NBA over/under

bowiac

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1) Why? And I’m sincerely curious. I know that you play with advanced metrics more than I do. What is the case that the 2015-2016 versions of Sullinger/Johnson/Jerebko/Zeller are “markedly” better?
I inadvertently omitted Olynyk from that list, but the case is simply that based on whatever plus/minus metric you want to look at (e.g., RAPM, PIPM), Sullinger, Olynyk, and Johnson in particular graded as strong contributors (generally between +0.5 and +2 point per 100 possessions better than average). For Olynyk and Amir, that's been true on other teams as well, so it's not just a question of Stevens' usage.

Meanwhile, Kanter is somewhat reliably among the worst graded players in the league by the same metrics. While Theis has actually graded well in limited PT, it's not many minutes, and in a limited context. Meanwhile TL and Poirier essentially have no data. We'll see how Stevens uses them - who knows, maybe he gets water from a stone with Kanter - but at present, I wouldn't bet on it. The net result is that the 2015-2016 team had three strong bigs in Johnson, Olynyk, and Sullinger, while the current team has maybe half of one with Theis (and a couple TBDs with TL and Poirier).

I know this isn't a totally satisfying answer ("they're good because the mostly black box data says so"), but I mostly believe it in this case.

2) Does including 32 minutes of Tatum as a de facto member of the group in a smallball / singlebig deployment change the calculus?
That would change the assessment of the bigs, yes (although obviously weaken the assessment of the wings).
 

pjheff

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I know this isn't a totally satisfying answer ("they're good because the mostly black box data says so"), but I mostly believe it in this case.
It’s helpful. I know that Johnson was a darling of the advanced metrics. I just suspect that Kanter can replicate Sullinger’s contribution while Theis replaces Amir and Stevens allocates fewer minutes to two traditional big sets overall.

That would change the assessment of the bigs, yes (although obviously weaken the assessment of the wings).
I expect the other wing minutes to go largely to Hayward, Brown, and Smart, assuming that Wanamaker or Edwards commands the backup PG minutes.
 

DeJesus Built My Hotrod

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There is a reason Enes Kanter has been a journeyman in his NBA career - the Celtics are his fifth team going on his ninth season. He can score, he plays hard and is very funny. As Bowiac points out, pretty much every advanced metric has him graded poorly - he has only posted a positive BPM with the Knicks and in small sample size stretches (injury seasons or with Portland).

Maybe Stotts unlocked something with him but I would chalk his Portland "uptick" to a small sample size coupled with the Blazers playing tanking teams down the stretch etc etc. In short, I will root my ass off for Enes Kanter but going from Horford/Baynes to these Celtics bigs is going to cost them on both ends of the floor as others pointed out upthread.
 

benhogan

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Theis can replicate Baynes production, but the downgrade on defense from Horford to Kanter is massive. Then again a healthy Hayward is a sizeable upgrade from MaMo.

If we're going to do an upgrade/downgrade player comp to predict this seasons W/L, don't we need to take into account their W/L underperformance last season?

Also, on paper, the Celtics were pre-season EC championship material last season, when in reality they were a 49 win/4 seed/2nd round exit team (healthy Oladipo, they are probably a 5th seed that gets booted in round 1). Last years' team was poorly constructed/managed for numerous reasons. IMO that team really shouldn't be used as a baseline for this years squad.
 

Eddie Jurak

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There is a reason Enes Kanter has been a journeyman in his NBA career - the Celtics are his fifth team going on his ninth season. He can score, he plays hard and is very funny. As Bowiac points out, pretty much every advanced metric has him graded poorly - he has only posted a positive BPM with the Knicks and in small sample size stretches (injury seasons or with Portland).

Maybe Stotts unlocked something with him but I would chalk his Portland "uptick" to a small sample size coupled with the Blazers playing tanking teams down the stretch etc etc. In short, I will root my ass off for Enes Kanter but going from Horford/Baynes to these Celtics bigs is going to cost them on both ends of the floor as others pointed out upthread.
I'm just hoping he can be a decent and team-oriented role player. An Aron Baynes who can't defend but who offsets that with a bigger offensive contribution.
 

lexrageorge

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The Celtics "expected wins" based on points scored/allowed last season was 52, or one more than the prior season's 51. Tells me that it's at least possible that the Celtics lost some close ones due to dumb luck; it happens over the course of a long season. So, if we're basing this season's predicted win total on the changes from last season's team, I am wondering if 49 or 52 wins is the better place to start.

In any event, I would agree that 44 wins seems like a reasonable starting point for the Celtics. The loss of Horford and Baynes will hurt; I am not as worried about the departures of Morris (whose production they replaced with Kanter) or Rozier. As a floor, Charlotte won 39 games last year (38 expected wins), and the Celtics supporting cast around Kemba would wipe the floor of last year's Charlotte team minus Walker, and it's not particularly close either. So, barring any catastrophic injuries, low 40's seems like a good floor projection for the Celtics.

While lots of ink has been spilled about the new super teams in LA, the reality is that only Toronto among the top EC teams got appreciable worse, and several of the Conference's top players simply moved teams within the conference (Kyrie, Butler, Horford), so I expect the schedule difficulty for the Celtics to be slightly greater than last season. Toronto will be worse, but the Bucks and Sixers will probably see some organic improvement of their own, while Brooklyn and Miami will have improved through their acquisitions.
 

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Horford wasn’t the C’s best player, but he was their most indispensable player — no way we get to game 7 of the 2018 ECF if Kyrie was playing and Al wasn’t. So I’m definitely on the under for the C’s — @bowiac is projecting 43-44 wins, and that seems about right. I also like his unders on the Knicks and Nets — the Knicks are built to tank, and while I don’t follow the Nets closely, I can’t imagine the Russell-for-Kyrie upgrade comes close to offsetting the loss of supporting players the Nets had to renounce to clear two max spot.

I like the over on the Bucks — imo, 55+ wins is money in the bank if Giannis and Middleton play 70+ games apiece, which is decidedly better than an even-money proposition.
 
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moondog80

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Toronto has been over 45.5 for 6 seasons now, only one of which was with Kawhi. The last three before Kawhi were all over 50. They did have DeRozan, but on the other hand Siakam has taken a leap and Van Vleet and perhaps Anunoby seem poised to do the same. And it doesn't look like they are tearing it down. Give me the over.
 

benhogan

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Toronto has been over 45.5 for 6 seasons now, only one of which was with Kawhi. The last three before Kawhi were all over 50. They did have DeRozan, but on the other hand Siakam has taken a leap and Van Vleet and perhaps Anunoby seem poised to do the same. And it doesn't look like they are tearing it down. Give me the over.
Valid points. They were 17-5 on Kawhi load days.
Then again, they also lost an incredibly efficient Danny Green and leaning on Gasol/Lowry at 33/34 will be dicey.

It feels like the West got better, which means the East got equally worse. So looking at the EC teams for outperformance is probably the smart bet.
 

HomeRunBaker

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Horford wasn’t the C’s best player, but he was their most indispensable player — no way we get to game 7 of the 2018 ECF if Kyrie was playing and Al wasn’t. So I’m definitely on the under for the C’s — @bowiac is projecting 43-44 wins, and that seems about right. I also like his unders on the Knicks and Nets — the Knicks are built to tank, and while I don’t follow the Nets closely, I can’t imagine the Russell-for-Kyrie upgrade comes close to offsetting the loss of supporting players the Nets had to renounce to clear two max spot.

I like the over on the Bucks — imo, 55+ wins is money in the bank if Giannis and Middleton play 70+ games apiece, which is decidedly better than an even-money proposition.
I’d be wary of the Nets Under with Durant’s return date unknown. Will his recovery be of the 7-8 month variety like Kobe and Wes Mathews or closer to 12 months like Boogie? If it is the former we are looking at a return post-ASB for 25-30 games or so......I’d be scared shit to have the Under if this is the case with him and Kyrie together in the East.
 

Devizier

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It feels like the West got better, which means the East got equally worse. So looking at the EC teams for outperformance is probably the smart bet.
I feel like posters around here generally overrated the SOS difference between the different conferences.

Last year's top SOS by opponent oRTG/dRTG were:

Detroit, Clippers, Celtics, Magic, Rockets
 

lexrageorge

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Valid points. They were 17-5 on Kawhi load days.
Then again, they also lost an incredibly efficient Danny Green and leaning on Gasol/Lowry at 33/34 will be dicey.

It feels like the West got better, which means the East got equally worse. So looking at the EC teams for outperformance is probably the smart bet.
The West getting better is an interesting question. Both LA teams obviously got markedly better, but only one of them at the expense of an Eastern Conference team. One powerhouse Western team will be quite a bit worse next year due to Durant's departure (among others) and Klay's injury. Houston may have gotten better, but that would be at OKC's expense. Denver and Utah could improve organically, but again that would not be at the expense of EC teams.

The WC has all the headlines, but not convinced it is markedly better than the EC, especially if Durant returns in the earlier timeframe (although I'm skeptical of that).
 

HomeRunBaker

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The West getting better is an interesting question. Both LA teams obviously got markedly better, but only one of them at the expense of an Eastern Conference team. One powerhouse Western team will be quite a bit worse next year due to Durant's departure (among others) and Klay's injury. Houston may have gotten better, but that would be at OKC's expense. Denver and Utah could improve organically, but again that would not be at the expense of EC teams.

The WC has all the headlines, but not convinced it is markedly better than the EC, especially if Durant returns in the earlier timeframe (although I'm skeptical of that).
Yeah when I hear how much better the West got all I can think of is how much worse Golden State and OKC are which negates much if not all of the improvement with the two LA teams.
 

Smokey Joe

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I’d be wary of the Nets Under with Durant’s return date unknown. Will his recovery be of the 7-8 month variety like Kobe and Wes Mathews or closer to 12 months like Boogie? If it is the former we are looking at a return post-ASB for 25-30 games or so......I’d be scared shit to have the Under if this is the case with him and Kyrie together in the East.
The idea that KD could return next season and be a major force on the basketball court is laughable. I endured this all last season with people actually pretending that the Warriors signing Cousins was a big deal, rather then the rehab assignment that it ended up being.
Yes, SOME players have recovered from this injury and become some semblance of their former selves. This takes years, not 7-8 months. There are absolutely zero reasons for the Nets to bring him back early, especially after the scrutiny that the Warriors underwent after bringing him back during the finals.
 

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The Rockets being seven wins better than any other team in the West — ten wins better than LAC — with twice the title chances of any other Western team (23% against the field) is one of the more ridiculous results the 538 formula has spat out, imho.

I'll eat a loaf of Rocco's sh*t (if Klay lets me walk him, lol) if that team wins it all, or even comes close.
 

HomeRunBaker

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The idea that KD could return next season and be a major force on the basketball court is laughable. I endured this all last season with people actually pretending that the Warriors signing Cousins was a big deal, rather then the rehab assignment that it ended up being.
Yes, SOME players have recovered from this injury and become some semblance of their former selves. This takes years, not 7-8 months. There are absolutely zero reasons for the Nets to bring him back early, especially after the scrutiny that the Warriors underwent after bringing him back during the finals.
There is a large gap between clearing an injured upcoming FA to play in a Finals game when he couldn't even run a week prior and suiting a player up after he is recovered from his surgery 7-8 months later as history suggests is realistic. I can't imagine the Nets sitting Durant out an additional 8 months if he is healthy and cleared to play in February.
 

cheech13

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Hasn't Kevin Durant already been declared out next season? It's possible that the time table might change between now and April, but there is no reason to rush him back and risk further damage. The chances of him appearing next year are so low it doesn't even seem worth stressing over.
 

HomeRunBaker

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Hasn't Kevin Durant already been declared out next season? It's possible that the time table might change between now and April, but there is no reason to rush him back and risk further damage. The chances of him appearing next year are so low it doesn't even seem worth stressing over.
The Nets statement was that they won't rule him out and keep his timeline for return private. I'm not suggesting they "rush" him back.....I'm only saying if he is deemed healthy and able to play in 7-8 months, as others have, that isn't considered rushing and it wouldn't make a whole lot of sense for the Nets to hold him back. Even 10 months gets him back prior to the end of the regular season and most do return within that timeframe with Cousins being one exception.
 

Big John

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Yeah when I hear how much better the West got all I can think of is how much worse Golden State and OKC are which negates much if not all of the improvement with the two LA teams.
If you look at the player movement, Kawhi, Porzingis, DAR and Bogdanovic went West , but Durant came East (as did Marc Gasol at the deadline). The other significant player movement was within conference.. One reason the West is stronger is that in the past 6-7 years, the EC has blown several high draft picks (Bennett, Fultz), while WC teams have done better (Davis, Towns, Ayton).
 

Sam Ray Not

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I endured this all last season with people actually pretending that the Warriors signing Cousins was a big deal, rather then the rehab assignment that it ended up being.
Hmm, sounds a little strawmannish. I think most people going into the season saw it as the "rehab assignment" that it was, with exciting flashes of peak Boogie mixed in with plenty of days where he looked painfully slow, not fully recovered, and/or like an awkward fit in Kerrball. I think most people also predicted that the Warriors — if otherwise reasonably healthy — would stomp everyone en route to another title whether DeMarcus was 50%, 70%, or 90% of his old self. Most people pretty much nailed it on both counts.

I don't think Cousins is a great comp for KD given their totally different body types and games, though. KD more closely resembles (and I believe had the same Achilles surgeon as) Rudy Gay, who was a pretty reasonable facsimile of his old self within about 10 months. I won't be at all shocked to see him back by April or so (not "rushed back" but back) and looking vaguely like his old self, if a bit slower and less explosive, especially on the defensive end. I'd guess given BKN's personnel and league trends he'll typically be more of a stretch 4 than a 3, which is probably where he was heading on the other side of 30 anyway.
 

Kliq

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Hmm, sounds a little strawmannish. I think most people going into the season saw it as the "rehab assignment" that it was, with exciting flashes of peak Boogie mixed in with plenty of days where he looked painfully slow, not fully recovered, and/or like an awkward fit in Kerrball. I think most people also predicted that the Warriors — if otherwise reasonably healthy — would stomp everyone en route to another title whether DeMarcus was 50%, 70%, or 90% of his old self. Most people pretty much nailed it on both counts.
I think that was the take a lot of reasonable people had; but at the time of the Boogie signing there was a bit of a panic that the Warriors had somehow managed to land another "All-Star". Even the players on social media where like, "WTF? How did this happen."

 

HomeRunBaker

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Boogie was an awful fit with that team even if healthy. I have no idea how this has anything to do with Durant being on the court well within a normal return time following achilles surgery. Kobe's return following surgery was said to be 6-9 months and he came back in the middle of that window. Maybe RadSoxFan can tell us more but I don't understand how a standard timeline for this injury is considered "rushing" or "hurrying back." Of course Durant wants to get back on the court asap as he stated following surgery less than 36 hours after the injury.
 

cheech13

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Hmm, sounds a little strawmannish. I think most people going into the season saw it as the "rehab assignment" that it was, with exciting flashes of peak Boogie mixed in with plenty of days where he looked painfully slow, not fully recovered, and/or like an awkward fit in Kerrball. I think most people also predicted that the Warriors — if otherwise reasonably healthy — would stomp everyone en route to another title whether DeMarcus was 50%, 70%, or 90% of his old self. Most people pretty much nailed it on both counts.

I don't think Cousins is a great comp for KD given their totally different body types and games, though. KD more closely resembles (and I believe had the same Achilles surgeon as) Rudy Gay, who was a pretty reasonable facsimile of his old self within about 10 months. I won't be at all shocked to see him back by April or so (not "rushed back" but back) and looking vaguely like his old self, if a bit slower and less explosive, especially on the defensive end. I'd guess given BKN's personnel and league trends he'll typically be more of a stretch 4 than a 3, which is probably where he was heading on the other side of 30 anyway.
Is that really true? Rudy Gay's per 36 numbers look strikingly similar but he's completely changed his game post-injury. He eliminated the long 2s and rebuilt around shots close to the rim or at the 3-point line. That improvement in efficiency has masked the fact that he's way less explosive and gets to the line far less. He has also transitioned from a 35MPG no. 1 or 2 option to a 20-25MPG bench player. If Durant goes through a similar change the Nets will have a $164 million problem on their hands.
 

the moops

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Well Durant is starting at a ridiculously higher level though. If he sees a similar percentage decline as Gay, he is still one of the best players in the world.
 

snowmanny

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He did score like ten points in ten minutes whilst unable to move the last time I saw him.
 

HomeRunBaker

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Well Durant is starting at a ridiculously higher level though. If he sees a similar percentage decline as Gay, he is still one of the best players in the world.
Exactly. Dominique was 32 when he did his Achilles and returned to a similar level. When you’re the elite of the elite you can withstand more than when you’re a marginal player who must be at full strength to survive in this league.

Also, unlike many of the players who have not ever regained their former level Durant will never lose his length and release point over every defender. Even if he does lose a half step it shouldn’t affect him nearly as much as another player recovering from same injury.
 

Smokey Joe

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Hmm, sounds a little strawmannish. I think most people going into the season saw it as the "rehab assignment" that it was, with exciting flashes of peak Boogie mixed in with plenty of days where he looked painfully slow, not fully recovered, and/or like an awkward fit in Kerrball. I think most people also predicted that the Warriors — if otherwise reasonably healthy — would stomp everyone en route to another title whether DeMarcus was 50%, 70%, or 90% of his old self. Most people pretty much nailed it on both counts.

I don't think Cousins is a great comp for KD given their totally different body types and games, though. KD more closely resembles (and I believe had the same Achilles surgeon as) Rudy Gay, who was a pretty reasonable facsimile of his old self within about 10 months. I won't be at all shocked to see him back by April or so (not "rushed back" but back) and looking vaguely like his old self, if a bit slower and less explosive, especially on the defensive end. I'd guess given BKN's personnel and league trends he'll typically be more of a stretch 4 than a 3, which is probably where he was heading on the other side of 30 anyway.
If you think that, you must have been asleep when a huge part of the league and the fans were going "WTF, the Warriors just got another All-star? Change the rules! UNdo this signing! To be fair, I never saw much of this on this board, but well into the season I was gritting my teeth while podcasters, columnists and fans were going into detail about what the Warriors were going to do when Cousins came back, and how other teams were going to handle it when he came back in the playoffs. This is why I became a little salty when HRB began to act like KD coming back next season was actually something you had to worry about.

***Newsflash***: Tearing your Achilles is a BIG FUCKING DEAL. Most basketball players do not come back from that. If they do, it takes them a LONG TIME and they are not the same. The likelihood of KD coming back in ANY SIGNIFICANT WAY next season is almost nil. If he does come back next season, please reference Gordon HeywoodeJablome 2018-2019.

Thank you.

PS I am interested in how DeMarcus Cousins performs next year. He will have another summer of Rehab under his belt, though that is confounded by his other injury (Hear that KD?) If he has any chance of returning to previous form, it will show up next year. The fact that he had to hang around and wait for an offer from the Lakers is a bad sign. If things were going well, he would have been fielding numerous offers. (On the other hand, he is DeMarcus Cousins and most teams would rather not deal with him.)
 
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bowiac

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From an article I wrote a bit back on Achilles injuries. Boogie would go down as another datapoint on the "underperform projections" list.

25276

And yes, there was absolute panic around the NBA and histrionics after Boogie signed. That was the inspiration for this piece.
 

lovegtm

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From an article I wrote a bit back on Achilles injuries. Boogie would go down as another datapoint on the "underperform projections" list.

View attachment 25276

And yes, there was absolute panic around the NBA and histrionics after Boogie signed. That was the inspiration for this piece.
Wow, that chart is completely insane. Decent sample, lots of different ages, and it's basically just 'Nique and Rudy Gay who were reasonable after, no "modern medicine" bump.
 

HomeRunBaker

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From an article I wrote a bit back on Achilles injuries. Boogie would go down as another datapoint on the "underperform projections" list.

View attachment 25276

And yes, there was absolute panic around the NBA and histrionics after Boogie signed. That was the inspiration for this piece.
I remember this chart from last year however it is missing an important component. The four "plus" athletes in this chart are Kobe, Dominique, Gerald W, and Gay. Kobe was 35 when he did his while Nique and Gay returned fine. Being that Durant is such a plus athlete, still relatively young, and has the length/release point that isn't affected by an achilles I expect him to return close to Nique/Gay then one of those bigs, guards, or role players who are vulnerable once they lose a step. Even if we never see Top-2 player in the league Durant I have a hard time believing that he'd be any less than a Top-20 player for the next several years. We shall see.
 

lovegtm

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I remember this chart from last year however it is missing an important component. The four "plus" athletes in this chart are Kobe, Dominique, Gerald W, and Gay. Kobe was 35 when he did his while Nique and Gay returned fine. Being that Durant is such a plus athlete, still relatively young, and has the length/release point that isn't affected by an achilles I expect him to return close to Nique/Gay then one of those bigs, guards, or role players who are vulnerable once they lose a step. Even if we never see Top-2 player in the league Durant I have a hard time believing that he'd be any less than a Top-20 player for the next several years. We shall see.
I imagine that bowiac would point out that the drop from top-2 to "somewhere in the top 20" is a big drop, and consistent with what happened to most of the other guys.

I agree that the length/release point should work in his favor and let him at least be Dirk-ish.
 

lexrageorge

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Is the chart above for the immediate period after the player's return from the Achilles injury? Or is it his career from that point forward?
 

HomeRunBaker

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I imagine that bowiac would point out that the drop from top-2 to "somewhere in the top 20" is a big drop, and consistent with what happened to most of the other guys.

I agree that the length/release point should work in his favor and let him at least be Dirk-ish.
This all goes back to why I wouldn’t be so keen on the Nets Under based on the return time of others along with Durant still being really good.

Ironically they are talking about a February return for Durant on NBA Radio right now.
 

bowiac

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Is the chart above for the immediate period after the player's return from the Achilles injury? Or is it his career from that point forward?
This tracks the year of their return (as it was specific to "will Boogie be an impact player for the Warriors"). I also looked at what happens a year later, and performance did bounce back somewhat, from -2.6 BPM points worse than projected in year 1, to -2.1 points worse than projected in year 2. With respect to age, much of that is built into the projections already. That's why Kobe at age 35 was projected to drop from around +5 to like +3.

And yes, as lovegtm notes, if Durant returns as like the 15th or 20th best player in the league, that's a pretty catastrophic drop relative to where he was.
 

Big John

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No love for the Clippers from Carmello. Looks like the stat is even more flawed than the player.
 

Tony C

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Yep. Very doubtful. I think something like Carmello (much as I love the name) flails on a team like Houston where, it would seem, the whole is less than the sum of its parts.

The Clippers being relatively low is probably the most puzzling, though. Not really sure why that'd be with both their star power and depth.
 

Devizier

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My guess is that any automated projections are going to gag on Kawhi (played 9 games the season before last).
 

DrewDawg

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My guess is that any automated projections are going to gag on Kawhi (played 9 games the season before last).
You can click on the team and see player numbers. It has Kawhi's defense at +0.4. It has Tatum at +1.0.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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You can click on the team and see player numbers. It has Kawhi's defense at +0.4. It has Tatum at +1.0.
That's just regular season and that's because they have KL's defense at -0.5 last season, which I guess comports a bit with the stories that KL really held back during the regular season.

Still the interesting thing to me is that they have KL's regular season WAR projection as this:
2017 = 11.1; 2018 (injured) = 0.6; 2019 = 4.6; 2020 (projected) = 5.1

The playoff WAR projection is this:
2017 = 15.3; 2018 (did not participate) = n.a.; 2019 = 14.9; 2020 (projected) = 7.3. I'm going to guess that will end up being low.
 

Jimbodandy

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That's just regular season and that's because they have KL's defense at -0.5 last season, which I guess comports a bit with the stories that KL really held back during the regular season.

Still the interesting thing to me is that they have KL's regular season WAR projection as this:
2017 = 11.1; 2018 (injured) = 0.6; 2019 = 4.6; 2020 (projected) = 5.1

The playoff WAR projection is this:
2017 = 15.3; 2018 (did not participate) = n.a.; 2019 = 14.9; 2020 (projected) = 7.3. I'm going to guess that will end up being low.
Kawhi holding back during the regular season <> -.5 in a good projection system.

For a guy like him, -.5 is "bet on the other team".
 

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Jan 15, 2004
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Kawhi holding back during the regular season <> -.5 in a good projection system.

For a guy like him, -.5 is "bet on the other team".
For Kawhi, who reasonable minds would expect to play 60-65 games max, there has to be a vast difference between a Win Total formula and a Will/Won't Playoff Formula simply because if the Clippers are in danger of not finishing in the Top-8 they will not be sitting Kawhi in games that they ordinarily would sit him.
 

lexrageorge

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 31, 2007
7,472
Projecting the Clippers to 48 wins means something. To me, that something means the projection system is seriously flawed. I really question if this system is any more accurate than the pundits, to be honest.