Tag Archives: Dallas Mavericks

Who tanks in the NBA?

Tanking: intentionally losing in order to improve draft position.

After my PhD buddy Chris and I circulated our findings that NBA teams tank a lot, we’ve been asked a few times, “Which teams are tanking?” Today I offer a quick look at teams that have likely tanked.

First, a refresher: we measure tanking by comparing performance before and after playoff-eliminated teams “clinch” their lottery spot. In the last couple games of the season, many teams lock in their spot, so they no longer have an incentive to lose. Those games act as our control. The problem with doing it this way is that some tankers may keep trying to lose even after they clinch their spot. This could happen because teams shut down star players because of “injury” or just because teams develop a habit of losing.

So, the big caveat with the results below (and the results in our paper) is that we are almost certainly missing some tankers. Some teams Continue reading

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Changing strategy in response to the condensed NBA schedule

In the Celtics – Raptors game early tonight, the Celtics were up 73-55 at the start of the fourth quarter. Of the Old Three, only Garnett was on the floor. Both teams started the quarter cold, but Garnett got a couple free throws to push the lead to 20 with 9:15 left. In came Greg “the Dutch Steamer” Stiemsma, and that was the last of the Old Three for the evening. Needless to say, the Celtics won by 23. (The only bad news for the Celtics was a hard fall for Rondo, though he seems to be ok.)

I definitely approve of this strategy. There are multiple pros: Continue reading

One more Kobe

I promise I’ll give Kobe a break soon. After all, he took a break himself last night, in a game where Bynum played great (8-13 shooting, 15 boards), Kobe shot awful early and backed off from trying to score 40 (7-22, 14 points), but the Lakers won with their defense. Before I give it a rest, I wanted to link an interesting alternative approach to the numbers that I’ve been presenting.

Zach Lowe at SI breaks down Kobe’s decision making in a series of videos (granted, they are probably cherry picked). Lowe reminds us Continue reading

Barkley on Kobe

Before the Mavs – Lakers game tonight, here’s Barkley:

“If Kobe scores 30 tonight the Lakers lose.”

“The Lakers need to pound the ball down low to Bynum and Gasol, with no Tyson Chandler.” (Chandler is out).

The Jet then interjected that it’s not whether Kobe shoots a lot, but the type of shots he takes. Ernie Johnson said something about Kobe having a chip on his shoulder, and Barkley:

“It’s not about a chip on your shoulder, it’s about strategy.”

Thank you, Barkley.

Hitting the ESPN headlines — bad knees and lucky bounces

The transactions keep flowing in the NBA. Nene signed a big contract with the Nuggets (more than $67 million, 5 years) that only looks small because many thought he might receive a $100 million offer. However, this still reminds me of the contracts that brought us NBA Lockout 2011 (which is also the name of a really boring video game about collective bargaining and corporate finance). We’re talking about a big man with past knee problems and a rebound rate around 15 over the last four years. Guys like Dwight Howard and Kevin Love are in the 20s.

I think Nene is a decent defender as well, but this contract is most likely a questionable decision in response to a bad situation. Continue reading