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Archive for the 'Offseason' Category

Layups: Hoop Stream iPhone App

4th August 2011

BBR reader Darko Sancanin just released a new iPhone app called Hoop Stream:

Hoop Stream

It's pretty cool -- you can use it to follow the Twitter accounts of all active players on a given team, plus retired players as well.

Be sure to check Hoop Stream out in the App Store, and go to Darko's site to see the other apps he's developed.

Posted in Layups, No Math Required, Offseason | Comments Off on Layups: Hoop Stream iPhone App

Layups: Magic Interview

5th October 2010

Recently I had a chance to answer some Eastern Conference-related questions for Eddy Rivera of, a longtime friend of the BBR Blog. In the interview, we chatted about not just the Magic, but also the Heat and the Celtics. Check it out!

Posted in Layups, Offseason, Season Preview | Comments Off on Layups: Magic Interview

Will the 2011 Heat Emulate the 2007 Patriots?

24th September 2010

Sorry to go on a 2011 Miami Heat bender here, but BBR Blog reader Nick had an intriguing comment in response to yesterday's post about a possible weakness of the LeBron James/Dwyane Wade tandem:

"Trying to compare the Heat to anything that has ever come before is an exercise in futility. You have the best player in the league, who happens to LOVE to pass teamed up with the second-or-third best player, who also is pretty fond of passing to the open man. They may both have had similar styles, but they ended up in those styles due to their teams' set-ups. How LeBron will act now that he can people to pass to who are good in their own right cannot be predicted with the information we have.

There's never been anything like it before. Every Heat game is going to be worth watching, especially against the crappy teams, because you don't know what sort of thing they'll bring out when they're way ahead. It wouldn't surprise me if they have regular season games where Miller shoots 20 3s and scores 30+ points, just because they think it'd be fun to do. This Heat team goes way beyond special into the realm of surreal."

That reminded me of a Chase Stuart post at PFR in October 2007:

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Posted in Analysis, Non-Basketball, Offseason, Season Preview | 22 Comments »

Layups: Basketball Prospectus on Possible Summer Bargains

2nd September 2010

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).

Posted in Layups, Offseason | Comments Off on Layups: Basketball Prospectus on Possible Summer Bargains

Layups: Superstar Trades

27th July 2010

Even though the Chris Paul trade talk is cooling off after his meeting with Hornets brass yesterday, the possibility of the superstar PG changing teams remains a huge topic of conversation this summer -- especially after Paul's Redeem Team mates LeBron James & Chris Bosh relocated through free agency. The most interesting parts of CP3's possible move are the fact that he's still a megastar player, and that it would have to happen via trade, since Paul is still under contract for the next few seasons. Recently, Kevin Pelton of Basketball Prospectus looked at other blockbuster trades featuring a superstar under the age of 30 being dealt. He found that the most similar situation may have been when Tracy McGrady was shipped to Houston in 2004. (Btw, remember when T-Mac was awesome?)

Posted in Layups, Offseason | 2 Comments »

Layups: Kevin Pelton on the Perils of Long-Term Contracts

16th July 2010

Basketball Prospectus' Kevin Pelton has done some great research on the problems with handing out long-term contracts in the NBA:

"...It's not even the high cost of mediocrity that kills teams--it's the duration of it.

This jumped out at me over the course of compiling my position-by-position rankings of free agents. Sprinkled throughout these lists are players who have long since ceased to have any value to their team and have hung around solely because of their contract. [...] Often, like Antonio Daniels or the more extreme case of Cuttino Mobley, injury is a culprit. Sometimes, the player just aged. And occasionally, as in the case of Trenton Hassell, the contract was simply a mistake from day one.

...I see the takeaway as how teams can get themselves in trouble with the lengths of the contracts they offer as much as the yearly salary."

This is definitely true, and it's something the stats community has argued for a long time. True superstar free agent deals (Michael Jordan re-signing with Chicago in '96/97, Shaquille O'Neal signing with L.A. in '96, Kevin Garnett re-signing with Minnesota in '97, Tim Duncan re-signing with San Antonio in 2000, etc.) have largely been worth it. Likewise, low-cost players at the other end of the free agent spectrum invariably produce a good return on the investment: they come at no risk, and they’re usually just short-term deals, so if they flop, there are no long-term repercussions.

The middle class, however, is where ugly contracts are born. GMs have a long history of ignoring obvious warning signs when going after middle-class “established veterans”, which is why using the mid-level exception is usually a detriment to teams, not an advantage. The moral of the story is this: go all-in with your superstars, but when filling the rest of your roster, stick to the low-budget model of building through the draft and signing useful low-priced FA’s. And whatever you do, don't give long-term deals to middling players, because you will get burned.

Posted in Layups, Offseason | 13 Comments »

Layups: Interview on The Pulse Network

14th July 2010

After my LeBron Rant last week, Butch Stearns of The Pulse Network contacted me and asked me to be a guest on his program, The Sports Buzz:

Watch live streaming video from thepulsenetwork at

We covered the main thesis of the post, as well as some additional LeBron talk. Thanks again to Butch for having me on as a guest!

Posted in Layups, Offseason | 4 Comments »

Layups: Kevin Arnovitz on the Las Vegas Summer League

12th July 2010

In case you haven't been following the action on NBA TV, TrueHoop's Kevin Arnovitz has done a great job of recapping the events of the 2010 Las Vegas Summer League. Check out his posts:

Posted in Layups, Offseason | Comments Off on Layups: Kevin Arnovitz on the Las Vegas Summer League

The LeBron Rant

9th July 2010

Basketball is all about sharing, about unselfishness, about legends like Bill Russell doing whatever it takes to win. But apparently it's also about who has the bigger... um, contract.

You see, all we heard these past few days was whether LeBron and D-Wade could co-exist as "Alpha Males", or that LBJ joining Wade in Miami is supposedly something a true "Alpha Male" (ostensibly referring to Kobe or MJ) would never do... It's curious that this hyper-macho view of basketball first began to emerge less than two decades ago, though. Like a commenter said yesterday, the Michael Jordan era was so transformative that we may very well have have convinced ourselves that the MJ-Pippen formula (and the Alpha-Beta designations contained therein) is the only way to view the game. Heck, Bill Simmons even wrote a 700-page book that revises the entirety of NBA history to match that ultramasculine theory of basketball.

Yet in those same pages Simmons also extolled the virtues of "The Secret", which is allegedly about sacrificing numbers, money, and individual glory for team success... Well, isn't what LeBron did last night the living embodiment of The Secret, leaving millions on the table and turning himself into a hometown villain, all for the sake of winning? If Vince Lombardi was right and "winning isn't everything, it's the only thing", then LeBron made the only rational decision last night. But the dirty secret of commentators like Simmons is that winning by itself is not good enough -- you apparently also have to win while simultaneously vanquishing the idea of another male rival sharing your spotlight, because god forbid that another Alpha could possibly question your hoops authority when you're doing all that winning.

Oh, but I forgot, basketball is the ultimate team game, and it's all about sacrificing stats and glory for championships, right?

I guess this LeBron situation provides the ultimate opportunity for people to put their money where their cliches have been all these years.

Posted in No Math Required, Offseason, Rants & Ramblings | 281 Comments »

The James-Wade-Bosh Big Three, Part III: Expected W-L

8th July 2010

"Miami Thrice," they're calling it, and it would be perhaps the most impressive collection of individual superstars ever assembled on a single team. What seemed incredibly unlikely at the start of the free agent period is actually looking more than possible now, as reports claim LeBron James is "leaning towards" joining Dwyane Wade and the newly-signed Chris Bosh in South Beach to create a megateam of historic proportions.

But here's the question: if this trio gets together, what kind of damage can we expect this wrecking crew to inflict on the rest of the NBA? ESPN's John Hollinger weighed in with a PER-based analysis a week ago (he said Wade + Bosh + James + 10 replacement level ballers = 61 wins), but his system also dramatically underrated what the 2008 Celtics would do (he said 51 wins -- and I said 48, btw, so he didn't have a monopoly on being wrong), and that's the most recent example of a similar 3-star amalgamation.

In fact, the only method that correctly ballparked the C's greatness? Adjusted and/or Statistical Plus-Minus. So let's see what those systems see in the cards for a team with James, Wade, Bosh, and a bunch of nobodies.

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Posted in Analysis, Insane ideas, Offseason, Statgeekery, Statistical +/- | 35 Comments »