A Substitute for War

Basketball philosophy

Posts Tagged ‘Alex Hannum

Kobe Theory and the Drowned Plant

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Image via Joelk75 on Flickr

Somewhere in Los Angeles, a rumor starts. The disgruntled star everyone is talking about getting traded, Carmelo Anthony, they say he’s coming to the Lakers for Andrew Bynum.

I don’t take the rumor seriously at all, but in a town where Pau Gasol can materialize out of thin air, I never say never.

Enter Plaschke

Of course the fans are for it. Melo is candy to them. Bigger star, and a guy who does what they value – score. They’ll trade for him without a second thought for how he’ll fit with the team. I don’t think much about it, until I see an article from LA Times institution Bill Plaschke, a writer I’ve enjoyed for a long time. He’s for the trade. I’m reading along muttering to myself until I see this part and my jaw drops to the floor:

The Lakers are near the top of the league in rebounding but are only 15th in the league in field goal percentage in the fourth quarter of games they trail. Kobe needs help closing, and Anthony gives him that help. The Lakers’ offense needs a second option outside, and Anthony can take that shot. The Lakers don’t shoot as well as their biggest rivals, and Anthony would fix that.

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Written by Matt Johnson

February 18, 2011 at 3:18 pm

Chamberlain Theory: The Real Price of Anarchy in Basketball

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Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell during a bas...

Image via Wikipedia

A recent post by ElGee over at Back Picks talks about something I’ve been wanting to chime in on, and I want to go over it and then point something out that I haven’t seen discussed, other than in conversations I’ve had with ElGee and a few others.  The back story:

Braess’ Paradox

The Price of Anarchy is a game theory concept describing the difference between actual and optimal performance in a network where individuals in the network behave selfishly.  One of the amazing counterintuitive epiphanies relating to this is called Braess’ Paradox which describes how in a transportation system, building a new road can actually slow traffic down.  I’m going to skip an explanation of exactly how this is so and go straight to the analogy to basketball because it’s most relevant, and actually easier to understand.

People in the basketball world started talking about this when Brian Skinner wrote a paper and gave a talk at the Sloan Sports Analytics conference last year.  Skinner broke down the situation admirably:  If you keep running the same play, even if it’s easily the best play you have, the opponent is going to catch on, and it’s not going to be as effective.  Hard to argue with the man, he’s clearly right – but how big of a problem is this?

Ewing Theory…is not caused by Braess’ Paradox

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Greatest SRS Improvements in NBA History; Notable Players & Coaches

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I wanted to follow up on the Fall of the Cavaliers post, where I posted the 10 greatest falls in NBA history.

First, I compiled that list, and the list below by hand.  It’s possible I missed teams, especially those from defunct franchises.  I’d welcome any corrections.

The 10 greatest SRS improvements in NBA history and the notable changes those teams:

Note that the improvements from Oakland and New Jersey (known at the time as New York) occurred in the ABA before their NBA-ABA merger.

Seeing these top 10s obviously begs the question of who was involved in multiple massive changes in team performances.  Observations I’ve made looking at SRS changes of 6 or greater (which is roughly the 100 biggest changes in history):

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