Bucks Diary

Friday, November 30, 2007

Nice effort, Knickerbockers! And I'm drunk!

Correction: This story says the Knicks and Celtics played at MSG. Apparently, they were playing in Boston, but the Knicks were wearing their home unis.

So I got home from watching the Packers-Cowboys game last night and I wanted to do my PVOA NBA calculations.

Well first, let me first comment on the Packers. I don't know why any Packer fan should be anything but giddy after last night because they basically proved that they have a future past Brett Favre. That is the greatest news any Cheesehead could ever receive. They have the youngest team in the NFL, and they clearly have a future past Favre. World Title number 13 is on its way.

Anyway, back to the Association. So, I want to do these stupid calculations so I can keep them up-to-date (for the 4 people who enjoy reading them), and I look on the NBA.com scoreboard and I see that there is only one non-West Coast game available: New York Knicks vs. Boston Celtics. So I'm thinking "Cool, I'll quick do the calculations for that game and get to bed." Right?

Well, I look at the score and I see that the Knicks have only 59 points. But the NBA.com scoreboard says "Final". But I'm thinking "That can't be right". 59 points is not a final score, unless we're talking Iowa women's halfcourt highschool ball. (Mind you, I have had a few PBRs at this point, so that's clouding my thinking big time, NBA fans.) So I keep incessantly hitting that stupid refresh button. F5... F5...F5... same deal everytime. It still says New York "59".

Then I notice it also says that the Celts have "104". So I'm thinking "Holy shit, that is a final!!". The Celtics held the Knicks, at Madison Square Garden, to 59 fucking points! Un-fucking-believable!! That's a peach basket score, boys and girls!!

So, now that I knew I have a final, I did my PVOA calculations for that game. (I'll refresh the other numbers for the other two West Coast games by morning. By the time you read this they should already be there.) With that performance, the Celtics have basically assured themselves the top spot in my PVOA power rankings for the next couple of weeks with their cumulative +44.55 performance. Unbelievable dominance. Also, as it stands right now, the Warriors are vindicating my high ranking for them and so are the Lakers.

Another note, as bad as the Knicks offensive performance was, by PVOA standards it wasn't the worst of the year, as I believe the Heat had one in the -30s, and that too was at MSG earlier this year. And I think the Bulls have had a couple of worse offensive performances. Anyway, I gotta get to bed. Go Bucks!

PVOA offensive performances

1. Los Angeles Lakers...+22.45
2. Golden State Warriors...+13.6
3. Boston Celtics...+11.35
4. Denver Nuggets...-9.36
5. Houston Rockets...-14.00
6. New York Knickerbockers...-29.67

PVOA defensive performances

1. Boston Celtics...-33.20
2. Los Angeles Lakers...-10.41
3. Golden State Warriors...-8.10
4. Houston Rockets...+4.64
5. New York Knickerbockers...+10.50
6. Denver Nuggets...+12.94

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Eff48 Boxscore: Bucks v. Hawks

Here is last night's Eff48 boxscore from the Bucks vs. the Hawks. The Bucks had the more efficiently productive players, but they fell way short in the game, because the Hawks had more depth. Below the boxscore are the Studs and the Duds from around the Association last night.

Milwaukee Bucks...80

M. Williams...35.69

Atlanta Hawks...98

J. Smith...21.07
J. Johnson...18.46
A. Johnson...14.40

Eff48 NBA Studs (min: 30 m/g)

Tony Parker, SA Spurs...53.48
Dwight Howard, Orl Magic...52.68
Dirk Nowitzki, Dall Mavs...49.37

Eff48 NBA Duds (min: 30 m/g)

Leandro Barbosa, Pho Suns...1.41
Josh Howard, Dall Mavs...6.00
Rashard Lewis, Orl Magic...6.00

PVOA splits from Wed's NBA scoreboard

Here are the PVOA calculation numbers from last night's 10 NBA contests. Detroit had a great night, but their numbers are obviously skewed by LeBron's second half absence with a hangnail..err... jammed non-shooting hand. LeBron did look very 70s in that turtleneck/blazer combination. Very Bert Convy. As for the Bucks, they stunk it up again last night, showing zero energy throughout their extremely boring contest with the Atlanta Hawks. Here are all the rest of the numbers:

PVOA offensive performances

1. Detroit Pistons...+17.07
2. San Antonio Spurs...+16.46
3. Utah Jazz...+14.82
4. Dallas Mavericks...+6.52
5. Atlanta Hawks...+5.52
6. Minnesota Timberwolves...+3.02
7. Washington Bullets...+3.56
8. Minnesota Timberwolves...+3.02
9. Philadelphia Sixers...2.01
10. Houston Rockets...+0.50
11. Orlando Magic...-0.39
12. Memphis Grizzlies...-1.78
13. Phoenix Suns...-4.12
14. Indiana Pacers...-5.91
15. Seattle Sonics...-8.44
16. Golden State Warriors...-13.9
17. Milwaukee Bucks...-14.54
18. Portland Trailblazers...-15.56
19. Cleveland Cavaliers...-15.93
20. Sacramento Kings...-18.10

PVOA defensive performances

1. Detroit Pistons...-18.53
2. Houston Rockets...-14.90
3. Atlanta Hawks...-14.57
4. Golden State Warriors...-13.01
5. Sacramento Kings...-11.84
6. Indiana Pacers...-10.67
7. Dallas Mavericks...-6.79
8. Orlando Magic...-6.44
9. Toronto Raptors...-5.38
10. Portland Trailblazers...-2.17
11. San Antonio Spurs...-0.82
12. Phoenix Suns...-0.46
13. Seattle Sonics...-0.39
14. Utah Jazz...+4.87
15. Minnesota Twolves...+5.59
16. Memphis Grizzlies...+5.84
17. Milwaukee Bucks...+8.05
18. Philadelphia Sixers...+8.62
19. Washington Bullets...+12.14
20. Cleveland Cavaliers...+17.07

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Bucks Diary Eff48 Boxscore: Sixers v Bucks

Here's the Eff48 boxscore from last night's debacle between our Milwaukee Bucks and the Philadelphia Sixers. Please notice how many Sixers -- an otherwise lousy offensive team -- were permitted to perform in the +30 range. Also, please compare Andrew Bogut's and Desmond Mason's evenings against their counterparts from the City of Brotherly Love.

Milwaukee Bucks 98


Philadelphia 76ers 114

L. Williams...21.99
J. Smith...19.20

Last night's Eff48 Studs and Duds (minimum: 30+ mp)


Kobe Bean Bryant, LA Lakers...46.62
LeBron James, Clev Cavs...42.78
Vince Carter, NJ Nets...42.00


Daniel Gibson, Clev Cavs...4.08
Damien Wilkins, Sea Sonics...7.74
Jeff Green, Sea Sonics...7.85

Bucks look bad at the Brad

The Bucks, obviously, put forward a pathetic defensive effort last night at the Bradley Center. They allowed one of the worst offensive teams in the Association to score 114 points on 89 possessions, when that team would normally score only about 88 points on that many possessions. As I said, pathetic.

The offense, on the other hand, was pretty good. Philadelphia has a stingy defense, and the Bucks still got nearly 10 points more than the average team has been getting off of them in the given number of possessions. But, the Bucks defense simply dug too deep a hole by allowing way too many unabated dunks and lay-ups.

As for individual performances, Bad Andy Bogut definitely showed up last night. How many times was he beaten down the court by Sixers center Samuel Dalembert for easy dunk shots? And he couldn't get any of his own offense going. The team was -25 points with him on the floor.

Here are all the PVOA calculations from last night's seven game NBA scoreboard, 11-27-07.

PVOA offensive performances

1. Philadelphia 76ers...+18.51
2. Miami Heat...+15.87
3. Cleveland Cavaliers...+14.11
4. Memphis Grizzlies...+11.03
5. Milwaukee Bucks...+9.26
6. Los Angeles Lakers...+2.62
7. Indiana Pacers...-2.16
8. Seattle Supersonics...-4.29
9. Boston Celtics...-4.82
10. New Jersey Nets...-5.15
11. Charlotte Bobcats...-5.33
12. Chicago Bulls...-5.95
13. Atlanta Hawks...-9.92
14. Denver Nuggets...-12.75

PVOA defensive performances

1. Chicago Bulls...-11.64
2. Indiana Pacers...-10.45
3. Denver Nuggets...-7.93
4. Cleveland Cavaliers...-7.84
5. Miami Heat...-4.41
6. Los Angeles Lakers...-0.32
7. Boston Celtics...+3.24
8. Seattle Supersonics...+3.57
9. Philadelphia Sixers...+5.78
10. New Jersey Nets...+7.19
11. Atlanta Hawks...+8.39
12. Memphis Grizzlies...+9.45
13. Charlotte Bobcats...+23.04
14. Milwaukee Bucks...+26.54

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Bucks Diary PVOA from 11-26 games

I'm going to try to calculate the PVOA performances for each game played either before bed or right away the next morning and post them up here. That will save me work over the weekend when I calculate the overall Power Rankings.

I don't know if anyone gets anything out of these numbers, but they fascinate the hell out of me. They give me a good measuring stick of how a team actually performed on both sides of the court, regardless of opposition. Also, if one team has a negative PVOA offensive average and yet ends up with a dramatically positive offensive PVOA for the game (the Knicks), while their opposition has a negative PVOA defensive average and yet ends up with a dramatically positive defensive PVOA (the Jazz), and the latter team is coming off a tough game in Detroit... you can assume that team probably didn't give their best defensive effort in that particular game.

Anyway, here's what happened for the scoreboard of 7 games played last night.

PVOA offensive performances

1. Golden State Warriors...+21.45
2. New York Knicks...+19.56
3. Sacramento Kings...+19.05
4. Washington Bullets...+9.24
5. Utah Jazz...+7.73
6. Minnesota Twolves...+3.89
7. Phoenix Suns...-0.95
8. San Antonio Spurs...-3.81
9. Dallas Mavericks...-4.46
10. Houston Rockets...-6.29
11. Orlando Magic...-11.44
12. New Orleans Hornets...-15.00
13. Portland Trailblazers...-19.44
14. LA Clippers...-21.92

PVOA defensive performances

1. Houston Rockets...-21.92
2. Orlando Magic...-19.44
3. Portland Trailblazers...-12.32
4. Minnesota Timberwolves...-10.09
5. Washington Bullets...-9.25
6. Sacramento Kings...-9.18
7. Los Angeles Clippers...-5.39
8. New Orleans Hornets...-3.89
9. Golden State Warriors...+0.08
10. New York Knicks...+6.80
11. Dallas Mavericks...+7.32
12. Phoenix Suns...+14.00
13. San Antonio Spurs...+16.32
14. Utah Jazz...+19.56


Let's see, the Twolves beat the Hornets with Chris Paul in New Orleans two weeks after I watched the Hornets crush the Twolves without Chris Paul in Minneapolis... the Kings beat the Spurs decisively... the Knicks beat the Jazz the night after the Jazz whupped up on the Pistons... the Warriors beat the Suns decisively... the Bullets beat the Mavs in Dallas and decisively... If last night's results didn't teach you never to bet on the NBA board -- especially on a weeknight -- nothing ever will... You never know when a team and/or teams will decide to take the night off... Defensively, PVOA shows that the Spurs have taken the last two nights off.

Can't figure out Mo Williams' numbers

There are a lot of statistical Luddites who read this site and get really mad at me if I point out a set of numbers that don't jibe with their beliefs. I've never understood this position. Numbers are merely evidence from which the truth can be derived -- they are never "the truth" in and of themselves. Its pointless to simply "stop looking at them" as its been suggested I do.

That said, I can't make heads or tails of the negative numbers attached to Bucks point guard Mo Williams by 82games. Their statistics show that the Bucks are much better off with Mo on the bench. The team's defense is far better, and its offense is slightly better, when he's off the court. His PER rating is amongst the worst on the team.

In this case, however, I don't believe the numbers... or I think they represent a time lag. Mo played horribly at the beginning of the season, and that may be what is being reflected. I don't think they reflect the way he is playing at present.

Indeed, if you look at Mo's direct numbers of late, they're just fine. His assists are up, his shots per minute are down, and he's holding his defensive covers to a low eFG%. I think he's doing just fine, and if he keeps it up I think his on/off court numbers should reflect that soon enough.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Which NBA teams play the best/worst offense and defense?

Here's my crack at identifying the best performing offenses and defenses in the National Basketball Association to date, based on my PVOA formula. Click on the red words for an explanation of the formula. The numbers next to each team are their per game PVOA averages. Those averages are calculated through yesterday's games, 11-25-07.

Top NBA offenses by PVOA

1. San Antonio Spurs...+6.64
2. Dallas Mavericks...+5.57
3. Boston Celtics...+5.39
4. Los Angeles Lakers...+5.10
5. Orlando Magic...+5.02
6. Golden State Warriors...+3.92
7. Toronto Raptors...+3.50
8. Phoenix Suns...+3.47
9. Memphis Grizzlies...+2.67
10. Washington Bullets...+2.23
11. Detroit Pistons...+1.96
12. Milwaukee Bucks...+1.27
13. New Orleans Hornets...+1.06
14. Utah Jazz... +1.00
15. Indiana Pacers...+0.71
16. Charlotte Bobcats...-0.24
17. Portland Trailblazers...-0.41
18. Houston Rockets...-0.93
19. Cleveland Cavaliers...-1.06
20. Atlanta Hawks...-1.25
21. Sacramento Kings...-2.12
22. Denver Nuggets...-3.02
23. Los Angeles Clippers...-4.36
24. Minnesota Timberwolves...-6.01
25. Miami Heat...-6.28
26. Philadelphia 76ers...-6.54
27. New Jersey Nets...-6.72
28. Seattle Supersonics...-7.05
29. New York Knicks...-7.11
30. Chicago Bulls...-11.21

Top NBA Defenses by PVOA

1. Boston Celtics...-6.62
2. Houston Rockets...-4.97
3. Denver Nuggets...-3.71
4. Utah Jazz...-3.63
5. Chicago Bulls...-3.59
6. New Orleans Hornets...-3.39
7. Orlando Magic...-3.23
8. San Antonio Spurs...-2.65
9. Miami Heat...-2.59
10. Phoenix Suns...-2.12
11. Los Angeles Lakers...-2.10
12. Philadelphia 76ers...-1.71
13. New Jersey Nets...-1.57
14. Cleveland Cavaliers...-1.31
15. Charlotte Bobcats...-0.68
16. Detroit Pistons...-0.66
17. Los Angeles Clippers...-0.30
18. Toronto Raptors...-0.24
19. Indiana Pacers...+0.75
20. Portland Trailblazers...+1.65
21. Dallas Mavericks...+1.72
22. Atlanta Hawks...+1.90
23. Milwaukee Bucks...+2.01
24. Sacramento Kings...+2.08
25. Washington Bullets...+2.21
26. New York Knicks...+3.18
27. Seattle Supersonics...+3.33
28. Golden State Warriors...+3.42
29. Minnesota Timberwolves...+3.52
30. Memphis Grizzlies...+4.26


I was surprised at how proficient the Spurs are on offense so far this season -- you always think of them as a grind it out defensive squad... Some average and average-to-bad teams are just average all around (Pacers, Cavaliers) whereas other teams are simply unbalanced (Bucks, Grizzlies, Bullets, Warriors, 76ers, etc.)... The Mavericks need to tighten up their defense if they are going to make a run at an NBA championship... The Celtics look like the real deal, because they are getting it done on defense... The Pistons are a funny team, they keep fading on both sides of the court... Seattle was actually playing good defense early on this season, but now that has bottomed out as well... Some teams don't fit their stereotype, e.g. the Nuggets -- my image of them is an offensive team that plays no D, but my numbers say its just the opposite... Chicago is playing excellent defense, which suggests their effort isn't lacking -- they just have no one who can come close to scoring the ball... The Bucks are getting it done with offense -- their last five games have all been above average offensively -- but their defense isn't quite where I think Coach K wants it to be... It's not bad, its just inconsistent.

PVOA splits from Sunday's NBA schedule

Below are the PVOA offense/defense splits from yesterday's games (Sunday Nov. 25th)... By PVOA comparison, the Utah Jazz had the best overall performance, while the San Antonio Spurs had the best offensive performance and the New Jersey Nets had the best defensive performance... Seattle, usually one of the worst offensive teams in the Association by PVOA comparisons, had a relatively strong offensive showing against San Antonio, even though they lost the game 116-101... Actually, there wasn't much defense played at all in the SA-Seattle matchup, although there may have been a stronger than usual "garbage time" factor in that game, I don't know... Chicago continued to struggle mightily on offense. I don't think they've had a single game where their offensive PVOA was not in the negative double figures. And yet their defense is almost always above average... The Lakers had a huge letdown game. They should have taken care of the struggling Nets, but they came up below average on both sides of the ball for probably the first time this season... Meanwhile, give the Nets credit. Their offense is still below average, but their defense is really carrying them to victory on their West Coast road trip.

Offensive PVOA performances

1. San Antonio Spurs +20.55
2. Seattle Supersonics +10.30
3. Utah Jazz +6.07
4. Cleveland Cavaliers +1.51
5. Toronto Raptors +1.48
6. Detroit Pistons -0.32
7. New Jersey Nets -2.04
8. Los Angeles Lakers -4.77
9. Indiana Pacers -7.44
10. Chicago Bulls -14.49

Defensive PVOA performances

1. New Jersey Nets -9.85
2. Utah Jazz -7.78
3. Chicago Bulls -3.89
4. Toronto Raptors -3.71
5. Cleveland Cavaliers -3.24
6. Detroit Pistons +1.41
7. Indiana Pacers +1.51
8. Los Angeles Lakers +5.96
9. San Antonio Spurs +12.08
10. Seattle Supersonics +17.93

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Productivity stats for the Milwaukee Bucks

Below are this season's Eff48 production numbers to date for each Bucks player, followed by the position where that number ranks the Buck among all NBA players who have played at least 10 games and averaged at least 20 min/game. The smallest number at the end is the player's career Eff48 average.

Michael Redd 29.49 (21st) (24.07)
Andrew Bogut 26.47 (48th) (24.32)
Royal Ivey 23.68 (14.47)
Maurice Williams 21.42 (102nd) (20.88)
Yi Jianlian 21.13 (105th) (--)
Charlie Villanueva 20.99 (108th) (23.27)
Dan Gadzuric 19.11 (25.41)
Desmond Mason 17.46 (146th) (17.53)
Bobby Simmons 17.07 (149th) (20.09)
Charlie Bell 16.01 (158th) (17.49)
Michael Ruffin 12.61 (16.57)


Michael Redd just finished an exceptional week of basketball, and so far he is having his best season by far. His willingness to do other things besides shoot has made the Bucks a much better team... As bad as Bogut looked early on, that's pretty much how good he looks now. I know everybody kneejerked me when I lost patience with him, but he looked terrible early on this season. It looked like he was playing with cement shoes on. He looks like he's had a leg transplant in the last few weeks. I'm now willing to give him more time. If he continues playing this well, I'll gladly eat my words. But he's teased us before... Mo Williams Eff48 numbers aren't that great, and they're way below TJ Ford's (29.33), but I'm really pleased with his play lately. He's dishing, hitting shots when they're there, not forcing his own offense, and basically playing like a point guard. And the offense is much better for it. My only question about him is this: Do those magnets on his shoulders actually work?... And, even though we are currently getting outplayed badly at the 3 spot, Desmond Mason is actually producing quite a bit more than I expected him to produce. His numbers took a huge dive in New Orleans, but they've recovered this season.

Latest Bucks Diary PVOA Rankings

Here are the latest PVOA, or "point value over average" Power Rankings, calculated for all games through Saturday, November 24th. One of these days I'll do the offensive and defensive PVOA splits as well. (The number next to each team represents that team's average number of "Points above average". "Points above average" is a combination of the average offensive points they score above their opponents' per possession average points allowed, and the average defensive points they allow below their opponent's per possession average points scored. Bang on the red words for a fuller and clearer explanation.)

1. Boston Celtics +12.01 (--)
2. San Antonio Spurs +9.36 (up 2)
3. Los Angeles Lakers +8.70 (down 1)
4. Orlando Magic +8.60 (down 1)
5. Phoenix Suns +5.60 (up 2)
6. Dallas Mavericks +4.50 (--)
7. New Orleans Hornets +4.45 (down 2)
8. Houston Rockets +4.04 (up 2)
9. Utah Jazz +3.85 (up 4)
10. Toronto Raptors +3.63 (down 2)
11. Detroit Pistons +3.06 (--)
12. Washington Bullets +0.76 (--)
13. Cleveland Cavaliers +0.65 (up 2)
14. Indiana Pacers +0.64 (up 2)
15. Golden State Warriors +0.50 (down 1)
16. Denver Nuggets +0.10 (down 7)
17. Milwaukee Bucks -0.73 (up 7)
18. Charlotte Bobcats -0.84 (up 1)
19. Memphis Grizzlies -1.58 (up 1)
20. Atlanta Hawks -1.96 (down 2)
21. Portland Trailblazers -2.07 (down 4)
22. Miami Heat -3.79 (down 1)
23. LA Clippers -4.05 (up 3)
24. Sacramento Kings -4.20 (down 2)
25. Philadelphia 76ers -4.83 (down 2)
26. New Jersey Nets -6.35 (up 1)
27. Chicago Bulls -7.34 (down 2)
28. Minnesota Timberwolves -9.53 (up 2)
29. New York Knicks -10.29 (down 1)
30. Seattle Supersonics -10.66 (down 1)


The Celtics continue to dominate, but, according to my numbers, they are doing it on defense, not offense. Their defense has been way above average, whereas their offense is sometimes above average, sometimes below average... The Bucks are the big risers this week. They played way above average on offense, and their defense was above average in their two home wins and slightly below average in their road win at Cleveland... The Bulls are playing above average defense on a consistent basis. Their offense is simply putrid. Once I do the O/D splits, you will see how far down they are... The T'Wolves had one above average overall game this week, but that was enough to pull them out of the cellar... Denver had been a consistently above average team until this week, when they were below average in, I think, every game. They were the week's biggest fallers... Portland and Atlanta continue to fall after their surprising early risings... The Lakers lost, I think twice this week, but they didn't fall that far because they didn't play that far below average... Washington is playing outstanding offense without Gilbert Arenas, its their defense that is letting them down... Philly, the Bucks next opponent, has the opposite problem.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Giving thanks for Redd... and Bogut too!

Eff48 numbers in last night's key matchups

Michael Redd... 31.5
Kobe Bean Bryant... 26.4

Andrew Bogut.....37.1
Andrew Bynum...40.3

Bucks fans, don't underestimate what the Green and Red accomplished by beating the Lakers at the Bradley Center last night. The Lakers may not be the best team in the NBA, but few other teams have played as well as the Lakers have thus far this season.

Last night, however, the Bucks looked like the better team.

How about Michael Redd? Like the song by Stevie Wonder, Redd is staking out "Higher Ground" amongst the pantheon of NBA stars.

Last night he went toe-to-toe with his old nemesis Kobe Bryant and scored a clean knockout. It has become clear now that Redd can attack Kobe effectively off the dribble. Kobe's days as "The Reddstopper" appear to be over. And if not Kobe, then who? Perhaps no one. That's how well Redd is playing.

You can't even beat him any longer with double teams. Now he'll make you pay. Redd continuously punished the Lakers double teams with crisp passing to open teammates for easy scores. Beautiful.

Andrew Bogut also had an outstanding game. Yeah, he got some ticky tack fouls early, but he played well overall. His play in the second half was especially crucial to the win. He played the rising young center Andrew Bynum to a virtual standoff.

Bogut's passing was tremendous, both in the high and low post, and I love his new willingness to release from his man on defense and defend the hoop against opponent drivers. It was also great to see how decisive and self-assured he was on offense late in the game. Sure, he wasn't always effective, but he was always aggressive. Hopefully we are seeing a new Bogut. Keep it up, mate!

There are many other Bucks who deserve praise off last night's win, but I gotta get to bed. Tomorrow (actually today) is the one truly American holiday on the calendar, and by far my favorite. Happy Thanksgiving Bucks Fans!!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

2 keys to tonight's Bucks-Lakers game

There are two pivotal matchups you should be watching in tonight's Bucks vs. Lakers game at the Bradley Center. Who wins them will likely decide who wins the game.

1. The Two Andys
Andrew Bynum was selected 9 spots below Andrew Bogut in the 2005 draft. You wouldn't be able to guess that by looking at each player's production numbers. If you look at 82games' "Production by Position" statistics, the Bucks are getting killed at the center position, where they are -4.4 PER, and the Lakers are winning at center, where they are +4.2 PER. If the Bucks are going to beat this very good Laker team, Bogut must show up and show up big against his younger counterpart. He can't get a bunch of silly fouls early, and he has to rebound and score effectively, while limiting Bynum's offense.

2. Redd vs. Kobe
Historically, Kobe Bryant has given Michael Redd fits. Nobody defends Redd better than Bryant does. That said, last season Redd sort of broke through against Kobe. However, Bryant is now playing some of the best basketball of his career, as he is destroying his 2 guard opposition. If the Bucks are going to win, Redd has to play Kobe tough on the defensive end, and somehow find a way to break free of the vise grip Kobe usually puts on him on the offensive end. I think the key to any success Redd might have on offense is to attack Bryant off the dribble. Conversely, on defense he must limit Bryant's ability to get into the paint. Keep an eye on that.

Why I am so impatient

I have been criticized for being impatient regarding the Milwaukee Bucks. But I think there is good cause. The first 19 seasons of Bucks basketball were paradise, the last 20 seasons have been a desert of underachievement.

To assess the 39 year history of the Bucks, I commandeered Bill James baseball "6 Points of Achievement" formula for grading performances by a team in a season, adapted it to the equivalent achievements in basketball, and applied it to each season played by our Milwaukee Bucks. (James developed his formula to identify the best five year periods in each franchise's history. I have done the same for the Bucks, with that period in bold.)

Here is my basketball adapted formula. In each season you get one point for each of the following achievements:

1. Finishing with a winning record
2. Finishing with 50 wins
3. Finishing with 60 wins
4. Winning the division
5. Winning the conference
6. Winning the NBA Finals

Here is the story the formula tells about the history of the Milwaukee Bucks:

The First 19 Seasons of Milwaukee Bucks basketball

68-69: 0
69-70: 2
70-71: 6
71-72: 4
72-73: 4
73-74: 4
74-75: 0
75-76: 1
76-77: 0
77-78: 1
78-79: 0
79-80: 2
80-81: 4
81-82: 3
82-83: 3
83-84: 3
84-85: 3
85-86: 3
86-87: 2

Total Achievement Points: 45
Number of "zero achievement" seasons: 4

The Last 20 Seasons of Milwaukee Bucks basketball

87-88: 1
88-89: 1
89-90: 1
90-91: 1
91-92: 0
92-93: 0
93-94: 0
94-95: 0
95-96: 0
96-97: 0
97-98: 0
98-99: 1
99-00: 1
00-01: 3
01-02: 0
02-03: 1
03-04: 0
04-05: 0
05-06: 0
06-07: 0

Total Achievement Points: 10
Number of "zero achievement" seasons: 12


Bucks fans, if you're not building toward an NBA championship, you're wasting your time. In the past 20 seasons, your Milwaukee Bucks have been wasting your time. 12 empty seasons. A grand total of one multi-achievement season.

Moreover, the past 20 seasons of Bucks basketball have not, collectively, equalled the achievements of their first 6 seasons. We deserve better.

That's why I look at Bogut and Villanueva, and whoever else is on the roster, and ask the proactive question: Will he help get us there? If he won't, the time to act is now. We have waited and suffered for far too long.

The incomparable Mr. Redd

Last night Michael Redd played one of the great all-around regular season games in Milwaukee Bucks history. It was a basketball masterpiece.

For a person like me who places much more emphasis on efficient scoring and overall production than I do on total points, Michael Redd's stat line from last night's game reads like a dream. Its full of good numbers in nearly every category and very short on bad numbers.

In fact, since I've been calculating the Eff48 boxscore, Michael Redd's 49.26 has to be the most impressive score turned in (not the highest, the most impressive). Redd produced more than one positive net efficiency point for every minute played, and he was on the court for 38 minutes. That takes determination and stamina.

Redd did everything right. He scored 34 points... on only 15 field goal attempts. He attacked the basket with gusto... actually accumulating more free throw attempts than field goal attempts, for an otherworldly basket attack ratio of 133%. He made plays... recording 0.4 assists for every field goal attempt. And he continued his rebounding renaissance... pulling down 7 boards. He even blocked shots, for God's sakes!

Simply put, he was a basketball playing Jesse in Cleveland last night, and that's the highest compliment I can give him.

Bogut the Ghost

Bogut cleaned house on the YMCA centers the Bucks had been facing in the past couple games. Put a real live, honest to goodness NBA center in front of him and its a different story.

Last night Bogut had as many fouls and nearly as many turnovers as he had rebounds. His Eff48 went from 39.2 against the scalawags from Atlanta all the way down to 19.6 against the full grown frontline in Cleveland. This has been the story of his career thus far.

I will, however, compliment him on his continued ability to block shots. That is a pleasant surprise.

As Mo goes

Mo Williams is playing some nice basketball at the moment. He's distributing the ball and limiting his own shots.

I just wish his teammates would get in the spirit. Mo and Michael Redd accounted for 15 assists... tremendous production by the backcourt duo. The rest of the team accounted for a mere 7. Come on guys, follow your leaders.

Bucks Diary Eff48 Boxscore


Ivey...68.5 (albeit in only 14 minutes of action)
Redd 49.2



PVOA ("point value over average") team performances (remember, on defense a "+" number of points over average is bad)

Milwaukee Bucks (O: +10.5; D: +5.1) (Overall: +5.4)
Cleveland Cavaliers (O: +3.21; D: +13.3) (Overall: -10.09)

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

All-Star beginning for Redd

Last year when Michael Redd wasn't selected to the All-Star team and then he whined about it, I cringed. I was embarrassed for him. He didn't deserve to go, and he needed to shut his mouth and do something more on the court than just shoot the basketball. This season he has.

Michael Redd is playing at a very high level right now. He has improved his play in almost every significant category.

His rebounding is up. His shooting is up. His defense is up. His assists are up. His ballhandling is up. He's attacking the basket like a banshee on the loose. And for the first time in his career his overall production (Eff48) is scratching elite levels, night after night.

Frankly, this is the best news of all for the Bucks. The Bucks have invested a lot in Michael Redd. With great money comes great responsibility. The Bucks need Michael Redd to be more than just a specialty scorer. He has to be a leader and an all-around producer. For the first time in his career, he looks like he can meet those needs.

Bucks Diary NBA Rookie Rankings

The rookies seem to have hit the wall. Wait a second, its not even Thanksgiving yet! Suck it up, green horns! Only one rookie producing an Eff48 of 25.00 or better?? Brutal.

All of the big names, save for Mike Conley, seemed to take a step back in their production last week, with the biggest name of all, Kevin Durant, taking a leap backward. Should the Sonics be worried? He's starting to look like another Big Dog Robinson. Lots of shots, lots of misses, no playmaking, and absolutely no defense.

Rookie Rankings by Eff48

1. Sean Williams 28.74
Off the court issues bumped this player to the bottom of the first round, but he isn't playing like it. The Nets are giving Williams more minutes, and Williams is responding... big time.

2. Al Horford 22.34
I love this player. He rebounds a ton, he blocks some shots, he scores a little... he looks good. I'm trying to figure out why his Efficiency numbers aren't that dazzling.

3. Mike Conley 26.74
This is a judgment call on my part. I am rewarding Conley for a surge in his minutes and some outstanding play during those minutes. He's fast, he's got handle out of his ears... he could be the real deal.

4. Jeff Green 21.86
Add this guy to the long list of players I've ragged on and been wrong about. He rebounds a ton for a guy with his build. If he could only shoot he'd be dangerous.

5. Yi Jianlian 21.72
At 7'00'' tall, Yi has to find a way to get more inside baskets. He is currently shooting a woeful 20% on inside shots according to 82games.com. I know he's a bit weak, but those numbers are ridiculous. Get crafty if you have to, Yi.

6. Luis Scola 20.94
You know, this player is 27 years old. He's an Ichiro rookie. If I'm going to rank him, I really should rank Jamario Moon also.

7. Jason Smith 20.76
He had been playing on a higher plane than he is currently playing at, but he's doing alright, and he looks pretty athletic.

8. Kevin Durant 16.71
Technically, I broke my own rules and bumped him up higher than his numbers warrant. But he's having a brutal go of it right now. Perhaps he just isn't ready for the daily wear and tear. Ominous sign for the Bucks since Yi is of the same build.

9. Juan Carlos Navarro 17.24
I hate ranking guys I've barely heard of. Oh, I just looked him up, he's another Ichiro rookie at 27 years of age. I'm going to have to make some qualifying decisions for next week.

10. Corey Brewer 14.21
I saw Brewer play in person Saturday at the Target Center. I was not impressed. He plays hard, and his defense is okay (although Peja lit him up that night), but where's the skill? He can't dribble at all, he can't shoot at all (he throws up knuckleballs... very poor rotation and release), and his legs are unbelievably skinny. They look like twigs. He has a long way to go.

Latest Bucks Diary "PVOA Power Rankings"

Here are my latest PVOA, or "point value over average" Power Rankings. They are assembled based exclusively on the PVOA formula... there is no subjective input at all.

Click on the red PVOA for a full explanation of what it is.

In a nutshell, PVOA is an attempt to assess how a team is playing regardless of record by comparing that team's performances against the average performances produced by the rest of the league against a similar set of opponents.

The week that was

The one thing that the PVOA system is proving to me is how difficult it is to maintain consistent play in the NBA. The wild swings continue. They will flatten out as the season goes along, but they are nonetheless eye-opening.

For example, Portland was playing brilliant basketball until last Wednesday. Since then they have put in 4 consecutive below average performances on both offense and defense. Ditto for the Detroit Pistons, who seem to be a much different team on the road than at home... which is surprising for a team comprised of veterans. And Atlanta, who started out with such promise, is falling fast as well.

Notice a couple of other things about my rankings. The Clippers and Nets are way down, having turned in some abysmal performances, whereas the Lakers are rated higher than most subjective polls would have them, as are the Washington Bullets (for the unfamiliar, I don't ever use the lame nickname Wizards, especially when referring to a franchise that once had the coolest nickname in sports).

Here are the week's awards, and then the rankings.

Best teams last week: Golden State Warriors; Orlando Magic
Teams falling like rocks: New Jersey Nets; LA Clippers
Better than you think: Washington Bullets
As bad as you suspected: New York Knicks; Chicago Bulls
Not as good as you thought: Cleveland Cavaliers
Flash in the pans: Atlanta Hawks; Portland Trailblazers
I'll tumble 4 ya: Toronto Raptors; Detroit Pistons
Slow and steady: Denver Nuggets

PVOA Power Rankings 11-19-07

1. Boston +12.47 (--)
2. LA Lakers +10.14 (up 1)
3. Orlando +9.17 (up 7)
4. San Antonio +8.36 (--)
5. New Orleans +7.90 (up 2)
6. Dallas +6.88 (up 6)
7. Phoenix +5.23 (up 4)
8. Toronto +5.12 (down 6)
9. Denver +4.30 (--)
10. Houston +3.30 (down 4)
11. Detroit +3.06 (down 6)
12. Washington +2.43 (up 5)
13. Utah +1.57 (up 1)
14. Golden State -0.15 (up 10)
15. Cleveland -0.26 (--)
16. Indiana -0.89 (up 4)
17. Portland -1.02 (down 9)
18. Atlanta -1.50 (down 5)
19. Charlotte -2.39 (up 6)
20. Memphis -2.45 (up 7)
21. Miami -3.88 (down 3)
22. Sacramento -4.64 (--)
23. Philadelphia -4.82 (down 4)
24. Milwaukee -5.15 (up 4)
25. Chicago -6.02 (up 4)
26. LA Clippers -6.70 (down 10)
27. New Jersey -7.35 (down 6)
28. New York -8.79 (down 5)
29. Seattle -10.25 (down 3)
30. Minnesota -10.90 (--)

You ever notice...

You ever notice when I make one assertion, or take a certain position, the opposite result prevails? For example, I spent the summer saying Charlie Bell sucks; He starts the season playing well. So I give him credit for playing well; He promptly goes back to sucking.

The latest example of my reverse curse is Andrew Bogut. In the last two weeks I have said we should explore trading him while his perceived value is still high; In the last two weeks he has played his best basketball of the season.

Actually, though, Bogut's run provides an imperfect example of the curse. After all, I conceded that Bogut mops up against slower, less physical, third tier centers. He always has. And that's what he's been doing in the last two weeks (Pachulia, Milicic).

What I suggested was he wasn't championship timbre. And I still don't think he is.

Right now his productivity numbers place him somewhere in between Luc Longley, on the back end, and Darryl Dawkins and Vlade Divac on the front end. The top end might get it done. The back end, absent Jordan, almost certainly will not.

But, I guess if Bogut can push himself up into the Darryl Dawkins range (Career Eff48: 28.17), then I'll accept that (even though, remember, the talent-laden Sixers of the early 80s never won a championship until they dumped Dawkins and picked up Moses Malone). But I don't think even that is going to happen. History suggests that once a player establishes a certain level of productivity (and Bogut has established himself as about a 24.00 Eff48 producer), the player stays there.


I'm just finishing up my PVOA power rankings, and should have them done in the next few hours. Its a bitch and a half to calculate them, but I think they provide some interesting insights into how teams are actually playing.

I also want to do a rookie progress report today -- hopefully by this afternoon.

Also, before the day is out, I will explain why I haven't been posting for the last several days. Intermeshed therein will be an essay explaining how Kevin McHale is ruining the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Clarifying my position on Bogut

Everyone's down on me because they think I suggested that Bucks center Andrew Bogut is utterly useless and that the Bucks should immediately dump him. That's not what I meant to suggest. Let me clarify my position.

I wasn't suggesting Bogut was incompetent or that he couldn't do a few useful things on the court. The question I was asking about Bogut is the same one the New York Giants are now asking about their former number one pick, Eli Manning. To wit:

"The only thing we evaluate is 'Can we win with this guy?'" (Giants owner) Mara told Ralph Vacchiano of the Daily News. "That's the one thing. When we talk about any player at the end of the season, the No.1 question is 'Will he help us win?' And to take it one step further, 'Can we win a championship with this guy?"

That's what I was asking. Can we win a championship with this guy? And my assessment is no. Resoundingly no. He plays well against the dregs of the NBA, but he gets bulldozed everytime he meets a decent center. And he's been doing this now for 2+ years. That is not a guy you're going to win a championship with.

That being the case, what I was suggesting was the Bucks should be open to offers for both he and Villanueva. Villanueva has clearly fallen into Coach K's doghouse, and both guys, I believe, still command a certain premium on the market. But how long will they continue to do so?

You may ask, who am I looking for in return? Preferably any player who can bring long term consistent production to the team. It doesn't necessarily have to be a center swap. The Bucks aren't going anywhere this year, anyway.

Maybe it won't work. Maybe there's no one out there. But we ought to be exploring.

Monday, November 12, 2007

NBA Power Ranking by PVOA

Below is my updated PVOA, or "point value over average" NBA Power Ranking.

PVOA purports to show how a team is performing independent of wins and losses by comparing their points scored and points allowed per possession in each of their games to their opponents points scored and points allowed per possession averages.

The Power Ranking is ordered according to each team's combined offensive and defensive PVOA per game average.

1. Boston...... +17.44 (---)
2. Toronto...... +10.69 (up 4)
3. LA Lakers...... +9.05 (down 1)
4. San Antonio...... +8.93 (up 7)
5. Detroit...... +8.54 (---)
6. Houston...... +8.43 (down 3)
7. New Orleans...... +6.85 (up 1)
8. Portland...... +4.82 (up 11)
9. Denver...... +2.73 (up 3)
10. Orlando...... +4.32 (down 1)
11. Phoenix...... +2.35 (up 2)
12. Dallas...... +1.78 (down 5)
13. Atlanta...... +1.38 (down 9)
14. Utah...... +1.42 (up 1)
15. Cleveland...... -0.12 (up 5)
16. LA Clippers...... -1.50 (down 6)
17. Washington...... -2.40 (down 3)
18. Miami...... -3.16 (up 7)
19. Philadelphia...... -3.63 (down 1)
20. Indiana...... -4.06 (down 3)
21. New Jersey...... -4.47 (up 3)
22. Sacramento...... -5.67 (up 6)
23. New York...... -5.73 (down 1)
24. Golden State...... -6.87 (up 3)
25. Charlotte...... -7.12 (up 5)
26. Seattle...... -7.19 (up 4)
27. Memphis...... -7.60 (down 11)
28. Milwaukee...... -7.65 (down 7)
29. Chicago...... -8.46 (down 6)
30. Minnesota...... -10.26 (down 4)

Team playing better than you think: Portland Trailblazers
Team playing worse than you think: New Jersey Nets
Team outperforming their bad record: Washington Bullets
Team outperforming their decent record: Toronto Raptors
Team playing worse than you feared: Your Milwaukee Bucks
Team playing as well as advertised: Boston Celtics

Amen, Mike... tell it like it is

If you read two posts down, and then you read this article from JSonline, you know Michael Redd and I are of the same mind about the state of the Milwaukee Bucks.

After last night's abomination, its good to see someone step up, assume leadership, and say, in essence, "Hell no, that's not even close to good enough." Especially someone like Michael Redd, the best player on the team.

I feel a little bit better about the Green and Red than I did about two hours ago. Signing off.

NBA PVOA numbers: 11-11-07 games

Here are the PVOA, or "point value over average" performances for the offense and defense of each team that played last night. Remember, PVOA purports to show how "well" a team played, regardless of score and regardless of the level of opposition, because it measures a team's performance against the average number of points the team it played would be expected to score and allow in the same number of possessions.

For instance, based on PVOA, even though the Pistons beat the Sonics by 4, the Sonics actually played well, while the Pistons did not. New Orleans was an outstanding all-around team yesterday. And while the Heat won, their offense was awful; they won because they played the best defense any team has played to date this season. And the Bucks... well, their defense never even showed up against San Antonio.

Offensive PVOA performances

1. San Antonio +23.19
2. New Orleans +9.63
3. Cleveland +9.12
4. Washington +8.00
5. Seattle +4.00
6. Detroit -2.67
7. Milwaukee -4.68
8. Charlotte -5.71
9. Atlanta -5.91
10. LA Clippers -7.93
11. Houston -8.70
12. Philadelphia -15.63
13. New York -16.31
14. Miami -21.44

Defensive PVOA performances

1. Miami -30.21
2. New Orleans -16.42
3. Cleveland -10.16
4. San Antonio -5.81
5. Philadelphia -5.43
6. Charlotte -5.22
7. Washington -3.44
8. New York -2.00
9. Seattle -1.07
10. Houston +0.4
11. Detroit +5.2
12. LA Clippers +7.4
13. Atlanta +14.52
14. Milwaukee +15.23

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Bucks are embarrassing themselves in Texas

If you go on databasebasketball.com and randomly look at player's careers, you will find that most players finish their careers with about the same FG% they post in their first season of extended minutes. There are very few exceptions. If you are a 43% shooter in your first long minute season, you will most likely end your career as a 43% shooter, +/-2%... at most.

My point is: offensive ability, by and large, remains constant, both individually, and by extension, collectively. So if a team suddenly shoots much better from the field or produces a significantly higher amount of points per possession -- as the Bucks last two opponents have -- its not because they all became better shooters, its almost certainly because the defense gave them significantly better looks than they're used to getting.

And when, at the very same time, the defense under suspicion allows its opponent to score significantly more points per possession than that defense has allowed to the rest of the teams on its schedule... well, that clinches the case. They dogged it. And that has happened twice on the Bucks' Texas road trip.

Two games, two piss poor efforts.

Is it too much to ask the Bucks to put out a consistent professional effort? These inconsistent efforts have been occuring now for the last three years. And the terrible Terrys are long gone. Is it time to rethink whether some of the core members of this team are "good enough"? Or am I just being a typical reactionary fan?

Spurs vs. Bucks: Not good in the Traveling Green

If the Bucks play as they have played thus far this season on the road, and the Spurs merely play their normal game, the Bucks will lose by a score of approximately 104-82. The Bucks must improve their road play substantially to win tonight's game.

That starts with the defense. The Bucks defense has improved this season at home, but not on the road. On the road, the Bucks have not played an above average defensive game yet this season. By contrast, they have played defense well above average in both of their games at home.

Meanwhile, the Bucks offense has been bad no matter where they play. The Bucks offense has been below average in every game this season except the Toronto game. They were substantially above average against Toronto (+14.96 points above the NBA average against Toronto). But, if you eliminate the Toronto game, the Bucks offense has scored 34.9 points below the average number of points scored against their given opponents in the given number of offensive possessions.

That's not horrible (consider that the Bulls nearly equaled the Bucks cumulative deficit in one game last night), but it needs to improve.

NBA PVOA numbers for 11-10-2007 games

Below are my calculations of each team's PVOA offensive and defensive performances from last night's games, Saturday Nov. 10th. I did them while watching the Packers dumptruck the Minnesota Vikings. (What is PVOA?)


Portland had a tremendous night on both ends of the court against the Dallas Mavericks. The Blazers look like an all-around improved basketball team. One wonders what they would be if they had Greg Oden. The Jazz had a nice all around night, as well. Toronto is looking like a monster. Meanwhile, their opponent, the Bulls, already a bad offensive team, took a great leap backward last night... on their homecourt. In fact, the Bulls had the worst offensive performance of the year by PVOA standards. And remember, PVOA is opponent neutral. It compares a team's performance against the expected performance of the average team in the same situation. So the Bulls -31.23 performance means they scored nearly 32 points less than the rest of the Raptors' opponents have scored against them in the same number of possessions.

Offensive PVOA

1. Bos +19.50
2. NJ +9.50
3. Uta +8.90
4. Ptl +5.46
5. Tor +4.60
6. Pho +2.20
7. Orl -0.38
8. Den -1.04
9. Sac -3.72
10. Mem -11.40
11. Min -11.52
12. Ind -12.61
13. Dal -17.26
14. Chi -31.23

Defensive PVOA

1. Ptl -23.51
2. Tor -22.43
3. Pho -12.06
4. Utah -10.42
5. Den -9.26
6. Sac -3.26
7. Ind - 2.31
8. Chi -0.12
9. Dal 0.00
10. Orl +4.16
11. Mem +4.86
12. Bos +5.10
13. Min +5.51
14. NJ +9.26

Saturday, November 10, 2007

NBA Rookie Watch: Yi takes over

I want to base my rookie rankings strictly on Eff48 production to provide an objective ordering, but I'm running into a problem.

If one guy plays 10 minutes in a game, its easier for him to produce at a higher level than someone like Yi or Durant who play over 25 minutes in the same game. The 10 minute guy scores a couple buckets, pounds the boards, and then goes to the bench and has his numbers projected over 48 minutes; Yi and Durant actually have to keep producing. So its not fair to the high minute guys. (Once you get over 20+ minutes, that flaw in the statistic becomes de minimis.)

On the other hand, if I establish a fair minimum game and minute requirement, suddenly I don't have 10 qualifying rookies (for instance, my number one rookie from last week, Daquaen Cook, hasn't played since!).

So I'm going to compromise. I'm giving precedence to the guys who have played at least 20 minutes in every eligible game then I just fill in the rest, in accordance with their production.

Each player's Eff48 average to date is given after his name.

NBA Rookie Rankings: Week Two

1. Yi Jianlian......22.6 (5 games -- 27 min/g)
Big week for Yi. He continues to flabbergast me with his high level of play. He's even rebounding and going to the basket now. Unless Durant collapses, though, he has no chance at ROY.

2. Al Horford......22.1 (5 games -- 30 min/g)
Is there any question why Atlanta looks so improved? They already had the scorers. Now they've got attitude with this 21st century Maurice Lucas windexing their backboards. Tito's kid is rebounding at an outstanding .33 rebs/min rate. By comparison, Mo Malone grabbed .37 rebs/min in his career.

3. Kevin Durant......20.1 (6 games -- 35 min/g)
Last week someone compared rookie Durant to rookie Jordan. My friend, I urge you to go on Youtube and search "Bucks-Bulls 10.27.1984" and watch the video. That was 23 years ago, and I can still see Jordan's "rock the cradle" dunk in my mind's eye. MJ hit the NBA like a force majuere. Durant, by comparison, looks pedestrian. And that's really not meant as a slight on Durant.

4. Jason Smith......24.7 (5 games -- 15 min/g)
I heard great reports about this guy on the various predraft websites. I've heard those before, but in Smith's case they seem to have been true. Technically, he should be the number one rookie, but he just isn't getting enough minutes per game for me to justify that. I will if he continues producing.

5. Jeff Green......17.4 (6 games -- 19 min/g)
The Green machine had a much better week. He hit the boards with some gusto against Memphis, and he scored with some vigor against Utah. Now he just needs to put the two together.

6. Joakim Noah.....18.6 (2 games -- 15 min/g)
Good to see the big prick... err... guy make his debut for the Bulls. We really missed him when the Bulls came to Milwaukee. We have a great fondness for half Swedish half Frenchmen who take shots at our neighborhood.

7. Acie Law......13.2 (5 games -- 22 min/g)
With Conley riding the pines and Law producing like this, it shows what a valuable piece of property an NBA ready point guard can be. And then you consider the Bucks passed on two of them in 2005 and then you need some Aleve.

8. Corey Brewer......11.5 (4 games -- 14 min/g)
I reserve the right to change my mind, but so far I'm not sorry we passed on this latest version of "Scottie Pippen".

9. Al Thornton......10.7 (5 games -- 19 min/g)
I was reading the ESPN NBA preview issue at the gym, and I think 3 of the 8 "experts" selected Al Thornton as the ROYOTD (Rookie of the Year other than Durant).

10. Arron Affllalo.......10.0 (5 games -- 13 min/g )
Damn, Affllalo's name is hard to spell! First and last names. Many more weeks like the last one and I won't have to worry about it anymore.

NBA PVOA numbers for 11-9-07

How did your team's offense and defense perform last night compared to the average performance against its opponents?

Below I rank the best offensive and defensive performances based upon PVOA, or "point value over average". You can click on that link to get an explanation of PVOA.

Three things about the PVOA numbers thus far. At this point in the season, each team's established offensive and defensive efficiency numbers aren't quite set in stone, so as we go along PVOA's predictive value should increase. Two, some teams seem to play much better at home than on the road, so I may need to start calculating O and D efficiency numbers accordingly in order to more accurately evaluate performance against average, but right now the home/road sample size is too small to make that worthwhile. Three, its becoming apparent that some NBA teams simply take the night off. How does Phoenix suddenly allow Miami 14 points more than the rest of the NBA has been allowing them in the same number of possessions? Phoenix's defense had been in the top half of the NBA. PVOA performances shouldn't vary that wildly, because the opponent shouldn't matter, you're playing against the average. Yet most every team has one or two games where they inexplicably go way off the grid.

Last night's results

Last night the Bucks played horrible defense. So did Phoenix, even though they won. Detroit was magnificent on both sides of the court. Utah got lucky, as they underperformed against Seattle, both offensively and defensively. Boston's offense is turning into a steamroller. Toronto has a very high octane offense. Charlotte got it going after a woeful couple of games.

Offensive PVOA performances for Friday, Nov 9th

1. Tor +21.21
2. Bos +19.30
3. Hou +15.44
4. SAn +12.06
5. Pho +12.03
6. Det +11.22
7. Cha +7.18
8. Por +6.66
9. Mia +5.96
10. Den +3.75
11. Atl +2.54
12. Phi +1.70
13. LAL +1.03
14. NOR -0.69
15. Ind -0.93
16. Orl -3.20
17. Mil -4.53
18. Uta -5.76
19. NYk -6.18
20. Sea -6.29
21. Mem -6.49
22. Sac -6.67
23. LAC -7.52
24. Min -9.84
25. Cle -12.74
26. Was -16.74

Defensive PVOA performances for Fri, Nov 9th

1. Det -20.10
2. Orl -14.97
3. SAn -11.06
4. Sea -9.49
5. Bos -8.60
6. LAL -6.53
7. Hou -5.74
8. Cha -4.21
9. Cle -3.21
10. Den -2.58
11. NYk -2.24
12. Sac -1.73
13. Por -0.63
14. LAC 0.00
15. Uta +3.97
16. Min +4.06
17. NOR +6.31
18. Tor +6.49
19. Mia +7.77
20. Atl +9.40
21. Was +9.50
22. Mil +10.63
23. Phi +11.16
24. Ind +11.60
25. Pho +14.09
26. Mem +14.78

Buck Droppings: Yi looks like the truth

Yi just keeps looking better and better. He's way ahead of Dirk Nowitzki's numbers at a comparable point in their careers.

And last night, against the best defense in the NBA, he had his best game yet. He can hit from the outside, he can handle a little, he's boarding now, and I even saw him drive around Tracy McGrady. This kid looks like the truth.

He's exactly what the Milwaukee Bucks needed after their latest number one draft pick turned out to be another busted flush...

Can we get Pryzbilla back?

What has happened to Andrew Bogut? He can't hit a shot. At all. He's missing everything he's putting up, and his offensive moves look, to quote Charles Barkley, "turr-i-ble". Whenever he manuevers in the lane it looks like he's carrying a piano on his back. He's so slow and unathletic.

And did I mention he can't shoot? He came into last night's game hitting a blistering 35% from the field, outstanding for a guy who can't shoot from outside 10 feet, and he managed to lower that mark with last night's 3-for-11 performance. What a joke this guy is.

And by the way, you ever notice how any time he's matched up against a half-way decent center, he produces nothing? Gee, that's the sign of a thoroughbred. Plays his worst against the best competition. He's clearly established that he is not the answer at center for the Bucks... or if he is, the question is something like, "Which other number one pick center, besides Kent Benson, never led the Bucks anywhere near a championship?" Hint: it wasn't this guy.

Last night things got especially comical. Bogut's first three shots... first three... were stamped "Return to Sender" by Yao Ming. You could almost hear Elvis singing in the background ("...the writing on it... aah Return to Sender, ad-dress unknown...").

I was listening to the game on my way back from Culver's, and Ted Davis had a priceless call of the action... "Bogut up with the shot... Blocked by Yao!... He got it back... Up again... BLOCKED AGAIN!!..."

Its time to think about dealing Bogut and Villanueva, while we still can. Bogut will never take us anywhere, and his market value is sinking by the game. Ditto for Villanueva, and throw in the fact that Yi has clearly established himself as the future at 4. I welcome your thoughts on that.

Redd needs to check his 3 wood

Michael Redd had another nice all around game tonight, and he's playing at a pretty high level right now, but he needs to put a governor on his three ball launcher. Last night he was 0-for-7 from downtown. I admire his perseverence, but come on. After 6 misses, wouldn't you just say "Uncle"? Especially when you're hitting 2s with Redd's proficiency. He was well over 50% from inside the arc. He should stay there. It would really aid his overall productivity and value to the team. To illustrate, his Eff48 for last night's game was a healthy 27.8. But if he would have just said no to the 3s, it would have been an all-star like 35.72. And the Bucks might have come up with better shots in those seven empty possessions.

Sorry Charlie

Ever since I started propping Charlie Bell he hasn't done squat. Last night he was particularly ineffective. I should go back to dogging him.

Mo was okay, but can he please get to the line?

Mo Williams didn't have a great shooting night, and he wasn't extremely productive, but I liked his decision making nonetheless. He kept his shots down to a proper per minute ratio (.29 FGA/min) and kept his assists in line with them (.50 ass/FGA). Over the long haul, that's going to help the team. He's finally playing like a point guard. One beef, though: the m'fer still hasn't taken a free throw shot!! Its unbelievable. Will he ever take one again? Can he get in the lane and draw just one stinking foul? He is currently at 5 games, 60 shots and counting...

Unusual collegiate sidebar: The funk has returned to Marquette

I graduated from UW-Madison, but when I was a shorty my favorite college basketball teams were always the funky Marquette Warriors with their "no-tuck", funkadelic, you're-wearin-it-backwards-lookin', jerseys. Well, it seems the funk has somewhat returned to Quette! Sahweet! I love it!

Meanwhile, look at what they're proposing to have the Badgers wear. Antonym of sahweet! Are the Badgers trying for the all-time dorkiest look ever? How can you hoop when you look like Pippi Longstocking, for God's sakes?

Bucks Diary Eff48 Boxscore





Friday, November 09, 2007

Ranking the NBA's offenses and defenses by PVOA

Using the same system described in the immediate post below, I now rank each team's offensive and defensive performance to this point in the season by comparing it to the average performance per possession amassed by the rest of the Association against each of their particular opponents. Basically, I'm trying to find out how much relative success each team has had on offense and defense, taking into account the strength of that team's opposition. Please see the post below for a fuller explanation of my methodology.

Here are the rankings, with observations below:

Offensive PVOA Rankings

1. Dallas.......+10.33
2. Detroit.......+8.67
3. LA Lakers.......+8.14
4. Toronto......+6.95
5. Orlando......+6.77
6. New York.......+6.06
7. Boston.......+5.96
8. LA Clippers......+3.98
9. Memphis.......+2.65
10. Golden State......+2.19
11. Atlanta.......+2.10
12. New Orleans......+1.69
13. Utah.......+1.60
14. San Antonio......+0.76
15. Portland.......+0.62
16. Phoenix......-0.12
17. Sacramento......-0.62
18. Indiana.......-1.33
19. Houston.......-1.40
20. Washington.......-1.50
21. Denver.......-2.18
22. Philadelphia.......-3.41
23. Minnesota.......-3.43
24. Milwaukee......-3.75
25. Chicago.......-3.87
26. New Jersey........-4.30
27. Charlotte.......-4.69
28. Cleveland........-6.13
29. Miami........-8.42
30. Seattle.......-8.78

Defensive PVOA Rankings

1. Houston.......-10.79
2. Boston.......-9.01
3. Atlanta.......-6.84
4. Detroit.......-4.74
5. Cleveland.......-4.34
6. New Orleans......-3.81
7. Chicago......-3.09
8. Denver......-3.07
9. Philadelphia......-2.87
10. Miami.......-1.93
11. Washington......-1.60
12. San Antonio......-1.32
13. LA Lakers......-1.29
14. Indiana......-1.25
15. Milwaukee......-1.22
16. Phoenix......-0.98
17. Toronto......+0.33
18. LA Clippers......+0.53
19. New Jersey.......+1.12
20. Utah......+1.53
21. Dallas.......+1.66
22. Memphis......+2.12
23. Orlando......+2.31
24. Portland.......+2.45
25. Seattle......+2.94
26. Minnesota.......+3.35
27. Sacramento......+6.54
28. Charlotte......+8.79
29. Golden State.......+9.06
30. New York......+9.54


1 Everyone thought the Celtics would be an offensive juggernaut with a questionable defense. But so far they've been doing it with defense. In fact, if you throw out the Denver game, which Denver basically phoned in, the Celtics offense would be barely above the comparative average, while their defense has been consistently above that average.

2 If the Knickerbockers could play any defense at all they would be dangerous. They have the biggest gap between offensive and defensive numbers. Their offense is top 10, their defense is buried in last place.

3 Surprising: Denver, with Carmelo and Iverson and George Karl, is actually doing much better on defense than on offense; Ditto, to a lesser degree, for the "Bullets" with World B. Arenas, et al.

4. Cleveland and Chicago have the opposite problem the Knicks have. Their defenses are lockdown, but their offenses are bottom tier.

5. Until I did these numbers, I thought the Bucks played their worst game against Orlando. Actually, they played their worst game in a close loss to Charlotte. The Bobcats are the lowest ranked team in terms of overall PVOA, and the Bucks severely underperformed association averages against them. By contrast, what they did to the excellent Raptors was shocking.

NBA Power Rankings by PVOA

I wanted to determine the relative strength of each NBA team thus far, regardless of schedule. So I borrowed the thinking behind the DVOA or "defense adjusted value over average" rankings used by footballoutsiders.com.

DVOA ranks football teams according to how their performance compared with what the average team would have done in a similar situation. Using the same thinking, I ranked the performance of NBA teams thus far through PVOA, or "point value over average", which is meant to calculate how each NBA team is doing so far as compared to how an average NBA team would be expected to perform given a similar set of opponents.

PVOA methodology

To calculate PVOA, what I did was I first calculated each team's Pts per 100 possessions for both offense and defense. Then I charted the score and the number of possessions for each team for each NBA game played through yesterday. Then I compared how the number of points each team scored and gave up in each game compared with the average number of points their opponent would have scored and would have allowed given the same number of possessions, and then I assigned the team a positive or negative amount for points accordingly. Finally, I added together all such scores for that team's games played thus far, and assigned the team a positive or negative average above value for the season.

Here's how it works. If Toronto played Milwaukee, and Toronto scored 100 points in 95 possessions while Milwaukee scored 102 points in 96 possessions, in calculating Toronto's PVOA for that game, I calculated what Milwaukee would have given up and would have scored on average using Milwaukee's offensive and defensive pts per 100 possessions numbers.

For instance, let's say on 95 possessions the Bucks on average would be expected to give up 104 points, and on 96 possessions they would be expected to score 104 points. Then, since Toronto scored 100 points and gave up 102 that game, then for that particular game Toronto's offense would be a -4.0 points over average, and its defense would be a -2.0 points over average, and thus Toronto would get a cumulaitve -2.0 PVOA for the game (for offense, obviously, positive is good while for defense negative is good). In other words, they came up net 2.0 points short of what the average team would have had for its net.

Interesting Results

Since this ranking system is based purely on performance against average, and not at all on my subjective beliefs about which teams are better than others, it yields some interesting, counterintuitive results. For instance, I have the Lakers as the number 2 team in the NBA, even though they are only 2-2, while I have New Jersey as the number 24 team even though they have a much better record. The reason is that the Lakers have either scored or prevented points (or both) at a consistently above average rate but still lost games (probably due to a combination of misfortune and strength of schedule), whereas the New Jersey Nets have done the opposite. And the thinking behind DVOA, and PVOA for that matter, is if you are outperforming or underperforming association averages, as the Lakers and Nets currently are, your win/loss total should reflect that over time.

Other observations about the rankings

The Atlanta Hawks are playing outstanding basketball on both sides of the court, and their fourth place ranking reflects that. Meanwhile, the big 3 in the West are down a bit, as the Suns simply haven't been up to par, neither have the Spurs, and the Mavericks are outstanding on offense, but thus far putrid on defense. But, caveat emptor. Since it is early in the season, these rankings are very fluid. For instance, the Pistons had a much higher average until last night when they allowed the Bulls, a terrible offensive team, to score +12 points above average while they themselves were held -4 below average by the Bulls. The Bulls, meanwhile, have been playing outstanding defense, but have been far below average on offense. Once they get their offense going, as they proved last night, the wins should come.

Here are the NBA PVOA Power Rankings thru Thursday, Nov. 8:

1. Boston......+14.97
2. LA Lakers.......+9.43
3. Houston......+9.39
4. Atlanta......+8.90
5. Detroit......+6.96
6. Toronto......+6.62
7. Dallas......+5.59
8. New Orleans......+5.51
9. Orlando.......+4.45
10. LA Clippers.......+3.45
11. San Antonio......+2.08
12. Denver......+0.92
13. Phoenix......+0.85
14. Washington......+0.10
15. Utah......+0.07
16. Memphis......-0.17
17. Indiana......-0.39
18. Philadelphia......-0.54
19. Portland......-1.83
20. Cleveland......-2.13
21. Milwaukee......-2.75
22. New York......-3.48
23. Chicago......-3.93
24. New Jersey......-5.42
25. Miami......-6.48
26. Minnesota......-6.79
27. Golden State......-6.87
28. Sacramento......-7.16
29. Seattle......-11.72
30. Charlotte......-13.41

Tomorrow, I will rank each team according to the best offenses and defenses using the PVOA system.