Manu Ginobili vs. Chris Paul: Who Was Better?

Manu Ginobili is arguably the greatest foreign player ever to wear an NBA uniform—it’s pretty much down to him or Dirk Nowitzki. Which led the Twitter summer hot take machine to toss out this beauty of an argument over the weekend. Hot Take: Manu Ginóbili is better than Chris Paul — ⚡️ (@HeadbandBookk) August 12, 2019 The whole thing got me thinking. Chris Paul is worth a few superlatives in his own right, but the biggest one might be one he shares with John Stockton and Karl Malone as the best players never to win a championship. Paul is in …

Read More

PER Is a Garbage Stat and We Should Stop Using It

Player Efficiency Rating is one of the oldest advanced NBA stats, devised by John Hollinger and popularized by ESPN back in the early days of the league’s rise out of the Dark Ages in the mid-aughts. In theory, it takes the totality of a player’s contributions on the basketball court, distills it into one number, sets the league average at 15, and is sufficiently position-agnostic to make it possible to compare guards to centers the way you compare catchers to shortstops by Wins Above Replacement in baseball. In practice, it’s been all but completely superseded by Win Shares (and its …

Read More

How Well do NBA Win Shares Correlate to Actual Wins?

In an earlier Statistical Test on this here quality NBA publication, we took a look at Value Over Replacement Player (or, as it’s known in the Pace and Space offices, One Stat to Rule Them All) and found a strong correlation between VORP and team wins that can describe a team’s win total so accurately that if you have a reasonably good way to predict a roster’s VORP in advance, you’re more than halfway to beating the over/under game in Vegas. But there’s another stat out there that claims to do the same thing, and they even went so far …

Read More

Golden State Warriors Headed for a Fan-Friendly Decline

The Golden State Warriors, mere weeks removed from their fifth straight trip to the NBA Finals, are a moribund franchise about to embark on a collapse that will give them some boffo odds in the draft lottery in 2022. Sure, they’ll hang on in the short-term, maybe even make one more deep playoff run on fumes and Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson shooting 30 threes a game between them and seeing enough of them go in to get past a not-quite-there-yet Nuggets or Jazz team in the first two rounds before the Clippers put up a Kawhilight reel in the …

Read More

The Wiggins Factor: A New Way to Evaluate NBA Contracts

Back in May, we took a look at the worst contracts in the NBA, using the human garbage fire that is Andrew Wiggins as our model for determining just how bad a contract can be. The Version 0.5 beta formula for Wiggins Factor is salary divided by (Minutes Played/3936), then multiplied by 5 if you’re applying it to estimated team stats off an individual player’s performance. So for Wiggins himself in 2018-19, that’s approximately $39.4 million. This sum is particularly egregious considering that Wiggins got paid all that money to post a career-worst .012 Win Shares per 48 minutes, a …

Read More

Basketball is the Ultimate Sport About Failure

Move over, baseball. Your title as biggest sport about failure has just been usurped by basketball. Because in baseball, “you can fail 70 percent of the time and be an All-Star” is both untrue (batting average is dead; all hail on-base percentage, and you’d better be getting on base closer to two times in five if you want to be a true star) and irrelevant; once you are out, you are back in the dugout and your ability to contribute meaningfully to your team’s success is done for another two or three innings. In basketball, on the other hand, some …

Read More

Charlotte Hornets are Headed Off a Cliff in 2020

The 2012 Charlotte Bobcats, at 7-59, put up the worst winning percentage in NBA history and, on a prorated 82-game basis, were three-tenths of a win worse than the 9-73 1973 Philadelphia 76ers. Now proudly rebranded as the Charlotte Hornets, the Not Cats should seriously consider busting out the throwback jerseys because early indications point to a team that, with Kemba Walker playing in Boston and Jeremy Lamb in Indiana, has about as much firepower as bringing a BB gun with a stuck lever on the action to a machine gun fight. Their best players with Walker and Lamb gone …

Read More

Statistical Test: Correlating VORP and NBA Team Wins

Back in May, I examined the contributions of “replacement-level” NBA players, those guys with 0.1 either side of zero VORP, and in the process tried to figure out what an entire team of those guys or their presumed G-League “replacement player” equivalents would do over the course of a season. And in that effort, I took a six-team sample size from a cross-section of NBA competence to determine a formula: Wins (per 82 games) = (2.15*aggregate VORP)+19. But it occurs to me that I can do better than just taking a sample, shoehorning a little back-of-the-envelope math into it, and …

Read More

The Pacers are the NBA’s Most Fragile Team

The Indiana Pacers went from a 57-win team to a 37-win team in as much time as it took Victor Oladipo‘s quadriceps tendon to tell coach Nate McMillan what it thought of the amount of time Oladipo got left in blowouts that should’ve gone to garbage time players long before. The Pacers went 25-11 in games in which Oladipo appeared. They were 23-27 without him, including an awful 6-15 in the last 21 games including the playoff sweep against Boston. In fact, they managed to lose to the Celtics six times in the space of a month. This year, Oladipo …

Read More

The LeBron-Davis Lakers’ Death Lineup Scares Nobody

Sometimes, in the wonderful world of NBA Twitter, you see something so brain-explodingly silly that all you can do is laugh your little head off at it. Like this tweet from Magic Johnson, for example: Laker Nation, I’m dreaming about the 4th quarter Lakers team with LeBron, AD, Danny Green, Avery Bradley, and Kyle Kuzma. That’s almost unbeatable! — Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) July 8, 2019 Magic asserts that a fourth-quarter lineup of LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Danny Green, Avery Bradley, and Kyle Kuzma is “unbeatable”. I mean, the joke writes itself, doesn’t it? But OK, Magic, I’m a man …

Read More