2021-22 NBA Season Discussion

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Re: 2021-22 NBA Season Discussion 

Post#461 » by Dr Positivity » Mon Nov 22, 2021 7:20 pm

I didn't realize Harden's FTA per minute is already equal to last year and probably headed north. I think the rule change was probably somewhat of a red herring in retrospect for his poor start.
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Re: 2021-22 NBA Season Discussion 

Post#462 » by jamaalstar21 » Mon Nov 22, 2021 7:24 pm

Doctor MJ wrote:
jamaalstar21 wrote:
falcolombardi wrote:
is just me or the video kinda proves harden has not been slowed down by lack of free throws but Taylor criticizes him for it anyway despite he literally showing otherwise?


In what way did the video kinda prove Harden has not been slowed down? Not sure what you mean.

Harden's FTr has caught up to where it has been in the past after a wild start. Taylor is pointing out the playtypes that aren't working for him anymore.

For what it's worth, Taylor is anti-Harden. He's made some really good points about him before (I remember specifically his podcast about Kobe vs. Wade vs. Harden pointing out Harden's stubborn rigidity to play his way even when it stops working). But he doesn't like helioccentrism and thinks it overrated players with counting stats. He's a huge fan of off-ball value and defense. So Harden isn't going to get too much love on the Thinking Basketball show.

So wanted to chime in:

First as you say, the TB video was pointing out what specifically wasn’t getting called, and with Harden there were a lot of moves. It was not a statement that Harden was “done”. It wasn’t a statement of how Harden will now be forever crippled. It was a statement of what wasn’t working right now, which of course also implies that Harden would be wise to change his approach.

Second, I think we need to be careful with the labels we place on people. It’s fine to think Taylor underrates Harden when he evaluates players holistically due to beliefs he has about the game of basketball. It’s also fine to think that Taylor has been polarized in some direction here due to arguments in the basketball world that he ends up on one side of - I think we all need to assume this is happening to each and everyone one of us.

But Taylor’s agenda is to give correct basketball knowledge, not manipulate opinions of specific basketball players. Others in the media are different because their jobs are different. Taylor’s brand though suffers if people think all of his analysis is just a front to fandom.

I’d also say that Taylor recognizing that heliocentric play tends to increase the helio’s production regardless of whether it improves his impact is just plain a basketball truth, and it’s not the same as saying it’s a bad team basketball strategy or that you don’t like watching basketball played with this approach.


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I'm not saying Elgee is wrong about Harden and I have a pretty similar viewpoint. I was higher on Harden before that podcast episode I mentioned but felt so thoroughly convinced by one of his points that I couldn't unhear a continue to think of Harden like I had prior.

But the guy has put out a book on what his basketball values and I think it merits pointing out that Harden is a bit of an antithesis of a lot of those values, regardless whether the author in question is right or wrong. I'm not saying Thinking Basketball has a unfair, biased, hatred for Harden. Like you said, we all "need to assume this is happening to each and everyone one of us", and I'm just talking about Elgee's specifically.
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Re: 2021-22 NBA Season Discussion 

Post#463 » by Doctor MJ » Mon Nov 22, 2021 8:51 pm

jamaalstar21 wrote:
Doctor MJ wrote:
jamaalstar21 wrote:
In what way did the video kinda prove Harden has not been slowed down? Not sure what you mean.

Harden's FTr has caught up to where it has been in the past after a wild start. Taylor is pointing out the playtypes that aren't working for him anymore.

For what it's worth, Taylor is anti-Harden. He's made some really good points about him before (I remember specifically his podcast about Kobe vs. Wade vs. Harden pointing out Harden's stubborn rigidity to play his way even when it stops working). But he doesn't like helioccentrism and thinks it overrated players with counting stats. He's a huge fan of off-ball value and defense. So Harden isn't going to get too much love on the Thinking Basketball show.

So wanted to chime in:

First as you say, the TB video was pointing out what specifically wasn’t getting called, and with Harden there were a lot of moves. It was not a statement that Harden was “done”. It wasn’t a statement of how Harden will now be forever crippled. It was a statement of what wasn’t working right now, which of course also implies that Harden would be wise to change his approach.

Second, I think we need to be careful with the labels we place on people. It’s fine to think Taylor underrates Harden when he evaluates players holistically due to beliefs he has about the game of basketball. It’s also fine to think that Taylor has been polarized in some direction here due to arguments in the basketball world that he ends up on one side of - I think we all need to assume this is happening to each and everyone one of us.

But Taylor’s agenda is to give correct basketball knowledge, not manipulate opinions of specific basketball players. Others in the media are different because their jobs are different. Taylor’s brand though suffers if people think all of his analysis is just a front to fandom.

I’d also say that Taylor recognizing that heliocentric play tends to increase the helio’s production regardless of whether it improves his impact is just plain a basketball truth, and it’s not the same as saying it’s a bad team basketball strategy or that you don’t like watching basketball played with this approach.


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I'm not saying Elgee is wrong about Harden and I have a pretty similar viewpoint. I was higher on Harden before that podcast episode I mentioned but felt so thoroughly convinced by one of his points that I couldn't unhear a continue to think of Harden like I had prior.

But the guy has put out a book on what his basketball values and I think it merits pointing out that Harden is a bit of an antithesis of a lot of those values, regardless whether the author in question is right or wrong. I'm not saying Thinking Basketball has a unfair, biased, hatred for Harden. Like you said, we all "need to assume this is happening to each and everyone one of us", and I'm just talking about Elgee's specifically.

So I want to acknowledge that you’re saying reasonable stuff and trying to meet me half way, but I have to push back in something else:

His book isn’t about his basketball values. It’s about applying cognitive science to identify existing biases in basketball thought. When he points out issues that stem from star-counting, he’s not talking about effectiveness of basketball strategy, he’s identifying limitations in the mental models often used to create narrative.

There is a significant difference there and it’s not just semantic. The reality is that nobody knew the name “Ben Taylor” when he put the book out and so it really would have made no sense for him to write a manifesto of basketball strategy. He was positioning himself as someone with expertise in another domain who was applying that expertise toward understanding how we think about basketball.


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Re: 2021-22 NBA Season Discussion 

Post#464 » by The High Cyde » Mon Nov 22, 2021 10:34 pm

I think Denver royally screwed themselves with the Michael Porter Jr. contract, as I don’t think MPJ will even come close to halfway in living up to it. It’ll be even harder than it already was for them to contend for a title now.

I honestly think MPJ is done, happy to be proven wrong though.
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Re: 2021-22 NBA Season Discussion 

Post#465 » by parsnips33 » Mon Nov 22, 2021 10:53 pm

The High Cyde wrote:I think Denver royally screwed themselves with the Michael Porter Jr. contract, as I don’t think MPJ will even come close to halfway in living up to it. It’ll be even harder than it already was for them to contend for a title now.

I honestly think MPJ is done, happy to be proven wrong though.


Between him and Murray, it's a lot of money tied up in guys who are question marks
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Re: 2021-22 NBA Season Discussion 

Post#466 » by falcolombardi » Mon Nov 22, 2021 11:24 pm

parsnips33 wrote:
The High Cyde wrote:I think Denver royally screwed themselves with the Michael Porter Jr. contract, as I don’t think MPJ will even come close to halfway in living up to it. It’ll be even harder than it already was for them to contend for a title now.

I honestly think MPJ is done, happy to be proven wrong though.


Between him and Murray, it's a lot of money tied up in guys who are question marks


crazy trade idea

mpj and Murray for ben simmons

who says no? (probably both to be honest)
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Re: 2021-22 NBA Season Discussion 

Post#467 » by eminence » Mon Nov 22, 2021 11:43 pm

falcolombardi wrote:
parsnips33 wrote:
The High Cyde wrote:I think Denver royally screwed themselves with the Michael Porter Jr. contract, as I don’t think MPJ will even come close to halfway in living up to it. It’ll be even harder than it already was for them to contend for a title now.

I honestly think MPJ is done, happy to be proven wrong though.


Between him and Murray, it's a lot of money tied up in guys who are question marks


crazy trade idea

mpj and Murray for ben simmons

who says no? (probably both to be honest)


MPJ counts as a Poison Pill deal right now, only ~$5M outgoing, but ~$29M incoming. Very hard to trade this season due to that.
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Re: 2021-22 NBA Season Discussion 

Post#468 » by eminence » Mon Nov 22, 2021 11:53 pm

And great to hear all the Bulls talk!

I'm in a similar shocked position with DeRozan, guy's playing absolutely great (I think he might be 4th in my MVP ladder as of today, which is... a lot higher than ever before). Feel like the bench has overperformed a bit so far, but mostly it's just DeMar turning into a MVP. LaVine I haven't been wowed by and agree that Lonzo is at least on par so far.

I haven't thought too much about All-D teams yet, but I could see the two Bulls guards in contention for sure. My Steph for All-D campaign is no joke though.
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Re: 2021-22 NBA Season Discussion 

Post#469 » by falcolombardi » Tue Nov 23, 2021 1:27 am

that moment when you realize the lakers could have some combo of caruso, derozan, lowry, kcp, danny green instead of what they have how around lebron/davis

health and bad roster decisions limited what could have been a 2-3 time champion (maybe not 3, but very likely two) into a one-off
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Re: 2021-22 NBA Season Discussion 

Post#470 » by jamaalstar21 » Tue Nov 23, 2021 2:04 am

Doctor MJ wrote:
jamaalstar21 wrote:
Doctor MJ wrote:So wanted to chime in:

First as you say, the TB video was pointing out what specifically wasn’t getting called, and with Harden there were a lot of moves. It was not a statement that Harden was “done”. It wasn’t a statement of how Harden will now be forever crippled. It was a statement of what wasn’t working right now, which of course also implies that Harden would be wise to change his approach.

Second, I think we need to be careful with the labels we place on people. It’s fine to think Taylor underrates Harden when he evaluates players holistically due to beliefs he has about the game of basketball. It’s also fine to think that Taylor has been polarized in some direction here due to arguments in the basketball world that he ends up on one side of - I think we all need to assume this is happening to each and everyone one of us.

But Taylor’s agenda is to give correct basketball knowledge, not manipulate opinions of specific basketball players. Others in the media are different because their jobs are different. Taylor’s brand though suffers if people think all of his analysis is just a front to fandom.

I’d also say that Taylor recognizing that heliocentric play tends to increase the helio’s production regardless of whether it improves his impact is just plain a basketball truth, and it’s not the same as saying it’s a bad team basketball strategy or that you don’t like watching basketball played with this approach.


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I'm not saying Elgee is wrong about Harden and I have a pretty similar viewpoint. I was higher on Harden before that podcast episode I mentioned but felt so thoroughly convinced by one of his points that I couldn't unhear a continue to think of Harden like I had prior.

But the guy has put out a book on what his basketball values and I think it merits pointing out that Harden is a bit of an antithesis of a lot of those values, regardless whether the author in question is right or wrong. I'm not saying Thinking Basketball has a unfair, biased, hatred for Harden. Like you said, we all "need to assume this is happening to each and everyone one of us", and I'm just talking about Elgee's specifically.

So I want to acknowledge that you’re saying reasonable stuff and trying to meet me half way, but I have to push back in something else:

His book isn’t about his basketball values. It’s about applying cognitive science to identify existing biases in basketball thought. When he points out issues that stem from star-counting, he’s not talking about effectiveness of basketball strategy, he’s identifying limitations in the mental models often used to create narrative.

There is a significant difference there and it’s not just semantic. The reality is that nobody knew the name “Ben Taylor” when he put the book out and so it really would have made no sense for him to write a manifesto of basketball strategy. He was positioning himself as someone with expertise in another domain who was applying that expertise toward understanding how we think about basketball.


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Very true. A mischaracterization on my part.
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Re: 2021-22 NBA Season Discussion 

Post#471 » by Bad Gatorade » Tue Nov 23, 2021 2:43 am

eminence wrote:And great to hear all the Bulls talk!

I'm in a similar shocked position with DeRozan, guy's playing absolutely great (I think he might be 4th in my MVP ladder as of today, which is... a lot higher than ever before). Feel like the bench has overperformed a bit so far, but mostly it's just DeMar turning into a MVP. LaVine I haven't been wowed by and agree that Lonzo is at least on par so far.

I haven't thought too much about All-D teams yet, but I could see the two Bulls guards in contention for sure. My Steph for All-D campaign is no joke though.


Some of DeRozan's incredible +/- probably stems from the fact that opponents are shooting 31.5% from 3 when he's on court, and 43.0% when he's off court - and most of that is going to be due to random chance. LaVine faces a less severe and opposing effect (36.0% on, 29.2% off). I worry that the instability of +/- metrics at a fairly primordial segment of the season is going to influence people's thinking a tad too far. I don't know where to peg DeMar's defence though - it feels like every year since 2016, people have been posting on RealGM/Reddit saying that DeMar's defence has improved because of his efforts in isolation, but this never really manifests itself in impact metrics (which still consistently paint him as a very poor defender, until this year). I'm happy that DeMar seems to be happy and contributing though - seems like a genuinely good and honest guy. And I suppose that his +/- thus far is also a fairly pleasing counter to what happened for most of his career - being a fairly good player that gets underrated by raw +/- because he played for squads that had ridiculously productive bench units.

On the whole, DeMar/LaVine have kind of done what I thought they'd do (DeMar probably a tad above expectation, but I figured he'd probably churn out a similar level offensive season as he's done in San Antonio (which has been pretty consistently good).

I don't see Lonzo/Caruso being all stars, but I really like the fit they have with the offensive stars, and it makes for a truly fun unit to watch at the moment. So far, the Bulls as a whole are above my expectations, with their impressive defence spearheading things. They're an entertaining and very likeable bunch, so I hope it sticks.
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Re: 2021-22 NBA Season Discussion 

Post#472 » by Doctor MJ » Tue Nov 23, 2021 4:25 am

falcolombardi wrote:that moment when you realize the lakers could have some combo of caruso, derozan, lowry, kcp, danny green instead of what they have how around lebron/davis

health and bad roster decisions limited what could have been a 2-3 time champion (maybe not 3, but very likely two) into a one-off

The thing that’s so exasperating here is that we’re largely talking about first poor health last year, and then the bad roster decisions this last off-season.

If the Lakers win the chip last year, they probably run it back. Instead, despite the injuries, they seemed to take the message that the supporting cast was to blame.

They did not understand how good they had it.

Only question is who exactly “they” is. It includes LeBron implicitly at the very least, but how much did he want this?

Anyway, it really bothers me. I think it’s really important to try to cultivate long-tenured role players. You can’t always achieve it, but when you’ve it you shouldn’t let it go lightly.


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Re: 2021-22 NBA Season Discussion 

Post#473 » by The-Power » Tue Nov 23, 2021 9:18 am

Doctor MJ wrote:Anyway, it really bothers me. I think it’s really important to try to cultivate long-tenured role players. You can’t always achieve it, but when you’ve it you shouldn’t let it go lightly.

I wholeheartedly agree. I truly believe limiting roster turnover and developing internally is one of the most under-appreciated aspects building successful teams. I am so happy that the Warriors value players that are familiar with the system and understand their roles. It has paid off big time in the past and present.

I understand that a bad team tries to change things up and find its core for the future, and I also believe that teams that are good for a long time need some fresh blood every now and then. But if you are a team with a solid core, I believe keeping that growing together as a team and improving considerably as a result is not only possible but often a superior strategy. Of course, this is not to say that keeping all 15 players is the way to go – but having a foundation of core and role players in place is invaluable in my opinion.

Of course I'll add that this only applies to teams in which coaches and star players actually try to develop a team identity beyond a single season – which is what I want from my team, but it's not a given around the league.
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Re: 2021-22 NBA Season Discussion 

Post#474 » by Colbinii » Tue Nov 23, 2021 1:49 pm

The-Power wrote:
Doctor MJ wrote:Anyway, it really bothers me. I think it’s really important to try to cultivate long-tenured role players. You can’t always achieve it, but when you’ve it you shouldn’t let it go lightly.

I wholeheartedly agree. I truly believe limiting roster turnover and developing internally is one of the most under-appreciated aspects building successful teams. I am so happy that the Warriors value players that are familiar with the system and understand their roles. It has paid off big time in the past and present.

I understand that a bad team tries to change things up and find its core for the future, and I also believe that teams that are good for a long time need some fresh blood every now and then. But if you are a team with a solid core, I believe keeping that growing together as a team and improving considerably as a result is not only possible but often a superior strategy. Of course, this is not to say that keeping all 15 players is the way to go – but having a foundation of core and role players in place is invaluable in my opinion.

Of course I'll add that this only applies to teams in which coaches and star players actually try to develop a team identity beyond a single season – which is what I want from my team, but it's not a given around the league.


This works when you have a coach, GM and player all on the same page but ita difficult.

The Cavaliers didn't develop anything around LeBron James during his first tenure there and its clear LeBron realized he has had to take matters into his own hands. He held out for false hope already and instead assumes no franchise is miraculously as good as Utah, Golden State or San Antonio at cultivating a winning culture organically.

Damian Lillard has attempted this and his team has had little to no playoff success, in part because they haven't been able to add a Draymond Green or even Klay Thompson level of player around Lillard. The one player the did have, LaMarcus Aldridge, couldn't stand Lillard having the perceived spot light and left.

The Oklahoma City Thunder had this going, lost Harden due to a cheap-o owner and still attempted to cultivate within but those players rarely developed (and the one that did, Reggie Jackson) quickly left for greener pastures and a greener bank account.

Its easy to be a Warriors fan and say "Hey, look how easy it is". Frankly, they are in the minority, and teams have attempted the same around their stars but have not had nearly as much luck as the Warriors.
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Re: 2021-22 NBA Season Discussion 

Post#475 » by jamaalstar21 » Tue Nov 23, 2021 2:49 pm

First game with(OUT! whoops) Caruso and they get blown out by a meh Indiana team. Not only was Levert having an easy time scoring, but Indiana was getting the ball into Sabonis whenever they wanted and once he got it he was surrounded by small guards most of the time.

It's just one game and this isn't actually worth talking about/reacting to. But I'm super curious about Chicago's point-of-attack-heavy defense, what they look like without big minutes from Caruso/Ball backcourt (and to some extent Ayo Dosunmu). I didn't know Caruso would be out tonight, and was tuning in more to see how they were going to guard Sabonis.

Their initial defense kind of reminded me a bit of Jason Kidd's trapping defense in Milwaukee, but less gimmicky. Donovan is a good defensive coach, but I do think he's working major miracles with this personnel. I have to assume this is a defense that gets "figured out" at some point and this team has a rough spot in the season. Last night isn't a big indication of that, since their best defensive player is out. But when is the last time someone built a good defense when their best defensive player is a guard averaging under 30 minutes per game?
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Re: 2021-22 NBA Season Discussion 

Post#476 » by eminence » Tue Nov 23, 2021 3:24 pm

In the games I'd caught for Chicago (not last night), I was at least as impressed with their offense as I was their defense. DeRozan at the 4 lineups really put out a lot of pressure from all over the court. Obviously a bit more tricky in the Vuc-less games.
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Re: 2021-22 NBA Season Discussion 

Post#477 » by Doctor MJ » Tue Nov 23, 2021 5:12 pm

Colbinii wrote:
The-Power wrote:
Doctor MJ wrote:Anyway, it really bothers me. I think it’s really important to try to cultivate long-tenured role players. You can’t always achieve it, but when you’ve it you shouldn’t let it go lightly.

I wholeheartedly agree. I truly believe limiting roster turnover and developing internally is one of the most under-appreciated aspects building successful teams. I am so happy that the Warriors value players that are familiar with the system and understand their roles. It has paid off big time in the past and present.

I understand that a bad team tries to change things up and find its core for the future, and I also believe that teams that are good for a long time need some fresh blood every now and then. But if you are a team with a solid core, I believe keeping that growing together as a team and improving considerably as a result is not only possible but often a superior strategy. Of course, this is not to say that keeping all 15 players is the way to go – but having a foundation of core and role players in place is invaluable in my opinion.

Of course I'll add that this only applies to teams in which coaches and star players actually try to develop a team identity beyond a single season – which is what I want from my team, but it's not a given around the league.


This works when you have a coach, GM and player all on the same page but ita difficult.

The Cavaliers didn't develop anything around LeBron James during his first tenure there and its clear LeBron realized he has had to take matters into his own hands. He held out for false hope already and instead assumes no franchise is miraculously as good as Utah, Golden State or San Antonio at cultivating a winning culture organically.

Damian Lillard has attempted this and his team has had little to no playoff success, in part because they haven't been able to add a Draymond Green or even Klay Thompson level of player around Lillard. The one player the did have, LaMarcus Aldridge, couldn't stand Lillard having the perceived spot light and left.

The Oklahoma City Thunder had this going, lost Harden due to a cheap-o owner and still attempted to cultivate within but those players rarely developed (and the one that did, Reggie Jackson) quickly left for greener pastures and a greener bank account.

Its easy to be a Warriors fan and say "Hey, look how easy it is". Frankly, they are in the minority, and teams have attempted the same around their stars but have not had nearly as much luck as the Warriors.


It is indeed difficult and we should be careful in praising the Warriors' core too much about it given that they pulled in KD.

With that said, while I don't fault LeBron for what happened in his first Cavs tenure, the reality is that the Cavs DID build up a good role player infrastructure around him. What they lacked was a second superstar talent, and the thing there is: I don't think you can really blame the Cavaliers organization for lacking that talent. A lot went into that, including Cleveland's less than enticing location for NBA elites, and LeBron's own reluctance to commit to staying there.

I think the shame is that LeBron seems like he may have learned the lesson from his times in Cleveland that in the end it's only superstar talent that matters. Yes, when you're contending you want your role players to be as settled into your system as possible, but you aren't winning a title without fellow superstars.

If you look at that and say "I kinda think that's true though, so is LeBron really wrong?" There I'd say it's not so much that LeBron's wrong to want other superstar talents with him, but that he may not be recognizing that even with superstar talents, fit matters.

The truth is that the Heatles were not the massive upgrade over the '08-09 Cavs that the chips would seem to indicate, and the only reason they were better in the end is because the 3rd alpha on the team (Bosh) stopped playing like an alpha, and turned into something more like a super-role player. People criticize Bosh for that, but it was HUGE for the Heat that he did that, and did it well.

I've been hot and cold on LeBron's big picture team strategy since he left Miami. I didn't think the move back to Cleveland was particularly basketball-smart but it basically worked out. I didn't think the move to the Lakers made sense based on the roster they had, but when LeBron brought AD in I was very high on what was done. I took the focus on AD, and the rapid development of a defense-focused philosophy under Vogel as a sign that LeBron really was thinking this stuff through in a way he didn't when he was younger.

But the moves this off-season disturb me, and I'm going to be watching LeBron closely over the rest of his Laker tenure to try to get a sense of what LeBron thinks is actually happening.

Last note:

When I talk like this it inevitably sounds condescending. I want to acknowledge that it's not so much that I think I know better than LeBron or any one else, but more that I can only think through my own mind. And I do find thinking through things in my own mind to be the best way to learn.

As I've said over the years, I'm shaped by this from my time working in industry, and in particular working in start-up companies that are trying to grow. I call it the "600 Pound Gorilla" problem. What do you do when the most powerful person in the room is also the most talented? The short-sited approach is to let that person "solo" tackling every task he (or she) deems critical at any given point in time, and then to have everyone else essentially wait passively to be told their next task...which the soloist may end up taking control over at any point.

An approach like this, however, doesn't scale to making a larger organization. To do that effectively, you don't just need to delegate tasks, you need to empower others to take control even if that means they make different decisions than you would.

LeBron represents a singularly good parallel here in basketball because he's chosen a style of play wherein he makes as many of the decisions as possible, and thus tends to relegate teammates to simpler versions of themselves.

It's not something I'd call a mistake generally. It would be a mistake if you were trying to "scale up the basketball team" so that it was 20, 50, 100, etc guys on the court operating as intelligently as possible, but with the NBA being 5 v 5, this might be the best way to do things.

Or it might not.

The clear counter to the heliocentrism LeBron-ball from '14-15 on has been the motion offense (Kerr-ball, joy-ball, Curry-ball) of the Warriors, and I think in the end, what the Warriors end up achieving will likely shape how we see LeBron-ball to some degree.

If, in the end, LeBron ends up winning more championships than any of his contemporaries, we'll see things one way.
If, in the end, the Warriors end up winning more championships than LeBron, we'll see things another way.

(If it ends up a tie, which is a distinct possibility, much will depend on other details.)
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Re: 2021-22 NBA Season Discussion 

Post#478 » by Doctor MJ » Tue Nov 23, 2021 5:19 pm

jamaalstar21 wrote:First game withOUT Caruso and they get blown out by a meh Indiana team. Not only was Levert having an easy time scoring, but Indiana was getting the ball into Sabonis whenever they wanted and once he got it he was surrounded by small guards most of the time.

It's just one game and this isn't actually worth talking about/reacting to. But I'm super curious about Chicago's point-of-attack-heavy defense, what they look like without big minutes from Caruso/Ball backcourt (and to some extent Ayo Dosunmu). I didn't know Caruso would be out tonight, and was tuning in more to see how they were going to guard Sabonis.

Their initial defense kind of reminded me a bit of Jason Kidd's trapping defense in Milwaukee, but less gimmicky. Donovan is a good defensive coach, but I do think he's working major miracles with this personnel. I have to assume this is a defense that gets "figured out" at some point and this team has a rough spot in the season. Last night isn't a big indication of that, since their best defensive player is out. But when is the last time someone built a good defense when their best defensive player is a guard averaging under 30 minutes per game?


Just wanted to highly the key word error here - and know that I can't believe how often I make the same mistake when I type, so know I do this with love.

And yeah, taking this back on a Lakers tangent - sorry -

I find myself marveling that 2 of the strongest EOY candidates this year (Arturas & Tommy) essentially just loaded up on Laker role players. (Credit for the DeRozan acquisition to be sure, but I'm fixated on the Lakers.)

Re: Donovan. We'll see how it all goes and what gets figured out. The way I've always seen Donovan ever since his Gators destroyed my Bruins is that he excels in designing approach for smart players, and I tend to think that when you design for smart players, they tend to be able to adapt fairly well to the counters that opponents come up with.
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Re: 2021-22 NBA Season Discussion 

Post#479 » by Doctor MJ » Tue Nov 23, 2021 5:23 pm

Bad Gatorade wrote:
eminence wrote:And great to hear all the Bulls talk!

I'm in a similar shocked position with DeRozan, guy's playing absolutely great (I think he might be 4th in my MVP ladder as of today, which is... a lot higher than ever before). Feel like the bench has overperformed a bit so far, but mostly it's just DeMar turning into a MVP. LaVine I haven't been wowed by and agree that Lonzo is at least on par so far.

I haven't thought too much about All-D teams yet, but I could see the two Bulls guards in contention for sure. My Steph for All-D campaign is no joke though.


Some of DeRozan's incredible +/- probably stems from the fact that opponents are shooting 31.5% from 3 when he's on court, and 43.0% when he's off court - and most of that is going to be due to random chance. LaVine faces a less severe and opposing effect (36.0% on, 29.2% off). I worry that the instability of +/- metrics at a fairly primordial segment of the season is going to influence people's thinking a tad too far. I don't know where to peg DeMar's defence though - it feels like every year since 2016, people have been posting on RealGM/Reddit saying that DeMar's defence has improved because of his efforts in isolation, but this never really manifests itself in impact metrics (which still consistently paint him as a very poor defender, until this year). I'm happy that DeMar seems to be happy and contributing though - seems like a genuinely good and honest guy. And I suppose that his +/- thus far is also a fairly pleasing counter to what happened for most of his career - being a fairly good player that gets underrated by raw +/- because he played for squads that had ridiculously productive bench units.

On the whole, DeMar/LaVine have kind of done what I thought they'd do (DeMar probably a tad above expectation, but I figured he'd probably churn out a similar level offensive season as he's done in San Antonio (which has been pretty consistently good).

I don't see Lonzo/Caruso being all stars, but I really like the fit they have with the offensive stars, and it makes for a truly fun unit to watch at the moment. So far, the Bulls as a whole are above my expectations, with their impressive defence spearheading things. They're an entertaining and very likeable bunch, so I hope it sticks.


Yeah, DeRozan going from the most reliably negative on/off all-star for approximately the last 150 years to being a huge +/- guy in Chicago is something I'll be watching to see how it evolves. I'm happy to acknowledge that I was wrong about Chicago's move this year and to give credit to Arturas, Donovan & DeRozan himself for this...but I do also find it hard to truly believe in for the long term.

What you point out about opponent 3-point shooting is the sort of thing I look at too. I think it's clear that DeRozan in this context works, but it's also likely that there's some luck in play with this small sample.
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Re: 2021-22 NBA Season Discussion 

Post#480 » by eminence » Tue Nov 23, 2021 5:26 pm

Idle thoughts on each team to date.

Blazers - Dame started poorly, but with him rounding into form they seem to be in fine position to contend for that 4-5 slot, which looks like a pretty good outcome for them. Haven't watched enough to comment on Chauncey as a coach, but certainly not a terrible first outing so far. Nance seems to be fitting well.

Bucks - Giannis is a monster. With Grayson Allen by his side he's kept the Bucks relevant. Once Jrue/Khris are back into form they should be great as always. Missing Brook a bit having to give some guys who are really minimum filler minutes. George Hill still putting in underappreciated work to keep them afloat as well.

Bulls - Like I said I've been most impressed by DeRozan, maybe I didn't watch him enough in San Antonio, but his offense has looked notably better than I remembered. Somewhat agreed with others that I'm not sure I trust their defense across the board, but it's performed to date. Dealt with their own fair share of injuries. Think they should really look bring in another solid 3/4 sort with Williams out for most of the season.

Cavs - Mobley is good, really good. Garland playing well as well, they may really have something with that pair. Always love Rubio and think he's doing a good job as their rotation vet. Not sure the big ball thing works long-term, should really find a way to add a decent wing in the future, but no big rush. With Garland/Mobley, I'd be excited as a Cleveland fan.

Celtics - No big surprises here for me, struggled a bit with Brown out, but with him back think they'll be fine. Just remember to dump Jauncho at the deadline to get under the luxury tax line.

Clippers - They've surprised me a bit, I didn't think they could keep the magic from the playoffs without Kawhi and they largely have. Pretty much all the role guys are still bringing it (Kennard/Mann/Jackson), big props to Lue. Bledsoe still looking a bit cooked, thought he might have a bit more in the tank.

Grizzlies - Need to watch more of them. Bane certainly looked good last night. Might have a real trio with he/Ja/JJJ. Brooks coming back should help a lot. Bit tricky trying to compete with a real young rookie in the rotation.

Hawks - Probably the big disappointment for me so far. It would seem like a 3/D wing would fit perfectly between Trae/Collins, but somehow neither Hunter or Reddish seem to be working out (Hunter obviously injured now). I don't know, just a bit bummed they still haven't managed to plug that hole, still should be fine to make the playoffs, but for a young team coming off the conference finals a bit of a bummer.

Heat - Have just looked solid. Getting more from PJ than I expected in the RS, Herro turning into more than I expected as well. Wouldn't be at all surprised if they wound up the #1 seed from the East.

Hornets - Say hello to LaMelo and Miles. Look like they could be a great duo for a long time. If they shore up the rotation just a bit I could see them being contenders very soon behind continued progression from that young pair. I try not to dream of Melo in GS.

Jazz - Utah looks bored so far, but it doesn't matter much, they're just good. Whiteside has looked nice as budget Rudy. Look set to cruise to a top 3 seed. We'll see how Rudy Gay fills the last rotation spot.

Kings - I don't really get Sacramento. I don't understand what their expectations are. I can understand moving on from Walton with the team seeming to tune him out. But they clearly don't have the talent to be more than a fringe playoff team even in the best case scenario. Fox has looked bad to start the season. Bunch of decent rotation guys, but no stars and the deeper bench is pretty bad. If there's a Fox/Simmons based deal on the table I'd be all over it.

Knicks - Can they start their bench a few games? I want to see what happens.

Lakers - Missed games from LeBron and bad play from AD/Westbrook to me are an even bigger deal than the poor fitting cast.

Magic - Honestly haven't watched them yet. Maybe the Bamba/WCJ pairing is interesting?

Mavs - For Luka playing poorly and putting Kidd in place of Carlisle I'm pretty surprised with how well they've held up. Just feels off when I watch though, but maybe Kidd really can get something out of Porzingis.

Nets - KD's been solid, Mills a very nice addition, depth has been decent. Harden in a funk has held them back a bit, but as the #1 seed currently what is there to really complain about? Oh yeah... 35M in street clothes. Genuinely I've been underwhelmed by Harden the past 2 seasons though, I'm not sure how high their ceiling is without him returning to MVP form.

Nuggets - Holy crap Jokic. Holy crap FO with that MPJ deal. Hope Jokic is back soon.

Pacers - I need to watch more of them, but at a glance they seem as solid as ever. Has Carlisle mixed up too much for them?

Pelicans - The starters have actually been merely bad, about what I would expect for a mediocre team missing it's #1. That bench though... Gotta get Zion right if they're ever going anywhere, but it may be too late already this season. Rough.

Pistons - Cade is fun, think they've really got a player there. Feel just looks great. We'll see who they can add to him in the future.

Raptors - Barnes has been way more offensively ready than I expected. VanVleet solid as always, if Siakam can come back strong I could see a real run up the rankings.

Rockets - I tried to watch a few games to catch the young guys. It was a bit too much for me. They are really really bad. Play Garuba more and I'll watch more.

Sixers - Just like we all expected, Maxey and Niang are leading the Sixers into playoff position. Without much Embiid or Harris they've done a great job to stay competitive. Drummond seems to be embracing his role of bench big and spot starter pretty well. I'd look to move on from Simmons sooner rather than later if possible.

Spurs - Just a young squad without a ton of talent. Murray's kind of exciting as a mini-Westbrook.

Suns - Look rock solid at this point. Bench is performing better than I expected looking at the names. Chris still chugging along, would like to see them try to grow Booker a bit more as a playmaker.

Thunder - Haven't watched a ton, liked what I saw from Giddey. Lots of interesting talent, but too young to be any good. Kinda want to see Dort on a good team again.

Warriors - Woohoo, it's been great fun so far. Steph is my MVP to date, and Dray might be my DPOY though I haven't given that much thought. Outside of those two it's been a very nice job by Kerr plugging guys who really are just role players (Payton/Iguodala/Bjelica/Porter/etc) into spots that they can find a ton of success in.

Wizards - Montrezl is having a very good season so far. My positive surprise of the season so far. Honestly don't quite understand how they're doing it without Beal playing particularly well. If they can find somebody to get them off of Kuzma's contract I'd look into moving it.

Wolves - Don't look now, but the Wolves core 3 (Towns/Edwards/Russell) actually seems to be gelling pretty well. If they can fill in the cracks that's actually a pretty good looking group going forwards. Beasley forgot how to shoot, so that's no good.
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