The Best NBA Robins of all time (Part 1)

Basketball is a team sport. It's only natural then that it takes more than one star to get things done in the NBA.

(Image from Yale Stewart in the style of his wonderful comic JL8)

We take a look back at the best sidekick seasons in NBA history.



The SmallBall StrawMan

One of the interesting things about our metrics is its position-adjustment. Essentially, the things that big men do in the NBA are the things that are most important when it comes to winning: shooting efficiently, rebounding, not turning the ball over. But, of course, you cannot play five centers. Or, more accurately, part of the reason that centers tend to shoot more efficiently and grab rebounds is because they hang around near the basket a lot. And part of the reason they don't turn over the ball a lot is because unlike the point guard, they don't have to bring the ball up the court while one of the other team's quickest defenders hounds them.

This becomes a popular criticism of our metrics. "On paper", a team of Tyson Chandler, Omer Asik, Dwight Howard, Andre Drummond, and DeAndre Jordan would win like 75 games. Except, of course, they would lose a ton of them because none of those players would produce many wins playing point guard, and somebody has to bring the ball up. So the real question isn't "Which of these teams is better?"


The Boxscore Geeks Show: Wins Above Replacement Podcasting

Dre and Patrick are back to discuss all of the replacement player arguments that have gone on in the last week. We also talk even more Kevin Love!


Why Flip Will Lose Love, and Why That Doesn't Matter

When it comes down to it, the Timberwolves are doomed to lose Kevin Love because he doesn't want to play there, and the current CBA doesn't help Minnesota to outbid any rivals. Because of this, other teams seem to be assuming that they can lowball; after all, the pressure is on Flip. He "must" trade Kevin Love. But this is false; the pressure is, in fact, on every competing team. This is because if you are a competitive team (i.e. a team that Love will want to stay on), there is actually tons of value in inheriting Love's bird rights -- just not until 2016.


The Myth of the Free Replacement-Level Player

Calculating the fair value of an NBA contract has been a tough nut to solve. In a lot of our work, we use some short hand by calculating the total payroll paid to all players, and divide by the total number of wins. There are obviously some big problems with this, and the biggest is opportunity cost. A player like Monta Ellis might produce some wins, but he plays 3000 minutes in which some other player would produce more wins. So it's tempting to use wins above a replacement-level player as the measurement of what you pay for. But this is even more deeply flawed.

The FiveThirtyEight website tries this approach. In an article about Carmelo Anthony's contract, Nate Silver tries to translate wins to salaries: