Monthly Archives: June 2011

Worst Game Stat Lines in the Last 20 NBA Seasons

Yesterday on RealGM Forum someone asked about Worst Game Stat Line of All Time and since it wasn’t the first time and I’m a sucker for unique stat-lines I’ve decided to dig into this topic. Although I was more realistic with a timeframe because we don’t have box scores for more than a half of NBA history ;-)

I started with record books but those 14 turnovers by Kidd happened in a game with triple-double so it wasn’t exactly a disaster. The same thing can be said about another negative record Most Field Goal Attempts With None Made by Tim Hardaway because he did have 13 assists, 2 steals and FT=2/2 so it was a dead end.

Initially I wanted to do it in a organic way so I used Player Game Finder and it was fun to find such gems like Gordan Giricek’s FG=0/10 without a single rebound, assist or steal or horrible display of shooting by Terry Cummings with 21 misses from the field and 6 from the line or even stunning 27 misses from the field by Jerry Stackhouse but the problem with such searching was I couldn’t decide which one was the worst!

So I dusted off my old tool for searching through player’s game logs [over 8100 of them] from Yahoo [Last 5 seasons] and [previous 15 seasons] and used two measures:
Game Score where the formula is PTS + 0.4 * FG – 0.7 * FGA – 0.4*(FTA – FT) + 0.7 * ORB + 0.3 * DRB + STL + 0.7 * AST + 0.7 * BLK – 0.4 * PF – TOV and Win Score which is calculated by the following equation: PTS + REB + STL + 1/2*BLK + 1/2*AST – FGA – 1/2*FTA – TO – 1/2*PF.

So who had The Worst Stat Line in the Last 20 Regular Seasons?
Here’s a Bottom25 for Single Game Stats according to Game Score
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Posted by on June 30, 2011 in Expanding Horizons


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Mavs Prove there are No Shortcuts in Winning?

I gave myself 2 weeks to forget about it but it didn’t work and I still have a strong need to react to so many clichés and misconceptions in one article. I apologize for quality of this post and it shouldn’t be read by anyone.

Inspired by a tweet from Dan Gilbert Steve Loung wrote an article titled “Mavericks prove there are no shortcuts in winning” which caused my jaw to land on the floor, repeatedly, so I had to comment on it.

Here’s what he said:

Gilbert is still very bitter following James’ “Decision” last summer and, while it would be nice to see him finally drop the issue and start acting like the mature owner that’s expected of him, he’s absolutely right in his analysis when it comes to winning an NBA championship.

There are no shortcuts in winning basketball’s ultimate prize.

Are we talking about Dallas Mavericks who acquired Tyson Chandler and Peja Stojakovic for nothing?
They only played vital role in those playoffs and that wasn’t any kind of shortcut? Really?
And it’s not like Dallas had 3rd biggest payroll in the NBA which always tells us about uphill battle for franchise.
BTW, Brendan Haywood and DeShawn Stevenson were traded to Dallas year earlier for expiring contracts.

What’s more, I’m not sure why is it so hard to distinguish “necessary moves” from “shortcuts”?
And why the shortest and the most efficient way possible to achieve any goal is such a bad thing? Because it’s the easiest? Would any journalist or writer stay in obscure work-place for a sake of harder way to achieve any kind of success?!
Of course not! It’s a ridiculous premise! Yes, there could be different reasons for actions than “success” but what exactly make them so much better?

Anyway, later author added:

The only way a team is going to win a championship is if it has the desire, talent and, perhaps most importantly, has experienced crushing heartbreak in the past.

It’s not like LeBron James lost in the Finals before or experienced any heart-breaking games or heart-breaking series losses. Dwyane Wade is also a stranger to such series, it’s not like he lost one even though his team led 3-2. Those didn’t hurt? They weren’t crushing enough?

I would also mention a fact that only three Mavs’ players were on Dallas’ roster during their loss to lower-seeded Warriors in 2007 and only Dirk and Terry played against the Heat in 2006…

In the middle of this article you can find:

The same can be said of the most recent incarnation of the Boston Celtics. Ray Allen, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett were chasing that elusive ring for several years with their individual clubs and continually found disappointment until, in the final act of their careers, they joined forces to finally win one.

Boston Celtics from 2008, who acquired two stars and countless role-players for cheap, are an example of team without shortcuts for winning? Seriously? And it’s not like LeBron James was chasing that elusive ring for several years with his club and continually found disappointment…

Unfortunately it wasn’t the end of it…

During key stretches in the fourth quarter when the Heat were clearly pressing and the moment seemed too big for them, Dallas calmly went about its business because its players had heard all the criticism before.

There’s absolutely nothing that was said or written about the Mavericks that the team’s players hadn’t heard before. In contrast, the Heat appeared to have been rattled by all the criticism that was thrown their way, particularly James.

Come on! I cannot belive those words. First of all, Heat’s poor record in close games created an ocean of comments about their mental toughness, lack of proper balance, alpha-dog issues etc.
Second of all, after ‘Decision’ and fake ceremony LeBron and Bosh heard nothing other than criticism!
I’m even pretty sure it was more discussed topic than anything what Mavs have done combined…

To sum up, thank you Steve Loung for a valuable lesson:
it’s better to spend more time researching material rather than write anything without it…


Posted by on June 29, 2011 in Expanding Horizons


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Premature End, 30 Years of Fired Coaches in NBA

With inevitable early departure of Kurt Rambis from Timberwolves I wondered…
Which NBA Team have Fired Most Coaches in the Last 30 Years?
And How many of them Left Early on Their Own Terms?

So I visited Professional Basketball Transactions Archive and here’s what I’ve found…
Starting with curiosities…

Did you know there were three trades involving coaches in that period?
On 1983-06-07 Nets traded rights to Fred Roberts, 1983 second round pick (#46-Kevin Williams) to Spurs who agreed to release head coach Stan Albeck from his contract, thus allowing Nets to sign him.
On 2003-06-11 Rockets sent to Knicks second round pick (2005 #54-Dijon Thompson) as compensation for agreeing to release head coach Jeff Van Gundy from his contract and on 2007-06-06 Magic sent 2008 second round pick (#52-Darnell Jackson) to Heat as a compensation for head coach Stan Van Gundy.
Wow, those Van Gundy brothers were a valuable commodity ;-)

Back to the point, with another fired head coach, how will Timberwolves look historically?
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Posted by on June 28, 2011 in Scrutiny


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Why Almost Every NBA Team had a Good Draft?

From accuracy of mock drafts I’ll jump right into another draft-related topic which IMHO should be done every year just as a reminder: How is it Possible that Almost Every Team’s Draft Grades as Above-Average?!

Seriously, check out this mostly random list:

Link to a 2011 Draft Grades around the Web Teams graded
below average
sam_amick/06/24/draft.grades/index.html 0! 1[…]columnist=ford_chad&page=DraftGrades-110624 0! 1 0! 3 1 1
ball_dont_lie/post/Ball-Don-t-Lie-s-2011-NBA-draft-grades 4 0 4 0 8 0

What’s wrong with this picture?
Historically we know that most of 1st round picks won’t pan out… and what’s even more puzzling this was supposed to be a weak draft which should produce more than usual number of bad performers!

And it’s not like that’s a new problem, here’s a list for last year’s draft:

Link to a 2010 Draft Grades around the Web Teams graded
below average
chris_mannix/06/24/draft.grades/index.html 0! 4 1 1 2 4
ball_dont_lie/post/Grading-the-NBA-draft?urn=nba-251378 5 0

So could someone explain to me what’s the point of those very top heavy grading scales?
Pretty please?

Does generous grading generate more traffic? If so then why?

Is it not fun to read that your team has screwed up? Well, most of them did it so you can at least prepare for it.

Is it only a comparison to author’s expectations? Then why those expectations are so unrealistically high?

Is it hard to predict future of those players? Well, then what’s the point of those grades again?

Look, I understand that draft is in the books and writers have to write something about it, but why do they have to shatter grading scale and widely known fact in the process?
Especially when it can be done without it by simply mentioning only those worth mentioning and even though I don’t agree with those grades at least there’s some nice [and more importantly realistic] balance there.

What do you think about all of it?


Posted by on June 27, 2011 in Unanswered Questions


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Old but Still Fresh, Updates around the Blog

Technically I didn’t write new post today but I’ve spent so much time updating old one that it feels like new version which IMHO is worth a reminder. I’m talking about Salary and contracts of NBA coaches because thanks to users of RealGM forum open project for coaching salaries is progressing quite nicely.
Here are the reasons why it became my by far most edited post:
– I added 30 additional salaries including around 20 provided by users of RealGM forum,
– I added new column with information “which year of contract it is/was”,
– Thanks to I’ve updated EVERY information about contract’s length so this column is full but there are still 62 out of 309 salaries missing so if you know any of them please let me know.

What’s more, I quadrupled size of “About” page with some F.A.Q-style answers ;-)

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Posted by on June 26, 2011 in Uncategorized


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Watching The Watchers – The Best NBA Mock Drafts

NBA Draft 2011 didn’t disappoint in terms of providing entertainment with interesting decisions, picks and trades but it’s over so it’s time for some conclusions… no, I don’t mean judging teams or drafted players with special grading scales [where almost all teams were above average!] but to answer a question which doesn’t require waiting few years: Who Had The Best and Worst 2011 Mock Drafts on the Internet?
(You can also check expanded version for mock drafts in 2012 and 2013!)

Obviously, I couldn’t cover every mock available on the web but here’s what I did:
1) 12 hours before NBA Draft I saved on my hard drive pages from as many latest 1st round mocks as possible. Mostly from widely known authors/sources but I also added some random googled ones.
For more fun and information I also added older versions.
2) I graded every mock by an average absolute difference between the mocked and actual picks.
For example Derrick Williams was drafted at #2 so if you had him at #1 you would get a score of “1” but if you had him at #5 you would get a score of “3”. Got it? If a player went undrafted I counted that as a “30” because of the entire second round. I did the aforementioned thing for every pick in every mock and calculate an average for the entire first round so the lower the number the more accurate mock was.

BTW, if you are interested what’s the score for YOUR mock draft let me know in the comments.
Although there better be some kind of valid information about a date.
It won’t be fun to judge mock which has been written after real draft ;-)

OK, let the mock draft challenge begin! Here are the results… (Number before name means “earlier version”):
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Posted by on June 24, 2011 in Expanding Horizons


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Which Teams are The Most Suspected for Tanking?

In my second piece about incentives to lose in the NBA I’ll focus mainly on extremes. Because even though it is a well known strategy I don’t think there is any research on… pointing fingers to actual offenders!
In other words, are there teams which tank more often than others?
Or is it simply year-by-year case-by-case strategy?

The data, timeframe and [simple] methodology used is exactly the same as in my previous post about tanking so I won’t repeat myself here and I’ll go straight into IMHO interesting curiosity…

# Worst Record Total Difference Biggest Minus By Team During Season
1 6 -9 Blazers 2005-06
2 -19 -9 Warriors 2000-01
3 -14 -6 Bucks 2006-07
4 -12 -10 Nuggets 1991-92
5 -32 -8 Clippers 2003-04
6 -10 -9 Sixers 1993-94
7 -35 -10 Cavs 2000-01
8 -3 -9 Clippers 2009-10
9 -7 -10 Lakers 2004-05
10 29 -7 Bucks 1996-97
11 -7 -4 Nets 2008-09

Conventional wisdom, and frankly my assumption before this project, was that teams tank mostly for the worst record in the league but according to this measure it’s not true. Worst record usually belongs to either actually really bad team or one which started tanking very early so other teams can’t catch it… and the real tank-fest goes on between 2nd worst and 7th worst team each year.
When you check example of odds for Top3 pick it makes a lot of sense. First of all, there are a lot of ties in that range and second of all, team can almost double it’s odds for Top3 by moving up just one spot!

OK, and into the main point of this post [Warning! Some long tables ahead!]:
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Posted by on June 23, 2011 in Scrutiny


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