A Substitute for War

Basketball philosophy

Posts Tagged ‘33pt Thursday

33pt Thursday: Team Rankings/Predictions for the Eastern Conference (NBA 2012-2013) (+ Question and Answer)

leave a comment »

LeBron James

LeBron James (Photo credit: Keith Allison)

Before getting to Eastern Conference rankings, answering a question

Q:   Was wondering if sometime you could post about player development, and which of your 3 areas a deficiency is hardest to overcome. If you were drafting and it was an either/or situation, would you prefer  a player with the elite physical tools, elite skill, or elite feel for the game.(Assuming relatively poor ratings in the other 2 categories) (- Michael Smith)

A: Hi Michael and thanks for the question. Player development is definitely something I wondered in regards to the 33pt theory. The one that seems most difficult for a player to change to me, is feel for the game. A players’ instinct level and what’s in their head, is something practice isn’t going to change.  The players who have elite feel for the game make it very clear in college and high school and the ones who don’t, stay that way.

So that leaves skill and physical tools. The initial instinct is to say skill is the easiest to change. Players can definitely improve their jumpshot and perimeter games. Players like Jason Richardson, Amar’e Stoudemire, Karl Malone are examples of players who’s skill games developed greatly past what they showed in college or high school. On the other hand, physical impact is improvable because of the role of ballhandling in how I score it. A perimeter player who improves his ability to handle, may have more success driving to the rim, which is the key factor for a high physical score for perimeter players. Danny Granger is a great recent example of a player who’s become better at driving over the years thanks to improved ballhandling. Physical impact can also change by a player simply changing his style of play. For example Lamarcus Aldridge moved to a post orientated game in his 5th season (2010-2011), which made him a more physically relevant player. Another example, Harrison Barnes has been playing in the post so far in preseason more than he did in the NCAA, becoming a post player instead of a dribble drive one if he keeps it, would give him a higher upside in the physical tools category as it could play to his muscular strength and away from his lack of speed.

But I would say skill is the one easiest for a player to make large leaps in, due to the learn-ability of jump-shooting. It’s also the category I feel least confident in projecting players with. Because for many players, I have to make an assumption of development in an area. Bradley Beal wasn’t an elite shooter in college statistically, but with his age and shooting form, I assume he will become a great shooter. But if he didn’t, his score would be worse in the skill score. Ultimately, the 33pt method is greatly on the side of nature instead of nurture in regards to talent and ability, but the nurture side of success still exists and is important. In regards to which I would rather draft between physical tools and feel for the game, it ultimately depends on the player, but I do believe for the center position, I would take elite physical talent due to the impact of shotblocking centers defensively. At a point guard, feel for the game may have the greatest impact. In a vacuum, feel for the game would likely be my choice between the 3, only if it’s accepted the other can be improved upon easier.

My Western Conference rankings and an explanation for how I evaluate teams can be found here

Eastern Conference

1. Miami Heat

Physical impact: 9 (22 Ws), Skill: 8.5 (21 Ws), Feel for the Game: 9.5 (24 Ws). Total record: 67-15 (vs Vegas Over/Under: +6.5)

The dominant team in the East looks to finally take the #1 seed, with the Bulls being a cinch to fall off that perch this year. This team is all around greatness. Lebron James and Dwyane Wade’s supernatural combination of physical impact and feel for the game anchor those scores. Shooters like Ray Allen, Shane Battier, Mike Miller, Rashard load up the skill score in a way the Lebron era Heat hasn’t seen. Chris Bosh adds elite feel and skill, Mario Chalmers and Udonis Haslem great feel, Joel Anthony physical impact as a shotblocker. As a whole, this team has a monstrous combination of tools in the 3 categories. If Lebron’s Heat have a signature season like 1986 was for Larry Bird’s Celtics or 1987 was for Magic Johnson’s Lakers, this is the year to do it.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by jr.

October 18, 2012 at 11:01 pm

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

with one comment

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.


–  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

33pt Thursday – Final predictions for 2012-2013 rookies

with 2 comments

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

with one comment

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