* The win-loss record that wins produced would have predicted based on players' WP48 so far (ignores previous seasons).
** future games only -- takes current record as given
What if I came to you and said "I'm an expert predictor! Give me a 24 win range and I can tell you how well every team in the NBA will do?" Let me give you a practical example. I'm a Nuggets fan. Using the expert prediction skill I mentioned above, I will now make the following prediction:
Note from Patrick: If I occasionally indulge myself in a little Kahn-bashing, I have to let Dre get after Karl a little. What I find remarkable about Karl is how terrible he is in the playoffs. He gets away with a lot of awful rotations in the regular season and wins a lot of games because a) his opponents are playing deep rotations with plenty of crappy players too, because it is, after all, the regular season, and b) by definition half of your regular season games are against crappy teams.
There have been a few recurring themes for me during this NBA season. The first is that I ruthlessly attack anyone that promotes the meme that "small ball" is the optimal strategy in the modern game. The optimal strategy is to play your best 5. For the Heat, this means playing LBJ at the 4 so they can get Ray Allen/Shane Battier on the floor. For the Thunder, this sometimes means Durant at the 4 so they can get Martin on the floor more (and Perkins OFF the floor more). And this works because those teams have insanely talented 3s with the physical gifts to play the 4.
In an email, Arturo recently told me: "This is going to be a year where everyone gets it wrong. Lot's of great opportunities." And truly, I really wish there were a trip to Vegas in my near future. By the time I get there, the season will have started and the over/unders on win totals won't be available to bet on. I can think of at least 4 teams that the Vegas odds-makers have horribly wrong.
The other day I did the ten worst contracts of the season. It was a fairly big hit, and as usual, not everyone agreed with my picks. I expect more of the same today, as I pick the ten best.
Ok, one last follow-up on Kenneth Faried. Lately, I cannot help thinking that Kenneth Faried and Kevin Love both have a ton in common. Both players were insanely gifted rebounders in college. But everybody thought that they'd be "rotation players" at best. Both players then went on to be insanely gifted rebounders in the pros (SHOCKING! WHO COULD HAVE GUESSED!?) during their rookie seasons. And yet, both had trouble getting respect from pundits or minutes from their coach. Sure, this year, every commentating crew in the NBA loves to say "Kevin Love is the best power forward in the game". Real controversial there, now, pal. Some of us were saying so way back before the 2010-11 season. Most of you are the same buffoons who were skeptical about him even making the all-star team at all last year, even while watching him tear up your team for 25 & 15.
Before the season, in a podcast with FillingTheLanes, I decided not to pick Irving for Rookie of the Year, because I thought Faried was going to tear it up. And even the guys at FTL, who give me lots of shit when I deviate sharply from conventional wisdom, thought it was in interesting choice. I mean, nobody laughed at me with the typical "hahaha you noob!" I expect when I pick these guys. Unfortunately, I underestimated the idiocy of George Karl, who has not given him many minutes (until, like, every single Nugget got injured and forced his hand). So, consider this an open letter on Karl because I have to ask:
Well, in a word, George Karl. This opinion is likely shared by some of the hard-core Nuggets fans who follow me, like Dre (@nerdnumbers) from the Wages of Wins. It's an old familiar story, one I touched on yesterday: the biggest influence coaches have on the game is not magically turning losing shlubs into winners through their X's and O's; it's in recognizing talent, and playing the winners and benching the losers. And traditionally, George Karl has been pretty terrible at this. He has also historically had his hand forced by management (who took away Iverson and gave him Billups, and later took away Melo and gave him other productive players).
The NBA Season is ready to start on Christmas Day, the last couple of preseason games are being played as I write this up, and it's time for me to cater to every serious NBA fans love of season previews! The 2011 Geektastic Preview is going to be way too large for one article, so I'm dividing it up into divisions (and even so, it's going to be long, so get a cup of coffee!). I start things off today with the Northwest Division, from worst to first.
The NBA Season is ready to start on Christmas Day, the last couple of preseason games are being played as I write this up, and it's time for me to cater to every serious NBA fans love of season previews! The 2011 Geektastic Preview is going to be way too large for one article, so I'm dividing it up into divisions (and even so, it's going to be long, so get a cup of coffee!). In this article I'm going to preview the Denver Nuggets, who I think are poised to shock a hell of a lot of pundits this season.
There's a piece over at ESPN by Kevin Arnovitz today on the virtues of tanking rather than fielding a competitive-but-not-championship team. It's setting a new record for "points I disagree with."
I'm calling them guesses, not predictions, because this way if I'm completely wrong, I won't look as stupid.