The League's Most Interesting Team

The NBA is in a very good place at the moment. Franchise value is skyrocketing, viewership is up, and a new TV deal has NBA salaries and league revenue higher than they’ve  ever been. Most importantly, the product is as compelling as its ever been. Every team has a player or storyline that will make the season interesting. So I decided to crown the Most Interesting Team in the league. What makes me qualified to do this? Why, I have the internet and a keyboard and I have a knack for spotting interesting things. What makes a team interesting? A lot of things, none of which are winning a lot. We all know the Warriors are going to win 60+ games and will be the 1 seed in the west. That’s not interesting. So with that lets start with some of the more interesting teams in the league.

5: Minnesota

       The Northern-Most NBA team has a ton of interesting things going for it. Reigning rookie of the year KAT looks like he may be able to do virtually anything on a basketball court. Year…

More fun with Stats

We are in an exciting period for basketball analytics. The SportsVU cameras are giving us gobs of data and some great minds over at Harvard are using that data in a new and exciting way. Kirk Goldsberry of the amazing site Grantland has detailed an exciting new model to look and predict a possessions value on a second-by-second basis (Check that out here). That new model takes into a just about every possible action that occurs during a possession and spits out the Expected Possession Value(EPV).

This new stat is pretty exciting for a number of reasons but what excites me most is that this model can actual put a value on decision making in real time. By calculating a players tendencies to pass or shoot at any given position on the court we can, using this model, actually weigh a players decision to pass or shoot accurately. The implications of this stat are huge. EPV gives us our most accurate look at decision making to date. Eventually, coaches could identify the exact moments during…

Bird in the Hand

You don't have to look hard at the numbers to see Kevin Durant had a monster January; 36-6-6 tends to speak for itself and don't get me started about the percentages. Durant was so good that his greatness called into question the necessity of his sidekick, Russell Westbrook. This is not new. There will always be a pocket of people who believe the best thing for the Thunder would be to deal Westbrook. Durant being amazing without him only provides a large stage for those people to shout on.

On the surface this seems like a ridiculous proposition. We all saw how the Thunder operated without Westbrook in last years playoffs. Even with a greatly improved Reggie Jackson its easy to imagine the same outcome for the Thunder sans Westbrook. There is an interesting aspect to the "trade Westbrook" narrative however. Could the Thunder possibly get more value out of the salary they are paying Westbrook? My initial reaction would be to shout from the highest mountain a resounding…

NBA Pool Players

Team USA basketball is some of the most compelling basketball you can watch. International play brings together some of the best basketball players in the world and sticks them on the same team; is there anything more compelling than great players playing with other great players? Any way, the player pool for the upcoming World Cup has been released and I thought it would be great to analyze the potential roster. Check out the full list of names here.

So there are some obvious player that are locks to make the cut for the Spain World Cup. All signs point to the two Kevin's (Durant and Love) making the trip to Spain later this year. So with the out the way here are who I think we will be sending to Spain to bring back the gold. Or is it a cup now? I can never keep these awards straight.

Guards: Westbrook, Curry, Irving, Rose

Forwards: Durant, George, Iguodala, Harden

Bigs: Davis, Love, Aldrige, Cousins

You may be noticing some big names missing from this roster, namely Lebron James…

Ode to a Villain

I will never like David Stern for obvious reasons. Being from Seattle, this shouldn't come as a shocking revelation. Once Stern steps down as commissioner the lasting image I will have is this press conference, but particularly what he said not 5 seconds into this particular presser. This is Stern at his Sterniest; the NBA's lovable villain.

I'm willing to bet that Stern is the smartest person in whichever room he walks into. He is meticulous in choosing exactly the right words to convey what he wants to. If you're to slow on the uptake you will completely miss the words behind his words. That's why that statement in that presser cuts pretty deep. The funny thing is that this is exactly why people will miss him when he is gone. 
Stern understands that no matter what he does there will be a segment of people that dislike him no matter what; such is the life of a figure head. So Stern, in all his wisdom, decided to own that disdain and relish in it. he wanted to, Ste…

Can you blame him?

Full Disclosure: I think Kyrie Irving is really good. I would go as far to say as he deserves a max deal, even though the teams led by him haven't gotten a game over .500. I know that sounds strange, but hear me out. This season, Irving has a usage rate of about 29%; a number higher than most superstars. Now you may be saying to yourself  "if he is using that many possessions, most of the blame for the losses should be on Irving's shoulders." and to that I would ask can you blame him? For the Cavs to succeed as currently constructed Irving needs to be 06-07 Lebron and that is completely unfair to him.

Some players just should't be high usage players. Rudy Gay would be the poster boy for that statement. Ever since his move to Sac-Town, his usage has fallen from around 30% to 24% and his numbers are already showing signs of improvement, particularly his shooting percentages. Irving would benefit from a similar dip in usage. To do this though you would need more qua…

A (Running) Conversation on Eric Bledsoe

Me: So it's been a pretty fun season so far.

Kevin: Oh for sure, it seems like every team is going through some interesting point in their long-term plans.

Me: Can you say that either of the New York teams have long-term plans though?

Kevin: That's beside the point. Every team has something going on; take the Suns for instance.They just blew out the Clippers at home and are 6th in the West right now. You know who the lead guard for that team is?

Me: Eric Bledsoe and Goran Dragic of course. At this point in this teams evolution, you can't mention one of these guys without the other. Still not all that convinced Bledsoe is a legit l guard though. I know it sounds crazy but the lineups where he is the sole point on the floor have some funky numbers.

Kevin: Before I tell you how wrong you are I'll let you explain yourself.

Me: Well, with the recent success the Suns have been having and knowing that Bledsoe is a massive part of that I started doing some random digging on th…