Bucks Diary

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Have any of you switched over?

Have any of you switched over to the new site? I'm having difficulty figuring out the functionality over there and the normal commenters haven't been around and there are some interesting issues arising with our successful Milwaukee Bucks. There may be opportunities for further advancements (our highest paid players are doing nothing... our lowest paid player is a blossoming superstar). So PLEASE let me know if you like this deal. So far I'm kind of like... eh... its frustrating. But its supposedly a lot bigger audience. But right now it feels like one of those George Lucas or Stanley Kubrick movies where somebody landed me on an all white planet by myself and I can't find any signs of civilization...

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Here's where the new driveway is, gang

If you haven't found the new location, for Bucks Diary, its here mvn.com/bucksdiary.

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Arguments against Redd explained through the use of stupid analogies

People are misunderstanding my argument against Michael Redd. Let me try to lay it out with odd analogies.

The "Perceived Value versus Real Value" argument against Redd

My brother had a Saab. He paid a relatively high amount for it. When it ran, it was okay, he got some head nods from passersby, not a lot. But the damn thing never ran. He also had a Ford Focus (I'm making all this up). Didnt pay alot for it. It ran beautifully, was pretty reliable, but had absolutely no cache.

One day my brother asked himself, was that little bit of cache he was getting from the Saab worth the price he was paying for it. It never ran... it didn't get the CENTRAL job done that a car must do to be worthwhile ( in my story cache is meant to be analagous to Redd's scoring numbers while the 'never running' part is meant to be analagous to his lack of 'Win Scoring'... Geez I'm explaining the analogys... I aint exactly Sir Winston Churchill.)

Now, my brother says to himself... there's alot of suckers out there who will pay too much for my Saab, but would probably only give me market value for my Focus. Hmmm, perhaps I can sell the Saab (ie "his overvalued asset") to some sucker who would be willing to give me something more than it is worth. Gee, I would be much better off. I will have cut ties with my expensive, OVERVALUED ASSET, and gained some productive assets... assets that can help the Bucks win a Championship.

That's why I want to trade Redd. I like driving him around on Friday night, but geez I can't pay through the nose for that little return. And, alot of people think Saab's are sweet, so they may be dumb enough to give me too much back (in terms of Win Production) for him.

Hell, the Pistons traded one of the NBA's best Win Contributors, for like 4 seasons running, for a mediocre Win Contributor who basically volume scores and runs his mouth and I guess doesn't like to practice.

So opportunites are there. Oh, one final point.

Even if we only get market value back for Redd... and this is actually a HUGE POINT, he plays a position that's pretty easy to replace with a pretty decent player... so EVEN IF WE BLOW THE TRADE... no big whoop... PLUS... Redd's monster contract is off the books.

The "Distribution of Basketball Talent" argument against Redd

Let's say there's a ton of electricians in the area and most of them are slightly below average, average, or slightly above average, with some being supertalented (Kobe) and some not so good (Ben Gordon). Meaning there is a low standard distribution (am I saying that right? I actually avoided statistics in college... i'm self taught -- like Lincoln... or, ... not like Lincoln). On the other hand, there's just slightly less plumbers in the area, but they vary wildly in talent, with few being average, many being way below average, a handful being above average and then a few being superb. Meaning there's a high standard deviation. Just play along with me, I know its dumb.

Who's more valuable? A slightly above average electrician or a slightly above average plumber? The plumber, obviously, because if you lose him you risk getting stuck with something horrible. Whereas if you lose the slightly above average electrician, you can replace him with someone who can do a reasonably good job.

Redd and his fellow perimeter players are the electricians. Big men and point guards are the plumbers. Why in the world would you offer a slightly above average electrician a maximum contract? Yeah, he'll do a nice job, but your distribution of resources is f%%d.

I'm here and I'm there!!

Everything in life is relative, idn't it?

I'm sitting here loving all the comments on BucksDiary (btw, its unclear now when I'm moving to MVN so just keep coming back here... when i move i'll put a link up don't worry)... I'm loving Milwaukee Bucks basketball again... I'm proud to be an Antlerhead for the first time since they traded Ray Allen... then I'm thinking "Hey, if my buddy from Celticsblog, or if JE Skeets, or if anyone who isn't an Antlerhead is reading this... they're laughing their asses off... we're13-16!!".

But, so what? Everything in life is relative. Or, better put, everything in life is trajectory, and the Bucks trajectory appears to be pointing up.

In fact, this is how Mike Holmgren might have described the situation in one of his legendary locker room speeches... you know the ones... you've seen them on NFL Films... where he meanders all over the place trying to get the team's attention before he gets to his point and then puts the team in a frenzy... well here's what I imagine Coach Holmgren might say, courtesy of NFL Films, about the State of the Milwaukee Bucks... lets listen in (if you like it, Coach Holmgren has promised to make intermittent appearances on BucksDiary, similar to BD on that pompous political comic strip)...
"Gentlemen, gentlemen... hey... (loud voice) hey, hey, hey... hey... guys, listen up... guys... cut the chatter... guys... (conversational voice) We had a NICE couple of wins there on Friday and Saturday (Loud Cheers)... didn't we?... yeah, we did... we sure did... we sure did... a nice couple of wins... and I thought the defense played pr-e-t-ty well... pr-e-t-ty well (loud cheers)... and the offense... hey... hey, hey... the offense... well, its comin around... I think it is... i think it is... its comin around... but hey... hey, hey, hey... listen up... listen up... we haven't achieved... guys, guys... we haven't achieved anything yet... Have we? (Humongous cheers )... our goals are BIG... aren't they?! (Even louder cheers)... YES SIR THEY ARE!... But, hey.. hey, hey, hey... guys, guys, guys... we're building something here in Milwaukee, aren't we?? Yeah... You're proud to be a Milwaukee Buck again, aren't you?!!... YES SIR YOU ARE!!... (Maddending Cheers)... NOW LETS CARRY THIS MOMENTUM TO TEXAS!!!!! (Roars)... LETS CARRY IT TO TEXAS (Continuing Roars)... EVERYBODY IN HERE!!! EVERYBODY IN HERE (everybody huddles up)... (30 second pause)... Where's Brett?... Hey, where's Brett?..."

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Everything is Green and Red

I just checked basketball-reference.com. I've been doing this blog for what... geez almost 4 years off and on. I cannot remember seeing more beautiful (relatively speaking) numbers for the Bucks than the ones I just checked.

First, were near the one third mark, we've played a tough schedule, road heavy, and our Pythagorean is above 0.500. Second, our defense, which you've heard me say time and time and time again has not been above 15th in the NBA for over a GENERATION (since Del Harris coached the team... chew on that) is now EIGHTH in the NBA and rising, and... even better news, our offense has improved!!

Two things... maybe I should lay off Redd a bit. But guys, I'm not arguing he can't help the offense... OBVIOUSLY he can!! What I am arguing is he simply isn't worth the money. Think about it this way. Lets say you have... oh screw my analogies!! Just know he's good but you don't pay 15.75 million for a frickin Corolla!!

Second, my sabermetric chart says ... whoaaa... on that "Redd is back, therefore its Redd" cause and effect reasoning... Others have improved simultaneously... Jefferson, Bogut.... Charlie V if you catch him on the right night... Whether Redd had anything to do with their performance, I doubt it... Professor Berri did exhausting research on the so-called "he makes others better" effect, and found it did not exist -- NOT EVEN WITH JORDAN OR BIRD... so I doubt it exists with a no pass gunner like Redd.

But I'm getting sidetracked. The point of this is the Bucks numbers rule. Go Bucks... got work to do... see ya.

Were those the Bucks Lambeau Leap games?

Normally I try, weakly, to emulate Bill James, the baseball writer. Tonight, I'm going to try to emulate Bill Simmons, the "sports guy". So this post is based on nothing but my "gut". And, sadly, it will probably be alot more popular and conversational than the Jamesian posts that I actually put alot of effort into. Oh well, (hey, I'm super wordy like Bill Simmons!) here it is:

16 years ago next Saturday, Christmas Day 1993 to be exact, I remember I believed the 8-6 Mike Holmgren Green Bay Packers were kind of the same old Green Bay Packers. Pretty good, yeah, improved from Lindy Infante, yeah, a little better coached, to be sure, but headed ultimately to a fate of at best 9-7 seasons, one after another, and then a series of one and dones in the playoffs. In other words, they were nothing special.

The next day, December 26th, the Packers played an okay, 8-5 Los Angeles Raiders team at Lambeau Field. The Raiders weren't great, but they were formidable. The Packers beat them down so thoroughly, so completely... LeRoy Butler invented the Lambeau Leap that day... I just remember thinking after the game... this shit is different. These aren't the same Packers. They're headed for a different plane. NFL Films says the Packers victory over the Lions in the play-offs two weeks later set them on their way... I say it was the win over the LA Raiders two weeks previous.

Of course the analogy with these Milwaukee Bucks is by no means pure. Its way too early in the Skiles era. And remember, even after the Raider beat down it took the Packers setback after setback to reach the pinnacle. And by the way, I'm not saying the Bucks can get close to the pinnacle... because basketball is different and harder.

But after 20 years of poor defensive teams, didn't those two victories just feel great? Weren't they sort of "paradigm shifts" in your mental impression of the Milwaukee Bucks? Didn't you walk away thinking "these aren't the same Milwaukee Bucks"?

I did.

That's all I'm saying.

Was last night and the night before the Bucks' LA Raider games?

This is an analytical blog that normally bases its analysis upon hard evidence. This time I'm basing it strictly upon intution or what sports analysts refer to as "a feeling I got".

This may mean absolutely SQUADUSH (is that a word?) but, in the last two nights, I got the same exact feeling about the Milwaukee Bucks that I got way, way back in the day, almost exactly 16 Decembers ago -- set ur mental flux capacitors to Sunday, December 26, 1993 -- when Mike Holmgren's second edition of the Green Bay Packers took on the Los Angeles Raiders.

Going into that cold Sunday game, both teams had decent records -- the Packers were 8-6, the Raiders were 9-5. So the Packers were a decent team at that point... there's no question about it.

But, have you ever read the book Blink? If you have, you know that our brains cannot process all the information...

Ok, I gotta go shovel... here's the point... that game the Pack beat down the Raiders in a manner that transformed my entire image of the team.


Mine eyes have seen the Skiles: Sabermetric Boxscore for Bucks vs.Clippers

For the loyal readers of this little blog... think back just six short months... did you think the last two nights were possible? I mean FORGET the opponents? Did you think those kind of defensive efforts were possible from these Milwaukee Bucks? Last night the Clippers Team Win Score was 15.0! That's amazing defense... A miracle has happened... Moses has chased the Pharoah out of Egypt... the 16 year plague has lifted... What else can I say for what Scott Skiles has done? He's finally gotten the Milwaukee Bucks to commit to defense... and, as my historical analysis showed, its the surest way to a world's championship (that's why I no longer like the Lakers at all -- and why I think the Cavs look ready to win it).

Click Here for my Sabermetric Boxscore: Milwaukee Bucks vs. Clippers

Stars of the Game

1. Luke Ridnour
2. Luc Moute
3. Richard Jefferson

Notes on the Game

1. Moute is up there again. Damn, that is great to see... You notice, he plays well, the Milwaukee Bucks play well. I'll admit it to you readers, I thought the Force had left Luc, I thought either he had hit a rookie wall or the Association had figured out how to play him at the 4. Because he had, like a 2 week span of bad games... hang on, i'm going to figure out his season MWS and TWC... his Marginal Win Score currently stands at +0.9... now that's taken a beating over the past couple of weeks, but its pretty damn good for a rookie... his TWC is down as well but its still pretty outstanding for a first year, second round pick... it currently stands at +0.099... that translates into a TWC above replacement level of +0.261 (remember, he's playing 79% of his time at the second most valuable spot... power forward, so that's elevated his value considerably). That makes his Championship Percentage a lofty 9.4%. Not shabby at all for a second round pick. Not shabby at all.

2. Bogut had another sort of bad game... I'll cut him a break though, Camby is big time.

3. I hate giving positive TWC to guys like Charlie Bell who only get them because the players opposite them stink. But those are the rules... your duty is to outproduce your counterpart opponent... by any means necessary... you do that, you improve the team's win probability.

4. I can't believe how badly Luke Ridnour DESTROYED the so-called great Baron Davis. What has happened to him? He looked disinterested! I bet he's thinking about whatever movie he's gonna produce or whatever. Way to go Luke.

5. Brilliant basketball game from Richard Jefferson. Brilliant.

6. When will we see something like that from Redd. He's having a crappy season, backing up what was a CRAPPY season last year. When's he gonna start playing like a max dollar player. The reason I'm harpin on this you guys is because we've got the defense in place... all we need are those one or two efficent offensive engines to drive us to some wins, and we paid for a Ferrari engine and Redd's kind of giving us a Ford Focus... you know, it runs, but its nothing special... meanwhile RJ is like a Saab... it goes great and then it doesn't go... no wait, if he was a Saab he'd be on the injured reserve a lot, so that doesn't work....hmmmm.... anyway, the point of that mumbo jumbo is were not gettin what we paid for.

7. All in all a great two nights for the Bucks... I really don't care who the opponents were... they were NBA teams, one on the road and one at home and both of them received Sleeperholds of each of thier games from a Bucks team who six months ago couldn't apply a sleeper hold to a baby. Awesome thing to see.

Put your ears to the ground, boys... I hear a stampede a comin'... the Milwaukee Bucks are on their way back!!

    Can Skiles fix the economy?

    What Scott Skiles has done to fix the Bucks 16 year defensive drought is nothing short of miraculous. There has been no significant defensive addiition to the roster (RJ was never known as a stopper -- okay LOSING Mo Williams WAS a huge help, butttt.....).

    The point is, I just

    What Skiles has done

    Wow.... wow. On back to back nights, the Bucks just curbed two opponents in a row on two consecutive nights. Not with wild three pointers... with suffocating defense.

    I'm just speechless. The difference is stunning. Even the people that used to see me wearing Bucks gear and gripe "Ohhhh, the Bucks... they never play annnyyy deeefennse" don't say that anymore.

    Its all because of Skiles. He's somehow done it

    Saturday, December 20, 2008

    Compare and contrast where they're at: The Lakers and the Cavs

    I'm not picking on the Lakers, I like them, they're obviously loaded... but they're making me look ridiculous at the moment, and I can't be made to look ridiculous.

    At the beginning of the year, I thought they had learned from last season's playoffs that Showtime Lakerball, meaning, high octane offense and just average defense, won't get it done. They were playing lockdown defense to begin the season. Ten games in I said "Shut her down" its the Lakers year. Then they went back to Laker ball.

    Now it looks like the Cavs year (or the Celts... the Celts HAVE the D... its just that the Cavs have the D and the O).

    The last two nights provide a nice case study. The Cavs and the Lakers go on the road against similarly situated tough teams in the opposite conference across the country. Lets see how they responded.

    The Cavaliers faced the very tough Denver Nuggets at their very difficult home court site. What the Cavaliers did... and I watched it... was frightening. They basically cut Denver's chest open, ripped their heart out while it was beating, and ate it... the defeat was that complete.

    More importantly, Cleveland's defense ruled. Their Defensive Win Score was a playoff ready 18.9... this is against a Denver team whose Home Offensive Win Score is near 50.0. IMPRESSIVE.

    Now the Lakers. They go on the road against an equally tough Orlando. They play them hard but they lose. Why did they lose? Defense.

    Their defense wasn't horrible, but it wasn't championship level. Their Defensive Win Score was 44.9. That's slightly below average. Again, not horrible, and they'll win a TON of games with that and their WAY above average Offensive Win Score, but they won't win a golden ball with Defensive Win Score teams like Cleveland and Boston out there. It just won't happen.

    See, what happens in the playoffs, and I charted this last season, and I went back over a few other NBA Finals and found the same phenomenon. Team Win Scores collapse.

    You would logically think, "Hey thse are the best teams, the Win Scores are going to go up". Its not the case.

    The Win Score average for a season is usually in the 40s... NBA Finals games are normally played in the 30s... sometimes in the 20s. You know what I think the reason is? No easy baskets. There are no layups allowed... and most of the game is played in the half court setting. But that's just a hunch.

    Anyway, my message to LakerNation is this: tell Philipo he needs to grow back that beard and get the Lakers playing defense again. They've obviously shown they are capable of doing so... they need to begin to make it a habit if they are going to make a championship run.

    Change you CAN believe in

    I cannot tell you how much respect I have Scott Skiles and what he has accomplished in one month. Scott Skiles is a miracle worker. Everything about the man screams "Leader".

    And he's got the Milwaukee Bucks playing devastating defense.

    Six months ago... did any of you think it was POSSIBLE I could have wrote those words without being sarcastic?? What a job Skiles has done! In fact, he may be the best basketball coach in the business... here's why...

    Professor Berri is going to argue -- and backup with evidentiary research -- in his upcoming book, I believe, that basketball coaches don't matter much. BUT, I think he's going to take the position that they don't matter because they cannot improve PLAYER PRODUCTION much. Okay, lets accept that.

    Let's say his argument is right (and I'm on thin ice here since I haven't read the book because it hasn't even been released) if it is, then could it n. How can you do better than Coach Skiles has done with your Milwaukee Bucks?

    Anyway, chew on that for a while and I'll have the TWC boxscore shortly...


    The Bucks may be closer than we think

    Normally on this blog, I like to use statistical analysis. This time I'm going to use pure intution. Here it is

    Lets review the Bucks last season and this season.

    Last season the Bucks basically struggled against everyone.

    What do we see this season? '

    This season, the Bucks compete for a while at home with the upper echelon of the NBA (Boston, Phoenix). They

    The Magnificence!!... And thank you Pressey25!... 25!! Aaahhh look at the picture dumb dumb author!

    We suffered for soooooo long in Milwaukee with teams that could not or would not or just refused to play defense. It was so painful to watch. It was so utterly painful to watch.

    Now, this season, with no significant upgrade in talent... remember, coming into this season Richard Jefferson's career numbers were projecting sharply downward... with all that, the Milwaukee Bucks... OUR Milwaukee Bucks... the Boys in Green and Red... the Boys who couldn't bust the top 16 in defense for an entire generation....

    Well, they are a frickin defensive machine... and they are just CRUSHING inferior teams with almost no offense and it is beautiful to watch because its proving my PROVING my theory on Defensive Win Score... they're OFFENSE IS WORSE THAN IT WAS LAST SEASON... and yet they are much improved, so much improved...

    And a frequent and astute commenter by the name of "Pressey23" deserves a half credit for inspiring the notion of Defensive Win Score he unknowingly made the key inspirational critical comment (you can be a friend of this blog and rip the shit out of me you know... that's how knowledge is gained). I once wrote that Mo Williams was "a key component" because he had a positive Win Contribution, which was true... he did have a positive offensive Win Contribution.

    Well, a day later, Pressey batted in the Comment section something like "Mo Williams a key component?? No way... I can't sit through another season with a point guard who plays NO DEFENSE"... He convinced me and started me thinking... defense HAS TO MATTER... It turned out that if you compared the Win Score production of the point guards of Milwaukee Bucks opponents who were on the floor at the time Mo Williams was on the floor, Mo Williams production suddenly became negative... so the NBA AVERAGE WAS FUNCTIONALLY IRRELEVANT... THE RELEVANT AVERAGE WAS THE ONE CREATED ON THE HARDWOOD IN THE GAME... Bingo...That led to the whole idea of "Counterpart Opponent"/Defensive Win Score, which led to the idea of Marginal Win Score, which led to TOTAL Win Contribution... which is now basically the raison d'ĂȘtre of this here blog.., so thank you Mr. Pressey, and keep it up in the second half Bucks!

    And Skiles rules!!! And I'll have a TWC by at least tomorrow morning if not tonight.

    And I'm moving to MVN Monday morning. I'm just too busy this weekend.

    Shine a Light on Lue: Enhanced TWC boxscore from the Bucks crushing of the Knicks

    This may be my last posting on blogspot. I have to check my email and see how the procedure works to switch over to MVN, but that's definitely imminent.

    I wish you buds could see me. I've been shoveling all day and trying to get this stupid ENHANCED Milwaukee Bucks TWC boxscore done, because it was such a huge and crushing win. Anyway, I look like frickin Charlie Villanueva. I'm wearing tearaways. A Milwaukee Bucks hunter green old school jersey... obviously... and a Green Bay Packers cold weather headband that I haven't taken off with those kind of heavy army socks... because I've been between the computer and the fricking snow all day.

    Timeout for a Rant (Skip below for my Notes on the Game)

    Anyway, I wanted to do this thing because the GD Milwaukee Journal has the whole narrative wrong AGAIN. They credit stupid REDD because .... GEE he scored alot of points.

    People if you lose me and dont follow me over to MVN, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE (I sound like this guy) remember this... VOLUME SCORING ALONE IS MEANINGLESS IN BASKETBALL!!!!!!!!!!! If anything it can tend to kill a team... the important thing is possessions.... Its like Robin Yount taking as many at bats as he wants for the Brewers and then the Journal reporting that the Brewers won because he got four hits....HOW MANY AT BATS DID HE USE UP???

    Ok, enough ranting... by the way those analogies are all stolen from the Wages of Wins, so read it for more insight....

    Notes on the Game

    1. Tyronn Lue has secretly resurrected himself people. He's close to having a positive Win Contribution for the season, and his play is above Replacement Level, which is what you want from your bench players. Think about your low level players as a basement floor. The higher the basement floor, the higher the structure. Good going Lue.

    2. Croshere is also playing at an above Replacement level. Can he be physical enough to be our permanent replacement center? That is my question. His athletic ability is clearly gone, he can no longer man the 3 or 4.

    3 My man Moute, the Winter Prince of Milwaukee as one of my loyal commenter so aptly and keenly dubbed him, has clearly gotten his second wind. He has played some beautiful games this weekend.

    4. Michael Redd will give you points per minute... lately that is the only thing he and RJ are delivering above average. They are playing decent defense, to their credit... but I also think they are benefiting from going against gunslingers. Both RJ and Michael must do more to earn their money. Particularly Michael. He must make a concerted effort to get the team more possessions. At the moment he is averaging around 1.7 possessions gained per 48. That will never get it done. Early in his career, as I have pointed out many times, he was much better at that, and he can be. Quit romancing that 3 point line. Durant has revitalized himself, Redd can too.

    5. I can't say enough good about Andrew Bogut... remember when I said we should shop him last year... that dude who wrote I was crazy... you have earned the right to do this to me

    6. To paraphrase Bobby Kennedy, "Now its on to Milwaukee, and Lets Win There!"... Tonight is a must. Cannot lose to the Clippers at home. Cannot do it people. They're last in my Power Rankings, if I was keeping them up.

    Knicks forgot what Willis Reed taught... defense usually trumps offense

    I don't know about that "European, little man, fire it up, offense first, defense-be-damned" system Coach D'Antoni has brought to the Big Apple. It will win him games in the regular season, there's no question about that. But, ultimately, it will not win him championships. Defense wins championships... not offense.

    The irony is, KnicksFan should know that better than anyone... the Knickerbockers used two AWESOME AWESOME Defensive "or Opponent" Win Score teams to dismantle two superior Lakers Offensive Win Score teams and win their two famous Worlds Championships back in the early 70s (one of them was the celebrated "Willis Reed Championship", the other one I call the "Crooklyn" Championship because it was celebrated in Spike Lee's movie.)

    Of course, D'Antoni is really not working with superior personnel at the moment, and the Bucks just took them apart root and branch last night, so this unit is not a good test of my theory. Anyway, tremendous win for the Green and Red last night, and I will have a TWC boxscore shortly. (I'm going back to "Green and Red"... they're insisting on wearing those Red jerseys so I have to go with the flow) BTW, REDD DID NOT WIN THE GAME LAST NIGHT AS JSOLINE IS INSISTING... anyone who reads this blog and is therefore "enlightened" will know Redd had a slightly above average game but that the heroes were CLEARLY MOUTE and BOGUT. Get ready for my TWC Boxscore.

    Friday, December 19, 2008


    Here it is... Big O '74 road jersey

    I keep referencing my Big O '74 road jersey... here's Oscar wearing it... mine's just a replica and its in tatters... but I keep wearing it cause its my favorite Bucks road jersey and I wish they would bring it back... I guess this year's team favors the Badger red... they've worn those things about three games in a row now... I think superstition is playin a part in that though... alright time for the second half... Go Milwaukee Bucks!!

    Defensive Brilliance!... Keep it up Bucks

    I've got my Oscar Robertson 1974 Hunter Green Road Jersey on right now, cause I'm not going anywhere with the snow coming down. That first half was awesome, though. They held the highpowered New York Knickerbocker offense to just 37 points! Think about that... this is a defense that could not stop squat last season and they hold one of the best offenses in the NBA to 37 points in a half at home!

    Skiles is brilliant...

    I'm opening another Pabst Blue Ribbon and I will have a TWC Boxscore at the end of the game...

    Remember I'm moving to MVN this weekend... GO BUCKS!!!!!!

    Utilizing my sabermetric chart

    When you are looking at my offensive sabermetric chart, you can also use it as a means of determining who is suited to play what position. For instance... Ramon Sessions is above average in every category when you consider him as a point guard, yet he is below average in some of the areas if you consider him as a shooting guard.

    And indeed, Skiles has deployed Sessions as a shooting guard 32% of the time, and it has hurt his Win Contribution. Sessions Win Contribution is +2.9 as a point guard and only +.6 as a shooting guard. Deployment matters.

    Enjoy the Bucks versus the Knickerbockers. My Bill James Log 5 Calculations say the Bucks have a 44% chance of taking tnis game at the Garden. So go Bucks!

    If your going to a tavey to watch this game remember to drink only Milwaukee or Milwaukee heritage beers!! And careful of the snow!! Drive safely!! Ever reader counts!!

    And remember I'm moving over to MVN!!! The basketball revolution lives on!!

    Bucks Diary Fans its official.. I'm moving to MVN

    Bucks Diary Fans... The Revolution is moving...

    If your a fan of the this blog its moving. I tried like hell to bring an audience to blogspot but it just didnt work as well as I wanted. So were movin our act into the bigtime at MVN, the Most Valuable Network. I'm not totally sure how its going to work, but its happenin this weekend, and I'm pretty excited.

    For one thing, no more annoying purple lines when you click on an archived post (I dont know where the heck those things came from, I called them the curse of Dunleavy) or amatuer graphics.

    I guess you just gotta go over to MVN and find me.

    But DO IT!! I NEED YOU!!

    Oh, and one, other thing. If I don't respond to email, or answer this comment or that, its not because I don't appreciate the reader. I APPRECIATE EVERY READER OF THIS BLOG. Its just my attention to detail can wane from time to time. Don't take it personally. Everyone who reads this blog is part of the brotherhood and will always be part of the revolution!! Stay Strong!! Stay on Board!! And please follow me to MVN... I need every single one of you!!!!!

    A complete sabermetric diagnosis of the Bucks offensive woes

    I've finally completed my statistical analysis of the Bucks offensive woes. I have the chart for your observations. It contains every important statistic for every Milwaukee Buck along with the corresponding NBA positional average, taken from the positional averages done by Professor Berri's research. I leave it to you to observe which Bucks are deficient in which areas.

    You will notice the chart emphasizes: possessions gained per 48 minutes, basket attacking ability, scoring reliability, and the ability to convert possessions into points. Those four categories are the essence of NBA offensive excellence.
    I'm sure after looking at the chart you will conclude, as I do, that, as Alec Baldwin said in the awesome scene in Glengarry Glen Ross, the Bucks offense's name so far this season is "Your Wanting". (PUT THAT COFFEE DOWN, CHARLIE BELL! YOU CALL YOURSELF A SHOOTING GUARD YOU SON OF A BITCH!)

    Kareem aint walkin through that door, Oscar aint walkin through that door...

    I have a Kareem Abdul Jabbar mock 1970 Milwaukee Bucks road jersey shirt in my drawer. I have an Oscar Robertson mock 1974 Milwaukee Bucks road jersey (in tatters) in my drawer. But the odds of the Milwaukee Bucks ever acquiring another Kareem Abdul Jabbar, or the odds of the Milwaukee Bucks ever acquiring another Oscar Robertson again are infinitesimal.

    The fact is if the Bucks are ever to rise again, they must do it the Moneyball way. They have to find the anomalies in the market and exploit them. In other words, they must act like the two venture capitalists in the book "Super Crunchers".

    These two guys went into a meeting with a couple of Hollywood big shots to pitch a proven method they had to determine whether a script would produce a profitable movie. (It was based upon regression analysis of certain elements contained within each script... I forget now what the specific elements were, but it was things you wouldn't normally consider: like the title, or the plot line... things like that... quite fascinating actually).

    Think about it. This would be worth BILLIONS to the Hollywood industry. If they knew BEFORE HAND whether a movie would be profitable? That should be candy in their ears. It wasn't! Even though these two guys proved their case to these two studio CEOs, the CEOs basically threw them out the door. They told them "That isn't how we do things in Hollywood!".

    Well, the venture capitalists left the meeting laughing. The author of Super Crunchers, who is a Professor of Law at Yale University wondered what in the fuck these guys were laughing about, after all their proposal just gut shoved up their asses!

    Well, the venture capitalists just smiled and explained to the naive prof, "This is how we make our millions. We find silly captains of industry who cling to their irrational beliefs and we exploit them." In other words, they find market anomalies and take advantage.

    The Bucks have to do the same thing if they are ever going to rise again. They have to follow the Pistons model of a few years ago. Grab productive players who are undervalued either in the draft (Tayshaun Prince), in trades (Rasheed Wallace, Antonio McDyess,) or in mid-level free agency (Chauncey Billups, Ben Wallace). (Note: If I'm wrong about how any of those Pistons were acquired please let me know. But you get the basic point. None of them cost the Pistons a King's Ransom, and all of them were Championship Percetage pieces).

    That's why I so desperately want Richard Hendrix. At the moment he would cost nothing to acquire. NOTHING. And lets just say I'm right about his value. He would have a TWCar of about, lets say he gets full playing time, he would have a TWCar of .525, which is a a Championship Percentage of 18%. How do you pass that chance up? For no cost? I ask you that?

    I sort of pulled a Dan Rather

    A couple of posts ago, I reported that the Bucks attendance at the Bradley Center had fallen to its all-time low NBA rank. I did a chart showing how it followed a sort of disturbing downward trend over the years the Bucks have called the BC their home gym.

    Well a reader pointed out that the attendance figures did not jibe with others he had seen. Turns out he was right concerning this season. I just rechecked my source, basketball-reference.com, and they have the Bucks falling from 27th to 30th... even though the Bucks have been on the road the last week. Obviously their numbers are gross totals, but they didn't explain that anywhere and I was duped. Turns out the Bucks attendance has actually risen a bit this season to 23rd... although how much of that is tomfoolery brought on by the reduced price upper level seating deal I don't' know.

    But the numbers from the preceding years remain legimitate. There has clearly been a downward trend in attendance that must be reversed. We have to get back to the days of the early 90s when the Bucks had attendance figures in the top ten in the NBA. That means the Bucks have to start putting a better product on the court.

    Thursday, December 18, 2008

    Dear Santa: Please deliver Richard Hendrix to the Bucks

    I do not understand the logic behind some of the decisions made in the National Basketball Association. An awesome anonymous tipster just brought me this news (thank you by the way, brother, and I wish you guys would leave monikers so I can give proper props... but I think I'm moving to MVN shortly anyway, so do it when I get there PLEASE) The Golden State Warriors just cut loose Richard Hendrix... a guy who has TRUE VALUE tattoed on his chest.

    Teams think he's undersized. HE'S NOT!! Head height is IRRELEVANT in basketball. The relevant "height" for basketball purposes is your standing reach. And he's got above average standing reach (his standing reach is 9'0''). The average center is 9'1''. He's also got the size (250 lbs) and the strength (13 reps) to play both of the most valuable positions on the court (PF/C). I would estimate his replacement value at around +5.0. So he's a wildly valuable commodity.

    And, most importantly, he's a proven producer. Everything on his resume says he would be a WILDLY PRODUCTIVE WIN CONTRIBUTOR. In college he consistently produced huge numbers (defensive numbers I can't reproduce at the moment). Professor Berri's study of the last twenty drafts, I believe, showed the average NBA center/power forward had a collegiate Win Score/40 (they play 40 min in the NCAA) of 12.4. Hendrix had a four year collegiate average of 14.3, and he produced a Win Score 12.0 as a freshman! So he's the real deal!

    If that's not enough, the guy produced a 17.4 WS/48 in the D League. And he played pretty sweet defense too. He had a MWS/48 of approximately +4.6 and a Total Win Conribution of +0.543 to the 9-1 Bakersfield Jam. He's a freakin' winner!!

    He's got the size, he's got the bulk to play the most valuable positions on the court, he has a long resume of production, he seems willing to play defense... HOW THE HELL IS THIS GUY UNEMPLOYED!!

    Memo to GM Hammond: SIGN RICHARD HENDRIX NOW!!!!! PLEASE!!

    Of course, it won't happen... I'm going to bed before I go crazy. Thanks, though, Anonymous. That was an awesome tip.

    Olympian Redd costing the Bucks a royal sum

    This season, Michael Redd is making $15.75 million. That's way beyond his market value, and way more than a small market team like the Bucks can carry.

    The 2008-09 market price NBA teams are paying per win produced equals $1.77 million (total salary amounts / available wins). Thus Redd owes the Milwaukee Bucks 8.9 wins this season.

    He is currently on pace to deliver less than half that amount (3.0 wins). His Marginal Win Score at the moment is just slightly above average (+0.2) and not nearly far enough above replacement level (+1.1) to justify the maximum dollars he is getting. In essence, he is delivering wins that cost the team about $3.6 million above the going price. That's terrible. Its like shopping at an airport or in Door County!

    And as bad as that sounds, the Redd situation is actually worse. As I wrote the other day, the average number of wins an NBA Champion produces is 58.8 wins. Yet even the highest NBA payroll -- the ridiculous amount the Knicks are paying their collection of stiffs -- only adds up to 55.5 wins. That means its incumbent upon a general manager to find and pay players who deliver beyond their salary amount. And it means it is absolutely lethal for a small market team like the Bucks to have players on its payroll like Redd who deliver less than half the wins they are paid for! On a well constructed championshp tea, your highest paid players must deliver around or above market value, and then you must skillfully construct a roster consisting of at least several players who are drastically under paid per win.

    Take last season's champs as an example of my point. Last season, the market rate for a win produced was $1.6 million. Here's what each Celtic made versus what I believe each Celtic was worth according to the wins he produced, and what the Celtics total payroll should have been:

    What the Celtics were paid vs. what they were owed
    (in millions of dollars)

    1. Kevin Garnett... paid:(23.75) owed: (21.42)
    2. Paul Pierce... paid: (16.36) owed (19.53)
    3. Ray Allen... paid: (16.00) owed (12.60)
    4. Sam Cassell... paid: (6.30) owed (-0.37)
    5. Kendrick Perkins... paid (4.81) owed (8.52)
    6. James Posey... paid (3.20) owed (8.30)
    7. Brian Scalabrine... paid (3.00) owed (1.23)
    8. Tony Allen... paid (1.80) owed (6.37)
    9. Eddie House... paid (1.50) owed (7.91)
    10. Rajon Rondo... paid (1.22) owed (11.12)
    11. Scott Pollard... paid (1.22) owed (0.33)
    12. Leon Powe... paid (0.66) owed (4.48)
    13. Gabe Pruitt... paid (0.65) owed (0.16)
    14. PJ Brown... paid (0.47) owed (0.66)
    15. Glen Davis... paid (0.42) owed (3.3)

    Actual Celtics Payroll: $80.6 million
    Market Value of Celtic player production: $108.06 million

    As you can see, to win a championship, a general manager must be clever enough to find bargain players and under pay them for their above average win production. Most of those players will be younger payers who have little bargaining power (check out the disparity between what Rajon Rondo is paid and what he produces... its nearly $10 million!) Because of the messed up NBA labor situation (I'm trying to use PG-13 language) you may have to overpay a few top dollar guys. But you cannot carry a top dollar player who delivers less than half market value, as Michael Redd is doing. You just can't have that.

    If the Bucks are going to return to glory, they have to know what you are doing when they negotiate contracts. They have to act like aggressive venture capatilists. That means they have to find market anamolies and exploit them (as I've shown, there are PLENTY of market anamolies in basketball... why else would Joe Dumars trade the uberproductive Chauncey Billups for the marginally productive Allen Iverson? He, like many GMs, harbored irrational beliefs about the value of "volume scorers" like Iverson.).

    What I'm saying in a nutshell is the Milwaukee Bucks have to start to play Moneyball right now. No more Joe Alexander picks when shitloads of productive players are on the board (how sweet would Mario Chalmers look in a Bucks uniform... he and Sessions in a rotation?? Whoa!). No more signing marginally valuable players like Michael Redd to large contracts. Its time to get smart.

    The Senator paid for 40 wins

    I guess I rarely pay attention to salary amounts, but last night I looked through the Bucks payroll on HoopsHype. Wow! I'm glad I'm not the Bucks owner. They have a $71 million payroll! That is nearly equal to the payroll of the Milwaukee Brewers ($79 million) and up their with the Green Bay Packers ($89 million)!! Yet the Brewers employ 20 players at the Major League level ($3.9 million per), and the Packers employ 53 ($1.6 million per)!

    So the Bucks, with only 15 players on their payroll (and that includes that bastard Damon Jones, whom the NBA collective bargaining agreement requires the Bucks to pay +$4 million to debate Skip Bayless on ESPN) have in fact the highest payroll of the state's professional teams. And yet the Bucks are, sadly... but clearly... the third most popular professional team in Wisconsin. And I'm not talking third with a bullet either... if you counted the Badgers they might be fourth. The NBA has a screwed up financial model.

    But the point of this post is the amount of wins the Senator deserves in return. Well, if you take the total amount of salary paid by the NBA's franchises this season and divide it by the number of available wins, you get the market value of a win: $1.77 million. Thus, Senator Kohl has paid for 40 wins.

    But if he gets them, they won't come according to outlay. The two highest paid players -- Michael Redd and Richard Jefferson -- owe the Senator 8.9 and 7.4 wins respectively. Redd is currently on pace to

    Celticsblog, your boys are back! But LeBron and the Cavs look ready to rule

    Are we moving toward an historically magnificent postseason? It sure as hell looks like it. I can't remember a year when we've had three super teams on the horizon. No matter who makes it to the NBA Finals, as Sugar Ray Leonard once famously said, "It will be a war". (metaphorically speaking).

    I just did a Win Score analysis of the aformentioned "super" teams: the Cavaliers, the Celtics, and the Lakers. The analysis was similar to the one I did for every NBA Finalist back to the mid-70s. Using what I learned from my historical analysis, the Cleveland Cavaliers are, at the moment, clearly the best team in the NBA, and have the looks of an NBA World Championship team (I'll explain in a moment). The Lakers, on the other hand, are back to the old Laker formula and are the weakest of the three.


    1. As you can see, the Lakers are still playing fantastic "Offense" but their "Defense" is back to its historical "slightly above average" level. (Note: I call "Team" Win Score "Offense", and I call "Opponent" Win Score "Defense"... not quite true, but basically correct labels).

    2. I've mentioned it before but I'll mention it again because its bizarre... the Lakers ALMOST ALWAYS field teams that are outstanding offensive teams and just around the average defensive teams (go through the link above and look at the Laker champions of the 80s)... they're at it again! And those bastards fooled me early in the season! They had me believing they were planning to play Celtic stlye defense... well, they've quit that and gone back to full scale "Laker" style Showtime ball. Its won in the past, but not when its come up against +30% defensive teams like the Celtics and/or the Cavaliers. Thus, at the moment, the Lakers are no longer my favorites to win the NBA Championship

    3. The Celtics are right back to last season's levels. I didn't think it was possible, but they've done it. Their defense is right where it was last season... actually better. They looked poised for another championship run. But one team is standing in their way...

    4. Last spring, I said the Cleveland Cavaliers may have stumbled onto a championship formula. They had just finished a mediocre season with a lenghty playoff run, a run which clearly taught them the importance of defensive motivation. Well, this season they've put it all together, and they are playing at an historically high level. They're playing better defense and much better offense than the Celts. If they can maintain this pace, they will win the NBA championship. But remember, I said the same thing about the Lakers a month ago. So time will tell.

    Does coaching matter in basketball?

    Professor Berri's, the architect of the Win Score metric and the author of the fabulous blog "The Wages of Wins Journal" is coming out with a book Stumbling on Wins. I'm waiting for it with the same anticipation those Star Wars geeks waited for those awful movies that made up the "prequel trilogy".

    But I might have some trouble swallowing the book's central thesis. Berri and Schmidt will argue that coaching does not matter much in the sport of basketball. But I'm not sure that's true. At the risk of commiting an act of heresy, I'm going to try to rebut that assertion.

    Whenever I'm trying to figure out whether something may have an influence on something else, I learned to use an Einstein style thought experiment that imagines the opposite. Lets do that in this case. Lets say your author was appointed Coach of the Milwaukee Bucks because the Senator wanted to sabotage the team, like the owner in the movie The Natural, or Major League, I guess.

    Couldn't I do that through misguided assignments and poor distribution of playing time? Couldn't I scuttle the team's chances by sitting all the best players, playing all the worst, and then deploying those scrubs in disadvantageous positions? Obviously, I could. If I played all of the team's "replacement level" players, I could reduce the team's Win Probability to replacement level: 25%. So coaching can have an effect.

    So for the "coaching doesn't matter" thesis to be true, one has to assume a certain level of technical competence amongst NBA coaches. But I'm not sure even that exists. (Now, obviously, I'm in dangerous waters here, because I'm critiquing a thesis I have never read. But, the Slate article seems to lay out what I am outlining.)

    Take the case of Kevin Durant. Some birdbrain in the Sonics/Thunder organization decided last season to play him at shooting guard. That misdeployment costs the team dearly. As a shooting guard, Durant's career MWS48 is -3.9... way below replacement level. However, if you move him to small forward, his career MWS48 is +2.3... way ABOVE replacement level. Finally, after an early season COACHING change, it appears Durant is becoming the productive player we all envisioned him to be out of college. So, in his case, coaching seems to have mattered, and I've run across dozens of examples of the same-type misdeployments (hell, the Timberwolves have about 5 such cases by themselves -- Kevin Love is far better at center than power forward, yet he is usually deployed at power forward -- Al Jefferson is far better at power forward than center, yet he's routinely played at center -- the injured Corey Brewer is far better at shooting guard than at small forward, yet he normally plays small forward)

    And if coaching does not matter, how do you explain the effect Scott Skiles has had on the Bucks. Lets examine the players he inherited from last season... the same cast of characters who couldn't defend a junior high team.

    What did I miss with Beasley?

    The best way to learn is to examine your mistakes.

    Last season I louted Michael Beasley as a can't-miss NBA Win Contributor. So far, he's missed badly. His Marginal Win Score per 48 is -4.7. That's -3.1 below "scrub" or replacement level. You can't put a guy like that on the court. He's silently killing the Miami Heat.

    Where did I go so wrong?!

    Well let's first see where he's deficient. His personal Win Score is 5.6 per 48 minutes. That's way below the standard for an NBA power forward (10.3-10.8) and 76% below Beasley's own collegiate WS48 of 23.5. The normal collegiate dropoff is around 37%. (Beasley's unusually large dropoff is eerily similar to Kevin Durant's rookie dropoff -- 73% -- and Adam Morrison's rookie dropoff

    What did I miss with Beasley?

    Last season I was touting Michael Beasley as a can't-miss NBA Win

    Bucksdiary's unscrupulous plan to keep our Bucks in Milwaukee

    Here's my plan to take advantage of Obama's trillion dollar stimulus package to keep the Bucks in Milwaukee.

    Let me say first, though, I think Obama's stimulus package is one of those good notions that will not serve its intended purpose. To my eyes, the economy is currently caught in a liquidity trap. Therefore, to fix the situation, the government should be directly injecting credit into the economy, not spending money on infrastructure projects. Massive public works didn't fix the similar situation we had n the 1930s and they won't work now. The Government has to act more directly. Of course, if the Government gets in the lending business, as I'm suggesting, you have the problem of getting the government out of the lending business (ie, "creeping socialism"). So my recovery plan will never happen. We're just going to have to wait for the banks and suffer through. (By the way, its a myth that World War II got us out of the Great Depression... studies show no advanced economic gains in areas where military investment was concentrated. The country came out of the Great Depression in the late 30s when local and national banks began to reloosen credit requirements and money began to reflow throughout the economy. I'm worried that is what will have to happen in our current state. Banks have to get their courage back.. FDR was right, in a sense, the thing we have to fear is fear itself.)

    Boy, I'm off on a tangent. This is not an economics blog, its a Bucks blog, so let me finally round off to my point.

    If Government is giving away all this funny money for public works, Senator Kohl ought to have his "game face" on, and think about the future of the Milwaukee Bucks. He ought to see if there couldn't be a way to roll a new Bucks arena into some kind of Orwellian doublespeak project like a new "Convention Center" or something of that type. Perhaps he could gin up some kind of urban renewal project that included a fancy new gym for the team. God knows downtown Milwaukee needs renewing.

    I realize what I'm asking the Senator to do is the absolute antithesis of his entire political philosophy. He models himself after the legendary William Proxmire (whom I met on the DC Metro in his very late years, after which I did some research and writing for him... he worked until the day he died... he worked out of a tiny office they give ex-Senators at over at the Library of Congress... he didn't always recognize me because of his age, and it sometimes freaked me out... but I'm meandering all over the place here).

    The point is, Senator Kohl hates "pork barrel" spending. And I'm asking him to engineer the very worst kind of pork barrel spending -- spending that would directly benefit him.

    So its unlikely to happen... unless Milwaukee's mayor or someone other than the Senator massages it through the legislative process. I mean, the whole thing is a cynical self centered action on my part, but the opportunity is there. And it may never come again.

    Local financing will never happen. I assure you of that. If the Senator's waiting for that to happen, he'll be dead before it does. (For C's sake, THE PACKERS vote for public financing was only 53%-47%... in BROWN COUNTY... during prosperous times! If that's the case, I cannot imagine a scenario where the Bucks who are backed mainly by professional men and urban youth could win a public financing vote anywhere.)

    So if we have to have a new stadium to have our Bucks stay local, we have to do it the sneaky way. Senator Kohl must, in his heart of hearts, recognize that.

    Besides, there's precedent for my plan. Believe it or not, Milwaukee County Stadium, which was built in the early 1950s, was actually funded through a public works program created by The New Deal. (That's how long these so-called "ready to go" projects take... another reason a massive public works project is a bad deal). The Milwaukee Arena was also a public works project funded in part by federal spending. So its not a pipe dream to think it could happen again. Once public spending starts flowing, it flows into funny places.

    Obviously this whole sneaky plan contradicts a lot of my past posts. I've always argued in the past that public spending on stadiums is a stupid boondoggle. But if we have to swallow all this public spending, and we will it seems, why not have a sweetener that will SAVE OUR MILWAUKEE BUCKS.

    Bucks lose a winnable game: TWC boxscore from Bucks vs. Sixers

    That Bucks game was painful to watch. The Sixers played zone most of the fourth quarter because the Bucks cannot hit jump shots... or at least they couldn't last night.

    But, ironically most of the Bucks played well overall:

    Goats of the Game (according to the TWC boxscore):

    1. Andrew Bogut
    2. Luke Ridnour
    3. Dan Gadzuric


    1. Every minute of court time counts when it comes to the TWC boxscore. There's no such thing as "throw away" minutes. Last night Dan Gadzuric provided an example of that. He played only nine minutes, but was outplayed so badly he recorded a TWC of -0.318. Had he merely played the opposition center to a productive standstill in his nine minutes, the Bucks probability of winning would have gone from 43% to 48%. That's a substantial difference that a guy playing only nine minutes could have made.

    2. Michael Redd and Richard Jefferson, the two highest paid players on the team, were the two most responsible for the Bucks poor offensive performance. But I give the tandem credit for their defensive efforts. Their work on the defensive end of the court produced positive Total Win Contributions for the Bucks.

    3. Bogut was playing so well before last night... but geez he got DESTROYED by the Sixers tandem of Dalembert, Speights, and Evans. Each is the kind of rough physical player Bogut struggles to contain and to produce against. Did you notice he only took 4 shots last night in about 35 minutes of action? Andrew Bogut desperately needs a physical power forward next to him to help him with that weakness, but for three years the Bucks have done nothing to acquire one.

    4. I thought highly of Mareese Speights going into last season's draft. He's struggled with his defense so far, but his offensive production has been where I thought it would be, and he had an excellent game last night, turning in a Win Score per minute of .315, which is excellent. I would have chosen him with the 8th pick instead of Joe Alexander. BTW, Alexander produced nothing but splinters from riding the pine last night.

    5. Luke Ridnour may be hurting, or I dont know what his deal is, but his level of play lately is hurting the team. He's playing like a substitute, not a starter.

    6. If I were Scott Skiles, I might think about giving some of Dan Gadzuric's minutes to Austin Croshere. I know Gadzuric will flash productivity, but he's wildly inconsistent... so far his overall MWS/48 is negative. Croshere's, in limited action, is positive. Plus, Croshere just seems like the better basketball player.

    Wednesday, December 17, 2008

    Why is Skiles so in love with Ridnour?

    Mark this date... its my first official beef with Coach Skiles. Why the hell is he playing Luke Ridnour so many minutes when the productive Ramon Sessions is sitting on the bench? Last night Ridnour was awful (look for my TWC in a minute) while Sessions was at least competitive. Yet Coach decided to play Ridnour 33 minutes while playing Sessions only 15. Bad decision, Coach, and here's why.

    At the moment, Luke Ridnour's Marginal Win Score per 48 is -1.1. That's barely above replacement level. A replacement level point guard would be expected to give the team a Marginal Win Score of -1.4.

    By contrast, Ramon Sessions has a Marginal Win Score at the point guard position of +2.1. That's a huge difference. Sessions at the moment has a TWCar (Total Win Contribution above replacement level) of +0.319. That's amongst the best on the team. That's a Championship Percentage of 11.6%. Not bad for a second year man... and its better than Michael Redd's or Richard Jefferson's... two guys who make about 22 times the amount Sessions is paid. Sessions is the lowest paid player on the team! That's the warped NBA labor market for you.

    Meanwhile, Ridnour, the starter and trusted leader in Coach Skiles mind, and a guy making over 9 times the amount Sessions is getting paid, has a TWCar of +0.033, meaning his play is barely above replacement level. That translates into a Championship Percentage of 1.2%. If you have a starter whose CP is that low, you're never gonna get to the promised land... I promise you that.

    Note: Championship Percentage is based on my theory that you have to win about 58.8 games to be a legitimate championship contender. That translates, in Total Win Contribution, to +2.75 above replacement level. Thus, you need to assemble a team that contributes that much... and every player's contribution, meaning every player's TWCar, divided by +2.75, is what I call their "Championship Percentage". I think Dwight Howard, the center, has a Championship Percentage of about 38.5%, for instance. Thus, the Magic need to add player's whose contribution above replacement adds up to about 61.5%. Meanwhile the Bucks best player, Michael Redd, has never had a TWCar above 10.8% since he signed his maximum pay contract. Meaning,the Bucks have all this money invested in a guy, and they still have to find and pay players who can contribute the additional 90% they need to get to the championship level. That's almost impossible to pull off. You can't invest heavily in a 10% CP player and succeed. You just can't do it... its NEVER been done.

    Second Note: What Championship Percentage means in a nutshell is this. Teams should invest their money on the rare commodities, good centers and good power forwards. Secondly, they should invest in a good point guard, and they should expend the least amount of money at the small forward and shooting guard positions, because its much easier to find decent SG/SF than it is to find decent players at the other three positions. If you do invest heavily in the 2 or 3 position, the player had better be a superstar, like Kobe or Lebron or you are cooked. Check out the Rockets. They invested heavily in the overrated Tracy McGrady, whose TWCar last season was only +0.246, which translated to a measly Championship Percentage of 8.9%. Its no wonder they struggle to get out of the first round.

    Can you win with just defense? The Bucks are testing that theory

    This Bucks season is turning into one of those stories where the jeanie grants your 3 wishes and you dont say them exactly right and you end up with a head made of gold.

    For years we were rightfully bitching about the Bucks defense. They refused to play any.

    Then Scott Skiles came to town and "Presto" the Bucks become a defensive machine. That's the good news.

    The bad news is their offense is just terrible. The untold story last season was that the team's per court player offensive Win Score average (-1.1) was actually slightly worse than their per court player defensive Win Score average(-0.9). When I did my Win Splits at the end of the season, the Bucks offensive half wins were slightly lower than their defensive half wins. Meaning, while we all griped about the defense, the offense was actually worse.

    Now, somehow, its gone completely in the toilet. And that's after we added Richard Jefferson to the mix.

    Tonight's road game against the Sixers was a perfect example of the Bucks dilemma. The Bucks played AWESOME defense (except at the point guard position where they are suffering for some reason... I'll explore that weakness in another post). The current NBA team Win Score average per 48 minutes is 43.8 (its skyrocketing). Tonight, in Philadelphia, the Milwaukee Bucks held the Sixers to a miniscule Win Score of 35.1. That's championship defense. The problem is the Bucks cashed in with their own puny Win Score of 31.5. And, if you think that's bad, think about this. That's close to their average for the season.

    For the season, the Bucks team Win Score average is 34.5 (worse than last season... ugh, that's what I feared would be the Skiles trade-off). If you subtract that from the NBA average, and divide by five, you get a per court player Win Score average per 48 minutes of playing time of -1.8. That's horrible. If you run that through the formula, the Bucks offense has created 5.3 half wins. Meaning, if the Bucks defense matched their offense, the team would be about 5-22 or 6-21.

    Luckily, the defensive average is 40.7 (a major improvement from last season's 48.0, but they almost have to get it down into the 30s given their offense). Anyway, that translates into a defensive Win Score per court player per 48 minutes of court time of +0.6. Run that above average score through the formula, you get 16.4 half wins.

    So, if the Bucks offense matched their defense, the team would be about 16-11 or 15-12. Headed toward a record that would make Pressey23 smile. Unfortunately, the defensive effort only counts for half.

    You put the two together and divide by two, and you almost get an exact translation of the Bucks win count: 10.8 (the Bucks have 11 wins).

    So either we have to almost ratchet our defense up to late 80s Piston levels, or we have to somehow get some offense brewing.

    I'm going to have a TWC boxscore that will break down the Bucks play in about a half hour. Tomorrow I'm doing a breakdown of the two key offensive categories: Net Possessions and Points per Possession. By doing that, I will try to expose the Bucks offensive weak spots. Or at least I'll do my best to see what's there.

    Hang in there Bucks fans. I'm still convinced that better days are coming... if we can get the lid off that GD rim! Someone got an industrial sized can opener?!

    Milwaukee Bucks Masonary Union

    I'm watching the fourth quarter here, Milwaukee vs Philadelphia, and the game is there for the Bucks, BUT NO ONE CAN HIT A FRICKING JUMPER!

    Last year we were bitching about the defense. Suddenly we have no offense. Oh, this game is there to be won, guys!

    TWC after the game.

    The 2009 NBA Draft looks well stocked

    Draftexpress.com's 2008 "NBA mock draft" list was topped by players whose productive histories left something to be desired (Bayless, Gordon, that foreign guy the Knicks took, etc). Remember how I bitched and bitched about that last season? Well, the 2009 mock list is looking quite different.

    Admittedly, I've never heard of most of these guys (I stick to the Association for the most part), but, like a low level human resources clerk, I scanned their resumes. For the most part, I was greatly impressed. The top guys seem to have WS40's that bode well for their professional potential (Except the stiff looking freshman center from Ohio State they have ranked number two. What the hell's he doing at number two?! He barely plays for Ohio State, and he doesn't produce at all when he does play. Yeah, size is a rare commodity, but this guy looks like the second coming of that Jamal Sampson guy, remember him? The Bucks had him on their roster for a season, just because he was tall and athletic. But he couldn't play a lick, and they finally cut him loose, and he just kicked around the NBA, doing nothing but collecting W2s, for about 4 seasons).

    At this point, though, I'm a bit gun shy about recommending anyone. I was burned badly by Michael Beasley's gaudy collegiate numbers. Once he got to the professional ranks, he turned from a power forward into a contact-shy shooting guard. That's happened three times in a row now (Adam Morrison, Kevin Durant, Beasley).

    Kevin Love, though, my big white hope from last season's draft, is actually not doing badly at all. I'm sure I'd get an argument from my brother the Twolves season ticketholder, because Love's shooting percentages are brutal. But he rebounds like Wes Unseld, and he's a terrific defender, especially at the center spot. Thus he has used his secondary statistics to pull himself back into positive Win Contribution territory. If the Wolves played him at center more, where his Marginal Win Score is +2.5, instead of power forward, where his Marginal Win Score is +0.6, he be an even bigger contributor. But McHale doesn't know what the hell he's doing.

    Curry and Hansborough scare me

    The two guys whose great production numbers both interest and scare me are shooting guard Stephon Curry of Davidson and power forward Tyler Hansborough of North Carolina. Both are wildly productive. And consistently productive. But, goddamn it, both HAVE TO BE marked "Caveat Emptor".

    Both have the sort of undersized frames that should scream at me "Production Drop Coming!!" after Morrison, Durant, and Beasley. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me three times, something's wrong with my system...

    But man, both are SO enticing. Their numbers are huge. And Curry's got the blood lines. But, thankfully, there are plenty of other guys with huge numbers as well. I'll go into detail on them in another post.

    New Scouting System

    This season, I've detected something. Last season, before the NCAA tournament, I figured every tournament team's offensive and defensive Win Scores. This season, I've noticed that players who come from teams that had very good team defensive Win Scores (Moute, Mayo, Mario Chalmers, Love, Afflalo) tend to have excellent "Counterpart Opponent" Win Scores in the pros.

    So now I'm going to use the same techniques I use to estimate the defensive Win Scores of past Milwaukee Buck players to estimate the defensive Win Scores of potential future Milwaukee Buck prospects. I'll let you see the results when I am finished.

    Tuesday, December 16, 2008

    Packer fans will enjoy this

    I don't usually do football, especially in the middle of a Bucks renaissance (well, defensive renaissance), but I assume there are many Antlerheads who are also Cheeseheads, so you may enjoy this post by Brian Burke of Advanced NFL Stats.

    Burke basically argues that last season the luckiest team in the NFL was the 13-3 Green Bay Packers. This season the luckiest team is the New York Jets, while the 5-9 Packers are the unluckiest team.

    Guess who the common denominator is between the two luckiest teams. Favrey Boy! Old Brett!

    However, Burke argues that Favre is not the cause of the luck, but its a funny coincidence nonetheless.

    I kind of pull for Favre, though I don't regret the Packers decision. I just didn't like how they went about it. Some of the things I've heard the Packers did to the old magician were a bit tacky (when he tried to enter the locker room for the first preseason game, they locked him out). So good for Favre that he brought a little magic with him to the Big Apple.

    I think he's gonna need it...

    Mo Williams exposed by the numbers

    Sometimes my temper will outrun the facts. This noon I posted a rant against Mo Williams after I heard him take some sideways shots at the Milwaukee Bucks in an interview with Jim Rome. In that post I said Mo hasn't added much of anything to the Cleveland Cavaliers. When I wrote that, I was going off what I believed at the time. Tonight I ran the numbers to see if I was correct. I was.

    As the chart shows, he's the exact same Mo Williams! Its uncanny how precisely his numbers in Cleveland mirror his numbers in Milwaukee. He's providing for the Cavaliers what he provided for the Bucks... slightly below average play. (I have to note one thing. In Milwaukee, Williams played all point guard in his final season. In Cleveland he is splitting some of his time at shooting guard. That split is depressing his numbers. If he were purely a point guard, his MWS/48 would be +0.0... which is actually pretty good. It means he's average, and you can't find average players very often. At the 2 guard, however, Mo is -2.5, which is very bad. So deployment is an issue.)

    With that all said, the improvement in Cleveland is due mostly to the incredible play of LeBron James. He's having an MVP season. He's also getting great help from Ben Wallace, Anderson Varejao, and Zydrunas Ilgauskas, who I believe is hurt at the moment, but is nonetheless having a magnificent season... his MWS/48 currently stands at +3.8, and his TWC stands at a stellar +0.372.

    In the next day or so, I'll do a Win Profile of the Cavaliers to sort things out a bit better.

    BucksNation not sold yet... attendance at all-time BC low

    The Bucks probably need to produce a winning record pretty fast. At the moment BucksNation, or at least the periphery of BucksNation, is not yet sold on ScottyBall. Enthusiasm for the team seems a bit low.

    If you look at this chart I did (WARNING: you might not want to click on it... you get a bunch of Corel Photo crap... eventually the graph comes up though, if you're interested... sorry about that, I just grabbed the quickest graph program available) of the Bucks NBA attendance rankings in each of the 21 seasons they've played at the Bradley Center (with 1988-89 being season 1 and, of course, this season being season 21), you will see that attendance for Milwaukee Bucks games so far this season has hit its lowest NBA ranking (27th out of 30) since the Bucks moved into the Bradley Center twenty one seasons ago.

    What the chart basically shows is when BucksNation is enthused, it can produce top ten attendance rankings. When its unimpressed, as it seems to have been over the last several campaigns, it will produce attendance rankings in the bottom 10. And this season, so far, attendance has hit the lowest of the low. That's disconcerting. But hopefully, as the schedule turns in the Bucks favor, the fans enthusiasm will build and attendance will swell.

    Otherwise, if the present downward attendance trend continues, I don't see how the Bucks remain viable in Milwaukee. But, of course, its a two-way street. A good product usually produces good results at the gate. And I think the Bucks are headed in the right direction as far as that goes, so I'm cautiously optimistic things will change for the better.

    ALERT: Possible Error: An astute reader has alerted me to the fact that ESPN's attendance numbers for this season do not jibe with the ones I used for my chart. My source was basketball-reference.com. In this case I would be quite happy to be wrong. Either way, though, the chart for the preceding years shows that the attendance trend since the mid-90s has been downward with the exception of the tiny "championship window" that opened and closed in the early Millenium years. We need to move back in that direction to get fans energized again, and I think we are. But thank you to the reader for correcting me.

    We were excited to see you go too, Mo

    I was just in my car listening to an interview with ex-Milwaukee Buck point guard Mo Williams on the Jim Rome radio show. Let me "reset" it for you, as Rome would say.

    Midway through the interview, Rome asked Williams one of his standard "talk about this" questions. It went something like: "Hey Mo, take me back to the summer when you were traded, you had just signed a contract with Milwaukee, presumably you were happy there, talk about what it was like the day you were traded..."

    Here's Williams response, and I'm paraphrasing:

    Basically he said, with little girlie giggles in between, heh heh, that he was in Vancouver at the time, heh heh, and when he heard the trade might go down, heh heh, he called his agent like 6 or 7 times before it actually happened (I guess he REALLY wanted it to happen), and you know how most of the time when you're traded, heh heh, friends and family will call you and say things like "Oh, man, that's too bad" or "Keep you're head up, dude"? Well, when Mo was traded, heh heh, no one did that to Mo, they were all calling and saying things like "Way to go" and "Congratulations man!".

    Well, Mo, you "No-Defense-Playin'" sonofabitch... when Bucksnation heard that your lazy ass was out of here, heh heh, they were just as excited!! You know how, heh heh, when a good player is traded away from your team, fans will write things like "That sucks" or "I'm giving up my tickets"? Well, heh heh, when the Bucks traded you Bucksfans wrote on my blog things like "Good riddance, you piece of shit", and, "I'm glad we'll finally get some defense from the point guard position." Isn't that funny?

    So enjoy your ride on LeBron's and Anderson's and Z's coattails, because the numbers say you haven't added shit to Cleveland, even though simpleton cause-and-effect artists claim you have. We're happy here in Milwaukee without you... in fact, I wish they had traded YOU to Toronto, not TJ Ford. Anyway, we're glad to be rid of your contract... and you!