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Biggest Team Factor Declines

Posted by Neil Paine on January 24, 2011

This morning, Zach Lowe of SI.com's must-read Point Forward blog emailed me wondering how Utah's collapse in defensive rebounding % ranks among all-time declines. That got me wondering about the biggest drop-offs in all of the Four Factors, so I ran Z-scores on each team's numbers and looked at the biggest negative changes from one year to the next:

Offensive Effective FG%

Year Team z_eFG% Prev Diff
2011 Cleveland Cavaliers -1.717 1.595 -3.312
1989 Boston Celtics 0.559 2.946 -2.387
1998 Golden State Warriors -2.379 -0.015 -2.364
1997 Orlando Magic -0.713 1.507 -2.220
1997 San Antonio Spurs -1.203 0.852 -2.055
1977 Buffalo Braves -0.914 1.135 -2.049
1976 Chicago Bulls -2.844 -0.822 -2.022
2010 New Jersey Nets -2.175 -0.154 -2.021
2001 Detroit Pistons -1.141 0.860 -2.001
1975 Atlanta Hawks -1.553 0.386 -1.939


Offensive Turnover %

Year Team z_TOV% prev Diff
1992 Denver Nuggets -1.455 2.021 -3.476
1993 Minnesota Timberwolves -2.140 1.268 -3.409
2000 Chicago Bulls -3.150 -0.433 -2.718
1994 Chicago Bulls -0.332 2.093 -2.425
2006 New York Knickerbockers -2.611 -0.188 -2.423
2008 Sacramento Kings -1.688 0.733 -2.421
2003 Denver Nuggets -2.364 -0.001 -2.363
2000 Phoenix Suns -0.823 1.502 -2.326
2004 Washington Wizards -1.538 0.751 -2.290
1997 New York Knickerbockers -2.459 -0.219 -2.240

Offensive Rebound %

Year Team z_ORB% prev Diff
1989 Dallas Mavericks -1.430 2.095 -3.525
1983 Houston Rockets -1.144 2.278 -3.423
1999 Chicago Bulls -1.317 2.028 -3.345
1994 Detroit Pistons -1.587 1.105 -2.692
2004 Golden State Warriors -0.119 2.550 -2.669
1993 San Antonio Spurs -1.701 0.566 -2.267
1990 Golden State Warriors -2.061 0.160 -2.220
2008 Orlando Magic -1.262 0.954 -2.216
1984 Indiana Pacers -2.045 0.110 -2.155
2002 Detroit Pistons -1.639 0.496 -2.136

Offensive FT/FGA

Year Team z_FT/FGA prev Diff
2009 Los Angeles Clippers -1.596 1.276 -2.872
2001 Detroit Pistons 0.149 2.669 -2.520
1998 Golden State Warriors -1.559 0.948 -2.508
1992 Atlanta Hawks -1.176 1.265 -2.441
2010 Milwaukee Bucks -2.016 0.143 -2.159
1987 Utah Jazz -1.429 0.599 -2.029
2002 Washington Wizards -0.264 1.671 -1.935
2006 Phoenix Suns -2.998 -1.074 -1.924
2005 Golden State Warriors -2.024 -0.113 -1.911
2010 Philadelphia 76ers -1.041 0.815 -1.856

Defensive Effective FG%

Year Team z_deFG% prev Diff
2011 Cleveland Cavaliers -2.231 1.153 -3.384
1979 Boston Celtics -1.969 1.320 -3.289
2007 Memphis Grizzlies -2.104 1.125 -3.230
2004 Sacramento Kings -0.737 2.336 -3.073
1979 Cleveland Cavaliers -1.596 1.329 -2.925
1997 San Antonio Spurs -1.220 1.616 -2.836
1996 Charlotte Hornets -1.815 0.968 -2.783
2010 Detroit Pistons -1.591 0.897 -2.488
2003 Philadelphia 76ers -1.144 1.305 -2.448
1977 Milwaukee Bucks -1.295 1.109 -2.403

Defensive Turnover %

Year Team z_dTOV% prev Diff
1984 San Diego Clippers -1.541 1.407 -2.948
1976 Washington Bullets -0.928 1.769 -2.697
2007 Charlotte Bobcats 0.658 3.260 -2.603
2004 Orlando Magic -1.460 0.952 -2.411
2005 Los Angeles Lakers -2.302 0.107 -2.408
1999 Boston Celtics 0.815 3.212 -2.397
2003 Atlanta Hawks -1.762 0.496 -2.257
2007 New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets -1.431 0.681 -2.113
1990 New York Knickerbockers -0.428 1.657 -2.084
1995 Dallas Mavericks -0.800 1.158 -1.957

Defensive Rebound %

Year Team z_DRB% prev Diff
2007 Milwaukee Bucks -2.346 0.944 -3.290
1988 San Antonio Spurs -1.959 0.778 -2.737
1985 New York Knickerbockers -1.983 0.605 -2.588
1979 New Orleans Jazz -1.730 0.840 -2.570
1983 Golden State Warriors -1.152 1.274 -2.426
2011 Utah Jazz -1.361 1.001 -2.362
1985 Cleveland Cavaliers -0.090 2.192 -2.282
2004 Denver Nuggets -1.096 1.129 -2.225
2000 Dallas Mavericks -2.673 -0.475 -2.199
1980 Houston Rockets -1.695 0.412 -2.108

Defensive FT/FGA

Year Team z_dFT/FGA prev Diff
1998 Boston Celtics -3.215 -0.221 -2.993
2004 Utah Jazz -3.615 -1.160 -2.455
1998 Denver Nuggets -1.344 1.077 -2.421
2004 Memphis Grizzlies -0.896 1.412 -2.308
2009 Milwaukee Bucks -2.923 -0.651 -2.271
2001 Orlando Magic -2.041 0.183 -2.224
1989 San Antonio Spurs -1.693 0.429 -2.121
2008 Minnesota Timberwolves -1.336 0.782 -2.118
2010 Toronto Raptors -0.819 1.260 -2.078
2011 Minnesota Timberwolves -1.694 0.348 -2.042

A few 2011 teams on these lists... For those still doubting LeBron James' overall impact, note that his departure from Cleveland coincided with the biggest declines in both offensive and defensive shooting effectiveness by a team since 1974! Also, there's Utah with the 6th-biggest drop-off in DRB% relative to the league, and the T-Wolves with the 10th-biggest decline in opponent FT/FGA.

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52 Responses to “Biggest Team Factor Declines”

  1. Neil Paine Says:

    Note to self: post about how ridiculous the 1988 Celtics' shooting performance was.

  2. Jason J Says:

    Surprised we're not seeing more 1999 Bulls on this list. They were putrid, and even with Pippen missing so many games and MJ playing hurt at the beginning of the year (offseason surgery on an ingrown toenail), the 1998 team was still pretty good.

  3. Neil Paine Says:

    In addition to the 3rd-worst decline in ORb%, that team ranked just outside the bottom 10 in declines of eFG% (20th), TOV% (29th), and def. eFG% (21st). So rather than concentrating their decline in one place, they spread it around everywhere.

    Amazing, though, that the 2011 Cavs (6.17 SRS --> -10.93) have declined more than the 1999 Bulls (7.24 --> -8.58) so far.

  4. Jason J Says:

    Well, a lot of teams started that strike-shortened season out of shape and out of rhythm, so I guess it follows that the competition wasn't up to snuff to start the season. Also the Bulls didn't have any blow out losses to Jordan, Pippen, and Rodman when the three chose not to take their talents to the ATL in the offseason.

  5. DSMok1 Says:

    Just a minor quibble--why use Z-scores? A FG% is a FG%, no matter the talent spread...right? So using Z-scores actually hurts the objectivity of the comparison.

  6. jesse Says:

    my only quibble with this is that this Cavs team is not the same team sans LeBron. it's missing Shaq, Varejao and others. Injuries have been a major issue. There's a different coaching staff, etc. Of course losing LeBron is having a massive effect on the team, but this really is comparing apples and oranges since it's two completely different teams.

  7. Neil Paine Says:

    Re: #5 - I wanted to take into account the league average each season, and I was already in this mode after running the numbers for Zach. Also, it helps you compare the relative magnitudes of the changes across multiple categories. And honestly, I think it neither helps nor hurts the comparisons in terms of objectivity.

  8. P Middy Says:

    Yeah, removing LeBron from the Cavs was like removing the keystone from an arch.

  9. DSMok1 Says:

    @ Neil

    Yes, I would run them relative to league average, but not standardize them.

  10. Walter Says:

    I think an interesting analysis (and it lends itself to Jesse (#6) comment) would be to look at which teams had the largest change in percent of minutes played by the same players between two seasons.

    For example, the Cavs have not only lost Lebron, but also lost West, Shaq, etc... and have had injuries to Varejao, Williams, etc... and the result has been a team that is drastically different than the prior season.

    Have any other teams experienced such a drastic change?

  11. Jason J Says:

    #10 - The Heat have probably had a similar change to their percent of minutes played. They added LeBron, Bosh, Z, Miller, House, Juwon, and Dampier, all of whom are playing minutes. That's a massive turnover. They've also lost Haslem to injury, and Mario missed time.

  12. mike Says:

    with all due respect, this analysis of lebron's overall impact seems pretty worthless. his analysis does not take into account other important pieces that are gone, like shaq, Z and delonte west. it does not take into account injuries to guys like varejao, mo williams, Gibson and parker. it does not take into account full coaching staff overhaul and thus a brand new system. it does not take into account new players that were not there last year now trying to mesh. a better way to truly measure lebron's overall impact would be if all other factors were constant from last year to this year except lebron leaving, ie same coaches, system and players. even then the analysis would not be truly accurate since NBA is such a centerpiece-driven sport. the ONLY way would be to have all factors be constant and then replace lebron with a comparable centerpiece player at SF, like danny granger, iguodala or rudy gay. then you can truly measure lebron's overall impact. right now, the cavs are dropping off by 50-ish wins. all because of lebron? no way. with lebron they were 60+ win team. with a comparable replacement, they would probably be a 40-50 win team. so to use a baseball term (VORP), lebron's true overall impact (value over replacement player) would likely be 10-20 games. not insignificant but not nearly as drastic as things seem right now.

  13. Skeptic Says:

    I certainly intend to offend you when I say an article like this can only have been made to drive up page views with a sensationalist headline about an infamous player.

    You are obviously a stat geek of some repute and renown, so it's pretty sad to see you make a shortsighted article such as this one (the relevant points are made clearly by #12). If it was intentional, then shame on you for not having the obvious counterpoints in your article. If not, then perhaps you aren't worth the read anymore.

  14. Skeptic Says:

    Edit: I see it was Abbot at Truehoop that gave it the sensationalist feel. But your comment at the end is no less misleading because of it.

  15. Dagger Says:

    Are some of you guys suggesting that the Cavs would have seen a serious decline in wins had they kept Lebron but lost Z, Shaq, and West? To say that blatantly ignores Cavs history: West barely played last year, statistically the team played better when Shaq rode the pine, and Z wasn't a starter most of the time. I'd also suggest that replacing Brown with Scott constitutes an upgrade, if anything.

  16. P Middy Says:

    These Cavs have been just as injured when LeBron was playing there and they were going deep into the playoffs.

    09-10 -- Powe (20), Gibson (56), West (60) BigZ (64), Williams (69), plus they only had Jamison for 25 games.
    08-09 -- BigZ (65), West (64), Ben Wallace (56)
    07-08 -- Gibson (58), Gooden (51), Varejao (48), West (26), Hughes (40)

    The reason they were ever good at all is the same reason they stink now. They were built around an unreplacable basketball player. The chemistry of the team was unique, and cannot be replicated. With Rudy Gay or Joe Johnson they'd be what, barely over .500? If that. The situation is still that Varajao is your second best player. That's not a winning squad, without Bron.

  17. mike Says:

    it is not suggesting that at all, dagger. i think they clearly would have maintained a high level had they lost those supporting pieces but kept lebron. that is not the point though. the conclusion here is the cavs have had a significant decrease in production solely due to the loss of lebron. the problem though it is not so simple to just make a blanket statement that the HUGE drop in production is due to the loss of one player when so many other factors are in place. there are so many moving parts that it is unfair to isolate just one, say that is the reason for the production drop and ignore everything else. like someone said above, it is apples to oranges from last year to this year.
    another analogy is NBA is such a centerpiece driven sport that a good team NEEDS that main player. it is like a puzzle. all of the other pieces fit into that main player/main puzzle piece. without him, everything else falls apart regardless of how good those other pieces are.

  18. Greyberger Says:

    Yeah. Shame on you, for including a throw-away line about LBJ. I hate it when APBRmetric blogs casually mention a player, it's one of my pet peeves. Your four sentences bracketing the data dump are clearly an outrageous bid for attention and way out of line. And shame on Henry Abbott and Zach Lowe, while we're at it. The whole damn system's out of order!

  19. daveh Says:

    Oh, baloney. O'Neal played 53 games for the Cavaliers and averaged 23 minutes a game. Varejao only recently got hurt. Ilgauskas was HORRIBLE. West barely played and was AWFUL. Please, for the love of God, cut the crapola that it's not the same team. Yes, it is. Except no LeBron James.

  20. tim Says:

    its the same team as last year except for lebron james? i didnt realize ramon sessions, christian eyenga, manny harris, samardo samuels, ryan hollins, alonzo gee and joey graham were on the team last year. right now, there are just 3 guys (Hickson, jamison, gibson - who also is just back from injury) that get significant minutes now and were rotational guys last year. 3. thats it. this is not even close to the same team as last year, plus a new coaching staff and new system.

  21. marparker Says:

    If the Cavs were on pace to be above .500 without Lebron James with the same roster turnover a good number of people would use that as proof that LBJ is overrated. Articles like this one are part of the natural push back.

  22. Dave Says:

    #20 I'll give you that. This team still sucks. It's gotta hurt you when you get nothing back for your superstar - Denver, hope you are watching.

    #19 I'll give you Varejao only recently got injured, if you can explain to me why, with Shaq and Z gone, his minutes have only marginally gone up, his production is basically at the samel level as the past few years - when he is their best player by a mile. And apart from him and Jamieson their team is not starter quality - heck I'd almost start Dallas, Denver, Lakers, Orlando's bench ahead of this cleveland team... It's not just they've lost LeBron, they've lost Shaq, Z and West As well and replaced them all with ... not even Replacement level players ... maybe this is a true measure of replacement level ...

    Neil, I've got a problem with your use of z-scores. The nature of moving AWAY from an average, is most scores are about your mean. At the risk of teaching you to suck eggs, about 70% of results are expected to be within 1 standard deviation from the mean. It is not really that big a swing, and perhaps not that unexpected for a team to go from above average to below (or visa versa) and certainly easier (from a distribution point of view) to go from 1 SD above to 1 SD below, than to go from one SD below to 3 SD below ... except you are treating them as the same thing ... I guess I'm saying it is much harder to get a z-score of -3, not neccessarily any team has to get that in any given season (being only 30 -or less- teams in league and this occurs for 99.5%) whereas we have to have about 9 teams with a z-score above 1 or below -1...

  23. huevonkiller Says:

    It is just because of one player, lol at these people complaining about mediocre players leaving, as if the Cavs didn't make any decent off-season acquisitions?

    Dude stop, West played spare minutes. Daniel Gibson replaced him even better, the Cavs are just awful. What about Z? Oh yeah Jamison is playing the whole year now, Z also sucked last season.

    They added Daniel Gibson and Sessions, their best players along with Varejao. They're actually playing better than "healthy" Mo Williams. When Varejao was healthy they were still the worst team in the league.

    Face it the Cavs are garbage, and they weren't healthy last season either Varejao could barely contribute in the playoffs.

  24. huevonkiller Says:

    Instead of spewing ignorance accept the fact that none of these numbers are impressive:

    http://www.82games.com/0910/0910CLE.HTM

    There isn't an above average player that left the team, you're talking about scrub backups. Here's reality: Varejao healthy, Mo Williams healthy, Jamison filling in for Shaq or Z, Gibson playing better than West, and they were still AWFUL.

    "Or maybe it would make things easier if we just looked at the way Cleveland played last year when James wasn't on the floor: they were -4.7 in efficiency, akin to the 2010 Kings, Sixers, or Wizards (compared to +11.1 when he was on the court). "

    http://www.basketball-reference.com/blog/?p=6812

  25. daveh Says:

    Oh, cut the crap, Tim. It's the exact same core of players. I wasn't talking about the end of the chair scrubs that would never have seen the light of day if not for (a) brand-new injuries and (b) the fact they're playing anybody and everybody in a ridiculous effort to try to replace James. Sessions for West is an upgrade, and as some people have to be REPEATEDLY told, O'Neal was a bad fit, Ilgauskas was lousy, and neither played many games. In fact, an argument could be made that the 2008-2009 roster with Ben Wallace that got ripped by Orlando was better than the one with O'Neal that got plowed by Boston last year.

    Seriously, just stop it. They lost James. That's it. They oughta retroactively award him every MVP trophy for the past five years for having to carry this garbage by himself.

  26. huevonkiller Says:

    Varejao
    Gibson
    Sessions
    Jamison
    Mo Williams

    Let me understand the argument jealous Laker fans or whatever are making:

    The SIXTH or SEVENTH player off the bench, is the reason why the Cavs have the worst record in the NBA? Haha ok.

    Here's reality: Gibson > West statistically, Jamison > washed up Z or Shaq and he's here the whole season. Mo Williams has always been a terrible defender. The Cavs suck there's no other way around it. I saw Varejao play the first thirty something games, he's not that special for a second option.

  27. tim Says:

    show me box scores from last year where ramon sessions, christian eyenga, manny harris, samardo samuels, ryan hollins, alonzo gee and joey graham got significant playing time. i guess you just cant reason with the unreasonable.

  28. huevonkiller Says:

    What don't you understand when Daveh says the same, if not BETTER core?

    Sessions is playing better than healthy Mo Williams.

  29. tim Says:

    this is a BETTER core? sessions isnt better than a healthy mo williams. sessions is better at charging into the lane with nowhere to go, and cant shoot. both stink at defense. overall between those 2 it is a wash at best since they are good and bad at different things. where is the rebounding now? where is the defense now? shaq might have been a bad fit offensively but he still helps the defense by altering shots and rebounding. same with Z on the offensive end - an above average offensive rebounder. how many offensive rebounds do the cavs get now?
    the cavs DO suck. not debatable. thats not the point. the point is there are way too many other factors in play than to just single out lebron leaving and conclude that is the ONLY reason they suck this badly now. it might be a primary reason but its not the only reason. all those other changes also have an effect. last year's team now with the same coach, same system, same everything probably wins 30 something games. with a good replacement player for Lebron at SF it is probably a mid-40s win team. even had lebron stayed this year, with the new coach and new system, we would have seen a drop off in productivity due to the natural learning curve of a new coach and system. that is inevitable.

  30. huevonkiller Says:

    Nah Sessions is better than Mo Williams, his defense is much better.

    82games.com buddy, you failed Tim.

  31. huevonkiller Says:

    Dude drop it, ,strong>the CORE accounts for most of a team's wins. You can always whine about the end of the bench scrub.

    Varejao/Sessions/Gibson/Williams/Jamison/Parker, they're actually much better offensively.

    Oh crap wait I just noticed something>?1?1

    Juwan Howard
    Joel Anthony
    Mario Chalmers
    Carlos Arroyo
    Eric Dampier
    Mike Miller injured most of the year!
    Eddie House
    James Jones!

    Most of the Heat's players suck and are getting significant playing time, I guess they're screwed1!!1

    Drop it.

  32. huevonkiller Says:

    *the core, I meant, sorry. :]

  33. tim Says:

    is sessions better? again - debatable. all things considered they are about a wash. sessions is a better PG. Mo is a better SG. if you really want to think sessions is a "much" better defender go right ahead. neither of them will be all-NBA defense anytime soon. if you need a guy taking mid-range jumpers and 3's, sessions is NOT your guy. if you need someone to distribute and charge into the lane, then sessions works for that. oh i passed!! lol

  34. tim Says:

    your argument make no sense. the heat also have 2 superstars and a 3rd all star. the rest of the guys dont matter after that.
    im not sure what youre getting at with that lineup now either. Varejao is done. Parker hasnt played in weeks. Mo is probably effectively done for the year (and has been hurt all year basically.)

  35. huevonkiller Says:

    Dude shut it already, you're the Cavs were fortunate to find two players to play above Mo Williams Level. Gibson and Sessions.

    I'm not sure why you can't grasp in your brain:

    The Cavs have been the worst team in the league, WITH Varejao. Exactly the seventh NBA player doesn't matter, most teams have pathetic bench players.

  36. huevonkiller Says:

    *the Cavs

    Oh my bad I forgot JJ Hickson. Make that the eighth scrub off the bench is who you're crying about.

  37. tim Says:

    im not sure why you cant grasp in your brain:

    this is not an analysis on whether the cavs are as good with or without lebron.

  38. huevonkiller Says:

    This is about the supporting cast, the remaining core that's still intact and accounts for 90% of a teams victories and failures. You losing perspective of that is your problem, their core blows.

  39. Anon Says:

    I would love for Neil (or Kevin Pelton) to do something similar to the 'Melo Effect' post he had recently and see how LeBron has helped his former teammates EFG%.

    I think WARP had Bron adding near 30 wins above replacement level at his peak. To be fair to the Cavs, they ARE playing with a new coach and system and also are missing their most consistent player (Varejao). But it's amazing how people want to use revisionist history to suggest that this was some amazing cast that was assembled around LBJ. Simply put, LBJ had to do alot of the heavy lifting, and when teams can focus on him and get him off his game the Cavs didn't play well (as the Celtics can attest to in recent seasons).

  40. tim Says:

    we are clearly talking about two different things. whether the core blows or not is not the issue. the issue is that this statistical analysis essentially concludes that lebron james alone accounted for 45-50 wins for the team. maybe that is true? it is quite possible that if the team this year was exactly the same as last year, except for the loss of lebron, they may very well have stunk just as bad as they do now. the point is that it is impossible to know this for sure since other factors are at issue here but which are ignored in this analysis. obviously their success was due to lebron. obviously there would be a huge dropoff without him. there would be a huge dropoff for any team that loses its top player, its centerpiece, its alpha dog and does not replace him with someone who is at least 75% as good.
    my point is that this analysis makes a conclusion without taking into account ALL of the factors involved. at the same time, it is not possible to definitively come to the conclusion that this analysis reaches unless the sole factor this analysis considers is isolated so that it is the ONLY factor at play. that is just not possible. i am not saying the conclusion is wrong. i am saying the analysis to arrive at the conclusion is incomplete.

    ps - if "the remaining core that's still intact and accounts for 90% of a teams victories and failures" is true, then that undermines the argument that lebron alone accounted for ALL that success and without him accounts for ALL this failure. again, we cannot know this for sure without all other factors remaining constant which clearly is not the case. we can replace A with B and say well B is just as good if not better than A. nevertheless, B is not A.

  41. Jason J Says:

    I can sympathize with both viewpoints here. It doesn't work to make 1 to 1 comparisons of a team that loses a star when so much else changes (really unless a guy gets hurt during the season, you never see a star leave with no other changes), but on the other hand the basic premise that LeBron was a tidal wave of basketball greatness that carried the Cavs as far as they got (or if you like the engine that made their other parts go) is hard to argue.

  42. huevonkiller Says:

    No it doesn't undermine anything.

    Last year they were a one man offense (and defense it seems) that had to play perfectly. This year they are a normal team where the top 5 players, all above 20% usage, take on the task of running the offense. The core of the supporting cast is all their, complaining about the 7th or 8th player loses sight of how pathetic a supporting cast they are.

  43. Dave Says:

    #26 - Gibson > West? really - then why did Mike Brown play west over Gibson almost all of last season - except when he needed 3 pt shooting???
    Delonte West is a headjob, but their second best perimeter defender after LBJ in '10. Sessions is indeed a better Player than Mo Williams - but Sessions is the ONLY player the team acquired.

    Ahh I can't be bothered making excuses for suck a bad team. They suck this season. Varejao had skills that complemented LeBron's. Maybe the Cav's problems the last two seasons has been they've been tinkering trying to acquire bit players to 'complement' LBJ, seems like perhaps they needed a system that forced LBJ to fit in ... like what he is facing in Miami - no you can't just call your own number every play on O ...

    The only comment on Shaq I'll make is when he plays with Rondo he looks better than he has been in 5 years (or is it just KG's got his back on D?).

  44. huevonkiller Says:

    Did Delonte West even play last season?

    Seriously, who the hell cares? He's a scrub and Gibson has excellent +/- impact.

  45. huevonkiller Says:

    Looks like LeBron's usage rate in Miami is pretty similar to Cleveland, so that's not right either Dave. You're just throwing things out there eh?

    Cleveland's problem, is that they play like the Sac Kings last year with James off the court. They need help in all areas, but that shouldn't be news to anyone.

  46. daveh Says:

    There is one irrefutable relevant statistic folks that don't believe James *was* the Cleveland Cavaliers should concern themselves: During the Cavaliers' LeBron Era, in the last 14 games James sat out, the Cavaliers' record was 1-13. And now, here we are.

    I rest my case.

  47. mike Says:

    that is not "irrefutable relevant statistic." firstly, many of those games came towards the end of the season (especially last year) when lebron and many other starters sat. having multiple other starters sit already skews the statistic. secondly, many other games were just 1 game here and another game there. sporadic random games during the course of an NBA season are outliers and have little statistical relevance. if you could point to a stretch of 10+ consecutive games where the roster was intact, minus lebron, and their record was 1-9 or so - then THAT is a more relevant stat. but random games over the course of any season, when NBA teams have little practice time to begin with (and thus had no real chance to re-adapt the gameplan without lebron for a game), offer little statistical relevance.
    look - there is no doubt the cavs were better with him. ALOT better. the notion that one player is responsible for 50 wins in the NBA is nonsense.

  48. daveh Says:

    Seriously, man, your ability to remain in such a wild state of denial is like Mrs. O'Leary's cow on roller skates. It really ain't safe.

  49. mike Says:

    did i argue that the cavs are not worse off? i am not arguing the conclusion - just the analysis. you cant make conclusive statements based on outliers and skewed statistics. they suck regardless and thats the bottom line. he was leaving regardless of what other talent was or was not there.

  50. huevonkiller Says:

    And yet you have zero evidence to say, he wasn't responsible for nearly every single win.

    And Neil has already shown what they play like with him OFF the court last year, which is pretty much this level.

  51. mike Says:

    i dont get why you dont understand what i am saying. i never once said he WASNT responsible for nearly every single win. i am saying we cannot reach that conclusion by comparing metrics from last year to this year, and only pointing to one factor (lebron leaving) as being the only reason for that huge difference when multiple factors are in play. I AM NOT ARGUING THE CONCLUSION! lol i have an issue with the analysis which is incomplete. thats all.

  52. Genius Says:

    The differential comparison of using last year's team with LBJ on/off court is then what you seek. Yet you continue to bang your head against a spikes.

    Cavs LAST YEAR NOT THIS YEAR:
    +11 with LBJ on - championship contender
    -5 with him off - worst team in the NBA

    The Heat this year:
    + 11 with LBJ on - you know the drill.
    +1.3 with LBJ off - not terrible, still a playoff team.

    But it's NOT the Lakers:
    +8.2 with Kobe on - you know the drill by now, I hope?
    +8.3 with Kobe off - you definitely know the drill, championship contending team.