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A quick thought on Andre Drummond impressing in preseason

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Arnold Schwarzenegger in Commando voice: Remember when I told you I wouldn’t post a column today… I LIED

Well, it’ll just be a quick post. I wanted to touch on Andre Drummond’s impressive play in preseason for the Pistons. He’s been dominant so far, making many teams’ fans already worry about missing on him in the draft. Here’s a good clip package of his play in his last game:

 

The thing standing out for most is how hard he’s playing. The big thing that hurt Drummond’s draft stock was a lack of internal drive and motor on his UConn college team. He’s playing as hard as any rookie so far, alleviating some of those concerns.

But what’s impressing me however is his finishing around the basket. I always knew he could catch the ball well, but in college his touch and finishing seemed outright poor – with his all time bad FT shooting indicating he just might not have it from a skill perspective. In my 33pt method, I ranked Drummond as a 10 in physical impact, a 1 in skill and a 3 in feel for the game. Despite his amazing physical score, his total score of 14 still indicated a borderline starter and average player.

However, Drummond hypothetically having a strong touch and finishing ability if this holds up, would drastically change his outlook as a prospect. Touch and the ability to finish around the basket is by far the most important thing for a center’s Skill score. It makes him a useable option in any offense (even if at a low volume) which is how players like Tyson Chandler and Nene have been very valuable offensive options to their teams, despite unspectacular scoring games. If Drummond indeed can finish around the basket consistently like he has in the above clips, it’d be enough to re-evaluate his skill score as a 4, 5 or 6. Bumping him up to 11 in physical impact if his motor concerns end up unfounded, would also help. This new respectably skilled version of Drummond would be a player scoring 18 to 20 in my 33pt method, an excellent score – with how little impact centers there are in the league, perhaps enough to be a top 5 center and all-star.

With that said. It’s still very early for Andre Drummond. It’s plausible my initial instinct regarding his touch around the basket will prove correct. It’s possible his motor concerns will rear back up. But I see a reason to believe Andre Drummond could be as good as he’s showing.

I’ll have another mini-post tomorrow, on a particular European prospect in a future draft you should get used to the name of.

By Julien Rodger

Twitter: @ASFW_jrodger

Email: julienrodger@gmail.com (Send me a question, if I get enough I’ll do a mailbag, or just answer it in an article)

Written by jr.

October 15, 2012 at 11:42 am

Posted in NBA Draft, NBA Predictions

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33pt Thursday – Team Rankings/Predictions for the Western Conference (NBA 2012-2013)

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Manu Ginobili, San Antonio Spurs, warming up f...

Manu Ginobili, San Antonio Spurs, warming up for a game vs. Los Angeles Lakers January 28, 2007 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is my first attempt to use the 33pt method to evaluate teams. I don’t trust this nearly as much as the player evaluations, but I’ll give it a trial run. In short, here is how I evaluated each team

Physical tools

–  Perimeter players who drive to the rim, have the power to finish help the team’s score. Length on the perimeter defensively is important. Having a shotblocker in the frontcourt helps a team’s score, as does post size/power down low.

Skill

–  Shooting and shot creation for perimeter players are key, as are post players in the frontcourt

Feel for the Game

–  I evaluate offense and defense feel for the game for each team separately, averaging my scores to create a total feel for the game score. Awareness of the court, ability to recognize space and angles offensively and defensively, and general smoothness play into this category.

To evaluate teams, because 82 divided by 3 is 27 (and change), I approximated that each score out of 11, when multiplied by 2.48 can be represented in wins, the maximum in each being 27. A good way to measure it is to multiply the win total by 3. So when you see a team with “15 Ws”, imagine that they are “45 win caliber” in that particular category.

Using this, here are my scores for the Western and Eastern Conference. Keep in mind, this is ranking teams if they hypothetically had full health, thus even including a team like the Bulls that won’t be healthy. I will mention in the write-ups whether I expect a higher or lower record if it differs from the score:

Western Conference

1. San Antonio Spurs

Physical impact: 6 (15 Ws), Skill: 8.5 (21 Ws), Feel for the Game: 10 (25 Ws). Total record: 61-21 (difference from Vegas Over/Under: +5.5)

The Spurs get a lot of physical points from their perimeter, as Parker and Ginobili’s penetration plus Leonard’s size all rank strongly in the category, but are much less strong up front with Diaw, Duncan, Splitter not dominating physically. Skill wise they are excellent due to a myriad of shooting and perimeter shot creation, with post ability. But their strength is feel for the game. Just about every Spur has a tremendous feel and basketball IQ. So much that I have an article planned for the future hypothesizing that the Spurs have used feel for the game as a major part of their team building. The Spurs combination of above average physical impact, strong skill and the best feel for the game in the league, gives them an amazing win score of 63. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by jr.

October 11, 2012 at 10:40 pm

Video Blog Wednesday – Picking the Vegas Win Total Over/Unders for all 30 NBA teams

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A minor correction, I state the Knicks over/under was 48.5, when it is actually 45.5.

Written by jr.

October 10, 2012 at 10:01 pm

Posted in Basketball, NBA Predictions

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Weekly Preview (October 8th-October 12th)

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Here are the articles I plan on posting next week

MVP/Power Rankings Monday: My top 25 NBA player peaks of all time and why

Stats Tuesday: Is “replacement” shooting percentage a better measuring stick than league average shooting percentage, in the NBA?

Video Blog Wednesday: My Vegas Over/Under NBA win total picks

33pt Thursday: 33pt method team rankings/record predictions, for the 2012-2013 NBA season

Draft Prospect Friday: Nerlens Noel – A very overrated prospect

By Julien Rodger

Twitter: @ASFW_jrodger

Email: julienrodger@gmail.com (Send me a question, if I get enough I’ll do a mailbag)

 

Written by jr.

October 6, 2012 at 10:32 am

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

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The two most hyped pre-NBA prospects are not in the 2013 draft. SF Jabari Parker looks to be a top pick in 2014 and SG/SF Andrew Wiggins in 2015, unless he can reclassify to the year before and go to college a year early. Right now Wiggins is ranked ahead by consensus rankings. But who is the more talented prospect?

SF Jabari Parker

Physical impact: Jabari has terrific size and strength for a SF, allowing him to finish at the rim and shoot his jumper over opponents. He does not have the most explosive first step in the world. Score: 6

Skill: Jabari is one of the most skilled players in high school. He can shoot from all over the court and has a strong passing game. For a small forward, his skill talent can be devastating. Score: 10

Feel for the Game: Jabari’s strength, his feel for the game and smoothness to his offensive is simply tremendous. Score: 10

Total score: 26 (Superstar talent score)

Overall analysis: Jabari’s combination of size, shooting/passing skill and elite feel for the game is possibly devastating. He looks like a player made to score over 25 points a game in the NBA in the way Paul Pierce, Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Durant’s combination of size, skill and feel are/were devastating scorers. High end: Paul Pierce, Middle ground: Danillo Gallinari, Low end: Harrison Barnes

SG/SF Andrew Wiggins Read the rest of this entry »

Written by jr.

October 5, 2012 at 4:45 pm

33pt Thursday – Final predictions for 2012-2013 rookies

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This year was the first time I used the 33pt method to evaluate draft prospects. The real test of this metric and what would gain it respect is if it will predict well. Although I posted a Big Board in June, I have a few issues letting that list stand. One is that was made very shortly after I had come up with the 33pt idea and before I had hashed out my specific criteria for the scores – as a result of the changes to my criteria, a few players’ scores and rankings have changed. Secondly, in that iteration of my big board, I didn’t lay out the specific scores for players, merely the rankings. Thus before the preseason started I wanted to make a revised post of my official predictions for 2012-2013 rookies using this metric, to test it when the players eventually hit the floor. I listed all of the 1st round picks, in addition to any significantly relevant picks outside of the 1st round. I also included the 2011 draft picks that will be rookies this year.

Superstar scores

Anthony Davis

Physical: 11, Skill: 7, Feel for the Game: 10

Total: 28

Davis looks even better than I thought in June, because I realized how rare elite shotblocking is at the 4 position – with his offensive explosiveness as well, Davis may in fact be one of the highest scoring physical talents at PF the NBA has seen. He has a tremendous feel and a skill level that should be somewhere between good and great for a PF.

Jeremy Lamb

Physical: 6

Skill: 9

Feel for the Game: 11

Total: 26

Lamb looks a lot like a SG version of Kevin Durant to me. He has an otherworldly feel for the game, has a tremendous array of shots and skills off the dribble, and has an elite first step and great size to finish at the rim.

All-star scores Read the rest of this entry »

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

Is Kenneth Faried being underrated again? Why Faried’s star potential shouldn’t be counted out

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Kenneth Faried is one of the biggest draft steals we’ve seen lately. He fell to 22nd in a 2011 draft nobody liked at the time, despite performing incredibly in college in the one stat everyone agrees translates just about perfectly (rebounding) and being an above the rim, freakish athlete – who played harder than everyone else. Concerns about his size (under 6’8 in shoes), performing at Morehead State and being a senior led to his fall. He went on to finish 3rd in rookie of the year voting and to play meaningful minutes for Denver in the playoffs.

Even despite this, Faried may be missed on again. What I mean by this, is how nobody’s talking about what happens next to Faried’s career. It’s generally assumed he is what he is, an elite “energy” big man off the bench. The other three players who finished top 4 in rookie of the year voting – Kyrie Irving, Ricky Rubio and Kawhi Leonard have drawn more optimistic predictions about all-star upsides.

However, history is on Faried’s side. Here is the list of players who’ve finished with a PER higher than 21 in their rookie season, with a minimum of 1000 minutes played. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by jr.

September 13, 2012 at 2:27 pm

Why the post Dwight Howard trade Los Angeles Lakers are a flawed basketball team

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I believe the Los Angeles Lakers trading Andrew Bynum for Dwight Howard was the correct move. Where I love the trade for the Lakers is what it does to their future. In the first few seasons after Kobe and Gasol’s massive contracts expire the nextseries of star unrestricted free agents will have their time come: Kevin Love, Rajon Rondo, Lamarcus Aldridge, Al Horford, and Carmelo Anthony again. The Lakers are likely going to be sitting on max free agent capspace, enough to lure a Rondo or Love to come play with Dwight Howard, or bully their teams into trading them to the Lakers beforehand. Howard despite his back surgery is a more reliable long term player health wise than Bynum and is a player who’s proven a contender can be built around. It was the right choice.

However, I’m much more lukewarm about how it improves the Lakers next season. Let’s put it this way: Despite not being an ideal fit, Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum were to me, the very best starting frontcourt in the entire league. The talent and size was incomparable. The reason the Lakers have lost recently is other massive flaws on their team. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by jr.

August 26, 2012 at 4:01 pm

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