Normally I do one post a day. But a few things have been posted around the web that I thought I would mention.
1. On-Line Win Score Stats
By far, this is the most important. Jason Chandler of NBA Babble and Win Score has created Win Score Stats, which is a site that will allow you to look up the Win Score and Wins Produced of every player in the NBA. No more waiting for me to post on your favorite team. Now you can just look up a player’s stats on your own. As Jason notes, there will be some variation between what he has and what I post in this forum. I do go through each team and attempt to ascertain exactly what position each player played. And as Jason notes, this is tedious. If anyone has a better approach, we are both open to suggestions.
2. More on the Iverson Story
The Nuggets have been 15-21 since acquiring Allen Iverson. They return to the old familiar pattern of winning some and lowing some. Streaks of winning are matched with streaks of losing back-to-back. Little progress has been made since Carmelo Anthony returned to the team on January 22.
Since the Iverson trade, the Sixers have gone 18-20. They started out 5-11 post-Iverson, but inserted Steven Hunter into the starting lineup and have since gone 13-9. Hunter missed one of those 9 losses while recovering from a dislocated finger.
Not only are the Sixers a better team without Iverson, the Nuggets appear to be no better with him. They were 13-9 after winning the infamous game in New York in which Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith were suspended. After winning the first game without their leading scorer, they acquired Iverson to hold down the fort in his place. The Answer didn’t arrive for the first game after the trade in which the Nuggets lost to the Kings, but his first game as a Nugget came in a 116-105 victory over the Boston Celtics. That put Denver at 15-10 on the season. Iverson kept the Nuggets together with a 6-7 stretch until Carmelo returned. They won their first 2 with ‘Melo and AI together, but then lost their next 4 to close out January. They were 6-7 in February and started out March 1-2. Currently, they hold a slim lead on the seventh spot in the West.
The 1-2 punch vs. the 1-5 punch doesn’t compare. ‘Melo and AI have not been able to translate their individual success to team success on the court, much as was the problem for Iverson and Webber here in Philadelphia. It just goes to show that one guy doesn’t make as much as a difference to a team as the team does to the player. Now that our team is looking to another AI to lead them, Andre Iguodala is stepping up and proving his worth. Just keep this in mind when you think about how badly the Sixers need a Greg Oden or Kevin Durant. The star player needs the support of his team as well, and the Sixers have refocused themselves to provide the right environment for winning. It will be exciting to see who gets added to the mix.
This is minor quibble with Burkett’s comment. The 76ers record when Iverson was traded was 5-19. Today it is 25-38. This means they are 20-18 since the trade. Despite this minor point, the big story remains the same. Philadelphia is better without Iverson. And the Nuggets appear worse. As I noted last week, though, I still expect Denver to play a bit better over their last 21 games.
3. The value of David Lee
Owen, again in the comments, has linked to a story by Ken Berger of Newsday. In Playoff push hurts without sixth man Lee, Berger notes the “intangibles” Lee has brought to the game. Intangible is defined as something that we cannot perceive with our senses. Lee’s primarily attributes, though, are his rebounding and shooting efficiency. These are items the people who track the stats seem to be able to perceive.
Berger’s use of the word “intangible” is not uncommon in basketball. In the 2006 NBA Finals the announcers used the same word to describe Adrian Griffin. Although the dictionary does not recognize this definition, in basketball the word “intangible” appears to mean “contributions that are not scoring.” In other words, a player’s tangible contribution is scoring, and intangible is everything else.
By the way, I think a post on the extension Isiah Thomas received would be a good idea.
4. And now something funny.
Rashad linked to this from the Onion Sports in the comments. One wonders if this will start a new trend in basketball. Given that scoring leads to more pay, getting an assistant to do everything else might be an optimal strategy.
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ—New Jersey Nets shooting guard Vince Carter announced Wednesday that he had hired an on-court assistant to handle all his non-scoring-related basketball duties. “I’m proud to introduce Miss Juliet Werner, who will be dribbling for me, setting my picks, attempting to get me steals, doing my passing, and all other manner of stuff that’s been getting in the way of my shot,” Carter said in a press conference held to introduce the 5’4″ Werner to the public. “Juliet will be my right hand, especially as I concentrate on dunking with my left in order to become a more complete player.” The NBA has not commented on Carter’s hiring of Werner except to say that, because she will be paid by Carter and not the Nets, her statistics will be treated as a subset of his.