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November 12, 2010
PBP Roundup
Weekend Edition #3

by Bradford Doolittle

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Basketball season kicks into high gear this weekend, with the first full slate of college action to go with the 23 games scheduled in the NBA over the next three days. A reminder: Beginning Monday, we launch Basketball Prospectus Premium. Kevin Pelton explains the move here. It'll be similar to the model in place at our sister site, Baseball Prospectus. It's exciting news because this means more analysis, more articles, more data, more everything. And for less than $2 a month, why not? (That's my sales pitch.) PBP Roundup will continue to be free and will keep you apprised of everything that is happening on the Premium side. To continue to get all of the great content at Basketball Prospectus, just click here.

LIVE AT BASKETBALL PROSPECTUS

1. Kevin Pelton correctly anticipates the freak out over Miami's 5-4 start.

2. Who is the most likely team to go unbeaten in college basketball this season? Drew Cannon has the answer, which you'd likely never guess.

3. College hoops enters its first weekend with a plethora of early-season games on the docket. Will there be any surprises? John Gasaway points out a few possibilities.

4. Every play counts for rebounding specialist Reggie Evans.

5. John Perrotto notes that Larry Drew's new offensive system in Atlanta seems to be working just fine.

6. John Gasaway discussed all things related to college hoops and even fended off a couple of NBA interlopers in his live chat.

7. John Gasaway is reacting to the reactors to his outstanding essay "The Trouble with Amateurism" from College Basketball Prospectus 2010-11. If you have any interest in college athletics, not just basketball, you've got to read that piece.

8. Kyle Whelliston looks at the University of Seattle's return to Division I college basketball, and what may lie ahead in the Pacific Northwest.

9. How much can we read into the early season results? Kevin Pelton takes a look.

10. There have been some terrific games already this season, but Utah's comeback against Miami might have been the game of the year--so far. Kevin Pelton examines the game and has some pointed observations about the Miami offense.

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HOT FIVES

POWER RATING (POW)        GR (11/11/10)          WP82 -- ALL            WP82 -- ROOKIES
hornets,neworleans, 63.7  allen,ray, 50.8        james,lebron, 28.2     wall,john, 12.0
celtics,boston, 62.6      bryant,kobe, 46.1      gay,rudy, 26.7         griffin,blake, 9.5
heat,miami, 61.3          james,lebron, 35.6     bryant,kobe, 25.3      johnson,wesley, 5.0
lakers,losangeles, 58.8   haslem,udonis, 35.2    rondo,rajon, 24.3      bledsoe,eric, 3.7
nuggets,denver, 55.4      deng,luol, 26.5        anthony,carmelo, 22.7  turner,evan, 2.4
Note: GR leaders are from previous night only.

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THURSDAY'S BOX SCORES & RECAPS

NOTE: Glossary is at bottom of page.

CELTICS 112, HEAT 107 (box): The experiment has failed! If that's what you think, check out Kevin Pelton's piece today. Just settle down ... the Heat have still played pretty well. The championship run, if it is going to happen, isn't going to be a cakewalk. We knew that. Ray Allen's game was ridiculous, as the Celtics' ball movement continuously caught the Miami defense out of position, leaving Allen open on the weak side. Even better, Allen was the primary culprit in Dwyane Wade's worst game of the season. There are more and more cries for Miami to open up and run more. In Pro Basketball Prospectus 2010-11, I wrote that one potential pitfall for the perennially slow-paced Heat is to play too many low-possession games. I think we're seeing that this group isn't going to be at its best in half-court offense. Last night, the Heat had a blistering second half, but it was largely due to the shooters spotting up off of LeBron James, particularly Udonis Haslem who was stroking his 17-foot faceup jumper all night long. The Wade-James pairing wasn't accomplishing much of anything.

BOS (7-2)           PLY%  USG   PCP  +/-   GR   MIA (5-4)           PLY%  USG   PCP  +/-   GR
allen,ray            86%  31%  1.27  + 7 50.8   james,lebron         93%  37%  1.09    0 35.6
rondo,rajon          84%  14%  1.55  + 8 17.2   haslem,udonis        68%  17%  1.80  + 9 35.2
garnett,kevin        77%  13%  1.72  + 6 17.0   bosh,chris           74%  14%  1.46  - 6 15.0
pierce,paul          73%  26%  1.07  +12 15.6   house,eddie          39%  20%  1.47  + 3  8.2
robinson,nate        24%  34%  1.53  - 4  8.1   ilgauskas,zydrunas   40%  10%  1.34  - 1  7.7
o'neal,shaquille     45%  15%  0.71  +12  7.5   jones,james          39%   8%  1.14  +14  6.2
davis,glen           59%  12%  0.77  - 2  3.8   wade,dwyane          84%  23%  0.40  -17  5.6
daniels,marquis      34%  10%  0.63  - 6  3.5   arroyo,carlos        22%  17%  0.89  -10  3.7
erden,semih          17%  25%  0.45  - 8  2.1   stackhouse,jerry     15%  10%  1.40  - 1  2.3
harangody,luke (DNP)                            chalmers,mario       10%   7%  0.34  - 8  0.3
o'neal,jermaine (DNP)                           anthony,joel         16%   6%  0.00  - 8  0.0
wafer,von (DNP)                                 magloire,jamaal (DNP)
PACE: 89.3          ORTG eFG%  oRB%  TO% FTA%   PACE: 89.3          ORTG eFG%  oRB%  TO% FTA%
celtics,boston     125.4 .601  .257 .134 .123   heat,miami         119.8 .521  .297 .157 .202

---

BULLS 120, WARRIORS 90 (box): This was just one of those games when one team doesn't bring the energy to compete. I overheard one member of Golden State's traveling media say at halftime, "Schedule loss." They do happen, and it's unfortunate that 20,000-plus fans at the United Center had to pay to see it. Keith Bogans had a breakout game of sorts, with 14 points and six steals. I've bagged on him pretty hard, so I have to acknowledge that the Bulls have been at least +6 points with Bogans on the floor in six of Chicago's seven games. That's likely as much of a function of Bogans belonging to the first unit as anything, but it's clear that he's not killing the team, which is something you might surmise when reading my comments about him.

GSW (6-3)           PLY%  USG   PCP  +/-   GR   CHI (4-3)           PLY%  USG   PCP  +/-   GR
curry,stephen        65%  33%  0.96  -13 20.2   deng,luol            82%  25%  1.40  +27 26.5
ellis,monta          76%  30%  1.03  -37 17.7   noah,joakim          69%  18%  1.51  +19 24.3
radmanovic,vladimir  49%  14%  1.16  - 9 14.7   rose,derrick         76%  26%  1.37  +31 20.8
wright,dorell        73%  18%  1.07  -20 10.7   gibson,taj           54%  22%  1.10  +31 15.7
carney,rodney        37%  11%  1.26  -10  9.1   bogans,keith         74%  13%  1.74  +25 13.1
gadzuric,dan         43%  15%  1.18  -11  5.7   watson,c.j.          36%   9%  2.74  + 4 11.8
williams,reggie      31%  19%  1.21  -10  5.3   korver,kyle          29%  23%  1.42  + 5  5.9
wright,brandan       33%  18%  0.69  -15  3.8   asik,omer            23%  29%  1.12  + 4  5.7
biedrins,andris      47%   9%  0.96  -14  3.5   brewer,ronnie        44%   9%  0.76  + 1  3.2
bell,charlie         15%  15%  0.85  + 2  2.3   scalabrine,brian      6%  15%  0.66  - 1  0.5
adrien,jeff          13%  18%  0.64  - 6  1.7   johnson,james         7%  26%  0.00  + 4  0.0
lin,jeremy           19%  12%  0.44  - 7  1.0   thomas,kurt (DNP)
PACE: 94.2          ORTG eFG%  oRB%  TO% FTA%   PACE: 94.2          ORTG eFG%  oRB%  TO% FTA%
warriors,goldenst   95.6 .447  .340 .202 .033   bulls,chicago      127.4 .589  .344 .149 .107

---

NUGGETS 118, LAKERS 112 (box): The Lakers second unit has been lauded this season, but it was Denver's reserves that got hot towards the end of the third quarter and propelled the Nuggets to the win. Little-known Gary Forbes was particularly effective for Denver during the comeback. L.A. falls from the ranks of the unbeaten with its poorest defensive game yet.

LAL (8-1)           PLY%  USG   PCP  +/-   GR   DEN (5-4)           PLY%  USG   PCP  +/-   GR
bryant,kobe          85%  41%  0.86  + 4 46.1   lawson,ty            47%  28%  1.28  +16 24.8
gasol,pau            92%  20%  1.04  - 5 14.4   anthony,carmelo      85%  29%  1.16  + 4 24.7
brown,shannon        47%  28%  1.37  -16 13.8   hilario,nene         65%  21%  1.12  + 6 19.2
artest,ron           87%  11%  1.62  - 9 13.7   billups,chauncey     63%  23%  0.95  -10 12.9
fisher,derek         66%   6%  2.39  + 5 10.2   williams,shelden     32%  11%  1.79  -11  9.3
barnes,matt          28%  31%  0.54  - 7  6.3   smith,j.r.           55%  14%  1.83  +17  9.1
odom,lamar           53%  10%  1.25  +10  5.0   forbes,gary          34%  13%  1.33  +12  7.5
caracter,derrick      8%  19%  1.75  - 1  2.4   harrington,al        48%  19%  0.90  + 2  7.2
blake,steve          34%   5%  1.80  -11  2.0   afflalo,arron        70%   9%  0.92  - 6  5.1
ebanks,devin (DNP)                              balkman,renaldo (DNP)
vujacic,sasha (DNP)                             carter,anthony (DNP)
walton,luke (DNP)                               ely,melvin (DNP)
PACE: 98.3          ORTG eFG%  oRB%  TO% FTA%   PACE: 98.3          ORTG eFG%  oRB%  TO% FTA%
lakers,losangeles  113.9 .454  .360 .102 .134   nuggets,denver     120.0 .528  .256 .112 .139

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NEWS & MOVES

Minutiae from around the league

CELTICS: "Shaquille O'Neal made it through the Celtics' shootaround this morning, Jermaine O'Neal did not, and Celtics coach Doc Rivers still doesn't know who he'll start at center tonight against the Miami Heat. Rivers said there was a "fairly good" chance that Shaquille O'Neal would play. If neither O'Neal is healthy enough to go, the logical fill-in would be Glen Davis, but with Davis playing so well off the bench Rivers said that he would consider starting Turkish rookie Semih Erden." (Boston Globe)
As Doc Rivers notes, we knew that injuries would be a concern for the Celtics, but we didn't anticipate this many coming this soon. Player availability may be a season-long issue for the veteran Celts. Even Rajon Rondo, the one key player who isn't long in the tooth, is battling plantar faciitis.

GRIZZLIES: "Griz head coach Lionel Hollins has firmed up his rotation -- at least for now. That means Darrell Arthur, Xavier Henry, Acie Law, Sam Young and Hasheem Thabeet are the only players you should expect to see off the bench for now. The Grizzlies' big free-agent signing Tony Allen (right) is the odd man out. One of the main reasons for that is because Allen has tried to be more of an offensive force than he's capable of being, which has also seemed to hurt his defense. Allen's out-of-control play has him sitting next to rookie Greivis Vasquez, who is third on the point guard depth chart." (Memphis Commercial-Appeal)
I quote myself from Pro Basketball Prospectus 2010-11: "Allen is a dangerous man off the dribble and in transition who has been relatively indifferent to passing the ball. If he decides a "bigger role" means "shooting more often," his efficiency will plummet and he won't help the Grizzlies. If he accepts a combo guard role and defers to the many scorers in the Memphis rotation, his perimeter defense will be a godsend for a Grizzlies team that has been exceedingly weak in that area."

JAZZ: "Jazz coach Jerry Sloan is not the only one taking his career day by day. Longtime Utah assistant coach Phil Johnson said Tuesday that he, too, evaluates his tenure with the Jazz on a take-it-as-it-comes basis. Johnson has served in his current role since 1988, after rejoining the franchise to become Sloan's right-hand man. The duo have a working relationship that dates back more than three decades, and Johnson coached Sloan with Chicago from 1971-74. Following news Sunday that Sloan plans to soon agree to a contract extension with the Jazz, Johnson said he intends to remain on board as long as his heart is in the game." (Salt Lake Tribune)
Not that it's neither here nor there, but Phil Johnson is one of the nicest people I've met in the game. Johnson was the NBA's Coach of the Year for the Kings. The Kansas City-Omaha Kings. In 1975.

NETS: "The Springfield Armor, the New Jersey Nets, and the NBA Development League announced today that the Nets and Armor have entered into a single affiliation partnership beginning during the 2011-12 season, giving the Nets full control over the basketball operations of and making them the sole affiliate for the Armor. The Nets are the second NBA team to enter into a single affiliation with an NBA D-League team, joining the Houston Rockets and the 2009-10 NBA D-League Champion Rio Grande Valley Vipers." (press release)
I kind of think this is going to become an emerging trend, but I won't actually state that straight out until I've asked around the league a little bit. Some teams, like the Bulls, seem to have virtually no relationship with the D-League.

NUGGETS: "Karl said at shootaround today that Chris "The Birdman" Andersen, rehabbing from knee surgery, is getting closer to returning. The Nuggets have tentatively targeted around Thanksgiving, but Birdman's upcoming progress will determine if it's then, sooner or later: 'He's anxious and ambitious to get back as quick as possible,' Karl said. 'I think the next three days, he'll probably (practice) some I don't know if he'll run up the court in 5-on-5, but I think he'll participate in all 5-on-0 and shooting activities and stuff like that. We're starting that process to get him play 5-on-5.'" (Denver Post)
It's speculative, but it's been awhile since I'd read anything on Andersen, so I thought I'd share.

ROCKETS: "MRI tests taken today in Indianapolis confirmed that Yao Ming suffered a mild sprain of his left ankle during Wednesday night's game at Washington (11/10/10). He is expected to be out a minimum of one week and will return to Houston in order to begin medical rehabilitation." (press release)
Another setback. Every time Yao takes a hit on the court, particularly if it knocks him on the floor, you can't help but cringe. Here's hoping he get back to the point where all of us--the Rockets, the media, the fans, himself--don't feel that dread.

SPURS: "The San Antonio Spurs announced today that they have waived guard Garrett Temple. Temple appeared in three games this season totaling 2 points, 2 rebounds and 2 assists in 21 minutes. The Spurs roster now stands at 13." (press release)
I had Temple's contract flagged as partially-guaranteed in my database, but I'm not sure if there was a cutoff coming up that would have guaranteed the deal for the rest of the season. In any event, it's pretty clear that Gregg Popovich hadn't found a use for Temple.

SPURS: "The San Antonio Spurs today announced that guard James Anderson has been diagnosed with a stress fracture in his right fifth metatarsal. Early next week, Anderson will undergo surgery at which time a screw will be inserted in his metatarsal. He is expected to miss approximately eight weeks. Anderson, a rookie out of Oklahoma State, is averaging 7.0 points, 1.5 assists and 1.0 rebound in 17.7 minutes in six games." (press release)
After waiving Temple, it looks like the Spurs will have to make due with 12 players for awhile. George Hill, Gary Neal and Alonzo Gee will have to suffice depth on the wings. It should be plenty, barring further injury problems.

TIMBERWOLVES: "The Minnesota Timberwolves today announced the team has waived guard Maurice Ager. Ager appeared in four games for the Wolves this season, averaging 3.8 points in 7.3 minutes. He was originally signed by the Wolves as a free agent on Sept. 24, 2010." (press release)
Minnesota had been carrying a 15-man roster and the Wolves' injury woes at point guard may have meant that David Kahn wanted to free up a roster spot to shore up that position. Ager had gotten a shot there, but it's not his bag.

TIMBERWOLVES: "The Minnesota Timberwolves today announced the team has signed free-agent guard Sundiata Gaines. To make room on the roster, the Wolves last night requested waivers on guard Maurice Ager. Gaines, a 6-1 point guard, appeared in 32 games for the Utah Jazz in 2009-10, averaging 3.3 points and 1.2 assists in 6.8 minutes per game." (press release)
And indeed Kahn fills his roster spot with Gaines, a shoot-first type of lead guard who needs to improve his shooting range.

TRAIL BLAZERS: "At the request of his agent, Oden was getting a second opinion his left knee, which suffered a fractured patella on Dec. 5 last season. Cho said ElAttrache's diganosis was consistent with the opinion of the Blazers' doctors, but he would not elaborate. Cho said Oden will continue to rehabilitate without a time table ... Williams, the rookie first round pick, was going through a routine pre-operation exam for his Friday surgery on his dislocated right knee." (The Oregonian)
Just checking in with our daily Blazers injury update.

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FAB FIVE

A selection of our favorite NBA links

1. What's this? Tyson Chandler is a free-throw ace? Rob Mahoney noticed. (Hat tip to True Hoop on that one.)

2. Ken Berger has been the leading light on the NBA's labor situation, suggests here that BRI may actually come in ahead of projections--again.

3. What ever became of Joe Dumars?

4. Sometimes it's the little things. Utah's comeback against Orlando was sparked by the team's switch to a zone defense.

5. This flew over my head, but Julian Wright may be getting his stuff together. On a team that needs help where ever they can get it, why not see if Wright can handle an expanded role?

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

ON TAP

This weekend in the NBA


------------------
FRIDAY'S GAMES
------------------
WTC  VIS @ HOM,  GAMETIME     NBAPET LINE    OFFICIALS
+12  uta @ atl,  7:00 PM EST [ atl by  6 ]   Marc Davis, David Guthrie, Leon Wood
+11  phi @ dal,  8:30 PM EST [ dal by  9 ]   Mike Callahan, Josh Tiven, Sean Wright
+ 3  hou @ ind,  7:00 PM EST [ ind by  5 ]   Ed Malloy, Nick Buchert, Kevin Fehr
+ 1  por @ okc,  9:30 PM EST [ por by  6 ]   Dick Bavetta, Derrick Collins, Scott Wall
+ 1  sac @ phx,  9:00 PM EST [ phx by  7 ]   Dan Crawford, Kevin Cutler, John Goble
- 4  tor @ orl,  7:00 PM EST [ orl by 19 ]   Derrick Stafford, Brent Barnaky, C. Kirkland
- 8  cha @ was,  7:00 PM EST [ cha by  1 ]   Bob Delaney, Curtis Blair, Rodney Mott
-13  det @ lac, 10:30 PM EST [ lac by  2 ]   Steve Javie, Violet Palmer, Leroy Richardson
-20  nyk @ min,  8:00 PM EST [ nyk by 10 ]   Bill Kennedy, Scott Bolnick, David Jones
------------------
SATURDAY'S GAMES
------------------
WTC  VIS @ HOM,  GAMETIME     NBAPET LINE    OFFICIALS
+20  por @ nwo,  8:00 PM EST [ nwo by  9 ]
+11  phi @ sas,  8:30 PM EST [ sas by  7 ]
+ 7  gsw @ mil,  8:30 PM EST [ mil by  5 ]
+ 5  bos @ mem,  8:00 PM EST [ bos by  5 ]
+ 1  ind @ cle,  7:30 PM EST [ cle by  1 ]
+ 1  uta @ cha,  7:00 PM EST [ uta by  2 ]
- 4  tor @ mia,  7:30 PM EST [ mia by 22 ]
- 5  orl @ njn,  7:00 PM EST [ orl by 13 ]
- 8  was @ chi,  8:00 PM EST [ chi by 16 ]
------------------
SUNDAY'S GAMES
------------------
WTC  VIS @ HOM,  GAMETIME     NBAPET LINE    OFFICIALS
+ 7  phx @ lal,  9:30 PM EST [ lal by 15 ]
+ 3  hou @ nyk,  7:30 PM EST [ nyk by  5 ]
+ 1  sas @ okc,  7:00 PM EST [ sas by  5 ]
-11  det @ sac,  6:00 PM EST [ sac by  9 ]
-20  min @ atl,  2:00 PM EST [ atl by 22 ]

Note: WTC is a junk stat rating the "watchability" of a game, taking into
account the quality of the opponents and the likelihood of a close game.
Referee assignments for Saturday and Sunday not yet available.

Through Thursday, 119 of 1,230 games (9.7%) have been played in the 2010-11 NBA regular season.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

GLOSSARY
+/- (Plus-Minus) Raw data is from official box scores from NBA.com.
GR (Game Rating) Reflects a player's Points Created total, or the portion of his team's offense for which he gets credit based on his box score line. This number is then adjusted for estimated defensive performance based on box score counterpart productivity. GR is pace-adjusted so you can compare players from game to game.
PCP (Points Created Per Possession Used) An estimate of each player's points created per possession used, a measure of offensive efficiency. The stat accounts for a player's entire box score line, not just the scoring categories.
PLY% (Play percentage) An estimate of the percentage of a team's possessions on which the player was on the court.
USG An estimate of how many of those plays a player used by shooting, going to the line or committing a turnover, with a portion the team's offensive rebound total subtracted.
TEAM STATS
PACE: Estimated possessions in the game.
ORTG: A team's points per 100 possessions.
eFG%: Team's shooting percentage with an extra half-point added for each made three-point field goal.
oRB%: Percentage of a team's misses that they retrieved off the offensive glass.
TO%: Percentage of at team's possessions resulting in a turnover.
FTA%: Percentage of a team's possessions resulting in a trip to the foul line.

You can follow Bradford on Twitter at twitter.com/@bbdoolittle.

You can order a copy of Pro Basketball Prospectus 2010-11 here.

Bradford Doolittle is an author of Basketball Prospectus. You can contact Bradford by clicking here or click here to see Bradford's other articles.

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