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@  DrewinAbilene : (10 October 2013 - 09:00 PM) It seems like that's not as easy to make happen when he's dribbling the ball up the court more like a pure point.
@  DrewinAbilene : (10 October 2013 - 08:59 PM) Richards, from what I saw of the game, Lin was able to drive towards the basket and either create a shot for himself or kick it out.
@  2016Champions : (10 October 2013 - 06:14 PM) Lin's the best back-up SG on the team
@  Richards : (10 October 2013 - 02:56 PM) I do understand why McHale bring Lin off the bench. But I don't know why he used Lin as SG.
@  BenQueens : (10 October 2013 - 02:33 PM) I saw a lot of the game- Lin as a high-minute, Ginobili style backup pretty intriguing.
@  Rahat Huq : (10 October 2013 - 02:31 PM) looks like beverley and jones started tonight
@  RollingWave : (10 October 2013 - 05:26 AM) yes Jones was the default backup C in game 1, and it was a disaster defensively
@  2016Champions : (10 October 2013 - 04:46 AM) Was Jones playing the 5 while Howard was out?
@  2016Champions : (10 October 2013 - 04:45 AM) Not sure why they started Moti over Jones, Jones has shown us so much more.
@  BenQueens : (10 October 2013 - 04:44 AM) They scrimmaged with similar lineups before the preseason opener, but still started Lin, Harden, Parsons, Moti and Howard.
@  Richards : (09 October 2013 - 11:18 PM) Rockets Manila scrimmage pictures show Lin, D-Mo, Cassipi, (AB? Brewer?) vs. Howard, Harden, Parsons, TJ, and Bev. Very interesting.
@  2016Champions : (09 October 2013 - 03:55 PM) I wanted us to draft Glen Rice Jr, but Isiah is good too
@  RollingWave : (09 October 2013 - 03:37 AM) Glen Rice Jr kinda stole the show in his preseason debute with a buzzer beating game tying put back dunk, hmmmmm
@  BenQueens : (04 October 2013 - 08:43 PM) Lin's shot looks really good in Rahat's footage, but I'm also encouraged by how easy Dwight's interior play looks.
@  feelingsuper... : (03 October 2013 - 06:17 PM) Right Drewin, by all accounts Howard is a monster free throw shooter when not in a game setting and hopefully being more comfortable in Houston helps by putting him at ease during game situations.
@  DrewinAbilene : (02 October 2013 - 06:47 PM) Apparently Dwight beat Harden in a closed-eyes free throw contest, netting 8 of 10.
@  DrewinAbilene : (01 October 2013 - 05:57 PM) Russell Westbrook is out for 4-6 weeks after having a second surgery on his knee.
@  Richards : (29 September 2013 - 08:06 PM) Saw a video with Dream tutoring D-Mo. D-Mo looks better than Harden in post move. But compare to Dream. What a slow motion with frames lock-up..
@  Rahat Huq : (29 September 2013 - 04:52 PM) it's amazing how fluid he still looks, even compared to some of the best players in the league
@  Richards : (29 September 2013 - 01:42 AM) Saw video of Dream teaching Harden post move. Dream still has much much smother move than Harden. Awesome!!!

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The Stats Say: This year’s Houston Rockets may be historically great


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#1 Red94

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    Posted 09 October 2013 - 02:00 PM

    New post: The Stats Say: This year’s Houston Rockets may be historically great
    By: Justin Wehr

    Rockets fans and commentators are rightly excited about the upcoming season, but maybe – and you don’t hear this often – not as excited as they should be. Most of the talk has been around whether the Rockets can sneak into the third or fourth spot in the West, thus earning home court advantage in the first round of the playoffs. But if the predictions from one of my favorite stat geeks, Arturo Galletti, are to be trusted, then brace yourself for some much loftier questions…

    • Will anyone in the West come close to challenging the Rockets for the top seed?
    • Will the Rockets be the best team in the NBA? Better even than the LeBrons?
    • Will the Rockets be the best team in recent NBA memory?

    And, most uncomfortably, …

    • Will the Rockets challenge the NBA record of 72 wins set by Michael Jordan’s 1995-96 Bulls?

    Gasp. I went there. Or more accurately, Arturo’s statistics went there. And his statistics are as good of an objective measure as you are going to find. He uses David Berri’s WP48 measure, which does some complicated manipulations of simple box score statistics to produce a single measure of player efficiency. WP48 is both predictive and stable across time, thus satisfying two crucial performance-metric criteria which many of its competitors do not. Arturo adjusts the WP48 metrics for the players’ age and expected minutes per game, and then sums these adjusted estimates across all players to get win predictions for each team. (I’m simplifying a bit, but that’s the gist.) The table below shows the resulting predictions. (Note that these are updated predictions that Arturo shared with me over email, so they are slightly different than the ones at the link above.)

    2013-14 NBA win projections

    How to interpret this: Even if the Rockets have a “bad” season, they will still likely finish in the top four or five in the NBA. If, on the other hand, they have a very good season, they may win as many games as any team in NBA history.

    I will pause to give you time to gulp.

    When such brazen predictions are laid before us, the natural reaction is to hunt for holes to poke. That’s why David Berri has a 6,400-word FAQ page to address all your hole-poking queries. It turns out WP48 can be accused of many things, but being poorly thought out is not one of them. Nevertheless, the first maxim of statistics is that statistics never tell the whole story, and I can think of several factors that might be skewing the Rockets’ statistics. But brace for more gulping because the factors suggest that the predictions might be underestimating the Rockets.

    • Factor 1. The WP48 measure, like nearly any available measure, does not adequately account for a player’s defense. +3 for the Rockets because they have the most important defensive position manned by a three-time Defensive POY and by Omer Asik, whose defense I do not have enough superlatives to describe. (In my nerdier fantasies I envision discovering a way to measure Omer's off-ball defense.)
    • Factor 2. The predictions are sensitive to the allocation of minutes, and it’s very hard to predict how that allocation will shake out due to injuries and player dynamics and baffling coaching decisions. +2 for the Rockets because Arutro’s model assumes that Omer will be limited to 18 minutes a game when in fact if the towers can function as twins, he may be seeing closer to 30 min/g.
    • Factor 3. The predictions treat players as independent parts, but the first lesson of team sports is that the whole can sometimes be much greater or much less than the sum of its parts. +1 for the Rockets because smart money says that the pairing of Harden and Howard – historically two of the league’s most efficient players, particularly in the pick and roll – will yield even greater individual efficiency, at least if Howard is willing to engage in heaping helpings of pick n’ roll.

    Let me reiterate: Arturo’s WP48-based predictions suggest that this year’s Rockets may be historically great and my logic suggests that his model may be underestimating them. I feel enormously uneasy about this whole thing. They can’t really be that good, can they? No team without Michael Jordan can be that good. So then where/how is the model overvaluing the Rockets? Arturo graciously provides the data and assumptions for all to see, so if you’re feeling uneasy like I am, go snoop around for yourself. He also shared with me these detailed projections:

    Rockets minutes projections

    ---------

    Postscript -- Arturo had these interesting comments after reading a draft of this post:

    Quote:

    I have Asik in a sixth man role similar to what he did in Chicago and the role Gortat played with Dwight in Orlando. Given the amount of perimeter shooting on this Rockets team, it should be dead easy to play D12 in the post with Asik just outside the post ready for putbacks and rebounds, two shooters in the corners and a shooter/slasher at the top of the key. If I can figure this out, Daryl’s guys most likely have too.

    The Rockets have done an extremely good job of building a deep roster of good young players. Even with injury, the second and third tier guys are all serviceable NBA players. This is a team built for the grind that is the regular season.

    The best case scenario for the Rockets is the return of pre back surgery Dwight. If that happens, they will destroy people. Keep in mind that the Magic won 52, 59, 59, and 52 games in their last four seasons with a healthy Dwight.


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    #2 ale11

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    Posted 09 October 2013 - 03:55 PM

    Amazing article....it's not really about poking the holes, it just seems....unreal. Last year we were surprisingly good, but I'm not entirely sold yet that we can win more than 60 games this season (actually, my range goes from 55 to 60, likely falling in 57-25 record just looking at the schedule). All in all, I just don't think that having DH12, and by demoting Asik to backup role, having 48 minutes of elite rim-protection, will net us 15 more wins. Maybe McHale comes up with and effective gameplan other than "run the whole game and sucumb to Harden going Iso at the end of close games", maybe that will net us a couple more, but I think that we are one move away from getting over 60...

     

    But I'd love to be completely wrong (I do trust in numbers, they just seem too good to be true).....


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    #3 timetodienow1234567

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    Posted 09 October 2013 - 04:00 PM

    I think all of our players will improve except Garcia(he has peaked). With that and the addition of Howard it should net us more wins. I do worry about Mchale as the coach though.
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    Why so Serious? :D


    #4 Cooper

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      Posted 09 October 2013 - 04:43 PM

      I'm suprised how high Philly, Utah and Boston are. With the west as tough as it is there's no way any team approaches 70wins.
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      #5 2016Champions

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      Posted 09 October 2013 - 04:45 PM

      its%20happening%20ron%20paul%20animated%


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      Debates are destructive as they present one-sided opinions and demolish reasoned arguments, whereas discussions are constructive and encourage the expression of opinion.

       

      Debate is the death of conversation.


      #6 rockets best fan

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        glad you're on board, but I been on this boat since it left

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      Posted 09 October 2013 - 05:42 PM

      even I'm not going out on a limb and say we will win 70 games :) .............but shooting for 58-62 is more like it. I believe some have let all the negative press following Howard affect how they view D-12 as a basketball player. I am convinced he will return to his Orlando form and him and Harden will wreck havoc in the league. Yes we have some issues to resolve, but we have problems other teams only wish they had. we have so many options we need to figure out which one works best. that's a luxury. we are loaded with tradable assets to repair any holes and we are young and healthy with durable players to top it off. Yes we are a powerhouse. to me it just a matter of how soon we can figure our rotation out, which I don't expect to take that long :P


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      you can only warn a man that the bridge is out.....if he keeps driving he's on his own B)


      #7 Dan G

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        Posted 09 October 2013 - 07:08 PM

        That would be awesome for us to just hit our nominal mark of 64 wins, but I find it hard pressed for us to get to the 70 win plateau in year 1 of the H2 era.

         

        I'm surprised by alot of team's nominal win totals (DET, ATL, BOS, GSW, and IND just to name a few) but I find it most interesting to see Miami's good season would only net them 53 wins after winning 66 last year. Arturo has both Atlanta and Detroit beating them and Cleveland is nipping at their heels. I guess that is where age comes into it, but in that case, how are the Spurs going to win 65 games in a good season?

         

        Perhaps the most depressing thing from that graphic would be if the Lakers truly ended up the second worst team in the league. You can call me a conspiracy theorist if you want but if the Lakers end up anywhere near the bottom five teams, I'll go to Vegas and put money on them landing the #1 pick in the draft, and that would be a travesty.


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        #8 Johnny Rocket

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          Posted 09 October 2013 - 09:00 PM

          Great post!  Let me try to articulate why the Rockets probably won't win 70 games.  My first point is notice the discrepancy between the number of game the Rockets were PREDICTED to win last year (50) and the games they actually won (45).  That's pretty sizeable, and my guess is that it has to do with the distribution of Rockets points.  Win they played well, they really crushed teams (I'm thinking of the huge win at Utah), thus inflating the team's advanced stats, but then they lost a number of close games. It might be called the blitzkrieg effect.  When the Rockets are running and gunning to their heart's content, the other team becomes demoralized, players foul out, and things snowball out of control.  But against better teams in which the Rockets have to engaged in the basketball equivalent of trench warfare, things don't work out so well, especially for a young team.

           

          Now I realize that the advance-stats community (per Hollinger) believes that margin of victory is a big deal, and I agree.  But what I'm saying is that for teams that play a certain really fast style that could produce huge blowouts, the margin of victory is less effective predictor.   The closest analogy I have is Oregon in college football.  Thanks to their offensive system, they have produced some stunning blowouts this year, but would you really that much better than Alabama or LSU?  So I think that the Rockets will be very, very good this year, but not stunningly great, though I'm willing to be surprised!


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          #9 blakecouey

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            Posted 09 October 2013 - 11:52 PM

            Very interesting take, and good explanation.  I hope its a "best" case scenario we're looking at at the end of the season.  


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            #10 timetodienow1234567

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            Posted 10 October 2013 - 02:14 AM

            It's a WCF berth or bust for this team. If this team loses in the 1st or 2nd round then this team has underachieved.
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            Why so Serious? :D


            #11 rockets best fan

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              glad you're on board, but I been on this boat since it left

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            Posted 10 October 2013 - 02:42 AM

            It's a WCF berth or bust for this team. If this team loses in the 1st or 2nd round then this team has underachieved.

            I agree


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            you can only warn a man that the bridge is out.....if he keeps driving he's on his own B)


            #12 BenQueens

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              Posted 10 October 2013 - 04:43 AM

              Johnny: I don't have the statistical chops to control for pace, but here's a couple of related posts: while this guy observes the strong correlation in general, he notices some interesting recent outliers from OKC and MIA. And this piece from 2011 observed that age, pace, and defensive effectiveness all had some effect (at some point, though, you're really just saying winning basketball games is an effective predictor of winning basketball games).


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              #13 HoopsReportCard

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                Posted 10 October 2013 - 04:43 AM

                55 to 59 wins for the young Rox.

                follow @HoopsReportCard


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                #14 Alituro

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                  Posted 10 October 2013 - 01:23 PM



                  How did Arturo's predictions, with the same metrics, pan out on teams from last season and the season before? What is the precedent set for the accuracy of such predictions?

                  Myself, also being an Arturo from Italian descent, would have a tendecy to agree 100% with his predictions. Unless proven otherwise (of course).


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                  #15 thejohnnygold

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                  Posted 10 October 2013 - 09:46 PM

                  Johnny: I don't have the statistical chops to control for pace, but here's a couple of related posts: while this guy observes the strong correlation in general, he notices some interesting recent outliers from OKC and MIA. And this piece from 2011 observed that age, pace, and defensive effectiveness all had some effect (at some point, though, you're really just saying winning basketball games is an effective predictor of winning basketball games).

                   

                  Ha, so true.  I have reached the same conclusion when analyzing point margins in relation to winning %.

                   

                  I'd love to see what last year's lakers were predicted to do.  Things like this are fun and are great for all kinds of stuff (Like video game simulations), but it is ultimately fiction.  Just like nobody thinks a roulette wheel will hit the same number three times in a row, hit black 12 spins in a row, etc.--there are just too many anomalies to calculate in an NBA season that statistics ignore.  I know this is not a popular opinion (stats are like gospel in these parts), but these predictions will be interesting to re-visit at season's end.  (somebody should remember to do that B) )


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                  #16 timetodienow1234567

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                  Posted 10 October 2013 - 10:34 PM

                  The fact that Miami is so low makes your stats worthless.
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                  Why so Serious? :D


                  #17 Opasido

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                    Posted 11 October 2013 - 03:09 AM



                    Justin,

                    Care to do a comparison of Harden and Howard to 2006 Dwade and Shaq? I think at best, Harden and Howard can match those two in 2006. Its a worthwhile analysis because the pairs play the same positions, 2 and 5, and 2006 is relatively modern/recent


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                    #18 timetodienow1234567

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                    Posted 11 October 2013 - 04:09 AM

                    Lol. Harden won't come close to 2006 Wade.
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                    Why so Serious? :D





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