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They've been having a spirited debate about retrodiction over at APBRmetrics recently, and apparently we're all going to engage in some sort of challenge over whose pet metric could "retrodict" a team's 2009 performance the best. This, of course, should be nothing new to faithful readers of the BBR blog, because we retrodicted 2008-09 several months ago. But my question is, does accurate retrodiction across the entire league really "prove" anything? For the vast majority of teams, any cheeky wee monkey is going to be able to predict performance effectively based on data from the past few years because A) roster turnover is rarely drastic enough to the point that a team's stars are no longer with the team anymore, and B) even in the case of roster shakeups, coaches almost always employ new players in the same role they had been playing in for their previous team. Since we know a lot of basketball productivity is role-specific, there's really not a lot of point in boasting that past production in your metric predicted future production when a player plays exactly the same role in each situation.
In an annual rite of passage, ESPN has gathered their stable of NBA experts and polled them on various topics regarding the upcoming NBA season. First among the discussion fodder? The Rookie of the Year race (or non-race, if Blake Griffin lives up to expectations), and dual polls for the best newcomer and the worst newcomer. That Ron Artest finished top-3 in both polls tells you all you need to know about L.A.'s big offseason roll of the dice...
Deadspin first brought us the story of Nick Van Exel's 23, um, creatively assigned assists in a game, and now they have more sordid tales of NBA statstical manipulation, including the use of assists, blocks, and steals as PR devices for popular players. Meanwhile, to read the statistical communty's reaction, go here, here, and here.
Yes, yes, I know... It's all too fashionable to mock the WNBA these days, to the point that it's tiresome to hear the same complaints again and again ("Except for Lisa Leslie & Candace Parker, they can't dunk!"). Basketball is basketball, as far as I'm concerned, and the ladies of the WNBA are far better basketball players than 99% of the men in the world. If you can play, it doesn't really matter whether you're male or female.
To that end, you should all head over and check out the WNBA section of our site. We've got the same advanced stats there as we have for the mens' leagues, including PER and Win Shares, plus standings, leaderboards, award voting, and more. Now, admittedly, live 2009 updates are not in place at the moment, so you'll have to go to the WNBA's home site for current season numbers, but for any other season in WNBA history, we've got you covered. As my friend Erik would say, Long Live the WNBA!
Today's post topic comes courtesy of BBR reader Jared Rasmussen, who e-mailed us with this yesterday:
"Recently, especially this off-season, a lot of NBA role-players have been touring overseas. While many players have had overseas stints at some point in their careers, especially those who were drafted pre-D-League, some of the recent names are fairly relevant to NBA teams at the present.
I was wondering if there could be a blog based on the Win Shares of Josh Childress, Linas Kleiza, Von Wafer, and a lot of the 6th-12th bench players (and conceivably starters if any have gone overseas) to see the production that is being lost for the NBA franchise.
I like to read ESPN's NBA rumor mill every morning for possible story angles, and I came across this fantasy article by Brian McKitish that describes New Orleans' Julian Wright as "a lock-down defender", touting him as a potentially good fantasy pickup. McKitish's theory is that he will rack up lots of blocks and steals because Rasual Butler's departure opens the door for Wright to get a big bump in playing time, and I can't argue with that. But I was interested in whether or not Wright, coming off of just his second NBA campaign, is truly a lock-down defender in categories beyond fantasy stats.