Locker room talk: rolling basketball thread

linebaugh

Well-known member
And the emphasis on shooting is a little more than just the skill sets of now being tailor fit for the current rules. sometimes best theoretical practice lags behind actual practice and the while the warriors may face a league that's as competitive on a team by team basis to past eras, said teams share more tools that make the margin of victory slimmer
 

linebaugh

Well-known member
and this is a bit of 'bar talk' argument but seeing that basketball is so reliant on single individuals and therefore energy and runs and all these ambiguous undefinable qualities I actually think the bar argument is about as good as any other method so long as no one gets over zealous.
 
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shakahislop

Well-known member
I suppose you could make the basket three feet lower but that would change the game quite considerably, perhaps even more than the zonal marking. Any other suggestions? And it's a genuine question as to why players are getting shorter. I assume it's something to do with the rules pushing in that direction, also, at the same time I assume that whatever it is, there is a limit to how far it can push and it is never going to overcome the demand for height which is caused by the basket.
it's the microplastics
 

Leo

Well-known member
don't lose hope, dude. I grant you, that was a tough loss. gotta capitalize on the extremely rare night where Steph goes 0-for from 3.

otoh, all the games have been relatively close. Game 4 yall just got beat by an all-time game from an all-time player, which happens.

Game 3 especially tho when yall just ground the Ws down, and virtually rendered Draymond useless, is encouraging

I mean don't get me wrong, you're in a bad spot and the most likely outcome is probably Ws close it out tomorrow night

but Cs aren't getting run off the court or anything. they just had a bad quarter.

which sure you can't do, but which also isn't necessarily a death knell.

yeah, you're right, but so many f'ing turnovers. sloppy passes and lost dribbles that the Warriors turn into baskets. and missed free throws.
 

padraig (u.s.)

a monkey that will go ape
And the emphasis on shooting is a little more than just the skill sets of now being tailor fit for the current rules. sometimes best theoretical practice lags behind actual practice and the while the warriors may face a league that's as competitive on a team by team basis to past eras, said teams share more tools that make the margin of victory slimmer
average margin of victory has actually increased, not decreased, as scoring has increased

historically it's the range has very consistently stuck around 10-11, then in the last decade it's trended up toward +12

makes sense if you think about it, more scoring == more blowouts. also consistent with greater volatility.

the low-scoring hockey-style late-90s/early 00s actually had a closer average margin, down toward the low end of that historical range

which absolutely isn't an argument against the greatness of the Ws, tbc
 

padraig (u.s.)

a monkey that will go ape
I assume the movement toward resting key players more often has also contributed to wider average scores, more lopsided games
 

linebaugh

Well-known member
average margin of victory has actually increased, not decreased, as scoring has increased

historically it's the range has very consistently stuck around 10-11, then in the last decade it's trended up toward +12

makes sense if you think about it, more scoring == more blowouts. also consistent with greater volatility.

the low-scoring hockey-style late-90s/early 00s actually had a closer average margin, down toward the low end of that historical range

which absolutely isn't an argument against the greatness of the Ws, tbc
I meant the metaphorical margin of victory but I see how that was a confusing choice of words
 

padraig (u.s.)

a monkey that will go ape
yeah I just think it's very difficult to say that the challenges faced by a team in one era are more or less difficult than another era

that any current team would shoot any 80s-90s team off the floor is a given, and besides the point

different teams, different league, different rules, different training methods, different game, different challenges

I think all you can say with any accuracy, even in a bar debate, is to what extent a team dominated its own era

ofc whole point of a bar debate is being able to offer up unvarnished opinions but I just don't take era "strength of league" claims seriously in any sport

barring some extreme event like MLB during WWII when it was all 4F replacement players for several years
 

padraig (u.s.)

a monkey that will go ape
also, just like w/everything in sports (and everything in general) there's a recency bias w/Warriors

again, still an all-time great team if they somehow lose this series and never get back to the Finals. just should be noted.
 

linebaugh

Well-known member
yeah I just think it's very difficult to say that the challenges faced by a team in one era are more or less difficult than another era

that any current team would shoot any 80s-90s team off the floor is a given, and besides the point

different teams, different league, different rules, different training methods, different game, different challenges

I think all you can say with any accuracy, even in a bar debate, is to what extent a team dominated its own era

ofc whole point of a bar debate is being able to offer up unvarnished opinions but I just don't take era "strength of league" claims seriously in any sport

barring some extreme event like MLB during WWII when it was all 4F replacement players for several years
I get how its the reasonable take to assume the shifting context of rules and whatever other factors at the time reorganize players and teams into a sort of competitive hierarchy thats probably similar to all other eras, and competitive levels move a bit like a balance where gains in one area result in dips in others, and league wide improvements happen, of course, league wide thus negating the competitive level. But, cmon, its still a factor worthy of serious consideration. recognizing that context shifts the framing of the conversation doesnt mean you ignore said context. it seems more unreasonable to operate on the assumption that the league has always been the same competitive level. To me a league with more 'good' players in it is harder to dominate over an extended period of time than one with less regardless of all but the wackiest distributions of talent. This is a bit of folksy common sense but again I dont think its dismissible because of that.

The counter would be are there really more 'good' players now than there was or is there in fact a similar number across eras for all the reasons already said. What would be interesting to see is a comparison of fringe all-stars/all nba players across eras, or some metric that could score the difficulty of being awarded those selections. or ignore the mercurial nature of awards and just some metric in that general spirit. that could settle the debate. I.e. how many players and how often are pulling a dame-lillard-27-points-on-good-efficiency-on-a-playoff-team and still not particularly standing out amongst their peers or something of the like
 
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suspended

Well-known member
This is a great exchange. Lots of good points.

Recency bias is everywhere, but also, players are getting better and better. (In objectively evaluated athletics, e.g. running & swimming, this improvement is obvious. For reference, my splits as a high school swimmer would've won me Olympic medals in the 1950s. I think we should assume that sports science, better training, more money in the system, etc have all led to major improvements in NBA player quality/skill in 2010s compared to 90s/00s, let alone 60s Celtics.)

Nitpicking Padraig here, but treating "James & the other Cavs" like they're a bunch of scrubs is misleading—sure, by the time the SNL skit came out, this had become the case, but Cavs balled out in the 16/17 series, and James is still the 2nd best player of all-time lol. They had historically good offensive numbers, and James/Love/Kyrie, while not quite a Heatles-level trio, is still a very strong core. Sure—Jefferson, Shumpert, Crowder, Frye, Green, Hill, Korver, Perkins, JR Smith, Thompson—these players aren't all-stars (or weren't during their Cavs tenure) but they're not anonymous G-leaguers either. There was serious fire power, even if their defensive rating left a lot to be desired. Ditto with the bit about GS getting bailed out by a Houston choke job—not questioning the choke, but that is a championship-level Rockets team nearly any other year. None of the eliminated playoff teams in either the West or the East this year were as strong as those Rockets. Moreover, the Rockets were a team constructed solely to beat the Warriors. Yes, GS got lucky pulling off that series—but their road was tough. 2016/2017 playoffs were not waltzes for GS. This Western conference was much, much easier—compare Mavs to 2016 OKC.

Also, compare those Rockets/OKC/Cavs teams to some of the 6ers/Nets squads Kobe/Shaq went up against.
 
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suspended

Well-known member
and this is a bit of 'bar talk' argument but seeing that basketball is so reliant on single individuals and therefore energy and runs and all these ambiguous undefinable qualities I actually think the bar argument is about as good as any other method so long as no one gets over zealous.
Yeah spot on. Padraig's absolutely right that a lot of stuff (eg inter-era comparisons of dominance) can't be done through stats, but that's as much about stats' limitations, as an analytic tool, as it is about the difficulty of the problem/question/comparison. Reasonableness and eye tests should be allowed fair hearing.
 

padraig (u.s.)

a monkey that will go ape
it seems more unreasonable to operate on the assumption that the league has always been the same competitive level
I don't assume that at all. I just don't think you, or I, or anyone else, can do a good job of comparing different competitive levels across eras.

given that, "the league was weaker/stronger" arguments should be given minimum value - a last-ditch tiebreaker

it is true that as overall play quality increases, variance should decrease - Stephen Jay Gould famously wrote an essay about it wrt .400 hitters in baseball

but the last few decades don't really bear it out in the NBA

I don't think it's non-existent, I just suspect it has seriously diminishing returns in basketball, both bc it's by far the most individual-driven team sport - easier for uneven talent distribution to continue happening - and bc the nature of basketball is that it's the least prone to big upsets, especially across a 7-game series, of any major sport

if it's gotten much more difficult, why have teams continued to do it at essentially the same rate for the last 40 years?

Showtime/Celtics, Bad Boys, Bulls, Hakeem Rockets, Shaq/Kobe, Spurs intercut with Kobe/Pau Lakers and then Heatles, now Ws

the only NBA decade so far w/o a true dynasty is the 1970s, which probably gets shouted out as an NBA low point if anything
 

padraig (u.s.)

a monkey that will go ape
comparing Bill Russell or Wilt Chamberlain directly to Joel Embiid, let alone a guard or a wing, is basically pointless to my mind

let alone trying to compare entire teams
 

padraig (u.s.)

a monkey that will go ape
the 60s Celtics are a perfect example of dominating in a shallower league, obviously

but they had those unique factors - no free agency, early to bring in more black players, pre-merger - that no dynasty has had since

the NBA/ABA merger seems like a kind of year zero for talent infusion as well

the next year something like half the All-Stars, leading scorers, and NBA finals starters were ABA guys

and the Showtime era comes directly out of that

so yeah idk, it just doesn't seem to hold up
 

padraig (u.s.)

a monkey that will go ape
treating "James & the other Cavs" like they're a bunch of scrubs is misleading
NBA-level players, sure, for the most part, minus the obligatory LeBron weed carrier like Dahntay Jones or whoever

as a Finals-level supporting cast? grim

Kyrie and to a lesser extent Love, sure, and Korver as a very poor man's Ray Allen (meaning, still a solid player)

but Iman Shumpert and Jeff Green? JR Smith??? come on, get out of here with that nonsense buddy

if you replace peak LeBron with a generic All-Star wing that team is a 7-seed that gets unceremoniously bounced in 1st rd

I do hear the argument that the Rockets were designed in a secret lab by Morey as the anti-Warriors (which mostly seemed to be "sign P.J. Tucker")

idk if they would've been a championship-level team "nearly any other year". as good as he is, James Harden has a penchant for self-destruction that I don't know I've ever seen in another player of that caliber.

the Shaq/Kobe wars were always in the West, never the Finals, usually against the Webb/White Chocolate/Vlade/Peja Kings
 

suspended

Well-known member
I was ages 6-8 watching those series at the downtown sports grill over curly fries, so don't have much of a memory, I'm sure you're right re Kings

Re: Rockets this is hopelessly circular because what are we holding steady but—if you write off the Cavs as a scrubby team, I suppose it's not impressive that the Rockets could probably beat them. Still, they were 50-5 healthy in the regular season, #1 net rating in the league with a top 10 all-time SG, a top 5 all-time PG, and a pretty powerful supporting cast that set multiple records for 3pt shooting.

Anyway, re: Warriors—If you're running historically good, record-setting motion offenses, league-leading defense, and revolutionizing how the sport is played; if you have ('17-19) the three best shooters of all-time in the same starting lineup; if you're basically undefeated in the playoffs while healthy, and have made the Championships every year since 2015 that you had a non-injury-plagued lineup—then I think we should assume that the teams which managed to take them to 7 games, or steal a ring, were themselves great teams. Rather than assuming that the league collectively shat the bed for nearly a decade and didn't have much talent and Ws got lucky. I mean, half of the Top 75 players are from 2010+. You can say "recency bias" but again, IMO the objective, measurable, dramatic leaps in sports the past three decades, in sports with consistent benchmarks like track'n'field, makes this feel reasonable. @IdleRich what do you think? Am I crazy here? I get that inter-era comparison is tough, but like... We basically know that athletes have gotten significantly better since the 1960s, and even the 1980s/90s, in every sport we can do objective comparison.
 

suspended

Well-known member
Hmmm I feel like I'm not actually that interested in arguing "for" or "against" the Warriors legacy, because it feels like the least interesting part of the earlier conversation with Padraig and Linebaugh, so I'm gonna re-read those messages and think what would be more productive/valuable
 

linebaugh

Well-known member
Hmmm I feel like I'm not actually that interested in arguing "for" or "against" the Warriors legacy, because it feels like the least interesting part of the earlier conversation with Padraig and Linebaugh, so I'm gonna re-read those messages and think what would be more productive/valuable
yes the conversation turned into 'is the league actually tougher now than it was' a while ago Id say.

comparing Bill Russell or Wilt Chamberlain directly to Joel Embiid, let alone a guard or a wing, is basically pointless to my mind

let alone trying to compare entire teams
ya I agree. I really am solely looking at it as a state of the league vs. state of the league basis. even if we say that distribution of talent has been similar enough to be near negligible, my point is that a league with more weapons- 'good' players, strategic techniques, higher skill floor- increases variable outcomes by the n-th degree. the tree has more branches. and its its not even entirely about what happens in games themselves- its about the possibilities for team building and player movement before games even start in reaction to a less stable league. and this is all just extra to the fact that the games primary offensive mechanism is extremely volatile in a way that it wasn't prior.

your point about dynasties and mini dynasties happening at the same rate is good though. Im not saying that progress is rapid or happens on a stable upward slope so the success rate staying about the same seems fine, expected even. my original point was that the league right now is tougher than its ever been- all the factors previously mentioned coalescing towards a quantum leap after a period of dormancy. but ya like you said this isnt something that you or I can argue, we need either some impartial geriatric whose intensely watched the league for 40 years (@Leo ???) or some intense long form statistical study done.
 
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