Saturday, August 11, 2007

Top Prospect Videos

Around draft time, Yahoo! posted video of a majority of the top ninety players. Each players video is around four minutes long.

To watch the videos, go to:

Friday, August 10, 2007

Scouting Report: Danny Granger

The Indiana Pacers could struggle this year to make the playoffs. However, in Danny Granger, Indiana's basketball executives, Larry Bird and Donnie Walsh, have a great piece to rebuild with.

Player Name: Danny Granger
Current Team: Indiana Pacers
Ideal Position: SF
Drafted: 17th
Height/Weight: 6'9"/228
Birthdate: 4/20/83
Hometown: New Orleans, LA
High School: Grace King HS
Colleges: University of New Mexico/Bradley University
Agent: Mark Bartelstein

05-06 $1,318,920
06-07 $1,417,800
07-08 $1,516,800
08-09 $2,329,804 (Team Option)
09-10 $3,289,684 (Qualifying Option)

Spent first two seasons at Bradley University, before transferring to New Mexico in January 2003, shortly after his coach was replaced by Jim Les; Earned First Team All-Mountain West Conference his junior and senior seasons; Ranks in the top ten in career blocked shots at both New Mexico and Bradley University; Graduated in the top ten percent of his high school class; Known to be a Jehovah's Witness.

Very versatile player; Inside-outside player; Can perform at a high level at shooting guard, small forward, and power forward; Strong as a playmaker; Being a big-time rebounder makes him very valuable to his team; Excellent touch around the basket; Shoots a high percentage from mid-range; Competes hard all the time; Great strength; Posseses quick hands, which allows him to get a lot of rebounds and block shots that he shouldn't necessarily get to; Good size, strength, footwork, and wingspan; Very quick leaper with a big vertical leap; Strong foul line shooter; Steals and blocks at a high rate.

Durability has been questioned because of some injuries in college; Needs to continue to develop the range on his jump shot; Ball-handling is a big area that needs improvement; Left-hand is much weaker than the right; Experience on the wing is necessary for him to continue to develop in the NBA; Needs to continue to become more assertive in order to be a double-double guy in the league; Free-throw shooting form needs adjustment; Needs to keep awareness defensively off-the-ball.

Jeff Sargain's Work in the NBA

Ryan Corazza of the Indiana Daily Student, wrote a feature in February 2006 on Jeff Sargain. Sargain is a mathematician wo studies sports. Since 1985, he has been doing work on NCAA football and basketball. Sargain has also developed rating systems for other sports, including: boys' and girls' Indiana high school basketball, NASCAR, MLB, individual baseball players, men's and women's college golf, and MLS.

An excerpt from the article can be found here:

The story of Winval goes back to spring 2000, when Winston took his son, Gregory, an Indiana Pacers fan, to see the team play in Dallas during spring break. He ran into Cuban, a former student of his in the business school, in the stands and Cuban asked if there was any way Winston could help the team through mathematics. After Winston and Sagarin bounced ideas back and forth, they came up with Winval, short for "winning value."

Sagarin said Winval evaluates players based on the "rows" they play in during a basketball game. A row consists of a time frame a player participates in within a game -- his time on the court in between timeouts, a break at half time, or player substitutions during free throws. Play-by-play data is supplied to Winston and Sagarin by the Elias Sports Bureau."Each one of these rows is a little mini-game," Sagarin said. "A typical NBA game has about 30 rows."

Sagarin said during the first year of Winval, Cuban would be up at 2 or 3 in the morning e-mailing back and forth with him on specific features of the program.

"We've evolved towards a better routine," Sagarin said in regards to the duo's relationship with the Mavericks. "We understand what they want now and what's useful to them. We didn't know that when we started because they're coaches and we're math guys.""Jeff is your typical eccentric genius," Cuban said via e-mail. "He locks himself away for months at a time with no human contact just to come up with great formulas for evaluating sports. It's fun to work with him, and his stuff is amazing."

Currently, Winval rates Lebron James as the best overall player in the league, with Tim Duncan, Dirk Nowitzki, Tracy McGrady and Andre Iguodala rounding out the top five. Although he ranks first offensively, Kobe Bryant ranks a surprising 27th in the overall category.

"A lot of people think Kobe Bryant is good defensively, but he's really not," Winston said. "When's he's in the game, they give up a lot of points, so that's why he isn't higher.

In addition to providing Cuban and the Mavericks coaching staff with Winval, Winston gives them scouting reports of opposing teams as well as which lineups and player combinations have worked best and worst for the Mavericks during the year. He can easily mix and match player names in Microsoft Excel to see point-margin differentials and ratings when a certain lineup is on the court.

The Seattle Supersonics and Toronto Raptors have both used Sagarin and Winston's services for a short period of time, but Winston says they would rather not help out another Western Conference team because it creates a conflict of interest with the Mavericks. The New Jersey Nets is one Eastern Conference team that has expressed interest in Winval. Winston added that both he and Sagarin would like to help out the IU basketball team, but because Big Ten stat sheets don't supply substitutions, the key ingredient to their system, they are unable to do so.

The article in its entirety can be found by going to:

Larry Coon's NBA Salary Cap FAQ is a comprehensive website put together by Larry Coon, which outlines frequently asked questions around the NBA's 2005 Collective Bargaining Agreement. It touches on the salary cap, BRI, "Bird rights", the "Over-36 rule", the NBDL, trade rules, and many other aspects.

The entire website can be found at:

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Players' Adjustment from Overseas to U.S. Sports

Last week, Jon Weinbach of The Wall Street Journal wrote an article called "From Japan, With Mixed Results". The article describes the hurdles an overseas player must get past in order to succeed. Weinbach also talks about the adjustments an athlete must make. Although this article is written about baseball, it certainly can apply to basketball and the NBA.

Below is an excerpt from this article:

Unlike American players, who are mostly selected through the amateur draft, or prospects from Latin America, who often sign contracts with ball clubs as teenagers, most Japanese players are brought over as seasoned stars with long track records of success in the Japanese leagues, which are just below the major leagues in quality. The 14 Japanese imports on big-league rosters this year were 27 years old, on average, when they made their debuts.

According to coaches, team executives, scouts and Japanese players, the key to success in North America isn't just how well a player performed in Japan or whether he can conquer homesickness. It's the ability to recognize subtle differences in the way baseball is played here, and the willingness to make small adjustments to account for them -- even if it means breaking some deeply ingrained habits.

Those who do, like Ichiro Suzuki of the Seattle Mariners -- who has led the American League in hits three times -- can become larger-than-life stars. Those who don't can end up as brief footnotes. Once considered the best third baseman in Japan, Norihiro Nakamura went cold at the plate for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2005 and lasted all of 17 games.

"It's a leap of faith," says Andrew Friedman, the general manager of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, who recently acquired Japanese third baseman Akinori Iwamura. While team officials always try to evaluate the risks before signing a Japanese player, he says, they are well aware of the uneven track record. "Every player is a little different."

The entire article can be found by going to:

Ideal Player to Build Around

Since the 1990-91 season, there have been six different teams that have won the NBA championship. Each one of these teams had a star player, who was the leader of that team: San Antonio Spurs (Tim Duncan), Miami Heat (Dwyane Wade), Detroit Pistons (Chauncey Billups), Los Angeles Lakers (Shaquille O'Neal), Chicago Bulls (Michael Jordan), and Houston Rockets (Hakeem Olajuwon).

With that being said, if I were looking to start a team or acquire a star, here are the traits that player would need to have:

-Good chemistry guy
-A warrior on the court
-Strong in the community
-Double-double or near double-double each night
-Entering into prime or in prime of his career

If you take a look at the most one-sided trades over recent history, each time the team trading the star got the short end of the deal because they traded that player for a reason that had nothing to do with talent.

Some examples over the last decade or so: Lakers traded O'Neal because of his situation with Kobe Bryant, Philadelphia traded Charles Barkley after his request because of decreasing talent, Washington traded Chris Webber traded after an arrest, Phoenix traded Jason Kidd after an arrest for spousal abuse, Orlando traded Tracy McGrady in an effort to bring in more talent, Toronto traded Vince Carter because of a trade request, Charlotte traded Alonzo Mourning over a contract dispute, Philadelphia traded Moses Malone in order to cut payroll, just to name a few. Some of these players (Kidd and Webber for "community", Carter for "warrior" while in Toronto) may not fit each trait, but nevertheless, they were still traded for reasons that did not have to do with talent.

It is yet to be seen if Minnesota and Seattle will regret trading Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen, respectively. However, both of thse players fit my five traits, especially Garnett.

After going through the requirements and the history, here are a list of other players that I would build around today with all of these traits:
LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Luol Deng, Jermaine O'Neal, Dwight Howard, Amare Stoudamire, Elton Brand, Dirk Nowitzki, Tim Duncan, Yao Ming, Carlos Boozer, Chris Bosh, Kevin Garnett, Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Kobe Bryant.

I clearly left off a handful of great players. Here are those players and the reasons for why I left them off:
Jason Kidd (age), Vince Carter (age/chemistry), Eddy Curry (chemistry), Ray Allen (age), Paul Pierce (age), Rasheed Wallace (chemistry), Chauncey Billups (age), Michael Redd (warrior), Shaquille O'Neal (age), Gilbert Arenas (chemistry), Rashard Lewis (consistency), Steve Nash (age), Shawn Marion (consistency/chemistry), Baron Davis (age/consistency), Ron Artest (chemistry), Greg Oden (age), Kevin Durant (age), Allen Iverson (age), Carmelo Anthony (chemistry), Pau Gasol (warrior).

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

George Karl Thanks His Staff

Following the Nuggets 2005-06 season 44-win season, in which they won their division for the first time since 1987-88, head coach George Karl wanted to thank his staff.

The Sporting News’ Dave D'Alessandro reported in the July 23, 2006 edition, “George Karl recently pulled more than $100,000 out of his bank account and handed it to about 40 Nuggets employees, ostensibly to thank them for their roles in the team's first division title in 18 years. Karl's assistant coaches got around $5,000 and even ballboys got a few hundred bucks.”

Dan Rosenbaum's Extensive Research

Dan T. Rosenbaum has been doing extensive research on the NBA since 2002. His research centers around the economics of the league and issues around the salary structure and Collective Bargaining Agreement. Rosenbaum is a professor at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Rosenbaum's articles have been published on, New York Times,, and He has also been cited in articles published on, Orlando Sentinel, CNN/, Charlottte Observer, Chicago Daily Herald, Arizona Repbulic,, and many others.

A comprehensive article Rosenbaum wrote in 2003 for can be found here:

All of his writings can be found by going to:

Rosenbaum's personal page can be found by going to:

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

War Room Video

Thjs is great video of the Toronto Raptors war room during the 2006-07 NBA Draft, led by general manager, Bryan Colangelo.

Steve Nash's Real-Time Workout

Steve Nash has released a video called "Steve Nash's 20 Minute Real Time Basketball Workout". It shows Nash working out and provides some tips to viewers as to what they can do to improve their skills.

The video is described on the website: "Go behind-the-scenes with NBA MVP Steve Nash and see what it takes to be the best. In this first of its kind DVD, the clock ticks down in real time as Steve Nash shows you how to improve as a basketball player in only twenty minutes. Learn the basketball practice regimen Steve has used to make him one of basketball's premiere players. You'll feel like you're on the court working out with Steve as you learn how to workout hard... workout smart. There's never been anything like it!"

The video can be purchased at:

Clips of the video can be seen at:

Taking a Look at the Spurs' Method

Today, I will be looking at the model that San Antonio has used to have great success over the last decade: find three star players and then fill the roster with guys willing to go through a wall to win.

In order to take a look at this, I pulled out any team over the last three seasons who had at least three guys who scored fifteen points per game and played in a significant amount of games with the team in the season. For the last three seasons, the Spurs have reached this mark and have won at least 58 games each year and two NBA championships.

2004-05 Season

Phoenix Suns, 62-20, (Western Conference Finals)
Scorers: Amare Stoudamire, Shawn Marion, Joe Johnson
Contributors: Nash, Richardson, Barbosa, Jackson, Hunter, Jacobsen, Voskuhl
Notes: Nash and Richardson also averaged double figures in points per game.

San Antonio Spurs, 59-23, (NBA Champions)
Scorers: Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili
Contributors: Bowen, Barry, D. Brown, Udrih, Horry, Nesterovic, Rose, Mohammed
Notes: Mohammed and Rose were traded for mid-season. Bowen was third in the team in minutes per game. Mohammed started every game during the Spurs’ playoff run.

Dallas Mavericks, 58-24 (Second Round)
Scorers: Dirk Nowitzki, Michael Finley, Jerry Stackhouse
Contributors: Terry, Howard, Daniels, Dampier, Harris, Henderson, Bradley, Van Horn
Notes: Howard and Terry also averaged double figures in points per game.

Detroit Pistons, 54-28, (NBA Finals)
Scorers: Richard Hamilton, Chauncey Billups, Tayshaun Prince
Contributors: Wallace, Wallace, McDyess, Hunter, Arroyo, Dupree, Delfino, Campbell
Notes: Both Wallace’s and Antonio McDyess all averaged over nine points per game.

Chicago Bulls, 47-35 (First Round)
Scorers: Eddy Curry, Kirk Hinrich, Ben Gordon
Contributors: Deng, Nocioni, Chandler, Harrington, Davis, Duhon, Piatkowski, Pargo
Notes: Deng was injured and did not play during the playoffs.

Washington Wizards, 45-37, (Second Round)
Scorers: Gilbert Arenas, Larry Hughes, Antawn Jamison
Contributors: Haywood, Hayes, Jeffries, Dixon, Thomas, Brown, Blake, Peeler, Ruffin
Notes: Only four reserve players for the Wizards played significant minutes.

Los Angeles Clippers, 37-45, (No Playoffs)
Scorers: Elton Brand, Corey Maggette, Bobby Simmons
Contributors: Kaman, Jaric, Brunson, Wilcox, Ross, Moore, Rebraca, Livingston
Notes: Brand was the only Clipper not to miss significant time because of injury.

Los Angeles Lakers, 34-48, (No Playoffs)
Scorers: Kobe Bryant, Caron Butler, Lamar Odom
Contributors: Atkins, Mihm, Jones, Cook, T. Brown, Grant, Walton, Medvedenko
Notes: This was the season Bryant was going through a court trial.

2005-06 Season

Detroit Pistons, 64-18 (Eastern Conference Finals)
Scorers: Richard Hamilton, Chauncey Billups, Rasheed Wallace
Contributors: Prince, McDyess, B. Wallace, Evans, Delfino, Delk, Arroyo, Hunter
Notes: Darko Milicic and Carlos Arroyo were traded mid-season to the Magic.

San Antonio Spurs, 63-19 (Second Round)
Scorers: Tony Parker, Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili
Contributors: Finley, Bowen, Mohammed, Barry, Nesterovic, Van Exel, Horry, Udrih
Notes: The Spurs had nine players average more than fifteen minutes played per game.

Dallas Mavericks, 60-22 (NBA Finals)
Scorers: Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Terry, Josh Howard
Contributors: Stackhouse, Daniels, Harris, Van Horn, Dampier, Griffin, Diop, Armstrong
Notes: Stackhouse, Daniels, and Harris all averaged at least ten points scored per game.

Phoenix Suns, 54-28 (Western Confernce Finals)
Scorers: Shawn Marion, Steve Nash, Raja Bell
Contributors: Diaw, House, Barbosa, James Jones, Kurt Thomas, Tim Thomas, Jackson
Notes: Tim Thomas was acquired mid-season and played nearly 25 minutes per game.

Los Angeles Clippers, 47-35 (Second Round)
Scorers: Elton Brand, Sam Cassell, Cuttino Mobley
Contributors: Kaman, Maggette, Livingston, Radmanovic, Ross, Ewing, Wilcox
Notes: Radmanovic and Wilcox were acquired mid-season by the Clippers.

Washington Wizards, 42-40 (First Round)
Scorers: Gilbert Arenas, Antawn Jamison, Caron Butler
Contributors: Daniels, Haywood, Jeffries, Thomas, Ruffin, Donnell Taylor
Notes: Only three reserve players for the Wizards played significant minutes.

Toronto Raptors, 27-55 (No Playoffs)
Scorers: Chris Bosh, Mike James, Morris Peterson
Contributors: Villanueva, Bonner, Rose, Graham, Calderon, Sow, Araujo, Martin
Notes: Seven Raptors players played significant minutes during the season.

2006-07 Season

Dallas Mavericks, 67-15 (First Round)
Scorers: Dirk Nowitzki, Josh Howard, Jason Terry
Contributors: Harris, Stackhouse, Dampier, George, Buckner, Diop, Croshere
Notes: Stackhouse and Harris also averaged double figures in points per game.

Phoenix Suns, 61-21 (Second Round)
Scorers: Amare Stoudamire, Steve Nash, Leandro Barbosa
Contributors: Marion, Bell, Diaw, James Jones, Banks, Kurt Thomas
Notes: The Suns had six players who averaged more than 30 minutes played per game.

San Antonio Spurs, 58-24 (NBA Champions)
Scorers: Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili
Contributors: Finley, Barry, Bowen, Elson, Oberto, Horry, Bonner, Vaughn
Notes: Twelve different Spurs started at least one game during the season.

Utah Jazz, 51-31 (Western Conference Finals)
Scorers: Carlos Boozer, Mehmet Okur, Deron Williams
Contributors: Harpring, Fisher, Kirilenko, Giricek, Millsap, Brewer, Jarron Collins
Notes: Harpring and Fisher also averaged double figures in points per game.

Chicago Bulls, 49-33 (Second Round)
Scorers: Ben Gordon, Luol Deng, Kirk Hinrich
Contributors: Nocioni, Duhon, Wallace, Brown, Thomas, Sefolosha, Allen, Griffin
Notes: The Bulls had four guys average more than 14 points per game during the season.

Golden State Warriors, 42-40 (Second Round)
Scorers: Baron Davis, Al Harrington, Stephen Jackson
Contributors: Ellis, Richardson, Pietrus, Barnes, Biedrins, Azubuike, Foyle
Notes: Harrington, Jackson, and Jasikevicius were acquired by the Warriors mid-season.

Washington Wizards, 41-41 (First Round)
Scorers: Gilbert Arenas, Antawn Jamison, Caron Butler
Contributors: Stevenson, Songaila, Hayes, Daniels, Haywood, Thomas, Blatche
Notes: Arenas missed the entire playoffs with an injury.

Sacramento Kings, 33-49 (No Playoffs)
Scorers: Kevin Martin, Ron Artest, Mike Bibby
Contributors: Abdur-Rahim, Williamson, B. Miller, Salmons, Garcia, K. Thomas
Notes: The Kings did not have a player over 6'7" average more than ten points per game.

New York Knicks, 33-49 (No Playoffs)
Scorers: Eddy Curry, Jamal Crawford, Stephon Marbury
Contributors: Richardson, Francis, Lee, Robinson, Frye, Balkman, Collins, Jeffries
Notes: Richardson, Francis, Lee, and Robinson also averaged double figures in points.

After looking at the different teams and situations, it is obvious that more than just the Spurs have mastered this method. Over the years, the Suns (Nash, Stoudamire, Marion with Barbosa, Diaw, Bell), Pistons (Billups, R. Wallace, Hamilton with McDyess, B. Wallace, Prince, Hunter), and Mavericks (Nash, Howard, Nowitzki with Harris, Stackhouse, Daniels, Dampier) have found success through this model. Each one of these teams plus the Spurs have been dominant over the last three seasons by finding three star players and surrounding them with glue guys who will do anything to win.

The Spurs certainly have had the most success with this by surrounding their three mainstays (Duncan, Parker, Ginobili) with guys who will do anything to win (Bowen, Barry, Horry, Finley, Van Exel, Oberto). With the type of salary structure and rules today, it is next to impossible to have more than three star players on a roster at once. But, as San Antonio has found out, if you get three stars and surround them with players who make up for their lack of talent with hustle and a will to win, then success will come.

Teams like the 2004-05 Clippers, 2004-05 Lakers, 2006-07 Knicks, 2006-07 Kings, and 2005-06 Raptors have seen that getting three strong players does not necessarily lead to success. These five teams were unable to surround their core with strong complementary players and each team won less than 40 games. The 2007-08 Boston Celtics may also fall under this category. Despite having Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, and Paul Pierce, they may not be able to surround these superstars with players willing to go through a wall to win. Their roster is full of inexperienced, young players, who do not know what it takes to win in the NBA.

If Boston is able to find these complementary pieces and make a run to the finals, it is likely they will meet the Spurs, Suns, or Mavericks their, since all three have mastered the model that Greg Popovich and R.C. Buford have put together.