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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Bryant Saves the Day (Again), McHale Explains Why the "7-11 Defense" Does not Work

The L.A. Lakers defeated the Toronto Raptors 109-107 in the featured game of NBA TV's "Fan Night" on Tuesday. Kobe Bryant scored a game-high 32 points on 11-20 field goal shooting, dished off a team-high six assists and nailed the game-winning jumper with less than two seconds remaining; Bryant scored 14 points in the fourth quarter, including six of the Lakers' final nine points--and that kind of sustained production in the final 12 minutes with the game on the line is more significant than Bryant's final shot, even though that coup de grace will no doubt be replayed countless times. The fact that the Lakers repeatedly need for Bryant to be so extraordinarily productive and efficient just to win games against mediocre teams belies the commonly held myth about the extent of the Lakers' depth.

The game itself simply reaffirmed what I have said regarding the Lakers' roster but the most fascinating part of the broadcast was a brief interlude that took place during a timeout. NBA TV played a soundbite of L.A. Clippers' color commentator Michael Smith reminiscing about his days playing with Kevin McHale on the Boston Celtics. Smith recalled that McHale--who now works for NBA TV--would "script" his first five post moves of the game (much like former San Francisco 49ers Coach Bill Walsh went into each game with a script of offensive plays). NBA TV's Ernie Johnson asked McHale about this and McHale confirmed that he essentially scouted every low post defender in the league and came up with a script for each one based on that player's strengths and weaknesses. McHale might hit him with a jump hook first and then the next time down the court he would fake the jump hook and spin baseline. McHale worked against his defender's tendencies and instincts to get the defender off balance and hopefully tag the defender with a couple early fouls; McHale quipped that if a defender had two fouls in the first quarter then the defender would play "7-11 defense": stand still with his hands straight up in the air (as if he were in a 7-11 that is being robbed). McHale would then shoot right over the top of him and tell him "That 7-11 defense is not going to work."

Pau Gasol certainly has good low post moves and Andrew Bynum has improved in that regard but instead of offering indirect public complaints that they should be getting the ball more it would be nice to see those two seven footers consistently finish with authority around the rim and properly position themselves defensively on the screen/roll plays that have been killing the Lakers recently.

Bynum had a strong game against the Raptors (22 points on 8-12 field goal shooting) but here are his field goal percentages in his previous 10 games: .727, .467, .625, .625, .563, .429, .750, .556, .333. .200. It is great that Bynum had three performances of .625 or better but he also had four games in which he shot .467 or worse. Considering the number of spoonfed dunks and easy putbacks that Bynum gets as a result of Bryant being double-teamed, Bynum's shooting percentage should be much more consistent. Moreover, the Lakers' coaching staff is concerned that Bynum's effort defensively and on the boards seems to be directly linked to how many points he scores.

There are subtle--and not so subtle--signs that Coach Phil Jackson is not pleased with Gasol's game right now. Jackson recently cut short one of Gasol's postgame media sessions in order to have Gasol speak one on one with Charles Oakley, one of the NBA's top enforcers in the 1980s and 1990s. Jackson also responded to the Lakers' three game losing streak and Gasol's pleas to get the ball more by playing Gasol for just 30:31 versus Toronto, Gasol's fewest minutes played since February 1; Jackson sat Gasol for virtually the entire fourth quarter. Gasol finished with 17 points and nine rebounds but he shot just 4-11 from the field, including an airball layup after a slick dish from Bryant plus another point blank miss at the end of the third quarter; Gasol's whining after that play earned him a technical foul--replays showed minimal or no contact on the play, certainly not enough contact to prevent a seven footer from scoring--and a seat on the bench next to Jackson. Here are Gasol's field goal percentages over the previous 10 games: .357, .583, .444, .556, .588, .429, .545, .364, .357, .615. Just like Bynum, Gasol has been inconsistent: five games of .545 or better but five games of .444 or worse.

Bryant's shooting has been inconsistent since he broke the index finger on his shooting hand in December but--unlike his bigs--he shoulders the added responsibilities of being the team's primary playmaker and of being the only player on the team who is willing and able to carry the offensive burden in the fourth quarter. Bryant tries to involve his bigs in the offense early in games but he understandably calls his own number down the stretch if those guys are not being productive.

If Gasol and Bynum scripted some plays a la Kevin McHale, induced their defenders into "7-11" mode and finished strongly around the hoop then Bryant would not have to save so many games at the end. Instead, it seems as if they are content to go through the motions, wait for Bryant to swoop in to the rescue--and then complain afterward that they did not get enough touches. Pat Riley once referred to "the disease of me," the way that overinflated egos can prevent a team from repeating as champion; the Lakers won the title last year with Bryant as the clear first option on offense, Gasol as the second option and everyone else getting scoring opportunities based on how the opposing team dealt with Bryant and Gasol. Bynum played fewer than 20 minutes in 15 of the Lakers' 23 playoff games last season and he scored in double figures just five times--Bynum was a role player, not a key contributor and certainly not an offensive focal point. We have already seen Pau Gasol be the lead guy on a team for six years, make the All-Star team once and fail to win a single playoff game; we have seen Andrew Bynum go along for the ride as the Lakers won a championship. Those guys need to remember exactly what the Lakers' winning formula was last year and fill their roles as opposed to getting delusions about what their roles should be.

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posted by David Friedman @ 11:01 PM

18 comments

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18 Comments:

At Thursday, March 11, 2010 9:35:00 AM, Anonymous Jack said...

David,

Great Post! I blame Phil Jackson too for basically playing kobe 40 minutes a night and not giving him enough rest during the course of the game. Of course kobe's eagerness to get back into the game might more be the cause but Phil shouldn't give into kobe's demands and play him all those minutes. One thing playing without kobe did for the laker is prove that they can at least play stretches without kobe on the floor directing them.
On Laker woes: It seems the lakers do suffer from a disease of me and one thing I do not like is Pau Gasol making those little veiled comments after every lost. That's another the reason why a lot of opposing players have no respect for Pau. It's almost as if he's so scared of Kobe that he has to go through the media and even then he still doesn't go directly at Kobe.

 
At Thursday, March 11, 2010 2:20:00 PM, Blogger FreeCashFlow said...

Actually, on one of Gasols' layups, the defender pulled down on Gasol's shorts intentionally and in plain sight, to the point of almost pulling them off if the waistband was not elastic, which is why Frank Hamblen also got a technical, because it was such an egregious foul.

True, Gasol, still could have made the shot, and I agree with everything else you wrote.

 
At Thursday, March 11, 2010 5:24:00 PM, Blogger David Friedman said...

Jack:

I don't know that Kobe is "demanding" anything or that Jackson would feel compelled to give in to such a hypothetical "demand"; Jackson is managing his rotation to try to win as many games as possible.

The Lakers showed that they could play stretches without Kobe against depleted and/or weak teams--and it is becoming increasingly obvious that this was an aberration, based on how the Lakers' supporting cast played prior to Kobe being out and how they have played since he came back.

Opposing players don't care about what Gasol says about Kobe but they do know that if they put physical pressure on Gasol that Gasol will not respond effectively; he will either stay out of the lane and shoot jumpers or he will lash out in a non-productive way, such as his flagrant foul against Dwight Howard that was so soft that Howard dunked over him anyway or the technical foul that Gasol received at the end of the third quarter versus Toronto. Gasol gets very frustrated when opposing players push him or grab his jersey/shorts, so you can be sure that opposing players will continue to do those things. In contrast, look at how Kobe literally did not flinch at Barnes' antics and then took over the fourth quarter of the Orlando game, nearly carrying the Lakers to victory.

 
At Thursday, March 11, 2010 5:27:00 PM, Blogger David Friedman said...

Free Cash Flow:

You are correct that there should have been a loose ball foul on that play near the end of the third quarter. However, once Gasol controlled the ball he had an easy shot that he missed without being fouled; it seemed like he was so frustrated about what had just happened that he did not concentrate enough during his shot.

 
At Friday, March 12, 2010 1:23:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it's worth pointing out that Pau Gasol's public complaints aren't entirely about him getting more touches or shots, but rather more about the ball movement and flow of the Lakers' offense. Also, his complaints aren't aimed specifically at Kobe Bryant -- although the comments he made after Kobe broke the Lakers' scoring record probably were.

Surely, each player has part of the blame in the lack of execution -- the guards (Farmar and Brown especially) for calling too many pick and rolls/trying to create themselves and not re-posting the bigs; the bigs not establishing good post position or fumbling the ball away when they are given a re-post/not finishing strong, etc.

Having heard and read his recent comments in full context... I just don't think Gasol's comments are about him pining to get more shots for himself or that he's calling out Kobe, but instead addressing the fact that there needs to be better movement and execution from everyone and that the Triangle/Triple Post Offense flows and is more effective going inside-out.

Gasol has shown that he understands the Triangle offense very well and stands more for winning than anything individual. It just seems that a lot of the media (not you, David) has been making this out to be a "Gasol wants more shots, hints Kobe is shooting too much" sort of thing when really that's not the case at all.

 
At Friday, March 12, 2010 5:29:00 AM, Blogger David Friedman said...

Anonymous:

Whatever the reasoning behind Gasol's complaints, his remarks would carry more weight if he were playing with more force and performing at a high level on a more consistent basis. Coach Jackson has not been afraid to criticize Jordan, Shaq, Kobe or anyone else if he felt that a player is not filling his role, so the fact that he reduced Gasol's minutes and had him talk with Oakley indicates that Jackson is not entirely pleased with how Gasol is playing. Kobe is an excellent decision maker and a skilled passer who has not shown any reluctance to deliver the ball to Gasol when Gasol makes himself available.

You are right that Farmar and Brown both have shot selection issues. As I have said before, even though some people praise the Lakers' depth I see a lot of guys in their rotation who would not play at all for a team like the Cavs. I'm not sure that any Lakers guard--other than Kobe, obviously--would crack Cleveland's Williams-Parker-West-Gibson rotation. Fisher is a unique case, because he knows the Triangle so well and is a crafty veteran--he starts for the defending champions and yet he probably would have trouble getting serious playing time for most of the other contending teams.

I agree that Gasol understands the Triangle very well but don't forget that early in this season Kobe made the point that sometimes Gasol's intelligence is almost a drawback; to make a chess analogy, International Master Rashid Ziatdinov says that a game is a time for action and not thinking. Ziatdinov is not really suggesting that one should not think at all but rather saying that a lot of the thinking should be done in preparation before the game so that in the heat of battle your responses to standard situations are automatic and confident.

 
At Friday, March 12, 2010 4:01:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kobe has had some nice moments this year but the fact of the matter is that he has been noticeably less efficient. His TS% is only 54.6% which isn't far above league average and looks a lot like his numbers when Shaq was in town. The Lakers are a lot bigger this year with Bynum, Gasol, Artest, and Odom getting so many minutes. The offensive fit probably isn't as good. It could also be the finger injury, but either way, Kobe's offensive production is down this year with an ortg of 110 after three straight years of 115. Just a friendly reminder, the difference between him and Lebron, stark last year, is now gargantuan. Lebron is posting a TS% of 61%, Reggie Miller, territory, and has an offensive rating of 128.

Kobe's decline is showing up a little bit in the Lakers offensive numbers. They are 4 points worse per 100 than they were last year which is a big reason they are playing more close games.

But I wouldn't blame him, at least not directly. His magical ability to lift everyone's game seems to have evaporated. Gasol is back right on his career average. So is Odom. Bynum and Fisher have been wretched offensively.

Of course, they have the best defense in the league this year, which seems unsurprising with that kind of frontcourt athleticism and defensive talent.

What do you make of the Lakers have just the 11th best offense in the league this year?

Owen

 
At Saturday, March 13, 2010 6:56:00 AM, Blogger David Friedman said...

Owen:

One does not correctly evaluate players merely by comparing TS%. We have covered this territory before and I am not going to rehash it again; just reread my various refutations to your comments from last season and you will find the answers that you obviously need but are choosing not to seek or understand.

The difference between Kobe and LeBron was not "stark" last year, though some members of the media would like for you to believe otherwise. LeBron had a more consistently productive season than Kobe in 2008-09 and for that reason LeBron was my choice as 2009 regular season MVP.

In the first several weeks of this season, Kobe unveiled the post game that he developed during offseason sessions with Hakeem Olajuwon and Kobe was playing some of the best basketball of his career, leading the Lakers to the top of the West even though Gasol was out of the lineup with a "tweaked" hamstring. Kobe does not make excuses and I don't focus on injuries here but it is safe to assume that a mangled index finger on his shooting hand had something to do with the way that Kobe's shooting percentage absolutely plummeted in January, though Kobe told me at one point that back spasms were hindering him even more than the broken digit (which at the time I spoke with him was bent in a "C" shape, greatly discolored and hideously swollen).

From January on, LeBron has clearly been the MVP and, as I stated in an earlier post, this year LeBron should win the award unanimously, though there is a strange movement afoot in some quarters to try to pump up Durant and/or Melo.

Kobe does not have any "magical" abilities nor have I ever described his game in such terms. We have been through all of this before, when I repeatedly and patiently explained to you how Kobe's complete skill set draws double teams and opens up scoring opportunities for his teammates. Kobe is also the signal caller for the Lakers' defense. For more details, just consult the answers that I provided for you last season.

To answer your last question, I attribute the Lakers' decline in offensive efficiency to several things:

1) Kobe's aforementioned decline in efficiency during January.

2) The complete ineffectiveness of the Lakers' bench.

3) Gasol has reverted back to being a soft player at times and has not finished in the paint the way that he should.

4) Bynum and Gasol have each had periods of the season when they were effective but they have generally not been effective playing alongside each other this season. That was not an issue last season because Bynum was hurt part of the time and the rest of the time he was a role player, with Odom getting most of his minutes. The Lakers' most effective lineup probably has Gasol at center, Odom at power forward and Bynum as the backup center but Bynum likely would balk at such a role now that he is healthy. Also, Odom seems to have lost a step compared to last year, which is another reason that Jackson is probably reluctant to increase his minutes at Bynum's expense.

5) Artest is a better fit for the Lakers defensively against elite teams because he is strong enough to match up with LeBron, Melo and Pierce (guys who could push Ariza around) but Artest is obviously uncomfortable in the Triangle.

 
At Saturday, March 13, 2010 7:16:00 PM, Anonymous Jackf said...

David,
what do you make of adrian woj's story that kobe doesn't want to retaliate against Gasol because he would destroy Gasol's weak psyche and jeopardize the Lakers championship hopes. He said that Gasol knows the Lakers need him and he's trying to go at Kobe to prove that he is tough. But Adrian said that Kobe is biting his tongue to see how the Gasol do in playoffs because if he fails, there will be hell to pay.

 
At Saturday, March 13, 2010 8:34:00 PM, Blogger David Friedman said...

Jack:

Wojnarowski is one of the few--if not the only--basketball writers at Yahoo! who produces anything worth reading and his article about Bryant and Gasol is right on target in several ways:

1) It is indeed "folly" to suggest on the flimsy basis of a four game winning streak that the Lakers would somehow be better off without Bryant.

2) Gasol does seem to be trying to talk and act tough with his comments about Kobe plus his recent flagrant fouls.

3) Bryant learned from the fiasco with Shaq that sometimes it is better to keep quiet when people say things that don't make sense. A wise man once said that every barking dog does not have to be answered (I try to heed that advice but some barking dogs are so loud and so stupid that I end up answering them anyway). If you understand basketball and watch the Lakers play then you know what's up--Kobe is the best player on the team and he has made every effort to involve Gasol in the offense and spoonfeed Gasol the ball. Gasol simply has to finish stronger in the paint, be more decisive with his moves and find a way to play with toughness at both ends of the court (committing soft flagrant fouls is ultimately not productive in any way; refusing to be pushed around by standing your ground mentally and physically is how you show true toughness).

4) Kobe mentioned something that I previously pointed out: last year Bynum missed a ton of games and was only a bit player when he returned to action, so more shot attempts were available for Gasol. This year, Gasol and Bynum have had to share the post touches. Gasol and Odom (or Bynum and Odom) mesh together better offensively than Gasol and Bynum. When the Lakers are in close playoff games against tough teams it will be very interesting to see if Jackson benches Bynum or Gasol down the stretch, because I don't think that he will want to have both guys out there together unless Odom is authoring one of his "triple single" performances, leaving Jackson no choice.

 
At Tuesday, March 16, 2010 3:55:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought this recent article should be added since Wojnarowski's article was brought up:

http://www.ocregister.com/sports/gasol-239411-bryant-lakers.html

Both articles are interesting reads. Kevin Ding definitely has a better feel for the pulse of the team than pretty much all of the local writers who cover the Lakers.

Kobe has been quoted as saying that Gasol is his favorite player to watch in the NBA, regardless of Pau being a Laker, because he has so much respect for Gasol's game and intelligence. It is clear that the respect is mutual between these two players.

When two people respect each other and have a closeness in their relationship (Kobe constantly refers to Gasol as "like a brother"), comments like the ones Gasol has made about the Lakers' offensive struggles are taken earnestly rather than personally. I think Gasol takes into account his relationship with Kobe and that allows him to speak freely when the media asks him questions because he knows Kobe will understand that Gasol is coming from a truthful and sincere place rather than having a personal agenda. Of course, if there's no dissension between them then it wouldn't be much of a story, so it's understandable that the media would try to spin it that way.

 
At Tuesday, March 16, 2010 4:20:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good points about the article, David. Although it seems like it, I don't think Gasol is trying to TALK and ACT tough with his comments and recent flagrant fouls.

Gasol has made similar comments about the offense last year too whenever they lost games because they were going away from the offense. I didn't follow him as much when he was in Memphis, but I'd bet he spoke up during the times the team went away from the team concept. So if he's "talking tough" now, then he's been talking tough since back then too.

Regarding his flagrant fouls, the first one on Dwight Howard... after it was called, Gasol immediately got in Bryant's face about not helping him after Gasol pointed to Howard because Bryant was already down on that end while Gasol was behind... that coupled with the fact that Gasol felt he got fouled on the other end of the play that led to the Magic's fastbreak... that flagrant foul seemed more out of frustration than trying to act tough. The second flagrant foul on Amundson, Gasol admitted it was an accident that he hit him across the head and the he was just trying to prevent the and-1 and stand his ground... which was one of your points about showing true toughness.

I don't think Gasol's recent actions are about him trying to ACT tough... although he's never been that kind of player, he just seem to be making a conscious effort to meet the demands asked of him.

---

"We really asked him to be firm," Lakers Coach Phil Jackson said Sunday. "We have not asked him to give flagrant fouls at all but we're asking him not to give up three-point plays. We're asking him to be very physical when the time comes.

"I don't know if that's having a play in this or not but I don't think it'll really change the demeanor of him. He means well and he's a solid, kind of friendly, guy. We're just asking him that when you have to give a foul, give a hard foul."

 
At Tuesday, March 16, 2010 5:29:00 PM, Blogger David Friedman said...

Anonymous:

I agree with you about Ding and I also agree that there is not likely a serious rift between Bryant and Gasol. Overall, Bryant enjoys playing with Gasol--though he would like for Gasol to be tougher at times--and Gasol understands that he is fortunate to play with Bryant.

 
At Tuesday, March 16, 2010 5:34:00 PM, Blogger David Friedman said...

Anonymous:

There is not much "help" that a 6-6 shooting guard can provide against a 6-11 center running full speed down the middle of the court. Howard pulled Gasol's jersey out of his shorts on the previous play and Gasol was mad that a foul was not called. He screamed at the refs and then he furiously ran down court and swung wildly to try to foul Howard. If you've ever seen one kid on a schoolyard get mad at another kid and run toward him to hit him then you recognized Gasol's body language on that play. Bryant had nothing to do with it. Gasol was mad and he wanted to foul Howard back but the funny thing is that Howard is so strong he dunked right through Gasol's flagrant foul.

Gasol should deliver hard (but clean) fouls at times to prevent layups but it is more important for him to stand his ground and be in good position; the Lakers do not want him to be constantly out of position nor do they want him to get into foul trouble. The point is that when he delivers a foul he should make the most of it (i.e., not give up three point plays).

 
At Wednesday, March 17, 2010 3:40:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

David - Fair enough. I think it's clear though that whatever Kobe did last year to turn Gasol into a 62% true shooter and turn Odom into a 58%er two years ago, he isn't doing this year. Everyone on the team is basically right on their career averages. It's the kind of situation which makes us stat types wonder what the impact really is from Kobe drawing all those double teams, if there is any measurable impact at all.

Owen

 
At Wednesday, March 17, 2010 11:10:00 PM, Blogger David Friedman said...

Owen:

Daryl Morey recently said that basketball statistical analysis is just in its infancy and it has yet to be proven how effective it is and what precisely it can measure. Like Dave Berri, you are ignorant in the literal sense that you do not understand how to analyze basketball and you are also ignorant in the sense that you ignore the importance of even watching games at all.

I have done numerous highly detailed game recaps that explain exactly and specifically how Bryant affected Gasol's field goal percentage in the 2008 and 2009 seasons. I am not going to repeat myself here just because you can't/won't understand.

Gasol's field goal percentage so far this season is higher than his field goal percentage in five of his six full seasons in Memphis, so it is a bit misleading for you to suggest that Gasol's shooting has returned to pre-Laker levels.

Here are some factors to consider regarding Gasol's field goal percentage this season:

1) Gasol missed several games at the start of the season due to a hamstring injury. Such injuries are notoriously slow to heal, so it is not clear when/if he fully recovered. Gasol was very healthy and durable during his first season and a half with the Lakers.

2) Bryant has suffered several injuries that have impacted his effectiveness (specifically, his ballhandling and shooting). Although Bryant's overall numbers this season are remarkably similar to his MVP numbers from the 2008 season those statistics are deceptive: in the first several weeks of this season he played some of the best, most efficient basketball that he has played (which is really saying something) but since that time he has been up and down (effective overall, but with some bad stretches).

3) Gasol got many of his high percentage scoring opportunities via screen/roll plays with Bryant but the Lakers have not run that set as frequently this year.

4) Andrew Bynum has been healthy for most of the season, so the Lakers have been using Bynum and Gasol together a lot. When Bynum operates in the low post, Gasol is often stationed further away from the hoop, in a lower shooting percentage zone. When Gasol is paired with Odom, Odom goes to the high post and Gasol is stationed down low. Bynum's field goal percentage this season is essentially the same as it was last year because his role has not changed.

5) Ron Artest has struggled to learn the Triangle and his struggles have sometimes caused the offense in general to bog down, leading to a low percentage shot being taken late in the shot clock by whoever ends up with the ball after the play breaks down (or, in some cases, a low percentage shot being taken early in the shot clock by Artest or someone else who gets impatient and does not rotate the ball).

You can study your "advanced stats" for 10,000 years and you will never understand basketball unless you actually watch some games.

International Master Rashid Ziatdinov recounts an old Russian proverb:

An old chess player invited his five sons to his deathbed. He challenged them each to break one stick. The sons easily accomplished this task. The father then put all five sticks together, and challenged the eldest son to break the bundle -- and the eldest son broke them all at once over his knee. The father's last words were: "What can I say? All your life you were stupid and you'll never learn anything."

Ziatdinov concludes, "There is only so much a teacher can do; only so much a student can do!"

 
At Thursday, March 18, 2010 3:27:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"You can study your "advanced stats" for 10,000 years and you will never understand basketball unless you actually watch some games."

I watch tons of games.

What's really clear in every thing you write is that you would understand basketball a lot better if you weren't so stubborn about refusing to accept the value of advanced statistics.

And the same goes for half of NBA management. Like it or not, this year, the 15 teams employing full time statistical analysts have won 60% of the games and only three that don't are going to the playoffs.

It's kind of bizarre that the people who keep an open mind to new developments use every available resource in order to make the best decisions possible are the ones who are "stupid."

I followed the link to the chess article, where right above your quote, I found this.

"You have to live with the way you think and use what you have. The process of thinking cannot be changed in a short period, if at all. We cannot have any illusions about it."

It's bizarre you would align yourself and your basketball analysis with someone who would say something like that. But it explains a lot.

Owen

 
At Thursday, March 18, 2010 5:40:00 PM, Blogger David Friedman said...

Owen:

As Morey noted during his NBA TV interview, it is not clear to what extent those 15 teams are using "advanced basketball statistics," so it is premature to draw any conclusions about that--but I am not surprised that someone like you would just run with one piece of information and take it completely out of any usable or meaningful context. Morey said that one could probably find just as strong a correlation between the highest coaching salaries and team winning percentages. Do you know which teams are using statistical analysis and what other measures they are also using? It could simply be that the teams with the best owners are using all possible tactics to gain advantages--including having better coaching, better scouting, etc. Morey is right that at this point we simply do not know how much the use of basketball statistical analysis has helped any of those teams.

I "accept" that statistical analysis should be used in appropriate ways and I frequently make use of statistics here (even when I have not explicitly mentioned numbers); I do not "accept" that Berri understands more by not watching games than informed people understand by watching games. I consistently speak highly of Dan Rosenbaum, Dean Oliver, Daryl Morey and others who precisely discuss the strengths and limitations of basketball statistical analysis; Berri, you and others who think that you have all of the answers are the ones who I am criticizing.

Yes, "it explains a lot" that I would cite a proverb mentioned by an International Master who is a successful tournament player, respected teacher and author of a dynamic, unique chess improvement manual--and "it explains a lot" that you likely had never heard of him before but yet you went through his article, took one quote out of context and tried to mock him. IM Ziatdinov was making a specific criticism of a training/playing method suggested by Grandmaster Kotov.

Are you really that dense (i.e., incapable of understanding what Ziatdinov actually meant) or are you just intentionally trying to be provocative?

 

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