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Posts Tagged ‘Eastern Conference Predictions

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

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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.

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Written by jr.

October 18, 2012 at 11:01 pm