What Steve Kerr and the Warriors Teach Us About Leadership

Steve Kerr let his Warriors players coach themselves in a game on national television (NBA TV) Monday night. It was exactly the kind of game where shaking things up a bit might prevent a disastrous Trap Game loss against a far weaker opponent. It worked. Golden State beat the Phoenix Suns 129-83. It also caused an uproar on Twitter and on the NBA TV broadcast itself. In particular, former Timberwolves coach Sam Mitchell took umbrage at the “disrespect” shown to the Suns: Steve Kerr let the @warriors players coach tonight. @CaseyStern, @SamMitchellNBA and @steve21smith broke it down. #FastBreak pic.twitter.com/sT0PhDNiC1 — …

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Blake Griffin Trade: How the Clippers Fleeced the Pistons

The Los Angeles Clippers traded Blake Griffin, along with Willie Reed and Brice Johnson, to the Detroit Pistons. In return, LA gets Tobias Harris, Avery Bradley, HERO OF SERBIA fan favorite Boban Marjanovic, a first-round pick, and a second-round pick. In other words, the Clips shipped out an oft-injured guy who hasn’t come close to playing a full season’s worth of games since 2014 and hasn’t made the All-Star Game since 2015, who is nearly 29, and whose scoring efficiency has cratered without Chris Paul getting him the ball. And they got back a defensive wizard who has played with …

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Offensive Rebounds Vs. Getting Back On Defense: Which Is More Effective?

There are two maxims in the NBA that are seemingly contradictory. To do one, you must concede the other. One is “you need to limit your opponent to one shot.” The other is “you need to get back on defense and prevent transition baskets.” After all, if you miss a shot and you’re getting back when the shot goes up, you have given the opponent the former…but if you crash the boards to try to get multiple shots on the possession, you’re vulnerable to a 2-on-1 or a 3-on-2 going the other way, especially in an age where more and …

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The Denver Nuggets: The NBA Friday Champions

Statistical anomalies are as much a part of data as anything else. Just because something has a tiny chance of actually happening doesn’t mean it never happens; just ask anyone who’s ever won the lottery. But a lottery is, ultimately, a large sample size. Hundreds of millions of people buy tickets, so something that has a hundreds-of-millions-to-one chance must happen eventually, sometimes after a dry spell that pumps the jackpot up over a billion dollars. And indeed, when you hear that there were three winners splitting one of those billion-dollar jackpots, it’s little more than a small piece of statistical …

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Does Lance Stephenson Justify His Minutes?

Nobody can question Lance Stephenson‘s value to the Indiana Pacers in terms of intangibles. He’s a locker room glue guy, a fan favorite, and one of the reasons the Pacers’ team chemistry is such a massive improvement over the joyless death march that was the last two years with Paul George as the clubhouse leader (were this the kind of publication that dealt in eye-test talk, I’d go into more detail on this, but just suffice to say that Myles Turner in particular has said more than once how much more fun it is playing basketball this season, and from …

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Using Point Differential To Project the 2018 NBA Playoffs: Western Conference

Click here for the breakdown for the East. OK, now that we’ve projected the East standings, let’s go ahead and do the same thing for the West. As a reminder, the methodology assumes that the factors (injuries, intangibles, player skill, all the normal variances of an NBA season) are going to remain constant, because we can’t predict how that stuff will shake out; we can only use the actual game results to extrapolate to the rest of the season. This is not a comprehensive crystal ball game. It’s a statistical test, no more, no less. Now then, the West standings through …

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Using Point Differential To Project the 2018 NBA Playoffs: Eastern Conference

(Click here for the Western Conference projections.) Roughly halfway through the 2017-18 season, we’ve seen a few surprises in the league, both good and bad. The Heat, Pistons, and Pacers have overachieved in the Eastern Conference, while Philly and Charlotte in particular have disappointed. Out West, the Thunder have fallen short of expectations, the bottom fell out on the Grizzlies, the Lakers remain a joke, and the Timberwolves find themselves on a 50-win pace by record. Part of this has been the unpredictability of any given NBA season; there are always surprises, often involving rookies who perform beyond anyone’s wildest expectations …

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Suck Faster: When Bad Teams Play Up-Tempo

Ask a casual NBA fan to guess which team plays at the fastest pace in the league and most of them would probably guess the Golden State Warriors or Houston Rockets, teams drilled in the principles of modern pace-and-space basketball, with Houston coached by the inimitable Mike D’Antoni, who might as well draw the two little arrows of the fast-forward symbol on the whiteboard during timeouts. This article originally appeared on January 25, 2017, and stats are as of that point in the 2016-17 season. They’re not bad guesses; the Warriors are second in pace (100.7, with all stats in …

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Just How Bad Are the Pacers Without Victor Oladipo?

The mere fact that the Indiana Pacers are 0-3 without Victor Oladipo in the lineup does not on its face tell us anything in particular; teams, even good teams, go on losing streaks. The Rockets just lost five in a row, after all, and they’re the third-best team in all of basketball by record, second if you go by the advanced point differential stats. Likewise, if Bojan Bogdanovic hadn’t gifted them a win, the Celtics would’ve suffered a three-game skid of their own right before Christmas. What we really want to measure in terms of Vic’s impact is just why …

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Why Are Great Rebounders On Bad Teams?

This may be a question that has an obvious answer. After all, if we ask “why are so many great rebounders on bad teams”, the knee-jerk answer is “because bad teams miss lots of shots, so there are more rebounds to be had.” Except that can’t be it…offensive rebounding percentage is at the lowest it’s been in history and it’s declining every year. The guys who lead the league are averaging a bunch of defensive rebounds. Let’s take a look at the league’s best rebounders, the teams they’re on, and try to draw a connection that ties them together. And …

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