Friday, May 14, 2010

An Open Letter To The Internet

Dear People,

Just relax. LeBron James is human. No one can win a championship by themselves. No one has a great game every night. Even Jordan, in my opinion the best player ever, had another top 25 player in his prime, and a very good supporting cast. A very good team that relies on defense and a balanced offensive attack will often beat a team with a superstar and a mediocre supporting cast. That is just how basketball works. That was the case when the Bad Boys beat the young Bulls, it was the case when the Sonics beat Kareem's Lakers two years in a row, and it is the case now. This a surprise because the Celtics were written off, not because any player, even LeBron, is an unstoppable force. Just remember, even Jordan needed Pippen. Even Jordan needed Dennis Rodman to shut down the Mailman. Even LeBron is human. And that's a good thing, because if he wasn't fallible, what would be the point of watching?


Waiting For Groza

Thursday, May 13, 2010

More Doppelgangers

Career stats; the numbers are normalized to 36 minutes a game. These are just their basic stats, but their other numbers are pretty close, too.

Kevin McHale20.
Carl Landry18.

Damon Stoudamire14.
Luke Ridnour13.

Jeff Green14.
Ryan Gomes14.

This post was made possible with the use of Basketball-Reference's play index.

Monday, May 3, 2010

A Final Thought On Lakers-Thunder

I know the series ended a few days ago, and no one cares about it anymore other than the people who are going to raid the game footage for their Luke Walton highlight videos, but as a follow up to my (subjective) observation that Collison played much better defense on Bynum and Gasol than Kristic did, I took a look at each player's plus/minus numbers for the series.

Using traditional boxscore stats, Kristic looked better than Collison. Each player was on the court of 129 minutes, 21.5 a game. Kristic averaged 7 points, 6 rebounds, and a 14.6 PER. Nick Collison averaged 3 points, 5 rebounds, and had a 5.1 (that's not a typo) PER. And yet (per ESPN's boxscores) plus/minus tells a completely different story, with Kristic at -41 for the series and Collison at +33.

Small sample size caveats apply, but I think it's safe to say something was going on here, and there's a good chance that something was what I noticed subjectively-that Collison was not allowing whichever Laker big he was guarding to get good positioning down low, while the Lakers were dominating down low when Kristic was in the game.

It seems that Scottie Brooks might have noticed this too, because after subbing Collison in for Kristic in the third quarter of Game 6, he kept Collison in for the rest of the game. Initially, it seemed not to matter because, even though the Lakers couldn't get anything going inside, their scrubs got hot from downtown (the Lakers went 12-24 from three on the game). However, Collison's defense, and a couple of absolutely beautiful picks he set to free Durant and Westbrook for key three pointers down the stretch, were a big part of what allowed the Thunder to catch the Lakers and almost win the game. All of which just goes to show that a player with a 5.1 PER can be valuable.