The Boxscore Geeks Show

It's possible sports journalism and advanced stats will never gel. What's the deal with Kobe Bryant's current fall in the eyes of the media? Josh Smith was cut by the Pistons and we're elated!

Visit for the complete show notes on today's show!

Direct download: bsg-48.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

We talk internet entitlement, Kevin Draper's expose on Adrian Wojnarowski, and the amazing Golden State Warriors. See for complete show notes.

Direct download: bsg-47.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:15pm EDT

This Week's Show

Kobe vs. MJ, Superman vs. Batman, and how is this year's rookie crop looking?


This Week's Poll

Show Notes

Last Week's Show

On last week's show, we discussed some issues with race in the United States. I find, in general, that simple statements such as "the U.S still has racial problems." or "Videogames are sexist." are not that controversial. But, they're often met with a lot of pushback. As with any large-scale issue, the specifics and possible solutions are complex. The history and policies (I mention drug policies at one point) have lots of minutiae. However, the second does not invalidate the first. And, unfortunately, I see all too frequently that people assume it does.

Following up on my Ferguson comments last week, Kristi Harrison at Cracked had a fantastic post that reminds us: they rioted when Joe Paterno was fired!

Also, for more depressing posts related to racism, Cracked had just posted one titled: "Five Studies that Prove Racism is Still Way Worse than we Think."

New Show

I'll be migrating back to "Nerd Numbers", so I can focus more on audio/visual development. I'm excited about podcasting/videocasting and decided that this was the best direction for that. I'll still be collaborating with the Boxscore Geeks, but I also have some other plans in the pipe.

Also, for what it's worth, it's hard to remove the overlap at times between sports and social issues.

Kobe vs. Michael

Kobe Bryant will soon pass Michael Jordan as third on the all-time NBA scoring list.

This is, of course, weeks after he became the all-time leader in missed shots.

The graphic we discussed on the show, you can find the jSFiddle here.


At some point, I may start handing out the "Kevin Garnett Award", which goes to the strongest player with the weakest cast. Anthony Davis seems like a lock this season.

Batman vs. Superman

I wrote about Batman vs. Superman this week. To anyone on Batman's side, I bet you're Wesley Crusher fans aren't you?

I do feel this fight does fit the sports narrative perfectly. People want to believe in heart, wanting it more, etc. They'll ignore things like the fact that Carmelo Anthony is just not anywhere near as good as LeBron.

This year's Rookie Crop

Patrick examined this year's rookie crop. It's worth noting this year's "best" rookie is Jabari Parker. It's also worth noting we didn't like him in our draft previews.

It's hard to find rookies that play lots of minutes and star level quickly. Essentially, it's highly unlikely a rookie will make an immediate impact.

Shout Outs

Our first shoutout is a rerun because Brian's mic was muted last week!

Dan Stryker ( is a talented illustrator and designer. He's also a fan of the show that demands more shout outs from Brian! Ironically, Brian's mic cuts out for most of it...

@shanley gets my shoutout. She gave a fantastic interview for the MIT Tech Review. Luckily, she is hosting this herself now. Please use the Model-View-Culture link, not the MIT one. You can also purchase a collection MVC's essays called "Your Startup is broken: Inside the toxic heart of tech culture. Collected essays by Shanley"

Also, reminder, the "rude or arrogant" argument people often use does little for me. Especially in fields like tech and sports where we lionize jerks regularly.

Direct download: bsg-46.mp3
Category:Sports -- posted at: 8:12am EDT

This Week's Show

How bad can the 76ers be? What we think of Charles Barkley's opinions on Ferguson. Finally, we have some opinions on the NFL and general sports reporting.


Video Show

This Week's Poll

Show Notes

The 76ers

The 76ers avoided starting the season 18-0! This derailed them from matching their worst-all-time losing streak.

This year's 76ers are "lead" by three average players. Not a great start.

The 76ers have done well not spending money poorly. Now, they need to start spending their money wisely.

Dave Berri's suggestion is to fire GMs that miss the playoffs for three straight seasons. So Hinkie's got a year to turn it around.

Charles Barkley and Ferguson

A few days ago, Barkley made some comments about Ferguson.

He doubled down on his comments.

Vox is great. And they had a good breakdown on how different races are treated in this country.

My first issue with Ferguson and some of the responses are how much U.S. history people have to forget when using the "looting and rioting is unacceptable." I tweeted a bit about this recently.

Also, the Boston Tea Party, the original racist American team?

Check out Idea Channel's video on the No True Scotsman fallacy.

I consider Barkley less of "No True Scotsman" and more victim blaming. Seriously, pants come up in racism discussions too much in my opinion.

Also, sorry, it irks me how much some people are upset by property damage, and how they gloss over human deaths.

It's worth noting rich and famous people have a skewed reality as Chris Rock recently talked about.

Reminder, Charles Barkley got arrested for a DUI. During this, he refused a breathalyzer.

Dave Chappelle's sketch on white collar vs. blue collar crime is hilarious. We could only find a subsection of it Youtube.

People do miss the disparity in lifestyles between rich and poor. They even miss rich vs. ultra-rich. "Millionaires vs. Billionaires" is the difference between $100 in your pocket and $100,000!

Sports Reporting

ESPN 30 for 30 is great. We loved many of them related to college sports.

  • The Fab 5
  • The Dotted Line
  • Unguarded
  • Roll Tide/Roll Eagle
  • Broke
  • You Don’t Know Bo
  • Survive and Advance
  • Elway to Marino
  • Youngstown Boys
  • Requiem for the Big East
  • Brian and the Boz
  • Rand University
  • The U part 1 and part 2

Sports news often has a problem with "very serious people."

We jump off talking about "Brian and the Boz."

Bosworth sold shirts to angry Broncos fans to "boo" him

We talk a little wrestling. Check out: "Beyond the Matt", "For All Mankind", and "Wrestling with Shadows."

Sadly, concussions may have been a problem for Bosworth.

PBS NewsHour talked about the NFL, concussions, and abuse.

Jonathan Weiler and the ESPN watch is great. We loved when brought up how bad ESPN's "journalism" was with an interview with Ray Rice's wife.

Aziz Ansari had a great sketch about being on the wrong side of history.

The tobacco industry in the 60s is a great comparison for the modern NFL.

Shout Outs

Dan Stryker ( is a talented illustrator and designer. He's also a fan of the show that demands more shout outs from Brian! Ironically, Brian's mic cuts out for most of it...

Great Tweet from Jeb.

LisaThinksALot is another great YouTube channel. Check it out!

Direct download: bsg-45.mp3
Category:NBA -- posted at: 3:21am EDT

This Week's Show

We talk about Kenneth Faried's popularity in Denver, the Boogie-Board, and the Milwaukee Bucks' hot start.


This Week's Poll

Penny-Arcade has one of the funniest comics on finding people on the net to help your confirmation bias...or not.

Show Notes

Kenneth Faried

Kenneth Faried isn't well-liked in Denver it seems.

I don't agree so much with the notion that players like Faried are outdated in the modern NBA.

It is my belief that without Dennis Rodman, Michael Jordan would never be considered the greatest of all-time.

Yes, the 1993-1994 Spurs were Rodman, Robinson, and not much else.

The Nuggets traded away Kosta Koufos, which was a terrible terrible trade.

As Dave Berri has noted, even a top three pick isn't a guarantee of a star.

Virtually every NBA player has flaws in their game. I find it's pick and choose as to when to use that label.

The Boogie-Board

Kirk's original work was in making shot charts. Since then Nylon Calculus has done a great job keeping that going.

At Grantland, Kirk Goldsberry has created a new metric: "The Boogie Board", which examines when players rebound their own miss and put it back in.

Kirk Goldsberry has done other similar stats, e.g. the "Kobe Assist."

DeMarcus Cousins is playing well this season. In spite of his "Boogie-Board" advantage, his scoring is good but not great. Sadly, his turnovers and fouls keep him from being a star.

My general issue with stats like these is they focus inward on what a player does well, without explaining the magnitude. As Brian puts it, "it's a fun fact."

The Milwaukee Bucks

As of this writing, the Bucks are 7-5 and a top four seed in the East.

The Bucks currently have four good playersGiannis Antetokounmpo, Brandon Knight, John Henson, and Larry Sanders.

The player I'm most concerned about is Brandon Knight, who was terrible his first three seasons.

More than a few hilarious videos about pronouncing Giannis Antetokounmpo

Shout Outs

Big Hero 6 was a fantastic film. The "That Thing You Like" podcast on it was great as well.

ESPN's 30 for 30 are amazing as well. This last week I watched "The Pony Excess", "Requiem for the Big East", "Survive and Advance", and "Youngstown Boys". I can't recommend these enough, and hey, free on Netflix! Also, tune in for a free rant on college sports.

League of Denial is a great documentary worth your time.

Dave Berri(@wagesofwins) for his great post on how college athletes are exploited. He has another great one up on why immigration is a good thing.

Iceman in last week's comment section gets a shout out for highlighting about individual defense and the lack of "LeBron stoppers".

Direct download: bsg-44.mp3
Category:NBA -- posted at: 12:16am EDT

This Week's Show

We talk about Anthony Davis' hot start to the season, Steve Nash's greatness, and why stats are hard.


This Week's Poll

Also, last week's poll ended up a draw! Good job Klay!

Show Notes

Anthony Davis and Hot Starts

Anthony Davis' current stat-line is ridiculously impressive. In fact, in the modern era, only two other players have matched it. Guess who!

The MVP award requires you to be on a contender. But with how Anthony Davis is playing, could he break the streak of needing 50 wins to get an MVP nod?

Speaking of surprising starts. As of this writing, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade are playing at star level, while LeBron and Love are not.

Of course, we've seen players start surprisingly. Chris Kaman started hot before regressing with Dallas

Al Harrington was once playing at "George Karl MVP level" (average).

Basically, it's hard to tell with small samples, and easy to overreact to stuff fresh in our minds. We'll have to wait and see.

Steve Nash and 'Simple' Stats

Steve Nash's facebook post on his injuries is just heart wrenching to read.

Based on Nash's points, the Mavs had an interesting point when letting Nash go. Essentially, it wasn't a question of if Nash could have kept playing ball, but if he should have.

I wrote a long post comparing Steve Nash to Kobe Bryant. It's really difficult to notice the small things that make Nash one of the greatest ever, and Kobe not at the same level.

Of course, this point was made long ago (about baseball) in the book "Wages of Wins."

Well, let's look at batting average. We see that Cobb's lifetime mark was 0.366. When Gwynn retired his career mark was 0.338. So Cobb hit safely 37% of the time while Gwynn hit safely on 34% of his at bats. If all you did was watch these players, could you say who was a better hitter? Can one really tell the difference between 37% and 34% just staring at the players play? To see the problem with the non-numbers approach to player evaluation, consider that out of every 100 at bats, Cobb got three more hits than Gwynn. That's it, three hits. If you saw every at bat for both players, could you see this difference?

We also talk the issue with athletes being honest with the media. Alex Kennedy summed it up best.

Shout Outs

Steve Nash(@SteveNash), of course!

I just watched ESPN's 30 for 30 on the Pistons aka the "Bad Boys". I have to give Bill Laimbeer a shout out for his great interviewing, great play, and the phantom call.

Direct download: bsg-43.mp3
Category:NBA -- posted at: 7:01am EDT

This Week's Show

To start the season we talk overreacting to small sample sizes. Our star player for this is Klay Thompson. We also talk the Lakers horrible start and the Cavs.


This Week's Poll

A note on last week's poll, it was inspired by the amazing Dante Basco

Show Notes

Small Sample Size Theater

I talk a lot about how I don't mind people "overreacting" to small sample sizes. Tune in to hear a rant!

Klay Thompson

Klay has started out the NBA season as one of the greatest shooters ever. While it's unlikely he'll stay this hot, if he improves his shot selection he could be great. The problem? We've seen several faces of Klay

And, of course, he's done this before! Sample size theater for the win!

Last night we saw more "Klay Classic"

Klay did get a "max contract" but in absolute dollars. This may actually make his contract more valuable come the new CBA. Of course, if the Warriors balk on another Kevin Love like trade, it won't matter. Also, even if Klay plays amazingly this season, it will not negate the fact that not trading him for Love and signing him to the max were subpar decisions. We've made this point before.

I can not find what Brian said that I thought would be a great title to end this segment. My bad!

The Horrendous Lakers and More!

The myth of Kobe "carrying" a bad Lakers squad is going to continue...

This is the Lakers worst start since 1958 when the Lakers started 0-7.

Currently, this Lakers squad is worse than the 2011-2012 Charlotte Bobcats (the worst winning percentage in NBA history.) The Laker's aren't this bad.

Kobe has no incentive not to shoot away. If he hopes to get another contract, he needs to keep up his image.

Reminder, it's not good for the NBA for the Lakers to be bad. In fact, recent moves by the Lakers, Bulls, and Knicks are bad news. The best teams in the biggest markets should be the goal.

Actually, we do know the origin to Nick Young's nickname.

Read Dr. J's autobiography! It's worth it.

Wow, the Cavaliers lost to the Jazz during this podcast. Maybe it's bad luck for us to praise the Cavs during the podcast!

Reminder, the Heat had an underwhelming start when LeBron joined. I'm not worried yet.

The Thunder are getting decimated by injury. For the billionth time, minutes are hard to guess.

Shout Outs

Bryan Mears for a great Tweet on Trevor Ariza! Also, sorry for snubbing Ariza, who is another great small sample size story!

Kenneth Faried, DeMarcus Cousins, and Rudy Gay all get a shout out for their amazing acting in a rare triple flop!

Justin Halpern(@justin_halpern) gets a shout out for the most recent Short Corner Podcast. He compared Kobe's situation on the Lakers this season the Kobayashi Maru. Or, the KOBEyashi Maru...get it?

Presidente for a great Tweet on Kobe's first finals MVP

Brian has the best conspiracy of all time. What if Kobe is a super-quant and has cracked the code to get paid? Brian's ultimate part of this theory: what if Kobe ghost wrote Basketball on Paper?

Direct download: bsg-42.mp3
Category:NBA -- posted at: 9:34am EDT

This Week's Show

All of the Geeks are back to talk NBA previews and the GM survey. Apologies but Dre is in a room that echos a bit. To top it off, his internet connection is rough!


This Week's Poll

Show Notes


Check out Arturo's regular season predictions. Of course, injuries and roster changes have already impacted some. Still, fun to see just what we were thinking. My caveat as always is minutes are hard to predict.

The Lakers

It's fair to say our Lakers' projection is already shot, thanks to the loss of Nash. It's worth noting that Byron Scott's hate of threes is opposite of his style when he was winning as a player with the Lakers.

Taking threes has been a key part of our two most recent title runs. The Lakers are taking another route.

Henry Abbott had a story on Kobe hurting the Lakers' rebuilding efforts. I do think the story is a bit misleading. The Lakers had been doing well getting top free agents, but health and vetoes have gotten in the way.

Reminder, Abbott has been bashing the myth of "Kobe Clutch" for years.

It's also worth noting recent CBA changes have hurt the Lakers' edge in negotiating for big names as they can't offer as much money.

Bad news for the NBA, despite their new TV deal, their ratings have declined as small markets have improved.

The Spurs

The Spurs could win 60 wins in their sleep. Of course, Popovich doesn't care about convention, so who knows?

The Cavaliers

We think the win total for them might be low. Of course, it's hard to know about injuries to Love, Irving, and Varejao. Also, the Cavs may rest their stars to ensure a long playoff run.

The Warriors

Can Kerr cure Klay Thompson's love of the midrange shot? Will Curry be able to play 2800 minutes again? Will the Warriors stop putting Barnes in the post? We'll have to see!

The Bulls

History doesn't side with Rose coming back full strength. Noah is amazing, but his history doesn't suggest he'll be full strength. Jimmy Butler's already out too. Health will be huge for this team.

The Wolves

Patrick says they'll walk to thirty wins if Flip the GM doesn't trade away all their good pieces.

The NBA GM Survey

The NBA GM survey is back!

Some great questions including how Anthony Davis is a franchise player but not the best PF in the league! Tune in to hear our thoughts.

Here is a great graphic of Anthony Davis' blocks in his first game this season.

Also, Anthony Davis is the frontrunner for our "Kevin Garnett Award", which goes to the top player stuck on a bad team.

Also, the famous "Lanky White Guy" question was absent this year.

Shout Outs

Thanks to Ben Gulker(@brgulker) and E.J. Fischer(@glorioushubris) for helping us finish our previews.

Thanks to Dave Berri(@wagesofwins) for general help this preseason.

Thanks to Bill James for a great article being skeptical of some advanced models.

I'll leave you with this:

"There is absolutely zero chance that Cleveland loses that game tomorrow" - Arturo on the Cleveland home opener.
Direct download: bsg-41.mp3
Category:Sports -- posted at: 11:41am EDT

This Week's Show

Dre is back to talk: offseason gossip about Chris Bosh; Kevin Durant and his value to the Thunder; and Klay Thompson!


This Week's Poll

Show Notes

Chris Bosh

Bosh talked about how he had to sacrifice to play with LeBron. He gave this as a warning to Kevin Love.

Bosh landed a max deal, four all-star berths, and two NBA titles playing with Bron. He also increased his odds of making the Hall of Fame.

We, of course, questioned Bosh on this. And we found Bosh's game to be less diverse compared to Kevin Love's.

There is something to Bosh's point about feeling worse when you're not the best player on your team. Malcolm Gladwell has discussed this with colleges.

Kevin Durant's Injury

Kevin Durant is going to be out for six to eight weeks with a Jones' fracture.

No, the Thunder aren't going to miss the playoffs (if everyone else stays healthy).

This will provide a fun natural experiment. We've seen Durant without Russ. How will Russ do without Durant?

Klay Thompson

I remember! The reason this came up was Coach Nick and Arturo's great video on why Kyle Korver is the most consistent three-point shooter in the NBA!

I think Klay Thompson, based on his performance so far, is an overrated player. I think other players, including Kyle Korver, are much better.

Check out Nylon Calculus' great shot charts!

You are allowed to say a player is a good player, meaning their contributions help the team. You are allowed to say a player is talented, and that their skills aren't being properly used by the coach. However, they can not be both things simultaneously!

Klay may be a good defender in terms of impacting his opponents shots. However, his recorded defensive stats are not stellar. That said, I've often thought individual defense is overstated by many.

Anyway, with Kerr in control, Klay has no excuses this season!


Chris Baxter (@cbax), for an amazing comic on advanced stats and the eye test.

Raquel Rodriguez (@theplanetraq), who has made the great website, which debunks the myth Kobe is the greatest. It also has an updating clock of Kobe's misses!

You, the Boxscore Geeks fans. The fact that our comment section turns into a discussion about Rodman vs. Wilt in terms of rebounding just warms my heart!

Direct download: bsg-40.mp3
Category:NBA -- posted at: 1:11pm EDT

This Week's Show

Dre and Patrick are back to talk: the NBA's new TV deal, the upcoming CBA, and some over/unders for the upcoming season.


This Week's Poll

Show Notes

The NBA's TV Deal and Upcoming CBA

Explanation of new TV deal courtesy of Kevin Draper.

Lebron and Deron had some words about the new CBA because of the TV deal.

Patrick has some words on how there is no such thing as ballooning salaries.

I said the players should strike the 2017 playoffs. Astute reader AL_S pointed out that this is against the current CBA (page 328). The owners also agree to not to lockout, but, of course, why would they lockout the players during the CBA?

Durant just signed a show deal worth more than his contract!

The top players in the NBA have a lot of power. Dave Berri has suggested these players just start their own league to negotiate during lockouts.

The NBA made some major progress for players in the 1970s when the ABA was around. Haywood got the age limit removed. Robertson made sure players had free agency.

Players like Durant want to get rid of the max contract. As Patrick points out, the max contract is a misguided attempt to help the parity in the NBA.

The Cuban/Morey poll on last week's show is one of the closest we've ever posted. As of this writing, it's all tied up at 53-53!

Mark Cuban agrees on max contracts, but says if it goes, so should guaranteed deals. We disagree.

We end up talking a bit about Mark Cuban's thoughts on age limits in the NBA.


Going to Vegas to put money on our numbers has become a tradition for Patrick.

I have some thoughts on variance in predictions due to minutes.

Reminder, it's hard to win just fifteen games in the NBA. Only 27 teams in NBA history have achieved this. Of course, the Milwaukee Bucks did this last year, and I have recently relocated to Wisconsin...

Check out Basketball on Paper, which talks about slowing down the pace if you're a bad team. The 76ers have been going for an up-tempo pace though.

The 76ers did indeed trade for Bogans. Oh yeah, he's already been waived.

Patrick had some words to say about Sheridan Hoops thoughts on a few over/unders.

Patrick missed two of his bets by one game last season!

For your consideration: Trevor Ariza vs. Chandler Parsons career numbers.

Disagreeing with us is fine. We do get upset when your logic is inconsistent!

For your consideration: Thabo Sefolosha vs. Anthony Morrow career numbers.

The NBA Geek falls far from the tree. Patrick says his dad is smart, but that his NBA logic "makes Bill Simmons look like a Nobel Prize winner."

Here's what old boxscores used to look like (thanks Basketball-Reference!). It's not surprising people are in love with points!

Reminder, Scott Brooks is not a good coach!

Patrick remains confident the Wolves can crack 30 wins.

Patrick thinks the Cavs and Spurs should be overs. Of course, hard to know how much they'll rest their stars.

Will LeBron's new physique make him more dangerous?


I was on an on-line game show over at Channel Awesome(@ChannelAwesome) They were great hosts, and it was a ton of fun. I even talked some hoops. I'll let you know when it's out.

AL_S gets props for knowing the NBA CBA well enough to talk the no-strike clause in under five minutes of my post going up.

Daniel Leroux(@DannyLeroux) had both Patrick and Arturo on the RealGM podcast to talk the Southeast division.

RealGM(@RealGM) also gets another shoutout for having historical transaction information.

Direct download: bsg-39.mp3
Category:NBA -- posted at: 8:33am EDT

This Week's Show

Dre is back to talk: the Daryl Morey and Mark Cuban Feud; FCC changes to the NFL's blackout restrictions; and Vegas' over/under odds for the NBA Season.


This Week's Poll

Show Notes

The Morey/Cuban Feud

Morey and Cuban have had some words for each other lately.

In the offseason, the Mavs made it personal by signing Chandler Parsons.

The Rockets tried to fire back and sign Dirk Nowitzki.

My thoughts:

Brian made sure to point out that Ariza may be an upgrade to Parsons.

Patrick Beverley is an easy replacement to Jeremy Lin

Losing Omer Asik isn't likely a big deal as Terence Jones seems to be a great replacement

The Rockets have seemed to be fortunate that they've had some missteps that are immediately erased. Case in point losing Lowry but then immediately getting Harden.

The FCC and the NFL's Blackout Restrictions

Last week I talked about the NBA being foolish with their digital rights.

The FCC unanimously voted to remove the NFL's blackout of local games if it stadium tickets don't sell out.

Of course, this doesn't mean change will be quick. One or more TV stations, who already earn lots from the NFL, will have to choose to air the games.

Teams do benefit from local TV deals, but not all markets all equal. Making the overall reach of each league is sadly not the goal of every owner.

Vegas Over/Under for the NBA Season.

The Over/Under odds for the NBA season have been released.

It's become an annual tradition for Patrick to hit Vegas and put some money down on the NBA season.

Patrick gave his thoughts on the Timberwolves already. Take the over!

We discuss quite a few teams. Tune in to hear more!

Reminder, the Spurs' minute allocation last season has never been done before by a championship squad!


Jonathan Weiler (@jonweiler) is a must follow and must read. Check out the ESPN Watch. This week his discussion on the University of Michigan and Shane Morris earned our shout out. We shout Jonathan out so regularly here I said we should just give him a lifetime achievement award and be done. Jonathan said he'd prefer the weekly praise.

Dean Oliver (@DeanO_ESPN) was recently hired by the Sacramento Kings. We're huge fans of Dean and there couldn't be a better person in an NBA front office. Of course, we've been critical of the Kings lately, so the bar just got higher for them this season.

Billy Beane! After a heartbreaking loss, the A's get to keep the stupid "can't win in the postseason" narrative. The A's did some great moves this season, and were obviously a playoff worthy team. Always next year.

A note on predictions

Last season we gave our predictions for the NBA season. I give us full credit for explaining our reasoning (minutes, and how we thought players would play.) However, we gave odds on many things like hitting the over/under, making the playoffs, etc. These odds were wildly off. We are critical of models around here a lot. We have to take our own medicine here. Our confidence model last season was not up to snuff. That said, I think trying to guess minutes and as a result wins is really rough. Still, people enjoy it, so we'll have them again.

Direct download: bsg38.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:02am EDT

This Week's Show

Dre flies solo and talks NBA ratings, parity, and Bill Simmons suspension.


This Week's Poll

Show Notes

Parity and TV Ratings

This offseason I got to thinking about the value of NBA parity in relationship to ratings thanks to great stuff from Ethan Sherwood-Strauss.

Bleacher Report noted that the NBA's ratings in its three biggest markets dropped.

The Nielsen Ratings say the same thing.

The NBA currently has teams in San Antonio, Indiana, and Oklahoma with top talent. Meanwhile, the Lakers, Bulls, Nets, and Knicks have started to struggle.

It turns out not every market is equal in regard to available fans and income. And treating every team as equal places a value on certain fans.

The NBA's decision of where to place teams is where local governments are willing to help pay for stadiums. This is less than ideal.

NBA Digital Media

Kevin Draper's great piece on how the NBA is squandering their edge for their upcoming TV deal, especially their digital media.

NBA League Pass Broadband/Mobile has been a joke of a product for years. Oh yeah, the price went up this year too!

Even the WWE, which can feel like it's run by carnies, has a better grasp on digital media than the NBA!

Blackout restrictions are stupid. Although on September 30th, some may go away!

Bill Simmons' Suspension

Brandon Marshall had an awkward press conference.

Still, Roger Goodell's was worse.

Bill Simmons was suspended for calling Goodell a liar, in a curse-word laden rant.

A reminder about considering ESPN as a news source:

Oh yeah, ESPN has a $15 billion deal with the NFL. Conflict of interest anyone?

Brian has pointed out that ESPN "analysts" are trained to get views by being outrageous. So it's somewhat disingenuous of ESPN to act outraged when they do.

In the Wages of Wins, Dave's first story was how fans come back after strikes/lockouts. The reality is that fans may act mad but still comeback.

If you want ESPN to listen, talk with your wallet, not your Tweets:

Don't forget Goodell has been worse answering questions on concussions in front of congress.

Shout Outs

Robert Currence for his great comments on defense!

Artis Gilmore, who is one of the biggest snubs in Hall of Fame history.

And, of course, Bill Simmons for saying what needed to be said and showing some cracks in ESPN.


Direct download: bsg-37.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:19pm EDT

This Week's Show

Welcome back for part two with special guests: the That Thing You Like Podcast! Brian Shirlaw (@brian_rs) and Chris Baxter(@cbax) finish our marathon discussion on wrestling with power rankings and shout outs.

Make sure to catch part one.


The That Thing You Like Podcast is great, I'd definitely add it to your feed. Make sure to like That Thing You Like's Facebook page and of course follow them on Twitter at @TTYLShow.

This Week's Poll

A filler rerun in our normal spot! This week's real poll has spoilers for this week's episode, so I put it below the notes, scroll down at your own peril!

Show Notes

Power Rankings

A staple of the TTYL show is power rankings. In a draft like fashion, the hosts pick their three favorite characters in a pop-culture item. Sometimes, they fail, like Chris's selection in Game of Thrones... Check out 1:03:55 to see what I mean.

Brian Foster played the part of commissioner, unlike ping-pong balls, our randomizer is a bit simpler.

Great TTYL episode on Legend of Korra.

One key to good power rankings is constructing a good team, so we had some rules.

  • Pick three wrestlers from any era.
  • Two of your wrestlers have to be a tag team together, with a good reason.
  • Two of your wrestlers have to be in a feud (This can also be the tag team).

Round 1

Chris selected Mick Foley(@realmickfoley)

Brian selected the Rock(@TheRock)

Dre selected Triple H(@TripleH)

Brian points out the Rock is amazing on social media. Definitely worth a follow.

Triple H has a great documentary you can catch on Netflix.

Triple H tore his quad in a match. Logically, you keep going.

Round 2

Dre selected Chyna(@ChynatheIcon)

Brian selected Daniel Bryan(@WWEDanielBryan)

Chris selected Bayley(@itsBayleyWWE)

Vince Russo penned a great piece on why Chyna belongs in the Hall of Fame.

Chris Jericho interview about power of losing and putting others over.

The Rock lost to the Hurricane for example.

Bayley about how she'd hug the Undertaker

Chris explains how Charlotte vs. Bayley was great match, even though Bayley lost.

Round 3

Chris selected R.D. Evans(@Oh_Robert_Evans)

Brian selected A.J. Lee(@WWEAJLee)

Dre selected Andre the Giant.

Chris has a hilarious strip on people having the same name.

A.J. Lee was not the women's champ when we recorded this podcast. Observe Brian's precognitive abilities!

James Adomian had a different take on pro-wrestling.

Sadly, Vince McMahon has not handled openly gay wrestlers well.

The NFL had a surprisingly progressive commercial.

Brian did throw out that the WWE is getting better in regards to female wrestling feuds. Although, calling them Divas, not the best start.

Cyndi Lauper did a music video for the Goonies, which has virtually nothing to do with the movie; that has a cameo from Andre, the Giant!

@boxbrown has a biography comic for Andre the Giant.

The original streak ending. Andre lost to Hogan in Wrestlemania 3.


Brian's team is Daniel Bryan and A.J. Lee as "Team Adult Relationship" to feud with the Rock.

Chris's team is Bayley and R.D. Evans as "Team Hug-Friends" to feud with crazy Cactus Jack.

Dre's team is Chyna and Andre the Giant as "Team Wonders of the World" to feud with Triple H.

We discuss the Woo vs. Yes! poll. While TTYL sides with Yes!, the poll has Woo! up by a large margin.

We agree, all great podcasts need a great Brian.

This Week's Poll

Shout Outs

Chris shouts out Jordan Bowman(@jBowmancouver) and Wyatt Arndt(@TheStanchion). They write for the Province paper at the Legion of Blog. They have several podcasts: the Legion of Blogcast -- At the Movies...10 Years Later

Brian shouts out Chris Baxter(@cbax) for his great webcomic at, making him a three-time recipient!

Brian shouts out Erika Moen(@ErikaMoen), for her great webcomic, which is a perfect blend of sex-ed and funny. She also has a great Patreon Account, which lets you support her work. Seriously, an easy investment that's well worth it.

Erika Moen was on the That Thing You Like podcast, and it was amazing. Brian leaks that she'll be back on soon with a subject they'll reveal at a later date.

I shout out the Cracked Podcast, specifically the recent one on statistics, which delves into sports a ton.

I shout out the great documentary Stripped, which talks about comics. Dave Kellet(@davekellet) and Fred Schroeder(@FredSchroeder) did a great job. The sale I mention is over sadly, but it's still easily worth the cost.


Intro Music: Test Drive by Zapac

Outro Music: Turn it Up by CFO

Direct download: bsg-36b.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:59am EDT

This Week's Show

Special guests this week: the That Thing You Like Podcast! Brian Shirlaw (@Brian_RS) and Chris Baxter(@cbax) are on to talk podcasting, Chris' webcomic -- -- and wrestling!


This Week's Poll

Thanks for helping us decide, "Woo!" beat out "What?" to face "Yes!"

Show Notes

That Thing You Like! TTYL for short.

We start the show discussing Chris and Brian's amazing podcast. Seriously, check it out!

Tune in for a fun discussion on starting a podcast, lessons learned, and growing pains

Podcast Love: The Nerdist!

That Thing You Like started around the great reality TV Show "Strip Search," which found the next best web comic. If you haven't seen it, check it out!

There was a great TTYL episode on "How I Met Your Mother," which helped spawn some writing from me on it, as well as a BSG podcast on it too!

TTYL's hero is Film Crit Hulk(@FilmCritHulk). He actually liked the How I Met Your Mother finale....

TTYL has had some great guests from "Strip Search" on the show including:

It's definitely easy to get flustered as a podcaster when people you admire agree to be on your show. You can tell with me when Paul Shirley was a guest

Podcast Love: The Short Corner Podcast

Oh yeah, I was on TTYL to discuss "Strip Search."

Podcast Love: The Chainsaw Suit podcast is great. They started around the same time TTYL did. We're all big fans.

Podcast Lesson Learned: Listen to your audio as you record. Irony, we forgot to make sure Brian Foster's feed was active this show...

Podcast Lesson Learned: It's ok to go over predetermined limits. It's ok to split up long interviews too.

Podcast Love: "You Made It Weird" with Pete Holmes

Podcast Love: Kevin Smith, I think he has 20 or 30 at this point.

Podcast Love: The Steve Austin Show - Unleashed!

Podcast Love: Talk is Jericho

Great TTYL Episode on sports and sports fandom, including geeks and stats.

Great TTYL Episode on "Cabin in the Woods"

Great TTYL Episode on "Seconds" by Bryan Lee O'Malley

Also, make sure to check out "Seconds" by Brian Lee O'Malley.

Great TTYL Episode on "Love Actually", a great new webcomic

If you liked that one, check out for more!

Tune in for a surprise intervention I give to Chris about being too humble as an artist.

Also, a hilarious Penny-Arcade on interventions.

Square Space advertises on every podcast. Even on ones they don't pay for ad this one...

Kris Straub's Broodhollow is another great webcomic.

Kevin Smith's sister gave him some good advice when he said he wanted to be a film maker.

OK, be a filmmaker. Don’t think ‘I want to be’, just think that you are a filmmaker who just hasn’t made a film yet.


There are a ton of great documentaries out there on wrestling. Many are or were on Netflix at one point.

Great TTYL "Iron Man" Episode on Wrestlemania XXX with Tavis Maiden

Undertaker's streak ending was hit and miss. Chris Jericho had a good take on it on his podcast.

Chris would have preferred to see Bo Dallas end Undertaker's streak.

We talk a little about the WWE since the TTYL show on it. Daniel Bryan beating Brock Lesnar at Wrestlemania 31 is the only logical conclusion to Brian.

"Beyond the Mat" is a great documentary on wrestling.

The WWE seems a bit trapped in the past. Pro-sports has the fact that age means old players stop being relevant. Wrestling is a bit different.

The issues in major sports - concussions, bankruptcy, etc. are just as bad, if not worse, in wrestling. Ric Flair, for instance, is still wrestling because he needs the money.

For the complaints we give to most major CBAs; wrestling is worse!

"Wrestling is a billion dollar industry that is fun like it's a f***ing carnival" - Brian

It's worth wondering if the concussion issues with the NFL will also impact wrestling.

I was lucky enough to meet Chris Nowinski "at Sloan", who has done a done in concussion research.

The NBA's big contract deal could be huge. Except, oh yeah, they're horribly behind the curve when it comes to digital rights and streaming.

I still refuse to watch this clip on Giancarlo Stanton getting hit in the face with a baseball.

Wrestling, Canadians? Of course, we talk the Montreal Screwjob! This is nothing new, Arturo, and I had a long discussion on this.

Jim Cornette shoots on the Montreal Screw Job.

TTYL is all about the storytelling in pop-culture; the ideal superhero movie is talking in a diner.

Podcast Love: The Attitude Era Podcast

We give some love to Steve Austin vs. Bret Hart in Wrestlemania 13.

The 'Wrestling is fake' has stopped doing it for me as an argument, because almost all media and entertainment is scripted or has rules and constraints.

Blurring the lines on sports and scripted, TTYL has an episode on 'Friday Night Lights.'

Podcast Love: The Cracked Podcast

Cracked Podcast episode on how movies follow the same narrative beats.

Randy Savage and Ricky Steamboat had their fight for Wrestlemania 3 incredibly scripted.

We have nothing but the utmost respect for Jim Ross. I still can't understand his firing.

Jim Cornette talks about how the end of the match should have emotion and not just feeling bad. The Undertaker streak ending didn't succeed in that regard.

What if Joss Whedon took the reigns writing for WWE?

The WWE has definitely had behind the scene grudges. This arguably adds to fan enjoyment.

Vince McMahon has been the mad dictator of WWE. Of course, other sports have similar figures.

"Gilmore Girls is being released on Netflix. #GilmoreGirls" - Chris

More show love: Nostalgia Critic and Nostalgia Chick.

True Lies is another movie that gets awkward to remember liking on introspection.

And wow, that's the most links I've done in a show writeup! We're only halfway done too. Tune in on Monday for Wrestling Power Rankings and Shout Outs.

Direct download: bsg-36a.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:13am EDT

This Week's Show

The Geeks are back to talk Ray Rice, the Hawks, and how to grade teams in the offseason.



This Week's Poll

Show Notes

Ray Rice and misconceptions with domestic abuse.

Patrick wrote a piece about the misconceptions on domestic abuse in regards to the Ray Rice incident.

Here is the Vox piece Patrick references that elaborates the point.

I think Patrick sums up the problem with Stephen A. Smith's remarks best: he is spreading misinformation that is hurting those that need help in regards to domestic abuse.

Arturo points out an uncomfortable second part of this. League of Denial, for instance, makes the notes that concussions may impact mental health. And who knows if Ray Rice has been impacted by brain damage.

An uncomfortable point Patrick brings up: The NFL is not doing anything to help or protect Janay Palmer.

The Atlanta Hawks and Racism

I wrote about why Bruce Levenson's email about the Hawks ticket sales is racist and ignores very simple data.

Danny Ferry's remarks were either racist, or Ferry is very bad at his job. Patrick says either is a firing offense.

The Caroline Scale

Ari Caroline (@aricaroline) got us all excited with an email thread about how to rank teams in the offseason. Using the following scale (now named the Caroline Scale):

  • 1 - the team fell apart.
  • 2 - the team got worse.
  • 3 - the team stayed the course.
  • 4 - the team improved.
  • 5 - the team had a major upgrade

The second part is to make sure the average grade for all the teams in the NBA is 3, gives us all a fun way to grade the offseason.

Patrick took the first crack with the scale and rated the Timberwolves at 2. That's remarkable given the fact that they lost Love.

Arturo takes offense to Patrick calling J.J. Barea the worst point guard in the NBA. If the shoe fits...

We go in major depth about the Wolves, tune in!

"If the Pelicans could find a way to get Austin Rivers to disappear, they'd be a 5." - Arturo

If Derrick Rose comes back, the Bulls could be a strong 4. Famous last words by Patrick.

Arturo thinks the Denver Nuggets could make a major jump this year.


Ari Caroline (@aricaroline) for the amazing Caroline Scale.

Bomani Jones for his amazing Tweet.

Christopher Baxter (@cbax) for his spot on comic about how rooting for teams has uncomfortable social side effects. Check out his webcomic every Monday and Thursday at

Anita Sarkeesian (@femfreq) for her video "Women as Background Decoration"

Zoe Quinn (@TheQuinnspiracy) for her handling of "Gamer Gate." Check out her game Depression Quest.

Ethan Strauss (@SherwoodStrauss) for his Tweets on Stephen Curry and Chauncey Billups

Direct download: bsg-35.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:37pm EDT

This Week's Show

We're back to talk the finalized Kevin Love trade, and what it means for Philadelphia? Also, Kevin Love's exit from Minnesota and the parting words from Glen Taylor. Finally, we return to an old well: defense


This Week's Poll

Show Notes

The Kevin Love Trade: the 76ers?

The 76ers dumped Thaddeus Young's contract. This means they now have no bad contracts. In fact, the entire 76ers roster could buy you one Kobe. We think the 76ers are better off than the Lakers. We should stress the 76ers aren't "tanking" by losing. They're tanking by not overpaying for wins.

One note, when it comes to paying for wins, teams that have a short window (see the Heat last year, and the Thunder), you pay to win!

Tangent: Best Chucker Bench Player?

This topic came up during the show. Arturo couldn't let it lie, so here are some great names of players off the bench that still managed to waste tons of possessions when they were in:

  • Walter Davis
  • Del Curry
  • Ricky Pierce

Tangent: Glen Taylor's Dan Gilbert Impression

The Timberwolves' owner had less than kind words for Kevin Love on the way out.

The NBA is just another example of how rich people do not have the same reality as others.

The Wolves put up some historically bad teams around Kevin Love.

An easy explanation for Kevin Love's haters

Just remember the Joe Smith illegal contract by the Minnesota Timberwolves whenever you think the team is well run.

What makes this situation amazing is Patrick wrote about it years ago!

Kevin Love has a good role model. Kevin Garnett showed what happens to those that stay in Minnesota.

I parrot Arturo's "logic" and say I think Kyrie Irving can become better if he plays less of a point guard and more of a shooting guard. We'll have to see.

Tangent: Glen Taylor's Dan Gilbert Impression

Arturo did some help on Basketball Breakdown about Defense. We have a long discussion about defense, especially as it's a common lob at Kevin Love.

On defense, like much of basketball, being tall is a huge edge. I mentioned it could be a reason Kobe had animosity to Shaq.

We get into the notion of "diminishing responsibilities" on defense. Players like James Harden may not excel at D, but that really isn't their job!

Tune in, we have a long conversation on this.


Danny Leroux(@DannyLeroux), who keeps letting Arturo onto the RealGM Podcast

Coach Nick(@bballbreakdown), who worked with Arturo on Defense.

Arturo, for the amazing 76ers trade above.

Chris Baxter(@cbax) from the great That Thing You Like podcast. Not only does he now have an amazing webcomic (check it out at but also for starting the pizza vs. taco debate with Brian Shirlaw(@Brian_RS).

Myself, for this *hilarious* tweet. I know, absuse of power!

Hubie Brown, who I forget as we wind down. He had amazing coach knowledge!

Direct download: bsg-34.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:40pm EDT


Andres Alvarez(@nerdnumbers)

Produced by Brian Foster(@boxscorebrian)

This week's poll

Show Notes

Brian was referencing this hit by Vlad Guerrero. Baseball's a silly sport.

Historical Numbers

Patrick's amazing work means we have NBA Wins Produced numbers back to the 1970s!. That's as good as it's going to get too sadly. When you see other advanced stats go earlier, the "trick" they use is to make up guesses for player stats.

Oh yeah, Patrick also added a way to compare players' career stats. Check it out!

We have a lot to say about the best 50 NBA seasons. How about that Rodney McCray?

I manage to reference my 92 Dream Team poster. Looking at his numbers, I'll take back my dig at Chris Mullin. That said, Christian Laettner had no business on that team. Now, that aside, Dennis Rodman was the best player in the NBA in 1992.

Robert Horry Hall of Fame

Does he belong in the Hall of Fame? We've been arguing about this all week.

We get on a tangent about why the Hall of Fame's "lax standards" and the BCS are good things in terms of entertainment for fans. Compelling playoffs are good, as we've written about before.

On Robert Horry, the number of players the Hall lets in makes the standards lax enough to get him in. That said, many other players need to go first, Mutombo? How about Brent Barry? Oh yeah, Horace Grant gets snubbed from his contributions to Michael Jordan's legacy.

Toronto Raptors and Drake

Drake trying to lure Devin Durant to the Toronto Raptors resulted in a $25,000 fine. What's worth noting is this is not normal in most fields. In areas like tech, the idea of people being allowed to job search is the norm. Companies are expected to try and woo talent. In pro-sports we have people worrying about collusion when friends talk about working together. 

An example of actual tampering was the Joe Smith saga in Minnesota. Of course, that was poorly executed even before it was punished.

Boxscore Geeks Drinking Game

Anyone with graphic aptitude that wants to make a poster for this? We're starting to get a few rules together (add yours in the comments below)

  • Anytime we bring up Kevin Love
  • Anytime we bring up the "tech industry"
  • Anytime we compare something to professional wrestling.
  • Anytime Dre's dogs make noise.

Shout Outs

Brent Barry(@Barryathree) for his love of our Horry piece and bringing up True Shooting numbers on Twitter.

John Floyd(@baddynoshoes) and Andrew Sutton do amazing work in the comments. Thank you!

Rodney McCray gets an official shout out for stumping us by his great play.

Jonathan Weiler(@jonweiler) He keeps making the list! Again, checkout the ESPN Watch.

The people, protestors, and media of Ferguson earn a shout out. We are absolutely against the travesties of the Ferguson police. Our support goes out to those that whose rights have been oppressed and those that have kept reporting and protesting.


Intro Music - Test Drive by Zapac.

Outro Music - Simply the Best by Tina Turner

Direct download: bsg-33.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:52am EDT


Patrick Minton(nbageek)

Produced by Brian Foster(boxscorebrian)

This week's poll

Show Notes

O'Bannon Ruling

The Ed O'Bannon trial recently came out in favor of "student athletes"

Jonathan Weiler wrote a great piece about Bob Bowlski(the Big 12 -- a non-profit organization -- commissioner) and his ludicrous statements about not paying athletes.

College athletics don't make money, or so they say. Of course, it's easy to not make money when you spend it all on athletic coaches! Following up Patrick's talk on this, our old post on this was using the same graphic used at Deadspin.

By the way, the idea that not paying athletes helps parity in college sports is just a myth.

As we've talked with Paul Shirley about before, the rules about how athletes can make money in college (e.g. side jobs using their image) are absurd.

Dave Berri has discussed that paying students to work in college is nothing shocking. He does it. Athletes are apparently different.

Comment Policy

As we mentioned in the thread for last week's show, we're going to be a bit different in the comments. While we do enjoy taking the time out to clarify questions/complaints about our metrics, methodologies, etc., some have abused this. Repeating the same thing over and over is just not going to fly.

Additionally, we've decided to start removing incorrect comments. We feel this is unfair to our readers, who may not realize a statement is incorrect. While we'd love to spend the time to correct/edit every comment, we don't have the time (see below for exciting reasons why). There are lots of people happy to tinker in this space. And that's great. But if your math is off, it will not find a place in our comments.

One last thing that Patrick didn't mention in depth is the length of comments. If you have a super long comment, I suggest you write your own blog post (even a medium as simple as Facebook supports this) and provide a link. Again, it's rough to edit stuff and while I enjoy the enthusiasm of long comments, they do monopolize the comment space, so they too may start getting deleted.

We've seen pushback before in regards to deleting/editing comments. What I will say is that this is our blog. We pay money and have put considerable work to make it. Commenting here is a priveledge, not a right. And the majority of you are great commenters with good insight. We've just seen a small rise in some issues we'd like to keep out of the comments. We hope it makes the comments a more enjoyable experience!

Player Options and Net Present Value

Greg Monroe and Eric Bledsoe may be "leaving money on the table" by only accepting their qualifying offer in order to become free agents next season. Of course, Monroe may never have gotten a good offer.

Patrick brings up the notion of Net Present Value. Namely, while a two contracts may be the same in total value if you accept less money now, in the long run you may be making less. After all, if Eric Bledsoe makes $100 million over five years, but in one case gets $15 million in year one and in another only gets $5 million, that's $10 million he can't invest earlier. And compound interest is amazing! Of course, there's also risk that Bledsoe's value may drop by the time he's eligible for a raise.

Contract negotiations in general are going to be interesting until the next TV deal comes through.

Patrick has some interesting thoughts about why certain players can age more gracefully (like Steve Nash). Tune in to hear more.

Coming Soon to a Boxscore Geeks Near You!

Patrick teases some new features including:

  • Historical Wins Produced back to the 1970s!
  • Javascript tools to make your own stats tables using Boxscore Geeks numbers!
  • More salary data!
  • Some updated stats unique to Boxscore Geeks. Don't worry, it's the same great math, just with some more ingredients

Tell Patrick how excited you are in the comments!

Shout Outs

Jonathan Weiler(@jonweiler) for his amazing pieces on the O'Bannon case recently. Seriously, checkout the ESPN Watch.

Josh Weil(@joshweil) has a similar name to Jonathan Weiler. And he's also an amazing NBA mind!

Arturo Galletti(@arturogalletti) couldn't make the show. But he has been working tirelessly with Patrick to get the upgrades we promised!


Intro Music - Test Drive by Zapac.

Outro Music - Take on Me (A-Ha), cover by Anni B Sweet.

Direct download: bsg-32.mp3
Category:NBA -- posted at: 10:24am EDT

Video Show


Andres Alvarez(@nerdnumbers)

Produced by Brian Foster(@boxscorebrian)

This week's poll

Show Notes

The Olympics/Talent Evaluation

Patrick's piece on Mason Plumlee vs. DeMarcus Cousins and Zach Lowe's piece on evaluating bigs lead to a discussion about valuable skills and player evaluation.

Evaluating things like Chris Bosh's midrange game as "good" is iffy. Yes, he's above average at it, but it's not neccesarily better than average threes or layups.

My general problem with modern advanced stats is we can zoom in on players, but do not understand the magnitude of their skill/deficiency.

Forty three players shot over four threes a game with > 35% last season!

The Pacers and 538

Paul George is a rare talent in that he's a good scorer but doesn't quite get the respect I'd expect.

Case in point, this 538 post on it!

Nate Silver's recent piece on Paul George and injuries is interesting. That said, the stats and methods Nate uses don't seem cohesive or vetted. In short, I expect more.

Richard Feynman sums up a lot of the issues in bad studies.

My issues with RPM.


Patrick asks if Philadelphia is the first team to "tank correctly" in the modern draft.

Devin Dignam on how tanking used to work in the NBA.

I love the logic that the Wizards have been tanking for three decades, and the solution is to tank some more!

The reason the Wizards are "bad at tanking" is not being able to give up on top draft picks when they don't turn into stars.

Becky Hammon and Good Management

I'm a little skeptical about how the mainstream media will scrutinize Becky Hammon. I've written about this before. It's pessmimist and depressing but it's also possible this is tokenism, not a start of a change.

Kevin Draper has written about how people "in charge" in the NBA may have less control than we think.

Dan Pink has a great TED talk on what motivates people.

Tangent - Drinking Game

We've got a few common things happen in the show regularly. Feel free to tweet us more suggestions but here are a few suggestions for a Boxscore Geeks drinking game:

  • Every time Dre's dogs shake their collars/bark take a drink.
  • Every time we mention Kevin Love take a drink.

Shout Outs

Aaron Montgomery for this great tweet:

Taye Diggs(@tayediggs) for making my day by following me on Twitter.


Intro Music - Test Drive by Zapac.

Outro Music - Math by Supernova.

Direct download: bsg-31.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:33am EDT

Video Show


Weekly Poll

Show Notes

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


Video Show

Show Notes

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

Your Hosts

Video Show

Weekly Poll

Show Notes

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