Thursday, April 24

Quick Cavs notes

1) Excellent article today by Dan Labbe at the PD debunking the myth that a high free-throw percentage is important for NBA championship-winning teams. Instead of assuming that FT% and Larry O'Brien trophies are positively correlated and writing a stupid article criticizing LeBron James for his 71% foul shooting (like our friend Bill Livingston did; I cannot in good faith provide the link), Labbe actually looked at the numbers.

Interestingly, Labbe found that recent champions like the last three Spurs winners and the '06 Heat all ranked in the bottom 5 in the league from the stripe, and that no champion this decade has ranked in the league's top 10 at making 1-point baskets. This neatly dispels the semi-intuitive notion that excellent free-throw shooting is a prerequisite for NBA championship success. Consider how Shaq's goofy shotputting must have dragged down the foul-shooting numbers for his Laker squads and then reflect upon the extent to which he and those clubs simply dominated the league.

Labbe then goes a step further, offering some numbers showing that FT attempts are actually a better indicator of championship success. The numbers point to quantity over quality, so LeBron can happily keep shooting 70% from the line as long as he continues to spend so much of his time there. Of course, this is all news to the Bullets, whose strategy appears to be fouling LeBron as much as possible. In an ESPN article, normally astute writer Brian Windhorst claims that the strategy is kind of working, but, um, no, it isn't.

2) Another Bullets-related note: the club apparently plans to play a hefty dose of music by inconsequential rapper Soulja Boy during Game 3, in response to an earlier flap between LeBron and DeShawn Stevenson over who has the best DoubleCapital in their FirstName. Stevenson comically called LeBron "overrated," to which the King laughed and offered an analogy comparing himself to rap titan Jay-Z and Stevenson to lesser light Soulja Boy. This irked Stevenson and, apparently, Soulja Boy himself, despite it making reasonable sense to anyone versed in the twin towers of African-American culture, hip-hop and hoops. Now those crafty Bullets apparently plan to get back at James and the Cavs by playing some Soulja Boy songs during the game.

Memo to Bullet management: this does not punish LeBron. It punishes the fans who now have to listen to awful rap while watching their hideously-dressed club get booted from the playoffs by the Cavs for the third straight year. Fan-tastic!


Figgs said...

Good article. I always thought that attempts were just as, if not more, significant than made percentages. Obviously, you would rather be shooting at a higher percentage, but think about it logically. A team that shoots a poor 50% by going 15-30 will put ten more points on the board than a perfect 100% by going 5-5.

dave said...

you guys should read the comments below the article. Hack a shaq was the dumbest invention ever. Didn't really work to well did it?