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The Boxscore Geeks Show: The Bearded Picasso

Playoffs, playoffs, and more playoffs!



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Video Show

Show Notes

Magic Johnson says the Lakers don't currently have a star, we agree.

We discuss Paul George. If Magic Johnson thinks he's the star the Lakers need, we disagree. We think Paul George is currently overrated. We thought he looked great young but has not come back strong since his injury.

We talk the Wins Produced formula, namely comparing players to their position, and to league average.

Paul George's raw numbers may look similar to when he was younger. Bad news is the average NBA player has gotten better meaning Paul George has lost ground due to "inflation."

Our recent update to the Wins Produced position adjustment.

I was impressed by LeBron James' excellent play in the Cavs sweep in round one. That said, it took LeBron playing over 40 minutes a game and putting up heroics to down a 42 win team. Compare that with the Warriors, who rest Durant two games and still swept.

What is going on with the Spurs? They are a "Moneyball team" in that they have underperformed a few times in the playoffs despite being a great analytics team.

We discuss my article on how the Eastern Conference is the weakest it's ever been and how Boston is the worst team to ever win a conference.

Losing Rajon Rondo hurts the Bulls. Despite being on a poorly constructed team, he played above average this season and was playing great in the playoffs. Funny note, I think Paul George is the "missing piece" for the Bulls.

We review an argument in the comments section over if Danny Ainge is an above average GM. Our thoughts are that he's clearly above average for an NBA GM, but outside of the Spurs and the recent Warriors, we don't think much of most NBA front offices. Despite some good moves out of Ainge, he's made a fair number of mistakes, meaning Celtics fans are right to be upset.

We talk Jazz/Clippers for a bit. Tune in! Conversely, if you wanted us to talk Wizards/Hawks, we don't talk them at all. Brian does take a second to note Markieff Morris is bad.

While we were recording the Rockets were wrapping up their series with the Thunder. Some things we didn't discuss but deserve credit. The Lou Williams trade clearly worked out very well for Houston. Also, major props to Patrick Beverly noting that Westbrook's high playoff scoring came at a cost.

We also talk Patrick Beverly incident in getting into an argument a fan. We run into the odd mentalities fans expect athletes to have and also the tradeoff between commerce and competition in sports.

Shout Outs

Brian shouts out Bart Hubbuch over at Deadspin for his great piece on Robert Kraft's casino holdings and more NFL hypocrisy.

Brian shouts out Trevor Ariza for an article he penned titled: "Bearded Picasso is the MVP."

I haven't listened to the show yet, but the idea of "inflation" is pretty fascinating. The average ADJP48 for Wings in 2012-13 was .178, while the average ADJP48 for Wings in 2016-17 was .204. (And this is an era in which there are no real star SGs.) And comparing the years, the reason seems to be mainly that Wing shooting efficiency has increased significantly, from 53.3% to 54.7% for TS%. This results both from shooting a higher percentage on 2-point shots and from taking more three pointers.

Interestingly, for Paul George himself, his shooting efficiency has increased even more than the league average for Wings. He's at a TS% of 58.6% this season, as compared to 53.1% in 2012-13. So where he was about league average for shooting efficiency in 2012-13, he is signficantly above league average now. The issue, I guess, is that all his other counting stats - rebounds, assists, blocks, steals, turnovers - are worse now than then. (All this ignoring the glitch that currently classifies Paul George as a PF for some reason.)
You don't think Daryl Morey is a good GM.. I think John hammond of the bucks is looking pretty good too. I think he's the guy who built Detroit under Joe Dumars.. that's only a maybe.. just Joe Dumars certainly didn't
You guys are considering Paul George a PF and say all the sites agree, but why? B-R says he's played SF 84% of the time.
Teague plays PG, Miles is a 2, George 3, Young 4, and Turner 5. You consider Glenn Robinson the ONLY 2, CJ Miles and 132 mp Lance Stephenson a 3, and both Young and George 4s (even though they both have >2200 mp).
If I recall correctly, BSG gets their position data from Yahoo. I think some tweeks are in order.
It seems like 4s have deflated not inflated. There was only one 4 above.200 WP48 this year.
That seems to show up in ADJ48 numbers from last year to this year for Centers. At a quick glance, there were 5 Centers over .500 last year, and only 3 who played more than 1000 minutes. This year it's 7 and 6. Pretty huge shift in that small sample size glance.

That's correct, the site's positions do come from Yahoo and they were wrong on George. Thanks to Dre for fixing that today, he is now listed as SF (3.4).

It doesn't really change our conversation from the show that much, his post injury production hasn't been great regardless of if you are comparing him to PFs or SFs. I will give the Pacers some bonus credit for moving him back to SF, but if they are smart they'll let him walk in free agency.
"... but if (the Pacers) are smart they'll let (Paul George) walk in free agency"

We can sit around and talk about how the analytics reveal Player A to be hugely overrated and Player B to be hugely underrated but oh, my god, let's please try to keep in mind what conventional wisdom says, and conventional wisdom says that Paul George is a star player, still in his prime. If you have a player deemed by conventional wisdom to be a star, but your analytics people are swearing up and down is nothing special, do you a) sell high, ie, trade him to some sucker who buys into the conventional wisdom and is willing to give up valuable assets for said player, or b) let him walk in free agency, where in you receive absolutely nothing in return?

A good manager of a team, or of a stock portfolio, or of any portfolio of assets, always tries to properly evaluate their assets, and to buy low, sell high. You don't let Paul George walk in free agency, you trade him to the Lakers for Larry Nance and Julius Randle, or to Sacramento for one of their 2017 lottery picks, or to Boston for this year's Nets pick, etc., you get the idea.

100% Smart sports management is all about arbitrage. And the Pacers can absolutely get a Melo-ish deal out of this if they want. Hell, go for draft day deal w/ Lakers. Rights to Lonzo Ball (if Lakers get #2 pick), Larry Nance Jr. and a future #1 (which will likely be lottery still!)
Great points Robbie and Dre, their ideal scenario is getting someone like the Lakers to bite on a deal like that. Lakers Nation is saying something similar, so the Pacers might have an opportunity there:
Dare I say Terry Rozier has looked like a budding star? lol
"I will give the Pacers some bonus credit for moving him back to SF"
I think this gets to probably the biggest difference between management advice based on WP and the actual trends we observe around the league.

WP is pretty clear that teams should go as big as players' potential positions and other available starters will let them - if a guy can play at the 4 or the 5, put him at the 4 and find an average 5 to play next to them.

But the trend around the league is to push guys up positions as far as possible, with guys who could play the three often taking minutes at the 5. Boston and Toronto both made moves in this direction during the playoffs, with apparent success.

From the pov of WP, why are teams doing this? Are they just dumb? Is there some systematic benefit from playing small not picked up by WP? Might this gap show up in other aspects of the game?
Hmm I really love it that Toronto got swept in the east semis, good if they had only gotten even more smaller like maybe 4 point guards in there starting lineup may they could have made the series into 7 games

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