Basketball Prospectus: Unfiltered Everything Else is Fluff.

February 13, 2011

Texas has a very good defense

Filed under: Uncategorized — Ken Pomeroy @ 3:16 am

It’s not breaking news that Texas is a very good defensive team, but five weeks away from Selection Sunday it’s worth recording exactly how good the Longhorns are at preventing points. Even though LaceDarius Dunn was somewhat effective over the final ten minutes of the game, Baylor was held to a dismal 0.843 points per possession in Texas’ 69-60 victory Saturday, the Bears’ worst offensive game of the season.

This was the sixth time in ten conference games that Texas held an opponent to its worst offensive output of the season. Technically, I’d call it seven because they’ve played Oklahoma twice and did all they could do against the Sooners – Oklahoma’s two worst offensive games were against Texas.

It’s striking that for having the nation’s best defense, Texas doesn’t block a ton of shots or force many turnovers. Yes, they blocked four of Baylor’s first six attempts, but they only had four more the rest of the way. Tristan Thompson is the only guy you’d classify as an actual shot-blocker, and that’s stretching it – he barely ranks in the nation’s top 100 in block percentage. The Longhorns as a team rank 66th in the nation.

Their inability to force turnovers might be a little surprising since Texas is playing an aggressive man-to-man defense this season. The Horns rank outside the nation’s top 200 in turnover percentage and next-to-last in the Big 12 considering only conference play. Equally unique is that Texas leads the Big 12 in fewest three-point attempts allowed and fewest free-throw attempts allowed. Opponents must do most of their scoring two at a time. Indeed, Dunn’s best work on Saturday came either posting up or driving to the basket as opposed to his usual work from beyond the arc.

The Longhorns’ secret is nothing exciting. They force missed shots (opponents make less than 40 percent of their twos and just under 28 percent of their threes) and they do a good job of rebounding those misses. Rick Barnes is blessed with a bevy of elite on-ball defenders, and thus the blocked shots that normally result from help-defense aren’t necessary. Instead, the bigs are able to get position for rebounds of shots that are often heavily-challenged. It’s a formula that has been consistent and effective. It sure doesn’t look like this is a fluke.

February 11, 2011

“Just give me the damn field” 2: Chamber of secrets

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Gasaway @ 12:04 pm

Conan O’Brien is so right to be amazed by Twitter. Where else could someone who’s written an item titled “Just give me the damn field” receive an unprompted Flanders-friendly how-do from none other than NCAA vice president Greg Shaheen?

You may remember Shaheen from the press conference at last year’s Final Four, where John Feinstein wanted to know how much time players on winning teams would have to spend outside the classroom if the NCAA tournament expanded to 96 teams. It was a fair question, though at the time I did think the writers around Feinstein missed the forest for the trees. (And, anyway, the whole thing turned out to be a moot point. Thank goodness.)

Fast forward to last night and the Twitter feed of the esteemed Dan Wolken, columnist for the new tablet-only newspaper, The Daily. While I was busy giving Dan well-deserved grief for being the only observer on the planet to talk about last night’s AlabamaVanderbilt game without using the words “Tim” and “Higgins,” Mr. Shaheen politely interrupted. Dan, sounding really Ken Pomeroy-like, had said there shouldn’t be any “eye test” in determining which teams make the field of 68. Shaheen clarified how the process actually works. And then Dan was all like “no way,” and Shaheen was all like “way,” and, well, just go look for yourself.

Dan and I share a dream: to be in the room with the selection committee while they’re doing what they do. Dan wants to be there so he can report on the process and make it transparent. I want to be there so that once the committee has selected 68 teams and is taking a coffee break I can seed the field correctly while they’re all out in the hallway.

Shaheen modestly says he is merely “here to serve,” and it bears repeating what a thankless task the committee has. So I’ll repeat:

Awarding the final at-large bid will always come down to drawing a highly subjective line between two teams possessing more or less equal merit. Therefore selection’s a perfect task for a committee, the broader and more respected the better. When the team that just missed the tournament wants an explanation, the best we can hope for is that a group of hard-working and candid people will say to that team: You know, we deliberated on this at length and it was a really tough call, but at the end of the day we thought this was the best decision.

From my chair the tournament just keeps getting better. And the next step in this continuous improvement will be better seeding. I’m just trying to speed the plow.

John spells out what he, Jerry Sloan, Alison Krauss, and Roger Ebert all have in common on Twitter: @JohnGasaway. You can contact John by clicking here. College Basketball Prospectus 2010-11 is now available on Amazon.

February 10, 2011

In Which a Different Perspective Shows I Was Wrong About Rose

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kevin Pelton @ 5:21 pm

In response to yesterday’s take on Derrick Rose‘s increased free throw attempts, a lot of observers of the Chicago Bulls have noted that they do feel Rose has altered his game to try to draw more contact. In particular, the clearest bit of evidence of this is Rose himself talking about watching film to try to find ways to get to the line–in particular by taking an extra step on his drives instead of pulling up. As to why I didn’t see this in the tape I watched, I’m not sure I have a good answer. I went through the most recent couple of weeks, and Rose may be reverting back to his old habits to some extent–his FTA/FGA has not been quite as strong lately as it was early in January.

More troubling to me is that what I thought to be some solid evidence about Rose’s shot-location habits not really changing turns out to be less so when we use a different perspective. I divided Rose’s season into two segments–before and after John Hollinger‘s column on Rose’s inability to get to the line. As noted, though, it was not until a bit later that Rose really picked up his free throw attempts. We could also draw a line at the turn of the calendar year and compare Rose’s numbers before and after. In this case, we’d find that Rose is, in fact, attempting more shots at the rim. It turns out that the 11 swing games–from Dec. 10, the day Hollinger’s column was posted, to Dec. 31–really muddy up the shot-location data in an unexpected way.

Time              Rim    <10   10-15  16-23   3s
-------------------------------------------------
Through Dec. 9   .297   .155   .097   .257   .195
Dec. 10-31       .230   .162   .108   .255   .245
Since Jan. 1     .328   .116   .089   .244   .224

For about three weeks, Rose fell in love with his newfound three-point range and stopped driving to the basket altogether. Then things changed, and Rose’s numbers in January and February look exactly like what we would expect from Rose altering his game. He’s taking less shots inside of 10 feet and instead getting all the way to the rim on those attempts, where he is more likely to draw fouls. This was obscured by combining the two periods of time during which Rose played very differently.

Now, I still think there is some evidence that Rose is getting more calls, either because he is selling them or referees are giving him the benefit of the doubt. His FTA/FGA ratio dropped only slightly during the period where he wasn’t driving at all (from .264 through December 9 to .240 the rest of the month) and has skyrocketed by a larger amount than his at-rim attempts in January and February (it’s .369). However, looking at the numbers from this perspective makes it evident that Rose has changed his game in an effort to get to the line more.

(Thanks to Jeff Fogle of Hoopdata.com for suggesting this specific change.)

Jerry Sloan to Resign?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kevin Pelton @ 3:05 pm

According to the Deseret News, Jerry Sloan and lead assistant Phil Johnson will announce their resignation from the Utah Jazz this afternoon. Though last night’s bizarre postgame scene provided a hint that something was going down, this is shocking nonetheless after 22-plus seasons and more than 1,100 wins in Sloan’s tenure as the head coach of the Jazz.

I’ll have a column up later this afternoon, and I’m sure Bradford will want to weigh in as well, but for now a personal reflection on how much I used to hate Jerry Sloan. It wasn’t personal, of course. Utah was the biggest rival of the Seattle SuperSonics during the 1990s, and not in a friendly way. While that hatred was primarily directed toward John Stockton and his sneaky dirty tactics and Karl Malone‘s bruising play, it naturally found its way to Sloan as well.

It was not until much later, when I became a more serious student of the game of basketball and both teams faded from the ranks of Western Conference contenders, that I grew to appreciate what the Jazz had done and Sloan’s integral role in that success. I wasn’t alone. Nate McMillan, a backup guard on those Sonics teams before becoming a head coach, is almost reverential in the tones with which he discusses Sloan.

The theme of most of today’s commentary will surely be that Sloan was either one of his kind or the last of his breed, depending on your perspective. His departure leaves only one NBA coach (San Antonio’s Gregg Popovich) who has been in his position for more than seven years. His consistency, his longevity and his single-minded pursuit of winning basketball all make Sloan irreplaceable–even for fans of his rivals.

February 9, 2011

Just give me the damn field

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Gasaway @ 11:40 am

Last year I offered tempo-free wisdom on a pro bono basis to the first mid-major to give me a ring. And in an NCAA tournament filled with upsets and surprises, the team that “won” my services served as foam padding to their major-conference opponent’s carpet gun. My mid-major got stapled into the hardwood in a matter of minutes, and the game was effectively decided before halftime. I consoled myself by saying that without my sage counsel my team might have lost by 60.

Fresh off that triumph I’ve decided to make another irresistible offer. At the risk of sounding uncomfortably similar to Andy Rooney, ever notice how the selection committee’s called the “selection committee”? It’s not called the “seeding committee.”

There’s wisdom in names. Selection and seeding pose two completely different challenges. And I favor tradition in selection and fairness in seeding.

When it comes to selection, there are two cardinal virtues inherent to tradition: it’s really easy to explain and it confers legitimacy. Want to be selected for the NCAA tournament? Win your games. The better your schedule/conference, the fewer games you have to win.

Hey, you ask, why not fairness in selection too? Because selection’s intrinsically unfair to the best team that’s left out. Awarding the final at-large bid will always come down to drawing a highly subjective line between two teams possessing more or less equal merit. Therefore selection’s a perfect task for a committee, the broader and more respected the better. When the team that just missed the tournament wants an explanation, the best we can hope for is that a group of hard-working and candid people will say to that team: You know, we deliberated on this at length and it was a really tough call, but at the end of the day we thought this was the best decision. A selection with a sound bite like that behind it will always have more legitimacy than: Sorry, Team X, you were one spot too low on our computer model. When selecting a field we should let tradition rule the day.

But once the field of 68 teams has been selected, an entirely different process needs to take place, one based on fairness. Currently teams are seeded according to the same criteria used for selection: how many games did Team X win, against whom, and where. We’ve known for some time now that this method is not the best way to predict how well a team will do in the future. What we owe to every team is a bracket based on the best knowledge we have. Right now that’s not happening.

I was drafting my annual think piece on reality-based seeding when I decided I’m really tired of annual think pieces on reality-based seeding. It’s time for more of a Keyshawn Johnson approach. It’s time to do reality-based seeding. Give me 68 teams and I’ll seed them based on a projection of their future performance.

And by give “me” the damn field, I of course mean simply give the field to any person, group, or procedure which understands that fairness for 68 teams requires avoiding another New Mexico. No offense against the Lobos, mind you, who were actually underrated in 2009. It’s not their fault last year furnishes a teachable example. I just want to make “New Mexico” a cautionary shorthand for blinkered groupthink, like “Munich,” “Vietnam,” or “Barton Fink.”

There was a time when I’d say “Team X is overseeded!” and I was shouting into the wind, and that was fine. But now when I say “Team X is overseeded!” I receive amens and disagreement, questions and retweets, kudos and criticism — from all over the place. This reality-based stuff is everywhere now, and that’s great. But while this stuff is used by all kinds of people, it’s not used in any substantive way by those charged with seeding the tournament in the fairest manner possible. And, pace my bud Ken Pomeroy, it does bother me that what I do is used by people who are trying to make money but not by people who are trying to craft a fair bracket. To quote Frozone, that ain’t right.

BONUS clarification! Who’s really the traditionalist and basketball purist here? The committee lays great stress on a mathematical equation introduced to the selection process in 1981. I lay great stress on a method of basketball analysis invented by a Hall of Fame coach in the late 1950s. Draw your own conclusions. 

John often says “Team X is overseeded!” on Twitter: @JohnGasaway. You can contact John by clicking hereCollege Basketball Prospectus 2010-11 is now available on Amazon. 

February 8, 2011

A Different Look at the Three-Point Leaderboard

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kevin Pelton @ 8:41 pm

The NBA announced the competitors for the Foot Locker Three-Point Contest on Tuesday, and much of the discussion since then has centered on two players who were omitted: Matt Bonner and Shawne Williams, the league’s leaders in three-point percentage and the lone players in the NBA making more than half of their attempts from beyond the arc. Here’s the thing, though. Odds are that Williams in particular–a career 30.6 percent three-point shooter prior to being out of the league last season–is not as good as his early performance indicates. After all, Williams has attempted just 87 three-pointers, so we’d expect some regression to the mean the rest of the way.

There are a few different ways we can account for regression to the mean. The way I like to do it is as a confidence interval of sorts. Based on a player’s three-point percentage and attempts, we can look at the lower end of the two-standard deviation confidence interval, which is essentially the lowest estimate we would really believe for a player’s “true” three-point percentage. The more attempts a player has, the more confident we are that their observed three-point percentage is real. Here’s the leaderboard this method produces:

Player               Tm    Conf     3P%    3PA

Matt Bonner         SAN    .413    .504    119
Ray Allen           BOS    .399    .462    249
Shawne Williams     NYK    .399    .506     87
Mike Bibby          ATL    .377    .443    228
Arron Afflalo       DEN    .376    .449    185
Chauncey Billups    DEN    .375    .442    217
Daniel Gibson       CLE    .365    .439    180
Chris Paul          NOH    .362    .452    124
James Jones         MIA    .359    .427    213
Kevin Love          MIN    .355    .434    159

This method doesn’t completely take the air out of Williams’ high-percentage shooting, as he still ranks third in the league, but Ray Allen rises above him and to within striking distance of Bonner thanks to his frequent attempts. The player who drops the farthest in the rankings is actually Chris Paul, who falls from fourth to eighth. Paul is just barely ahead of several other players with more three-point attempts. For the most part, this group is similar to the league’s top 10, but it puts a little more emphasis on volume as well as accuracy.

The Three-Point Contest features three of our top 10. Dorell Wright (.353) ranks 12th, Paul Pierce (.328) is 27th and Kevin Durant (.286) is a distant 85th.

February 7, 2011

Salutary chaos in the Big Ten

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Gasaway @ 12:00 pm

The state of Wisconsin had a very good day yesterday, and certainly I don’t blame anyone for already looking ahead toward Saturday’s showdown in Madison, where Wisconsin will host No. 1-ranked and undefeated Ohio State. After all, these have been the two best teams in Big Ten play, right?

Well, yes.

The year nobody sucked 
Through games of February 6, conference games only
Pace: Possessions per 40 minutes
PPP: points per possession  Opp. PPP: opponent PPP
EM: efficiency margin (PPP – Opp. PPP)

                     W-L     Pace    PPP    Opp. PPP   EM
1.  Wisconsin        7-3     56.1    1.19     1.03   +0.16
2.  Ohio St.        11-0     63.0    1.14     1.00   +0.14
3.  Purdue           7-3     64.0    1.14     1.04   +0.10
4.  Illinois         5-5     62.7    1.10     1.03   +0.07
5.  Penn St.         5-6     58.6    1.07     1.09   -0.02
6.  Minnesota        5-6     61.7    1.07     1.10   -0.03
7.  Northwestern     4-7     63.2    1.08     1.14   -0.06
8.  Indiana          3-8     63.0    1.06     1.13   -0.07
9.  Michigan St.     5-6     61.6    1.03     1.10   -0.07
10. Michigan         4-7     59.7    1.07     1.15   -0.08
11. Iowa             3-8     65.9    1.00     1.11   -0.11
AVG.                         61.8    1.09 
 

Prospectus readers were well prepared for an eventuality like Jon Leuer being really potent on offense, but the emergence of Jordan Taylor this season has been…amazing? Spectacular? Bo-dacious? (Har!) Call it what you will. Improving one’s three-point shooting from 33 to 41 percent while taking on a much larger share of the possessions is something any coach can love.

In his ability to translate possessions into points, Taylor’s now equivalent if not superior to Leuer. Both players draw about five fouls for every 40 minutes they play, and together they’re shooting 86 percent at the line. In other words Wisconsin’s league-leading offense is driven by more than just their historically low turnover rate. (The Badgers have given the ball away on just 11 percent of their possessions in conference play.)   

But it’s a mark of the churn and spin that’s enlivened the league this year that “Hey, Wisconsin better not look past that game at Iowa on Wednesday night!” is more than just a customary and predictable sound bite. In this case the customary and predictable sound bite also happens to be 100 percent accurate. 

In achieving this year’s gaudy per-possession numbers (and bear in mind they do this every year), Bo Ryan‘s team has in fact been every bit as bipolar in terms of home vs. road performance as your run-of-the-mill average team. Wisconsin’s D in conference play has been more or less the same at the Kohl Center or on an opponent’s home floor — very good but not Alabama-good by any means. But it’s the Badger offense that really changes depending on the venue. They’re no slouch on the road, mind you (1.13 points per trip) but in Madison they’ve been simply invincible (1.24).

That bipolar quality will give the Hawkeyes a chance, albeit a slim one. (Repeat, “slim.” Iowa’s specialty, after all, is forcing turnovers. That doesn’t figure to help much Wednesday night. Keep reading anyway.) One of the most notable features of this year’s Big Ten is the total absence of a team that really sucks. For the first time in years there is no such team. Somebody has to finish last, of course, but this year’s Big Ten bids fair to follow in the footsteps of last year’s ACC, when Miami finished last and in fact was surprisingly competitive.

As seen here, Fran McCaffery‘s team is being outscored by 0.11 points per trip by the rest of the league. That’s pretty bad, sure, but it’s nowhere near as bad as what we see from the likes of Texas Tech (-0.18), much less LSU (-0.22), DePaul (-0.24), or (gasp) Wake Forest (-0.29). This year the lower depths of the Big Ten most closely resemble the bottom of the oh-so-often egalitarian Pac-10, where Arizona State (-0.13) is the closest thing to a doormat.

That annual Big East sound bite about there being “no nights off”? To the extent that it’s true anywhere in 2011 it’s true in the Big Ten and Pac-10.

John maintains laudable home-vs.-road consistency on Twitter: @JohnGasaway. You can contact John by clicking hereCollege Basketball Prospectus 2010-11 is now available on Amazon. 

February 4, 2011

As journalism and tempo decline

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Gasaway @ 1:38 pm

Prior to Syracuse‘s game this week at Connecticut, which the Orangemen won 66-58, a rumor hit the far corners of internet to the effect that the team’s preceding four-game skid could be explained only if the players were shaving points. Jim Boeheim was asked about the rumor after the game and had this to say: “If you talk about that, if you even ask me a question about that, you’re worse than the guy who put it out there.” 

If I were a Hall of Fame coach with nearly 50 years invested in the business, I would say the exact same thing. Boeheim’s a coach. He should say that. But for a non-coach to say the rumor itself is evidence of The Declining Standards of Journalism and that it marks a “sad day” for the business struck this reader as a bit disproportionate.

And we are all the synthesis
I don’t suppose if I grabbed a random sample of journalism from today I’d find a lot there that I want etched in stone for future genuflection. But I will say this in defense of every professional writer who’s typing words on February 4, 2011. We haven’t started any wars with Spain. If contemporaneous fretting (such as the piece I’m writing right now) is any guide, journalism standards have been declining since 1833, when Benjamin Day founded the New York Sun. And yet somehow the republic has survived. Maybe, even as standards continue their inexorable decline (I can come up with way better examples than a fleeting Syracuse point-shaving rumor), there’s a dialectic at work wherein for every writer offering a thesis that says Pitt‘s offense is worrisome there’s an antithesis in the form of a writer who says, no, Pitt’s offense is outstanding.   

Certainly there are instances where we should echo Boeheim in saying, “If nobody talks about it, it’s nothing.” On the macro level “beyond the pale” is pretty well defined. Micro? Custody battles, for one, even if they involve expanded-basic celebrities. But rumors about undergrads allegedly not doing their best in a game where a ball is put through a hoop? Yeah, I think we can be open and completely non-Daniel Snyder-y about that one.

We take a hands-on approach to teaching the law. We prosecute you.
This week the Syracuse University College of Law dropped its threat to expel a student who had contributed to a satirical Onion-like substance. If there’s a malady common to Daniel Snyder, the NCAA, an occasional non-coach, and the Syracuse University College of Law it’s having a really itchy trigger finger on the “sacrosanct” gun.

I plead nolo contendere
John,

Why are slow-paced games almost uniformly referred to as “boring” or “tedious” or some similar adjective? To the best of my knowledge none of these “slow” games feature players repeatedly pulling a Jimmy Chitwood and standing near midcourt with the ball on their hip, waiting for the clock to run down. Possessions in these games always include passing, screening, and cutting, activities which are just as much the essence of basketball as shooting (and that’s just the offense on a given possession).

This tendency to find fault with low-scoring or slow-paced games has led me to the conclusion that so-called basketball “fans” are really just fans of jumping.

Jack

Thanks, Jack! My declaration in support of stylistic pluralism dates from the mid-aughts, I think, but no one knows that because at the time I was read by four people. Now that my readership has doubled, allow me to re-declare: There are boring games and there are exciting games and pace bears imperfectly on both.

John decries Spanish depredations and exposes traction trusts on Twitter: @JohnGasaway. You can contact John by clicking here. College Basketball Prospectus 2010-11 is now available on Amazon. 

February 1, 2011

Rookie Challenge by the Numbers

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kevin Pelton @ 8:01 pm

With the NBA announcing rosters for the T-Mobile Rookie Challenge on Tuesday, I thought it might be worth a look at the WARP leaders among the rookie and sophomore classes.

Player               Tm   Ps   Win%  WARP

Blake Griffin       lac   PF   .633   8.0
Landry Fields       nyk   SG   .513   3.1
John Wall           was   PG   .488   2.0
Greg Monroe         det   C    .495   1.8
Ed Davis            tor   PF   .518   1.5
Paul George         ind   SF   .574   1.3
Gary Neal           san   PG   .461   0.9
Jeremy Evans        uta   SF   .645   0.7
DeMarcus Cousins    sac   C    .435   0.5
Derrick Favors      njn   PF   .440   0.5

Wesley Johnson      min   SF   .406   -0.2
Eric Bledsoe        lac   PG   .400   -0.4

I wouldn’t describe any of the rookie omissions as egregious. Ed Davis probably has the best case, since he’s outperformed DeMarcus Cousins and Derrick Favors while playing a key role in Toronto since returning from knee surgery. There’s a natural desire to see highlight top draft picks in this game, and Cousins and Favors have played well enough, so it makes sense they would be selected. The same effect helps explain Wesley Johnson being selected despite below-replacement performance thus far. Paul George has played well at the same position, but in limited minutes. This effect does make it all the notable that Evan Turner (.351 Win%, -1.5 WARP) was left out despite having been the No. 2 overall pick. That’s how much Turner has struggled to date.

As for Eric Bledsoe, the reasoning behind his presence on the roster is simply the lack of depth among rookie point guards. Too bad the teams can’t trade, since the sophomores could use some of the rookies’ bigs and there are a couple of excellent points who were squeezed off the sophomore roster.

Player               Tm   Ps   Win%  WARP

Stephen Curry       gsw   PG   .614   5.5
Jrue Holiday        phi   PG   .515   3.4
Serge Ibaka         okl   C    .552   3.4
Ty Lawson           den   PG   .534   2.8
James Harden        okl   SG   .519   2.6
Brandon Jennings    mil   PG   .548   2.5
Wesley Matthews     por   SG   .488   2.4
DeJuan Blair        san   PF   .528   2.3
Chase Budinger      hou   SF   .510   1.7
Toney Douglas       nyk   PG   .493   1.7

Tyreke Evans        sac   PG   .463   1.5
Taj Gibson          chi   PF   .468   1.1
DeMar DeRozan       tor   SG   .351  -2.2

There has definitely been something of a sophomore slump this year, which has taken down Tyreke Evans and to a lesser extent Brandon Jennings. So, despite his own problems with recurring sprained ankles, Stephen Curry reigns as far and away the most valuable second-year player. Evans ranks just outside the top 10 in sophomore WARP, yet is still a no-brainer pick because of what he accomplished during his Rookie of the Year campaign. Taj Gibson also moves up the list because he’s the third-best big man among the sophomores.

The dubious choice here is Toronto’s DeMar DeRozan. DeRozan’s scoring average (15.4 ppg) marks him as a rising score, but it’s an empty number. DeRozan doesn’t get to the free throw line enough to make up for the fact that he has no range at all (he’s made two three-pointers all season), so his True Shooting Percentage of .523 is barely passable. DeRozan is a poor rebounder and doesn’t make plays for others. He’s not an impact defender. As damning as any of his individual statistics is the fact that DeRozan has the worst net plus-minus on one of the league’s poorer teams. DeRozan is only 21, so he’s still got plenty of time to improve, but at this point in his career he is hurting his team much more than he is helping it. James Harden, who is playing more and more minutes for a playoff team and does basically everything better than DeRozan save use plays, was the better choice.

You can contact Kevin at kpelton@basketballprospectus.com. Follow him on Twitter at @kpelton.

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