OK, one of my big goals/hopes for the site this season was to make it until the New Year without the product on the court turning this site into a Wolves-based Lord of the Flies island of madness that could only be cured by thinking about anything else than what was on the court. In the face of what I believed were predictably bad results during a predictably tough stretch of the schedule with a predictably subpar roster, I was really hoping for this:
We almost made it, Merle. We almost made it.
While doing research on past draft boards in order to update the Hoopus Score I came across this passage from December 20th, 2008:
At 4-21 Our Beloved
PuppiesZombies are playing .160 ball. If they continue on this pace they will end the season with a 13-69 record, good for the worst record in team history. I seriously doubt that they will meet this putrid mark. As bad as they are, the dog days of the NBA should be filled with enough half-hearted opponents to give the Wolves a few March wins here and one or two April wins there.
What I do not doubt is that this year's team will not reach last year's total of 22 wins. At the beginning of the year, many fans and observers believed that the Wolves could end up being a 30-win team, winning at a .366 clip. Should the Wolves immediately convert into such a beast, they would end the season with a 24-58 record. In other words, if they lose their next two games against the Rockets and Spurs, they will need a radical change of direction in order to scramble their way to the lowly win total of the 2007-08 campaign.
Even more disturbing is that even if they play at a modestly improved .250 pace, they will only win 14 more games, ending with an 18 win season. Are the Wolves good enough to play with the NBA's sub-.300 clubs? We're talking about the Oklahoma City Thunder, Los Angeles Clippers, Washington Wizards, Golden State Warriors, Sacramento Kings, and Charlotte Bobcats of the world. Against these titans, the Wolves are 2-6 while being outscored by a grand total of 62 points. Dog days or not, .366 ball, .300 ball, and even .250 ball seems like an awfully tall order at this point.
Let's update it for the new decade:
4-216-23 Our Beloved PuppiesZombies are playing .160.207 ball. If they continue on this pace they will end the season with a 13-6917-65 record, good for the (second) worst record in team history. I seriously doubt that they will meet this putrid mark. As bad as they are, the dog days of the NBA should be filled with enough half-hearted opponents to give the Wolves a few March wins here and one or two April wins there.
What I do not doubt is that this year's team will not reach
last year's total of 22 wins2008's total of 24 wins. At the beginning of the year, many fans and observers believed that the Wolves could end up being a 30-win team, winning at a .366 clip. Should the Wolves immediately convert into such a beast, they would end the season with a 24-5825-57 record. In other words, if they lose their next two games against the Rockets and SpursJazz and Cavs, they will need a radical change of direction in order to scramble their way to the lowly win total of the 2007-082008-09 campaign.
Even more disturbing is that even if they play at a modestly improved .250 pace, they will only win
1413 more games, ending with an 18a 19 win season. Are the Wolves good enough to play with the NBA's sub-.300 clubs? We're talking about the Oklahoma City Thunder, Los Angeles Clippers, Washington Wizards, Golden State Warriors, Sacramento Kings, and Charlotte BobcatsNew Jersey Nets, Cleveland Cavs, Washington Wizards, Sacramento Kings, and (cough) Los Angeles Clippers of the world. Against these titans, the Wolves are 2-6 while being outscored by a grand total of 62 points3-2 while outscoring their opponents by a grand total of 11 points (progress!). Dog days or not, .366 ball, .300 ball, and even .250 ball seems like an awfully tall order at this point.
On that note, let's start talking about draft picks. On the bright side of things, this will be the last year we will have to worry about lottery picks. For those of you who will miss the Hoopus Draft Boards, I'll be sure to turn them into a Fan Post over at Clips Nation.
Let's get our draft on below the fold!
For those of you unfamiliar with the Hoopus Score, it's an ever-evolving metric I use to rank how well I think college players will perform in the NBA. We've been doing it for 3 years now and I've been able to look at what has and hasn't worked and adjust the formula accordingly. You can read our last 3 final draft boards by clicking on the links in the left sidebar.
Because it's still a work in progress, I'm not going to roll the whole thing out but I would like to start showing how some of the sausage is made so I can (hopefully) get some helpful feedback. The formula is admittedly offensively-geared and based on a few key concepts:
- All player percentages must be viewed through the lens of a) the relation to their team's overall proficiency and b) the relation to the amount of possessions they use compared to the percentage of used team minutes. For instance, I take a player's offensive rating and weigh it against the percentage of team minutes divided by a player's %poss. How do you begin to figure out how much of an effect Player X has on the Ortg of his team while he's out there? He's just one of 5 guys. My solution has been to take an Ortg and then weigh it with a ratio of how many shots, possessions, turnovers, etc a player has compared to his team minutes. It's not perfect, but it also helps to sort out mid-level players who look better than they are because they play next to really good ballers. In past Hoopus Score equations, I looked for efficient players. This time around, I'm looking for guys who make their team efficient....while being efficient and good themselves.
- Player percentages are position-specific and should be adjusted accordingly to the type of position and style a player plays. For instance, it is completely unreasonable to expect awesome ast%/to% ratios from a freshman big. Things like assist%, block%, oreb%, and steal% must be adjusted for position.
- It is one thing to get a lot of free throws. It is quite another to do so while making them at a fair clip and not having an out-of-whack foul discrepancy. I have adjusted anything related to free throws to be weighed against these two factors.
- Thresholds matter. There are certain levels of performance certain types of players should reach. Harrison Barnes has an eFG of 40%. His FTrate is 29.1%. Ah-ooh-ga, ah-ooh-ga!
- It's really early in the season. Harrison Barnes has an eFG of 40%. His FTrate is 29.1%. Relax.
- Ty Lawson (44.287)
- Kevin Love (39.647)
- Steph Curry (39.214)
- Blake Griffin (37.206)
- DMC (32.616)
- Evan Turner (31.40)
- B-Easy (31.253)
- D. Rose (30.101)
- Jonny Flynn (28.997)
- John Wall (28.433)
- Derrick Favors (27.031)
- Russell Westbrook (25.367)
- Wes Johnson (24.277)
- Eric Bledsoe (19.016)
- Kemba Walker (48.125) +6
- Marcus Morris (37.868) +12
- Kyrie Irving (37.471) -2
- Derrick Williams (38.898) +11
- Demetri McCamey (36.159) +28
- Joshua Smith (34.432) not listed
- Jordan Hamilton (33.912) +16
- Jared Sullinger (31.643) even
- Markeiff Morris (30.706) not listed
- Alec Burks (30.682) +12
- DeShaun Thomas (29.961) not listed
- Nolan Smith (29.348) +14
- Cris Singleton (28.834) +3
- Terrence Jones (27.784) -8
- Kyle Singler (27.632) +12
- Travis Leslie (26.352) +5
- David Lighty (25.067) +20
- Perry Jones (23.947) -16
- Mason Plumlee (23.006) -9
- Brandon Knight (21.233) not listed
- Tyler Honeycutt (21.156) -4
- Malcolm Lee (20.815) +19
- John Henson (20.593) -11
- Patric Young (19.671) not listed
- Harrison Barnes (19.376) -22
- Kemba Walker is good at basketball. His current level of play probably isn't sustainable but he tops the list because of an insanely good efg (60.7%) and a weighted ast/to% of 2.69 that puts him above and beyond anyone I have ranked in the past 3 years, to include Steph Curry (2.49) and Demetri McCamey (2.29). The guy doesn't turn it over, creates opportunities for his teammates, and is shooting at an extremely high level for a guard. That all adds up to an insane score.
- Harrison Barnes is having an awful start to the season. The shooting is especially worrisome because he seems to be a jack-of-all-trades kind of guy and he doesn't have the "holy crap" factor in any one part of his game to make up for stats/rates that are in red flag territory.
- Luckily for the Wolves, this draft seems to have its high-end talent at the PF and PG positions. Hooray.
- A lot of players are really having hot starts to the season. There are a lot of guys with scores over 30, which seems to be the magic number for this year's Hoopus Score.
- Players I'm especially interested in: Joshua Smith, Demetri McCamey, Kyrie Irving, Jordan Hamilton, and DaShaun Thomas. Smith is one of those guys who you can watch for about 5 minutes and know he's the smartest guy on the court. Amazingly talented guy who lost a lot of weight this year and should put up big numbers in Pac-10 play. I'd take McCamey over any PG on the Wolves roster right now. Ditto for Irving. It will be really interesting to see how Irving is viewed if he doesn't play a lot this year and decides to come out.
All of Blazer Nation is going through a difficult time. It appears to many as if a dream held for nearly four years--an entire generation of players--is slipping away. The future is uncertain but doesn't look positive compared to previous seasons. That's generating a lot of grief and angst.
People tend to deal with grief and angst in different ways. Some react with anger, lashing out at the source and anyone who gets in the way. Some evidence anticipatory grief. To assimilate the experience they throw it into overdrive, talking about future losses as if they were a certainty, feeling everything all at once to get through it. Some try to seize control over the experience by being unkind to others, taunting and lording over, grasping for one kind of power when another has been robbed beyond their ability to retrieve. Others are just honest about their sadness but need to pour it out and talk through it, sometimes repeatedly. Finally there are some who just plug their ears and pretend it's not happening at all (and woe be to anyone who tries to convince them differently). We've seen all of those responses at Blazersedge this season. We've also seen plenty of folks trying to make relatively normal comments amidst this sea of different responses and getting caught up in the mess, sometimes getting their feelings bruised in return.
As you can imagine, it gets tricky trying to sort through all of this. It's difficult to define the line between letting people work through their stuff and allowing that stuff to impede someone else's working through. That's the task these mods face.
From the very beginning we identified what this would look like if it went wrong. You only have to go back five or six years to the heart of the Jailblazer era to see ugliness in full bloom among Blazer fans. Back then there were two camps.
This rule also applies to those who repeat similar arguments in multiple threads. We need to hear things a couple times but not dozens. Responding with the same argument every time someone brings up a given subject gets tiresome and quickly becomes a form of conversation-stifling intimidation. In this case you're not talking to people, but over them.