Updated NBA Points Created Page

For the 7 people who care, I’ve finally updated my NBA Points Created page [1] to include the 2013–2014 season. Early in the season, the raw numbers clearly favor big men, but that effect should even out over the course of the season. The per–40 numbers are definitely a better barometer for overall value (I think), and at least pass the sniff test.

I’ve not really updated any of the coefficients in the last few years, and it probably could use a slight tweak to reflect the changes in the pace of the game, but as a quick and dirty barometer, it’s at least interesting to look at.

Technology Still Amazes

Every now and again, I’m mesmerized by the age we live in. I’m old enough to remember using a 9600 baud modem to connect to a BBS to play Legend of the Red Dragon. I would tie up our family phone line (or, eventually, our second phone line) connecting to many of these BBSes or, later, to AOL, eventually spending a bunch of time on USENET.

It’s a big reason I’m an “internet professional” today.

I’ve spent a bunch of time on the internet, learning technology, and playing with computers.

So, it’s fair to say, I’m somewhat jaded by technology these days. I see the newest XBox 360 or PS3 game and realize it’s the same crappy game with new graphics. It’s why I still gravitate towards some of the old school games (I’m a big fan of the Nintendo Virtual Console) over buying every new first person shooter with great graphics.

But, every now and again, technology still amazes me. On Friday, as the Celtics game finished up (after beating the Hawks), the Kansas/Michigan game was heading into its final couple of minutes of regulation. Thanks to the magic of the internet/iPhone/March Madness app, I was able to watch the game while walking down the stairs of the Boston Garden.

Walking down the stairs after watching an NBA game, I was watching the television broadcast of an NCAA game on my phone.

5 years ago, I would be watching the equivalent of an animated gif.
10 years ago, I would have been trying to refresh an infrequently updated, poorly formatted webpage on my feature phone.
15 years ago, I would have been rushing out to find a bar showing the game. If that game happened to be showing in your area.

I think about people today, even co-workers, who may have never experienced the world without the internet. Now I can watch a basketball game live on my phone while at another basketball game.

The Post-Rondo Celtics

So, within 24 hours of posting this, we found out that the Celtics would see what a world without Rondo would look like—but not due to a trade. Instead, Rondo tore his ACL and is 99.9% likely to miss the rest of the season.

And, almost universally (mostly due to the eternal optimism of the Kevin Garnett era), Celtics fans thought they’d be better off.

Pundits, analysts, and critics all circled in on some of the same things I had pointed out:

  • the Celtics’ offense wasn’t elite with Rondo; it was downright bad. How much worse could it get?
  • Rondo’s style of offense might not be conducive to the types of players the Celtics have now
  • Maybe this team needs some new blood on offense

And now we’ll find out. In the first game of the post-Rondo era (admittedly, against the lowly Kings), the Celtics did what everyone wanted to see: push the ball, move the ball on offense (no hero ball) and get open shots, and play hounding defense. Six players in double figures, with two more players within a bucket of double figures. Seven players with 2 or more assists.

Yes, they struggled sometimes to get the ball up the court, but Lee and Bradley should get better with experience. Yes, they struggled to get good shots when the Kings went to a zone, but that’ll get easier as Doc and the coaching staff get more comfortable with the new setup.

The team looked like … a team. Something that hasn’t really happened this year.

I’m not saying losing Rondo cures all the Celtics ills. They aren’t likely to get out of the first round of the playoffs this year. Unless Pierce and Garnett retire, they’re not likely to be in a great cap position next year to make changes to the team.

But we’re going to learn what a Celtics team without the 2013 incarnation of Rajon Rondo looks like, and I think it’s going to be a prettier sight than you might thing.

Trading Rondo

I’ve been to, live, I’d guess nearly 80% of Rajon Rondo’s home games. Not this season. In his career. I’ve watched probably another 25-30% of his games on television.

As you can ask any of my friends who deal with my Celtics mania, I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with Rondo. Early on (including the year where the Celtics won #17), my issues with Rondo stemmed from his inability to shoot, his needless defensive freelancing, and his desire to make the flashy play over the simple one.

But you couldn’t argue with success, right? A Championship, another Eastern Conference title, and a few games from a 3rd. He was the starting point guard on a very successful team, and arguably, the most important player on that team.

As the core around him has aged, the media story, the story from the team, the story from everyone has been that this is the year that it becomes Rondo’s team. I bought in. Over the last year and a half, the improved shooting, the occasional glimpses of greatness (national TV triple doubles), and all of the talk coming from the team: I believed. I thought Rondo was ready to become “the man.”

I was wrong. I’m out. I want off the roller coaster.

Even knowing that the team expected him to be a leader, knowing that the team needed him to step up and carry more of the load, Rondo hasn’t changed. He still walks away from team huddles. He agitates officials such that he rarely gets calls (and the league has a hair trigger with regards to his behavior, making matters worse). He padded his stats by giving up easy hoops in favor of assists during his double-digit assist streak. His defense has gotten progressively worse, to the point his on ball defense has to be below average for a point guard.

The thing about it is, I know that Rondo could be better. When he wants to play defense, he can be stellar. His shooting has become an asset. He can finish around the rim and score, seemingly at will, but simply refuses(?) to do so. I don’t know what it is, but it seems like Rondo coasts through games at 60%, turning it on when he thinks he really has to. Is it a coping mechanism, to help him last through a full season? Is it a coaching strategy? I don’t know.

But it’s hurting the team, and destroying my will to watch Rondo run the point for the Celtics.

Thursday’s game against New York was the final straw. Rondo has a triple double, an amazing 4th quarter (almost single handedly getting the Celtics back into the game), and I’m stuck on the thought that Rondo’s first three quarters were the reason the Celtics were down.

The final straw(s) were two plays. A 3-on-1 break in a tight game where Rondo tried to throw a backwards alley-oop rather than take a wide open layup, and a diagonal cross court pass thrown off Tyson Chandler’s head in the final minutes of a game where the Celtics had made a furious comeback. I half think he did it on purpose.

I don’t think Rondo is a bad player. I don’t think we could even get full value for him in a trade. I just don’t think that he can run a team, that he’s mature enough to ever be the guy. I’m probably wrong, but I don’t care any more.

My epiphany is that Rondo is now like Manny Ramirez, circa 2008ish. When he’s on, he’s breathtaking to watch. When he’s off, you wonder how a player could have that little regard for his teammates (let alone the team or the fans).

Sometimes you have to break ties. I think it’s time.

I got into a somewhat interesting Twitter conversation during that Knicks game. As both an opportunity to try Storify and to show some of the feelings/emotions surrounding the issue. I’m sure I’ll go back and forth on this, but I think the Celtics have reached the point where trading Rondo for a less flashy, straight ahead point guard might be a better option for the team.
Like this or this or this (probably unrealistic, but I can dream).

NFL Stands “Not For Long” (will we cut away to the 4:15 game)

“In researching the kickoff time shift, the NFL analyzed games from the 2009-11 seasons and found that 44 games required part of the audience to be switched to a mandatory doubleheader game kickoff,” a release from the league reads. “With a 4:25 p.m. ET kickoff time, that number that would have been reduced by 66 percent to only 15 games”

Butchered, awesome Jerry Glanville quote aside, the NFL is probably the most fan-friendly, forward thinking professional sports league (at least when it comes to non-concussion-related topics). Sunday Ticket, NFL RedZone, and NFL.com give you almost anything you could possibly want to see on Sunday, if you’re willing to pay a bit. If you don’t want to pay, you still usually get at least three games on Sunday, and now, if the early game is close, you won’t get yanked away before seeing the final plays of the game.

If the NFL would follow MLB and the NBA’s lead and put out an app (at say $10-20 a season) that let you listen to the radio broadcasts of any game, it would probably make a gajillion dollars.

MLB, with its At Bat app and web service, Apple TV/Xbox Live integration, and really well done MLB.com and MiLB.com sites, would be a shoo-in for fan friendly behavior, but their continue adherence to their absurd YouTube and blackout policies mean that, no matter what they do, they’re always going to be second place.

(From Awful Announcing.)

Thanks

If the “New Big Three” era in Boston ended last night, it was an awesome run.

  • 1 World Title
  • 2x Eastern Conference Champs
  • 5x Atlantic Division Champs

Probably my favorite team that I’ve ever been able to follow.

The Big Three
Image “borrowed” from ESPN.com