Thursday, February 24, 2011

WOW Podcast - Talking Raptors and "Trading Up"

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Yesterday - along with Andres (of Nerd Numbers) and Daniel Alvarez - I appeared on the Wages Of Wins Network podcast. Because I was replacing Arturo Galletti of Arturo's Silly Little Stats, Dre decided to title the podcast "Trading Up".

Just kidding; I'm the Keanu Reeves to Arturo's Doug Flutie. The title actually refers to the Carmelo Anthony and Deron Williams trades that feature prominently in the podcast. We also talked about the All-Star game, the huge James Johnson deal, some Raptors issues, and got into a heated debate about Kobe in the clutch.

 - Devin

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Raptors trade: Another PF?!?

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According to ESPN, the Raptors have traded a first round draft pick (originally Miami's and acquired during the Bosh sign-and-trade) to the Bulls in exchange for James Johnson. Here's what Bryan Colangelo had to say about the deal:
“James Johnson is a strong, athletic and versatile small forward that we have had our eye on dating back to the 2009 NBA Draft."
This whole thing is rather odd. First of all, James Johnson is more of a power forward than a small forward - both 82 games and Andres' automated WP site (Nerd Numbers) say that Johnson has spent more time at PF than at SF this season. For last season - Johnson's rookie year - the Auto WP site had Johnson playing more of his time at SF than at PF, but 82 games still has him playing most of his minutes at PF. This all makes sense because Johnson is 6'9" and 245lbs; he's as heavy as Reggie Evans and one inch taller, tied for third heaviest player on the roster, and tied for fifth tallest on the roster. He also doesn't have much of an outside game and is best playing close to the a power forward.

Just what the Raps need

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Yes, the fabled Carmelo Anthony trade supposedly finally happened. But apparently the Nuggets aren't totally happy with newly acquired Danilo Gallinari - here's what ESPN had to say about it:
Denver may also be working on plans for newly acquired players Danilo Gallinari and Raymond Felton.

League sources told ESPN The Magazine's Ric Bucher that the Nuggets are not expected to keep Gallinari once their three-team trade is completed. 
ESPN The Magazine's Chris Broussard reported that the New Jersey Nets may be interested in acquiring the perimeter-shooting forward but the market for the Italian may also include the Los Angeles Clippers, Cleveland Cavaliers and Toronto Raptors.

Really? One deep-shooting, poor rebounding, 6'10"+ Italian forward isn't enough for the Raps?

Well actually, he's a much better shooter than anyone else on the team right now, and he would give the team another three-point shooter (which the team desperately needs). But if the Raptors do acquire him, please, please, PLEASE play him at small forward and DeRozan at shooting guard! A front court of Bargnani and Gallinari would probably shatter the team record for fewest rebounds in a game, which is 24 - keep that number handy if Gallinari ever starts at PF in Toronto.

 - Devin

Sunday, February 20, 2011

WOW Network Podcast for 02/18/11

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This Friday, along with David Berri of the Wages of Wins Journal, Mosi Platt of the Miami Heat Index, and Arturo Galletti of Arturo's Silly Little Stats, I participated in a WOW podcast. If you are interested in listening, the link is here. Dave also has a short little blurb about the podcast - and some relevant links - on one of his recent posts.

Now you can finally put a voice to the words that appear on this website!

 - Devin

(P.S.: If you'd like to complain about my performance - maybe you don't like the way my voice sounds, thought my comments were silly, or just plain don't like me - please do so here)

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Bargnani's big night against the Heat

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In the wake of the Toronto-Miami game that took place on February 16th (the Raptors lost 103-95), I immediately - and predictably - received comments about what a great game Andrea Bargnani had. After all, Bargnani scored 38 points on 15-26 shooting!

Well, yes, Bargnani ended up with an efficient shooting night. But when I look at his shooting and scoring by quarter, I don't feel so good about how his night went:
  • 1st: 4-9 FGA, 1-2 FTA for 10 points
  • 2nd: 2-5 FGA for 4 points
  • 3rd: 3-4 FGA for 7 points
  • 4th: 6-8 FGA, 2-2 FTA for 17 points
  • overall: 15-26 FGA, 3-4 FTA for 38 points

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

ESPN's Chad Ford: Colangelo won't trade Bargnani

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Raptors HQ brought the following quote from Chad Ford of EPSN to my attention today:
Herman (Toronto)
With Ed Davis and Amir Johnson showing signs of potential. Does there come a time when Toronto looks to trade Bargnani? Maybe they should take a shot at Odem?

Chad Ford(1:36 PM)
It's a good question. The answer is ... not as long as Bryan Colangelo is the GM. GMs fall in love with the players they draft. It's part of our psychological need to justify our decisions. Colangelo took him No. 1 over Rudy Gay and Brandon Roy. He needs to be right. Trading him is tantamount to admitting he was a bad pick. Lakers are suffering from the same problem with Bynum. As a rule around the league, teams tend to overvalue their own players and undervalue other team's players. It's partly why we don't see more trades in the NBA. But if Colangelo were to leave the Raptors, my guess is the first move a new GM would make would be to trade Bargnani. He's talented, but it's tough to have a 7 footer on the floor who refuses to rebound or defend anyone.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

David Berri on DeRozan and the Raptors

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David Berri, author of the Wages of WinsStumbling on Wins, The Wages of Wins Journal, and the founder of the Wages of Wins Network, has posted a new article about the Raptors. While it is very similar to what I've already discussed on this blog (after all, we both use Wins Produced to analyze basketball statistics), Dave is always a good read, and I encourage you to check it out if you haven't already done so.

 - Devin

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Week 15 Auto WP numbers

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Hey, it's been a week, and I'm still around! What's going on?

Some good news for this week: Linas Kleiza is out for the season. Not only does that mean that someone else (hopefully someone more productive this time, like Wright) will get more minutes, but it might also be the explanation for why Kleiza has been so unproductive this year; in the past, Kleiza had been much better. There are also concerns about how the Raptors' training staff handled the injury, and the Raps seem to have a recent history of injury disputes with certain players. Oh well - what's a little more dysfunction for this franchise?

Here are the numbers for the season so far, which are Powered by Nerd Numbers (full spreadsheet here):

Monday, February 7, 2011

Kevin Love to the Raps!

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According to Doug Smith of the Toronto Star, Kevin Love loves playing under Raptor head coach Jay Triano. Said Love:
“I loved him. I loved having him as coach. He lets his players play, he is definitely a players’ coach. He is a guy that I would love to play for and he is a lot of fun to be around. I enjoyed him.”
How could the Raps get him? If I was in charge of the team, I would be open to trading away any assets - even the team's upcoming first round draft pick - if I could get my hands on Love. Here are some scenarios that could make it happen:

Friday, February 4, 2011

Champions and Drafted Players

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I've been away for a while, so I've been writing a bunch of new posts in the short term. Today I'd like to revisit a classic topic: NBA champions and the draft.


I've already shown that securing a top tree draft selection is generally not the ideal position to be in for an NBA team. To recap, I found that:
  • in the lottery era (1985-present), 60% of teams that have ended up with a top three draft pick haven't made it past the first round of the NBA playoffs during their draftee's first four years in the league.
  • to put it another way, only 40% of teams with a top three draft selection managed to advance past the first round in one or more of their draftees' first four years.
  • during the lottery era - only four (Duncan, Robinson, Sean Elliott, who was traded away and then reacquired, and Darko Milicic, who shouldn't count because he didn't really play) out of the 78 players (5%) taken with a top three pick have won a championship with the team that drafted them.
  • all that makes sense, as top three draft picks generally start their careers on bad teams. The Spurs lucked out with Duncan because, rather than being a bad team, they were a good team that had injury problems. The Pistons "lucked out" with Milicic because the Grizzlies were dumb enough to trade away their 2003 1st round pick in exchange for Otis Thorpe. Robinson and Elliott won their championships well after they were drafted, and Elliott was actually traded away and reacquired before he got his.
  • top three picks fared a little bit better in the pre-lottery era - ten players (Jordan, Olajuwon, Worthy, Thomas, McHale, Magic, Walton, Kareem, Unseld, and Cazzie Russell) out of the 57 top three draftees (17.5%) eventually won with the team that drafted them, and only 28% of teams couldn't make it past the first round in their draftee's first four years.
  • this also makes sense, as there were fewer teams in the pre-lottery days, which gave each team a better chance of moving up in the standings.

Rookie Challenge Rosters

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On Tuesday the lineups for the All-Star Rookie Challenge game were released. Andres of Nerd Numbers already wrote a post about which team he thinks will win, but I want to look at those names a different way. According to ESPN, the rookie roster is as follows:
  • Blake Griffin
  • Landry Fields
  • John Wall
  • DeMarcus Cousins
  • Greg Monroe
  • Derek Favors
  • Gary Neal
  • Wesley Johnson
  • Eric Bledsoe
It's a pretty decent team; as Dre notes, it's good enough to be favoured over the sophomore team. But I wonder - are there some rookies who got snubbed? Check out this table (full version here):

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Week 14 Team Opponent Stats

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Yesterday I posted the Team Stats update for week 14, and the day before that I posted the player stats for week 14. Today I'd like to post something I haven't done before: opponent stats. I figure that it would be interesting (and useful) to see how well other teams perform against the Raptors. Here's another of those weird double-scrolling charts:

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Week 14 Team Stats Update

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Surprised? I said I'd be back again soon!

Yesterday I posted the individual Wins Produced for week 14, and as I mentioned, the numbers aren't pretty. But what about the team numbers? With those, perhaps we'll be able to put together some theories as to why the Raptors aren't playing well? Well, it just so happens that I have everything up and ready to go. Here's a nice - albeit somewhat strange, what with the double scrolling thing going on - sortable table of every team in the league:

Here are my thoughts:

  • The end of the 3PT streak wasn't really surprising - the team still can't shoot threes. The team is dead last in 3P%, as well as second last in 3PA/FGA, which measures a team's tendency to take threes. That isn't all bad - that means that the team is somewhat aware of its lack of ability and at least limits the number of wasted possessions. Unfortunately, it also means that opponents can sag off perimeter players and clog up the paint, making closer shots more difficult.
  • The Raptors are 16th in AdjFG% (adjusted FG%), at 49.27%. The league average is 49.66%, so while the Raps are a little behind in this department, they don't fare terribly here.
  • When we account for free-throw shooting and look at TS%, the Raptors fall a few spots to 19th, at 53.20%. League average is 54.04%. This is because the Raps don't shoot that many (FT/48 and FTa/FGa are low) and they shoot them poorly (74.15% compared to a league average of 76.15%).
  • The Raptors are 22nd in net possessions (REB+STL-TO), at 6.7/48mins. The league average is 7.0, so again, the Raps aren't doing too badly here.
  • The big problem is that Toronto is below average in both TS% and net possessions. While there are some good teams that can't shoot (Portland, Memphis, Chicago, and Philadelphia), these teams make up for it by being able to secure extra possessions. Likewise, the good teams that can't secure extra possessions (Phoenix, Boston, and Atlanta) make up for it by being above average at shooting. The teams that are below average in both of these statistics (Cleveland, Toronto, Washington, New Jersey, Detroit, Charlotte, and the improving Clippers) are just...bad.
  • There are three additional "helping" stats that can slightly improve performance: assists, blocks, and fouls. The Raptors are 12th in assists, 27th in blocks, and are 8th in fouls committed. The helping stats aren't really helpful, are they?
The trade deadline is coming up in about three more weeks - will the team make any moves to shore up its weaknesses? Will I stop posing rhetorical questions in my future posts? Keep tuning in to find out.

 - Devin