of a stathead. In baseball, you can get away with this kind of thing since that sport is, for the most part, a series of one-on-one confrontations.

Basketball, on the other hand, is much more team dependent as opposed to one-on-one (unless we're talking about Kobe).

Blogger Lord Kerrance said...
1000? Yikes. I guess that proves people will stare at a train wreck, but they won't pay for the privilege.

I nominate the Toronto faithful for the WotN: In Reggie Evans' first game since the preseason, he notched a respectable 2 points, 3 rebounds and an assist in 5 minutes before leaving the court to get oxygen. The crowd treated him like his name was LeBron Jordan-Bryant. They chanted for him before, during and after his stint. No chants were heard for soon-to-be free agent and double-double machine Chris Bosh (23 points, 12 rebounds, 3 assists).

This love for a career roleplayer comes from the same crowd who will boo the Raps if they go down by 2. Jerry "the King" Lawler is right: Canada really IS Bizarro Land.

Blogger Domme said...
Hey,

Stephen Curry had a triple-double! I mean, that's not exactly bawful, but worth a mention, isn't it?

Blowouter

Blogger Basketbawful said...
Stephen Curry had a triple-double! I mean, that's not exactly bawful, but worth a mention, isn't it?

Ack. Yes. Especially since Ronny Turiaf nearly cock-blocked Curry by stealing a rebound. I might have to update the post...

Anonymous Depressed Suns fan said...
Since the Bobcats-Wolves game wasn't televised at all, the NBATV highlights are from the Jumbotron! Utter hilarity.

I don't believe Wins Produced is the Rosetta Stone of basketball, but it's way more accurate than PER, +/-, and other metrics.

In fact, it has confirmed a lot of things Matt Machale "Technical Writer" has said the last to years.

Predicted Denver would be a much better team with Chauncey Billups and without Allen Iverson, and viceversa for Detroit.

It said Ty Lawson, and Dejuan Blair would be much better players than Johnny Flynn, etc.

To NarSARSsist:

I would value rebounds 4/5 of a point, and I don't know if a personal foul should be credited with a - 1/2. But that's a subjective value and not something I've studied. The other values in statistical categories I think are calculated fine in Wins Produced.

Other thing that should be worth mentioning is that assists tend to be credited more in home games than in away games, but that's not David Berri's fault. That's a thing the NBA should correct with stat keepers.

Blogger Viscant said...
Before we get all out of hand regarding the Gasol man-love going on, I have to point it out.

The 3 teams the Lakers beat during Kobe's sabbatical were all 3 teams without a real center. The Spurs attempted to guard Gasol with the 36 year old McDyess and the 5'11" Blair. The Blazers gave it a shot with Juwan Howard's decaying corpse. And Utah features Mehmet "contact??? No thanks!" Okur.

Also the Lakers caught all three teams at fortunate points on the schedule. The Spurs in the middle of their rodeo road trip. Blazers on the 3rd game in 4 nights. Jazz on the back end of a back-to-back where they didn't get home from pounding the Clippers until mid-morning. Far be it for me to make an excuse for the Jazz, but they ran out of gas about 9 minutes into that game and never got a 2nd wind.

Also, more of Gasol's production increase has to do with Bynum than Kobe. Especially rebounding, I don't think Kobe is stopping Gasol from collecting rebounds. The Gasol/Bynum combination just doesn't work for whatever reason. Gasol/Odom has 2 years of results on its side. With Bynum on the floor Gasol touches the ball noticeably higher than usual. This neutralizes his skill in passing to guards and usually has Odom off the court so Gasol/Odom can't pass to each other.

And finally, if you'll note on the past road trip, Kobe has been screaming at Gasol, both through the press and on the court to actually shoot the ball instead of passing it back.

As Cortez said, this is starting to sound an awful lot like the whole "Pippen is the real reason, not Jordan!" talks that we all sat through in the 90s. Gasol's had a great week, but lets not get carried away here. He's still the guy who softied away the Cavs game and blew the Toronto game, then got outplayed by his brother all in the span of about a week and a half.

Anonymous The Other Chris said...
Lord Kerrance, maybe the Toronto fans were cheering so enthusiastically because Touching Chris Kaman logged 5 minutes and managed to do so without grabbing anyone's balls? I mean, that's pretty good for him.

People were chanting "MVP!" for CB4 on Sunday at the Excremento Paupers game.. We know which side our bread is buttered on.

Anonymous Hellshocked said...
Having watched the Lakers without Kobe, they are a totally different team. I've said it before but their ball movement has been just about exemplary over the past few games. Beyond that, they seem to be actually having fun. It could be my Kobe sucks colored glasses but they seem more energetic, quicker to the ball. When Kobe is in the lineup the team seems to play with a perpetually furrowed brow, as if they are internally debating whether asking for the ball after the 1st quarter is even worth the hassle every time they cross midcourt.

I get to watch a lot of the Hawks, since we get many of their games broadcast down here, and their offense has been regressing steadily over the pask few weeks into LA lite: 4 guys stand around while Joe Johnson dribbles the ball for 15 seconds and either launches an off-balance long distance 2 or kicks it to Mike Bibby who bricks an open 3. The crisp ball movement that they had earlier in the season, the unselfish play (particularly by Josh Smith) and the physical defense are all fading steadily by the quarter.

That is the problem with all these early predictions. When an entire group of players have spent their entire careers playing one way and are all of a sudden playing another way and winning because of it we all like to praise them for their maturity and for having turned the corner. The problem is that playing like that required a huge leap of faith on their part. As long as the team keeps winning they will keep doing and saying the right things but as soon as the team starts losing they will drop the system like a hot potato and revert to what they are actually comfortable doing individually. Massive changes don't happen on the fly, they have to be constructed from the ground up or they don't last. I have a feeling something similar is happening to Memphis. Their prolonged period of remission seems to be nearing its end.

Anonymous NarSARSsist said...
I would value rebounds 4/5 of a point, and I don't know if a personal foul should be credited with a - 1/2. But that's a subjective value and not something I've studied. The other values in statistical categories I think are calculated fine in Wins Produced.
Actually, that's exactly what I was asking for, what everyone personally values, whether it be points, +/-, rebounds, defensive stats, shot selection, etc.

Blogger Wild Yams said...
I think Kobe is still the Lakers' best player, but Mr. Bawful is absolutely correct that the Lakers simply work better when the offense originates in the post. This was not only true with Shaq and right now, but was also true in between those times. After all, the Lakers almost pulled off that upset against a much better Phoenix team back in 2006 by running their offense through Kwame Brown (IIRC Kobe only led the Lakers in scoring once in the first four games of that series while LA built a 3-1 series lead).

To be fair to Kobe, his effectiveness has been so low this season because of his finger injury. Prior to breaking that finger he actually was playing arguably the best ball in the league this year. But as I predicted in the comments when he broke it, I expected his shots to increase while his percentage would plumet, and that is what has happened.

I Kobe would accept that while he's hurt he either should rest and rehab, or if he must play that he should be mainly a complimentary player, then the Lakers would be damn near unbeatable. If he also would accept that even at 100% the ball should first go into the post then the Lakers would almost surely win it again this year. The Lakers' problem this season has been their offense, not their D, and Kobe's injury and insistence that he dominate the ball so much is the reason why, IMO.

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
Hellshocked: "Kobe sucks colored glasses"

Yea, just a warning, I'm probably going to steal this phrase and use it in the future. This is awesome.

Blogger Dan B. said...
Yams -- So in other words, Kobe is the Lakers' most talented player. He has not been their most effective player thanks to his excessive shot-jackery and ball-hoggery. Just because a player is talented does not mean he is the best player on his team.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
So in other words, Kobe is the Lakers' most talented player. He has not been their most effective player thanks to his excessive shot-jackery and ball-hoggery. Just because a player is talented does not mean he is the best player on his team.

Well, that's the hitch, isn't it? It has always amazed me that Kobe has never, not once in his career, sniffed 50% FGP. He is absurdly talented and has the most diversified offensive arsenal in the league. In fact, his repertoire may be top 5 ever. Yet he often plays to his defender's strength more than his own. It's a tribute to his talent that he makes it work, but damn, man.

Meanwhile, Pau is probably closer to maximizing his effectiveness. And, really, I stick by my assertion that his skill set and abilities is more important to the Lakers' success than Kobe's. Not by some crazy wide margin, but still.

Blogger Wild Yams said...
When Kobe is injured like he is, no he's not the Lakers' best player. But when he's healthy, yes, he's definitely the Lakers' best and most effective player, and come on it's not really even that close. When Kobe is healthy he's legitimately one of the top 10-20 players of all time. Nobody else on the Lakers is anywhere near that level of player.

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
"It's a tribute to his talent that he makes it work,"

So one could say that he's doin' work? Bwahahahahaha*kills self*

Blogger Dan B. said...
When Kobe is healthy he's legitimately one of the top 10-20 players of all time. Nobody else on the Lakers is anywhere near that level of player.

And the amazing thing is that if he actually played smarter ball, picked his spots more on shooting, moved the ball more, etc., he would be one of the top five ever. He's got that much talent. He just wastes it a lot of the time because he feels like he needs to prove something to someone.

Blogger Lord Kerrance said...
LOL @ other Chris. I'm a huge raps fan too (just up the 401 in Waterloo). I'm glad evans is back and everything, but I'll never understand how this town falls in love with roleplayers. Bonner, JYD, Evans...I am glad to hear Bosh got some love as well.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Lord Kerrance - the chanting for Reggie was rather strange, I admit, but Toronto fans love players that work hard. Even when he was on the IR, that guy was more enthusiastic than 3/4's of all the players that have ever donned a Raps uniform. In the NBA these days, it seems a rare occurrence to see players give it their all (no matter how little their 'all' actually is). But don't forget that CB4 gets regular MVP chants thrown his way.

As for the 'Craptors' moniker ... well, it's run its course for now, 'Bawful. I mean, they are 21-9 in their last 30. They may one day return to 'Craptor' status, but c'mon ... they haven't been the 'Craptors' since November. How about a little love?

Blogger LotharBot said...
Looking at the Wins Produced chart, I can't help but notice the way some teams are constructed.

Atlanta, Boston, and LA each have 3 guys with a projected 10+ WP. These three teams each have a balanced attack from their starters.

Denver has a whopping six players at 6+ WP (and that's getting nothing from JR Smith, who seems to be breaking out of his season-long funk.) Houston, Utah, and Portland are similarly deep, with 5-8 players each producing 4+ wins. These are all teams with a lot of depth that get quality play from their bench.

Cleveland has 5 guys at 4+ wins each, and of course LeBron at a ridiculous 27.7 wins. So it's mostly the Bron show, but he does have a bit of help.

On the other end of the pool, Miami has DWade producing over 15, and 7 guys between 2.8 and 5.9, which is why they're so dang mediocre. One good player and a bunch of guys slightly worse than Denver's sixth man.

For the Clippers, Camby is beasting, BDiddy is OK, and 8 guys are producing negative wins. Detroit's Ben Wallace is the only player doing anything worthwhile for them. And the Nets are just god-awful.

Blogger Sammy P. said...
Wow....I remember to stop by and read your blog about once every two months and I regret not frequenting it more.

Youre the type of person i wish I could talk basketball with in person more often. You actually know whats going on and not just during palyoff time.

Great blog man, i admire it.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
When Kobe is injured like he is, no he's not the Lakers' best player. But when he's healthy, yes, he's definitely the Lakers' best and most effective player, and come on it's not really even that close. When Kobe is healthy he's legitimately one of the top 10-20 players of all time. Nobody else on the Lakers is anywhere near that level of player.

If you check advanced stats like eFG% and Offensive/Defensive Rating versus Usage Rate, it's pretty clear that Pau Gasol is more effective than Kobe on a possession-by-possession basis. And not just this year, when Kobe has been dinged up. It was true last year, too. Just check out BBR for the details.

Last year, Pau scored 126 PP100P, versus 115 for Kobe, and his eFG% was .567 versus .502 for Kobe. And let's not forget Pau's fantastic Offensive Rebounding Rate, or the fact that he has a higher defensive rating. Kobe's PER is slightly higher, but his Usage Rate is much higher than Pau's...13 percent this season and 12 percent last season.

And make no mistake: the Lakers started getting good again when Bynum started playing better in 2007-08, and they became elite when they aquired Gasol. Kobe has never been part of an elite team without a dominant post presence. He just hasn't. The Lakers are now 56-33 without him. And 10 of those losses were part of the dreaded 2004-05 post-Shaq season.

I'm not questioning Kobe's talent. He's amazing. But his team's have always been at their best when going inside-out. They are weaker when the offensive is Kobe-centric. If not for Phil Jackson and Shaq, and then Phil Jackson and Gasol...well, I question whether we'd be talking about Kobe as "legitimately one of the top 10-20 players of all time."

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
Well his shoe is hot, so atleast he's got that going for him.

Anonymous NarSARSsist said...
Well his shoe is hot, so atleast he's got that going for him.
Give credit where it's due Anaconda. It's not just hot, it lights warehouses on fire!

WV: weefsh - In light of recent...exposes by Oden and George Hill, you gotta think that scares/intrigues Fisher fans.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
First, to Sammy P, thanks for the kind words. Bookmark this page! Come back often! Comment! I obviously can't shut my trap about basketball.

Now...I would like to append a few thoughts to my last comment.

First, in all fairness to Mamba, all players benefit, to a greater or lesser degree, by their situations. For instance, the Lakers selected James Worthy ahead of Dominique Wilkins. As we all know, 'Nique was unfairly dissed back when the NBA named their Top 50 at 50. Do you suppose that would have happened if Wilkins had spent a decade catching alley-oop passes from Magic Johnson? Conversely, would Worthy have made the Top 50 at 50 after a career on the Atlanta Hawks?

That said, of all the players in the NBA's Top 20, Kobe is probably second only to Wilt in terms of iffy decision-making throughout his career. From his desperate need to be The Man to his insistence on taking awful shots instead of working for a higher-pecentage look or dumping the ball inside to a guy who hits almost 60 percent of his field goals.

And it's that decision-making that makes him suspect to me. He has been unbelievably blessed to have a genius coach who has been able to cover for his many faults, and inside players who can clean up his messes. Mamba should be thanking his lucky stars that Phil Jackson is banging the daughter of his team's owner...otherwise...

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Discussions like this are one of the reasons why the advanced stat community has bothered me greatly over the past few years. We have formulas that attempt to be comprehensive where the value of each individual component is still in heavy disagreement. For example, thoughts on this post and on the WoW blog post linked about why rebounding feels overrated and efficient scoring feels underrated when you look at these charts.

For example, Lamar Odom. WoW has loved him for awhile because of his rebounding numbers. Yet until just recently, he was under 15 in PER (he has risen to 16.1 off of his monster week). When the Wins Produced chart was made he was out-winning Kobe, yet by the PER metric he was not performing up to league average. How does this mesh together? Does this show that win shares grossly overrate rebounding? Does it show some flaw in PER? How can we use these stats if a player is elite by one measure and below average in another?

Then we have to consider what usage actually means. All the stat really measures is FTA/FGA which is what the stat should be renamed. Ron Artest has a higher usg% than Lamar Odom (16.9 to 16.4). Which doesn't mesh with what actually happens. Anyone who watches the team play knows that Odom uses the ball considerably more than Artest. But Artest is getting 1+ extra FGA, so he gets ranked higher in usg%.
So as far as Kobe vs. Gasol in usg%, all it's really telling us is that Kobe probably should shoot less, but I think he would tell you that himself. The biggest problem with the Lakers isn't necessarily that Kobe eats first (although that was a problem for a decent portion of January) it's the Kobe has to eat what nobody else will. Every team vs. clock situation, Kobe shoots it. When he doesn't (and passes for example, to Artest), people usually agree he should have shot it anyways. Every time there's shot clock trouble, Kobe has to eat here also. Every time the play breaks down, Kobe sidles up to the buffet because nobody else wants that shot/can be trusted to create it on their own. Kobe's usg% being where it is (which is still virtually identical to last year's) is related to the Lakers offense being stagnant, although in the opposite way as is being inferred here.
The offense isn't stagnant because he's "using" too many possessions. He's forced to "use" because the offense is stagnant and someone throws him the ball with 5 seconds left. Monta, Roy, Wade all have their usg%s artificially raised for the same reason.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Hello, Mr. Bawful.

I would just like to inform you that Kobe Bryant and Allen Iverson are all out of the All-Star Game. So naturally, they have to have replacements, right? Right!

So, guess who the replacements are...

David Lee for the East, and Jason Kidd, for the West.

I think Lee is having an All-Star caliber season, but honestly, leaving Josh Smith out? When J-Smoove's game is BUILT for the ASG?

And Jason Kidd? Meh. The reason they picked him is 'cause he was already in Dallas, and apparently people are having the worst time trying to get there, seeing as all the flights have been cancelled.

But damn, David Lee over Smith?

Your thoughts, please.

Anonymous Business Time said...
Josh Smith still has a shot at it depending on the severity of Rose's injury. Of course, that leaves the East with Rondo as their sole PG (no, Joe Johnson doesn't count).

Anonymous chris in van said...
The Other Chris: "maybe the Toronto fans were cheering so enthusiastically because Touching Chris Kaman logged 5 minutes and managed to do so without grabbing anyone's balls?"

actually that's not true:
http://raptorsrepublic.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/reggie.jpg

Blogger jiggly16 said...
The difference between Wages of Wins (WoW) and PER is that PER has a 90% correlation with Point Per Game. PER is easier for the average fan to understand because it matches with their perceptions (and the fact that it gets a lot more press on ESPN). So PER tends to favor scorers, which is why Iverson has a career PER of 21 despite having a career eFG% of 45%.

While WoW really favors the low usage, high efficiency guys like Odom and Mike Miller. When you don't play many minutes and don't have the ball in your hands most of the time, it's difficult to make quantifiable mistakes.

Blogger Wild Yams said...
Mr. Bawful, I gotta concur with Anon above: I'm sorry, but at full strengh Kobe is a better basketball player than Pau Gasol. Pau plays smarter and more efficiently, but his ceiling is far, far below Kobe's. Also IMO, I think efficiency & defensive ratings are weighted in favor of big men over guards. Plus, we really don't know what kind of player Kobe would have been in a more traditional system. Look at how off the charts Jordan's and LeBron's individual stats were in traditional systems.

Kobe's definitely got his flaws, and I think we both agree on what they are, but his sheer talent more than makes up for whatever advantage Gasol has over him as a player due to smarts and/or efficiency. I know you dislike him a lot, but when healthy Kobe's the best player on the Lakers, and is generally considered by most "experts" to be at worst the second best player in the game, advanced stats or no.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
PER also over-values the assist stat. Iverson averaging more APG over his career than Jordan helps his cause with that metric considerably, but that's a discussion/criticism for another time.

In fact, a look at the shooting guard stats on the WoW page just shows how biased the win share stat is against guards.

SHOOTING GUARD
1. Mike Miller (0.269; 19 overall)
2. Manu Ginobili (0.266; 21 overall)
3. Dwyane Wade (0.245; 25 overall)
4. Andre Iguodala (0.234; 29 overall)
5. Kyle Korver (0.220; 34 overall)

The #1 shooting guard barely cracks the top 20 (and is a fraud regardless). While all aren't as wacky as WoW are, I agree strongly with Yams, that advanced stats as currently set up, clearly favor bigs.

Blogger jiggly16 said...
"Pau plays smarter and more efficiently, but his ceiling is far, far below Kobe's."

I believe this statement sums up the common misconceptions about advance stats. Advanced stats only measures how effective a player is in his role. I don't think anyone is disagreeing that Kobe is way more talented than Gasol. But in terms of effectiveness on the court, Gasol is just more better.

The main knock on Kobe is that, if he plays as smart and as efficiently as Gasol (which he certainly can, but does not), his "advanced stats evaluation" or his effectiveness on the court would be on the level of LeBron and Jordan. But because of his insistence to prove something to someone, he ends up costing his team from reaching their full potential.

I don't think advanced stats skew towards bigs. Maybe this is a game where being tall means you're more effective. I think the game of basketball favors height, and the advanced stats show this. We all like to believe that the flashier and more talented guards contribute more to their team. But teams with above average big men do better than teams with above average guards, it's just a matter of discarding our instinctive opinions and trusting the facts.

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