A Substitute for War

Basketball philosophy

Archive for September 2012

Weekly Preview (October 1st-October 5th)

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Here are the articles I’m planning to post next week. Since the MLB regular season is coming to an end I have a few baseball related topics I’ll get to, in addition to hoops stuff:

MVP/Power Rankings Monday: Ranking the 10 most likely players to win NBA MVP (Of those who haven’t won any yet)

Stats Tuesday: The statistical case for Miguel Cabrera as American League MVP and a runs production stat to replace RBIs with

Video Blog Wednesday: Why OPS is a very flawed stat and no better than an MLB answer to PER + How it can easily be fixed

33pt Thursday: Final 33pt rankings for 2012 NBA draft prospects (Team 33pt rankings will have to wait yet another week – I want to get this article up before the rookies play preseason games)

Draft Prospect Friday: Jabari Parker vs Andrew Wiggins – Who is the better high school prospect?

If any of that sounds interesting to you, make sure to check A Substitute for War next week

Twitter: @ASFW_jrodger

Email: julienrodger@gmail.com (If I get enough email questions, I’ll do a mailbag)

Written by jr.

September 29, 2012 at 3:09 pm

Posted in Basketball

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Draft Prospect Friday: Early NBA Draft Scouting Video – SG Shabazz Muhammad

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My video breaking down early frontrunner for 2013 #1 pick and UCLA recruit Shabazz Muhammed.

Twitter: @ASFW_jrodger

Email: julienrodger@gmail.com (If I get enough, I’ll do a mailbag)

Written by jr.

September 28, 2012 at 1:45 pm

33pt Thursday: Why I see Gordon Hayward breaking out as an all-star this year

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I originally planned to post how I use the 33pt method to rank teams and my predictions for this season, but I will save that for next week and polish it up until then

Of the players I have tried to evaluate with the 33pt method, a player who’s score jumped out to me was Gordon Hayward.

To many NBA fans, Hayward is seen as a decent starting wing in the NBA. But it is presumed his upside is inconsequential. I have him ranked as an all-star talent. Here’s my 33pt breakdown

Physical tools: Hayward might be the most underrated athlete in the league. Many of us seem to have a block when it comes to associating the aesthetic look of a scrawny white guy who fathers everywhere would want to date their daughter as superior athletically, however he is legitimately explosive. I like this video to show some of his explosiveness: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by jr.

September 27, 2012 at 4:03 pm

Video Blog Wednesday – #9: Why I believe the Minnesota Timberwolves will underperform in 2012-2013

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My lukewarm take on the Timberwolves’ upcoming season. Just as a note, this is blog #9 in name, I originally recorded a #8 a few months ago but forgot to upload it – Thus this is the 9th video blog I’ve recorded by 8th I’ve released.

Twitter: @ASFW_jrodger

Email: julienrodger@gmail (If you send me a question, I’ll get around to a weekly/monthly mailbag if I get enough)

Written by jr.

September 26, 2012 at 2:07 pm

Stats Tuesday – The future of Demar Derozan and the possessions game catching up to young players

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DeMar DeRozan of the Toronto Raptors {| class=...As a Raptors fan, I’ve been asking myself “What to do with a problem like Demar Derozan” Sound of Music style

By the old way of judging players, Derozan scoring 17.2 points and 16.7 points a game in the 2nd and 3rd seasons would seem evidence he’s a player to build around in a starting lineup. It’s not easy to get 16 point a game+ scorers.

Advanced stats say otherwise. A .530 TS% and .503 TS% the last two years and little other impact on the game but scoring, bring him to a PER of 14.4 and 12.8, the former below average and the latter awful.

The boogieman for Derozan’s career going forward is possessions. Using the equation of FGA+0.44*FTA+TOV to measure scoring possessions, he averaged 18.0 and 18.6 possessions a game. This is a lot. To use a comparison, last year Paul Pierce used 19.9, Joe Johnson used 18.8 last year, Danny Granger used 19.1. So Derozan’s 18.6 possessions a game last year is fairly close to star wings’.

The problem for Derozan is the only reason he’s getting these possessions at his current caliber of play is the poor quality of his team’s offensive options. He does not have the talent to be a top scoring option on an elite team, based on what he’s shown so far. The way we know this is the players who do have “top scoring option on a great team” talent, if given the keys on a bad team, will typically produce at a much higher volume than Derozan did last year. Granger in 2008-2009 averaged 25.8ppg, then 24.1ppg in 2009-2010. Joe Johnson averaged 25.0ppg in 2006-2007. By comparison’s Derozan’s 17.2 and 16.7ppg seasons are fairly meek, especially at a poor efficiency.

In basically any situation, a score first player is going to get less possessions on a talented team than on a poor one. This seems inherently obvious – The star offensive player has to carry the team with less help. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by jr.

September 25, 2012 at 1:16 pm

Why the replacement refs made the right call in the Packers-Seahawks game

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First off, here are the two best angles of the play

Here is the sequence of events

1. Jennings intercepts the pass midflight, but initially lands on ONE foot. This is quite easy to see in the first GIF. His other leg basically goes down with the rest of his body.

2. Tate puts his hands on the ball before Jennings’ 2nd foot goes down. It’s pretty clear in the 2nd GIF that Tate at least has simultaneous possession at some point and by the lateness of Jennings’ 2nd foot hitting the ground in the 1st GIF, it’s fairly clear this is before Jennings other foot goes down.

3. Both players hit the ground. Tate is below Jennings so if anything he hits before Jennings’ other foot does.

4. Jennings wrestles the ball away from Tate again. This is IRRELEVANT, because the play is already dead as soon as the players hit the ground. It’s the same situation as a fumble getting called off because a player was down first in a normal mid-field situation. Furthermore, the rule is that if Tate has simultaneous possession at any point before the play ending (which happens when Jennings and Tate hit the ground), then it’s a touchdown regardless of whether he loses the ball after. Any offensive possession in the endzone, even if simultaneous, even if for a split second, is a touchdown.

When Jennings has “sole” possession of the ball, it’s only one 1 foot. To have real control of the ball his other foot would’ve had to come down. Put it this way, Jennings dropped the ball after he initially caught it and before Tate put his hands on it, the play would’ve been ruled an incomplete pass and not a fumble, because before his other foot came down he didn’t have control of it. If one accepts that call is an incomplete pass if he drops it, you have to accept he didn’t have possession of it before Tate put his hands on it.

The only way it’d be an interception is if Jennings had sole possession of the ball when his 2nd foot hit the ground. While I wouldn’t completely rule this out based on the evidence, if I had to call it from those 2 GIFs, I would without question give my vote to Tate having two hands on the ball before Jennings’ 2nd foot hit the ground. At the very least, it’s a close enough call that it’s defend-able the referees ruled Tate had his hands on it. And possession can’t be overturned on a review, the call on the field had to stand.

Ironically considering how bad they’ve been, the replacement referees made the right call in this game and Seattle deserved to beat Green Bay.

By Julien Rodger

Twitter: @ASFW_jrodger

Email: julienrodger@gmail (Throw me a question, I’ll get around to a weekly/monthly mailbag if I get enough)

Written by jr.

September 24, 2012 at 10:21 pm

Posted in Football

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MVP/Power Rankings Monday: MVP predictions for the 2012-2013 NBA season

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Here is my predictions for the 2012-2013 MVP race in the NBA:

Honorable mentions:

Dirk Nowitzki – Should have another strong season, but when a player passes his statistical prime it’s hard to rejoin the MVP conversation

Kobe Bryant – I’m expecting age and the odometer to rear up this year for Kobe, but another 25 point per game season is possible

Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili – I expect another strong season for the Spurs, after after the novelty of putting Parker in the top 5 last year, I expect the MVP votes go in other directions

Dwight Howard and Derrick Rose – Will miss too large a portion of the season to make a dent in the race

Kevin Love – The hardest omission from the top 10. The biggest factor is my prediction that the Wolves have a disappointing season, which I’ll cover later this week

9-10 Elite 2nd bananas

10. Russell Westbrook – Russell’s scoring could finally plateau this year with James Harden’s increased usage on the perimeter, but his motor and energy continue to define the Thunder even more than Kevin Durant and on an elite team should find himself with a number of top 10 finishes in his career

9. Blake Griffin – Many star players break out statistically in year 3. Remember Blake was thought as a future MVP candidate after his rookie season. With a PG who’s used to him now and a midrange shot that’s dieing to get consistent, he could be in for a massive season that makes the media reconsider his ceiling back to that superstar level.

5-8: Star production, but not a high enough team record to compete for MVP Read the rest of this entry »

Written by jr.

September 24, 2012 at 2:50 pm

Introducing some consistency to A Substitute For War: Daily themes (+ This week’s preview)

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I decided this NBA Season I’m going to try and write at a more consistent level. To do this I’m introducing daily themes for each day, which are:

Monday: MVP Monday/Power Rankings – Bringing back a weekly article when Matt Johnson was a regular contributor, I’ll discuss the top 5 in the MVP race and other players who had a particularly big week. I’ll also contribute a team power rankings.

Tuesday: Stats Tuesday – My attempt to say something insightful statistically once a week

Wednesday: Video blog Wednesday – I’ll try to consistency make more youtube videos on general thoughts on the NBA

Thursday: 33 point Thursday – I’ll post an article related to my 33 point method for evaluating talent that I introduced a few weeks ago

Friday: Prospect Friday – Posts on NBA Draft prospects and the NCAA if I have anything to say about it

Here is my plan for this week:

Monday: MVP Race predictions

Tuesday: Demar Derozan, OJ Mayo, Michael Beasley and the possessions game catching up to young players

Wednesday: Why I’m down on the 2012-2013 Minnesota Timberwolves’ season (video blog)

Thursday: Team record predictions using the 33pt method

Friday: An early look at Shabazz Muhammed (video scouting report)

It’ll be work, but let’s see if A Substitute for War can get taken to the next level

By Julien Rodger

Twitter: @ASFW_jrodger

Email: julienrodger@gmail (Throw me a question, I’ll get around to a weekly/monthly mailbag if I get enough)

Written by jr.

September 24, 2012 at 1:51 pm

What is Anthony Randolph’s potential? Kris Humphries is a good career model

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Wizards v/s Timberwolves 03/05/11

Wizards v/s Timberwolves 03/05/11 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Anthony Randolph has been one of the NBA’s signature enigmas for years. With tantalizingly explosive athleticism and guard skills, he’s a player who’s feel for the game and basketball intelligence holds him back from otherwise starting caliber NBA tools. At this point he can hardly get on the floor. Yet teams know he has a chance to break out, which is why Denver paid a decent price for him.

I don’t believe Randolph will break out to all-stardom or anything. However I do think he can be starting caliber. In 2011-2012 in 517 minutes buried in Minnesota, per 36 minutes he averaged 17.5 pts, 8.6 rebs, 2.4 blks on .532 TS%. In 2010-2011 split between New York and Minnesota, per 36 he averaged 18.6 pts, 9.8 rebs, 1.5 blks on .505 TS%. Productivity per minute is not Randolph’s issue. His statline if one only looked at the per 36, resembles a slightly poor man’s version of Josh Smith. Smith in 2011-2012 per 36 minutes averaged 19.2 pts, 9.8 rebs, 1.8 blks on .499 TS%, though that was a down shooting % year for him, with Smith usually breaking .53 TS%+. Smith mind you averaged 4.0 assists per 36 minutes to Randolph’s 1.3

So why doesn’t Randolph play more? Because he has far too much nervous energy and often makes “dumb plays”, trying to do too much to prove he should stay on the floor, rather than let the game come to him.

As a Raptors fan this situation reminds me of a young Kris Humphries. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by jr.

September 21, 2012 at 1:04 pm

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Where the Sacramento Kings should move: Kansas City

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Sacramento Kings logo

Sacramento Kings logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

With the news of Seattle getting an NBA arena, speculation is abundant about which team will move to fill it, or whether it will be an expansion team.

While teams like Milwaukee and Memphis seem like possibilities, there is one obvious candidate at the top of the list: The Sacramento Kings. To make a long story short, the Maloof brothers’ financial situation is a mess because they owe big money to the city of Sacramento and the NBA and the team doesn’t sell enough tickets in their arena to pay it off. So why don’t they sell to pay off their loans? Because after squandering the family fortune in the last decade, this is all they have left. After selling the team and paying off their bills, if they even get paid enough for their franchise to do it, they won’t have any money left over. The ride will be over. Reportedly they turned down a 400 million dollar offer from the Chris Hansen led Seattle ownership group that’s building the arena.

What they really want to do is move the team, sell out the stadium in the new city for a few years while there is excitement about the NBA coming to town, then use this money to pay off their bills. That’s why you rumors about places like Virginia Beach, after trying to move to Anaheim shortly ago. There’s likely no way the NBA would let them move to Virginia Beach, but what it shows is that the Maloofs desperately want this move and profit plan.

There’s a perfect place and a perfect storybook ending to this: Move them to Kansas City. Not only did Kansas City build an arena in 2007 early able to host an NBA or NHL to try and lure a team and has been waiting for an owner willing to buy and move one there since, but even better, they used to have the Kings! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by jr.

September 14, 2012 at 7:28 pm

Posted in Basketball