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Posts Tagged ‘J.J. Barea’

Essay: The Art Of Projecting A Player’s Future Value

September 30, 2011 Leave a comment

Making statistical projections on a basketball player—using numbers from both the past and present in an attempt to calculate future performance—isn’t just an inexact science, it’s hopeless. People love figuring things out, and can’t seem to accept an unsolvable situation, even as its obviousness kicks them in the teeth. Not to become one with an inner Grady Fuson, but there’s so much more intuitive evaluation that goes into a basketball player than a simple equation can encompass. The 1,000 jump shots a day that could or could not boost a player’s FG% up 40 percent, or continuous up and down the court ball handling drills to the point where a guy’s sneakers need to be replaced every three days are just two of the million variables that weigh on an unpredictable future.

What if Carmelo Anthony spent his entire offseason traveling around Australia, posing for pictures with cuddly Koala Bears? Besides smelling really bad, chances are his game wouldn’t improve in any area, and all the calculations regarding how he’d likely perform in the upcoming season would be rendered useless.

Then there’s the chemical factor. Baseball isn’t like basketball. There’s no one on one match-up that repeats itself over and over again until the game is over. Watching the game of basketball is like dipping your finger in a running river in that you’ll never get the same experience twice. Basketball players feed off one another and a lot of them need to be placed in the correct environment in order to reach their full potential, as opposed to baseball, where a murderer’s row lineup will always hit better than an average one because each piece isn’t entirely dependent on another. (Sure there’s protection, but managers who willingly place men on base are letting the very statistical insurgence this article is all about pass them by—they don’t last too long.)

I do believe advanced statistics are the smartest way to evaluate a player’s current value—there’s no debating it—but something about people trying to predict what’s going to happen down to the decimal point rubs me the wrong way.

Instead, I’ve decided to try my best looking down the road the old fashion way: through subjective gut feelings, supposed basketball knowledge, and, what the hell, a few numbers here and there. This post will look at players who should make immeasurable improvements next season, and players who will fall back to earth, into their limitations. Two players for each position will be selected, one good and one bad.

The list kind of resembles two overrated/underrated starting fives, while also resembling a stock market of sorts—if today you bought a team of random players, whose value would skyrocket and whose would take a generous dip into regression. The players who find themselves on the devalued list are still very talented and important to their respective teams, but I’m predicting this upcoming season won’t be as impressive as their last. Not only will there be a statistical drop off, but the player’s overall impact should slide a bit as well.  Read more…

Categories: Essays Tags: ,

Shook Ankles: Barea Finally Picks On Someone His Own Size

May 18, 2011 1 comment

For all the wonder and magic this postseason has brought basketball fans all over the world these past few weeks, nothing impresses me more than J.J. Barea, the 5’2″ (Ron Artest guesstimate) Puerto Rican point guard currently backing up Jason Kidd in Dallas. He’s the Mavericks instant satisfaction; the lighter in their back pocket when nobody seems to have any fire. I wrote in detail on the virtuoso that is Barea a few weeks ago for Both Teams Played Hard so I won’t go too much into detail in the space here. But I will ask this: Can you think of a more unreal, totally non-believable story than this guy’s? (He went to Northeastern!) Each time he drives to the basket he’s putting himself in harms way, yet he keeps coming back for more, like some sort of half Oliver Twist, half Michael Myers monster. I realize most of his success is coming by way of the defense refusing to leave Dirk on the high pick and roll, but come on, seriously. If you’re Scott Brooks, how much more of this guy getting free layups can you stand to take? On second thought forget about him, Scott. This is making some great prime time television.

Twitter: @ShakyAnkles

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