Sunday, June 15, 2014

NBA Playoffs Preview 2014

1 Pacers vs 8 Hawks
It almost seems like this matchup has happened before.. Maybe it happened last year..  Overall this looks to be a fairly boring matchup in multiple respects, but there should be some good defensive play.  Atlanta is a little better than their win/loss record would indicate, but they still are not a very good team.  Indiana has been fairly bad as of late, but I think that the Pacers will start the playoffs by rolling over the Hawks.  Some people have seen the Pacers swoon and thought that the Hawks have chance to make the series interesting, but I do not think that is the case.  I could certainly see the Hawks taking one game, but beyond that possibility the series should never be in doubt, as opposed to what some experts think..  The Pacers should be able to dominate the paint, I fail to see how the Hawks will be able to stop them.  I might be a little bit too much influence by going against the public perception of the Pacers right now.. If the Hawks had Al Horford then this series could go six or seven, but since they do not I think that Indiana will get out their brooms.  Pacers in 4, despite being approximately the eighth best teamin the NBA

4 Bulls vs 5 Wizards
The Bulls may have the lowest PPG in the NBA, but they also have the best defense, in terms of PPG.  The Wizards are a fairly interesting team, they lack quite a few things, but they make up for that with superior speed and decent play-making by Wall.  The Bulls seem to have a somewhat high variance in that they tend to blow teams out or get blown out, which is especially odd considering how their games are in effect shortened by their style of play.  Chicago has a very even distribution of points across their team.  Noah has taken another step forward in his play this year.  The Bulls are actually the slightly better team with the superior coach, but I'll take Washington.  Wizards in 6.

3 Raptors vs 6 Nets
The Nets certainly have the advantage over the Raptors in terms of playoff experience.  The Raptors actually have a fairly impressive starting lineup and bench, other than Salmons they are all fairly decent players to vaguely decent.  Once again Tyler Hansbrough should be getting more playing time.  The Nets lineup is rather ehh, although Plumlee is quite decent and should be getting a lot more playing time.  This series has some excitement value, but it shouldn't be all that close in the end.  Raptors in 5.

2 Heat vs 7 Bobcats
I am certain that the Heat were upset that they would be matched up with a team that just recently set the record for futility in the NBA.  Then in the next round they either get a team that got bounced in the first round last season or a team that hadn't even made the playoffs since Bosh was on their team.  The East is very weak.  If a team like the Warriors or Timberwolves would be in the quarter of the bracket with the Pacers, then I would probably take that team to advance to the EC finals.
Anyways though, the Bobcats are a very bad team and in various aspects should not even be in the playoffs.  The Heat, meanwhile, most definitely should be in the playoffs and should be in essence gifted with a first round bye.  I think that the cleaning crew will be busy for the second time in the playoffs.  Heat in 4.

Western Conference
1 Spurs vs 8 Mavericks
I really would have preferred that the Grizzlies would be facing the Spurs and the Mavericks would be facing the Thunder, but because of a bounce of the ball that is not what is happening.  The Spurs are an extremely good team, as evidenced by there impressive record, but still I think that they're a somewhat vulnerable team.  However, I don't think that the Mavs are a team that can exploit their weaknesses very well.  The Mavs are a team that I don't really understand in that, in the games that I have watched they tend to launch a high portion of their shots in non-quality locations, and yet they are still a fairly decent team.  I could see this series going in a couple different ways to the Spurs, but I'll go ahead and split the difference and take the Spurs in 5.  This series could easily be a sweep, my mind was just blown by the Spurs players' Win Shares.  I don't understand..  How can a team have only players (those who consistnently get minutes) that are pluses for their team?  Wow.

4 Rockets vs 5 Trail Blazers
The Rockets may be in the second tier of teams, but due to my affinity to the team, the players, and the way and places that they shoot the ball, the Rockets will probably end up being my dark horse team to win the Finals.  The Trail Blazers are a nice surprise, in some regards anyways, and should offer some challenging play to the Rockets.  A healthy Patrick Beverly and Dwight Howard will be key for the Rockets.  Rockets in 6.

3 Clippers vs 6 Warriors
The Clippers have the distinct advantage in this series because of the one-two punch of CP3 and Blake Griffin, however Iguodala and Steph Curry offer a serious challenge.  The Clippers have a serious upgrade from last postseason in that they now have Doc Rivers as HC.  I think that this series has quite a bit of potential variance, I could see Lob City in 4 or Warriors in 7.  The Warriors are kind of an underrated team by mean, but my mind was just partially blown by how good the Clippers are. Consequently, I'll take the Clippers in 5.

 2 Thunder vs 7 Grizzlies Two of my favorite teams are matched up here, which further increases my confusion as to what to do with this series.  I don't like how either team is right now, but I could still see either team challenging for a title.  KD nearly produced 20 wins for the Thunder according to Win Shares, wow.  And his PER was an unreal 29.8.

Whether I look at the conventional stats, the unconventional stats, the advanced stats, the basic stats, the eye test, the ear test, just about any test really, Tayshaun Prince does not seem to pass any of them.   Like seriously, every single stat and almost all the times that I have watched the Grizzlies and him play, they seem to be against him.  And yet Prince starts and provides a black hole on offense and mediocre to poor defenses of shots.  I don't understand.
If Westbrook would be healthy (unless that would change the way he plays the game..) and Prince would be out of the lineup for the Grizzlies, then I would actually peg the Grizzlies as the favorites, but since neither of those are the case I still like the Thunder to win the series.  If KD would be on the Grizzlies, then I would pick Memphis to win the NBA Championship.. But again that isn't the case..  Also, why does Westbrook jack an average of 5.5 threes per game?  That is efficient basketball at its relative worst.

Perkins played 1200+ minutes for the Thunder this season.  That happens to be 1200+ minutes too many.  He has the same problem as Prince, he fails every single test, other than the have hands that cannot catch passes test which he passes with flying colors.  Thunder in 5.

A lack of upsets in the first round once again.  But I think that things will change in the second round.

Second Round
At this point I needed to get to doing other things, so I didn't go into too much detail for these series.

1 Pacers vs 5 Wizards
Pacers in 5.

2 Heat vs 3 Raptors
The Raptors are a surprisingly young team.  Heat in 5.

1 Spurs vs 4 Rockets
Finally a completely legitimate upset.  Rockets in 6.

2 Thunder 3 Clippers
Redick is the difference in this series, Clippers in 6.  Someday the Thunder may learn that playing bad players tends to hurt your chances of winning... It isn't all rocket science people.

I gave a little thought to getting cute and picking an upset in the second round for the Pacers' and Heat' games, but I didn't get very close to pulling the theoretical trigger.

Championship Games
The matchup that has seemed to be inevitable all season indeed does come to fruition and
home court advantage proves to be the deciding factor in it.  The Heat are the better team, kind of by far, but I again decided to pull the upset.  Pacers in 7.

3 Clippers vs 4 Rockets
I think that there is a bit of rock-paper-scissors to the NBA in that if the Rockets were to play the Thunder instead of the Clippers, then they would most likely lose in 5, but against the Clippers they have a legitimate chance to win the series.
This was another tough series to pull, but I ended up with Rockets in 6.

1 Pacers vs 4 Rockets
I would be a bit bored with something conventional like Heat vs Clippers or Heat vs Spurs, so that is part of the reason why I ended up with this series.  That and also I think that it has approximately an 9% chance of happening, which isn't great, but there are a lot of different possibilities for championship series and I would put it in the top 5 most likely.  Thankfully the  NBA Finals home court format has finally been changed to the decent format that it should be.  Although in this case that change actually favors the Pacers, in my humble opinion.  Rockets in 6.

NBA Finals 2013

Hectic Heat happily view the horizon.

So this is what attempts to group NBA superstars looks like?  Thunderous dunks, three Finals series appearances, and two NBA titles in a mere three years? Yeah, based on that, it certainly seems like it was a horrible idea for LeBron to head to South Beach.  And looking back, Pat Riley really should have listened to the media pressure to blow-up the team, because then what..?  The Heat would have won the series in 5 games? 

Seriously though, the talk that the Heat should have been blown up the team (and especially the means therein, such as not actually trading D-Wade) and that Chris Bosh was the weak link on the team was silly at the time and is still a silly thing now.  And this isn't to reverse engineer anything, obviously, the Spurs were most definitely in the series, as, to a certain extent, the Thunder were as well.  The thing is, chemistry does not mesh overnight and Chris Bosh was generally not the true weak link on that team.

Quick outline of the blog
So with the title I tried a little alliteration, followed by a somewhat failed attempt to sarcastically parallel this.  Which I don't think I've linked to before, but I've certainly thought about linking it for various political things.  I kind of use even more appositives and brackets than usual, for whatever reason, throughout this post.   And then throughout this post, especially with the various game notes (since they are kind of by definition, random), I am a little bit random with the discussion.  Overall this post is a bit messy and the formatting is a bit off, like the post not being justified, but I was unable to change the formatting without creating further problems.  This is also an extremely late post, I figured I should finish editing it and post it before I reviewed the 2014 NBA Finals.

Interesting notes
"The Heat were minus-12 with all three stars on the floor against Indiana, and a disastrous minus-27 against San Antonio."  (Quoted from Zach Lowe.)  Shane Battier summed it up nicely: “We were not aggressive. And when our defense is soft, we are very pedestrian.”
Once the Heat started their series against the Pacers the Zig Zag Theory would have been extremely profitable.

The Grizzly Grinders got grounded by the Spurs.  The Spurs were extremely efficient and Grizzlies could not hit enough semi-open three's.  

Quick tangent..  I like (and don't like) coaches and players interviews, because they can (every once in a great while..) provide a little bit of insight into actual coaching or playing, and I like (and the viewing public likes) having the coaches or players humanized more.. (And that is kind of obviously the real reason why the league still has coaches interviews.) 

However, coach interviews can be a bit awkward at times.. Hello Coach Popovich.. and, generally speaking, none of the coaches really want to be interviewed at that time..  (It's like interviewing a grand-master in the middle of a chess match.. Jeff Van Gundy)  However..  That still should not provide coaches with a real excuse..  If it's enforced by the NBA, then it's enforced by the NBA..  You (effectively) have to follow it.  So why not make the best of a 'bad' scenario and actually pretend to care?  Why not make eye contact with the reporter?  Why not offer a real coaching tactic, rather than 'we need to be better in transition defense'?  Just some silly little things that I think coaches should sometimes attempt to implement. 

And mostly the same types of things goes for players as well, but they have the added benefit of the doubt in that they generally just played a half or an entire game of hard-fought basketball and as such are very sweaty and, once the game is over [since they won], will often have their minds not entirely present, because they will generally want to be thinking of/doing something besides talking about the game, such as 'partying', going to sleep, taking an ice bath, or doing other various recovery things, etc.

Why does Kevin Durant pretend/try to be 'not nice'? My opinion of KD has slipped a fair amount over the last year or two.  A large contributing factor to his decline?  KP.  Kendrick Perkins.  (Maybe I'm overblowing it a little) KD used to point to the sky after made three's, now it's hard to tell sometimes..  He used to have decent eye contact with reporters during interviewers, now it's generally more of a glance and look away kind of thing.  He used to be a bit soft-spoken, and didn't mind being seen as a 'nice guy', now he thinks he has to look 'tough' so that he will not finish 'last'..  And since he doesn't want to finish 'last', he has to have and show a darker edge/side to himself..  Whether it's the increase in swearing, the demonstrative 'leadership' (see that as pointless showboating..), or any of the other things, I think that KD has lost touch with who I think he really should be.  With whom he used to accurately fit.. (Which isn't to pigeon hole KD or anything, since he can can obviously do effectively whatever he wants to do.)

Memphis' assistant HC is very good..  (I believe I was referring to David Joerger..)  I was basically basing that off of roughly 30 seconds of a television interview.  I said that at the time because, (as I remember) he actually made eye contact with everyone involved, especially the interviewer, and he even had some intelligent basketball dialogue. 

Generally my analysis and 'gut feelings' have a bit more depth then to be based on all of 30 seconds.. But, on a fair number of occasions gut instincts do tend to be correct, and since that interview I have looked into Coach Joerger a little bit.  He was quite successful in coaching teams at levels such as the NBA D-League.  (I do think that coaching tends to be able to transcend levels.) And then also I listened to about a combined 20 minute clip of him in some radio interviews and he was very impressive in them as well.  

Coach Joerger provided some straight-forward insight with some actual analytic and real basketball positions talk.  As opposed to the gobblygook platitudes that are fairly often presented from basketball coaches' radio interviews, where the coaches talk about such things as effort-level, ability to rebound, bounces of the ball, etc.  And all of those things do have there places, and are quite important, especially effort-level, but they are, to a certain extent, simply just variants which can not be controlled..  As opposed to if a coach is actually detailing characteristics as to where and how a team's defense is supposed to be defending the opposition.

And that's definitely not to bash platitude coaches too much, since there is no rule that says that coaches must share actual information with the media and the general public.  So there is probably, technically, no real benefit to having much beyond a personality portraying yourself as nice, open, and being PC, and saying things like, 'both teams played very well', '___ is a great coach', 'they have a good team', 'our players are really improving', etc., etc.  And all of those things may or may not be true, and they may or may not be meant as truth by the person saying them, it's just that those sayings don't provide an actual explicit, accurate description of how and what a coach thinks about his team and opposing teams.

Game 5 Notes
James is disengaged
Good hustle by Bosh
Great job getting it to Duncan down low
Diaw good job on LBJ
Cole is getting destroyed by Parker 
Finally a double team (of Ginobli) and it resulted in a TO.  Another double team resulted in semi contested 3 for Green.
Bosh's jumper has really stunk lately.
Chalmers gives Green a layup of a 3.
Wade has had two straight attack of the hoop possessions and oddly enough.. Good things have happened.  Odd what happens when you actually attack the basket instead of settling for long jumpers..  
2:32 mark, James with a very impressive extremely quick post up (and up) of Green.
Spurs have hit the low post so many times.
More time for Battier.  (Finally)
James 1:27 mark, over-dramatized reaction to no call.
More free throws in this game, but it's still been a well called game.
Very good offense for both sides in the 1st half in terms of Q & NQ, and it's shown on the scoreboard.
4 secs, Cole didn't even do a bad job defending, and yet Parker owned him again.

Game 5 continued (I think)
2:50 3rd
Parker has had some impressive drives
Green has had some issues this game, but he's still destroying it from deep.
James should have helped..
Chalmers should stop taking so many 3's.
Such a smart pass by James.. A very quick pass to Bosh while he was in the post being defended by Green.
Why are the Heat overly hectic right now?
Heat are getting diced a bit.
Cole hasn't done a horrible job of defending, but he's just getting owned by Parker.
Great move by Bosh, drive and fake on Duncan
Lazy pass by Wade.
High scoring game and pace throughout.
Good job by Wade on Parker.  (surprise..)
Allen is so efficient at taking quick shots.
Bosh is such a hustle player.

Game 5 Notes
Heat Defense Miller and Bosh were great, Cole and James struggled.
Spurs Defense Diaw, Duncan, and Leonard were all very decent.  Green was below his usual greatness, but he was still certainly good.  No poor defenders.

Spurs Offense Duncan, Leonard, and Green most efficient, Parker and Neal mostly inefficient.
Heat Offense In order, Wade, James, Allen, and Bosh completely dominated the Heat's attempts.  Once again, great Q offense, only semi poor player was Wade.

Game 6 (I think)
Game over..
Chalmers is here?
Wow.  The Heat at the commercial break have 3 Q & 5 NQ shot attempts. (Which is extremely horrible for all of them, except Wade, who happened to be dominating the ball both at that point, and a fair portion of the game)
Van Gundy says an iso shot by James was a "good shot." What?  That's the one shot in his repertoire that I don't like.
No PG early, 5:50 on.
Players are running over other players, and yet there have been very few calls so far.  (the officials started to make a few calls after a while)
Allen why?
Anderson checks in at 3:30, yay.  And Coach Spoelstra even has Battier in, wow.
Coincidentally an 8-0 run by the Heat.. How odd.
2nd Quarter
The Spurs are leaving Battier wide open..  Wow..  It's like they have the 'defending Green paralysis' the Heat had earlier in the series.
Wade, ugh..  Wade ISO show for the last few possessions.  (While he did do a decent job of making NQ shots, 6-7 on NQ, 5-2 on Q, it was still very annoying to watch)
Parker has been missing his NQ deep 2's lately..  That is a bit odd for him..
James is showing effort
Chalmers is hustling everywhere

Wade eurostep again
Duncan impressive sweepthrough
LBJ has the most PPG in elimination games of all time.. How's that for clutch..  Just sayin'.
Great D by Diaw.
Diaw doing amazingly well.
Parker and all the Spurs are fairly classy
Great post by LBJ on Green.
The refs are kind of exuberant..
Great D by Chalmers
Duncan over the back and they call a foul on Miller..
Wade's little floaters are good
James has missed a lot of close shots
Diaw is fast..
Nice shoe-less 3
Why doesn't Lebron take the open 3?
Was Lebron not clutch when he missed the semi open 3 & clutch when he hit it?  (The thought process behind 'clutchness' can be very lame..)
Heat should have lost the series here..
James had kind of poor d on the last possession.  Just sayin.
Headbandless Lebron has been fairly bad, but he was having a poor game anyways..
Why does Lebron keep his hands down so much on defense?
Green and Bosh are really good at transition defense.
Good no call.  Game over.

Game 7 Notes
Heat Defense Anderson and Bosh were the best defenders for this game, Battier also did a very good job, and LBJ did a decent job.  Allen was a bit poor.
Spurs Defense Leonard had a ton of defensive opportunities (for him anyways), and they charted all over the place, averaging out to a slightly below average job.  Green and Duncan were both very good.  Neal struggled defensively (per usual).

Spurs Offensive Notes  Duncan dominated the shot chart, with a fairly decent amount of his shots being High Q.  Parker only barely took double digits, but a large portion were NQ attempts.  In the surprising news of the day, Ginobli took a ton of quality shots.  Green was largely criticized after the game because he did play fairly poorly, but the thing is he didn't really change the way he goes about things in terms of NQ vs Q shot attempts.  While he took a few more NQ shots this game then he usually does,  he still certainly wasn't as bad as someone like Tony Parker.
Heat Offensive Notes  Wade was his semi-regular horrible NQ self, James did a very good job taking Q shots, I have him at 19 Q to 4 NQ, (also 8 Q ft's to boot).  Battier was his usual quality self (and this time the shots actually went down), 6 of 8 from deep all Q.  Chalmers took a few NQ shots, but the majority of his shots were still Q, he just had a tough shooting day.  Bosh ended up with 0 points, but each of his shot attempts were quality attempts.

Game 6 notes
Heat Defense Anderson, Chalmers and Miller were very good.  Bosh was all over the place, and James and Wade were decent.  Allen was a poor defender.
Spurs Defense Green and Splitter were good defenders, otherwise there were no really good or really poor defenders.

Spurs Offense Green and Leonard were decent quality shooters, the typical offenders, Parker and Neal, were not.  Duncan had a high number of attempts, mostly quality attempts.
Heat Offense James and Bosh were extremely good.  Wade was the only main offender.  Chalmers was iffy. The rest were good.

Game 4 Series Overview
Green and Bosh/Anderson have been their team's Most valuable defenders through 4.
I can't really split the tie on this one.. So it's a 3 way tie on Miami's side.  Chalmers, Bosh, and Allen.  (Somewhat honorable mention to LBJ and Anderson, who did not qualify due to lack of shot attempts [Anderson that is..])
Gary Neal..  Kidding, kidding.  This side looks much uglier than the Heat side of the table. Another tie..  Green and Leonard.  (Somewhat honorable mention to Diaw, but no where close to enough shot attempts to qualify)
Hopefully the remaining 2 or 3 games will provide some real difference between these three players.  But, until then, I have a three-way tie between, Bosh, Allen, and Anderson.
(Honorable mention to Chalmers and not quite as honorable mention to James.)
On San Antonio's side it is certainly Danny Green for the Spurs MVP.

Series Overview
I'm not positive if I actually have all 7 games in or if I only ended up putting in 6 games..  Because, I enter the stats into multiple places and the final series score doesn't matchup quite as well as it should.  684-679 final series score in favor of the Spurs. =5.5+6.5-2-1+1.5+7+6 = 23.5 points in favor of the Heat.

Least Valuable Offensive Players
Heat Only real offender for the Heat was D-Wade.
Spurs Neal, Parker, and Duncan were all bad offenders.  I'll give the award to Neal, with an un-honorable mention also going to Parker.

Heat James had the most defensive breakdowns, but he doesn't quite qualify for this award.  It was between Wade and Allen, and it goes to Wade.
Spurs It was between Parker, Ginobli, and Neal.  While he didn't have a ton of defensive opportunities, it goes to Parker.

Heat Honorable mention goes to Bosh, but Miller gets the MVOP for the Heat.
Spurs Honorable mention to Splitter and partially Diaw, but the fairly clear favorite was Green.

Most Valuable Defensive Players
Heat The Heat had other very good defenders, such as Battier and Miller, to name a couple, but Chris Bosh was extremely, extremely impressive and gathers the MVDP.
Spurs There were a couple of close finishers, Diaw, Splitter, and Leonard, but Green captures the MVDP with an impressive average of 1.12 average over an amazing (for a wing player) 97 defensive attempts.

Overarching Notes.
The combined NQ shots from 'just' three players on the Spurs, Parker, Neal, and Duncan, are greater than all the combined NQ shots by the Heat.
Duncan has taken 17 NQ shots.. And hit a grand total of zero of them.  Parker is slightly better, shooting 26 NQ shots and hitting 6 of them.  Neal has taken a total of 23 NQ shots and he has somehow hit 11 of them.  (most of which were 3's)
Wade is the worst NQ offender on the other side, he has taken 17 and splashed 6 of them.


  • 102.6

  • 110.0

  • Duncan

  • 62.5

  • 74.3

  • Ginobli

  • 91.3

  • 73.2

  • Green

  • 85.2

  • 79.4

  • Leonard

  • 63.6

  • 47.9

  • Neal

  • 99.9

  • 104.9

  • Parker

  • 37.7

  • 36.8

  • Splitter

  • 51.8

  • 65.8

  • Metamor..

  •             429.6           408.0

Finals overachiever and underachievers as according to if their shots went in via Q or NQ, in another words, if they beat the overall NBA (data) league average.

In order
Overachievers          Neal (1.33), Green (1.24), 
Status Quo                Leonard (1.07), Splitter (1.02), Parker (.95), Duncan (.93)
Underachievers       Ginobli (.84), Metamorphosis of Spurs (.79)

Green in real life scored 91 points in the series (+7 free throws), I charted him as scoring approximately 91.3 points, while the simulation of the types of shots he took approximated that he should have scored 73.2 points, so he theoretically over performed very decently and had 18 points more than he should have had overall, and per game he had an average of about 2.6 points more than the number of points he should have scored.

LEGITTotal PointsName

  • 72.8

  • 50.6

  • Allen

  • 84.8

  • 85.0

  • Bosh

  • 60.7

  • 52.3

  • Chalmers

  • 144.2

  • 166.6

  • James

  • 118

  •  129.3 

  • Wade

  • 112.4

  •   95.2      

  • Metamo..

  • 592.9         579

Overachievers        Allen (1.44), Metamorphosis of Heat (1.18), Chalmers (1.16)
Status Quo              Bosh (1.00), Wade (.91)
Underachievers     James (.87)                                   

James in real life scored 146 points in the series (not counting free throws), I charted him as scoring approximately 144.2, whilst the simulation of the types of shots he took approximated that he should have scored 166.6 points, so he technically under performed fairly greatly, and had 22 points less than he should have overall and per game an average of about 3 points less.

So overall both teams apparently scored more points in real life then they technically should have.  The Spurs gathered 22 extra points, while the Heat acquired 14 points.

However.. I am a little confused as to some points the data said, such as..  The Raw point value output..

Raw Heat 0.98 1.39 1.08
Output Spurs 0.91 1.27 1.01

                                             Raw 2         Raw3           Raw T
Based on it the Heat and Spurs actually underperformed and should have scored fewer points, and while free throws could be a slight variable to explaining this paradox, I'm still not sure why the data conflicts with itself..
But, then the raw value of each shot (after accounting for defense) actually does partially agree with the the raw point value, in that it says 1.08 for the Heat and 0.96 for the Spurs.

One of the reasons why I think that Coach Spoelstra is a top 5 coach in the NBA is because of this - 

  Q  NQ
Usage Heat 0.61 0.15

Spurs 0.52 0.20

Heat 0.83 0.17

Spurs 0.69 0.31

Raw 2  Raw 3


Three  NQ


0.22 0.02 0.99 0.01
0.17 0.11 0.96 0.04

I have charted other teams that are good at getting quality shots, such as the Spurs, OKC, etc, but the most consistent team I've charted (though they are also far and away the team I've charted the most) is the Miami Heat.  Over the 7 game series, I charted them as having 123 free throws.. Of which, 122 of those 123 were quality.  Though, it's not like the Spurs were poor quality FT shooters, they shot 132 free throws, and (as the table says) 96% of them were quality, 126 total quality free throws.  

Quite possibly the most impressive stats for the Finals are these, the Spurs shot 11% NQ 3's, the Heat shot only 2% NQ 3's, and the Spurs overall had 69% of their shots be quality looks, while the Heat had an extremely spectacular 83% of their shots be quality attempts.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

NBA Review 2014

Eastern Conference
Miami Heat 
The Heat seemed very disinterested at playing basketball at times and as a result their regular season record suffered because of it.  It appears that Beasley mattered quite a bit more than Oden, at least in the regular season anyways.  -9

Washington Wizards
Martell Webster was not as big of a piece of the puzzle for the Wizards as I thought he would be, but he still provided them with some very good minutes.  +3

Atlanta Hawks
Before the season began I thought that 40-42 wouldn't be quite enough for the Hawks to make the playoffs, instead the Hawks went 38-44 and made the playoffs.  -2

Charlotte Bobcats
Great turnaround year for the Bobcats, although since Bobcats games do not generally happen to be on many TV stations I'm not entirely certain how they did manage to turn it around.  +18

Orlando Magic
On the bright side the Magic are getting quite a few ping pong balls, on the downside they still have a fairly low probability of getting Wiggins.  +1

Indiana Pacers
The Pacers benefited from some close wins and managed to win the fourth most wins in the NBA.. And get a #1 seed.  +8

Chicago Bulls
Absolutely no offense meant to Derrick Rose, but his presence, or lack thereof, is in some ways sort of irrelevant to how well the Bulls actually play.  Rose provides explosiveness, but he tends to back that up with very poor shot selection.  I was a bit disappointed with what Jimmy Butler did this season, but he still provided some very decent advanced stats.  -1

Cleveland Cavaliers
I'm not certain as to if Bynum had discipline issues in Cleveland or what, but he did not provide the Cavaliers with any sort of decent playing time.  -9

Detroit Pistons
As expected the eye test beat the advanced stats in this case.  The Pistons had the second worst percentage for three's on the season.  -3

Milwaukee Bucks
Other than getting a few extra ping pong balls, I do not know what Milwaukee accomplished  this season.  -14

Toronto Raptors
As expected the Raptors did make the playoffs, but not only did they manage to do that, they also captured a top four seed. +7

Brooklyn Nets
The coaching and the new roster proved to be a major obstacle for the Nets to overcome in the first half of the season, but by the beginning of 2014 they gelled fairly well and were one of the best teams in the NBA.  -9

New York Knicks
The Knicks almost made the playoffs by default, but they were just bad enough to even miss them as well.  Barganani's Yay Points!  and the rest of the Knick's crew, such as Carmelo-I can shoot as much as I want-Anthony, underachieved even my low expectations.  -9

Boston Celtics
I am not entirely certain what happened with the Celtics, one moment they were a decent .500ish team and the next moment they were losing games left and right.  -15

Philadelphia 76ers
The Bucks managed to out tank Philadelphia, but at least the 76ers can say that they started the season by scoring 19 unanswered points against the Heat and the 76ers managed to bookend their season with wins over the Heat.  -1

Western Conference
Los Angeles Clippers
I do not know if I would say that Bledsoe is overrated any more or not, but the Suns did indeed trade for him.  Chris Paul and company mostly dominated, but they only produced a top five ADJ FG%.  +1

Golden State Warriors
The Warriors overachieved a bit and they had a better team and a better record.  +4

Phoenix Suns
A legitimate apology and congratulations to the Suns for actually being a very decent team.  Other than Goran Dragic single-handedly providing 10+ wins (according to Win Shares) I fail to see how this team improved so dramatically.  If  the Suns would win the potential tie-breakers, then winning 48 games would have gotten the Suns a 3 seed in the East, but in the West it simply meant that they get to watch the playoffs from home.  I was completely off on my prediction for the Suns.  +26

Sacramento Kings
I'm not certain if it is coaching or chemistry, but the Kings should have been a semi-decent team, instead they just put up another .300-.400 winning% type season. -7

Los Angeles Lakers
Once again injuries blew-up the lackers Laker's season.  I'm certain that Kobe's contract has nothing to do with them being a poor team.  -12

San Antonio Spurs
A ho-hum season for the Spurs..  What's an odd 31 wins here and there?  I pegged the Spurs a little low before the season began because I wanted to give the division to the Grizzlies, but even if I had not factored that in I still would not have quite pegged the Spurs at 62 wins.  Great job by Coach Popovich once again.  +8

Houston Rockets
There is a fairly wide gap from the Rockets to the team above them, the Clippers, but the Rockets were a very decent team.  I would still argue that the Rockets have one of the, if not the best starting 5 in the NBA.  -2

Memphis Grizzlies
A lack of shooting derailed the Grizzlies' chances at getting good seeding, but their tough defense did still manage to grind them into the playoffs.  -4

Dallas Mavericks
Monta Ellis was almost exactly in line with his normal career numbers, so apparently the Mavs did not find a magic elixir to cure his shooting, but still, somehow the Mavericks managed to win 49 games and reach the playoffs.  Impressive job by Nowitzki and Coach Carlisle.  +11

New Orleans Pelicans
Once again the Cans underachieved.  Davis continued his growth, but there wasn't enough shooting to complement him and propel the Pelicans to a playoff birth.  -7

Oklahoma City Thunder
At some point I will likely get around to deconstructing some more pro Westbrook arguments, until then, suffice it to say that the Thunder didn't miss him very much while he was injured.  The combination of Westbrook not taking away quite as many of his shots, since he was injured, and not wanting to be #2 again, helped lead KD to scoring 5 points higher than his career average PPG and also an easy route to the scoring title.  +4

Portland Trail Blazers
I still contend that Lillard is not that great of a player, and Aldridge too while I'm at it, but still, somehow Portland managed to greatly overachieve my expectations.  +20

Minnesota Timberwolves
A winning percentage of approximately .500 of their games was indeed a bad year for the TWolves.  I fail to see why they were such a poor team, apparently coaching or chemistry needs to be improved vastly, because they should have finished with a much better record.  Losing close games does stink, but even if the TWolves had won half of those close games they still would not have played anywhere close to as well as they should have.  Minnesota's point differential pegged them as being the 10th best team in the NBA and even that was not as decent as it should have been.  -7

Denver Nuggets
The Nuggets had some injury issues and that helped contribute to them missing the playoffs for the first time in a decade.  -3

Utah Jazz
I think there is an error with in their stat of the percentage of minutes that Jeremy Evans played for the Jazz this season. They peg it at 5%, which seems around 26% too low, but still, even if Evans did play 31% of the Jazz' minutes, then that would be a percentage much too low.  Evans did deal with some injury issues, but the Jazz still have not seemed to realize the potential all-star caliber player he can be if they would just give him starter's minutes.  Because this happens to be the last prediction it is a bit of a disappointing end since it means that, even though I was only a game off for a handful of teams, I was unable to successfully predict any individual team's exact record.  -1

My over/under predictions were fairly fairly horrible.  
I made four predictions for teams to go over: Celtics, Heat, Lakers, Timberwolves.   In terms of being over the line set by Vegas, the first three teams lost and the TWolves pushed.
I made four predictions for teams to go under: Under Bulls, Mavericks, Nuggets, Pistons.  In terms of being under the line set by Vegas, the Bulls, Nuggets, and Pistons won while the Mavericks lost.  
Overall that puts my record for O/U at a poor 3-4-1 for this season.

My overall worst misses for predicting unders were Charlotte, Phoenix, Dallas, and Portland.  
My overall worst misses for predicting overs were Milwaukee, Boston, and the Los Angeles Lakers.

On a proportional level to the number of games I was 9% off.  The summation for the number of games that I missed for each team in the NBA is a total of 226 games.  That in turn means that given a random team my average prediction was 7.53 wins/losses off.  Overall, in terms of accuracy, my predictions were mostly in line with last season.  Last season I missed a total of 212 games, so if in this season I had just done something like swap 7 wins from Minnesota to Portland, then I would have had the same number of misses.  I am still not certain as to how decent my average prediction is in comparison to the average prediction made by others.  Some year I may get around to looking into that.  Thanks for reading.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

MLB Predictions, 2014

While I have five of the six divisions with different division winners, as compared to last year, overall, I did not have any great surprises, I tended to clump the teams towards .500, and the variation per team was not all that different from last year.

American League
AL East #1 Division (+/- 20)
A different version of Moneyball helps the Rays to once again overachieve and capture the most competent division in baseball.
Tampa Bay Rays 90-72
Boston Red Sox 87-75
New York Yankees 87-75
Toronto Blue Jays 82-80
Baltimore Orioles 79-83

AL Central #4 (-1)
If the Royals do not win the division this year, then possibly I will not pick them to win it next season.. But that is rather unlikely.
Kansas City Royals 88-74
Detroit Tigers 88-74
Cleveland Indians 80-82
Chicago White Sox 76-86
Minnesota Twins 72-90

AL West #5 (-16)
The Angels' lineup finally gels and the Angels manage to squeak past the Athletics for the division title.
Los Angeles Angels 87-75
Oakland Athletics 87-75
Texas Rangers 86-76
Seattle Mariners 71-91
Houston Astros 58-104

National League
NL East #6 (-17)
May the least incompetent team win?  This division kind of seems to lack hitting.  I see the Nationals being able to take advantage of the poor division and grabbing a playoff spot.
Washington Nationals 89-73
Atlanta Braves 84-78
Philadelphia Phillies 79-83
New York Mets 72-90
Miami Marlins 64-98

NL Central #3 (6)
I possibly should have kept the Cardinals on top, but I wanted to see a change at the top of the division so the Reds were given the benefit of the doubt and were named the division winner.
Cincinnati Reds 88-74
St. Louis Cardinals 88-74
Pittsburgh Pirates 79-83
Milwaukee Brewers 77-85
Chicago Cubs 69-91

NL West #2 (8)
The lone repeat division winner captures the division due to the mediocrity of the rest of the division and their impressive roster.
Los Angeles Dodgers 91-71
San Francisco Giants 81-81
Colorado Rockies 79-83
Arizona Diamondbacks  77-85
San Diego Padres 75-87