Heroes and Goats from the NBA conference finals
I did a complete "Win Contribution" analysis for every player on the four conference finals teams, and I am prepared to make some sweeping statements about who should be praised and who should be blamed. First, the numbers (for an explanation of Win Contribution, please reference my previous post):
Heroes of the Conference Finals
1. Kobe Bryant
Bryant nearly single handedly carried the Lakers past the Spurs. No other Laker had a Win Contribution of better than +0.200 (although, I must say this: Pau Gasol had 4 very positive games, and one extremely negative game, so his puny WC is somewhat deceiving).
2. Kendrick PerkinsThe supposed Celtic weaklink turns out to be a huge strength. What a series this guy had. Basically, the Celtics beat the Pistons because Tayshaun Prince was awful, and because the Big Green Line of Perkins and Garnett outplayed Wallace and McDyess at critical points in the series.
3. Tim Duncan
Duncan was THE dominant player last round. He just got zero help from his mates. With the exception of Game 5, he demolished Pau Gasol in their one-on-one matchup.
4. Kevin Garnett
Garnett had a solid series, so I'm marking him down as a hero. But a hero with clay feet. I was absolutely appalled at the way he ran away from the basketball in the closing minutes of Game Six. He was passing up his own layups to give the ball to three point shooters, he absolutely bricked a pair of free throws, and he was generally acting like the basketball was hot. Weak, weak, weak.
5. Richard Hamilton
Hamilton had a very good series against Ray Allen. Allen often looked like he couldn't keep up with the perpetual motion machine that is RH. I like his Malcolm X beard, too.
Goats of the Conference Finals
1. Gregg Popovich
Why didn't he play Brent Barry more? And why did he stick with Bruce Bowen for so long? Unforgiveable. Bowen contributed nothing on offense and was doing almost nothing at all to slow down Kobe Bryant. Terrible strategic series for Popovich.
2. Manu Ginobli
What was the matter with him? He played well in one game, so he couldn't have been debilitated. Had he played anywhere close to normal, the Spurs might have won.
3. Tayshaun Prince
Awful, awful, awful. By my calculations, Prince's incompetence... alone... was the difference in the series. Had the Pistons had an average contributing small forward, they would have won the series.
4. Wallace and McDyess
What was the deal with these two? Especially McDyess. He was lights out for one game, and then the last two it looked like he didn't want to be there. Wallace is up-and-down because he's too perimeter reliant. That leads to inconsistency. That's why I never understand why draft sites praise guys for being able to step out and hit the three when those guys are suited to play down low. You're just asking for Ralph Sampsonitis.
5. Sam Cassell and PJ Brown
Why isn't Doc Rivers playing Leon Powe or Tony Allen? Can some Celtic fan please explain that to me. Cassell and Brown have done nothing all postseason except try their best to derail the Celtics chances. They are turning out to be useless pickups that have done nothing except confuse Doc Rivers into changing his rotations. What a blunder.
6. Bruce Bowen
Bowen tries hard, but what does he get done? Kobe's Win Contribution couldn't have been higher if he had Big Dog Robinson on him all series, and Bowen does zilch on offense. Why can't someone on the Spurs recognize the guy has lost his fastball?
I think that's it. Now I have to think of something to write about for tomorrow. Oh, maybe the predraft measurements will be coming out. That's always fun. Who's three inches shorter than previously believed?