Nba nerd

Charles Barkley on Analytics

Sir Charles is gonna Charles, I guess. From the bullets:

Charles Barkley goes on Philadelphia radio, lays waste to the Sixers, establishes Philly as an Eagles town and finally, pokes fun at the analytics movement: “The guy, he came from Houston. When did Houston get good? When they went out a paid James Harden all that money and [Omar] Asik, and now they went out a got Dwight Howard. That's got nothing to do with analytics, that’s got to do with paying really good players to come to town.” 

That's funny. That's hilarious. I love the revisionist history bullshit. And by love, I mean hate. I can't stand how every pundit writing nowadays is pretending that a year ago, everyone agreed that James Harden was a superstar. Pretending as if, about 10 months ago when Houston made that trade, every moron on every radio talk show wasn't saying "Oh, well, he scored all right when he wasn't a focal point of the offense and when he played with Durant, but he's not a max player." You all remember that shit? Or are you all pretending that back then, when this trade happened, you were one of the ones who knew he was that good?

So I guess it was just my imagination then. All those people ridiculing me for comparing this to "trading away a young Michael Jordan" were just figments of my imagination. Yeah, we thought the Thunder failed epically. All because they wanted to save like $10 million over 4 years (counting luxury taxes). And we didn't hedge here. We called the trade stupid, moronic, awful, and worse. We basically said that the Thunder were pissing away a title.

And people said we were overreacting at best and crazy at worst. All it takes is a simple google search to find a whole list of articles by a whole bunch of pundits who, in October of 2012, really weren't sure if Harden was a max player. Because, after all, you can't just exprapolate per-minute performance to 35 minutes a night and expect the efficiency to stay the same. Except, of course, that all the evidence says you can do precisely that. People said the same about Kevin Love, who put up crazy numbers in 25 mpg in 2009-10. Then,in 2010 he got more minutes. At the all-star break, he was putting up 20 and 15 while leading the league in true shooting. His nomination to the all-star team ahead of LMA was actually controversial among the mainstream press. Looking back, it makes you think that you can't make this shit up.

Ok, so moving on. Remember Omer Asik? Are you sure? I don't recall Chuck on TNT back in September talking about how much of a no-brainer move it was to sign Omer Asik. I mean, maybe I was asleep at the time but during the 2012 offseason, I really can't remember Chuck evaluating Omer Asik, who played a grand total of 971 minutes in 2011-12, and saying "Well, that guy is a really good player. I mean, EVERYBODY knows he ain't turrrrible." And I am sure that Chuck, unlike, oh, the entire internet, wasn't wondering aloud if Omer Asik, who had averaged 2.9 points and 4.4 rebounds per game in his career, was really worth $25 million. I'm sure that was completely obvious to everyone, not just us geeks who are all about the per-minute performance numbers. No statistical analysis to that one.

Hell, I'd bet money that in 2011, Chuck didn't actually even know who Asik played for. I get that he's got a special place in his heart for Philly, and is upset that they aren't going to field a great team. But don't blame Hinkie, Chuck. Blame the previous fools in management who took a 45-win team (I'm extrapolating from 35-31) and traded away its best player and best prospect for nothing, let Lou Williams go for nothing, and amnestied its 2nd-best player (who was expiring anyway!), all for the privilege of paying Nick Young to do shit like this:

This is what negative win production looks like.

It ain't the geeks' fault. It's not statistical analysis that got Philidelphia into this mess. Sam Hinkie inherited a bad team. Worse, the team's "best" player by conventional wisdom wasn't actually that good. Luckily, all those "analytics" that Chuck despises allowed Hinkie to sell high on him and acquire a great big man prospect and an extra draft pick.

Prediction: in a couple of years Chuck will be saying something like "What'd Philly do? They traded for good big man in Noel. Ain't got nothing to do with analytics. That's just signing good basketball players."

Although very "entertaining", Charles Barkley is the prototypical "analyst" that TNT/NBA network hires: 1) star power, 2)charismatic, 3) uses generic buzzwords to assess one person team over another, 4) blatantly biased against white players, 5) couldn't provide a cogent, fact-based debate to ANY NBA-related matter. In a recent episode of NBA Open Court, Ernie Johnson asked the participant's if they would like to be a GM... Not surprisingly, the Chuckster said yes, and that he would do a good job because he knows how to pick players. Statistical analysis is the ONLY accurate and unbiased methodology to answer who is better.

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