2011 Transaction Analysis #2: More Small Deals

Season's back, everyone! And you all know how we like to celebrate. Excruciatingly long posts analyzing intricacies and untapped facts, ahoy! In this mini-feature, watch as Aaron shares his inexpert opinions on every amnesty, trade, and signing -- big and small -- that goes on before the season starts. We're going to cut it into several parts -- this is a to-be-updated post on the smaller deals and amnesties. There will be another post later tomorrow with the big deals, then a few posts to individually examine the monstrous deals. Watch out for it. Continue reading

2011 Transaction Analysis #1: Small Deals & Amnesties


Season's back, everyone! And you all know how we like to celebrate. Excruciatingly long posts analyzing intricacies and untapped facts, ahoy! In this mini-feature, watch as Aaron shares his inexpert opinions on every amnesty, trade, and signing -- big and small -- that goes on before the season starts. We're going to cut it into several parts -- this is a to-be-updated post on the smaller deals and amnesties. There will be another post later today with more small deals, and a post tomorrow on big deals. Watch out for it. Continue reading

Welcome to the Madhouse on Madison.

“Who’s going to pull the button on it? When Chris says he has to be traded, how’s that going to go? … Someone’s going to have to make a very nonjudgmental decision on that part that’s not going to irritate anyone else in the league.”

-- Phil Jackson. December 29th, 2010.

Los Angeles pulled off a coup, Thursday. Nobody thought they could do it. But they got him. Best player at his position. 2008 MVP (should've been, too, though LA fans don't like to admit it). There have been other suitors, mind you. There have been better offers, depending on what you think they're looking for. But the team bowled him over, took a bigger-than-reported risk, and expects it'll pay off. And really, when you're fresh off a new TV deal, fresh off a labor dispute, and fresh off a lot of bad PR for the city and sport? Why not, you know? Take the chance, roll the dice, and get the best player you can. When I saw the news, I was shocked. I sincerely wondered if I'd been dreaming. Was it an illusion? Don't think so, I'm starting to come around, but I'm still going to go check. ... Yep. Pujols is still a Los Angeles Angel of Anaheim. You thought I was talking about Paul? Maybe tonight, but not as I write this post.

That was your Thursday. The NBA opened today. Welcome to the madhouse on Madison Boulevard, folks.

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Compression Effects: the injuries of 2011, today!

I wasn't planning to write another post about injuries this week, but I was talking with a friend of mine about Chris Paul and a thought came into my head that I didn't want to sit on. One of Chris Paul's most notable traits (unfortunately) is his somewhat sketchy injury history. While he only missed 2 games last season for a scary-but-minor concussion, thinking about all the dings and dents of an NBA season and the possible repercussions on Paul got me to thinking about how those will look this year. To start -- the season is compressed, and every game mathematically matters more. Andrew Bynum was suspended five games for his hit on J.J. Barea in last year's playoffs. In a full season, that's 6.0% of a player's possible games. In a compressed season? 7.5%. Not an insignificant difference, by any means. The effect of individual games being worth more in the overall picture is pretty straightforward. But as for that being the only effect? Not quite.

That's only true for suspensions, which are a designated number of games. What about injuries? When a player gets a hip strain or a sprained ankle, they aren't out some prescribed number of games. It isn't like the NFL, where a concussion means a designated number of games out of action. An injury to a basketball player simply means you're out until you're in playing shape again, whenever that may be. Usually, it takes some set number of days of sitting out and recuperating. Some medical treatment. Some downtime. Some coaches bring players back on less rest, some coaches use more -- my last post on injuries tries to get at the heart of the coaching side of NBA injuries by looking at raw numbers and assigning them to coaches. In this post, I'm more interested in simply translating some player-side numbers from 2011 to the compressed season. This is more like my previous analysis of compression trends, except instead of trends, this involves cold hard facts.

The guiding hypothetical to this post: if players were to go through the exact same injuries in the 2012 season as they went through in the 2011 season, how many more games would they miss? Good question, voice in my head. Let's go find that out. To the spreadsheet, once again.

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Get Like Gregg: One Man's Quest to relate Coaching to Injuries.

So, I was thinking. A dangerous habit, I know. Last year's underrated Cavs story was just how hard Byron Scott pushed the team in practices and off-the-court training. I'm talking suicide sprints after every loss, players throwing up in training camp, etc. Now, the 2011 Cavs were an awful team. But Byron Scott's "bad cop, crazy cop" routine made no sense to me. If your child is bad at a school subject, screaming at them and forcing them to do thousands of extra homework problems isn't going to do much of anything. Besides leaving them with crippling psychological disorders, anger management problems, and Samardo Samuels.

Overall? This had me rather worried about Kyrie Irving and the 2011 Cavs. Kyrie, as everyone knows, is coming off a injury-torn season where he played only 11 games of college ball. Not very pleasant, but he performed lights out when he played. What if Byron Scott's insane practices hurt him? The whole tangent got me to thinking about ways I could, perhaps, poke at a measure of coach-centered effects on injuries. As with my last big statistical post, this isn't an advanced model or a particularly advanced concept -- essentially, I'll be taking data from our pals at Brewhoop and repackaging it to describe coaches. Current coaches only, and for the majority of this post, only a smaller subsample of those coaches. Ones with enough seasons that I feel we can start to make some conclusions. There will be three parts -- an intro, some analysis of the big outliers, and a short discussion.

For my spreadsheet, check out the Google Doc. Let's get to it.

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That Was the Lockout that Was (told through comments)

Hey. My name is Cesar, I’m a friend of Aaron's, and the same guy he was talking about in the Andrew Bynum player capsule. Short version: I’m a Hispanic Lakers fan, I made a religion based off of Bynum's elbow, and I carry with me a sincere hope that a fight breaks out in every sports game I watch. I was unironically opposed to trading Bynum for Melo last season (and not just for the sake of my religion). Aaron is letting me write an article, which is very nice of him. Classy stuff: just the type of behavior you’d expect from a fan of the most boring team in sports. I don’t know if I’ll stick around, but it’s always nice to try new things, so let's get started.

As you all know, the lockout sucked. Crazy as it may sound, though, there were actually people who thrived in the absence of basketball. These folks engaged in acts of schadenfreude over the season that wasn't, due to their irrational hatred of basketball and/or the NBA. Others, too, thrived -- people who enjoyed the game didn't quite approve of a cancelled season, but still managed to display an incredible, inexcusable degree of ignorance about the lockout. There's no way around it: These people deserve to be scorned and ridiculed for their terrible opinions. So, who are they? Really very easy to find, just go to your favorite sports site, and then find any article about the lockout! Then you can scroll down to the dark soulless abyss known colloquially as the comments section. To save you some time, I've undertaken this dark work myself and made a record of it. Click the jump as I take you on a tour through the worst of sports fandom at one of the lowest points of the lockout. Make yourselves comfortable.

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Divisional Previews #2: the Central Division

The lockout is over! As part of our coverage of the rapidly incoming season, Aaron is doing three-point previews (pre free agency) on every team in the NBA. We're splitting it up by divisions, in what will be the first and last time we look at NBA divisions this season. Seriously. Nobody really cares about divisions. Regardless, today's division is home to the Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers, Indiana Pacers, Milwaukee Bucks, and Detroit Pistons.

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Who does a compressed season "help"? (A stats-heavy followup.)

About a week ago, Zach Lowe reached out to his followers on twitter to ask if we'd run some numbers for him. I decided to follow through on it -- he wanted to see some simple correlations between team win percentage and the offensive and defensive four factors. He used the numbers to back his main claim in a piece that dropped earlier this week where he came to the well-supported conclusion that we have no real idea what kinds of teams a compressed season helps or hurts, and at this point, we may as well assume the season proceeds as normal because we don't know what predicts performance in a shortened season. I essentially told him that, although there were some tertiary trends that seemed marginally predictive, the stats weren't telling us anything valuable. There weren't any jarringly common statistical differences between teams that did well in the lockout season and teams that did poorly.

Something about those specious, tertiary trends bugged me, though. I thought there might be more to it than the numbers were showing. So I expanded the amount of data I was working with, did some spreadsheet wrangling, and tried to tease out a few more predictive metrics for figuring out the win percentage in a lockout season versus the win percentage in a non-lockout season. This post walks through my analysis, shares the data, and comes to a few key conclusions that supplement Zach's excellent piece. So, dally no longer. Let's dig in. All sheet/cell references are in reference to the main spreadsheet I made for the analysis, which I've uploaded to Google Docs for your reading pleasure. You know. If you like that sort of thing. Continue reading

Divisional Previews #1: the Atlantic Division

The lockout is over! As part of our coverage of the rapidly incoming season, Aaron is doing three-point previews (pre free agency) on every team in the NBA. We're splitting it up by divisions, in what will be the first and last time we look at NBA divisions this season. Seriously. Nobody really cares about divisions. Regardless, today's division is home to (if you don't remember, it's been a while) the Boston Celtics, the Philadelphia 76ers, the New Jersey Nets, the New York Knicks, and the Toronto Raptors.

Programming note, here -- all this week (and most likely for the next few weeks), I'm going to be at Fear the Sword working with Conrad Kaczmarek on a new series profiling all the Cavs players on this year's team. Monday we did Daniel Gibson, yesterday we did Ramon Sessions, and today we did Antawn Jamison. Tomorrow? A mystery, one worth checking out! Anyway. As a further programming note, my Kawhi Leonard post was linked in Truehoop's Wednesday bullets this week. If you're one of the new readers who stumbled upon us from the Truehoop post, welcome! We have a peculiar way of doing things, around here, but we hope you'll like what you see. There's going to be a lot of ridiculous stuff coming from Alex and I in the coming weeks, and it's our hope you'll stick around for it. And enjoy it. It'd hardly be worth sticking around for if you didn't enjoy it, you know? Regardless. Let's get thee to this preview.

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Basketball Vintages (Part III, The Modern Vineyards)

Hey, everyone. Welcome to the third and final installment of Basketball Vintages. BV is a mini-feature I've been working on. The idea is simple (and shamelessly appropriated from the great Joe Posnanski): For every year since 1934 (Russell's birth year), we grade the "vintage" of the NBA players born that year. It's a neat concept, and so far we've made it up to Gary Payton (born 1968). Today we're going to finish up and plow right through to Chris Paul and Dwight Howard (1985). You can check out the Dream Team in Part II, and the first couple decades of the shot clock era back at Part I. Hope you enjoy. Continue reading

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