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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.
With a hat tip to TrueHoop, here's a post from NBA Playbook on an interesting phenomenon to those of us obsessed with stats -- players who are good in one "pure" shooting metric and bad in another.
"Doing a little college basketball stuff, I came across Obi Muonelo, who plays for Oklahoma State. Looking at his stats, I was amazed to see that Muonelo was only a 58.9% free throw shooter, despite being a 42.6% three point shooter. I took my amazement to Twitter, and the great Tom Haberstroh let me know that this happens in the NBA too:
Tom’s list is an all-time single season list (and Bruce Bowen is featured a ton there), and it got me thinking. I decided to use this past season and take a look at above average three point shooters with at least 100 attempts (35.6%) and try to figure out why they are below average free throw shooters (76.2%)."
I always felt that FT% is the best indicator of pure shooting form, since unless the player resorts to a gimmicky, Rick Barry-style approach, it's just him, his mechanics, and a basket 15 feet away. Meanwhile, 3P% can be influenced by so many more factors, depending on the player's style of play and/or role in the offense; for instance, look at Jason Kidd's magical transformation from a guy nicknamed "Ason" to a 43% 3-point shooter (!!!) in Dallas. FT% is far less dependent on contextual effects, which seems to make it a better indicator of a player's underlying skill.
Severaltimes in the past, I've looked at what I called "Team Continuity" -- that is, the amount of minutes/possessions/etc. that a team gave to players who had been on their roster the year before. Today, I want to extend the concept to the NBA as a whole and examine league continuity, specifically the 5-year periods since the merger in which the league had the biggest influx of new talent.
Here's an update to the Team USA stats I posted on Tuesday, which includes yesterday's game (in addition to the entire group stage of the FIBA World Championships so far, and the USA's international tour leading up to the World Championships):
Here's a post for fans of players who provide a lot of bang for the buck: over at Basketball Prospectus, Marc Normandin used their SCHOENE projection system to put together a list of this summer's best under-the-radar acquisitions (including underrated new Chicago Bull Ronnie Brewer).
In sports, expectations can be a funny thing. While in the end no amount of losing is truly tolerated, some coaches can get away with sub-.500 seasons while others can be fired despite a reasonable amount of success, all because of front office expectations for the team. Take a football example -- Marty Schottenheimer, for instance. Schottenheimer was fired by the Browns in 1989 despite a 40-23 record (with 4 playoff appearances) in the previous 4 seasons, simply because Cleveland could never quite get over the hump in the postseason. Fast-forward 18 years, and Schottenheimer was canned by the Chargers for the very same reason, despite 3 straight winning seasons and a 14-2 record in 2006. In each case, the team was no more successful under Schottenheimer's replacement (perhaps revealing that management's expectations were too high in the first place), but that's of little consolation to the unemployed coach who, for the most part, did his job well.
So with this phenomenon in mind, here are ten NBA coaches for whom winning simply wasn't enough -- namely, the top 10 W-L seasons by coaches who were fired the following offseason: