Did I Just Say That?

Kurt —  November 9, 2006

The Lakers have a lot of young talent to play in the paint — Turiaf and Bynum lead the way — but they need to be more consistent.

We’re counting on Kwame Brown to bring that steadiness.

Wow. Never thought I’d type that.

Kurt

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28 responses to Did I Just Say That?

  1. a little off topic, but read this in the LA Times this morning, describing the play of Kobe-
    “He hit a reverse in the first quarter that stirred memories of the old, pre-surgery Bryant. He also succeeded on his cross-over dribble on a couple of occasions, including one in the second quarter where he crossed over, hung in the air and dunked a short jumper while drawing a foul. He also hit a driving layup as time expired in the second quarter to bring the Lakers to within 55-49.”
    …can someone explain to me how someone can “dunk a short jumper” (maybe that stretch guy from the Fantastic 4)…I watched the game, don’t recall seeing any superhero’s out there.

  2. Ok…I was wrong. Odom seems to have lost his way. I hope he gets his aggressiveness back soon because he’s driving me nuts. I didn’t actually watch the game, but by all accounts it seems like he had a bad, passive game. Did he just seem tired from too many minutes/bad conditioning? Or is he just deferring again?

  3. Excellent work on the pre-game analysis for Portland. I wish you weren’t so right about Zach Randolph.

    I found myself pining for Kwame last night as well. A very curious feeling indeed.

  4. I was defintley missing Kwame last nite. Last nite reminded me of the Rudy T. Lakers, with no perimeter D and Odom stuck on the opposing teams best post-player, Kobe handling the ball too much while people stand, this was the recipe for a losing season and obviously we lost.

    As far as Odom, I feel this is the staff’s fault more than anyone. Take a look at where Odom is receiving the ball, in the first 3 games he was moved all over the court, and got some post-touches, free-throw extended and the perimeter. The last two games hes been stuck behind the three point-line, and thats just stupid, hes not a spot-up shooter, he needs to be closer to the hoop and have the ball more, this will allow him to create for others and score, otherwise, expect games like last nite from LO.

    Gathino- totally feel you on completley ignoring Alexi Lalas, and thats nothing against him, but FSN, PLEASE STOP LIVEWIRE IT IS A COMPLETE DISTRACTION AND NUSIANCE

  5. So when Kwame comes back, he’s a keeper (plus he has a long contract). But what do we do with Mihm? If you say trade him, what type of player do you think we need and should shop for? (and don’t say a LeBron type)

    80 and 2, that we can do.

  6. 2. Odom was fairly aggressive in the first quarter but seemed to me to fade later, and kwame a. gives good reasons. I’m cutting him some slack because he had to defend KG then Randolph on back to back-to-back nights.

    3. Thanks. In theory these previews get more accurate the more games I see. Of course, that theory is often proven wrong.

  7. I think Kwame will be an asset in guarding guys like Randolph. Who are too big for Lamar (weight wise) and too quick for Bynum. I have no doubt he can do that. The question is: Can he catch the ball and hit his freaking layups!!?!?!?!

  8. And I can’t beleive Livewire is back. That just makes my ears bleed.

  9. I didn’t see the game since I was at Staples, but I guess this would mean Bynum got an F on that big test.

    Kobe is the cap on this team’s potential. TRADE KOBE.

  10. great idea John, i’ll have to call Mitch about that immediately.

  11. In response to #2, Odom didn’t lose his way. He just ran up against some serious PF’s defending him in KG and Randolph. If Kwame would just learn how to play the PF position, we could go with Luke/Kobe/Odom/Kwame/Bynum as a lineup.

  12. Hate to state the obvious, but is anyone really surprised that the Lakers lost on the second of a back-to-back at the Rose Garden of all places?

  13. Seconding Paul’s lineup suggestion. For now put Turiaf into Kwame’s slot, and I’m a happy camper (as long as we’re winning).

    To trade Mihm, I think we’d want a BJ Armstrong/Steve Kerr/Craig Hodges type. Who’s out there? I like Salim Stoudamire, and Atlanta should be willing to trade for anyone who isn’t a 2/3 combo guy. I’d LOVE to get Arroyo from Orlando, the guy’s just a winner. Reddick is a risk, but if they can throw in Darko (and we throw in McKie…?). Duhon in Chicago would be great. Brent Barry, though I doubt he’s available (though Duncan would love to move back to the 4).

  14. Jackson really needs to find a way to fit both Kobe and Odom within the context of the offense. Not easy to do, a work in progress. They both have been together in the triangle for only about a season and a half and there are a lot of new players too.

    The thing I find most exciting is with the passing abilities of players like Walton, Bynam and Farmar, when everything does click, it will be something to behold.

    Defensively, there is a long way to go too.

  15. Sort of stating the obvious here, but Bynum in back-to-backs this season has not been impressive. Early foul trouble both times and an overall poor performance.

    Jones – To run with your comments on Kwame, I think Kwame catching the ball and making layups has more to do with his head than with his hands. It’s some sort of Steve Sax / Chuck Knoblauch problem. In that sense, if Kwame becomes confident in his role as a defender, I think the hands thing will take care of itself.

  16. Well you arent going to get that type of player for Mihm, he just isnt worth anything you be lucky to get a draft pick and a scrub for him. NO way you are getting Darko. What killed you guys (yes I am a blazer fan) was Kobi ball, you started out using the triangle in all of its brutal effiectiviness but it broke down do to the foul trouble. All the hype about Bynumb was proven to be hype, no way is he the next shaq, he got schooled by Zbo and Jamaal but Odom disappeared which was a bit shocking to me. Luke was under used but your bench didnt to anything that I can remember, blazers got lucky picking up Ime Udoka and Steven Graham to fill in for Miles. you want miles? :D trade you luke for him. jk

    miles has no place on portland’s team.

  17. In response to John:

    How is all that hype proven to be hype if this youngster is only 19? I’m pretty sure no one with common sense thought he was going to break out this year.

  18. One more post for today. Fun Lakers facts on the young season.

    At home the Lakers have been whistled for an average of 17 2/3 fouls per game (and have never reached 20, no team has an AVERAGE of 20) while their opp have been tweeted 27 times per. On the road the Lakers are dinged 26 2/3 times per game and their opp 27 1/3. The Lakers have the largest foul differential in the league by far at 5, but as we see, this difference is only significant at home. If the difference of 2/3 fouls on the road held constant for both home and road it would put them at an uninteresting 12th.

    Huh, home court advantage indeed. A difference of over 9 fouls per game vs opp at home and a difference of 9 vs thier own play on the road. Are the Lakers really playing defense that differently away from home? Its the same 14 or so players right? Looking at the back to back Seattle games it was 16 fouls to 30 in LA, then 24 to 27 in Seattle. Same teams, 2 nights apart, just change the city.

    Well, everyone experiences home court advantage you say. Hmm, maybe not so much in either consistency or degree. Looking at average fouls called in all games the Lakers opponents have played so far (so as I am not accused of cherry-picking interesting teams) home and away:
    POR 21 H 27 A
    SEA 26 H 24 2/3 A
    GSW 26 H 20 2/3 A
    PHO 24 H 28 1/3 A
    MIN 26 H 21 A

    I know all basketball fans, and Lakers fans in particular, are very interested in the ideals of fairplay. This is an admittedly small sample, but the possibilities put forth make me want to follow this trend throughout the season. Or more likely I’ll forget or not care or something because I can’t find anywhere that tracks home vs away fouls and it will get more difficult to do this by hand as we approach 82.

  19. 18: “This is an admittedly small sample…”

    You think?

  20. John R’s method may be flawed, because his sample size is ludicrously small, but the issue raised is an interesting one.

    1. Is there such a thing as home-court officiating ?
    2. If so, what teams benefit the most from home-court officiating?

    The quickest way that I figured to answer these questions, and still get a somewhat meaningful answer, is as follows: (1) look up, on Yahoo, free-throws attempted (“FTA”) for the past two seasons for every NBA team, split into “home” and “away”; (2) paste these FTA numbers into a spreadsheet, and; (3) calculate the percentage difference between each team’s FTA at home and FTA when away.

    The top-5 teams for the past two years are as follows:

    2004-2005:
    Portland Trail Blazers (18% Advantage)
    Milwaukee Bucks (14% Advantage)
    Golden State Warriors (14% Advantage)
    Charlotte Bobcats (12% Advantage)
    Los Angeles Lakers (11% Advantage)

    2005-2006
    Minnesota Timberwolves (17% Advantage)
    Denver Nuggets (15% Advantage)
    Miami Heat (14% Advantage)
    Detroit Pistons (12% Advantage)
    Dallas Mavericks (11% Advantage)

    In other words, none of the top-5 teams who had the highest home-court officiating advantage in 2004-2005 repeated the following year. Indeed, my impression from looking at the spreadsheet results is that there is no correlation between 2004-2005 and 2005-2006.

    On the other hand, there does appear to be a home-court bias by the officials.

    In 2005-2006, only six teams had a home-court disadvantage and the biggest disadvantage was a mere 4% for the Houston Rockets.

    In 2004-2005, only six teams had a home-court disadvantage and the biggest disadvantage was a mere 9% for the New Jersey Nets (“mere” as compared with the 18% advantage for the Portland Trailblazers).

    In sum, there does appear to be such a thing as home-court officiating but the advantage does not appear to favor any specific team.

    For anybody who wants to check my math, or see results for any specific NBA team, the spreadsheet is available at:
    http://derek-banducci.com/wp-content/HomeCourtAdvantage.xls

  21. One problem with the home court advantage statistics is you have to identify what type of team each is. For example, perhaps Houston’s problem is that they are a slow-down physical, defensive team. The NBA is making things tougher on those types of teams.

  22. Lucky for everyone, I’m keeping spreadsheets on every game:

    Game 1 (Home) vs. Suns: Lakers 19 fouls, Suns 25 fouls
    -anyone who watched the way the Lakers take it to the paint this game knows why this discrepancy is here.

    Game 2 (Away) vs. Warriors: Lakers 30 fouls, Warriors 31 fouls

    Game 3 (Home) vs. Sonics: Lakers 16 fouls, Sonics 30 fouls
    -this one freak game is what accounts for a lot of the skewed numbers that John R has noticed

    Game 4 (Away) vs. Sonics: Lakers 24 fouls, Soncis 27 fouls
    -closer, but notice in the two away games so far the Lakers still foul less

    Game 5 (Home) vs. Twolves: Lakers 18 fouls, Twolves 26 fouls
    -Andrew Bynum shoots 10 and Kobe 7 of the Lakers total 27. If one actually watched this game, it should come as no surprise that on a night that Bynum was fed in the paint he was fouled. A lot.

    Game 6 (Away) vs. Blazers: Lakers 26 fouls, Blazers 24 fouls
    -Here it is. The only game out of six that the Lakers fouled more than their opponent. This is out of 3 home games and 3 away games.

    So the Twolves game where Bynum destroyed and the first Sonics game account for the big discrepancy. That first Sonics game, they were just off. Like the Lakers were off the following night. You can also factor in the Suns game, where they played like doo-doo. Maybe one could make a case for home town cooking in that Sonics game. But I watched it and didn’t see anything weird. But the Suns and Twolves just had bad games and got burned. Thus, the discrepancy John R. has noted.

  23. A blogger on another blog brought up some statistics on Lamar that I thought quite illuminating – also logical. When he plays big, somewhat athletic PFs he has bad games. I guess it should seem obvious that Lamar gets exhausted and discouraged when he gets beat up defensively. That means there won’t be as much activity On offense.

    I really think the most effective coaches in all sports learn to fit their systems to the players they have. Of course, over time, they also draft players that fit their styles. It seems Phil is trying to fit Lamar into the 4 because he wants him to operate closer to the basket. Well, maybe the 3 is a better position when we face really good PFs (like in the Western Conf) and Phil should revise the triangle to fit this fact. I know, you can’t just change the triangle philosophy, but each team does run it differently.

    I am in favor of really trying to make Lamar an integral part of the system for the next 2/3 months. If he is still constantly up and down, then I suggest we think about trading him (and his salary). He will have had 2 years in the triangle at that time and 2.5 years with Kobe.

  24. 21. Suppose that Houston in 2005-2006 was indeed a slow-down physical defensive team.

    That still does not explain why they averaged 23.7 FTA at-home and 24.6 FTA away, a 4% home-court disadvantage.

    Unless teams change their style of play based on whether they are at-home or away, my method accounts for different styles of play by different teams because it compares “Houston-away” against “Houston-at-home”.

  25. Ahhhh…the conspiracy theories never do stand up to the facts do they?

  26. I don’t think anything (conspiracy theory or not) has been disproved, and I admitted to the small sample size. The other comments didn’t seem to try to say that the issue was completely closed. Lets watch it and see what happens.

    Also, Im focusing on fouls because I think FTA are something else. A early series of foul calls (or lack of them), even ones that don’t result in free throws, can have an undue effect on the course of a game.

    For a singular example, lets look at PHO/DAL last night. In the fourth when JET drives the lane and Barbosa kicks his legs out from under him. JET hits the floor hard…no call. Lets say that happens in the first and the ref doesn’t call it. NOONE is coming into the lane after that. An extreme example, but it just happened.

    More interesting is the clutch and grab foul calls. If the refs are letting the Lakers be a little more “aggressive” on D at home on the perimeter, this obviously helps them in the long run while keeping the FTAs down on the fouls that do get called.

    I don’t think my method was flawed because the sample is small. The observation isn’t complete yet. And I don’t think FTA’s capture everything that total fouls called do. Let’s just continue to watch and see.

  27. Even if personal fouls (“PF”) are a better proxy than free-throws attempted (“FTA”) for measuring favorable officiating, that still doesn’t change anything.

    I. THERE IS NO “MOST FAVORED TEAM” BY THE OFFICIALS

    Just as with the FTA proxy, using a PF’s proxy shows that no single team gets more of a home-court officiating advantage than any other team.

    With one exception (the Boston Celtics) the teams who benefited most in 2004-2005 were all different from the teams who benefited most in 2005-2006. Also, from eye-balling the spreadsheet results, there appears to be no correlation between 2004-2005 and 2005-2006.

    Here are the abbreviated results:

    2005-2006 (Top 5 Teams with fewer PF’s called at-home as compared with PF’s called when away):

    San Antonio Spurs (15% Advantage)
    Dallas Mavericks (14% Advantage)
    Boston Celtics (12% Advantage)
    Indiana Pacers (10% Advantage)
    Utah Jazz (10% Advantage)

    2004-2005 (Top 5 Teams with fewer PF’s called at-home as compared with PF’s called when away):

    Sacramento Kings (12% Advantage)
    Miami Heat (11% Advantage)
    Memphis Grizzlies (11% Advantage)
    Boston Celtics (10% Advantage)
    Los Angeles Lakers (9% Advantage)

    Therefore, the PF proxy shows substantially the same thing as the FTA proxy: the teams who had the most favorable home-court officiating in 2004-2005 did not receive the same treatment in 2005-2006.

    II. OFFICIALS DO FAVOR THE HOME TEAM

    There is such a thing as home-court officiating. Just as with the FTA proxy, using the PF’s proxy supports this conclusion.

    In 2005-2006, only three teams had a home-court disadvantage and those teams were the Pistons, Nuggets, and 76ers, all with a mere 2% disadvantage.

    In 2005-2006, the average home-court advantage, using PF’s, was 5%. The average home-court advantage, using FTA, was also 5%.

    In 2004-2005, only six teams had a home-court disadvantage and the biggest disadvantage was a mere 5% for the Golden State Warriors.

    In 2004-2005, the average home-court advantage, using PF’s, was 3%. The average home-court advantage, using FTA, was 4%.

    Therefore, the FTA and PF proxies show a tendency for teams to (1) get more foul calls in their favor when at home (e.g. more FTA at home) and (2) fewer fouls called against them when at home (e.g. fewer PF at home).

    III. CONCLUSION

    Even if John R. is correct and FTA is an imperfect proxy for measuring the effect of officiating on a game, that is beside the point. Using PF’s as the proxy leads to the exact same conclusion: officials do not give favoritism to any single team but do consistently favor the home team.

    Updated Spreadsheet:
    http://derek-banducci.com/wp-content/HomeCourtAdvantage.xls

  28. Awesome, thanks for the update. Some further notes that I have noticed. The top 5 for PF vs FTA doesn’t match very well. So I think its preferable to look at each since they affect the game in multiple independent ways.

    “With one exception (the Boston Celtics) the teams who benefited most in 2004-2005 were all different from the teams who benefited most in 2005-2006. Also, from eye-balling the spreadsheet results, there appears to be no correlation between 2004-2005 and 2005-2006.”

    Excellent. So what we may be seeing here is this is the Lakers’ turn to be on the extreme end of that advantage (again this year as in 04-05)(when they mostly went without a coach?).

    Let’s let this one play out and see. Each season is clearly different. I’m not saying there is a constant push to help the Lakers win. I’m just saying something intresting is happening. Let’s see where it goes.

    That was a clear path foul? Even Mychal Thompson hated it.