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When I posted last month about the all-time players who played for the best offensive and defensive teams in NBA history, there was a common theme among a number of the names at the top of each list: namely, they all played for a certain coach, or under a certain scheme. It only makes sense, then, to do the same study for coaches, and determine the guys who have called the shots for the top offenses and defenses of all time (or at least, since 1951).
Of course, no discussion of ironic vintage NBA apparel would be complete without also acknowledging the legendary Straight Cash Homey Dot Net, who for more than three years has been posting a collection of the most ridiculous jerseys in captivity. The majority of the people in their photos lack the self-awareness about jersey selection that the East Village hipsters have, but then again, when you're sporting an Isaac Austin jersey, does the level of irony with which you wear it really matter?
One common observation about the new-look Miami Heat goes something like this:
Dwyane Wade is a great perimeter player who makes his living attacking the basket. He's unstoppable when he drives into the lane, but not as good when you force him to shoot a jump shot.
LeBron James is also a great perimeter player who makes his living attacking the basket. He, too, is unstoppable when he drives into the lane, but not as good when you force him to shoot a jump shot.
Won't this redundancy in skills make the Heat easier to defend?
If only we could quantify this dilemma, find similar situations in the past where two hard-driving teammates joined forces, and see if their offenses were as potent as expected...
Oh, wait, we can.
Enter good old Free Throw Rate (FTA/FGA). Because the majority of fouls are assessed on interior shooting attempts and/or aggressive offensive plays, FTR is actually a pretty good indicator of where a player likes to operate from on offense. Players like Glen Rice and Dennis Scott were known for their low FTRs because they took a ton of perimeter jumpers, shots on which a foul would land you in the serious doghouse. And at the other end of the spectrum there's Reggie Evans, whose legendary FTRs tell the story of a player who rarely attempts a shot outside of point-blank range. Obviously there are some players who are exceptions to this rule, but the majority of players' inside-outside tendencies can be described simply by looking at FTA/FGA.
So that should be the starting point in examining the issue of hard-driving teammates. The next step is to compare everyone's FTR to some universal standard, and to do that I borrowed this method from PFR's Doug Drinen. I don't want to bore you with the details, but it basically compares everyone to the league average; 100 is average, numbers greater than 100 mean the player attacks the rim more than the average player, and numbers under 100 mean the player is less aggressive than the average player. The theory is that if we just look at these "FTR Index" numbers for perimeter players (PG, SG, SF), we can find players who drove to the basket the most, which best describes LeBron and D-Wade's playing style.
"We're very astonished, to say the least, that not one team has contacted us with any interest," Moore told AP. "I just don't understand it. What has Allen Iverson done to not warrant interest in him?"
File this under, The Player is Always the Last to Know.
If you're a longtime reader of this blog, you know that Artis Gilmore is always the answer to at least one of our recurring questions: "Who is the very best (eligible) basketball player in history that isn't in the Hall of Fame?" In fact, sometimes it seems like we should just retire #6 on that Keltner List questionnaire, because it doesn't matter which player we're looking at... unless you're Artis Gilmore, the answer is "no". Gilmore owns #6.
And thanks to a hat-tip-worthy link by TrueHoop, I learned today that the A-Train has a blog, where he gives his perspective on various basketball topics (including an offer last week to help Greg Oden with his game). I was also pleasantly surprised to see a number of guest posts lobbying for Gilmore to be in the HoF, which we couldn't be more in favor of here at BBR.
A while ago, I posted a link to Drew Cannon's Basketball Prospectus piece on new positional designations, and it got some good conversation flowing about what positions and roles mean to a 5-man unit. Well, here's another take on team-building from a positional/skills perspective, courtesy of Fanhouse's Tom Ziller and Bethlehem Shoals. In particular, this is a very interesting way to visualize player skills (on a continuum from "big-man" to "point guard") and how they may mesh together as a team, especially in the sense that there are certain aspects of the game that need to be covered by somebody in every unit.