Thursday Bullets

September, 20, 2012
9/20/12
12:34
PM ET
Abbott By Henry Abbott
ESPN.com
Archive
  • Lots of NBA owners on this Forbes list of the wealthiest Americans. However, here the Knicks' James Dolan doesn't look like the deepest pockets around, and (rhyming alert!) the Lakers' Buss family is nowhere to be found. In other words, who has the unfair advantage in sports ... it's trickier than looking at market size. If high-ranking Blazer owner Paul Allen determined to outspend everybody, as the richest U.S. based owner (the Nets' Mikhail Prokhorov is right there, too) that is, in some ways, less fair in my eyes than a really well-run team delighting lots of fans and earning its spending power.
  • So Lamar Odom will be back to his old self with the Clippers, right? Here's John Hollinger (Insider): "Perhaps no player in history has declined as sharply in one season as Odom did in 2011-12. Empirically, we can prove this. I have a database that goes back more than two decades, and Odom is the first player in its history to have a player efficiency rating (PER) decline of more than 10 points in a single season. ... It's hard to say how much he can recover. The history of previous players to suffer drop-offs like this is quite discouraging -- most never even remotely got back to where they were, and at 32 Odom doesn't have time on his side. The one argument in his favor is the palpable disinterest he showed for much of the season. Whether he was dejected by leaving L.A., weary from his grueling reality show responsibilities or just lost interest in the game, Odom's effort level was the most notable difference. Those changes were reflected in his rebound rate, which fell dramatically, from 15.2 to 11.4, and in his defensive numbers, which were consistently excellent every season until the disaster from this past one. Bad shooting also played a role. Odom increased his rates of 3-pointers and long 2s even though he couldn't shoot straight, making 25.2 percent of his 3s and 30.1 percent of his 2s beyond the restricted area. Those numbers may not recover to the career highs of a season earlier, but they should bounce back somewhat. Nonetheless, the Clippers are taking a risk here. The theory is that he'll play better now that he's back in L.A., but it's an untested one. And for Odom to regain his former level, it would require a historic one-year increase in PER to offset last season's collapse. He'll be better than last season, simply because he couldn't possibly be worse, but it's unlikely a decline this sharp can be remedied simply with improved beach access."
  • Goran Dragic, with a personal trainer on the beach, running around with all kinds of weights and stuff. Then he challenges you to match him, by hanging out for five minutes in plank position, which he does without a ton of trouble. If you're looking for people who can beat that feat, don't look at the ripped dudes pumping iron. Look for the people in the yoga class.
  • A pretty simple explanation of what goes into the Wages of Wins' Wins Produced stat, and how that correlates to actual wins. I'm guessing the next steps for this stat would be to take all the bit and pieces that are calculated per minute, and to make them per possession, instead (for instance, in refining the way rebounds are shared). And then, of course, like almost all stats, there's the matter of defense -- here every player on the team gets equal credit, but with the help of plus/minus could that be meaningfully refined?
  • "Brick by brick." A better analogy for building outside the world of basketball.
  • Joakim Noah's free throws remind of the the orbit of the moon ... spinning on one axis, while traveling on another. How about adding a skyhook to that mix?
  • Will Barton has two categories: You're either family to him, or you're nothing.
  • Alvin Gentry for the long haul in Phoenix? Another coach players love who has coached some bad teams: Doc Rivers.
  • Soon training camp will begin, with media day. What is media day? Truth About It's Kyle Weidie: "Media Day is like trying to herd cats who are also trying to herd other cats. Media Day is like playing Jenga with cameras, pens, iPhones, and recording devices. Media Day is like asking a guy how his summer went after he’s been asked how his summer went all summer."

Henry Abbott | email

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