During the NBA season this year, I wrote up some parameters for an alternative way to build an NBA winner: The Seattle Scientists. The idea behind the Scientists is the same old Moneyball methodology for small market teams — find the undervalued assets and spend your money there. In the NBA, my buddy Tony and I think effort, defense, and intelligence are the assets to focus on. In the the MLB, there are some related options: bunting, speed, and defense again. We settled on the Portland Peskies for this thought experiment (an over-educated city that would appreciate a non-traditional team), though the Indianapolis Institute and the Las Vegas Vig (“You can never beat the house!”) were also in the running.
It’s no coincidence that I’m writing this while my Tigers play their old nemesis the Twins. The Tigers (outside of Quintin Berry this year) never have any hitters that would fit the Pesky mold. But Twins outfielder Ben Revere (currently snagging a tailing line drive off his shoe tops) would be on the Peskies’ radar for sure, as would Alexi Casilla and Denard Span. Revere has 6 bunt singles this year on 13 tries and 16 steals Continue reading
Posted in Baseball, Basketball, Innovative Ideas
Tagged Alexi Casilla, athletic sport, baseball, basketball, Ben Revere, best bunt, Bunt (baseball), bunt base hit, bunt for a hit, bunt success percentage, bunt success rate, bunting for a base hit, bunts, defense undervalued baseball, Denard Span, Detroit Tigers, Major League Baseball, Minnesota Twins, MLB, Moneyball, NBA, nba season, NBA small market team model, Oakland Athletics, pa announcer, Portland Peskies, quintin berry, Seattle Scientists, small market baseball team model, small market baseball teams, small market teams, speed in baseball, speed underrated baseball, Sports, steals and bunts undervalued, Tigers Twins rivalry, Twins, Twins outfielders fast, Twins speed
When the Nuggets resigned Nene to a large contract in the off season, I wrote that they were making the most of a bad situation (few marquee free agents available, Nene not worth the money). Today, they admitted as much by trading Nene in a three team deal that landed them talented but unreliable JaVale McGee.
Although the Nuggets have bucked the trend slightly by having some success post-Iverson and Carmelo, my preferred models for NBA success are the South Beach Talents and the Seattle Scientists. The Talents involve trading or signing two (or three!) top 15 players, and spending the spare change on spare parts to fill out the roster. The theory is that mid range guys are overpaid, so just spend you money at the top and bottom.
If you’re a small market, it’s tough to attract stars these days, so I suggest the Scientists, a hypothetical NBA team that attacks a different undervalued asset: effort. The Scientists hire guys who will be in better shape and work harder than every other team. They press on offense AND defense.
The Nuggets are neither of these. They are doing okay with their strategy of paying mid range guys (Afflalo is another example); they have the 6 seed right now. However, they probably aren’t a championship team. Wouldn’t it be fun to try something new instead?
Posted in Basketball, Innovative Ideas, Trades/Free Agency
Tagged bad situation, basketball, Denver Nuggets, free agents, ideas for NBA teams, JaVale McGee, JaVale McGee trade, Los Angeles Clippers, low effort NBA, mid range, National Basketball Association, NBA, NBA players don't try, nba team, NBA team models, Nene, Nuggets, Nuggets trade Nene, Nuggets Wizards Clippers trade, Seattle Scientists, South Beach Talents, spare change, Sports, Washington Wizards
On Sunday night, the Lakers traveled to Denver for the second half of a home and away back to back. The Lakers took game 1, but home court and youth were on the Nuggets side for game 2. The Lakers got great games from Pau “the Gas Man” Gasol and Andrew “Great Potential” Bynum, keeping the game close. Then, Kobe “took over” and blew the game for them. His bricklayer performance (6-28, 16 points, 2 boards) was the old man version of his 2009 finals game 7 ugly (6-24, 23 points, 15 boards) — fewer trips to the line and no rebounding. Bad sign for the Lakers.
The Nuggets took full advantage of old man Kobe, letting him take tough jump shots and then leaking a player as soon as the shot went up. On one Kobe brick, Continue reading
Posted in Basketball, Commentary, Common Sense, Innovative Ideas
Tagged Andrew Bynum, basketball, Danilo Gallinari, Denver Nuggets, Indiana Pacers, Kobe Bryant, Kobe Bryant game 7 2009 NBA finals, Kobe Bryant NBA finals MVP 2009, Kobe Bryant poor shooting, Los Angeles Lakers, NBA, NBA playoffs, Pau Gasol, Seattle Scientists, the Gas Man
You all know by now — the New Orleans Mess tried to trade Chris Paul to the Lakers (involving the Rockets as well), but the other owners, who jointly own the Mess, stepped in and blocked the trade. The trade has quickly become an argument about the small market/big market dichotomy in the NBA. My brother Conor sent me a standard response from Matthew Yglesias at Slate. Yglesias argues that artificially preserving the talent on small market teams is misguided:
It’s not clear to me why they don’t just eliminate this New Orleans franchise. Everyone knows there are too many NBA teams. Nobody wants to own this team, nobody wants to play for it, and there’s no a priori reason to believe an NBA franchise in New Orleans could ever be financially viable.
Yglesias and many others feel that the Mess and maybe a few more teams should be “liquidated” and “replaced” in some way. Ideally, they could be moved to a big market, where the financial returns to winning seem higher. However, eliminating and moving teams is bad press. I also think that keeping teams Continue reading
Posted in Basketball, Commentary, Common Sense, Financial Analysis, Innovative Ideas, Trades/Free Agency
Tagged 30 for 30, baseball, basketball, big market teams, Chris Paul, Chris Paul trade, Daryl Morey, David Aresnault, Denver Nuggets, football, Grinnell College, Houston Rockets, Jacksonville Jaguars, Kevin Grier, LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers, Loyola Marymount, Marginal Revolution, Matthew Yglesias, MLB, Moneyball, NBA, New Orleans Hornets, NFL, Paul Westhead, Seattle Scientists, Seattle SuperSonics, small market teams, Tyler Cowen