The Boxscore Geeks Show

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Best "Robins" in the NBA?

Arturo wrote a piece on the thirty best "Robins" in NBA history. Have we mentioned Dennis Rodman is underrated? Also, he's a Batman more than a Robin.

Hakeem is an all-time center, but his amazing playoffs performance against David Robinson and Shaquille O'Neal may give him the irrational boost to greatest ever.

Correction: Rodman only won two Defensive Player of the Year awards. I think being great at defense should be a shoe-in for Hall of Fame first ballot voting. However, as I've discussed about Dikembe Mutombo, I don't think it is.

Also, Ben Wallace is likely to be snubbed, and as a reminder, he was the star of the "starless Pistons" that won it all. And that's using conventional methods too!

I argue that the term Robin to describe great second players is silly.

For some good "Robins": Arturo thinks Mo Cheeks is mad underrated. Also, Mario and Nash are a great duo that doesn't get enough love.

Reminder, Golden State gifted the Celtics three rings in the 80s. Seriously.

You probably need a star to win. The Sonics in 79 are the only team to really buck this trend.

On the Run and Gun Suns, it's worth noting they could have had Luol Deng, when he was still amazing, instead of Joe Johnson. Ouch.

The Lakers and the Western Landscape

The Lakers' GM Mitch Kupchack says the Lakers could make the playoffs next season. Arturo kindly reminds us the Lakers don't play in the East. And even that would be a stretch.

Nick Young said he'd be happy to be Kobe's Robin. I say Nick Young is the only person to use that term correctly! Reminder, Nick Young is terrible!

We talk bad Robins -- including Jason Todd. I argue the Red Hood storyline makes him a good character. Arturo counters the retcon there was terrible. No disagreement. However, check out Under the Redhood, it's a great DC animated film.

Arturo runs down his vision for the 2014-2015 Western Conference. Tune in!

The Thunder lost Thabo Sefolosha. Of course, if they'd finally just stop giving Perkins so many minutes, they'll be fine with Nick Collison and Steve Adams.

For the Rockets, we think Ariza is an upgrade. Of course, as Shawn Furyan points out - the worst stretch of Ariza's career was in Houston.

The Mavericks seem to have stolen Phoenix's medical staff.

Reminder, the Trail Blazers won 54 games but had a crazy strong stretch where Wes Matthews and Damian Lillard were being historically good from three.

Arturo gives hope to Denver fans.

When it comes to the Lakers and the Kings, the Kings win out because they have DeMarcus Cousins, and Jordan Hill isn't going to get playing time.

We think the Lakers have a legitimate shot of 24 missed shots in a quarter happening at some point this season.

We leave the East for later. A point though, the Cavaliers need to do a little more to be better than they were last time LeBron took them to a finals.

Arturo makes a bad joke, which we compare to Josh Smith's amazing ability to keep shooting airballs.

Position Adjustment

We talk a little more about position adjustment following Patrick's recent piece on "small ball". The position adjustment and WaR crowd have two basic points that seem contrary to me:

  • Positional adjustments in the NBA is a hugely complicated problem that can't be simply modeled (which I don't really agree with)
  • The economics of a market to pay for talent in major sports is a simple problem that can be modeled with a few trivial formulas. (Which I also don't agree with)

These two ideas are very much at odds. No economist would tell you microeconomics is a trivial and simple field. At the same time, few will act as if positions in the NBA are really that complex.

Some more fun notes - most players in the NBA are overpaid! This is simply because the salary cap restricts stars, and rookies are wildly underpaid. Arturo points out that this is good politics, as if most players are overpaid, they're less likely to be upset. 

Shout Outs

Daniel Leroux (@DannyLeroux) of RealGM was the inspiration behind the Robins piece. Also, Ian Levy(@HickoryHigh) at Nylon Calculus gets some love here.

Coach Nick (@bballbreakdown) gets a shout out for teaching a clinic on the Triangle Offense in New York.

Krishna Narsu(@knarsu3) gets a shout out for some amazing charts on how Kobe and LeBron act as the shot clock winds down.

Brian gives a shout out to the Warriors for helping out the 80s Celtics.

Brian also gives a shout out to Arturo! Not just for his great work, but for an amazing Tweet about Sharknado.

Hope you enjoyed the show, we'll see you next week!

Direct download: bsg-30.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:25am EDT


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Replacement Level Players

Nate Silver started off the WaR discussion using a bit of flawed logic.

Patrick posted a reply to the problems with this.

This brought in some SABR folks to give bad analysis.

And finally Dave Berri, who has a PhD in economics and is a tenured professor, wrote a long piece explaining the philosophies and pitfalls with WaR

Which lead to even more bad (but agreeable) analysis from SABR

We had much more to say on the subject, of course!

Being "average" in the NBA is valuable, as becoming a top NBA athlete is difficult.

If a super "rare" player is available, you take the deal!

In terms on "minimum wage" players, there's tons of salary constraints due to the CBA.

Even overseas players are not as easily attainable as you might think, thanks to FIBA.

The D-League players that have come to the NBA haven't really been that stellar. In short, the D-League isn't a "replacement" level factory.

And of course college players have restrictions on when they can join the NBA and which teams they can sign for.

Basically, there are not just "free markets" to tap for "replacement players".

Something many don't consider is the opportunity cost a player imposes. Every dollar they cost, minute they play, and shot they take is coming from another player.

Excellent quote by Patrick

"If you come at me and tell me something that is factual wrong, and call me dumb for my point of view, then my tolerance level to have an actual, rational conversation with you is going to be pretty low."

Kevin Love

We've been on the Kevin Love bandwagon for a while.

We had quite a long discussion about the ridiculous concept of players "padding their stats" and defense. Tune in to listen.

The Wolves were an above average team in defense last season, for what that's worth.

A "defense" of Klay Thompson is his defense on Golden State, which again, I don't agree with.

I've had various issues with defense. I'm not 100% behind Synergy stats, but I give them more weight because unlike other stats, we know why the rate players how they do.

Shout Outs!

Nick Haugen (@HaugenND) and TangoTiger! Thanks for being a great fan and inspiring good work, respectively.

Direct download: bsg-29.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:49am EDT

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World Cup

Yeah, that ending for Brazil was pretty rough huh? Oh yeah, economists don't think governments should pay for the World Cup. Moving on.

The New TV Deal and the New CBA

Arturo wrote a piece about how the increased TV revenue from the next deal could have large implications for current "bad" contracts. There was a great Sloan talk on this, which was apparently not recorded!

Of course, signing players with "replacable skill sets" to eat up your cap space and minutes is still not wise.

"You can't trade Wiggins for Love, because someday he might be as good as Love!" - Patrick

Seriously Kevin Love has some historic numbers. That's even with his "bad teams".

Notice that Klay and Wiggins are both, oddly, more valuable on the roster than they were as nebulous draft picks. Sunk cost anyone?

By the way, if Love plays next to Bron he'll probably improve because Bron passes!

Free Agency

LeBron returns to Cleveland. Oh yeah, it cost Dwyane Wade $11.5 million.

Call us Quixotic, but we'll be betting the under on Indiana again this year.

We hit a lot of free agents, so tune in to listen. Also, we rant about Kevin Love even more!

We loved Lance Stephenson, and every team but Charlotte royally messed this one up.

Shout Outs

Dean Oliver (@DeanO_ESPN). I had accidently left his book of my background shelf for the first half of the show. Sorry Dean!

Robbie, who commented back in February that the Lakers would overpay Nick Young.

Zachary Bennett (@ZacharyBD)- the "light at the end of the tunnel" for T-Wolves fans.

Ari Caroline (@aricaroline) and Layne Vashro (@VJL_BBall) for their good insights on Summer League.

Dave Berri (@wagesofwins), for reasons I'm not sure Dave would agree with.

Enjoy the show, see you next week!


Direct download: 2014-07-14-big-three-return.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:31pm EDT