Fans vs. coaches in picking NBA talent

I recently wrote an article about how the fans made a few mistakes picking their NBA All-Stars. Yesterday, I put up an article pointing out how the coaches made a few mistakes picking the NBA reserves. The point I took with the coaches is that the coaches are supposed to be better judges of talent. A weird thing came up while I was comparing the two articles.

Now I know the criteria for picking All-Star candidates is a bit rough. The filters I used were 20+ games played, 25+ minutes per game and looking at the top WP48 in each category (Guard, Forward, Center) (as of February 10th 2012 via the NBA Geek). How did the fans vs. the coaches do when picking talent?


I’ll get some flack here. Neither Paul or Wade made my cut for 20 games. Had I used 17 games as the cutoff point (Wade’s number of games) then Paul would be ranked #1 out of guards in the league and Wade would be ranked #13

Verdict: Fans

Despite the fans irrational love of Kobe and their desire to mess with my predetermined cutoffs they did a pretty good job picking guards. Paul and Rose were both top 10 and Wade in spite of a bad start is still top 15. The coaches apparently have no clue which players are good in the backcourt. Ray Allen, Kyle Lowry, Landry Fields and Ricky Rubio were all snubbed in the name of high points per game.

Verdict: Coaches

This was was barely in the coaches favor. They did great picking three players in the top ten. Aldridge, Deng and Bosh are all iffy picks especially given some great play out of Paul Millsap and Ryan Anderson. Johnson and Nowitzki are just plain off. Of course the fans also picked Melo. Anyway small edge to the coaches, who picked 5-8 of their players in the top 20, compared to 2-4 for the fans.


Verdict: Fans

The fans picked the second best center in terms of per minute play in both conference. Essentially they decided they’d rather see Howard than Chandler and Bynum and DeAndre Jordan. The coaches though, did much worse. Gasol was the third best center available and the fourth best in the West (Gortat would have been a better option). Out east Hibbert in front of Chandler is a travesty. In front of Noah is even more perplexing as they gave Deng a nod. Add in a revived Varejao and an amazing Greg Monroe and the coaches show they have no clue on top centers in the league.

The fans win?

There are a few things to consider. The fans got first pick. We can say “Of course the coaches would have picked LeBron and Paul!” But that’s part of the point. The fans left enough of the best and brightest in the league open for the coaches to pick and the coaches missed on way too many of them. I’m not a fan of the eye test for judging basketball. That said, it’s a bit startling that the eye test seems to be a better judge of NBA talent than the people actually paid to judge NBA talent.



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