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Layups: Most Popular Jerseys

Posted by Neil Paine on October 16, 2009

Sporcle wants to know: Can you name the best-selling NBA jerseys of 2009?

Posted in Layups | 2 Comments »

Layups: Name the Kentucky Champions of the 1990s

Posted by Neil Paine on October 15, 2009

Here's a Sporcle quiz for all of our college hoops fans, especially those hailing from the Bluegrass State: Can you correctly name the rosters of the Kentucky Wildcats' 1996 and 1998 NCAA Championship teams?

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YouTube Finds: Get Your Classic NBA Live Music On

Posted by Neil Paine on October 14, 2009

Back in the mid-to-late 1990s, EA Sports composer Traz Damji put together a series of ridiculously funky (and catchy) background songs for the best years of the NBA Live franchise. They became synonymous with video hoops action for a generation of young, impressionable gamers, and now they're available in all their old-school glory courtesy of YouTube:

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Posted in Just For Fun, Layups, YouTube Finds | 10 Comments »

Ten Thousand 2010s

Posted by Neil Paine on October 14, 2009

Quick question: What's the probability that the league's "best" team will win the championship this season? Okay, then what are the odds that a team outside the top 5 in talent will win it all? Outside the top 10? The top 15?

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Posted in Season Preview, Statgeekery | 5 Comments »

Layups: Superstars = More 3-Pointers

Posted by Neil Paine on October 13, 2009

Courtesy of Jon Nichols and, here's an interesting piece on the influence of star players on teammate 3-point shooting frequencies when they're on the court. For instance, last year's Magic shot a three-pointer 43% of the time when Dwight Howard was in the game -- and only 32% of the time when he wasn't -- despite Howard obviously being a non-3-point shooter. Intuitively, we notice that all the attention on Howard opened up the perimeter shot for his teammates, and it's cool to see the stats back up that particular observation.

Posted in Layups | 1 Comment »

A Quick Finder Search Regarding Durant’s Defense

Posted by Neil Paine on October 12, 2009

The b-ball blogosphere has been full of Kevin Durant chatter this weekend, after Wayne Winston criticized the young Thunder star for his poor adjusted plus/minus numbers. TrueHoop's Henry Abbott called Durant's rather pitiful APM performance to date (it was -8.62 last year, which is just ridiculously awful) a "conundrum", and there's really no other way to frame the situation than to say that apparently Durant's on-court impact is not matching that which you'd expect from his gaudy box score stats or his considerable basketball talent. In other words, he should have a better APM than he does.

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Posted in Analysis, General, Play Index | 11 Comments »

Quality of Teammates Revisited

Posted by Neil Paine on October 9, 2009

Last November, we used Win Shares to look back at the players who took the floor alongside the most talented offensive players over the course of their careers. Unfortunately, in that article I only looked at offensive teammate quality, and we only had Win Shares going back to the 1973-74 season. Today, though, Justin's efforts have given us WS extending back to every season for which the NBA tracked minutes (through 1951-52, in case you were wondering). So I thought now would be as good a time as any to revisit the topic of teammate quality using offensive, defensive, and total Win Shares since 1952.

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Posted in History, Statgeekery, Win Shares | 7 Comments »

Layups: The New Basketball Prospectus Book Is Here!

Posted by Neil Paine on October 8, 2009

Thanks to Kevin Pelton, Brad Doolittle, and the rest of the team that makes Basketball Prospectus great, there's a new NBA annual that should be gracing your (digital or real-world) bookshelves as soon as possible: Pro Basketball Prospectus 2009-10 is now officially available via download today, and will be ready in hard copy form soon as well. We've already gotten a chance to look at it, and I can say that it's a truly awesome effort that very much raises the bar for the rest of us. Check it out, and I think you'll be as impressed as I am.

Posted in Consumer Testimonials, Layups | 4 Comments »

Layups: Cubes Says ’10 Mavs > ’06 Mavs

Posted by Neil Paine on October 8, 2009

Via Ball Don't Lie: Mark Cuban is excited about this year's Dallas Mavericks squad, to such a degree that he's calling their roster "much better" than the one that came oh-so-close to the championship in 2006. So what do you think? Is he right? Did the additions of Shawn Marion, Drew Gooden, Tim Thomas, Kris Humphries, Nathan Jawai, and Quinton Ross really make Dallas a Finals-worthy team again? Or is the West so much stronger than it was 4 years ago that Dallas could theoretically be more talented and still have a worse record and/or postseason finish?

Posted in Layups | 4 Comments »

Layups: Rondo’s D Gets Its Due

Posted by Neil Paine on October 8, 2009

Over at Celtics Hub, Zach Lowe has some thoughts on Rajon Rondo's high ranking in the NBA's annual GM poll:

"Has Rondo really progressed to the point that he should be considered one of the 10 best overall defensive players? Frankly, this seemed at first glance premature. Rondo is undoubtedly a good defensive player. He’s long, smart and annoying as hell on the ball. But he’s also a gambler, and we’ve seen him compromise our defensive structure going for those reach-around steals. [...] My naked-eye impression is that he is overrated as a screen/roll defender.

Of course, ranking players based on their defense is fraught with problems. The NBA is a team game, and different teams use different schemes. Some switch on screen-rolls; some don’t. Some help more aggressively than others. Trying to evaluate a single player outside of his team defensive scheme is a little like ripping a few pages out of a book and judging the author based on those pages.

That said, there are some metrics that at least attempt to measure a player’s defensive ability. I checked them all to see if Rajon really does deserve to be mentioned among the league’s elite defenders.

And you know what? We might be that point with him already."

We've been big Rondo backers for a while now, and the projections for this season see him as -- shocker alert! -- Boston's most valuable player (mainly for his defense) if Kevin Garnett loses a step after missing most of the 2nd half of last season due to injury. So it's nice to see that the league's top personnel evaluators are also starting to take note of Rondo's D as well.

Posted in Layups | 8 Comments »