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NBA Off-Season 2019 - Bridge Over the River Kawhi

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Looking at the standings with over half the season over, have to say that I'm impressed as the Heat, Raptors, Mavs and Thunder (in that order) are doing a lot better than I'd have expected. Honestly thought they'd all be around the 8th seed at best, but even the Thunder are comfortably in 7th, with the gap from 7th to 8th bigger than the gap from 8th to 14th.

Also, the Sixers aren't doing too bad, but I thought they'd be doing better. I thought that they'd be competing with the Bucks but they would be well off pace even without the Bucks going into 70 wins territory.

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I know he scored a lot of points in a short period of time, but that Zion 3 pt shot is ugly as sin.

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2 hours ago, BigFatCoward said:

I know he scored a lot of points in a short period of time, but that Zion 3 pt shot is ugly as sin.

He looked amazing once he got comfortable, and frankly, a dude that strong will likely never have a smooth jumper. But if he can shoot like that, and pass like that, he’s going to destroy the league in an unprecedented way absent injuries.

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I’m moving this to where it belongs to end the derail.

15 hours ago, DMC said:

Is that term actually a thing?  Wonder how his rape victims feel about that.  Anyway, yeah, I'd put him ~ Barkley on an all-time list.

Yes. It’s slang to add “stan” on to something to indicate irrational supporters of it. Kobestan is one of the most common uses of it.

I’m not sure how the rape chargers factor into things, but I think the rings are the only thing that places him above Barkley.

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Can you link me this?  It doesn't seem to take into account usage based on the Jeff Teague mention.  Kobe - and for a more extreme example Iverson - had a low percentage because that's how probability works.  If you attempt enough shots within a given game, you're going to regress to the mean (either positively or negatively).  Can say this from my own experience as a HS basketball player.  There were times when I wanted to beat a certain rival in a free-throw competition and I'd make 30-40 in a row.  But there were also times I missed 4-5 free throws in a row and even my coach was like WTF?  Just happens over a large sample, which is what usage rate expresses on a per game basis.

Sorry, here (and funnily enough, Teague now dropped below Kobe):

https://www.basketball-reference.com/leaders/ts_pct_career.html

To be clear, there are a number of flaws to this. For starters the bigs should be removed, but idk how to do that on this site. Eras also need to be controlled for due to changes in pace, shooting, technique etc. The best counterargument I could find last night while reading a few articles was that during Kobe’s peak (generally listed as 01-10), his efficiencies were close to Jordan’s and LeBron’s, but that was comparing his prime versus their entire careers. Kobe was actually kind of terrible post prime, and that drags his numbers down a lot.

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5 minutes ago, Tywin et al. said:

Kobe was actually kind of terrible post prime, and that drags his numbers down a lot.

Yeah, the last couple years there he just decided to be the entire Lakers offense.  Anyway, thanks for the link.  Big men are always going to have an easier time producing a TS%, sure, but the list also demonstrates my point regarding usage.  There's a lot of great shooters both past and present that are only slightly higher on that list - from Wade to Glen Rice to Joe Dumars to fucking Jerry West, who is barely ahead of Bryant.

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7 minutes ago, Tywin et al. said:

To be clear, there are a number of flaws to this. For starters the bigs should be removed, but idk how to do that on this site. Eras also need to be controlled for due to changes in pace, shooting, technique etc. The best counterargument I could find last night while reading a few articles was that during Kobe’s peak (generally listed as 01-10), his efficiencies were close to Jordan’s and LeBron’s, but that was comparing his prime versus their entire careers. Kobe was actually kind of terrible post prime, and that drags his numbers down a lot.

Its not just bigs. You'd have to remove the spot up shooters too.

Anyway shooting percentage isn't really a good measure by itself. Kobe's problem was more that he wanted to do everything himself, going against double teams and such. He gets praise when he succeeds and scorn when he fails which is where I suspect the disparity lies. Some people would struggle to even put a shot up in his situation (praise) but on the flip side, just pass the damn ball and win 4 on 3 (scorn).

Personally, I thought that Gasol deserved at least one of his Finals MVPs*, and Kobe was the problem in their loss against Boston. Not a fan of ordinal rankings** though, wish people would just use tiers instead of splitting hairs and then determining their value by colour, thickness, straightness/curliness on their whims.

 

Also, where/what is the standard objective rating we are going by if we are determining if someone if over/under rated? If you don't have a common standard, you're basically just fighting your favourite strawman.

 

*MVPs are pageants anyway, so :dunno:

**I googled rankings, not sure if thats the right word but basically 1,2,3,4,5?

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31 minutes ago, DMC said:

Yeah, the last couple years there he just decided to be the entire Lakers offense.  Anyway, thanks for the link.  Big men are always going to have an easier time producing a TS%, sure, but the list also demonstrates my point regarding usage.  There's a lot of great shooters both past and present that are only slightly higher on that list - from Wade to Glen Rice to Joe Dumars to fucking Jerry West, who is barely ahead of Bryant.

I’m not sure that usage rate actually matters though unless you’re widely inconsistent. Harden is 14 on that list and he’s been one of the top usage rate players over the last few seasons.

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5 minutes ago, Tywin et al. said:

I’m not sure that usage rate actually matters though unless you’re widely inconsistent. Harden is 14 on that list and he’s been one of the top usage rate players over the last few seasons.

Harden's game is to maximise TS% though? Free throws, lay ups and three pointers only and also in that order.

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38 minutes ago, Tywin et al. said:

I’m not sure that usage rate actually matters though unless you’re widely inconsistent. Harden is 14 on that list and he’s been one of the top usage rate players over the last few seasons.

Harden is an outlier, and Proudfeet explains why.  Point is, if you controlled for usage rate on TS%, Kobe would look just fine.  As for why usage rate matters, see above.  The more shots you take in a given game, the more likely you are to regress to a certain mean.  And Kobe's mean is fine.  I mentioned Iverson earlier, if we were talking about him, yeah, his mean is distinctly lower than what it should be for someone dominating the ball as much as he did.

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Maintaining high TS% when you have a very high usage rate is really hard for many reasons. When you are the first option on offense, you are the first priority of the opposing defenses every night. Also the first option is usually is the guy who gets the ball in the last seconds of the shot clock when the play breaks down and the team needs a bailout play. Tiredness also plays a role, obviously. Creating and taking 30 shots in a game against NBA defences is exhausting. This is what makes the superstars who can maintain high efficiency at very high usage rate so special.

Kobe was really good at this, but not as good as the two superstars his fans like to compare him with - Jordan and LeBron.

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6 hours ago, DMC said:

Harden is an outlier, and Proudfeet explains why.  Point is, if you controlled for usage rate on TS%, Kobe would look just fine.  As for why usage rate matters, see above.  The more shots you take in a given game, the more likely you are to regress to a certain mean.  And Kobe's mean is fine.  I mentioned Iverson earlier, if we were talking about him, yeah, his mean is distinctly lower than what it should be for someone dominating the ball as much as he did.

There are other stats you can look at that show that Kobe was an all-time great, but not among the greats of the greats (which is really like 8 or 9 dudes). And that's the point I was trying to make when saying he was comparable to Jeter. 

5 hours ago, David Selig said:

Kobe was really good at this, but not as good as the two superstars his fans like to compare him with - Jordan and LeBron.

FYI the conversation started in another thread, and the argument started with stating that Derek Jeter is the most overrated all-time great baseball player. A point nobody seemed to dispute. The reason why I included the Kobe comparison was because of the above. Lots of people put him with those two which is silly.

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As far as Kobe goes, I did love late career Kobe when he just stopped giving a fuck and said whatever he wanted in interviews.  Dude cracked me up.

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8 hours ago, The Last Storm said:

Zion looked good in his debut. But his body holding up would be a big scare for me. I mean, I guess that’s what makes him so unique, being that athletic and that big but shit.

Watching him walk, even when he's on the floor but away from the play is concerning.  His gait is off.   Yeah, when he's playing he's smooth as hell.  But it really does look like he's carrying to much mass for his body.  Which for most humans would be fine.  Most of it appears to be muscle.  He's a professionally athlete in a sport that puts an awful lot of impact stress on the body, particularly the knees and ankles.  He's as gifted a playing as I have ever seen, he's not out of shape, and he apparently is a hard worker.  But they can't help him get his mass down, he's likely to blow his knees out.  

 

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Portland getting crushed at home by Luka D.

How weird is Portland right now in the following way:

Western Conference Finals last year (and was a sweep but two games easily could have gone the other way) but now a pretty bad team that's falling further out of the playoffs in the West, but their top two players were in their prime, returned, and have been healthy.

That seems like an unusual tumble.  They have indeed have terrible other injuries with Nurkic and Collins all year until now and Rodney Hood out most of the year and now done.  But again, with their top two people back, this much of a drop still seems quite unusual.  And all of this is in the surreal situation of Carmelo coming in to stop the bleeding.  

In addition to those injuries I think that Harkless and Aminu were guys that might have really helped the team without blowing you away on the highlights or stat sheet.  

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Portland is just so beat up. Nurkic and McCollum aren't world-beaters, but they are certainly better than Swanigan. Whiteside is an imbicile, long arms or no. I only casually watched the game - I love watching Doncic but the defense was so atrocious I turned it off - and a lot of it was Whiteside being completely unable to keep up with more than one quick switch or help rotation. I don't think they would be top 4 in the west even fully healthy, though. Which is too bad. Dame is just thrilling to watch.

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I think that it is a combination of them overachieving last season, many injuries and that the other teams have improved. I mean, look at who are in secure playoff spots now. Lakers, Clippers, Mavs from this season, Denver from last season, and then the Jazz and Rockets. Even the Spurs are out/barely in. Only surprise is the Thunder after losing Westbrook and PG.

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Portland's bench is so bad after the Collins injury they are playing Hezonja and Tolliver, two of the very worst players in the league, 16 MPG.

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I agree with Proudfeet that the Blazers overachieved last year, and even more so with Argonath Diver that Whiteside is a net negative on any on which team he plays.  When Whiteside left the Heat, they immediately got better, and only 90% of that was the arrival of Jimmy Butler.

The fascinating thing about Portland is the arrival of Melo.  This portion of his career seems to bear out the notion that the presence of Melo on a team has no bearing on whether they win or lose.  He will score his points and play little defense, and despite the beauty of his offensive game, it won't actually make any difference whether he was there or not.

If you enjoy seeing some pure step-back jumpers and low post mano-a-mano, the Blazers are what to watch, but if you are a Portland fan, it is all just empty calories.

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