Wednesday Bullets

  • Cavaliers consultant, statistical expert, economics professor, and adviser to the White House (this might be the only place where his titles go in that order) Dan Rosenbaum presents a working version of a fascinating paper he is working on with Dave Lewin. From the abstract: "We examine how well several player productivity metrics, including (a) John Hollinger's Player Efficiency Rating, (b) Wages of Wins Wins Produced, and (c) the NBA Efficiency metric, do in predicting future team wins and future player productivity (the latter as measured by plus/minus statistics). In addition to a comprehensive examination of the player productivity metrics used by NBA statistical analysts, this paper is the first academic presentation of plus/minus statistics. Our findings provide a counterweight to much of prevailing literature and suggest that models that assume simplistic NBA decision-making often outperform more sophisticated statistical models." One conclusion is that, of those tested, PER does particularly well. Another is that, in general, more statisticians should take the attitude of "Basketball on Paper" author, and Nuggets consultant, Dean Oliver, who is quoted as saying: "My null hypothesis is usually traditional coaching or management wisdom. So a hot hand exists, defense wins championships, and statistics are irrelevant until I prove otherwise (which I think I've done in many cases). Others may choose a different null hypothesis, but I think mine makes sense because I work with coaches and management and I'm not Billy Beane - it is my burden to prove things, not theirs."

  • If you're going to be in some kind of massive brawl, word is you want Ime Udoka on your side.

  • Being Jason Maxiell's mom. Patricia Maxiell talks to Chris Silva of the Detroit Free Press about the kid who ate a lot of spinach and drank a lot milk: "She recalled when Jason was 9 or 10 and playing rec basketball. She told her son that he needed to be more aggressive if he wanted rebounds. 'So the next time down, he jumped so high, he kicked someone in their neck,' she said with amusement. 'I told him, 'You don't have to be that aggressive.''"

  • Brian Kamenetzy is worried about seeing an NBA superstar depart Los Angeles. But it's not the superstar you're thinking about. It's Elton Brand -- who can opt out this summer. Kamenetzy writes on SportsHubLA: "... if there is a guy I can picture leaving a small fortune on the table to go play for a winning franchise, it's Brand. He's already made a ton of money. He's found inroads in business and film production. He's a smart, hardworking dude who, if he never made another nickel playing basketball, would be just fine financially. He's a guy who 'gets it.' And I can't help but wonder, while he'd never complain publicly about it, if #42 is tired of putting up All-Star numbers in relative obscurity. If nothing else, I'm tired of him putting up All-Star numbers in relative obscurity..."

  • Remember back in December, when Dwight Howard was still 90% potential? Eric Neel wondered if Dwight Howard knew how good he was. I think answer now, is clearly, yes.

  • What does Rasheed Wallace have, Darko-itis?

  • Tracy McGrady, as reported by the Houston Chronicle's Jonathan Feigen: "'It seems like a lot of teams have figured us out now,' McGrady said. 'Double-team myself. Double-team Yao. They do that; that puts the onus on the other guys to make plays. It's not happening. It's really not happening. I got off to a hot start (Monday), and they started taking the ball out of my hands. We don't know what to do. It's been going like that the past few games. Maybe I need to start (games) not making shots and pass the ball so they could single-cover everybody.'"

  • A TrueHoop reader writes: "Bad shoes, especially dress shoes and improperly fitting athletic shoes are one of the most common causes of plantar fasciitis. My plantar fasciitis was caused by several pairs of dress shoes. Once I threw them out and stopped wearing them, it went away." He's wondering if we could get someone to research whether fasciitis up since the dress code was implemented. Also, I talked to my dad, who is a doctor, about LaMarcus Aldridge's plantar fasciitis. My dad says that when he has patients with fasciitis, it's tough. There are lots of treatments that sometimes work, including stretching, anti-inflammatories, and ultrasound. But he has had the best results treating people with something a lot of doctors don't use, called Astym. Here's a website about it. (Here's where I ifeel the need to nsert some kind of legalese along the lines of please, don't get your medical advice from sports blogs, and please don't think I'm endorsing some kind of medical procedure about which I really know nothing, other than that it involves some hard "scraping" which sounds kind of painful to my untrained ear. Speaking of untrained, I'm not a doctor. If you have some kind of medical trouble, please see a doctor about it. End of legalese.)

  • If you're wondering what to get Lindsey Hunter for Christmas, don't bother with the bedpan. His teammate Jarvis Hayes already got him one.

  • A PG-13 original folk song from a Knick fan to team bigwigs. Compare and contrast with this original hip hop about LeBron James.

  • Mark Cuban agrees with Warren Buffett that the ultra-rich should pay more taxes. But he wants some stuff in exchange, like transparency of government's books, no taxes on very small businesses, and meaningful reductions in government spending.

  • Despite what you may have heard elsewhere, the Blazers are now enjoying their second four-game win streak of the season. And they're not the first team to play well while missing an injured big man. (Also, a note about last night: You know the Jazz lead the league in fouls most years? And they just beat people up? The Blazers are seen as on the softer side, and they are missing two key big men. But last night, thanks in large part to Joel Przybilla, Portland sent one Jazzman after another to the trainer for treatment. They had the smelling salts out for Andrei Kirilenko after he bonked heads with Channing Frye. Mehmet Okur had his shoulder all wrapped up for most of the second half. Jarron Collins took a beating, too, and ended up with some adhesive tape holding his eyebrow together. I am not one to celebrate people getting hurt. But know this: the undermanned and undersized Blazers did not get manhandled. And, combined with hot shooting and a zone the Jazz could not handle, was enough to get Portland's second road win of the year.)

  • A few days ago, Raptor GM Bryan Colangelo was quoted saying that the NBA game is going in the direction of European basketball. His coach, Sam Mitchell, is not on board with that characterization.