A Substitute for War

Basketball philosophy

Archive for February 2011

2011 NBA POY Watch 2/28

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My version of the NBA MVP list. Updated weekly.

Player (Last Week’s Rank)

1. Dirk Nowitzki (1)

Well here we are, it’s about to be March, and I still have a guy at #1 that is not one of the two big guys being discussed and isn’t even in nba.com’s top 5. Sounds like I need to write a piece on that. In the meantime check out basketball-reference’s “Where Would They Be Without Him?” article.

2. Derrick Rose (3)

Jumps up. For detailed thought on Rose, take a look at my article from last week: Derrick Rose, the MVP race, and the Isiah-Iverson Team Model.

3. LeBron James (2)

A disappointing week and the king slips back behind Rose.

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Written by Matt Johnson

February 28, 2011 at 1:02 pm

Jazz Improvisation and the Association in Chaos

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Image by StuSeeger via Flickr

10 thoughts after a whirlwind of a trade deadline:

1. I really wish I had more to say on the Deron Williams trade. I had a whole slew of points immediately on the tips of my fingers when Carmelo Anthony was traded barely more than a day before, and I consider Williams the superior players. Ideally I’d have more to say about it – heck, ideally *everyone* would have more to say about, but they may be suffering from a bit of the same thing I am. It’s just clear that we’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg of the decision making in Salt Lake City. I’m generally one not to bothered by the prospect of venturing forth with theories in the wake of incomplete knowledge because complete knowledge is never assured, but here there’s just too much uncertainty.

2. That said, odds still seem pretty dang good that the Jazz don’t trade Williams unless they think he’s not going to be happy there in the long term. So yes, anyone not willing to include this happening amongst the trend of stars leaving well run small market teams, is being unreasonably cautious.

3. Good trade for the Jazz? They lost Deron Freaking Williams, and traded him for players you certainly can’t expect to be his equal. The most you can say is that given the macro trends of stars in the NBA right now, it’s hasty to call Jazz management incompetent for what when down.

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Derrick Rose, the MVP race, and the Isiah-Iverson Team Model

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Derrick Rose

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With Derrick Rose‘s continued improvement, and the Chicago Bulls‘ emergence as a championship contender, Rose has received quite a bit of discussion as an MVP candidate. At the most superficial level, the argument for Rose goes something like this:

Rose is doing it all by himself. Yeah, there’s Boozer & Noah, but they’ve been injured and the Bulls still were great. Yeah, Rose’s efficiency isn’t the best, but they’ve got no one else to go to when they need a bucket. If it weren’t for Rose, the Bulls would be terrible.

ESPN’s Tom Haberstroh just wrote a piece that goes significantly more depth on Rose’s MVP candidacy, and it’s good.  It’s focused on one really key point that is crucial to understand: The Bulls are winning because they have great defense, not because they have great offense – and Rose is absolutely not the primary reason for the defensive success since he’s very much an offensive oriented star. So that’s the trick, this isn’t a case of one player so unstoppable on offense that his team’s offense thrives even without supporting talent, it’s a story of a defense so good, that they can get away with a mediocre offense run by one ball dominant player.

As well as Haberstroh stated that though, he’s still not going as deep as is needed, and he’s making some mistakes along the way.

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Written by Matt Johnson

February 25, 2011 at 1:07 am

Grading the Carmelo Anthony trade: Missed opportunity and opportunity cost

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The day we waded through months of painstaking trade rumors for finaly came. Carmelo Anthony is a Knick and will get his 65 million extension. For Carmelo and Chauncey Billups, the Knicks traded Raymond Felton, Wilson Chandler, Danillo Gallinari, Timofey Mozgov, a 2014 1st and two Golden State 2nds to Denver as well as Eddy Curry, Anthony Randolph to Minnesota for cap reasons. With the history of stars who want out getting traded for pennies, the Nuggets have to happy with their return. Not only due to the valuable talent coming back, but they also saved about 23 million by cutting enough salary to get under the luxury tax.

What about the Knicks? Despite the apparant leverage of Carmelo wanting to play there, they ended up mortgaging the entire farm. The threat of Carmelo going to the Nets apparantley pushed them towards it. Rumors of James Dolan and Isiah Thomas taking the negotiations from Donnie Walsh are in the air.

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7 Thoughts on the Melo Maneuver

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Carmelo Anthony, Denver Nuggets

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Thank God, it *finally* happened. I say that both with the emotional inflection you think I’m using, and whatever the opposite is. Any big trade brings with it some fantastic new information to analyze which I love. At the same time Carmelo Anthony being traded means I don’t have to hear any more about the rumors and drama in Denver. Good times ahead. My initial thoughts on the trade:

1. Never been a huge Melo fan (as was clear in my Carmelo Conundrum piece). I remain steadfast in my opinion that however many tools are in his arsenal, he never came close to a consistent run at superstar levels. Now possibly that’s George Karl‘s fault. I doubt it, but I never say never. We’ll learn a lot more in the near future.

2. My thought for the Knicks about whether acquiring Melo was a good idea was always a mild yes, depending on the specific terms. I am however more positive about it with inclusion of Chauncey Billups. Seems to me what Mike D’Antoni really needs to make his scheme pop is a great point guard, and despite the fact that we keep seeing hype indicating that’s he’s turned another scrub point guard into a star, he’s actually been discarding point guards left and right in New York. Stephon Marbury, Nate Robinson, Chris Duhon, and now Ray Felton, all gone. Clearly they didn’t have everything he wanted. Now we get to see how Billups does. This will be the closest thing D’Antoni’s had to Nash, so we’ll have to see if that finally does the trick. Read the rest of this entry »

Not so fast: Major discrepancy in quoted “clutch” performance.

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This is a quick post in response to some more of the details in Henry Abbott’s last post on TrueHoop about Chris Paul‘s clutch performance.  Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Matt Johnson

February 21, 2011 at 11:24 am

The NBA Trade Value Power Rankings – February 2011

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A couple months ago, I wrote this column hypothesizing in short that NBA teams could best have their positions in the league going forward evaluated by total trade value. Trade value encompasses all types of players and assets, just as an entrepreneur’s net worth encompasses alternate types of companies. Because types of assets are tradeable or one another if equally valued, it is the value that matters. The teams with the most net value will always be in the strongest position, as if they have the most money in their bank.

Now is a good time to rank the 30 teams in the league. For one, I plan to update the list once every 6 months – one mid-season in February and one mid-offseason in July after the draft is ideal. The former is after players have made their changes to the list, the latter after GMs have.

Secondly, the trade deadline is this week. Trade value is on the mind.

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