Very interesting games on the docket to watch tonight, as we wait another day for the LAkers to take the court. Does home court hold sway in the Hornets/Spurs series?
• I am obligated to start this post off with a “Kobe will play” note, which I think we all expected anyway. The only real question is just how good his back feels come Wednesday night, and that is where having one more day off between games really helps. As Matt said at Fanhouse, 75% of Kobe is too much for Brewer.
• We’ve talked a lot about the refs in this series and how games are called, but to me an overlooked aspect of this is how teams adjust to the tone of the refs that night, or don’t. In the first two games, Utah adjusted to the tighter called games poorly; in Utah the Lakers adjusted slightly better but not fantasitcally. Next game, in LA, expect it to be called tighter and Jazz players to get in foul trouble early, unless this time they actually do adjust. Whatever the tone is the Lakers players (particularly Pau and Lamar) need to accept and adjust quickly to it.
• Speaking of the other two Lakers stars, in the comments yesterday DTC had some good stuff about how the Jazz are dealing with Gasol and Lamar in the post:
I noticed one defensive strategy in particular. Because Pau and Lamar are absolutely killer from the middle of the key, they are now sending a guard from the top side immediately – Pau always catches looking to make a move, and the guard, essentially coming from a blind side, surprises him, either stripping the ball or at least disrupting him enough for the defense to recover. For some reason the Lakers have not adjusted to this well.
Basically, Pau especially needs to hold on to the ball tighter and be ready for the little 2nd defender. More than that, he needs to look for the open shooter. Everytime the Jazz sends a guard down, Fish, Farmar or Sasha is wide open. That pass to one of them needs to be fast, and crisp. The guards also need to position themselves better to maximize spacing. But more than that, they need to start hitting their shots, period, or the Jazz will continue the tactic.
• I think the best line about Jordan Farmar’s struggles comes from one of the OG people around here, Dan Reines: “Am i the only one who remembers that choker Kobe Bryant heaving up four straight airballs against the Jazz? Whatever became of him?”
• Attention Statheads: Most of you probably know about this already, but I want to get a link up. It’s called The People’s Statistic. With most of your big-picture statistical metrics (PER, for example), all stats are not created equal. Meaning, an offensive rebound is worth more than a defensive rebound, a steal and an assist do not count for the same amount. People have put a lot of time and thought into how much what is worth. What this site is doing is opening that up to a vote of the people. It’s an interesting exersize worth checking out.
• Headline about the Dodgers that amused me yesterday (seen on the Dodgers news box on my iGoogle home page), from our fine friends at the AP: “Jones Struggles In 1st Season With Dodgers.” That’s funny, he struggled in his last season with the Braves. Coincidence?
just..fyi…The People’s Statistic. link is not working
1. Thanks, change made and it is working now.
Re: Farmar/Kobe comparison
With all due respect, and I do mean all due respect, Farmar is not Kobe. Farmar’s ceiling is not quite as high as Kobe’s was at that time or ever. Don’t get me wrong, Farmar has done quite well for us and I’m sure will continue to do so. But maybe we should learn from the past and adjust accordingly if someone does not appear to be giving all they can at this moment in time. We need to adjust and I don’t think we would like a recurrence of that particular Lakers/Jazz series.
3. The point was not that Farmar could be Kobe, but not to judge a young player by what happens in his first deep playoff run.
Point taken, however, Kobe’s airballs occurred when he was taking Jordan like clutch shots at the end of a game – something he was clearly not ready for. This is different than failing to provide anything positive off the bench in the sub rotations.
Still, they need to nuture Farmar because of his importance to the playoff run this year (with Chris Paul or Tony Parker just around the corner).
4. I totally agree with you, but adjustments should be applied as necessary is all I’m saying. Bringing up Kobe in that instance, in my opinion brings up the unfortunate comparison. I’m thinking Farmar will adjust and play better this next game as I’m sure he’s hearing it from all sides and will want to show and prove his mettle. Let’s go Lakers!!
4. BTW, as far as the with all due respect spiel, I think I’ve been watching too many Closer commercials and its starting to affect the way I talk (type) 😛
FYI, the “Kobe will play” link doesn’t link correctly to the latimes article: http://www.latimes.com/sports/basketball/nba/lakers/la-sp-lakers13-2008may13,0,7834578.story
I like Farmar’s game, but let’s not go too far into this comparison. Farmar is 1 for 16 in the series. You’re talking about one game for Kobe. Granted, he still struggled in that Jazz series, but still, these are two different levels here.
The People’s Statistic is a great idea (I took part from a link from truehoop or some other random blog a while back), I just wish they could show you how the players would rank under your system individually instead of just aggregating it into every other system that people have chosen
If anyone is curious, I only valued stats that either retained or obtained a possession (Offensive Boards, Blocks and Steals especially) since I think that is synonymous with OBP in baseball where you’re essentially giving your team a chance to score and the points will come somewhere…unfortunately this is in direct conflict with teams like Dallas who rely on these kind of statistics and stack their team with scorers so I’m probably way off in my reasoning
As for Farmar, I think valid points have been made by both sides. I cringe a little at the Kobe comparison, primarily because Farmar’s slump is far more extended (over a period of months). But I agree that we shouldn’t overreact. Farmar should of course not be traded, and I don’t even think he should be benched (this might destroy any confidence he has left, so he wouldn’t be able to contribute in the WCF if we make it). All I think most people are saying is that Phil needs a quicker hook with Farmar. He has not played well in this series, and the benefits of a versatile and deep lineup allow us to minimize the minutes of any player who has been slumping for a while.
On Game 5:
I hate to sound like Mike D’Antoni, but at this point we can’t be sure that we can stop Utah. Not to be pessimistic, but we’ve very rarely been able to get stops consistently. We might just have to accept the fact that Utah is one of the best offensive teams in the league. I think if we return to the triangle in its purest form, the way we were running it earlier, we should be able to score at will. In the words of Tex Winter, “when the triangle is run perfectly, there will always be an open shot.” It all comes down to execution.
dan reines says
speaking as an OG, i can roundly confirm that i’m not saying farmar is kobe. i’m saying that he’s a kid, and the fact that he’s struggling is to be expected. it’s happening at a lousy time, but it doesn’t mean they need to ship him out (head-nod to another kobe-related slumping young player-turned-budding superstar). if anything, it means phil jackson needs to reconsider how/when he’s using farmar. i’m just saying, easy with the invective. the kid is a kid. he’ll get better. unless you think he won’t, in which case, invect away.
dan reines says
by the way: one thing we’ve always liked about farmar (well, one thing I’VE liked, anyway) is his confidence. it may not be kobe-esque, but it’s pretty darn healthy. so while i agree that benching him might damage that confidence, he’s one kid who i think could handle it. he’s not a peach, people.
I don’t know if Phil has much of a choice of when/how to use farmar if Fisher is going to get into early foul trouble like he did the past couple games.
One solution would be to put Sasha at point and Kobe at the 2, but I don’t think that really plays to Sasha’s strengths. He’s an energy guy that you need in his normal role.
I wish Ariza were healthy. He might have been a better option to guard either Deron or Ronnie Price, although that would mean benching Farmar and I’m not sure that’s a good solution for the long-term.
At the end of the day, this team needs to learn how to beat this team with Farmar in the lineup. If they can’t do that, they’ll have no chance against the Spurs/Hornets anyways. Chris Paul is far more talented and Tony Longoria is too experienced.
There are too many solid PGs in the West and Farmar needs to learn to compensate for his weaknesses against them.
J.D. Hastings says
I’ve been as harsh about Farmar as the next guy, but I don’t want him thrown under a bus. Aside from the Kobe comparisons, how much was Fisher giving us in his second season, when he was older than Farmar? People are demanding Sasha to get his PT, but look at Sasha 2 years ago (when he was getting almost as much time as he is now as Smush’s only real backup… this is WHY Farmar is on our roster now).
Farmar has been playing like crap, but that doesn’t mean he’s going to suck forever. As PJ has said, he just needs to recapture the confidence he had earlier in the year. I think his inability to stop Williams makes him press on the other side and make bad decisions. Ironically, I think if he learned to accept his limitations he’d be able to deal with them better. Fisher isn’t quick enough to stay in front of Williams either, but he plays smart and under control. Farmar will develop that. I just want him to get a little momentum here somehow to build on. But that won’t come all in one play, which is what he’s looking for right now.
J.D. Hastings says
Another thing, since nobody else seems to have brought it up. Could Ariza be back this series afterall?
The uncertainties in that make me doubt that he would be, let alone in time for tomorrow (and do we need that much help guarding Kirilenko/Harpring?), but it’s something approaching good news, which we could all use.
Unless we knew 100% for certain that Ariza could stop williams, I don’t know why we’d put him at any risk in a series where he’s not specifically missed…
In case you haven’t heard, Trevor Ariza has been cleared to practice. He can’t play in this series, I believe, but would be handy in the next round.
Can we all agree to disagree and move away from the Farmar nonsense talk?
Can we all agree that:
a) We are not trading or getting rid of Farmar
b) He is a young kid and only 21 years old…blah blah.
c) Farmar should be put on a short leash (although I would give him an opportunity to get out of the slump by being in the game only when Price is on the floor).
d) The “Kobe shot 3 airballs and he turned out good” (paraphrasing) is a weak argument.
Why is it weak? Well, for starters Kobe and Farmar are fundamentally different players. Secondly, Farmar has been playing like this for an extended period rather than 1 singular moment/game. In fact, Kobe was a pretty serviceable reserve in his 2nd year, hence all the hype.
To me, it would be more of a convincing argument if we compared Farmar and Sasha. I tihnk what people are pissed about in general is that Farmar is not showing up offensively OR defensively. And on defense, it is a matter of effort. So even the “he’s only in his 2nd year” or “he’d be a senior right now” to me doesn’t fly. You don’t get a pass based on age or tenure when it comes to effort. Sasha has always (whether 1st, 2nd, or 4th year) given maximum defensive effort. It wasn’t pretty in his early years, but its undeniable to the naked eye that he gave it his all given his relative experience. But what has gotten all of us irked is that Farmar has already PROVED to us he can play well offensively and defensively during the 1st half of the season. Thus, age and tenure become irrelevant. IMO, he has become a victim of complacency and the team success the past few months have overshadowed his lack of effort.
But I’m sure, being the gamer he is….he’ll snap out of it. After all, he does have it in him and he just needs one breakout game. I actually think its good that he is struggling b/c he can now feel pressure to give it his all every moment. I look for him to have a big comeback game and for all of us to find a new whipping boy (Vlad anyone??).
I agree with the commentary about Farmar. He’s a definitely a keeper and just going through some growing pains. Hopefully Fish can adjust so as to not be in foul trouble and PJ will be a little quicker with the hook if need be. But all in all everyone’s got to pull together and help out and show some resolve. Homecourt seems to be quite an asset in these playoffs, more so than in recent memory (at least mine anyway). Seeing the Lakers pull of these 6 wins prior spoiled me a bit, these were supposed to be dogfights after all, as close as all these teams are, standing wise.
Good news about Ariza, we could definitely use him if we make it next round.
Farmar’s numbers have sucked ever since we traded JCritt. He’s become too complacent knowing that there’s no one nipping at his heels for the backup pg role.
Justin Voccola says
Lakers need to improve their defense if they are going to win the championship as they will have to go through the Spurs, Pistons, Celtics, or Cavs who offer a lot more resistance then the Nuggests or Jazz.
chris h says
aB, for a guy who wants to move away from a topic, you sure have a lot to say about it.
I for one, am done with it.
farmar will grow from this experience and be a better player in the long run, and PJ always thinks long term.
J.D. Hastings says
I’ve kind of assumed that Farmar’s slide towards the end of the season (though he did have a brief renessaince in there somewhere) was due to similar factors as Bynum’s slide last year. I believe he played in all 82 games and wouldn’t be surprised if he just hit a wall.
I can live with Farmar being unable to stop Williams. We haven’t been able to guard point guards for the last 10 years, so there’s no reason to panic if we can’t start now. If we can limit Okur and Boozer and take care of things on our own end, we should still be fine. It’s Farmar’s decision making on offense that’s worried me. But decision making is theoretically fixable right?
I think we can really only worry about what we can actually control…and that means x’s and o’s….
We can’t control Farmar’s confidence or Fisher’s foul trouble or what Farmar will be for us down the line (maybe as early as next series, *if* there is a next series). There are adjustments that we have to make…Basically we need to find a way to slow Utah’s attack.
One thing I think we can do is find Deron early after Utah secures defensive rebounds. In the first half of Game 4, Deron went crazy in the open court and found ways to get easy outlet passes and push the pace (think Jason Kidd on team USA). This led to us cross matching in Utah’s *early offense* where no one was stopping the ball and ultimately leading to defensive breakdowns where Utah was able to burn us with lay ups and wide open jumpers because no one was finding their man. I think what hurt us, and Farmar, the most was that his lack of confidence led to concentration lapses. He was a little sulky (is that a word?) and was not trasitioning from offense to defense effectively. Farmar (or Fisher or Sasha) need to be able to find Deron when he’s running out for the outlet pass and slow him down. Make him change direction. Funnel him to a side and keep him there. Basically, just try to ruin their early offense and make them work more for their buckets. When Deron get’s an outlet pass running full speed, he’s a freight train…he just gets to the rim or occupies defenders and frees up other guys to get good looks. We have to slow this guy down a little; we can’t let him run around in the open court, we don’t have a guy that can stop him in that scenario.
I also think we need to do a better job on those baseline cross screens that they run in, what Hubie called, their *Flex* sets. Utah is running back screens on the weakside and the cutter is going across the baseline and screening again for the strong side wing. Our guys are getting tripped up on these screens and it’s leading to easy shots. A lot of times these are screens that are being set by the SG and the SF. We should explore switching these screens. I’m not saying every time, but we need good communication on these screens because they have been effective against us. I also think the Bigs have to *show* more effectively when their man is setting a screen for the SG or SF coming out to the wing. Korver, Harpring, and Brewer were getting wide open looks because our Big was concerned about staying with their man rather than helping out their teammate by trying to slow down that pass to the wing.
I guess what I’m saying is, we have to be more sharp. We were in it ’til the very end in Games 3 and 4. But our defensive execution was spotty, at best. In game 3 we let Boozer catch the ball in his comfort zone and let him make the moves he feels very comfortable finishing with. In game 4 (in overtime) we let Okur shake free for wide open jumpers after not containing Deron. If we can make these guys work a little bit more, I think we’ll see success in game 5.
Honestly I could care less about Farmar and his struggles, he’s an upgrade over Smush (maybe not so much in talent but surely in just about every other facet) and that alone makes me infinitely happy.
Besides, if we don’t win now, it has more to do with Bynum, Trevor and Bryant’s injury as it has to do with Farmar’s slump, so I don’t think it’s a problem in the long-run either. He’s a backup, and although Fisher won’t stick around forever, Fish still has a couple servicable years ahead of him, so that’s that.
Ariza practiced fully with the team today after being cleared for full contact. Phil said it wold take a week or two though for him to get into game shape. A little good news on the injury front.
Ditto, Harold – I’ll take a 1-for-16 Jordan over Smush any day.
Wednesday’s game will either be a series-clinching blowout win or a series-clinching close loss. This squad needs to understand that this game will pretty much dictate what happens from here on, at least in this series.
Aside from Jordan’s slump, I’m more annoyed by Gasol’s constant complaining to the officials. He makes Sasha look like a stoic reserved vet in comparison. Stop whining and play through it. The calls will come!
Thanks for quelling the hysteria around Farmar. It’s a few games that he’s struggled against a top 3 PG. Put him on the bench but give him a break.
About Jones & the Dodgers… he had a mediocre year last year, but this year he’s an absolute black hole. I think it’s fair to say there’ wouldn’t be TOO much disappointment if he at least mirrored last years #s.
J.D. Hastings says
Robert Rauschenberg, one of my favorite artists, died today. The doctors cited the cause as “Jordan Farmar.”
The problem I have w/the new basketball stats is the complete arbitrariness surrounding so many. In baseball it is much more cut and dried-you get on base,or you don’t. You drive in 1,2,3,4 runs or you don’t. You advance a runner,or you don’t. You get the batter out,or you don’t. How would you look at the new baseball stats if one of most influential stat guys decided earning a walk was more valuable in wearing out a pitcher than a single so he weights a walk higher than a single in calculating OBA. That is the case w/the basketball stats where 1 values rebounding more,1 values shooting effeciency and another values whether your team outscores the other team when you are on the floor. Who had a more oustanding game-the player w/50pts on 14 of 21 2pt shots,6 of 9 threes,4 of 4 FTs and 5 assists,or the player w/15pts on 1 of 4 twos,2 of 6 threes,8 of 9 FTs and 24 assists? One was part of 60 pts,the other was part of 63 pts. Would it change your view if the 50pt player passed 15 times and had 5 assists while the other passed 30 times and got 24 assists? How about if 8 of the 24 assists were for 3s(accounting for 71 pts).
The whole isssue of assists is ignored by the public new NBA stats. A pass to player who is fouled in act of shooting and the resultant FTS don’t exist for the passer. Why are shooting %s adjusted but assists for 3s and FTs aren’t? I can understand the reasoning that a player passing the ball doesn’t physically make the points. But I thought the whole idea of the new stats was to show more realistic player values and by relegating assists to the lesser misc category they are saying playmaking and setting up others is not a particulary valuable skill.
For how the issue of assists/playmaking can totally distort a new NBA stat,rookie PF Landry had a far higher PER than McGrady. Now it is fair to say a substantial portion of Landry’s baskets came from feeds from a driving McGrady.And I doubt there is a coach anywhere who would say “It’s crunch time. I better replace McGrady w/Landry.”Meanwhile Rocket GM has his stats that say McGrady has created more quality shots for teammates than anybody in the NBA the past few seasons.(Main reason Morey assured McGrady last yr that he wasn’t going to be traded.)
Sorry for rant,but really basketball can be broken down to scoring,trying to stop somebody from scoring,getting the ball when it’s not in a players control and setting up another player so he can score. Any stat system that ignores setting up another player is one I will regard w/suspicion.
In order to discuss ‘the value of an assist,’ I think we must first break down and expand assist itself. By breaking down, i mean allowing for the difference between one that leads to 3 pts and one that leads to 2 pts. Also, passes that result in FTs, be it a 4pt-play, 3 pt-play, 3 FTs or 2 FTs should be included somehow.
But I think it’s preposterous to value an assist as much as points, since out-assisting a team does not guarantee a victory. Outscoring, obviously, does.
So when comparing assists to actual points scored, it should be worth less. How much less is to be debated, but that debate will have to wait until we have stats to better correlate assists with points, hence the breakdown above.
Craig W. says
Farmar hit a wall in early Feb of his rookie year. I would posit that he hasn’t gotten into the swing of an NBA schedule yet – his body also needs to develop more. As in every other situation, fans are far, far too impatient to have any say in running a club.
Make sure that you give someone credit for setting a screen for a successful offensive play. That should be worth .63 times the number of points that the play resulted in. If more than one screen is set, or more than one person is involved in a single screen, then the total number of points awarded to the player(s) who took part in the screen(s) will equal .63 times the number of points that the play resulted in. It will be up to the official scorer to determine how to apportion those points.
j. d. hastings says
Assists can be misleading. First, your assist totals depend a lot on the ability of a player to make a shot. The two affect each other. Chris Paul gets Peja Stojakavic some better shots than he otherwise would have, but Peha’s ability to make those shots makes Paul’s assist totals higher than they would if somebody else was there.
Conventional wisdom says that Paul does most of the “making his teammates better” in this dynamic, but don’t take that at face value. In the first 2 games of the series, the Spurs focused Bruce Bowen on Paul. He had 25 total assists while Stojakavic had 47 points. In the next two games, Bowen was put on Peja. In those games Peja had 14 total points while Paul had 14 total assists. So defending Peja apparently affected the dynamic more than defending Paul.
Not that that is scientific, but I do think it shows that Peja’s influence on Paul’s number is underrated.
Let me put it another way. Let’s say you have a playmaker that you are guaranteed will make the same play in identical circumstances no matter what players they are on the floor with. Then run 100 possessions with Kwame Brown at center and 100 with Pau Gasol at center. At the end of the day the same playmaker will always have a higher PER playing with Pau than with Kwame because Pau will give the playmaker more assists merely by his ability to catch and score the ball.
It is a mistake to simply claim that a player should get credit for his assists as though they were points because that blatantly disregards the vital component of the scorer.
That’s the first point. Next, there are such things as selfish assists. If Stephon Marbury refuses to give up the ball unless he KNOWS hat you will give him an assist, he is most likely damaging the team’s offense.
If Kobe wanted to, he could average 30 points and 10 assist a game, but the team might average 80 because the ball movement embodied by the triangle (where many players wrack up a few assists each) would go stagnant. maybe 15 possessions would be compromised by the player seeking out the 10 times he can find the guaranteed assist. And the thing is, if we start fetishing the assist more the way you are suggesting, you will encourage more players to pursue these “selfish assists.”
Next, your own passing is only one way to create a shot for a teammate. A dominant scorer may demand so much defensive attention that it is impossible to find the team’s best shot off a single pass. This can result in the “hockey assist” but the same effect is possible without the player ever touching the ball. Remember at the end of the Dallas game late in the year when Avery was aggressively trapping Kobe? It was impossible for him to pass straight to a shooter, but he was able to find Odom as a cutoff man. With 2 defenders 40 feet from the basket, the opportunity for the Odom/Gasol 2 man game opened up. Both of them wracked up a lot of assists thanks to Kobe warping the defense. Other examples are the Walton 3 in game 4 of the Denver series, or the effect of any dominant big man on the perimeter players. You could never say “Shaq accounted for X number of his team’s points” the way you can neatly say that by multiplying assists, but every point every other player got in the game came easier.
This is a very esoteric kind of effect to track with stats, which is why people come up with things like adjusted +/-. They aren’t perfect, but this is what they are trying to indirectly measure.
Finally, knowing when an assist generated a 3 versus a 2 or resulted in free throws would be informative, but would have further consequences. If you change the definition of an assist to “a pass resulting in points” to account for Free Throws then you lose4 any ability to compare contemporary assist totals to historical assist totals. How many more would Magic or Stockton averaged per game? We don’t know, but right now we can compare directly. Which really just means that you should track it as a separate stat.
My problem with tracking assists leading to threes is they might become valued more and you end up with the similar motivation as you might get with the selfish assists. If a player ever chooses to passes up giving a teammate an open layup in favor of passing to the perimeter because they want a 3 point assist instead of a 2, then the entire intent of tracking this information is lost.
(I just happened to be thinking about all this at length last week. I’m kind of glad someone brought it up.)
Thank you Stephen and j. d. hastings, i’ve been getting into what you guys are talking about recently also and you both just helped me very much.
Go Lakers tomorrow…
wow, JD, i never really thought about comparic historic assists. i’ve heard much about how assists are recorded differently, and that the standards are different, but i totally neglected that bit when thinking of ‘new assists.’
anyway, in total agreement with the scorer part of the assist. That’s why I also don’t like PER. It may count the ‘making teammates better’ but totally disregards ‘teammates making you better.’ Like, them missing shots for you to rebound, or them forcing missed shots for you to rebound, especially after blocks. Recovering the ball after a block really shouldn’t be a rebound, but to my understanding it is 🙁
In basketball, just about every stat is related to another stat, worse, to another player. Also, some stats are just not as easily obtained for players in certain positions, or against certain teams. If teams don’t shoot threes or long twos as much, we won’t see rebounding guards as much, etc.
Hence my dislike for all-in-one stats like PER. To me it multiplies such factors and in the end just tells how much a player can take advantage of a certain system.
Good stuff Stephen and JD..
Stephen, interesting that you put alot of stock into assists because for some reason I don’t put much quantifable value on assists…there are alot of ‘moving parts’ so to speak towards an assist that needs alot to go right for an assist to be credited, a player needs to make a pass and not turn it over, plus the player needs to be able to score (whatever his fg% is) within an arbitrary time frame that isn’t defined…at face value, I think a player is better off taking a shot himself than adding that turnover capability to the situation
The Peja/Paul dynamic is a good situation to analyze, is Paul getting Peja open or is Peja getting Paul assists? I’m not sure what leads to what, and I think assists are more a statistic of record (like Wins in Baseball) than a statistic of value…it’s hard to say definitively assists are important because it does “so and so” since it requires visual evidence..where as I think we can all say a steal is good because it ruins the other team possession and leads to an extra possession gained
…but overall I’d rather analyze teams statistically as a 5 man unit than individually since there is no way to really break it down like we can do in baseball
First I want to make clear that I am not hung up on the assist as the key stat. My main point is playmaking is incredibly undervalued in the various “new” stats being touted.
The new stats gurus are supposed to be offering new ways of looking at the game,yet they seem to be relying on the same old unreliable,flawed data.
I for one would love to see something like potential assist(ed) points(PAPs for short) and actual asist(ed)pts(AAPs for short). A PAP would be each potential pt created off a direct pass. AAPs would be points actually scored. A low AAP to PAP ratio would indicate either the player can’t pass very well or his teammates are terrible shots. Over the course of a season you could also dtermine who the better finishers are. To use your Kwame vs Gasol comparison,a player would have his overall ratio lowered by playing w/Kwame,but if his ratio was much higher w/every other player on the team,then you could adjust for Kwame and compare by plugging in what Gasol does for his passers. Of course this would still be slightly misleading as it wouldn’t account for offensive fouls or simply dropping passes or getting a perfect pass and passing the ball out-Turaif-but it would offer some new insights to players and teams.
As to guys trying to rack up assists or higher value assists,exactly how is that worse than players who shoot every time they touch the ball and never pass it?
Secondary point is how arbitrary are the basic NBA stats and how they are used. For example,what is an assist? Strictly speaking it is a pass that leads to a basket w/out any intervening dribbling. But most-tho not all-scorekeepers will give an assist when the recieving player takes one dribble to gather himself before shooting. A team w/a player known for assists tends to have scorekeepers that are very generous in allotting assists. Magic used to get quite a few assists where he’d pass to Kareem,who’d make a fake,take a dribble and then shoot that beautiful sky-hook. In Boston that same play wasn’t an assist.
I’ve seen player A deflect a pass,player B gather it in and sometimes A gets credit for a steal,sometimes B. Rebound hits floor then picked up has been credited to the player as well as been scored a team rebound. Offensive player A taps a rebound back in air,teammate B taps it into basket. Same play has been credited w/2 or 1 offensive rebound(s). So many of the “official stats” are not consistant that basing any system on them is questionable. Compare that to baseball where you either get on base or you don’t. Whether a play is scored an error or a hit doesn’t effect the on-base percentage. Whether a tap is scored an offensive rebound or not has a big impact on PER.
I didn’t mean to ignore your very valid points about how a dominant scorer can allow his teammates get much easier shots on their own. How a player who knows how to set great screens can impact a game in ways that can’t be quantified. Not to mention basketball stats guys are trying to combine offensive AND defensive stats to get one effective evaluation system.(There’s no comparable baseball stat that tries to combine hitting w/fielding. Forget about trying to do so for football players1)
Eventually some one is going to come up w/some system that combines +/-,the traditional stats,the new shooting % stats,something to account for playmaking and something we haven’t thought of that will all make sense. Until then we have different parts of the whole and in my opinion too little attention pd to playmaking.(There’s a reason Nash could even be considered for MVP-much less win it twice-considering his relatively low scoring,bad defense and relatively modest rebounding.)
Never would’ve guessed it. But looks like the underdogs have the champions on the ropes.
Sorry for typos,doing this while watching TNT.
Would we rather face the Hornets or the Spurs if we get to the next round?
UCR Mike says
I’d much rather face the Hornets than the Spurs. While it’d be great to beat the hated Spurs, it’d also really, really suck to lose to them. On the other hand, I wouldn’t feel horrible if the Hornets advanced past us (I would if the Spurs did). Also, I think we match up better with the Hornets style of basketball and their big three.
comparing rookie Kobe to Farmar now is just a big joke. Both situations are ENTIRELY DIFFERENT. Farmar is not taking big shots at the end of close games and airballing. He has just been playing very badly period. Nothing positive so far in the playoffs.
Warren Wee Lim says
Slight off-topic: Hornets won big in game 5 to take a 3-2 lead.
Would it look like NOH is going to the WCF? That would be an amazing feat for that city/team. They have the advantage but never overlook the Spurs.
This being said, either of LA/Utah and NOH/SA has a legit shot at beating any of DET/BOS. Detroit has a limping Billups but won both games without him to advance and have the coveted rest. Boston has been absolutely amazing – amazing they could not win a single game on the road.
sasha vunicic should be first in to replace fisher at the 2nd quarter jump. Farmar’s struggles on the offensive end (he can’t even catch passes hes so flusstered) dont event compare to his struggles on the defensive end. Sasha is 6-7 he can be a fustrated dude for opposing point guards.
Renato Afonso says
Switching on those picks (the SG and the SF) is really a bad idea, due to the size of Utah’s SF. You would have Kobe (or Sasha) matched up with either AK47 or Harpring inside the paint with the ball in their hands… And the ball will get into one of them.
The way to stop it is to play proper defense… The guy guarding the offensive player setting the pick (Lamar guarding Okur or Gasol) need to take a stpe back toward the strong side. This will cause:
a) Our SG and/or SF will have more room to get through the pick
b) If the guy setting the pick is moving, the refs will see it better (will they call it?)
c) Our PF or C, having their arms open, will force the cutter to go farther away from the basket (think FT line) and Boozer and Okur are not tall enough to risk a lob pass over Gasol
d) If the guy at the FT line catches the ball and decides to drive, our PF or our C are ready to provide help defense from the ball handler BLIND side. If the ball handler manages to pass the ball to Okur or Boozer, then he’s a great passer, because it will not be an easy entry pass…
e) Since it’s not a single pick but a double pick, we have an extra help defender near the rim
f) You can do this against anyone but Korver. He’ll catch and shoot it, so the help defender needs to show a little more and give time to Kobe/Sasha/Luke/Radman to get back to their defender. It will be risky, since showing might cause Boozer or Okur to cut to the strong side and gain low post position immediatly… But hey, the guy defending the ball carrier at that point must put some pressure on the entry pass to deny it…
To stop Deron, how about proper help defense, planting their feet and waiting for the charge? Maybe it seems oversimplistic, but I cannot understand the “let me go backwards until I’m under the rim” defense which is not a proper defense and denies proper help.
Also, Kobe’s back won’t make him a defensive stopper anymore (was he one in this series?)… I’m hoping he actually realizes his handicap right now and plays the triangle to perfection. Picking his spots and going for high % shots. I mean, our defense is limited, so let’s run the triangle perfectly for 8 quarters… Is it much to ask?
On the NOH/SA series. We will be better against SA. Duncan really has issues playing against Gasol. Either way, we already playing against the best team in the West, so if we win this series, the other might be easier than anyone expects.
New Orleans is certainly in a good position and they are looking good, however, if anyone can come back in that situation, it’s San Antonio. David West is killing the Spurs and showing everyone why he was an all-star this year. The big 3 for the Spurs are playing well, but they are not getting a lot of help from the supporting cast. If the Spurs can figure out how to resolve these issues, they will give themselves a chance to take the series. I don’t see San Antonio losing game 6 at home. That series will most likely go 7. Should be interesting to watch.
The examples you made illustrate just how complex basketball is and how hard it is to quantify it. The added uncertainty in a pass versus a shot is contradicted by coaches preaching ball movement.
A player who goes for alot of steals is quite often a bad individual-or team-defender.(Iverson is routinely near the top of League in steals,but I don’t think anyone would consider him a top defender.) Is a player who gets few steals yet his man averages 20% lower in shooting % a better or worse defender than a player who gets twice as many steals yet allows his man to shoot 20% better? In the 7 Seconds book on Suns,the coaching staff would get upset at Bell because he would get so wrapped up in stopping his man he would ignore team D requirements. To use Hou again-sorry-they are not great individual defenders,but as a team they are very good. Which illustrates your point about units vs individuals. But how do the individuals contribute towards team success? That’s what the new stats are supposed to do,to give us a deeper understanding of the game,and I just don’t feel the public ones are doing so.
And I say public because several teams are developing and using new statistical tools. The Celtic coach who stated KG impacted far more of heir stats than they’d imagined. Houston’s Morey w/McGrady and good shot opportunities as one tool he’s slightly talked about.(And Morey made an important observation that they were trying to develope stats to explain what actually went on on the court.) A few yrs down the road as employees leave and try to market the various systems we’ll get some new insights into the game.
Normally I would rather face the Hornets, but I was under the impression that Pau usually plays great against Duncan on both ends of the floor. If Ariza is back to slow down Ginobli, we might have a better shot against SA.
I’m not sure if LO can slow down West, but he definitely matches up better with him. The good news about NO is they have no wingman defender, so Kobe will go nuts. But then again we have no one to defend CP3 either. Either team will be a challenge to beat, but we have a legit shot of beating both.
J.D. Hastings says
You make all good points, and I pretty much agree with them. My thinking on assists came up because Truehoop posted a link to the adjusted +/- rankings in late march or early april during the thick of the mvp race. KG, Kobe and Lebron were all in the top 20 or so but Chris Paul had an adjusted +/- or something like -.02, which shocked me and made me wonder if the whole stat wasn’t compromised. Looking further into it, Peja had the highest adjusted +/- on the Hornets, followed closely by West. That’s what got me wondering about the Peja/Chris Paul dynamic (although last night maybe the David West role should be looked at). Then I also heard people saying that Paul accounts for 60 points per game for his team, so my whole assist spiel has been looking for an outlet basically.
This isn’t to say that I agree that Chris Paul hurts his team, just that maybe the Hornets have succeeded because several players have had great years, which has helped Paul’s numbers as he’s also had a great year. (the low adjusted +/- figure is also considered an indication of his limitations defending point guards)
I think the PAP and AAP numbers you mention would be very useful. I think some teams may track similar things, but its not standardized at all. I think I read at truehoop that somebody had analyzed the numbers and found that TMac’s passes had the highest probability of leading to a made shot, or something like that. But I don’t know how much to value that.
Anyways, I generally agree about your skepticism about a lot of the new stats. PER is a fantasy marker to me. I’m not sure why Hollinger valued each stat with the rank he did. It seems like you’d have to analyze which stat apparently has the most impact on whether a team wins or loses, then assign value based on that… but what goes into each win and loss differs in every game and over years and eras. To really get the numbers statisticians will need to analyze these numbers as deeply as they need to, the games are going to need to be tracked a lot more fully than they are now (who tipped what rebound to whom, which defender was playing the shooter, or double teaming where, etc. etc.). It’s a hard task for a fluid game like this, but we’re also just at the beginning of it.
I guess the main point is that we all need to keep thinking about these things and understand each stat’s strengths and weaknesses. If there ever is a single number that tells us without fail who the best player on Earth is at any moment, it’d kind of kill the point of playing the games, right? Not to mention removing our opportunities to totally geek out on sites like this…
Are you kidding me? Farmar hit a wall? This is his second year Cot damn it! If you aren’t ready for the rigorous nba schedule, then play the euroleague. Stop babying him like he’s some child. Look at Daniel Gibson..this is his second year too and was drafted #42! and he’s contributing to his team.
Yeah, I see your point about the size advantage between the SG and SF. I do think switching when Korver/Harpring are in the game would be bad because that would put Luke on Korver and Sasha on Harpring….which are not the best matchups for us, to say the least. But like I said, I don’t think it should be an every play practice, just something to consider to go along with better communication on those baseline screens. And I also agree that the Bigs need to do a better job of *showing* and *playing big* by extending their arms and getting wide in order to disrupt passing lanes when the ball is at the top and being passed to the wing. As you mentioned it’s a fine line between showing to the sideline while also maintaining position on the opposing big (usually Boozer or Milsap), but we have to disrupt their sets more.
Craig W. says
We are not looking for some way to toss players under the Buss. If the Mitch K. odyssey has taught us anything, it should tell us the value of carefully evaluating players drafted and then giving them seasoning before deciding their fate. Whether we like it or not this is an ongoing business and a number of decisions are made to help us down the road. Farmar is one of those decisions and his competitive makeup and gymrat tendencies are part of his evaluation.
The Laker organization badly wants to win this year, but will not throw away the next 4-5 years of development to do so – sorry, but them are the facts.
The game 5 chat is up
Brian Tung says
Don’t know if this idea has been tossed out yet, but…
One thing I don’t like about The People’s Statistic is that it asks the general public–not typically statisticians–to come up with weightings. I’m not sure that’s the right way to go about it. Don’t get me wrong; I think the idea of having the general public determine what the weightings is essentially good. I just don’t think that explicitly asking them what the weightings should be is the right way to go about it.
There’s a story about people trying to figure out the length of the Chinese emperor’s nose (which no one has seen) by asking everyone in the country to guess, and then averaging the guesses. The result has a comforting feel of precision to it, because of all the averaging, but it’s still just a guess. I feel the same way about TPS the way it’s currently done.
What I picture, instead, is some way of asking the public questions that are more intuitive about what players they consider better than others. This is something they’re likely much better at than figuring out weightings on their own. The collection of player comparisons are then used as fuzzy constraints on weightings that are selected optimally according to some metric (least squares best fit or something like that).
The trick with this is how to present players in such a way that the public can compare them without expecting them to know all 300-odd players in the league. Maybe only compare players playing at least 24 mpg or something like that. But if they could get this to work, I would have more confidence in it than asking non-statisticians to think statistically.
I’m not saying we should get rid of Farmar…All I’m saying is that using an excuse that he’s hit a wall or hasn’t gotten into the swing of an NBA schedule is a total cop out. Rondo, Brewer, Millsap, Powe, and Gibson to name a few are well into their second season in the NBA and they seem just fine. He’s playing in a man’s league, so he needs to start playing like a man. He needs to dig deep and start helping this team. You can’t be the first person off the bench and be 1 for 16 to show for it. That’s the facts…
chris h says
don’t see the game 5 chat…is it in hyperspace?
try refreshing at just http://www.forumblueandgold.com. I can pull it up.