Sunday Statistical Test: Should Hack-A-Shaq Come Back?

The old “Hack-A-Shaq” strategy of fouling a poor free throw shooter to send him to the line whereupon he’d then miss at least one free throw and have to be removed from the game as an offensive liability never made much sense statistically. Unless the player was truly horrid from the line (even Shaq, a career 52.7 percent free throw shooter, would thus generate 105.4 points per 100 possessions before a single one of his free throws went for an offensive rebound and got the Magic, Lakers, or whoever an extended possession and often a putback), the strategy inevitably generated …

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Go Home Will Buikema, You’re Drunk (Reaction to SBNation Piece)

Over on SBNation, Will Buikema put together an amusing piece suggesting that the “ideal” number of points to score in an NBA basketball game is 107, resting his argument on a combination of factors including bathroom breaks for fans watching at home, desired scoring efficiency, and the contrast of these things with the current state of NBA basketball in 2020. Jon Bois chimed in down in the comments, saying he was more of a 94 points kind of guy, resting that argument on nothing but whatever bizarre surrealist pretzel logic underlies his cryptic sense of humor and, apparently, a masochist’s …

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Will Steve Nash Reinvent Former-Player Coaches?

Former NBA players, if they were any good at all during their careers, tend to make terrible NBA coaches. When you look at guys like Byron Scott, Lionel Hollins, and Nate McMillan, you see guys whose understanding of basketball strategy is rooted in the time when they played the game and tends to lag behind more innovative coaches who come from the college ranks or from the ranks of guys who may have played but never played particularly well (look up Pat Riley or Mike D’Antoni on Basketball Reference for an example of the latter.) Which is what makes the …

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Why Is Luka Doncic So Good?

One of the oldest arguments in basketball is, when given a player with eye-popping counting stats, “is that guy actually a great player or does he just get stats from getting a ton of touches?” It came up on Twitter again in regards to Luka Doncic, who had 42 points, seven rebounds, and nine assists in the Mavericks’ Game 1 loss to the Clippers Monday night and yet drew unfavorable comparisons to the Celtics’ Jayson Tatum (who had 32 points and 13 rebounds in the Celtics’ win over the 76ers.) Is Luka better or do they just funnel their offense …

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T.J. Warren: King of the NBA Bubble

T.J. Warren has been an absolute tour de force for the Indiana Pacers as the team has gone 4-1 in five games so far in the NBA’s restart, clinching the tiebreaker against the Philadelphia 76ers with a win to open the eight-game slate at Disney World and knocking off the championship favorite Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday night. Warren has cooked a 50 burger, dropping 53 points in that Sixers game, and he’s served up the fries and Coke with 34.8 points per game overall and four games with at least 32 points on the board, including 39 in that …

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The NBA is Back…but is the Level of Play Back?

After weeks of filling in the gaps in the posting schedule with some NBA history and a lot of waiting around, the “Whole New Game” relaunch of the coronavirus-delayed 2019-20 season started up last Thursday. And looking at the box scores, one of two things happened. Either the league’s offensive explosion never missed a beat…or the defensive level of play dipped to the level of an All-Star Game. There are some interesting theories kicking around the NBA Twitterverse about what’s going on—J.E. Skeets pointed out that referees are calling the games tighter because without the crowd noise to drown out …

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The Greatest Offensive Teams in NBA History

The second most-popular post in the history of this site, according to my analytics, is “The Greatest Defensive Teams in NBA History”, where I took a look at Defensive Rating relative to league average to crown teams like the Jeff Van Gundy-coached Knicks, glory-days Spurs, and the 2008 Celtics as owners of the greatest defensive seasons of all-time. More recently, the subject came up on Twitter about where the championship-winning Warriors in recent years or the Mike D’Antoni-coached Rockets rank among the greatest offensive seasons in NBA history. Sure, those guys keep shattering records year in and year out for …

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Just How Bad Was the 1940s NBA?

We take for granted the high-flying, athletic, 3-pointers-from-the-logo NBA of today, where fast-paced, efficient offenses lead to a game seemingly every night where the teams combine to score 250 points, whether it’s a 126-124 “whoever has it last wins” squeaker or a 149-101 blowout. But nearly 75 years ago, when the fledgling Basketball Association of America launched as a way to fill indoor arenas in between hockey games and before anyone could even imagine an entire nation of people going utterly stir crazy cooped up in the house with no sports to watch on TV, the quality of play was…atrocious? …

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The 2020 NBA Eastern Conference is Historically Bad

Since 1996-97, when the Los Angeles Clippers made the playoffs with a 36-46 record (and promptly got swept in the first round by the eventual Finals team in Utah), the Western Conference has sent zero teams to the playoffs with a losing record. In that same stretch of 22 full seasons, the East has sent 12 teams to the playoffs with a losing record, the worst of which was a plug-awful Boston Celtics team that went 36-46 with Mark Blount as their second-best player by VORP (1.7) and Raef LaFrentz as the team leader in WS/48 (.137; Paul Pierce put …

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No, Nancy Lieberman, Lonzo Ball Is Not 2020 Most Improved Player

The talking-head media world is full of plenty of hot takes, terrible takes, and terrible hot takes, but this take from Nancy Lieberman of Fox Sports might be the hottest and most “thass turrable” (thank you Charles Barkley) of them all. "If Lonzo Ball is not up for Most Improved Player in the NBA this year then, apparently, nobody has cable."@NancyLieberman drops knowledge on Lonzo's improvement this season.#WontBowDown pic.twitter.com/ChSiAFHGco — FOXSports NewOrleans (@FOXSportsNOLA) February 22, 2020 To be Most Improved Player, one must show improvement. This much ought to be obvious. Giannis Antetokounmpo won MIP when he made his leap …

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