(Offseason) Champions – Grantland’s Zach Lowe has measured the height, weight and depth of the offseason, and he has declared the Houston Rockets the winners. You can read his take on all 30 teams right here. His take on Dwight:
Even 90 percent of 2010-12 Howard is worth more than what Houston will pay him.
My favorite part of the article may be this footnote:
Howard was one of the league’s most efficient post-up scorers in both 2010-11 and 2011-12, shooting about 50 percent on post-up shots each year, per Synergy Sports. He fell off to about 45 percent last season, but for a guy who draws so many fouls — largely because he can’t hit free throws — that is considered acceptable. His turnover rate from the block climbed too high in Los Angeles, but that should reverse itself if Houston surrounds him with adequate shooting.
In other words, even the part of Howard’s game which is most criticized–his post game (okay, maybe a close second behind free-throws)–is elite.
I Dreamed A Dream – I had this really weird dream about Hakeem Olajuwon and Yao Ming in a room full of fancy handbags, giddily explaining some finer points of post defense to each other. Wait, what? That really happened? Hakeem posted a video of it on Youtube??
Beard Recognize Beard – James Harden has been kicking it at Drew League (at least until Darren Collison went bananas on him yesterday). This video has two great moments: the fall-down three at 0:45, and the Harden/Baron beard-ebration at the end.
Endangered Species – Jason Friedman exhumed yesterday what may be the last example of a firmly anti-analytics sports column ever spotted in its natural habitat. It was written in October, by John N. Mitchell of the Philadelphia Inquirer. The column began as praise of the beginning of Tony DiLeo’s short tenure as GM, before evolving into a critique of Daryl Morey. Several of the gems:
“Morey, who inherited a 52-win team in 2007, is the poster boy for reasons not to position an analytic as the basketball-operations rubber stamp, and further proof that the Sixers, still looking to add an analytic in a significantly smaller role, made the right decision in hiring DiLeo rather than the next would-be boy genius.”
Wait, I need to pause and point out that this article mentions the words “Yao,” “McGrady,” and “injury” a combined zero times. Let’s continue:
“Under Morey, the Rockets have won just one playoff series and finished out of the playoffs three years running. But the moves he made this summer – from gutting his roster in the failed hope of landing Dwight Howard to the drafting of Royce White with one of the three first- round picks – are legitimate reasons to doubt whether the MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management is properly equipped to be a top-tier NBA decision-maker. . .
“Indianapolis center Roy Hibbert tweeted ‘some1 is gonna get fired in the org 4 giving the go ahead’ to draft White.”
I mean, Hibbert did stay all four years and get his degree at Georgetown, so he’s probably a leading front-office expert.
“Other teams backed away from the fickle former Orlando center when it became obvious that Howard, in the last year of his contract, wanted to be traded only to the Los Angeles Lakers, the Dallas Mavericks, or the Brooklyn Nets.
“That cued most teams that the risk-reward ratio for Howard was too high. They understood that acquiring Howard would require a roster purge that would fetch Howard, only to see him leave next summer as a free agent.
“Morey did not seem to understand this, and now Houston has a roster mostly of power forwards and players who do not fit very well with each other…”
“The Sixers paraded a bunch of analytics through their offices at the Wells Fargo Center but ultimately made the right decision to go with a player-personnel veteran.”
Of course a few days after this was written, the Harden trade happened. At least Mitchell got one thing right:
To his credit, (Morey) has stockpiled future draft picks that may one day prove to be wonderful assets.
‘Merica – Chandler Parsons is at USA Basketball’s minicamp. Wish him well.
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