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Basketball philosophy

Archive for June 2012

Kevin Love and Michael Beasley’s careers: A good measure of my feel for the game theory

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(Source: Wikipedia)

It’s fairly interesting that Michael Beasley’s career has gone down a mediocre path, that a Timberwolves lottery team isn’t giving him the qualifying offer at this, the end of his rookie scale contract. This is already the 2nd time in Beasley’s career, including his Miami contract dump to Minnesota, that a team has all but said “We’d rather have capspace than you. You are the weakest link. Goodbye”

Beasley was considered a surefire superstar coming out of college, after his Kevin Durant like freshman season statistically he where averaged 26, 12 and 53%. For most of that season Beasley had every bit the hype of Durant. Only the last few months before the draft did Derrick Rose’s meteoric rise in the tournament and concerns over Beasley’s motor remove some of the gloss.

Kevin Love on the other hand, while having just as dominant a freshman college season, was considered a good prospect that people weren’t sold on the upside of as much as Beasley, due to less than dominant physical tools and height. Amazingly, it is the Love who’s putting up a 26/13, MVP caliber production and Beasley who is a mediocre all but bust.

While Kevin Love certainly plays with a much better motor and toughness than Beasley, I can’t imagine that effort level is responsible for the difference between them. Beasley has never looked like the star talent he was made out to be. He was the one of the two players who suffered being being a small PF, while his post game from college disappeared as a result. For the most part he’s now a midrange jumpshooter.

If you read my 2012 draft big board, I introduced my hypothesis that a player’s impact is 33% physical, 33% skill, and 33% feel for the game. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by jr.

June 30, 2012 at 6:43 pm

Final Mock Draft (June 28th, 2012)

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A final mock draft. I have no sources, these are just guesses. To mix it up a bit, I have included a confidence % beside each pick, showing how strongly I feel the team would make this pick. I have also included the “alternative pick”, showing who I’d have 2nd on their board at that pick.

1. New Orleans Hornets – PF Anthony Davis: A lock to go 1st, no use discussing it. Confidence: 100%. Alternate pick: N/A

2. Charlotte Bobcats – PF Thomas Robinson: Charlotte seems a candidate to move down to 4 with Cleveland, but Robinson seemingly is their target either way. Confidence level: 75%. Alternate pick: SF Harrison Barnes

3. Washington Wizards – SG Bradley Beal: Washington’s trade for Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza seems to foreshadow their target is Beal, to fill their need for shooting and scoring at the 2. Confidence level: 90%. Alternate pick: SF Harrison Barnes

4. Cleveland Cavaliers – SG Dion Waiters: Last year Cleveland’s pick of Tristan Thompson, a) Was kept almost a perfect secret until the day of the draft, and b) Apparently made on statistical metrics. The stats love Waiters and hate Harrison Barnes, the consensus best player available here. I have Cleveland matching the conditions of the Thompson pick by taking Waiters. Confidence level: 50%. Alternate pick: SF Michael Kidd-Gilchrist

5. Sacramento Kings – C Andre Drummond: The heavy word is that Sacramento will be trading this pick to Houston if Robinson isn’t available here and that the Rockets target is seemingly Drummond. Confidence level: 75%. Alternate pick: SF Michael Kidd-Gilchrist Read the rest of this entry »

Written by jr.

June 28, 2012 at 2:28 pm

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NBA Draft Scouting Reports: SF Harrison Barnes & PG Scott Machado

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Here’s a double dose of video scouting reports I did. They are two prospects on different sides of the pond. Harrison Barnes has been one of the biggest prospects in namepower for years and looks to be picked top 5 despite some disappointing college numbers which has led to some polarizing opinions on his potential – I look to break down which side I’m on for him. Scott Machado is the barely known 2nd round projected prospect from a mid major school, that I have this crazy feeling could end up one of its top 5 players.

Written by jr.

June 27, 2012 at 2:23 pm

Final 2012 NBA Draft Big Board (June 26th, 2012)

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This is my final big board for prospects in the 2012 NBA Draft.

The reason my lists may look surprisingly different from the ESPN, etc. lists is the following reason: I believe there is an inefficiency in the draft process related to physical tools being vastly over-weighted compared to skill and what is commonly called “feel for the game”, which is what players have when they have a natural feel for the position and the spatial awareness to be in control of where they are in relation to the other 9 players on the court. In other sports like hockey, the word “vision” also refers to this. It seems to me like the draft process orders players’ talent and upside by roughly 65-70% physical tools, 20-25% skill, and 5-10% feel for the game. My hypothesis based on observing draft results of prospects is that that giving a one third or 33% weighting to each category is a more accurate weighting. I looked closely at each player’s talent in the categories (even numerically writing them down at one point) to best as I can rank the best combinations. Thus the order I came up with may seem extremely divergent to the other big boards you will see, but I am going to trust my method here.

Another thing to remember about my order, is that this is a list with tremendous depth and not a lot of top-heavy talent in terms of star talents from 2 and down. It may seem shocking to see Thomas Robinson ranked as low as 21st, but if I had to predict a PER for him, it’d be about 15 – which is still enough for a long time contributing career. In last year’s draft he may very well have ranked top 7-10. There is value in drafting what I expect him to be, an ideal 3rd big man who rebounds and provides some athletic energy to a game. It’s just I see many relevant NBA players out of this draft.

With each player I have included stylistic similarity (simply measuring who the prospect will resemble aesthetically), statistical similarity (strictly showing what numbers I expect him to put up),and projection of whether the player will be a superstar, all-star, borderline all-star, starter, borderline starter, or bench player.

My rankings:

1. PF Anthony Davis – The value of getting a potential defensive player of the year candidate is immense. He not only has elite shotblocking length and mobility, but a supreme sense of the court and closing off angles against the opposition defensively. He may even have top 3 offensive upside in the draft – He has great hands, timing, an elite first steps and an early base of a shooting and post game. I see him landing somewhere between perennial all-star and superstar.

Stylistic similarity: Chris Bosh meets Tim Duncan

Statistical similarity: Dwight Howard

Projection: Superstar

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by jr.

June 26, 2012 at 3:26 pm

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Why Andre Drummond may very well be a “safe” pick, not a “risky” one

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Source: Wikipedia

Andre Drummond in the 2012 draft is considered your classic “boom or bust” pick. He’s arguably one of the most physically gifted prospects of the last 20 years (His combination of size and power rivals if not surpasses a young Dwight Howard’s), but also is extremely raw, lacks great spatial awareness/feel for the court and is seemingly a soft player. Because he’s so undeveloped compared to his physical tools, he’s being called a risk if he doesn’t develop.

For example a Warriors insider here http://blogs.mercurynews.com/kawakami/2012/06/21/andre-drummond-the-player-who-could-cause-the-warriors-biggest-draft-room-debate/  quotes

“Stated simply: Other than presumptive No. 1 pick Anthony Davis, no player in this draft might have more top-end talent than Drummond…. and top-end risk, too.”

“But in this scenario, there almost certainly would be draft room voices on the other side–people who believe that Drummond is too risky and too much of a project for a team that wants to win as soon as possible and do it with players who love basketball.”

This echoes much of the sentiment on Drummond. Because of his once or twice a decade physical tools for a center, he’s considered a high upside player if he develops greatly and gets it mentally, but the chance that he doesn’t get it makes him a risk.

I have to disagree with the sentiment of Drummond’s riskiness. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by jr.

June 21, 2012 at 2:10 pm

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Thomas Robinson, Jared Sullinger and a hypothesis about a blind spot in the drafting process

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English: Cropped version of the picture. Jared...

English: Cropped version of the picture. Jared Sullinger at the 2010 Nike Hoop Summit (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This season in the NCAA Anthony Davis had the best season. Thomas Robinson and Jared Sullinger were arguably the 2nd and 3rd most impressive stars, culminating in a Final Four matchup between their teams (Of which Kansas and Robinson got the edge).

Both will be picked top 16 in this draft, though at different points. Robinson is the odds on favorite to go 2nd overall to the Bobcats and will drop to 5th or 6th at worst. Jared Sullinger’s window appears to be between 10 to the Hornets and 16 to the Rockets 2nd pick.

The reason Sullinger has dropped below a number of players he outperformed in college with his fabulous post scoring, is concerns about whether he can get off his game in the NBA. He measured reasonably at 6’9, but horribly in the combine athletic testing and appears to have little vertical impact on the game. The logic against him that the jump in competition in physical talent between the NCAA and NBA will limit his upside – that because he’ll be forced to score under the rim against bigger defenders, he won’t be able to get his offensive game off.

On the other hand, Robinson is a physical specimen. He is chiseled, wide and explosive enough to play above the rim. Although the same size as Sullinger, he will a bull to handle physically. Thus there doesn’t seem a lot of reason to ask whether he fits the NBA game physically and athletically.

I believe this is indicative of a blind spot. The jump from the NCAA to NBA in level of competition and physical talent is equally massive for every player. It in fact does make sense to ask whether the jump in athletic competition will make Robinson a bust risk, because it’s a big gap for him too. Sullinger may drop from a mid level college athlete to a sub average NBA one, but Robinson may drop from a great athlete to a good one. What’s to say the latter is less of an important drop-off? Read the rest of this entry »

Written by jr.

June 18, 2012 at 10:33 pm

Posted in NBA Draft

2012 NBA Mock Draft (Top 60, with explanations) – June 15th, 2012

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This is my 2nd 2012 NBA Mock draft and first including the 2nd round. I will do a 3rd one before the draft if my predictions greatly change. This list is based purely on speculation and guesses based on the information out there on teams and their history.

1. New Orleans Hornets – PF Anthony Davis: As big a lock to 1st overall as you can get. With Gordon, Davis and the most underrated coach in the league Monty Williams, the Hornets have the pieces to contend in a few years.

2. Charlotte Bobcats – SG Jeremy Lamb: I’m going with my gut that either Charlotte or Cleveland is in love with Jeremy Lamb’s effortless scoring talent. Lamb’s dynamic shot creation and spacing at the 2 guard spot is exactly what the Bobcats need.

3. Washington Wizards – SF Michael Kidd-Gilchrist: The Wizards have been remodeling their roster lately to one with more consistent character and less enigmas. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist adds to a potentially elite defensive core in the future, while fitting with the Wizards’ history of taking athletic players.

4. Cleveland Cavaliers – PF/C Meyers Leonard: With a star PG in Kyrie Irving, Leonard potentially gives the Cavaliers a 2nd huge piece as a C who can score in the post and block shots – completing the long term frontcourt beside PF Tristan Thompson and his rebounding/toughness.

5. Sacramento Kings – PF Thomas Robinson: The Kings need a player who’s impact doesn’t rely on shots, with his athleticism and rebounding and strength Robinson fits this and is an ideal match at PF beside Demarcus Cousins at C. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by jr.

June 15, 2012 at 5:12 pm

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Video Blog #7 – NBA Finals predictions, Stanley Cup Finals, Pacquiao-Bradley

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I discuss the NBA Finals, Stanley Cup Finals, and the controversial Pacquiao-Bradley split decision this weekend

Video Blog #6 – NBA Draft Positional Rankings: SGs

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I discuss the SGs in this draft, including Jeremy Lamb, Bradley Beal, Dion Waiters, Evan Fournier, Terrence Ross, Doron Lamb, Austin Rivers and John Jenkins

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June 9, 2012 at 3:45 pm

Video Blog #5 – Where Do They Go From Here? (Lakers, Clippers, Pacers, 76ers)

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In this blog I discuss the offseason and future of the LA Lakers, LA Clippers, Indiana Pacers and Philadelphia 76ers

Written by jr.

June 7, 2012 at 2:13 pm