Recent Writing

Hey everybody! I haven’t posted anything here in the last couple of weeks, because I’ve been busy writing things on other sites. I will provide the links and brief summaries of those articles below.

At Off the Glass, I wrote about how to resolve the tensions under the current CBA in which players feel wronged because they are trapped on a team that they don’t get to choose and teams feel wronged because players are forcing trades one and two years before the end of their contracts.

The Solution for Trade Demands

I also wrote a piece for Off the Glass on Caris LeVert, who had a breakout season disrupted by injury last season. I break down his performance, and offer some speculation on what he might do this year.

Hot Take Marathon: Caris LeVert Will Be an All-Star

At Bellyup Sports, I published a data dive on the Orlando Magic’s Jonathan Isaac:

Is Jonathan Isaac the Future for Orlando?

Also at Bellyup Sports, I wrote a short piece on the top five most effective passers in the NBA last year.

Who Are the NBA’s Top 5 Passers?

I will be posting an article here next week, but I will continue to provide links to my work on other sites as well. Thanks for reading!

Jonathan Isaac Under the Microscope

              Jonathan Isaac’s NBA journey began inauspiciously as the number six overall pick by the Orlando Magic. He looked to be at risk of becoming yet another highly talented prospect drafted by a losing franchise whose career becomes a study in disappointment and squandered potential. Two years later, after a breakout season by Nikola Vucevic powered the Magic to a surprising playoff berth, it is time to consider whether or not Jonathan Isaac can be part of a brighter future for Orlando.

Continue reading “Jonathan Isaac Under the Microscope”

2019 Offseason Crunch

Yesterday I outlined a method to accurately grade offseason moves based on an analysis of the cost of wins in the NBA, the relationship between performance and salary, and a rubric to help the grades make sense. Today, I’m presenting the first annual NBA Offseason Data Crunch, in which I evaluate every move made by every team this summer. Before you dig in, there are two caveats:

  • In what follows I will evaluate all acquisitions in terms of the player’s value relative to the value of his contract. This means that for trades, we are not interested (right now) in figuring out which team won or lost the trade. There is a time for evaluating trades in that manner, but today’s analysis will consider moves purely in terms of cost efficiency.
  • The data crunch will deal only with players who are likely to impact winning or losing NBA games this year, and players whose impact we are able to reliably estimate. Rookies and future draft picks, as they do not have any NBA data, are difficult to forecast with the same accuracy as existing NBA players, so I will leave them aside for now.

Los Angeles Lakers trade NOP for Anthony Davis

          Let’s start with the easiest transaction to grade. Acquiring AD was a home run for the Lakers. Davis is projected to make over a little over $27 million next season, followed by a player option for 2020-21. In the three seasons prior to last year, Davis averaged 12.6 wins per season. At that rate, we would anticipate AD to generate roughly $118.3 million worth of value, meaning that the Lakers are getting a 91 million dollar surplus from trading for AD. Of course, they did have to give up something to get him …


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How to Do Offseason Grades the Right Way

            At this time of year, NBA analysts, fans, and front offices are all concerned with cost efficiency. Free agent season stimulates near-constant conversation evaluating each new contract as a good deal, bad deal, or fair deal. What is the basis of all the conversation, though? To be more specific, what is the standard used to determine whether a player is overpaid, underpaid, or fairly paid? If the standard is subjective, then offseason “grades” merely reflect the degree of correlation between a team’s offseason moves and what I happen to think each player is worth. That correlation is not valuable to anyone aside from me. Nobody else can use grades like that, because the grades only reflect a subjective opinion.

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Processing the Process (Conclusion)

          In Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 of my review of the “The Process,” I have covered the Philadelphia 76ers’ rebuilding process beginning with their multi-season tank job and leading up to their return to the playoffs in the 2017-18 season. Last season brought the culmination of the Process, as the Sixers went all-in with two major trades that cashed in most of their draft assets acquired during the Process. In this final part of my analysis, then, I will review the Sixers’ moves in the 2018 offseason and during the 2018-19 season, followed by a brief overview of the Process on the whole.

Continue reading “Processing the Process (Conclusion)”

Processing the Process, Part 3

          The 2016-17 season represented a major inflection point in “The Process,” the Philadelphia 76ers multi-season tank job engineered by Sam Hinkie and widely praised and criticized by nearly everyone with any stake in the league. The beginning of the 2016-17 season saw the Sixers enter with a young core of nine players all drafted or signed under the Hinkie regime. For reference, here is those players’ performance across the subsequent seasons:

Name 2016-17 2017-18 2018-19
Nerlens Noel 3.7 Wins, 73% Eff., 1047 MP 0.8 Wins, 55% Eff., 472 MP 4.0 Wins, 56% Eff., 1056 MP
Joel Embiid 3.8 Wins, 55% Eff., 786 MP 8.1 Wins, 54% Eff., 1912 MP 10.6 Wins, 50% Eff., 2154 MP
Dario Saric 3.9 Wins, 46% Eff., 2129 MP 4.7 Wins, 50% Eff., 2310 MP 3.1 Wins, 47% Eff., 2022 MP
Jahlil Okafor 2.2 Wins, 45% Eff., 1134 MP 0.6 Wins, 46% Eff., 353 MP 1.8 Wins, 48% Eff., 935 MP
Ben Simmons   7.3 Wins, 54% Eff., 2732 MP 6. Wins, 53% Eff., 2700 MP
Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot 1.6 Wins, 45% Eff., 1190 MP 1.1 Wins, 40% Eff., 806 MP 0.6 Wins, 52% Eff., 669 MP
Furkan Korkmaz   0.1 Wins, 36% Eff., 80 MP 1.3 Wins, 47% Eff., 679 MP
Jerami Grant 2.6 Wins, 45% Eff., 1531 MP 3.7 Wins, 51% Eff., 1647 MP 4.8 Wins, 48% Eff., 2612 MP
Richaun Holmes 2.7 Wins, 54% Eff., 1193 MP 1.8 Wins, 52% Eff., 746 MP 1.8 Wins, 49% Eff., 1184 MP
Robert Covington 4.9 Wins, 52% Eff., 2119 MP 5.6 Wins, 47% Eff., 2532 MP 2.4 Wins, 51% Eff., 1203 MP
T.J. McConnell 3.4 Wins, 56% Eff., 2133 MP 2.9 Wins, 49% Eff., 1706 MP 2.7  Wins, 50% Eff., 1470 MP
Continue reading “Processing the Process, Part 3”

Processing the Process, Part 2

          Last time, we reviewed the beginning stages of the Process. The dominant factor in that time frame was the Jrue Holiday trade, which led to the Sixers acquiring Nerlens Noel and Elfrid Payton (who was traded for Dario Saric, who was part of the trade for Jimmy Butler). We left off after the 2014 draft, so Part 2 of our analysis begins in 2014.

  The 2014-15 season was another tank job by the Sixers. Shortly before the season began, they traded Thaddeus Young for a first round pick, Luc Mbah a Moute, and Alexey Shved in the four-team Kevin Love trade. Though the motive was clearly to make cap space, the Sixers ultimately did not attempt to sign premiere free agents in the time frame of Young’s next contract. As such, it is not completely certain that they needed to get rid of Young. He was responsible for 22.8 wins in the four seasons stretching from 2015-16 through last year, at about league average efficiency each year. Thus, it seems clear that the Sixers left about 5-6 wins per year on the table by getting rid of Thad Young.

Continue reading “Processing the Process, Part 2”

Processing the Process, Part 1

          With the definite turn from building to contending marked by this season’s blockbuster trades for Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris, the Sixers have reached the point at which we can profitably and fairly evaluate “The Process,” which began with the hiring of Sam Hinkie in 2013. With Philly having now spent most the draft capital acquired during the Process, it is legitimate to ask how well the tank job worked.  

Continue reading “Processing the Process, Part 1”