Relic

NBA 2017: Playoffs? Playoffs?!

430 posts in this topic

Truly, I don't see how this is even debatable. A superstar caliber player in basketball can have a significantly bigger impact on the game than in any other sport that I can think of. The only other sport that comes to mind where one individual can make as big an impact is soccer. 

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Anybody know anything about rugby? Can one dude thoroughly dominate that?

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21 hours ago, Jaime L said:

Through the time Westbrook came back into the game in the 4th, he'd put up an immaculate, efficient 38/7/7 and was +11 in 33 minutes. But OKC was down 5 because in the 5 minutes he wasn't in the game OKC was -16

So Westbrook doesn't get his usual rest and is hurried back in the game. He has zero lift in his legs and goes an ugly 2/11 down the stretch though context is everything. 

Even in losing, impossible to watch that series and not conclude Westbrook was way more valuable than Harden. Not only that but it presented the strongest case for vindicating the principal critique that he's been an unprecedented ball hog that murders his team's flow. But after watching that game after game, I don't get what the other option is. Alex freaking Abrines bricking more 3's? Roberson trying to raise his 12% FT percentage for the series? 

Westbrook outplayed everyone Houston threw at him including his MVP rival. It's just in the 8 minutes each game he sat everything fell apart, every damn time. You can argue, as I have, that he doesn't make his teammates materially better. But this series indicates, more than anything, his teammates are a fucking disaster without him.

Weird to say in a matchup of MVP candidates that the one getting knocked out in 5 games is the clearer choice than ever, but here we are (or at least here I am.) 

 

Plus/minus isn't an effective stat to use on isolated games. Way too little discretion. For example, last game Gibson had the highest +/- . On Friday Olapido lead the team in +/-. On Wednesday Kanter's and Adams were heads and shoulders above everyone else on the team, and in game 1 Westbrook's +/- was worst on the team. It's a pretty useless stat in isolation like that. So he was worst more often than he was best. But I'd not use this as an argument against him, rather to point out how useless +/- is in isolation over small samples. Much more a reflection of sub/rotation patterns, match ups, late-game tactics, etc. Over a season it can have some meaning. Over 1 series or 1 game it's just meaningless.

But to get to the larger argument of support, perception can lead and there's a difference between impact and value. A quarterback will by definition have more of an impact that a left guard. That's written into the position. In basketball, much less so...in fact the greatest given is that a center will almost certainly have the most defensive impact, but on offence it's much more a matter of style, choices, etc. But a point guard who calls his own number as often as he calls the entire rest of the team will necessarily, absolutely and without question go the furthest to determining that team's fate. To perceive that as value is IMO flawed, but I can see why it will...has to...look that way. But is it good for the team, and does it have to be that way? 

Going into game 5 Westbrook was something like 10th or 11th on his team in TS% for the playoffs. I think it'll be up some after game 5, but i'd be surprised if he was any better than middle of the pack. (Edit, I checked, and he was  7th...but to be fair, amongst people getting regular burn, he was 5th out of 8 players.)

TS% is the best measure of how effectively people are scoring when given shot opportunities, and while a good point guard can and will raise his teammate's effectiveness in this area, the fact that many/most teammates as it was were performing as well or better and he was still monopolizing the shots at (again) historic levels really doesn't support the idea that he's dragging them kicking and screaming to victory.

And that's without getting into the idea that he's in the meanwhile not giving anyone else an opportunity to get into a rhythm. The fact that his late game effectiveness plummeted game after game...and was known and still he kept doing the same things is not, IMO, some kind of nod to his stoicism, but a furtherance of his belief that he and only he can/will win the game. And that becomes self-perpetuating when you're a point guard. But because he is so clearly determining everything out there, the naked eye can and will mistake that with th precepts on he's there only hope. And any kind of volume stat will back that up, because if you pitch all the innings, you're going to get all the wins and strikeouts and shutouts, etc. And that's largely what RW does...again, he often takes more or about the same number of shots as the rest of the starters combined.

To contrast, in the series RW took 34 shots per 100 possessions. Harden took 25. That's an astonishing difference. Can you imagine how much Harden would be perceived to impact the game/his team if he was taking 50% more shots a game than he already is, and how 'useless' his teammates would appear to the naked eye? Harden's teammates seem more effective in part because they get a lot mor opportunity to seem so; Lou is only 3.6 Fga/100 behind Harden, and Hordon's only 0.4 behind him. Whereas Kanter is almost 8 Fga/100 behind, and next is Olapido at almost -10.

 

Uh, got run, more later.

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Awesome 4th quarter Bulls! 

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14 minutes ago, Ramsay B. said:

Awesome 4th quarter Bulls! 

That escalated quickly.

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21 hours ago, Relic said:

Yeah, the supporting cast question has been answered definitively, i think.

 

There was no such question.  Just people refusing to admit the obvious :P

 

16 hours ago, DunderMifflin said:

 It's like they watched Russ ball hog and play like he's on a frenzied coke binge for 82 games. You can't then all of the sudden when you are getting killed in the playoffs say to those guys -ok NOW do something- even though you've been watching Russ all year.

That's another thing I like in an MVP, making your teammates better. Not making them look like trash.

 

How do we know he did not make them better? None of his teammates have any track record of doing anything playing without Russ, like ever.  (accept maybe for Taj Gibson, when he was the 5th / 6th option on the Bulls and much, much younger).  What if this is all they can become at this stage in their careers, despite Russ making things easy for them?

Do we really know if Oladipo is actually any good? (By the way, playing with Russ, he had the best shooting percentage of his career).  Andre Robertson, who cannot score unless it's a layup? Grant? The Skinny Spanish Rookie? The so-called Mcbuckets, whom the imploding Bulls gave away for nothing (even though they should need outside shooting as they are one of the worst 3-point shooting teams in the NBA).

And, even though these players may have value in the right context, the real problem is that the squad is very poorly constructed, especially in the guard / wing rotation. The pieces don't fit.  It is full of athletes trying to play basketball with little shooting, little natural flow / basketball IQ, little creativity / shot creation.   When the playoffs come, and everyone is hustling (except, maybe for James Harden :)), you need some extra buckets out of nowhere (like Lou Williams, and Eric Gordon did again and again, and even Nene, and  Anderson did every once in a while). OKC guys do look like trash because they are not capable of doing those things.

 

15 hours ago, DunderMifflin said:

I dont think an mvp should tolerate that much scruberry on his squad.

 

What does he do not to tolerate?  Shoot 1000 free throws a day with Robertson?

 

4 hours ago, James Arryn said:

To contrast, in the series RW took 34 shots per 100 possessions. Harden took 25. That's an astonishing difference. Can you imagine how much Harden would be perceived to impact the game/his team if he was taking 50% more shots a game than he already is, and how 'useless' his teammates would appear to the naked eye? Harden's teammates seem more effective in part because they get a lot mor opportunity to seem so;

 

There is an identification problem here.  A chicken-egg problem, if you will.  RW does try too much.  In this series, he particularly forced it 4th quarters, and ended up hurting his shooting percentage, increase # of shots and usage even more (and they were already high).  Seems to me that he was convinced that that was the only way they could win:  I hate ball hogs, I hated Kobe (and watched pretty much all of his games for 8 years straight), yet in this particular instance, even as I was thinking "Dude, enough, stop jacking" I was also convinced that that is the only way OKC can have a chance.  

So, are OKC folks less effective because they don't get enough chances?  Or are they do not get enough chances because they are mostly ineffective? If Lou Williams was in the OKC squad, would he have gotten the Robertson treatment from Russ?

 

Ultimately, we will never know what would have happened if Russ has a slightly better fitting roster.  For example take: any guard / wing from OKC's bench.  (Grant? Abrines? Cole? whoever). Switch him with Lou Williams.  Or even Eric Gordon.  There is no doubt in my mind that  OKC will win that series.  But obviously, there is no way to know. And that's why this MVP discussion is so fascinating.

 

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3 hours ago, aeu said:

 

How do we know he did not make them better? None of his teammates have any track record of doing anything playing without Russ, like ever.  (accept maybe for Taj Gibson, when he was the 5th / 6th option on the Bulls and much, much younger).  What if this is all they can become at this stage in their careers, despite Russ making things easy for them?

Do we really know if Oladipo is actually any good? (By the way, playing with Russ, he had the best shooting percentage of his career).  Andre Robertson, who cannot score unless it's a layup? Grant? The Skinny Spanish Rookie? The so-called Mcbuckets, whom the imploding Bulls gave away for nothing (even though they should need outside shooting as they are one of the worst 3-point shooting teams in the NBA).

 

Yup.

Also, Dunder Mifflin is being a bit ridiculous in his blaming of Russ.

I was suprised when Chicago just gave up McDermott but clearly they were disappointed with him because if you recall, they traded up in that year's draft to get him, they were very keen on him. He may still have a good career and wasn't used much in OKC, but still, he may not be the second Kyle Korver after all.

Gibson is useful, and that is the best you can say. Oladipo is just about good enough to be a starting shooting guard as I've said for two years now. He is not a no. 2 option. Adams is clearly limited offensively, and that probably will not change to a large degree. Roberson is a small forward who actually cannot make free throws, hence the drama we witnessed. You normally only see this with centers. Small forwards are supposed to be scorers/shooters.

I did like the look of Grant though, OKC may want to keep him around.

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13 hours ago, Jaime L said:

The other thing about pitchers and goalies is they can't actually win you the game. At their very best, they can keep you from losing by keeping the other team from scoring.

Clearly you haven't watch this clip enough times. 

But anyway, I'm not denying the importance of superstars in the NBA; of course they're important. However, having an NBA superstar is a necessary, but not sufficient condition to win; if their teammates are awful enough. Whereas a superstar starting pitcher (obviously only for the games they play) or quarterback can have a lot more success even with awful teammates.

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New thread - 

 

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Posted (edited)

4 hours ago, Calibandar said:

Yup.

Also, Dunder Mifflin is being a bit ridiculous in his blaming of Russ

Whoa, lets stop that right there before it goes any farther. I didn't blame Russ for anything. I just don't think he should get mvp this year, along with 100s of other players. I think he's a great player and i would love him on my team. 

I was just responding to the claim that Russ tried hard while his teammates are all such scrubs they offered no help to Russell's one man show. Part of an mvp imo, a big part is making others around you better (or at least not worse) . That's easier said than done, but being mvp should have that high of a standard. 

Just from the numbers oladipo produced in OKC pretty much that same as he did in orlando. His scoring went down a little but most everything was pretty similar. 

Edited by DunderMifflin

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