HoopSpeak Live 84: Devin Kharpertian

Today’s guest is Devin Kharpertian of The Brooklyn Game.

If you’d rather view the show directly on Spreecast, click here.

HoopSpeak Live airs every Tuesday and Thursday at 3 p.m. ET. You can find the audio-only version on iTunes and Stitcher. If you subscribe and/or write us a review, I promise that Devin will write an open letter to you and publish it on The Brooklyn Game.

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HoopSpeak Network

HoopSpeak Live 75: Devin Kharpertian

Today’s HoopSpeak Live guest is Devin Kharpertian of The Brooklyn Game.

If you’d rather view the show directly on Spreecast, click here.

HoopSpeak Live airs every Tuesday and Thursday at 3 p.m. ET. You can find the audio-only version on iTunes and Stitcher. If you subscribe and/or write us a review, I promise to have the Brooklyn Knight visit your home on your birthday.

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Stop Synergy Abuse

Synergy, Holy Grail of basketball information. To use it is to be addicted, to be addicted is to sometimes abuse it.

I’ve lately seen many a writer and reader cite Synergy’s individual defensive statistics as argument trump cards. Hey, this player has a stingy points per possession (PPP), contrary to your denigration of his defense. Hey, this player can’t be good at D with a total Synergy rating like that. Eat your hat, gargle it with thumb tacks, you’ve just been Synergized!

The fine people at Synergy kindly curate many defensive plays into component parts. Thanks to them, we now have information on outcomes of isolations, post-ups, spot-ups, etc. This data is certainly interesting and valuable, but it should be applied wisely and modestly.

On Hang Up and Listen, Kevin Arnovitz cited how writers used Synergy to a good end. The Warriors trumpeted free agent acquisition Kwame Brown by referencing his “post defense” as an asset. Writers took to Synergy and checked Kwame’s data from those situations. Brown simply did not grade out as Kendrick Perkins of Charlotte, the numbers showed him to be below average at guarding the low block. This was a wise application. Take a specific claim, fact check it via a specific measurement.

But people falter when looking for absolute measures of overall defensive prowess. Unlike offense, defense is about prevention, and prevention is so difficult to quantify. Offense is often created by one man, bursting through a defense en route to a tangible reward. This act is easily recorded and credited to the athlete.

Defense is about five people working as one collective organism. If an offense-minded knight (named say, Brandon) bursts through a castle wall and lances an enemy nobleman, we know that he earned his mutton leg for that evening. Now

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Basketball Culture 101: The Last Shot

Miss B: Do you ever wonder what it’s like for the kids in Coney Island who don’t play basketball? What are they supposed to do?

Disco: What do you mean, “kids who don’t play ball?” … Basketball is all we got. There ain’t nothing else to do in Coney Island.

Miss B: I know. That’s exactly my point.

Space is a funny thing.

I’m not talking about space like Mars space, or some Star Trek “Final Frontier”-type space. I mean the actual personal concept – having a space. Think about what you’re doing right now. You’re probably sitting at a desk or on a couch, pouring your mind into a computer screen, reading words that are in a space – but not a physical space, a cyberspace. Depending on your social class, you’re probably doing it in a room in your house or apartment. Or maybe you’re out – lucky enough to have a desk job that allows you to use a computer, or perhaps at a library or coffee shop, or even using HoopSpeak to distract you from a class. (If you’re in Yago’s class, turn this off now! Pay attention!) This is probably taking place in your rural, suburban, or urban area, mostly defined by the economic similarities between the landowners.

Or maybe you’re at Coney Island. The space, originally designated for immigrants coming to the New World, has since been stripped down and rebuilt as a multitude of housing projects for poor minority families, buried deep in the southeast corner of New York City. That’s the area where Darcy Frey’s The Last Shot is set. If it were a stage, it’d be described as “dimly lit.”  Coney Island is a “final stop” on four NYC subway lines (D/F/N/Q, and yes, I know

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