All That Power – Houston climbed to 5th in Marc Stein’s ESPN Power Rankings, one spot higher than (gasp) San Antonio. The committee of one writes:
The sense I get, as noted in this Stein Line Live post, is that neither Houston nor Portland is very interested in exploring an Omer Asik trade at the moment. But the Rockets visit the Blazers on Thursday … so brace yourself for a fresh round of Asik-for-Robin Lopez speculation regardless.
At the time of this writing, Houston is 5th in the Hollinger Rankings as well, so the consistency gods are smiling on ESPN. But wait! Here comes NBA.com and John Schuhmann to take our beautiful power ranking uniformity and blow it all to hell. He ranks Houston 6th:
Pace: 99.0 (4), OffRtg: 107.8 (3), DefRtg: 100.0 (8), NetRtg: +7.8 (4)
James Harden was a victim of some brutal blow-bys earlier in the week (see here and here, for example), but has since vowed to actually try on defense. And the Rockets’ D was so good in wins against the Warriors and Magic over the weekend that it didn’t matter that their bench shot 2-for-21 from 3-point range. Of course, that kind of shooting might provide more motivation to get something for Omer Asik.
I’m really hoping for a power ranking hat-trick (the same ranking from Stein, Hollinger’s computer and Schuhmann) before the end of the year.
On The Block – Kevin Pelton (ESPN Insider) ranks the top 11 trade candidates in the NBA. Not surprisingly, Omer Asik is one of them. [read more…]
In part 1, we plotted players’ selfishness against their eFG%. Now we’re going to turn the four-quadrant chart into a ranked list. The two measures we are focusing on are touches per pass (TPP, our measure of selfishness) and selfishness efficiency (SE, a combination of how selfish a player is and how well he shoots).
Because SE essentially forces the chart, which has data in all directions, into a straight line, some sacrifices have to be made. As mentioned in part 1, because SE uses the standard deviation of eFG%, it is great for analyzing the extremes (players who shoot really well and really poorly). However, players who are average shooters will have an eFG% stand deviation close to zero, and thus their SE will also be close to zero, or basically average.
With that being said, the results of TPP and SE are displayed in the following tables (click for a full-size interactive version).
Indeed, a quick glance at the schedule paints the full picture. Everyone in Houston can now watch, for the most part. Rejoice. Of course, not so coincidentally, that also means that the team is in for some pretty brutal upcoming matchups as they square off against Portland, Golden State, Indiana, Oklahoma City, and San Antonio, all during this stretch. Thursday’s game at Portland is intriguing primarily because it represents a rematch of a win which–at the time–I thought nothing of, ready to throw my remote at the screen had they lost; wasn’t quite expecting the Blazers to run away with the West’s best record.
Given the schizophrenic nature of this team, they could just as easily go 6-6 during this stretch as 10-2, though I do expect that number to be closer to the latter if health stays on our side and Jeremy Lin comes back as expected. On the 15th, the Rockets will get a look at Rudy Gay as fate and destiny collided yesterday. Against Chicago, Memphis, and New Orleans, the Rockets will have the benefit–to the detriment of fans everywhere–of taking on teams playing without their best players. And on the 29th, they’ll return to Oklahoma City where they’ll get a chance to see if the addition of Dwight Howard helped close the gap between themselves and a team that was on its way to pummeling them before an unfortunate injury. And lastly, the December 15th, 18th, and 20th trio of games each could represent the team’s first playing without center Omer Asik, we are told via the trade winds….except that the team has been without him both physically and mentally for pretty much the entire year. Hmm.