Yesterday, based on my past research with my buddy Chris, I predicted that the Wizards would take it to the Cavaliers last night. The Wizards were already locked into the 2nd lottery position, while the Cavs could still move up or down. Well, I was right. The Cavs looked good to start the game and then slowly faded away.
Our research shows that teams who haven’t clinched play worse than teams that have. In other words, they tank. However, we haven’t determined how they do it. Are players actually trying to lose, or is it all personnel decisions? Last night’s game gave us some evidence for the latter: Continue reading
Posted in Basketball, Causal Analysis, Commentary, Research Papers
Tagged alonzo gee, ankle sprain, basketball, causal analysis, Cavaliers tanked by sitting Kyrie Irving, Cavaliers vs. Wizards tanking, Cleveland Cavaliers, do teams tank NBA, draft position, eliminated from the playoffs, ESPN, how much tanking is there in the NBA, Kyrie Irving flu, Kyrie Irving flu is BS, National Basketball Association, NBA, NBA 2011-2012, NBA 2012, NBA draft lottery, NBA draft lottery incentive to tank, nba teams, personnel decisions, recent games, season finale, Sports, stomach flu, tank, tankers, tanking, Washington Wizards, when eliminated from the playoffs
Last week, the tanking was going strong. Only the Hornets had played well among playoff eliminated teams. My guess is that league ownership made them bring back Eric Gordon, and it’s about to cost them a lottery position after they won again in the last few days. They helped boot the Rockets out of the playoffs and Gordon had another superb game.
A couple other teams played well since the last Tank Watch. The Wiz have now beaten the Bulls, Bucks, and Heat in succession, but their spot is basically clinched, so their incentive to tank is diminished. One more loss in their last three games or a win for the Hornets will lock them in. The Pistons also posted a couple of wins, though over Cleveland and Toronto. Here are the updated numbers:
The Tank Watch
Tonight, we get a treat! The Bobcats travel to play Washington. Below is an incredible craigslist post that my buddy Tony sent me about this game (click to enlarge). Apparently there were zero tickets listed on Stubhub around 4pm.
Posted in Basketball, Causal Analysis, Humor
Tagged basketball, Bobcats, Bobcats losing streak, causal analysis, Charlotte Bobcats, Cleveland, Cleveland Cavaliers, Detroit Pistons, do teams tank NBA, draft position, eliminated from the playoffs, Eric Gordon, Golden State Warriors, hornets, Hornets can't tank, Hornets league ownership, Hornets not tanking, Hornets owned by the NBA, Houston Rockets, how much tanking is there in the NBA, Minnesota Timberwolves, National Basketball Association, NBA, NBA 2011-2012, NBA 2012, NBA draft lottery, NBA draft lottery incentive to tank, nba teams, New Jersey, New Jersey Nets, New Orleans Hornets, playoff elimination, playoff elimination date, playoffs, Portland Trail Blazers, recent games, Sacramento Kings, Sports, Stubhub, tank, tankers, tanking, Tony, Toronto, Toronto Raptors, Washington Wizards, when eliminated from the playoffs
‘Tis the season for tanking! Last week, there were six teams eliminated from the playoffs. The Bobcats and Wizards had lost quite a lot already since then, though the Hornets looked surprisingly good. The Hornets continue to look good, but everyone else is bad bad bad, and the ranks of the eliminated have grown. The Bobcats locked in the worst record last night, but it’s hard to imagine them winning any games the rest of the way, so I’m not sure they can be accused of tanking. They are just a terrible team.
The Tank Watch
The Hornets 6-3 record since playoff elimination is largely due to the return of Eric Gordon (they are 4-1 in recent games when he has played). However, would any team other than the LEAGUE OWNED Hornets bring back Eric Gordon Continue reading
Posted in Basketball, Causal Analysis, Commentary, Common Sense, Research Papers
Tagged basketball, Bobcats, Bobcats losing streak, caspian, causal analysis, Charlotte Bobcats, Cleveland Cavaliers, Detroit Pistons, do teams tank NBA, draft position, eliminated from the playoffs, Eric Gordon, Golden State Warriors, Grantland, hornets, Hornets can't tank, Hornets league ownership, Hornets not tanking, Hornets owned by the NBA, how much tanking is there in the NBA, Jay Caspian Kang, Jay Caspian Kang tanking, Kang tanking, Minnesota Timberwolves, National Basketball Association, NBA, NBA 2011-2012, NBA 2012, NBA draft lottery, NBA draft lottery incentive to tank, nba teams, New Jersey, New Jersey Nets, New Orleans Hornets, playoff elimination, playoff elimination date, playoffs, Portland Trail Blazers, recent games, research findings, Sacramento Kings, Sports, tank, tankers, tanking, Tony, Toronto Raptors, Washington Wizards, when eliminated from the playoffs
The Celtics are hanging onto the 8 seed for dear life. Last night, they got a big win over the Cavaliers (who are ninth) and managed to tie up the Knicks for the 7 seed. In Boston, most people realize that this group is done. I’m reminded of the Pistons in ’08-09; here’s the IMDB:
PG-13 (66 games and 1 playoff round) – Sports Action
In 2008-2009, the Detroit Pistons are coming off six straight Eastern Conference finals appearances. However, their core players — Chauncey Billups, Richard “Rip” Hamilton, and Rasheed Wallace — are aging, Continue reading
Posted in Basketball, Commentary, Pop Culture, Trades/Free Agency
Tagged 08 09 Pistons, Allen Iverson, Antonio McDyess, Arron Afflalo, Avery Bradley, Boston Celtics, Brandon Bass, Celtics big three too old, Celtics championship window closed, Celtics need to blow up the big three, Celtics should trade Allen, Celtics should trade Garnett, Celtics should trade Rondo, Celtics too old, Celtics trade possibilities, Chauncey Billups, Chris Wilcox, Cleveland Cavaliers, Danny Ainge, Detroit Pistons, Doc Rivers, E'Twaun Moore, Iverson trade Pistons, Jason Maxiell, Jermaine O'Neal, Kevin Garnett, Kwame Brown, LeBron James, Michael Curry, Mickael Pietrus, Paul Pierce, Pistons 6 straight Eastern Conference finals, Rajon Rondo, Rajon Rondo on the trading block, Rajon Rondo trade, Rasheed Wallace, Ray Allen, Richard Hamilton, Rip Hamilton Ray Allen, Rodney Stuckey, Steve Kerr Rajon Rondo quote Sports Illustrated, Tayshaun Prince
Lately, I’ve been arguing that older teams should rest their “more experienced” players as much as possible during the condensed season, especially in the fourth quarter of games that are out of hand. Regular readers might be shaking their heads at me after the Celtics’ games against the Cavaliers this week. In the first one, they gave up an 11 point lead in the last 4:24 of the game (they scored zero points). In the second, they nearly blew an 18 point lead in the fourth quarter.
However, I think these games are just more evidence that the Celtics should rest the Old Three in the fourth quarter with large leads (or deficits). Not only will it help in future games, but it might actually help in the current game. The Celtics have a strong bench, and the Old Three are, well, old and tired. They are prone to blowing fourth quarter leads with long scoring droughts. Whether early or late, Doc Rivers needs to find time to rest his horses, or they will be burned out by March.
Edit: I actually wrote this yesterday before the Celtics thumped the Craptors. In that game, they led by 28 points entering the fourth quarter, the starters all rested, and they ended up winning by 34. Progress, I say!
Posted in Basketball, Common Sense
Tagged Anderson Varejão, basketball, Big Three are too old, Boston, Boston Celtics, Boston Celtics old, Cavalier, Celtics, Cleveland, Cleveland Cavaliers, Craptors, Doc Rivers, Kyrie Irving, NBA, NBA condensed schedule, Toronto Craptors, Toronto Raptors
My apologies for missing the last couple days on the blog, but don’t worry, I was hard at work on two projects that I’ve just submitted with a couple other guys to the Sloan Sports Analytics Conference. I’ll have more to say about them soon — one project looks at the effects of temperature, rest time, and turf type on MLS games, and the other examines the true value of winning the NBA draft lottery and measures how much tanking really goes on in the NBA.
In the meantime, Kobe Bryant is lighting up scoreboards and shot charts. He must be reading this blog, but I think all I did was make him angry. He’s taken 31 shots in each of the last three games and managed 40 points in all of them. Reading the ESPN write up from the last one, it looks like we have our new MVP.
However, over those games he’s made 47 shots for a Continue reading
Posted in Basketball, Commentary, Probability Analysis
Tagged Andrau Gasnum, Andrew Bynum, Andrew Bynum efficient, Cleveland Cavaliers, ESPN, great potential, Kobe Bryant, Kobe Bryant expected points, Kobe Bryant inefficient, Kobe Bryant shooting percentage, Kobe Bryant shoots too much, Kobe Bryant true shooting percentage, Kobe Bryant volume shooter, Los Angeles Lakers, Pau "the Gas Man" Gasol, Pau Gasol, Pau Gasol efficient, Phoenix Suns, Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, the Gas Man, two-headed beast Andrau Gasnum, Utah Jazz