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Blogcat's Take, 4/18


First of all, shout-out to Hardwood Paroxysm for their recent elegy of the Hornets season. It was well written, funny, and kind; in other words, it was everything that my articles aren’t. I say “kind” because the article repeatedly gives the Hornets props for trying this year, which in this day and age is not a trivial achievement. I often lose sight of this fact myself (and by “often” I mean “whenever I’m not drunk”), but it’s totally true. Starting with the Al Jefferson signing 2 years ago, continuing with the unsuccessful pursuit of Gordon Hayward, leading to the even more unsuccessful acquisition of Lance Stephenson, and eventually culminating with the $15M per year that I’m sure we’re about to hand over to Jeff Green, this team is on a trying-to-win streak. It hasn’t resulted in an actual winning streak, but as a fan whose heart has always had more sway than his brain, I know I never want to go through another 2012 season again. As dispiriting as this season was, it was nothing like the cataclysm of 2012, or even the following season, and I would stick to that statement even if you strapped me down, bolted my eyes open, Clockwork Orange-style, and forced me to watch 48 straight hours of Lance Stephenson footage in which he dribbles 10 times before chucking up a contested 18-footer. You know why? Because I’ve seen Tyrus Thomas play, man, and I’ve seen him play the way some guys have seen ‘Nam.

All right, onto today’s topic: in which position did the Hornets suck the most in 2014-15? Like many of you, I’m tempted to just knee-jerk “Lance Stephenson” as my response, even though, technically, he’s not a position—unless we’re talking about the position of “fetal.” But to be more objective, I just did what I like to do at the end of every season (right after I pout, cry, and briefly fantasize about moving to a country that’s never heard of basketball, such as Chad): I checked out the Hornets win-shares by position in Basketball-Reference.com. Of course there’s many ways to do this, but I like win-shares because they count both offense and defense, AND they’re cumulative stats—in other words, total minutes played matters. Here are the results below:


Posted Image

To start with the positive, center was our best overall position. Actually, I’m not sure if it’s “positive” so much as “bizarre,” or perhaps BIZarre. As someone who exposed himself to so much Primoz Brezec in his younger days that I’m legitimately worried about it now (the way some aging metal heads are worried that all of those Slayer concerts they went to in their 20s are going to lead to tinnitus), it’s still amazing to see center considered to be the least of our worries. Actually, forget about Brezec (not possible for those shattered souls who’ve seen him, I know, but for a second pretend like you can forget about him) and consider that Bismack Biyombo just polished off a 64-game, 1,200+ minute season for us, and again, center is the least of our problems. Now two full years into his zany journey of not touching the ball on offense unless it’s an absolute emergency, Biz is a complete aberration as far as I can tell; he’s Charles Barkley’s wet dream of an example of how advanced stats are useless. Although the advanced stats don’t love Biz, they definitely are in a long term stable relationship with him, because—one more time—they’re telling us that center is the least of our problems.

The greatest of our problems is shooting guard—but it’s really Lance Stephenson, who contributed an absolutely astonishing -2.8 offensive win-shares, and whose overall -0.9 win-shares is literally, no-filters-necessary, the worst in the entire league. Maybe he really should be his own position. But I don’t want to bash Lance Stephenson anymore—or for at least another few days or so. Only King Joffrey would beat this dead horse harder than I and everyone else have. So let’s look at the secretly rotten 3-slot, which was only mildly better than SG. It might not have been the Suck Classic that was shooting guard, but it was definitely Diet Suck.

The biggest problem here is actually accounting: I have to pick one position for each person, and I only have Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Jeffery Taylor down as the true small forwards. And given how little Taylor played, the total SF production is almost entirely MKG’s. Obviously some of the other guys covered down for MKG when he was out of the lineup besides Taylor, but I can’t do partial positional breakouts of win-shares. On the other hand, if I accounted for the time Stephenson put in at the 3, I would actually be dragging it down further. So that’s really the core takeaway here: we have a lack of depth at small forward. Gilchrist as an individual was fine; his 3.8 win-shares rank in the upper 25% of the entire league. But he can’t do it alone, and we can probably pencil him in for missing 15-25 games a year for ankle sprains, broken arms, and crushed spleens, etc., as MKG comes up with new and ever more inventive ways to catastrophically injure himself.

Thus, we have to hope for some improvement from Taylor, and I don’t know about you, but I was less than encouraged by what little I saw this year. On a per-minute basis, Taylor’s win-shares were only ahead of PJ Hairston and…guess-who. At 6-7” and a svelte 225 lbs., Taylor definitely looks the part. He just can’t seem to shoot, dribble, or guard the part. I keep thinking back to that atrocity he had against Avery Bradley and the Celtics on March 30th, in which the team collectively but Taylor specifically was blistered like a genital wart. Taylor was so unbelievably bad in that game on both ends (per Basketball-Reference.com, on a per-100-basis, Boston outscored us 130-82 with JT on the court), that he did the unthinkable and had me crying out for coach Clifford to sub-in with Lance. Granted Taylor’s season was derailed by injuries, both to himself and to a female (and apparently to some property that he “maliciously destroyed”), so I don’t want to place too much stock in his performance. But assuming that the team retains both Henderson (player option) and Biz (UFA), we need a sharpshooting forward in free agency and/or the draft, because it’s a strong nominee for the Worst of 2015, Non-Lance Category.

(Reminder: Please don’t forget to check out my e-book at the following link)
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  • 1 Comments

    First of all, shout-out to Hardwood Paroxysm for their recent elegy of the Hornets season. It was well written, funny, and kind; in other words, it was everything that my articles aren’t. I say “kind” because the article repeatedly gives the Hornets props for trying this year, which in this day and age is not a trivial achievement. I often lose sight of this fact myself (and by “often” I mean “whenever I’m not drunk”), but it’s totally true. Starting with the Al Jefferson signing 2 years ago, continuing with the unsuccessful pursuit of Gordon Hayward, leading to the even more unsuccessful acquisition of Lance Stephenson, and eventually culminating with the $15M per year that I’m sure we’re about to hand over to Jeff Green, this team is on a trying-to-win streak. It hasn’t resulted in an actual winning streak, but as a fan whose heart has always had more sway than his brain, I know I never want to go through another 2012 season again. As dispiriting as this season was, it was nothing like the cataclysm of 2012, or even the following season, and I would stick to that statement even if you strapped me down, bolted my eyes open, Clockwork Orange-style, and forced me to watch 48 straight hours of Lance Stephenson footage in which he dribbles 10 times before chucking up a contested 18-footer. You know why? Because I’ve seen Tyrus Thomas play, man, and I’ve seen him play the way some guys have seen ‘Nam.

    All right, onto today’s topic: in which position did the Hornets suck the most in 2014-15? Like many of you, I’m tempted to just knee-jerk “Lance Stephenson” as my response, even though, technically, he’s not a position—unless we’re talking about the position of “fetal.” But to be more objective, I just did what I like to do at the end of every season (right after I pout, cry, and briefly fantasize about moving to a country that’s never heard of basketball, such as Chad): I checked out the Hornets win-shares by position in Basketball-Reference.com. Of course there’s many ways to do this, but I like win-shares because they count both offense and defense, AND they’re cumulative stats—in other words, total minutes played matters. Here are the results below:


    blogcat3.jpg

    To start with the positive, center was our best overall position. Actually, I’m not sure if it’s “positive” so much as “bizarre,” or perhaps BIZarre. As someone who exposed himself to so much Primoz Brezec in his younger days that I’m legitimately worried about it now (the way some aging metal heads are worried that all of those Slayer concerts they went to in their 20s are going to lead to tinnitus), it’s still amazing to see center considered to be the least of our worries. Actually, forget about Brezec (not possible for those shattered souls who’ve seen him, I know, but for a second pretend like you can forget about him) and consider that Bismack Biyombo just polished off a 64-game, 1,200+ minute season for us, and again, center is the least of our problems. Now two full years into his zany journey of not touching the ball on offense unless it’s an absolute emergency, Biz is a complete aberration as far as I can tell; he’s Charles Barkley’s wet dream of an example of how advanced stats are useless. Although the advanced stats don’t love Biz, they definitely are in a long term stable relationship with him, because—one more time—they’re telling us that center is the least of our problems.

    The greatest of our problems is shooting guard—but it’s really Lance Stephenson, who contributed an absolutely astonishing -2.8 offensive win-shares, and whose overall -0.9 win-shares is literally, no-filters-necessary, the worst in the entire league. Maybe he really should be his own position. But I don’t want to bash Lance Stephenson anymore—or for at least another few days or so. Only King Joffrey would beat this dead horse harder than I and everyone else have. So let’s look at the secretly rotten 3-slot, which was only mildly better than SG. It might not have been the Suck Classic that was shooting guard, but it was definitely Diet Suck.

    The biggest problem here is actually accounting: I have to pick one position for each person, and I only have Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Jeffery Taylor down as the true small forwards. And given how little Taylor played, the total SF production is almost entirely MKG’s. Obviously some of the other guys covered down for MKG when he was out of the lineup besides Taylor, but I can’t do partial positional breakouts of win-shares. On the other hand, if I accounted for the time Stephenson put in at the 3, I would actually be dragging it down further. So that’s really the core takeaway here: we have a lack of depth at small forward. Gilchrist as an individual was fine; his 3.8 win-shares rank in the upper 25% of the entire league. But he can’t do it alone, and we can probably pencil him in for missing 15-25 games a year for ankle sprains, broken arms, and crushed spleens, etc., as MKG comes up with new and ever more inventive ways to catastrophically injure himself.

    Thus, we have to hope for some improvement from Taylor, and I don’t know about you, but I was less than encouraged by what little I saw this year. On a per-minute basis, Taylor’s win-shares were only ahead of PJ Hairston and…guess-who. At 6-7” and a svelte 225 lbs., Taylor definitely looks the part. He just can’t seem to shoot, dribble, or guard the part. I keep thinking back to that atrocity he had against Avery Bradley and the Celtics on March 30th, in which the team collectively but Taylor specifically was blistered like a genital wart. Taylor was so unbelievably bad in that game on both ends (per Basketball-Reference.com, on a per-100-basis, Boston outscored us 130-82 with JT on the court), that he did the unthinkable and had me crying out for coach Clifford to sub-in with Lance. Granted Taylor’s season was derailed by injuries, both to himself and to a female (and apparently to some property that he “maliciously destroyed”), so I don’t want to place too much stock in his performance. But assuming that the team retains both Henderson (player option) and Biz (UFA), we need a sharpshooting forward in free agency and/or the draft, because it’s a strong nominee for the Worst of 2015, Non-Lance Category.

    (Reminder: Please don’t forget to check out my e-book at the following link)
    (Other Reminder: Please follow me on Twitter here)

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    I'd have to watch the game again but don't think JT guarded Bradley.  We went primarily with our 3 guards Kemba-GH-Mo against Bostons Bradley-Smart-IT.  And think you may be using the ORtg wrong.  Its an estimate based on player efficiency with a usage caveat.  JT 2-6, 5 pts, 82 ORtg.  MO 6-17, 19 pts, 90 ORtg.  Biz was 2-2, 5 pts, 178 ORtg.  Maxiel 3-5 6 pts 154 ORtg, Marvin 4-6, 10 pts, 154 ORtg.





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