NBA AM: Looking Ahead To The NBA Draft Lottery
Pick The Lottery: The 2013 NBA Draft is roughly 115 days away, and while college basketball season is starting to wind down and the March Madness tournament is starting to take shape, let’s take a look at which NBA teams could be in the NBA Draft Lottery and where they might go with players.
Some draft pick notes…
The Oklahoma City Thunder receive the Toronto Raptors pick if it falls out of the top three. This was originally traded to Houston as part of the Kyle Lowry trade and was sent to OKC in the James Harden to Houston trade.
The Charlotte Bobcats receive the Portland Trail Blazers pick if it falls out of the top 12. This was part of the Gerald Wallace trade in 2011.
The Phoenix Suns receive the LA Lakers first round pick as part of the Steve Nash sign and trade to LA.
The weekly HOOPSWORLD Pick’em game is still wide open. There is currently just two players in line for the grand prize of an iPad or Apple Store Gift card with just three weekly wins. Three strong weeks and you could be in the running. The game is completely free to play and takes a couple of seconds to sign up for. We give you roughly 12 weekend NBA games, and you simply pick who you think will win. Get the most correct games and you’ll win an adidas HOOPSWORLD T-Shirt. Win the most weeks and you could win an iPad or Apple Store gift card. Week 19 is ready for your picks. Log in and play here.
Playing With Numbers: The annual MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference wrapped up on Saturday in Boston and every year there are concepts that challenge the norm or at the very least put data behind the casual assumption. This year Kirk Goldsberry of Grantland.com and Eric Weiss of Sports Aptitude presented their research on interior defense in the NBA.
The premise of the research is this: The most valuable area on the court is basically the 5-to-6 feet around the basket, as that’s where the highest field goal percentage occurs, so with this real estate being so valuable offensively, those that can defend it should be coveted. The problem is there are no stats to support who is really effective in the paint, the closest we come is blocks, but blocks do not tell the entire story.
So Goldsberry and Weiss offered up a new measurement they call Proximal Field Goal Percentage: the relative efficiencies of shooters in the proximity of the defender.
Said another way, what do you shoot when an elite defender is in your proximity, defined as within five feet.
The idea was born from offensive players simply not engaging Lakers’ center Dwight Howard in the paint. They simply settle for jump shots and rarely attack him because of his physical size and prowess as a shot blocker or more importantly a shot alterer.
The researcher used new data gleaned from specialized cameras that have been installed in some 15 NBA arenas that can pin-point exactly on the floor where certain actions take place. This “X/Y” data as its being called, helped them isolate plays into their specific in-the-paint measurements.
Of all the front court players the researchers measured, Milwaukee’s Larry Sanders emerged as the best interior defender in the league, with opposing players shooting just 34.9 percent when within five feet of Sanders during a shot attempt.
Toronto’s Andrea Bargnani emerged as the second best, however the researchers were quick to point out that opposing players shoot just 35.2 percent when within five feet of Bargnani, however it was rare that Bargnani was close enough to his player, showing the flaws in the percentage nature of the stat.
Another interesting observation emerged in the study. While Dwight Howard produced the most jump shots illustrating his intimidation factor, Oklahoma City’s Serge Ibaka was challenged almost 75 percent of the time despite being one of the league’s best shot blockers and rebounders. Researchers openly wondered if this was a result of the Thunder perimeter defense or their strategy to funnel players into Ibaka deliberately.
Researchers admitted there was more study to be done on the concept and especially as it relates to perimeter defenders, but the concept of what a player shot while in proximity to another is an interesting concept and the numbers show that the stat offers some interesting possibilities in measuring defense.
Why LeBron Won’t Dunk: Despite responding the Magic Johnson’s offer of $1 million to charity of his choice if HEAT forward LeBron James entered the Dunk Contest as saying “Tell him I’ll get back to him.”, you can rule LeBron out of the Dunk Contest for a number of reasons.
The first being that there is no way LeBron could live up to the expectations placed on him. No matter how well or poorly he does in the event, the damage his brand will take isn’t worth it. Short of logging the best dunk ever performed, there will be a massive amount of unneeded negativity thrown LeBron’s way. It’s an event he can’t win, even if he wins, because of the expectations.
The next part is LeBron doesn’t need it. There is absolutely nothing gained for LeBron if he competes. None of the fruits that become possible from the dunk contest matter in LeBron’s world. The only reason to do it would be for the fans, and frankly that’s exactly the wrong reason to do it.
Lastly, the demands placed on All-Stars during All-Star weekend is overwhelming, adding more demands is tough to rationalize for players that actually are playing for things. Dwight Howard commented frequently in the years he competed that doing both the Saturday and the Sunday events were massively taxing.
Is there a HEAT fan that really wants to see LeBron get any more worn down because of the dunk contest?
How many times in the history of the dunk contest has a player that is legitimately playing for a championship taken on the extra work?
The window for LeBron James to be a dunker has closed; its championship time in LeBron’s career. He gains nothing at all from competing in the dunk contest, and even with Magic’s $1 million offer on the line, which the NBA wouldn’t allow to begin with, there is all down side to competing for James.
LeBron’s marketing partners have tried in the past to incentive him to dunk, so Magic’s money won’t push him into the contest any more than the public outcry for him to do it.
There is no upside for it for LeBron and even though the league desperately needs something to infuse interest in the Saturday event, James won’t be the answer.
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NBA Chats: There are two NBA Chats scheduled for today starting with HOOPSWORLD’s Bill Ingram at 11am. Bill’s chats do fill up fast so getting in early is always wise. HOOPSWORLD’s Stephen Brotherston will hold down his weekly NBA chat at 3pm EST. You can always find the next NBA Chat here: http://www.hoopsworld.com/upcoming-chats and if you are looking for Previous Chats try here: http://www.hoopsworld.com/previous-chats