Points in the Paint

» October 14, 2009 3:58 PM | By Brandon Hoffman
  • Timothy Varner spoke with advanced stats expert Dr. Stephen Ilardi, who adds:  “Young, inexperienced players like Durant (who was only 20 last season) have long been viewed by insiders as posing a major defensive liability for their respective teams, and this explains why savvy coaches like Phil Jackson are loathe to give them major minutes. In this context, it should come as no great surprise to anyone that Durant hurt his team considerably on the defensive end last year.”
  • Darnell Mayberry of The Oklahoman:  “Scott Brooks, however, isn’t big on nouveau statistics such as plus-minus, PER, true shooting percentage and rebounding percentage. ‘I’m probably not smart enough to internalize it,’ Brooks joked. ‘But there’s so much feel that factors into the game. I appreciate the work that stat people do. But I haven’t seen enough where you can tell me that you can coach the game on stats alone. The best players are going to play and are going to help you win…I just know Kevin is a pretty good player.’ Brooks said he only occasionally looks at plus-minus numbers. He called that form of analysis ‘an afterthought.’”
  • Personally, I want to see real world efficacy. Hopefully discussions like this will inspire more transparency from front office people who use these kinds of statistics in real NBA settings, and lead to a greater understanding of the game of basketball.
  • A favorite entry from Basketbawful’s Dumb Injury Hall of Fame:  “In the fall of 1988, Larry Bird was attempting a comeback from dual-Achilles surgery when he permenantly injured in his back. How? He was undercut by Michael Jordan, who then fell on Bird…in the Kenny Rogers Charity Basketball Tournament in Kentucky. According to his second autobiography, Bird Watching: On Playing and Coaching The Game I Love, Bird said: ‘We were in the final minutes of this charity basketball game when I went up for a rebound and came down a little sideways. Michael Jordan was going for the ball too, and he landed on my back. Right away I knew I was in trouble. I had torn additional portions of the disc wall, and my back was really traumatized. I didn’t know it then, all the way back in 1989, but that was the beginning of the end…I never came all the way back.’ Yet another reason I hate Michael Jordan.”
  • Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert on developing casinos in Cleveland, and how that relates to his strategy with LeBron:  “When LeBron was drafted, which was a couple years before we got here, he said he wanted to light up this town like Las Vegas. We’re just trying to do our part here. Either way, we’re committed to the Cavaliers, to continue to build a world-class franchise.” (Via Don Labbe)
  • FOXSports.com’s Randy Hill on James’ popularity:  “Even though it’s easy to admire James and Bryant with equal measures of sports-related awe, it would be un-American to expect most of us to avoid choosing a side. For example, Kobe is considered by many to be more of a clutch player because of his shooting prowess, while LeBron has been judged more valuable due to his passing commitment and rebounding mite. So debate your little hearts out over Kobe and LeBron. If O’Neal — who has an uncanny knack for getting to work with sensational perimeter players — is able to help LeBron reach the promised land, The King probably will seem a lot more fun to be around. Winning breeds (the perception of) heroes as much as success breeds egos.”
  • Grizzlies GM Chris Wallace on signing Allen Iverson and Zach Randolph:  “We looked into the totality of these guys’ careers and we talked to a lot of people that were around them. We brought them in on our terms. We did not have to do a deal where we had to trade an O.J. Mayo or a Rudy Gay or a Mike Conley or a Marc Gasol. We didn’t have to trade any draft picks. The longest contract is Zach with two more years. You can make the case that we were mortgaging our future if we started trading our core players. That’s not the case. We are able to throw them on top of what we have and not shed any assets. Zach took cap room this year. He was essentially our free agent. And we got him for a less significant long-term commitment than if we went out and signed a new free agent on the market.”

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