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All-Snub team per win shares

January, 30, 2015
Jan 30

Cameron Browne/Getty Images Damian Lillard leads our All-Snub list after being left off of the 2014-15 NBA All-Star team.

The same scenario arises every season when the All-Star selections are announced: Several deserving players are left off the team. According to win shares -- what defines as an estimate of the number of wins a player contributes to his team -- here are the top five players who did not make the original All-Star cut.

Damian Lillard (7.0 Win Shares)

Lillard ranks sixth in the league in win shares and joins DeAndre Jordan as the only two players ranked in the top 18 to not make the All-Star team. Lillard is at his best late in games, as no player has scored more total points in the fourth quarter than Lillard this season.

DeAndre Jordan (6.8 Win Shares)

Jordan has the most win shares of any center this season. After leading the NBA in both field goal percentage and rebounds per game last season, Jordan is the league leader in both categories again. If that holds, Jordan would join Wilt Chamberlain as the only players to lead the league in rebounds and field goal percentage in consecutive seasons.

Tyson Chandler (6.7 Win Shares)

Chandler leads the Mavericks and is eighth in the league in win shares. When he made his only career All-Star appearance two seasons ago with the Knicks, Chandler averaged 10.4 points and 10.7 rebounds per game and shot 64 percent from the field. His numbers this season are better across the board, averaging 10.5 points and 12.0 rebounds per game, with a field goal percentage of 67 percent.

Kyle Korver (5.3 Win Shares)

By now you may have heard that Hawks sharpshooter Korver is on pace for a 50/50/90 season. He is shooting 52 percent from the field, a league-best 53 percent from the 3-point line, and 92 percent from the free throw line. Steve Kerr is the only player in NBA history to have done this (1995-96), but Kerr did not qualify for the field goal percentage leaderboard that season; Korver currently does.

Kevin Love (5.0 Win Shares)

Despite what most would consider a disappointing season, Love has posted more win shares this season than All-Stars Tim Duncan (4.8) and Chris Bosh (3.4). Only two Eastern Conference players match his averages of 17 points and 10 rebounds per game: All-Star Pau Gasol, and honorable mention snub Nikola Vucevic.

Note: There will be injury replacements named for Kobe Bryant and Dwyane Wade, so two of these players will have a shot to go from All-Snub to All-Star.

How far have the Knicks fallen?

December, 10, 2014
Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY SportsCarmelo Anthony and the Knicks have lost 9 straight games.
The New York Knicks lost to the New Orleans Pelicans Tuesday, their ninth consecutive loss. Despite entering this season with the league's second-highest payroll at $89.5 Million, the Knicks are 4-19, including 2-18 over their last 20 games.

How bad have things gotten in New York? The Knicks have lost 10 straight road games, their first double-digit road losing streak since losing 12 straight on the road in 2005-06. They finished 23-59 that season.

After a disappointing 2013-14 season, the Knicks appear to have gotten worse. The entire team – including its best player – appears to have regressed in some way thus far.

Carmelo Anthony has struggled this season. Tuesday he scored 17 points, his seventh game with fewer than 20 points this season, matching the total number of sub-20 point games he posted in the entire 2012-13 season, when he won his only career scoring title.

Anthony has not been as effective in isolation this season. After leading the league with 6.6 isolation points per game last season, he’s down to 5.1 per game in isolation.

However, it’s not as if Anthony has had much help offensively. Anthony averages over 22 points per game, but no other Knicks player is averaging more than 13.5 per game this season. Two seasons ago, when the Knicks last made the playoffs, four players averaged more than 13.5 points per game.

Defense has been a problem for this Knicks team as well. New York ranks in the bottom five in defensive efficiency, a far cry from ranking 17th two seasons ago and fifth just three seasons ago.

Although it was not exactly the cause of Tuesday’s loss, the Knicks have been plagued by their inability to execute late in games. The Knicks have an NBA-worst minus-49 point differential in clutch time this season, defined as the last five minutes of the game when the score is within five points.

The Elias Sports Bureau confirms that the Knicks are 2-9 in games decided by five points or less. Of teams to play at least five such games, only the Thunder have a worse record (1-6).

2014 NBA Draft recap

June, 27, 2014

Brad Penner/USA TODAY SportsAndrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker went at the top of this year's draft.
The 2014 NBA Draft is in the books. Here are the stats you need to know about the top seven picks.

No. 1 Cleveland Cavaliers – Andrew Wiggins
Wiggins became the 2nd Canadian-born player to be drafted No. 1 overall, joining Anthony Bennett last season. There are now three Canadian-born top-5 picks in the common draft era, and all are on the Cavaliers (Wiggins, Bennett, Tristan Thompson).

Wiggins also joins Danny Manning, who was drafted by the Los Angeles Clippers in 1988, as the only players in Kansas history picked first overall.

No. 2 Milwaukee Bucks – Jabari Parker
Parker became the sixth Duke player drafted in the top five since 1999.

He should be an immediate help for the Bucks in the post. Milwaukee averaged 5.9 post-up points per game, 27th in the league. Parker averaged 3.6 post-up points per game on 55.4% shooting.

No. 3 Philadelphia 76ers – Joel Embiid
Embiid gives the 76ers a good two-way post player. On offense he shot 55 percent on post-ups this season, best in the Big 12 (minimum 50 plays).

In the last 15 games he played with Kansas, Embiid held opponents to 29% shooting in the post.

No. 4 Orlando Magic - Aaron Gordon
Gordon is the fourth Arizona player drafted in the top five in the common draft era, joining Mike Bibby, Sean Elliott and Derrick Williams.

The Magic also pick up the youngest player in this draft class. Gordon does not turn 19 until September.

No. 5 Utah Jazz – Dante Exum
Exum joins Kyrie Irving and Andrew Bogut as the only Australian-born players picked in the top five in the common draft era.

The only other international point guard drafted in the top 10 was Ricky Rubio.

No. 6 Boston Celtics – Marcus Smart
Smart is the highest drafted Oklahoma State player since Bryant Reeves in 1995.

The last time the Celtics took a point guard this high in a draft was in 1997 when they drafted Chauncey Billups third overall.

No. 7 Los Angeles Lakers – Julius Randle
Last season the Lakers ranked last in both defensive and offensive rebounding percentage. Enter Randle, who led the nation with 24 double-doubles last season.

How prolific was Randle? The only freshman in Division I history to ever record more double-doubles in a season was Michael Beasley, who had 28 for Kansas State in 2007-08.

What to expect from top-10 in NBA Draft

June, 25, 2014
Lofty expectations from ownership make the NBA Draft a high-stakes affair for general managers and coaches. The perceived wrong move can doom the job of the guy who makes the final decision.

What can teams rightly expect to get with the top pick in the NBA Draft? What about the rest of the top 10?

To come up with an expectation for each pick, we developed a profile for each pick in the top 10 using average win shares per season and career games played. Looking at all players drafted from the NBA-ABA merger in 1976 to 2010, we identified a player who best matches that statistical profile.

Profiles were built using Basketball-Reference’s win shares, which measure a player’s contributions to a team in the wins his performance is expected to add. Average wins per season, listed with each pick below, are defined as the average win shares a player produced in each season he played in the NBA.

No. 1 Cleveland Cavaliers – 5.6 wins per season, 745 games

Comparable players: James Worthy (5.4 wins/season), Yao Ming (5.5 wins/season)

James Worthy was a steady scorer in the NBA, as he averaged between 17.7 and 22.0 points per game in all 12 of his NBA seasons. He put up 14.8 career win shares in the playoffs.

Best-case scenario: LeBron James (CLE), 15.3 wins/season
Worst-case scenario: Michael Olowokandi (LAC), 0.2 wins/season

No. 2 Milwaukee Bucks – 3.8 wins per season, 696 games

Comparable players: Marvin Williams (4.1 wins/season), Steve Francis (3.6 wins/season)

Steve Francis averaged 19.7 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 6.5 assists per game over the first six years of his career. He ranks 55th all-time with 6.0 assists per game in his career.

Best-case scenario: Kevin Durant (SEA), 12.7 wins/season
Worst-case scenario: Darko Milicic (DET), 0.6 wins/season

No. 3 Philadelphia 76ers – 4.5 wins per season, 692 games

Comparable players: Shareef Abdur-Rahim (4.7 wins/season), Baron Davis (4.2 wins/season)

Before his career ended at the age of 31,Shareef Abdur-Rahim averaged 34.8 minutes per game, which is in the top 100 all-time.

Best-case scenario: Michael Jordan (CHI), 14.3 wins/season
Worst-case scenario: Adam Morrison (CHA), -0.2 wins/season

No. 4 Orlando Magic – 3.8 wins per season, 695 games

Comparable players: Donyell Marshall (3.9 wins/season), Byron Scott (5.0 wins/season)

In his best seasons, between 1998 and 2004, Donyell Marshall averaged 14.0 points and 8.5 rebounds per game. He also reached a career-high 5.5 defensive win shares in 2003-04.

Best-case scenario: Chris Paul (NOH), 12.8 wins/season
Worst-case scenario: Marcus Fizer (CHI), 0.2 wins/season

No. 5 Utah Jazz – 4.1 wins per season, 728 games

Comparable players: Devin Harris (4.2 wins/season), Juwan Howard (4.0 wins/season)

Juwan Howard ranks 33rd all-time with 1,208 career games played. He is in the top 100 all-time in field goals, rebounds, and points.

Best-case scenario: Kevin Garnett (MIN), 12.6 wins/season
Worst-case scenario: Nikoloz Tskitishvili (DEN), -0.1 wins/season

No. 6 Boston Celtics – 2.3 wins per season, 535 games

Comparable players: Trent Tucker (2.3 wins/season), Martell Webster (2.7 wins/season)

Trent Tucker made a living as a bench player for most of his career, averaging 14.3 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 3.5 assists per 36 minutes. He ranks 20th all-time with a 9.1 percent career turnover percentage.

Best-case scenario: Larry Bird (BOS), 9.7 wins/season
Worst-case scenario: Jonny Flynn (MIN), -0.2 wins/season

No. 7 Los Angeles Lakers – 2.9 wins per season, 640 games

Comparable players: Eric Gordon (2.9 wins/season), Randy Foye (2.7 wins/season)

Eric Gordon has averaged 17.5 points per game in his career, including two seasons of 20 or more. Gordon made the All-NBA rookie team in 2008-09.

Best-case scenario: Stephen Curry (GSW), 7.6 wins/season
Worst-case scenario: Quintin Dailey (CHI), 0.8 wins/season

No. 8 Sacramento Kings - 2.7 wins per season, 610 games

Comparable players: Chris Wilcox (2.2 wins/season), Brandan Wright (2.4 wins/season)

Although Chris Wilcox had an 11.9 usage percentage with the Celtics in the 2012-13 season, he was extremely efficient in the half-court on offense, averaging 1.17 points per such play, which led all players with at least 100 plays.

Best-case scenario: Robert Parish (BOS), 9.8 wins/season
Worst-case scenario: Lancaster Gordon (LAC), -0.2 wins/season

No. 9 Charlotte Hornets - 3.4 wins per season, 650 Games

Comparable players: Gordon Hayward (3.8 wins/season), Rodney Rogers (2.6 wins/season)

Gordon Hayward has averaged 15.2 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 4.1 assists per game over the last two years. Last year, Hayward finished in the top 10 in the league with 36.4 minutes played per game.

Best-case scenario: Dirk Nowitzki (DAL), 12.3 wins/season
Worst-case scenario: Patrick O’Bryant (GSW), 0.1 wins/season

No. 10 Philadelphia 76ers – 2.8 wins per season, 574 games

Comparable players: Spencer Hawes (2.5 wins/season), Andrew Bynum (4.2 wins/season)

Hawes finished tenth in the NBA by shooting 41.6 percent from behind the 3-point line last season. Hawes is averaging 14.0 points and 9.3 rebounds per 36 minutes in his career.

Best-case scenario: Paul Pierce (BOS), 9.6 wins/season
Worst-case scenario: Roy Hamilton (DET), 0.0 wins/season

Top stats to know: Kobe's season cut short

March, 12, 2014

AP Photo/Jae C. HongKobe Bryant fractured his knee on December 17 against the Memphis Grizzlies.
A league source told ESPN’s Chris Broussard that Kobe Bryant will be shut down for the rest of the season. With that in mind, here are the top stats you need to know about Bryant’s future as well as that of the Los Angeles Lakers.

Rough last 11 months
On April 12 last season, Bryant tore his Achilles in a game against the Golden State Warriors, causing him to miss the playoffs and the start of this season. His subsequent rehab went well enough that the Lakers signed him to a two-year extension worth $48.5 million on November 25.

Bryant debuted this season on December 8, but fractured his left knee nine days later against the Memphis Grizzlies. If he is indeed out for the rest of the season, the 76 games missed will by far be the most for any season in his career. His previous high was 17 games missed in the 2003-04 season.

Couldn’t get in rhythm
In the six games Bryant did play this season, he wasn’t in top form. He was held to single digits scoring in three of the games. To put that in perspective, Bryant had not been held to single digits in scoring three times in a single season since the 1998-99 season.

The Lakers went 2-4 with Bryant this season, as their leader averaged just 13.8 points per game in just under 30 minutes per contest.

Chasing Kareem
Bryant’s curtailed season also decreases his odds of catching Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s all-time scoring record.

Bryant trails by 6,688 points and turns 36 in August. Abdul-Jabbar and Karl Malone are the only players in NBA history to score 6,688 points after turning 36.

If Bryant averages 20 points per game over the rest of his career, he would need to play into the 2018-19 season to take the record.

No Hollywood ending
The Lakers have struggled in Bryant’s absence – their .344 win percentage is on pace for the third-worst in franchise history and the worst since the team moved to Los Angeles.

The .344 win percentage is currently fourth-worst in the league – setting up good odds that the Lakers will pick in the top five of the upcoming NBA Draft. Since the territorial draft was abolished prior to the 1966 draft, the Lakers have made just four picks in the top five. Three of those times, the pick came via trade. The only year that the Lakers played their way into a top five pick in that span was in 1975 when they took Dave Meyers second overall.

Offseason flexibility
Despite signing Bryant to the big two-year extension, the Lakers currently have just three guaranteed contracts on the books for 2014-15 for a total of $34.1M (Bryant, Steve Nash, Robert Sacre). The projected salary cap for next season is $62.9M and the Lakers could gain around an additional $6.5M in space via the stretch-provision by releasing Nash as his $9.7M contract would be spread over 3 seasons.

A night for matching up with the greats

February, 22, 2014
This was an odd NBA night in that some decent players (though not megastars) put up statistical combinations that could be paired with some of the game’s all-time greats.

Here's three examples of what we’re talking about.

Victor Oladipo
Victor Oladipo
Oladipo had 30 points, a career-high 14 assists and nine rebounds in the Orlando Magic’s double-overtime win over the New York Knicks.

He’s only the second player ever to have that combo against them.

The other, via the Elias Sports Bureau, is the legendary Oscar Robertson, who did so five times.

Andre Drummond
Andre Drummond
The Detroit Pistons center had 20 points and 11 rebounds in a win over the Atlanta Hawks.

Drummond did so despite going 0-for-8 from the free throw line. He’s one of four players in the past 50 seasons to score 20 points and go 0-for-8 or worse from the line.

The other three are Wilt Chamberlain, Elvin Hayes and Shaquille O’Neal.

Thaddeus Young
Thaddeus Young
The Philadelphia 76ers got routed by the Dallas Mavericks, but Young posted 30 points, 13 rebounds, 6 assists and 7 steals in defeat.

The last player with a 30-13-6-7 game? Hakeem Olajuwon for the Houston Rockets against the Seattle SuperSonics, March 10, 1987.

Olajuwon did go one step better than Young that day: He blocked 12 SuperSonics shots in the game.

Wall can't find shot, does find teammates

November, 20, 2013

Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty ImagesJohn Wall's shooting slump continued, but his passing helped set up a Wizards win
One of the closest games of the night came in Washington as the Wizards took a four-point win against the Minnesota Timberwolves by outscoring the visitors 7-2 in the last minute.

For the 2nd time in his career, John Wall had 16 assists with just 1 turnover. He also did it on March 22, 2013. Since the start of last season the only other player with 16 assists in a game in which he had 1 or fewer turnovers was Rajon Rondo on Nov. 25, 2012.

Setting up his teammates allowed Wall to overcome yet another poor shooting night. The speedy point guard finished 5-17 from the field (29 percent). That makes three straight games and five of the last six in which Wall has shot below 30 percent from the field.

Wall’s shooting issues this season have come primarily when he keeps the ball on pick-and-roll plays (32 FG pct) and in isolation (19 FG pct).

Big Love
Kevin Love
Not to be overshadowed in the loss for the Timberwolves was yet another big game out of Kevin Love, who is showing no ill effects from last season’s right hand and left knee injuries.

After scoring 25 points Monday, Love has 320 points on the season through 12 games – just 10 points shy of his total from all of last season when he was limited to 18 games.

This was Love’s fifth game this season in which he had at least 25 pts, 10 boards and four assists. The only other player with more than one such game is Paul Millsap who has done it twice.

Love leads the NBA with 10 games of at least 20 points and 10 rebounds this season.

This is the second season that Kevin Love has had ten 20-point, 10-rebound games in his team’s first 12 games of a season. The only other player over the last 25 years to do that twice is Karl Malone. The only others to do it once are Kevin Garnett, Hakeem Olajuwon and David Robinson.

George on James is matchup to watch

February, 1, 2013

Pat Lovell/USA TODAY SportsPaul George guarding LeBron James is a matchup to watch on Friday night.

The Indiana Pacers host the Miami Heat tonight at 7 ET on ESPN. Indiana has won 12 consecutive games at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, their longest home win streak since winning 14 straight during the 2002-03 season.

The Pacers won the first meeting this season, holding the Heat to a season low in points in their 87-77 victory on January 8. Indiana has won each of the last two regular season meetings and with a win tonight, will have its first three-game regular-season win streak against the Heat since winning 12 straight from 2002-2005.

On the other end of the scorer's table, the Heat have won three of their last four road games after starting the season 8-9 away from American Airlines Arena. However, Miami is just 9-36 all-time on the road against the Pacers in the regular season. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, that .200 win percentage is their second-worst mark against a single opponent on the road in team history (2-22 at Spurs).

The key matchup to watch is when LeBron James is being defended by Paul George. James, the reigning league MVP, is posting career highs in both field goal percentage (54.8) and three-point field goal percentage (40.4).

Meanwhile, George has emerged as one of the best perimeter defenders in the NBA. George, who was selected to his first All-Star team this season, is 11th in the NBA with 1.7 steals per game.

George has had a major impact on a Pacers’ defense that ranks first in defensive efficiency, allowing just 96.2 points per 100 possessions. According to Basketball Reference, George ranks second in the NBA with 3.5 defensive win shares, a metric that estimates the number of wins a player contributed to his team due to his defense.
Paul George

However, James had some success against George in their first meeting. With George as the primary defender on non-pick and roll plays, James scored 13 of his 22 points on 6-for-11 shooting.

On Friday, George should look to keep James around the perimeter and prevent him from attacking the basket. James, who averages an NBA-best 13.1 points in the paint per game, went just 2-for-6 on jump shots from outside the key when George was defending him on non-pick and roll plays in the first meeting. When he was able to get in the paint in those situations, he connected on four of his five attempts.

In terms of slowing James down, the breaking point for the Pacers has been the 27-point mark. James’ teams are 18-5 against Indiana in his career when he scores at least 27 points. They are just 9-9 when he fails to score at least 27 points including his 22-point effort in the Heat’s loss to the Pacers in January.

Kobe and Rondo shine on Sunday

February, 13, 2012
Kobe Bryant
Sunday was a day in which Kobe Bryant made like Magic Johnson and Rajon Rondo made like both Johnson and Larry Bird.

In the afternoon’s first game, Bryant hit the game-winning shot with 4.2 seconds remaining to give the Los Angeles Lakers a 94-92 win over the Toronto Raptors.

It was the 16th time that Bryant hit a game-winning shot in the final five seconds of the fourth quarter or overtime, since his career began in 1996-1997. That’s the most in the NBA in that span- two more than Carmelo Antony.

Rondo raised his game a level in a 95-91 win over the Chicago Bulls, with 32 points, 15 assists and 10 rebounds. A check of shows that he’s the fifth player with a 30-15-10 game since 1990, the other four being Johnson, Jason Kidd, Baron Davis, and LeBron James.

The last Celtic with a 30-15-10 game was Bird against the then-Washington Bullets in April, 1987.

The Boston Celtics have now allowed fewer than 100 points in 25 straight games. The Elias Sports Bureau notes that’s the longest single-season streak by any team since the 2004-05 Bulls (26 straight) and the seventh-longest streak in the shot-clock era, which dates to the 1954-55 season.

The NBA record is 36 straight games, set by the 2003-04 Detroit Pistons.

Elsewhere around the league the Miami Heat blew out the Atlanta Hawks, marking the sixth time this season, the Heat won by at least 20 points. Only the Bulls and Philadelphia 76ers have more blowout wins than Miami. However, the Sixers have been the on the receiving end of two of the Heat's routs.

LeBron James finished with 23 points, 13 rebounds and six assists for his 106th career-game with 20-10-5. Since 2003, his rookie season, James has the second-most such games behind Kevin Garnett.

Plus-Minus Note of the Night
Washington Wizards guard John Wall finished a +28 in a 98-77 win over the Detroit Pistons. It was the best plus-minus for Wall in his 97-game NBA career.