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Danilo Gallinari giveth and he taketh away in New York’s win over the Pistons

With the Pistons down eight points late in the fourth quarter, Tayshaun Prince remembered that Danilo Gallinari was guarding him.

Prince scored 12 of Detroit’s final 15 points in the final six minutes of regulation, bolstered by Gallinari’s slow-as-Eddy Curry feet defensively, to help the Pistons force overtime. Then, Prince helped the Pistons force overtime again when, down three with less than 20 seconds left in the first overtime, he drove to the basket, hit a layup and drew a foul from Gallinari, whose only instructions for the play were “don’t foul.” Oops.

But for as badly as he was torched defensively, Gallinari atoned in the second overtime, hitting two 3-pointers to open the scoring and give the Knicks all the cushion they’d need to outlast the Pistons 125-116 Sunday, wasting Prince’s brilliant 31-point effort.

The loss was unfortunate, because the Pistons had some positives, but it’s hard to focus on any kind of positive after a loss to a poor team at home in a game the Pistons (as always) lost a second half lead in.

In Detroit’s win over Milwaukee Friday, I didn’t stress too much about the fact that the Bucks dominated Detroit on the boards, particularly the offensive glass. Milwaukee is a very good rebounding team, and getting second shots is kind of what they do.

But the Knicks? Amar’e Stoudemire is a lot of great things, but a physical rebounder is not one of them. And two of the biggest plays in this game involved wing Landry Fields beating multiple Pistons to the glass and getting put-backs. Those kinds of lapses are still aggravating but more understandable if you’re trying to block out David Lee. Someone should be able to get a body on Landry Fields though.

This was an important game for Detroit, as I mentioned Friday, because they have three difficult games coming up (at Orlando, at Miami, home vs. Orlando). Miami and Orland0 certainly haven’t hit their strides yet, but based on how Detroit has done in other games this season against contending teams, it’s hard to picture the Pistons being too competitive, especially on the road, in those games.

Ben Gordon on the court for both overtimes made no sense

I’m a big Ben Gordon fan and among the many who would love to see him get more minutes. But Gordon wasn’t aggressive offensively Sunday, mainly because Prince and Rodney Stuckey were having better games. And if Gordon isn’t aggressive offensively, there’s little reason to have him on the court as the Pistons did for both overtimes against the Knicks. Gordon’s not a great defender, he’s undersized, he’s not particularly adept at handling the ball or moving without the ball. That’s not meant as a knock on him — Gordon just is what he is. A scorer.

I think having Gordon on the court for both overtimes cost the Pistons. The Knicks always play a small lineup, so the Pistons countered with a lineup of Stuckey, Gordon, Rip Hamilton, Prince and Ben Wallace. If Gordon’s not going to be the primary option, why not use a player like Austin Daye or Tracy McGrady? Both of those guys can do multiple things well and, more importantly, both would have the length to bother any of the Knicks wings who were on the court: Gallinari, Wilson Chandler or Fields. Instead, one of those three always had the advantage of being able to shoot over Gordon.

Obviously I overreacted to McGrady’s injury

Here’s what I wrote after Friday’s game when McGrady didn’t return to the game with what was described as ‘muscle soreness:’

Maybe it was premature to get too hyped about McGrady’s growing productivity. Maybe minor setbacks are bound to happen throughout this process, and all this was was a minor setback. But unfortunately, every time McGrady sustains an injury, even a minor one, fans are going to fear the worst. Hopefully he gets back on the court for Sunday’s game against one of his former teams, the Knicks.

Consider me shut up. McGrady had his best game as a Piston, scoring 13 points (6-for-10 shooting) with six rebounds, three assists a steal and a block. But McGrady was most impressive at the defensive end.

Friend of PP Mike Payne (From Detroit Bad Boys) pointed out, despite the protests of know-it-all commenter Frankie D, that McGrady has been really good when he’s been isolated one-on-one against and offensive player this season. We got a couple glimpses of McGrady’s defense in the second half against the Knicks.

His best play came when Raymond Felton kicked the ball to Wilson Chandler for what looked like an open three. Except it wasn’t. McGrady closed out incredibly quickly, surprising Chandler, and forcing him into shooting an airball.

The other play was McGrady giving help to Wallace inside on Stoudemire. McGrady went over the top from behind and blocked Stoudemire’s shot without picking up a foul, something that’s typically hard for a shorter, less athletic player to do against a big with Stoudemire’s hops.

McGrady’s never had a reputation as a defensive stopper, but I think that’s largely because his commitment at that end of the floor came and went. In Houston, he played for a good defensive coach in Jeff Van Gundy and with the Pistons, even with his limited mobility, he’s done a good job using his strength and length to become a pretty solid situational defender off the bench, something I don’t think the Pistons realized they’d be getting when they signed him.

Is the Daye/Maxiell platoon over?

John Kuester made the decision to decide who would start at PF based on matchups. But Jason Maxiell started his fifth straight game against New York Sunday, and if any game would scream out as a potential favorable matchup (or at least more competitive matchup) for Daye, it would be the Knicks’ frontline.

I understand mostly why Maxiell started. He was coming off a really good performance against the Bucks, so why mess that up? But at the same time, Kuester has never been shy about going away from the hot hand to stick to his original plan. Remember Gordon’s torrid start to the season when he moved into the starting lineup after Hamilton’s injury? Despite shaky performances, Hamilton was put right back in the starting lineup when he was ready.

So why didn’t Daye start against the Knicks? It’s looking more and more like Maxiell as a starter might be becoming more permanent.

What to make of Stuckey’s performance?

Stuckey scored 27 points, he shot 9-for-16, he got to the line 12 times and he only turned it over twice. Numbers-wise, it was a second straight really good game for Stuckey.

But there were some key moments that stood out negatively. With Prince as the obvious hot hand in the fourth, Stuckey forced his way into traffic twice, got off weak attempts without drawing contact and had his shots easily blocked each time, once by Stoudemire and once by Chandler. Stuckey’s defense also wasn’t great in the fourth as Felton scored 11 points in the quarter to help lead the Knicks back from a small deficit.

Against Milwaukee, I was impressed with Stuckey’s ability to see the entire floor and surprised that he looked really comfortable in the post, where he rarely sets up. Against the Knicks, I was disappointed that the Pistons didn’t try him much in a post-up position on Felton and that Stuckey tried to do too much late in the game. It was still a good performance, but still a reminder there are some holes in his game that have to be fixed.

31 Comments

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  • Nov 28, 20105:50 pm
    by nuetes

    Reply

    ‘Landry Fields is Amazing’ to say the least. The guy does it all for the Knicks. He’s been rebounding well all season long. Steal of the draft by a mile.
     
    I don’t have a ton to question in this game. The Knicks hit a lot of 3′s, and the took a lot of 3′s. Amare did all the work on the interior, and he showed today that he can score every which way imaginable for a big man. Questionable lineups at times, but for the most part the Pistons were in the game so it’s hard to say that if something was changed the outcome would have been positive, it’s also possible it would have been negative. CV didn’t play that much, and that’s questionable. They went small the entire second half, and that’s questionable. But at the same time the guys on the court played well. Well, well enough to stay in the game.
     
    I guess you could say it came down to the pace and the inability to defend. Stuckey looked good early on in the open court. That alley oop was nice. He made some boneheaded drives late in the game. Kelser commented about Stuckey not seeing the 3rd help defender and needing to kick it out when he drives, but Stuckey drives so quickly that I can’t imagine he can even process what’s going on. When he drives he just goes, and goes fast. Sometimes that’s to his benefit and other times it’s not. He has zero patience on his drives.
     
    In all I was satisfied by a pretty entertaining game for a Sunday afternoon, regardless of the outcome.

  • Nov 28, 20106:28 pm
    by Patrick Hayes

    Reply

    @nuetes:
    Fields is a very Jerebko-like player, just with a better perimeter shot.
    I respect his game, but him getting those two offensive rebound/put-backs late was completely avoidable. They just didn’t box out on either of those possessions.

  • Nov 28, 20107:39 pm
    by Mike Payne

    Reply

    Thanks for the shout, Patrick!  I’m sad that I missed this game, but your recap caught me up on what seems to have been one hell of a disappointing loss.  Here’s to hoping that McGrady can continue to log productive minutes for the Pistons on both ends of the court, and he can ultimately help find value in a package deal closer to the trade deadline.  Hopefully, playoff teams are watching what McGrady is doing off the bench and inquire about his services to Dumars in February.

  • Nov 28, 20107:45 pm
    by detroitpcb

    Reply

    your observation about Gordon being in the game for the later part of the 4th quarter and both overtimes is dead on the mark. What was Q thinking? McGrady, Daye, or even CV made far more sense for the Pistons.

    Stuckey did a great job of moving without the ball today, making strong cuts to the basket. I also would have liked to see him post up against Felton and do not know why Q didn’t call for that option during the game. Stuckey played a great overall game but made a couple of bad decisions at the end when it counted.

    Part of the problem is Prince – despite his “brilliant” game what the Pistons do down the stretch is abandon their ball movement offense and go to the iso for Prince knowing that there will likely be no double team. Prince came up big but the offense stagnated and when Stuckey found himself in the same situation – he made poor decisions. Prince also is slow on rotations and seemingly his man always gets a big offensive rebound with the game on the line.

    Disagree with your comment that Stoudemire is not a great rebounder. Every time i watch him he pounds the glass. Maybe not as well as Zach Randolph, but he brings it and has to be blocked out

    T-Mac had a great first half but contributed nothing again in the second half. I don’t know if he just cannot get loose after halftime or what it is but there definitely is a pattern.
    I think Q is the worst game coach in the league.

  • Nov 28, 20108:05 pm
    by detroitpcb

    Reply

    also want to comment that Ben Grodon’s body language was awful the whole game. There was absolutely no reason to have him in at the end and during the overtimes. I think he had more turnovers than points and only took 4 shots all game. He did not move without the ball but just stood on the weak side all night. And he was a defensive & rebounding liability.

    Gordon spaces out when he is not the offensive option. And he gets careless with the ball. Greg Monroe made a great save to toss the ball to Gordon in the first half only to have his effort go to waste because Gordon was drifting and had the ball go through his legs into the backcourt for an overandback call.

  • Nov 28, 20108:19 pm
    by Patrick Hayes

    Reply

    @PCB:
    I love Amar’e. But we’ll have to agree to disagree on his rebounding.
    His rebound rate this season is 13.3 percent. That’s worse than such noted glass-pounders as Landry Fields (13.8) and Roger Mason Jr. (13.4).
    Stoudemire can get rebounds, but he’s below average as a rebounder for a big man.

  • Nov 28, 201011:08 pm
    by Mike Payne

    Reply

    I’m with Patrick– Amare is an elite offensive talent, gets to the line a lot and can be unstoppable at times.  But he’s really not a great rebounder, and he hasn’t been a “great” rebounder since 2006.  Look at David Lee, who held Amare’s job last season in NYC– Lee grabbed 3.5 more boards a game than Amare has thus far.  The season may be young, but the last four years of Stoudemire’s career has only been above-average on the glass for his position, usage rate and frontcourt pairings.  Honestly, his defensive rebound percentages are pretty much the same as our own Charlie Villanueva.  Would any of us say that CV is a “great” rebounder?
    I dig your perspective and don’t want to seem like a contrarian.  My reason for chiming in is more about the media’s over-rating of Stoudemire than anyone’s opinion here, of course.  I think the media and the league’s GMs (looking at you, Donnie Walsh) don’t have a clear grasp on what Amare is and what Amare isn’t.

  • Nov 29, 20101:06 am
    by Rodman4Life

    Reply

    I agree that Gordon shouldn’t have seen so much PT, and that Stuckey had a great game still leaving something to be desired.  I also agree that Prince’s effective night meant abandoning to a degree the good ball movement that helped us thrive to begin with.  What I am curious to get some feedback on was this feeling (maybe it’s just me) that the Knicks always seemed to be in control of the tempo and the destiny of this game.  Even if Detroit slowed things down, the Knicks looked way too comfortable in the half court with Stoudemire and Felton or whoever.  We could never pair defense with offense for even the shortest stretch.  Are we that much of a pushover??

  • Nov 29, 20103:13 am
    by Laser

    Reply

    two overtimes, two assists by stuckey. what more is there to say?

  • Nov 29, 20105:32 am
    by gmehl1977

    Reply

    Hey what do you guys think about McGrady’s prediction that he would get a 30-point game before the team’s 20th game of the season? It’s so funny how you dislike certain players until they are on your team. I must admit that he has done more than i thought he would of but then again so did Big Ben.

  • Nov 29, 20107:09 am
    by detroitpcb

    Reply

    @laser

    your comments are inane. How was Stuckey supoosed to get multiple assists when Q was running iso’s for Prince? Prince does not pass the ball so there was no ball movement after he took possession of the ball.

  • Nov 29, 20107:36 am
    by DEL

    Reply

    @detroitpcb
     
    The problem is Stuck had 2 assist on whole game, not only in OT’s.. he is just a big, fast, and strong guard with no basketball IQ… he was good yesterday for 3 quarters and jus t horrible in 4th.. 2 really insane drives to the basket and he literally gave up on Felton, and he scored three threes… I miss Billups…

  • Nov 29, 20108:07 am
    by gmehl1977

    Reply

    @DEL
    If the Nuggets offered Billups for Stuckey would you do it?
    (Salaries aside that is)

  • Nov 29, 20108:43 am
    by Patrick Hayes

    Reply

    @Laser:
    Assist total is a dumb measure of Stuckey’s progress. The Pistons play at a slow pace first of all, so any Piston PG is going to have fewer possessions to work with than many other PGs whose teams play faster, so there’s that consideration. Even Billups only averaged seven or more assists per game twice in his Detroit career. He was always in the 5-6 a game range.
    As PCB pointed out, the entire fourth quarter and both overtimes, Prince dominated the ball. And since he was hitting shots and not turning it over, that worked fine for the most part, but it also prevented Stuckey from getting touches, so his two assists in the Knicks game were partially due to that.
    For his Detroit career, Billups averaged 6.4 per game. Stuckey is averaging 5.2 per game this season while playing only 32 minutes per game, fewer than the more than 34 minutes per game Billups averaged for his Detroit career while compiling that 6.4 average. And, on top of that, the Pistons played at a faster pace under Saunders, so Billups had more possessions to work with.
    Stuckey played a good game overall yesterday. He was under control, he took good shots and he got to the line a ton. He’s shooting a career high 46 percent from the field for the season (better percentage than Billups has ever shot), his 2.7-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio is solid (Billups’ career ratio: 2.7-to-1).
    None of that is to say I think Stuckey is better than Billups. But Stuckey has improved by every measure so far this season. He still has a ways to go, and I get that he’s your favorite punching bag, but for you to continually deny that he’s improved is dishonest evaluation.

  • Nov 29, 20108:51 am
    by gmehl1977

    Reply

    A couple of things from the double OT loss:

    Richard Hamilton became the sixth player in Pistons history to score 11,000 points.
    The Knicks attempted 38 3-point shots. That is the most 3-point attempts ever by a Pistons opponent.

  • Nov 29, 201012:11 pm
    by Alan

    Reply

    @ Patrick,
    I also wondered why Ben Gordon was in the game for the extra periods.  I don’t know if McGrady makes sense, though, given how the org limits his minutes.  Daye also is questionable as he offers a lot of what Gordon offers, scoring, but not much defense.  Sometimes, you look down the bench and the answer comes to you.  although he wasn’t activated for the game, this is a rare situation where I would’ve liked to have seen DaJuan Summers on the floor.

  • Nov 29, 201012:32 pm
    by Patrick Hayes

    Reply

    @Alan:

    I certainly agree that Daye isn’t a defensive stopper, but the issue I had with Gordon defensively was that he was just too short. Chandler, Fields and Gallinari were all taller than him and could just shoot right over him. Since Stuckey was guarding Felton the whole time, Gordon had to match up with someone taller. Daye would’ve at least bothered some of their shooters with his length.

    My preference would’ve been McGrady, though, since he had a great game.

  • Nov 29, 20101:29 pm
    by frankie d

    Reply

    i had to laugh when i saw the shout out to me in your original post.
    glad to see that for whatever reason, i obviously got your attention, and my points still stand,  without being rebutted.
    a limited sample, established by criteria that cannot be established, is simply a ridiculous way to attempt to establish any sort of conclusion, and that is exactly what happened in our little discussion.
    and oh yea, you still haven’t responded to your own colleague, i believe it was dan feldman, who had commented, that mcgrady had done NOTHING to merit playing time.  and he made this comments during his course of mcgrady’s supposedly epic defensive stands against the likes of kevin durant.
    again, saying that mcgrady is one of the top 13?, 15 defensive players in the nba is just so mindboggling at odds with what was happening on the court at the time that it defies explanation.
    despite what a bunch of obscure numbers may  say.
    but as i said initially, it is nice to see that you are at least paying attention.
    lol!!!

  • Nov 29, 20103:07 pm
    by Mike Payne

    Reply

    @frankie d:
    Love you, buddy.  We need to pound some natty ice over some jack johnson and get weird.  I figured that’s the best thing I could do, since I was so wrong to question one dude’s opinion with, ya know, recorded data.
    Oh, and a fist bump to you for the hyperbolic representation of my perspective.  Which, again, was “look at those numbers, isn’t that interesting?”  Next time, I’ll ditch those numbers and just look to my WWFDD bracelet.

  • Nov 29, 20103:58 pm
    by Patrick Hayes

    Reply

    @frankie d:

    I read everything that gets posted and respond to most of them.

    Feldman and I have long ago agreed to disagree on McGrady. If you haven’t seen rapid improvement in his mobility and game from the start of the season to now, I don’t know what to tell you. We’ll probably just have to agree to disagree as well.

    And as for your comments about his defense, did you see the Knicks game yesterday? Watch that close-out on Chandler, that block on Stoudemire and the fact that he did a nice job guarding both Fields and Chandler when he was in the game and tell me that he’s garbage defensively. I don’t think T-Mac is going to guard Kobe Bryant effectively for 40 minutes a game. But I think he’s a smart player, sound fundamentally, extremely long and active enough to bother shots and disrupt passing lanes in the limited minutes he’s going to play. He’s done those things reasonably well off the bench most of the season.

  • Nov 29, 20105:12 pm
    by frankie d

    Reply

    “…since I was so wrong to question one dude’s opinion with, ya know, recorded data.”
    look, i’ve questioned expert witnesses on the stand and the only thing that makes their opinion – something that can send someone to their death – worth a darn is when and if they reveal the way that their recorded data was evaluated and based on.
    the idea that anyone can simply come up with numbers that are compiled in god knows what way and expect that someone should accept those numbers is ridiculous.
    what was the criteria?
    what instances were looked at?
    how were the definitions used arrived at?
    those are some of the most basic questions anyone who looks at data has to ask.
    i’ve seen you produce none of that information, but instead simply fall back on the idea that these stats are valid and should be accepted, without explaining why they are comprehensive or valid at all.
    and when i point out a specific instance that apparently was not included in your sample, all of a sudden a new definition comes into play.  kyle korver’s torching of mcgrady somehow didn’t qualify because of…
    whatever.
    like i said, i’ve questioned guys for a freaking living whose job it is to come up with numbers to make their arguments.  i have no problem with relying on numbers to make an argument.  but such an argument is only valid if EVERYONE  has access to the manner in which those numbers were arrived at.  to expect anything else is to expect people to accept information based on faith, like religions do.
     

  • Nov 29, 20105:50 pm
    by Patrick Hayes

    Reply

    Geez. I just went back to read Mike’s posts. Here were some things I gleaned:

    “So far this season, Synergy has documented 10 iso play attempts against McGrady this season, only 2 of those 10 converted.”

    “I just watched every single video of McGrady guarding a player in isolation on the perimeter.  The videos include McGrady guarding Brandon Roy, Gerald Wallace, Stephen Jackson, Paul Pierce, Kevin Durant and Travis Outlaw.  Of those, only Paul Pierce scored, and the only other player that was able to create a line to the basket was Stephen Jackson who McGrady forced into Ben Wallace who took the charge.”

    Those both sound like very reasonable explanations of the methods used for the stat Mike cited. What are you confused about? What is not transparent about how this data was collected?

    Conversely, here was the crux of your argument in that thread:

    “i have no idea how that stat is compiled, but it bears no relation to what this fan has seen on the court.”

    You’re basing the entire argument on what you, personally, saw. I’m not hating on you for that, we all do that. Everyone’s view of things is different and affected by about a million individual biases or frames of reference.

    But that’s what stats are for. Mike stats show that when McGrady has been isolated one-on-one against an individual player, that has rarely led to a basket for the other team this season.

    If you disagree with the stat, that’s fine. But you’re bringing no contrary data to the table. Using your example above, what if Tracy McGrady was on death row for being accused of poor defense.

    Mike Payne is his defense attorney, arguing that in the 10 possessions this season that T-Mac has been isolated against an offensive player with the ball, eight times he’s prevented his man from scoring. His data includes video clips of each play.

    Then you, the crucial witness for the prosecution, get on the stand. “Mr. D, why does T-Mac deserve the chair for his bad defense?”

    Mr. D: “Because he lets virtually every player walk around him to the basket.”

    Defense: “Do you have data to show how often McGrady’s man has got to the basket and scored this season?”

    Mr. D: “My eyes are all the data I need.”

    Defense: “You say that the Pistons always go into a 3-2 zone when McGrady comes into the game. Do you have data or a percentage to say how often this has occurred?”

    Mr. D: “I saw it. With my EYES.”

    Judge: “Guilty!”

    It’s fine that you’re skeptical of Mike’s stats. But he’s at least basing his statements on some tangible data. There’s no possible way to evaluate your contention because you are not saying, “In x number of possessions, Kyle Korver scored and it was totally T-Mac’s fault.” You’re the one who is not presenting transparent data that is easy for people to make a determination about its merit.

  • Nov 29, 20106:30 pm
    by Laser

    Reply

    @pcb: “inane??” 2 assists in 43 minutes for a notional starting PG?? your jab would bother me if you had a leg to stand on or made sense half the time. though i guess DEL is right that you thought i meant one assist in each overtime, but i didn’t. so, uh, yeah you get it. be careful throwing around insults.
     
    @hayes: you know how i feel about numbers, but assists are certainly an important stat for a point guard. stuckey has all these physical tools, but he’s a dud with decisions. catch the consecutive drives that got blocked at the end of the game, by chance? he has no vision, no instincts, no passing ability. he does one thing well, and that’s score. so he shouldn’t be our point guard. i could care less how many points he scores in losses. we have plenty of guys who can score. stuckey’s supposed to help them get easier baskets. he has made improvements in some areas, but not where we need him: running the offense, making plays. i could care less about his shooting percentage right now. in three of the last four games he collected six assists. six. over three games. he’s a dud. get him out of here while he’s on his rookie contract and worth a decent return OR make room for him to just focus on scoring. i want to root for him, i really do. but he’s a dud of a PG. an absolute dud.

  • Nov 30, 20103:43 am
    by frankie d

    Reply

    you’ve got to be kidding.
    i’m sure synergy has a more detailed explanation of how they complled their stats and the specific definitions used.
    for instance…how do they define an iso or whatever term they use.  that word is so inexact that it could mean any  number of things.
    is it an iso if someone comes over to help?
    is it an iso if it is a play where the player catches and shoots before the defender can get to him?
    is it an iso if the defender simply cannot catch up to the shooter and ends up trailing him through one or two picks?
    a simple cut and paste would suffice.
    you make it out to be rocket science.  it isn’t.  just reproduce what synergy has to say about their methods and then let your readers decide just how much credibility they want to give certain stats. it’s not that hard.  any other way requires that readers simply take your word about how the numbers were gotten to.

  • Nov 30, 20108:45 am
    by Patrick Hayes

    Reply

    I will take the time to cut and paste when you take the time to provide even one specific instance of the general statements you’ve made on this topic.
    I’m done with interactions with you until you do that. You say things like “the Pistons always play 3-2 zone when McGrady is in the game.”
    What are you citing when you make that statement? Have you watched every minute McGrady has played this year? Have you documented yourself that they have done this? Or are you just basing it on how you remember it happening?
    Because if it’s the latter, no offense, but I don’t trust your judgment.
    When you’ve said that McGrady’s men just “walk right around him” and go to the basket, what data, other than, “I saw it!” are you citing? Because again, I don’t trust your eyes. I don’t trust that you’ve watched every game, every minute McGrady has played this season.
    You’re the one who is not providing sufficient evidence in this and every discussion you are a part of. You shout the loudest, you type the most words (other than maybe Laser, who invented and has the patent on wordiness around here, buddy), but you don’t present anything remotely disguised as data.
    It’s all circumstantial. All based on your opinion of what’s happening when you’ve watched games and never backed up with any kind of stat or measure to say “this is what I saw, and here’s how I can actually prove that what I saw is accurate.”

  • Nov 30, 201012:49 pm
    by frankie d

    Reply

    don’t be ridiculous.
    some things can be measured by statistical analysis and others cannot.
    for instance, the manner in which detroit plays defense when mcgrady is in the game.  that can only be determined by watching the games.
    (btw, i will say that that manner has changed quite a bit since the beginning of the year.  initially, the team went to that 3-2 zone  every time he was in the game.  if they could settle into their half-court defense, that is what they set up in. in transition or when the defense had not had the chance to set up, then mcgrady might find himself on the perimeter, guarding someone.  that changed about 3 or 4 games into the season.  it still happens, but just not as exclusively as it did before.)
    nba coaches hate to acknowledge that they play zone.  and nba zones, especially, are often very fluid varieties of something like that old jud heathcote match-up zone which combines lots of man-to-man principles with a basic zone concept.
    that is what happened at the beginning of the year, because mcgrady was simply incapable of playing defense on the perimeter.  so incapable, the he was – and is still – incapable of getting rebounds that are not right within his reach.  at the beginning of the year – it may have been in that first game, in fact – there was an embarrassing moment when a rebound came off the boards, was just a half-step away from him, but mcgrady was so incapable of moving quickly that the offensive rebounder basically took the ball away from him like an adult taking an ice cream cone away from a baby and scored on the offensive rebound.
    anyone who’s watched the games cannot help but recall that moment and it was emblematic of mcgrady’s lack of movement.  fortunately, he has improved somewhat, but he still cannot make the kind of rapid change of direction that excellent defenders make, which is why it is absurd to describe him as a top-notch defender.
    so you can ask the coach how often the pistons play zone defense, but you will likely get a dishonest answer as is the norm when nba coaches talk about zone defenses.
    (btw, i’ve seen not a single article by the local press about the pistons’ use of a zone.  just another example of how the local press treats its readers like dummies who are more interested in people magazine style fluff articles rather than real BB articles.  that issue would probably be an interesting one for an enterprising local sports journalist to discuss with coach k.)
    but it is simple.  all you have to do is watch the games.  and when mcgrady and ben wallace – or whoever is playing center – are standing near the blocks in the lane, guarding whoever comes into their area, while the 3 other guys guard the perimeter, they are playing some variety of a 3-2 zone.
    it happened a lot in the first few games.  it is happening less as the season goes forward.
    so, if i did not qualify my statement about the use of a zone, i’ll do so now.  no biggie.
    but is that the type of thing that one can measure?  i guess if one had an archive of every game and looked at each play, sure, but i certainly don’t have that resource and it is not the type of stat that is readily available.
    demanding that type of extraordinary endeavor  is a far cry from simply asking that a blogger who has made certain statements based on stats simply provide the criteria upon which those stats were based.
    it is truly odd that anyone who has relied on a stat would be resistant to simply saying, here is the criteria, this is how they came to their conclusions, have fun with it.
    john hollinger is one of my favorite sports journalists.  one of the go-to guys i read.  his PERs are one of the most accurate ways to measure a player’s value, imho.
    and when you go to hollinger’s page he gives very detailed explanations about what his ratings are and how he has come to those numbers and conclusions.
    he obviously has confidence in what he is doing and offering.
    again, cutting and pasting something that is readily available – or should be – in order to provide your readers with relevant and important information.  if one has real confidence in what one is arguing.
    the only reason someone would not do so is out of pique or because someone was afraid to reveal the basis for their conclusions.
    it’s pretty simple.
    btw, this entire discussion began because of YOUR post which i responded to.  a colleague made certain statements which i contested, and for whatever reason, you’ve seen fit to jump in and defend those statements.
    fine. no problem.
    but, under those circumstances, it is clear which party has the burden of producing information to back up their claims.  i’ve not made the claim that certain stats assert a specific claim.  you have.
    i am contesting that assertion and i cited a specific instance – korver – and other anecdotal evidence – the statements of your own colleague, dan feldman which were consistent with my view, statements you have chosen to ignore by simply stating that you don’t agree with mr. feldman on many issues – to make my point.
    by the way, i never said that i’ve watched every minute or every game that mcgrady has played and it is not necessary that i have done so.
    my claim is that i have seen instances that do are not consistent with the statistical claim made, and whether i needed to see one game or 2 games or 5 games in order to come up with those instances is irrelevant and immaterial.
    if i had claimed that mcgrady has played this way in every game in every moment that is another matter, but i’ve made no such assertion.
    if you are afraid to reveal the methodology – by simply cutting and pasting words – behind the stats you’ve used, the reason is obvious to anyone who cares to think about it.
     

  • Nov 30, 20102:51 pm
    by frankie d

    Reply

    btw, i think i understand the antipathy towards me.
    mike payne is jealous.
    mike payne, a self-described beer snob, is PO’d that i live in Beervana, AKA, portland, oregon, home to more craft beer establishments in the world.
    just to make him even more jealous, tomorrow, portland’s holiday ale festival starts.  it’s a 5 day fest – in an indoor tent set up in the downtown square – that features very heavy duty, winter ales.  barley wines, olde english ales, double imperial stouts, double and triple imperial ales, double dark cascadian ales (otherwise known as black IPAs) and just a treasure trove of some of the best beers made anywhere in the country.  and this festival specializes in ales that range from about 7%abv on the low scale to upwards to 13-15% at the high end of the abv scale.  truly outrageous, delicious stuff that will be served up for 5 straight days.
    all the best breweries are there: stone brewing, hair of the dog, dogfish head, pelican, full sail, bridgport…local faves like block 15 and ninkasi and walking man and double mountain.
    so many beers, so little drinking time.
    any beer snob would think they’d died and gone to heaven at this fest.

  • Nov 30, 20103:54 pm
    by Mike Payne

    Reply

    @frankie d:
    Basketbarguments aside, I am absolutely 100% jealous of you in that regard.  That sounds amazing, an event that would single-handedly empty my bank account and get me tossed in the slammer.
    Fortunately, there’s a beer bar opening a block away from my house with a 500+ bottle menu and more taps than I can count.  I could crawl home if I had to.  My lady, on the other hand, is a wine lover.  Fortunately for her, the restaurant with the world’s largest wine cellar is a few blocks south.  500,000 bottles of wine, some over a century old.  It’s fair to say I’m in a pretty great spot.  :)
    Have fun at the holiday ale fest, that sounds truly amazing.  I’ll make it there one day!

  • Nov 30, 20104:05 pm
    by frankie d

    Reply

    mike,
    the great thing about the festival is that the portland transit trains literally stop right at the square where the festival happens.  so you just hop off the train, walk about 20 yards, grab your glass and start drinking.
    i usually bike down in decent weather or just hop on the max – the train – if it’s raining, and don’t worry about a car.  i’d say most folks end up taking transit and it makes for a very relaxed time for all.
    it’s about a half mile walk from my house to the max stop, but it is definitely worth it to go down and be worry-free about indulging.
    and just to give you an idea about what is going to be offered, here’s the beer list link:
    http://holidayale.com/mitem-2010-beer-lists/standard-release.html?db4cc88de6a33bf999c840e985dfcf51=5fbdce4f2dc64b4d9dedf747a481d57b
    it is truly a great time, a break from the rain,  with some of the biggest and best beers brewed in the nation.
    this is the one beer i’m really looking forward to:
    “Block 15 Restaurant & Brewery • Figgy Pudding, Olde Stock
    Brandy Barrel-Aged Strong Ale [Strong Ale] • ABV: 11.0% • IBUs: 44
    This haunting Strong Ale is brewed with English pale and specialty malts and molasses, then matured in freshly emptied brandy barrels and conditioned with mission figs. It’s gently spiced with Ceylon cinnamon and whole nutmeg and further aged with English stock wild yeast.”
    it’s a great little brewpub down in corvallis, the college town where oregon state is, and they do some of the best beers around.  the owner and his brewing partner do some amazing stuff.
    quality stuff.
    life in beervana is good for beer drinkers.  took the day off for the first day cause they always bring out a few surprises that aren’t listed.

  • Dec 2, 20105:33 am
    by Dan Feldman

    Reply

    Frankie, a quick explanation of Synergy: The service designates every play in every game into one of these categories:

    • Isolation
    • P&R ball handler
    • Post-up
    • P&R roll man
    • Spot-up
    • Off screen
    • Hand off
    • Cut
    • Offensive rebound
    • Transition
    • All other plays
    Whether for a team or a player, you can see stats for each type of play, offensively and defensively. Like any stat, a human decides how it should be counted. Occasionally, I’ve seen a play that I would have put into a category other than the one it’s listed as. But in a large majority of plays, I think they’re labeled correctly.

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