By: Landon Jaeger
With the recent dismissal of New York Knicks’ coach David Fizdale, there has been outrage among many NBA coaches and fans alike, calling for more blame on the front office of the Knicks rather than Fizdale. Respected coaches Steve Kerr and Gregg Popovich came to Fizdale’s defense stating, “If I had gone to New York that would have been me like three years ago” and, “He’s a fine, talented young coach… it’s ridiculous to think you’re gonna bring in a young guy and after being there a minute-and-a-half, you expect him to fix everything” respectively. Fizdale’s firing was called for after a 4-18 start, even worse than a 7-15 start through 22 games in the 2018-19 season. Despite spending upwards of 70 million and the acquisition of 3rd overall pick RJ Barrett during the 2019 offseason, the Knicks have seemed to get even worse, as their record indicates, and have lost their last two games by a combined 81 points (on the date of Fizdale’s dismissal). The Knicks’ organization has appointed Mike Miller as the interim coach (no, not that Mike Miller, yes the 2017-18 G League Coach of the Year Mike Miller), and seem to have no current direction. Amongst all the noise from the NBA community, I’m here to tell you why firing Fizdale, while not fixing the New York Knicks’ dysfunctional organization, was the right decision. Continue reading “Why David Fizdale’s Firing was the Right Move”
By: Evan Barone
Reading Time: 5 minutes
In the draft, every NBA front office is searching for that edge. While there are relatively tangible attributes that all teams look at to judge a player, such as shooting ability or athletic prowess, talent evaluators often try to look beyond the numbers for an indication that a particular player is destined for greatness. This usually comes in the form of “intangibles,” a player’s overall mindset. One rationale that has been pervasive throughout the NBA community is that X player is going to be great because “he’s just a winner.”
Continue reading “Drafting a “Winner”: Does the NBA Overvalue NCAA Champions in the Draft?”
By: Thomas O’Farrell
Reading Time: 7 minutes
In the early 1900’s, baseball was ruled by the small ball era. Players bunted, stole, and sacrificed their way into a few runs every game. This was until 1920, when Babe Ruth hit 29 homeruns, one less than the next three closest combined. One year later, Babe Ruth hit 54 homeruns, shattering his own record by an unfathomable amount. The record seemed untouchable by any other player, but the trend of the league was changing, and teams were quickly adjusting to embrace the longball. When Babe Ruth set his career high of 60, second place was 47 homeruns from his teammate Lou Gehrig. But even though teams were hitting more home runs than ever, Babe Ruth was so far ahead of his competition that it took years for his record to finally fall. It was not until 34 years later that Roger Maris finally unseated him, hitting 61.
Continue reading “Chasing 403: How Long Will Steph’s 3-Point Record Stand?”
By Evan Barone and Kees Van Hemmen
There’s no other way to say it: the Chicago Bulls are better off than half the league. The Phoenix Suns are better off than half the league. Even the Nets – the Brooklyn Nets – are better off than half the teams in the NBA. Let’s get a little more specific: what we mean to say is that, if a team’s goal is to win the championship, the worst thing that team can possibly be is average. This is not because winning on its own is a negative; it is because the NBA’s talent acquisition system–the draft lottery–is set up to reward teams that perform horribly. The best players on championship teams are disproportionately taken at the top end of the draft.
Continue reading “Going to Extremes: Building a Winner in the Modern NBA”
By: Ryan Kelly
Reading Time: 8 minutes
After the Indians took an early exit from the playoffs at the hands of the Bronx Bombers, I thought it appropriate to look back at their first-place regular season finish in remembrance of the season that was. When looking back, one thing comes to mind: the streak. From August 24th to September 14th, Cleveland rattled off a remarkable 22 straight wins, breaking the 2002 Oakland Athletics American League win streak under the orchestration of Mr. Moneyball, Billy Beane. As I sat in my dorm room and watched the improbable, come-from-behind 22nd victory against the Royals, I thought to myself just how dominant Cleveland seemed to be over this four-week stretch. But how historically dominant were they? Where does this remarkable stretch stack up against some of the greatest win streaks in the history of American professional sports?
Continue reading “Catch 22: Assessing the Dominance of the Indians Historic Win Streak”
By Daniel Lowe
Reading Time: 5 minutes
We are witnessing a change in the way the NBA is played. In the 2016-17 season, the overall rate of three-point attempts and average offensive rating were both the highest that they have been in NBA history. NBA offenses are becoming more effective, and improvements are driven by a radical shift in style of play. Teams like the Warriors and the Rockets are spreading the floor to an extent never seen before, and it’s working. It’s becoming clear that spacing, ball movement, and efficient shot selection is the way forward in the NBA. Continue reading “Can Centers Dunk Their Way to Efficiency?”
By Michael Rochlis
Reading Time: 5 minutes
In the relationship between college basketball and the National Basketball Association, an interesting dynamic exists. Often, the best college basketball players in the country are seniors—48 of the last 110 Wooden Award All American Team members from 2006 to 2016 were in their final year of eligibility—but that on-the-court success in college doesn’t typically translate to higher draft positions in the NBA draft. In the drafts from 2006-2016, only 17.6% of all players drafted in the first round played through their senior year in college. This difference represents a clear divide between who the best players are at the college level versus which players are seen as the most valuable upon declaring for the draft. Continue reading “Assessing the True NBA Draft Value of Non-Lottery Seniors”