By Henry Abbott
Now that All-Star voting is so digital, why are only 60 players on the ballot again? Can't every NBA player be eligible? Ink is free on the internet.
TV reporter dunks on toddler, makes him cry.
Houston guard Kyle Lowry has been on TrueHoop a lot. Not only is he one of those players who couldn't stick on a bad team but is now thriving on a good team, but he's also been, in my estimation, the touchstone of Daryl Morey's statistical revolution in basketball. When they traded Rafer Alston for Lowry (who had been the odd man out in the Grizzlies' backcourt), some people accused the Rockets of tanking. Then they went on to play Lowry big minutes in taking the Lakers to Game 7 without Tracy McGrady, Dikembe Mutombo, or Yao Ming. Today Jason Friedman of Rockets.com updates us on how Lowry is doing, including this report on his defense: "According to 82games.com, Lowry is holding opposing point guards to an anemic .317 effective field goal percentage this season and a player efficiency rating of just 10.9 (note: The league average PER is 15.00 every season). Even more impressive: Lowry has been almost as effective while defending two-guards, limiting them to a .432 effective field goal percentage and a PER of 10.9 as well."
If you find yourself really bothered that PER doesn't rank Kobe Bryant higher, this is the blog post for you.
Milton Lee is a New York-based trainer who works with NBA clients, and has scouted for NBA teams. He explains, in an e-mail, that there are five tiers of players: "I) ~10 superstars, the guys you have to double team (Kobe, LeBron, D. Wade etc.) . II) ~50 studs, the guys you have to scheme against (Granger, Lee, Harris, Rondo, Aldridge, K-Mart). III) ~180 role players, not starters in most situations, but NBA talents. IV) ~200 bench guys who are out of the rotation. V) The 150 best players overseas who could replace players in the fourth group little to no drop off in your team's production. There is a very fine line between the last three categories."
Dean Oliver's four factors do an amazing job of predicting which teams will win and which will lose. What about the Celtics, whose offense is looking terrible according to the four factors? One interesting point: In his book "Mathletics" Wayne Winston explains that effective field foal percentage is far more important than the other three factors, and in that regard the Celtics are very good.
Now that he has tested positive for H1N1, Chris Douglas-Roberts says people are asking if they can take "swine flu" pictures with him. He tweets: "That's funny as hell. Am I supposed to look different?"
Did you notice Manu Ginobili, in addition to 36 points, had four blocks?
Joakim Noah is kind of like Kevin Durant last season. He's killing it in PER, but his plus/minus numbers are not good. Kevin Durant, by the way, has been amazing in plus/minus so far. The Thunder still play much better defense when he sits. But the gap isn't as bad as last year, and his offense way more than makes up for it. UPDATE: That last line is wrong. Click the link and look for yourself. The Thunder have actually been better on offense and defense when Durant is on the floor.