Posts Tagged ‘Ty Willihnganz’

Arturo injects some reality into NBA Draft night fantasies

June 28, 2012

I love objectively analyzing sports, but it has its downside too.  It basically takes all of the oxygen away fromone of the time honored traditions of fandom, what I will call the “season of stupid hopes”.  (The Ceremony of Innocence is Drowned as someone once wrote).

For instance, its June and, looking at things objectively, I already know the Bucks have at best a decent chance to make the playoffs, but  they have a very slim chance of advancing past the opening round, and they have absolutely ZERO chance of winning an NBA championship.  That’s kind of depressing, but its realistic.  And sobering.

Same goes with NBA draft night.  If you subjectively analyze the prospects through your blue and red NBA glasses, like every ESPN analyst does, then every tall skinny African American is potentially another Kevin Garnett, every three point ace reminds you of Ray Allen, every raw big man could be the next Andrew Bynum, and absolutely every tall white European with an outside shot is certain to be the next Dirk Nowitzki.  But, in most cases, it just isnt so.

Yet, in the face of a mountain of evidence to the contrary, we repeat the same fantastic exercise every June.  We willingly delude ourselves using absurd, largely physical comparisons.  Comparisons that have little basis in statistical reality.   For instance, remember when Kenny Fields was the next Marques Johnson, Bucks fans?  Because he was a 6’7” small forward from UCLA.  Or remember how Todd Day was going to be the next superstar?  (I’m not sure why we thought that)  How dumb do those notions seem now?

Here is the truth.  Arturo shows on his genius draft model over at the Wages of Wins Journal that in fact very few of the players chosen last night will have any positive impact at all.  At most 4 of them look capable of producing above average winning statistics, but almost 80% of them look as though they will be utterly incapable of making any significant impact on their new team’s fortunes (unless it is a negative impact).

That may be depressing, and it may render all the next day “Draft Report Cards” moot, and it may take all the fun out of sports, but its pretty truthful.

I’m all giddy about Henson, the Bucks choice, but the truth is, he won’t turn the Bucks around.  According to Arturo, he’s just on the border of being “draftable”, and Arturo forecasts his rookie statline as decent at best, and probably below average.  In short, Mr Henson aint gonna be Milwaukee’s new Lew Alcindor.  In fact, the only player in the Draft who has ANY shot at having a franchise changing impact is the top pick Anthony Davis.  After that, you’ve got a couple of possibly above average players (one of whom is second rounder Jae Crawford), then you have a handful of probably average players, and after that you’re left with pure junk.

Those are the ugly facts.

But the Bucks should be better, and that’s enough for me.

Doron Lamb looks like a lesser version of Jodie Meeks

June 28, 2012

The physical makeup and statisical production of Bucks second round pick, SG Doron Lamb of Kentucky, reminds me of their former second round pick, Jodie Meeks, who also came from Kentucky.

Basically, in a nutshell, he’s small for his position (standing reach of 8’2” is below average for 2 Guard) and he produces almost no secondary statistics.  He doesn’t rebound, pass, steal the ball, block shots, nothing.

What he does do is shoot the ball well from three point land and from the foul line.  In fact, in college he was an incredible shooter from 3 point land, making nearly 50% of his three point attempts.  That’s great, but it doesn’t always translate well from college to the pros, especially when the player lacks length and lacks diversity to his game (the opposition can just crowd the player and smother his 3 point looks).

Now, that said, Jodie Meeks has actually been an okay NBA player.  Why?  He’s above average from 3pt land, he shoots free throws very well, he shoots 2pt shots pretty well, and unlike Lamb, he actually tosses in a few rebounds and he’s pretty decent at stealing the ball.

So, let me say I’m not that optimistic about Mr. Lamb.  He may not even make the roster, who knows?

I do have one question though.  If you look at his picture on Draftexpress, he looks super buff.  How the hell did he only manage a measly 2 bench presses??  That makes no sense.  Forgot to eat his Wheaties that morning?

Weaknesses and Strengths of Bucks John Henson

June 28, 2012

I still like the Henson choice, but I think he might struggle a bit until he adds strength to his frame.  Here’s what concerns me:


1. Strength: big me n need a base, and he’s only 216, and he only benched 5 reps.  Gotta improve that.

2. He shoots a low percentage from 2pt land.  That’s troubling.  However, I think it is strength related.  With a standing reach of 9’4”, no one in the NBA should bother his shot up high.   Once he puts on strength, he should be able to improve that.  However, history says he will struggle early.

3. He’s a terrible foul shooter.  This troubles me because it means (a) combined with his mediocre 2pt shooting, it means he probably won’t be an efficient scorer, and (b) if Bogut is any indication, when big men can’t shoot foul shots, they tend to be more likely to take passive jump shots rather than attacking the rim.  You want just the opposite, even if you are a terrible FT shooter, its always better to attack the rim than settle for jumpers.


1. He’s very long.  His standing reach of 9’4” is better than most centers, and he stands a legitimate 6’10” which is much more rare than the NBA rosters would lead you to believe.

2. He’s an excellent rebounder.  Players who rebound in college tend to continue to rebound in the pros.

3. He was consistently productive.  I always get scared when I see guys who suddenly become really productive after years of mediocre production.  Not the case with Henson.

4. He doesn’t foul.  That could indicate he’s passive on defense, but I will give him the benefit of the doubt and say it means he is smart.

5. He blocks shots.  This can be a double edged sword, because shot blockers will sometimes turn their men loose on the boards, but with Henson and Dalembert, the Bucks will be able to do a much better job of “guarding the cup” as Scott Skiles likes to say.

BOTTOM LINE: Because of his lack of strength and his poor field game, I think Henson will probably struggle a bit early.  But he’s long and he has a productive resume, which i like.  The one thing I fear is freethrowitis.  That is, because he can’t shoot free throws, he will shy away from any shots that might lead to free throws.  That would be fatal.  Skiles has to implore him: take it strong whenever and wherever possible.

My quick take on the NBA Draft Picks

June 28, 2012

Here are my quick, disjointed thoughts on the NBA Draft:

… Anthony Davis looks like a sure thing, but there is not such thing, but he’s close

…I’ve got Gilchrist pretty high up in my rankings, but there were better players available at 2

…Shooting Guards are iffy, but with that said, Beal looks pretty productive

…Not wowed by the Cavs Dion Waiters choice.  First, he wasn’t real productive at Syracuse.  Second, he played at Syracuse “Bust U”

…Kings pick Robinson — Great choice

…Lillard is actually a decent choice.  Really never heard of the guy until I did my calculations, but he’s 9th on my list

…I think Harrison Barnes will be a complete washout.  Underproductive and his standing reach is very poor for his position

…Ross — again, SG are iffy because they rely so much on efficient shooting, but like Beal, Ross was productive in college.  So, roll the dice.

…Drummond — why Detroit???????

…Austin Rivers– guaranteed bust / at least NO acquired Davis number one, because this is a terrible choice.  He will shoot them out of game after game, and he’s weak and he’s too light, and his standing reach is less than mine!!!

…Meyers Leonard — wow, three terrible choices in a row.  They say bad things happen in threes.

…Jeremy Lamb — Check that, bad things happen in fours.  Hasn’t LeBron taught us the value of strength??

…Ken Marshall — not that impressive at UNC, but if there is one position that will outperform college numbers its PG.  But he doesn’t fit the mold of the overperformer.

…Harkless — pretty nice choice.  Very productive.  The Sixers are on the rise.


Bucks draft according to production rather than potential

June 28, 2012

For the first time in a long time, I really cannot complain about the Milwaukee Bucks first round draft choice.  In fact, PF John Henson was exactly the player I was hoping they would chose.  Henson was one of the most productive college players in the draft, and with a standing reach of 9’4”, he has incredible size (I think that’s near JaValle McGee, but I could be wrong).

Now, does this guarantee the Bucks added a productive successful player?  No.  But the Bucks certainly improved their odds by using what I would consider a sound philosophy: production over potential.

Henson does have some downsides, or at least some perceived downsides, I am sure.  Otherwise he would not have fallen as far as he did.  But again, he was one of the most productive players in the draft, and he produced his statistics against Grade One competition.

Three days ago, I was hearing that the Bucks were going to draft the Illinois stiff Meyers Leonard, which would have probably ended my lifelong Bucks fandom.  Instead of making such a colossal mistake, the team made two astute moves.  They acquired a proven big man in Samuel Dalembert, and they drafted a very intriguing first round PF in John Henson.

If you ask me, these have been two very impressive days for Bucks GM John Hammond.  I’m sure a contingent of Bucks Nation will disagree vehemently with me, but we will see who is right next November.

NBA Draft Prospect Rankings on my LiveJournal

June 28, 2012

Because I am a little frustrated with some of the limitations of WordPress, I have posted my ranking and analysis of tonight’s NBA Draft prospects on an alternate site.  I rank the prospects according to their college Win Score compared to the NBA average Win Score at their projected position.

Hint:  I wouldn’t touch Austin Rivers or Andre Drummond or Harrison Barnes, but Anthony Davis looks strong as does a surprisingly productive prospect from Marquette.

Hey, the Bucks made a smart move!

June 28, 2012

The Bucks made a pretty astute little move yesterday when they acquired the veteran journeyman C Samuel Dalembert from the Houston Rockets for, essentially, two draft spots.

First, they gave up nothing.  The Bucks administration is just as likely to make a mistake at 14 as they were at 12.  Secondly, they picked up a pretty productive center who fits perfectly in the Scott Skiles defensive regime.

Dalembert’s Win Chart for the last 5 seasons

2012 14.59 11.95 1.32 0.728 5.3__2.0* 1.6* 6.9*
2011 13.37 11.34 1.01 0.675 5.2__2.5 1.4 6.6
2010 17.22 11.54 2.84 0.984 8.7__0.1 4.3 12.9
2009 14.19 11.33 1.43 0.738 6.2__2.2 2.1 8.2
2008 13.92 11.49 1.21 0.707 7.9__3.4 2.3 10.2
AVER 14.65 11.53 1.56 0.766 6.7__2.0 2.3 9.1

*: numbers projected over a regulation 82 game schedule

As you can see, Dalembert is a consistent +0.500% winner.  In 2010 he even made my 20 MVP List.  Even if you throw out that outlier, he has been above average in every other season.  He basically gives the Bucks exactly what Bogut gave them, with probably a tiny bit more defensive presence in the middle (his penchant for blocking shots is probably the reason why his Defensive Win Score is a little high).

Dalembert is certainly better than the other horror shows the Bucks were rumored to be ready to draft: the big man from Illinois, who did nothing in the Big Ten last season (he has one of those “last name as my first name” names that drive British people nuts and that now escapes me) or Zeller from UNC, who was productive in his last season (but so was Psycho T and he has completely sucked for the Pacers) but who was never that productive in his earlier seasons, and who has the standing reach of a small forward.

NBA teams should stay away from Doc Rivers kid

June 27, 2012

If you are looking for potential NBA underperformers in tonight’s NBA draft, I’d start with Doc Rivers kid, Austin.

First off, he is weak and weighs only 202 pounds, very light for a shooting guard.

Second, his standing reach, which I consider true basketball height, is only 8’0.5”.  That’s short for a point guard, let alone a shooting guard.

Third, and most importantly, Rivers’ collegiate statistics forewarn possible NBA ineffectiveness.  Rivers was a terribly inefficient player in his lone collegiate season.  His Win Score, projected out over 48 minutes, would be 4.21, which is over 2.0 points below the NBA average.  Sometimes players will outperform their NCAA stats when they reach the NBA, but not often.

Finally, shooting guard is a position filled with busts, mainly because a player’s effectiveness at this position is largely a measure of his shooting efficiency.  Shooting efficiency is highly volatile.

I would stay away from Austin Rivers, but some dumb NBA GM will waste a high pick on him tonight.

Either PEDs don’t work, or the Braun Scandal makes no sense

June 20, 2012

Last offseason, baseball star Ryan Braun was reported to have tested positive for grossly elevated levels of testosterone. The results made no sense to me, because Braun’s performance numbers for 2011, though slightly elevated, were right in line with his career numbers.

This season Braun is putting up even better numbers.  He has produced for the Brewers 194 bases on only 174 outs made.  Those are Stan Musial numbers.  Those are GOAT numbers. Those are the numbers Braun is producing in a season where he must be the must scrutinized and drug tested player in baseball.

Bill James, the father of Sabermetrics, has long argued that the effect PEDs have on performance numbers is minimal at worst.  He may be right.  If he is not right, then the whole Braun Scandal makes no sense.

I suppose there is a third potential explanation.  Maybe PEDs do not enhance performance, but they do expedite injury recovery.  That would make sense in the Braun case, because Braun was battling nagging injuries all last season, and he may have taken testosterone to insure his health during the Brewers second postseason in over a quarter century.

But if that is the case, why should anyone be against PEDs?  If PEDs don’t “EP” but rather allow players to recover quicker from injury, shouldn’t they merely be considered one more technological advancement?  I mean, players of today are able to recover from ACLs that would have ended many careers yesterday.

Food for thought, I guess.  But one thing is clear — the Federal Government should get the hell out of the sports prosecution business.  What a glory-seeking bunch of morons those federal prosecutors are anyway.

Much worse fielding is the difference between the 2011 and 2012 Brewers

June 8, 2012

Last season the Brewers finished with a 0.592 winning percentage.  This season their winning percentage is down to 0.456.  The difference is almost purely attributable to a drastic reduction in fielding efficiency.

I measure the three main baseball categories (batting, pitching, and fielding) by comparing the number of bases gained or allowed in each category to the number of outs produced by that category.  Base to Out ratio is highly correlated with the number of runs produced.

For batting, the number of bases gained includes bases gained by walks and hit batsmen, as well as bases stolen.  The number of outs produced excludes outs produced by sacrifice bunts.  For pitching, the number of bases allowed includes 4 bases for each home run and one base for every walk or hit batsmen.  No other bases are charged to the pitcher, because he has minimal control over every other kind of base production.  Similarly, the pitcher is only credited with producing outs that come from strikeouts.  Every other kind of base allowed by the defense and out produced by the defense is attributed to fielding.

In 2011, the Brewers offense produced 0.718 bases for every out they made.  That was outstanding.  This season the offense is only producing 0.696 bases per out, but that’s pretty close and still pretty good.

In 2011, the Brewers defense (pitching plus fielding)allowed only 0.637 bases for every out produced.  That was very good.  In 2012 the Brewers are allowing 0.715 bases for every out, which is very bad, and which explains their diminished winning percentage.  The extra bases allowed by the defense translates into extra runs for the opposition.

It’s the Fielding

The increase in bases allowed per outs made can be attributed entirely to the Brewers poor fielding.   Believe it or not, by my standards the Brewer pitching is actually improved.  In 2011 the pitchers were giving up 0.844 bases for every strikeout, this season they are only giving up 0.828 bases per strikeout.  But the fielding has been TERRIBLE.  In 2011, the fielding was a very good 0.504 bases allowed to outs produced whereas in 2012 the average has increased to 0.661.  That’s awful.  In fact, it is the worst in the National League.  And it is the reason why the Brewers are losing so many games despite their decent run production.

Who is to blame? A: Rickie Weeks (and others)

The problem with my fielding statistic is I cannot isolate blame.  However, if we look at the defensive metrics provided by Fan Graphs, we get some insight.

The biggest defensive liability, per play, is Aoki.  He is an incompetent outfielder.  In gross terms, however, the problem is 2nd baseman Rickie Weeks.  He just doesn’t make enough outs in the field.   He hasn’t done so since he came up, and he is not getting better.

Other bad defenders include some surprising names:  Corey Hart, Carlos Gomez, and Alex Gonzalez.  Each of those players have produced strong defensive numbers in the past.

The great irony is Ryan Braun.  At the beginning of his career, his defense was putrid.  He is now one of the more solid defensive players in the Brewers starting 9.

Room for optimism

Here’s why I’m optimistic.  Most of the “extra bases” have come from much poorer play in the outfield (if Weeks misses a play, its usually a single;  when Aoki doesn’t catch the ball it usually means extra bases).  If the team can shore up their outfield defense, they could turn this season around.  And they have the talent.  They just need some health.