HoopSpeak Live 99: Kevin Pelton

By @AnthonyBain

Today’s guest is Kevin Pelton of ESPN.com. Today’s show will also feature guest co-host Tom Haberstroh of ESPN.com and The Heat Index.

If you want to watch 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 LeBron and KD will combine for at least 100 points tonight.

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HoopSpeak Live 71: Kevin Pelton

By @AnthonyBain

Today’s HoopSpeak Live featured a discussion of David Stern’s legacy followed by an interview with guest Kevin Pelton (SMASH!) of Basketball Prospectus. You can buy Pro Basketball Prospectus 2012-2013 here or here.

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 your favorite player will outperform his SCHOENE preojection.

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HoopSpeak Live 40 – Trade Deadline Bonanza: The Clips

Well, there hasn’t been a HoopSpeak Live episode like this. We started at 3:00 PM, right when the deadline hit. Over the course of the show, we found out that Derek Fisher was traded, Nate McMillan was fired, and the Nuggets decided to trade Nene for JaVale McGee. Live reactions! Also, many thanks to our awesome guests: John Krolik, Evan Dunlap, Kevin Pelton, Seth Rosenthal and Danny Nowell.

Also, congrats to Ethan for his new gig at Bleacher Report’s Court Vision blog. Awesome stuff going on there, which unfortunately meant he missed this one.

Here’s a YouTube playlist:

 

Here are the individual clips:

0:00 – 0:05 – Intro + Laker Talk [Check B & Z's reactions to the Fisher news, so awesome.]

0:05 – 0:13 – Person of Interest: John Krolik [Sessions, Pau, Skyenga.]

0:13 – 0:27 – Person of Interest: Evan Dunlap [Part 1, Part 2 - Dwight is still in Orlando!]

0:27 – 0:41 – Person of Interest: Kevin Pelton [Part 1, Part 2 - Blazers tank train + MADNESS]

0:41 – 0:56 – Person of Interest: Seth Rosenthal [Part 1, Part 2 - The Knicks are crazy again!]

0:56 – 1:01 – Dagger/Smash/Nowell [Featuring Danny Nowell, obviously.]

Note: You can find the audio-only version of HoopSpeak Live on iTunes. If you subscribe and/or write us a review, I promise that we won’t trade you to Charlotte.

HoopSpeak Live airs every Thursday right here on HoopSpeak.com. You can follow the show with the #hoopspeaklive hashtag, and you can follow our guests at @johnkrolik, @BQRMagic, @kpelton, @seth_rosenthal and @dmnowell.

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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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HoopSpeak Live 30: The Clips

On today’s HoopSpeak Live, we discussed an NBA season that is just THREE DAYS AWAY. Get excited. Do a dance. Buy the 2011-2012 edition of Pro Basketball Prospectus because you want to be as smart as Kevin Pelton. And, obviously, watch our show, which features interviews with Pelton himself and Howard Beck of The New York Times. Ethan had to miss this one, so Tom Haberstroh of The Heat Index jumped aboard as a guest host. Here are the clips:

[Click here for a YouTube playlist.]

:00 – :08 – Intro + Heat Talk [Before you watch, read Tom's excellent feature.]

:08 – :11 – Take The Bacon [Zach derails the debate in the best way possible. Anthony Randolph will never recover.]

:11 – 27 – Person Of Interest: Howard Beck [Part 1, Part 2 - Melo, Shump Shump, Baron, etc.: Knick talk.]

:27 – :30 – Audience Question: Chuck Hayes [On Hayes and the Kings organization.]

:30 – :47 – Person Of Interest: Kevin Pelton [Part 1, Part 2 - Lakers, Wolves (more A. Randolph!), isolation offense, more.]

:47 – :57 - Audience Questions: Claudius & ROY [Eddy Curry jokes, the worst teams in the league, Jimmer, Rubio, more.]

:57 – 1:01 – Dagger/Smash/Noted [DeAndre Jordan's case of the McGees, Jerome Randle's awesomeness, the stupidity of the "no one cares about the NBA" guy.]

HoopSpeak Live airs every Thursday right here on HoopSpeak.com. You can follow the show with the #hoopspeaklive hashtag, and you can follow our guests at @kpelton, @HowardBeckNYT, and @tomhaberstroh.

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HoopSpeak Live 30: Howard Beck and Kevin Pelton

Today’s show will begin at 3:00 PM ET and will feature special guest host Handsome Tom Haberstroh of The Heat Index filling in for Ethan Sherwood Strauss. The guests:

Howard Beck of The New York Times.

Kevin Pelton of Basketball Prospectus. (Buy the book!)

To submit text questions or hangout in the chat: just click “join event” and fire away!

To video chat with us and our guests: Find a spot without too much background noise, sign in, fire up the web cam, and be sure to have your headphones (to eliminate echo)!

If you’re having trouble viewing HoopSpeak Live here, try it on Vokle’s site.

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HoopSpeak Live: Kevin Pelton Interview

Kevin Pelton is the head honcho of Basketball Prospectus and writes for ESPN.com. He joined HoopSpeakLive and discussed the WNBA, advanced statistics, Dennis Rodman, and… Jerome James, among other topics. Watch the three-part interview below:

HoopSpeak Live airs Thursdays at 5PM Eastern right here on HoopSpeak.com. You can follow the show with the #hoopspeaklive hashtag, and you can follow Mr. Pelton at @kpelton.

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Dennis Rodman: Does 4=5?

Dennis Rodman is now securely in the Hall of Fame, ceremonially admitted after an uncomfortably cathartic speech. But this won’t end the controversy that defines his historical placement, and I’m not talking about any of the Worm’s flamboyant antics. No, the Rodman imbroglio is about how much we value Rodman’s on-court contributions. His particular style of play–all rebounding and defense, no offensive input–makes it difficult to know just how good he was. 

For starters, we’re at a loss to tangibly account for any player’s individual defense. Recently, plus-minus arrived to save the reputations of offensively inept stoppers like Ekpe Udoh, but no such stat tracking existed in the 90’s. The Worm’s efforts on that end will slog into history much praised, though uncharted.

But, the main debate point on Rodman is this: Does it matter if you abstain from offense? Clearly, a player who shoots often and misses frequently can have a negative impact on team efficiency. But what about the Worm’s tendency to just watch it all unfold? Does non-participation hurt a squad?

My guess would be that “4 on 5” isn’t as hindering as we might believe. As Henry Abbott once hypothesized, team defense requires more collective effort than team offense:

“Good defense is just about, always about every player on your team doing things well. Good offense, on the other hand, can be about a few players on your team doing things well.”

So it’s possible that Rodman’s wall-flowering did little to stop the scoring efforts of his teammates. I would also hazard that team offense mattered less in the illegal defense era, a quaint time when defenses weren’t allowed to “load up” and shift over to individual scorers. Check out a late 90’s Bulls game, and witness Michael Jordan backing his man down ad-infinitum.

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