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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The NBA trade deadline came and went last week!
There was a huge amount of excitement for the fans and the press all week leading up, as the clock ticked down it was a race to see who could imagine the greatest fantasy swaps. If all-star weekend is Black Thanksgiving then Trade week is the NBA's big key party!!! (Its all fun and games until someone goes home with Scott Skiles!!! Damn Skiles he always sneaks 3 sets into the bowl, old swingers trick!!!) Everyone was anticipating the mega-trades, player moves that would realign the balance of power but lets face it this is what the NBA trade deadline turned into: a game called "Osbournes" played by NBA GMs where they pretend Larry Hughes is a giant ham and they try and throw him over their neighbors fence when he's not looking. Whats astonishing about Larry Hughes (aka "L-Boogie" aka "Cold Mountain" aka "His Majestys Secret Service" aka "The Coy Mister") is not his game but the size of his dowry!

Larrys career has answered the question many league scouts had when he was first drafted and that question was : "I wonder what would happen in we gave Victor Page 100 million dollars?"

There was even a crazy rumor that Cold Mountain would be coming back to the Verizon Center (home of the "Unlimited Minutes" rookie plan!) But the Wizards and Ernie Grunfeld stayed put, hey if it aint broke why fix it! Even though they made no moves, The Big G said he got lots of calls all week from keen GMs. But it turned out they were mostly prank calls from John Nash posing as keen GMs begging for the contracts of Etan Thomas and Mike James.

The other thing that got NBA fans afluster last week was the article in the New York Times by Michael Lewis about the Secret Life of Shane Battier.

Read it! Its the talk of basements everywhere!

Its about the irony of the power of math proving that u shouldnt always trust numbers.

Its about how Shane Batier is a basketball tortoise, plodding and predictable but how he wins the race because tracy mcgrady fell asleep at the Wendys drive through.

Its about how what sports somehow needs MORE stats because those stats are like secret runes and if you stare at them long enough you will see a magic 3-D picture of David Lee teaching Nate Robinson checkers.

The article says this:

that there are certain players who are like "Lego" pieces, that help teams come together and play better even though those players dont show up in the box score. It says that they dont let their statistical handicaps stop them from their dreamz! It says that Shane Battiers have invisible strengths, they are quiet chemists, they are stealth talents. Well as stealth as a talent can be who was a famous college basketball star, and top NBA draft pick, and given millions of dollars for his talents and shows them every night live in person in front of thousands and thousands of fans and coaches and players and scouts and analysts and hundreds of thousands more on live television. Its the worlds easiest Wheres Waldo!

shane battier

Well one thing is clear. Whatever you describe these Bagger Vances of the NBA as: Legos, or glue, or Capselas, one thing is for sure - the washington wizards dont have any of them on their roster!

Another thing is clear is that this signals the beginning of the "moneyball" era of basketball.

And it scares us! Because we liked the old system run by weary, old school scouts who operated on a gut hunch, wise old fools who don't need a college degree to know how to watch a basketball game. They didnt use shortcuts like "math". They did it the hard way, they criss crossed the country by bus, scribbled names on napkins, met crooked refs in bars, made awkward calls from public phones to their estranged daughters and hung up when they asnwered.   Because sure that damned VHS machine is at that high school game just like the old scout but only one of them knows where to look and only one of them is smoking a cigarette inside the gym.

We personally dont want to get between the spreadsheets cuz we dont want hoops to become baseball becsaue we want to follow a REAL sport not A GIANT NUMBERS CUD that everyone sits around chewing on and thats what we fear from the moneyballers and their rattling of sabermetircs, because even though they are saying numbers lie they are just saying that so they can usher in their own army of numbers, A NEW MATH of "clutch adjusted +/-" and "player efficiency rating" and "IPG: Influences per Game"


First of all professor calculus , mostly u are busy trying to solve the nose on your own face. SOme of this stuff donesnt need 2 be so hard. Like u know they have this thing that tracks cumulative player "+/-" in real time? Its called a SCOREBOARD!

Also we fear this new era will lead to the cold faith of STATISTICAL DETERMINISM, that a man can only ever go as far in life as his numbers next thing we know we have a soft but deadly stat-racism and APBRmetricians will be telling young boys "dreams are nice but 3 point specialist isnt a realistic career for you son, your Pace Adjustment figures are just too low"

And also we fear the use of math to make revisionist proofs that upset the natural order of the game we love. Its only a matter of time until someone proves that Brian Cardinal has better court vision than Larry Bird, or that Michael Ruffin led the league in "Real Scoring" in 2004 or until some ambitious stat boy uses the Career Assist Totals of Juan Dixon to prove the existence of Negative Numbers!!!!!!


posted by wizznutzz