30 to 16 to 1:(Part 6) Excel-Based Heroes

Posted on 08/05/2010 by

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The Basics:

30 to 16 to 1. Based on a half baked notion, that since the true goal of any NBA season is to turn thirty teams into one champion and as we saw in my earlier piece, what wins in the regular season is not necessarily what  gets you the trophy, my 2010 Playoff Review series continues.

The Half-Baked Notion:

Simple (based on 2010 numbers):

  • The best two players accounted for 55% of a teams wins in the 2010 Playoffs.
  • The top three players are just below the pareto threshold
  • The next three (4,5,6th man) account for the rest of the positive win contribution about equally.
  • After that everybody else actually hurt teams in the playoffs.

The format will look at the best six players in the playoffs for each team, will look at how many wins their coach/injuries might have cost them and talk about their opportunities/drawbacks going forward (and if they’ve done anything in the off-season to address these). We will go from least productive to most productive team in the Playoff (based on the table that follows now):

This piece covers the last of the First Round Losers: the Dallas Mavericks.

Excel-Based Heroes

  • The Storyline: Marc Cuban is a smart guy. Since he bought the Mavs, they are the team with the second most wins in the regular season behind only the Spurs. His Mavs have averaged more than 56 wins a season. By his own admission, he’s pays attention to statistical data (and pays for it). Looking at his teams and his results we have to think that his money is not going to waste. In 2010, He assembled a roster of veteran than on pare and in excel looked formidable heading into the playoffs.  It is thus somewhat disconcerting that since going to the finals in 2006 his teams have only been out of the first round once. Bad luck with matchups, age, horrible,horrible officiating and the flaws with building a team in excel have been the Mavs’ undoing.
  • The Good: Kidd, Nowitski and Haywood played like stars. Butler played well.
  • The Bad: They played like stars but aging ones. Everyone of these guys will be over thirty . Marion and Terry were atrocious. This team also has a glaring weakness that doesn’t show up well in the WP48 numbers (Warning: actual non-statistical basketball content follows), they are atrocious against slashing guards. A team with quick slashing guards and bigs that set pick & rolls (like the healthy Pop coached Spurs this year and the Hornets in 2008) will just destroy them. Kidd cannot stay in front of them and Barea is a defensive liability. To their defense the Lakers have the same problem (see Westbrook in the OKC post) but to their detriment the Mavs can’t rebound like the Lakers.
  • The Coach: Dallas, playing against the worst possible matchup they could have seen in the playoff (a team that could pick and roll them to death and out-rebound them), played six games and produced 2.9 wins. Sigh. Rick Carlisle is the king of doing well in the regular season and underperforming in the playoffs  Dallas really should have taken this to seven and had a shot to win. Their coach (and this is a recurring team) got beaten with better players. For such a smart guy, Cuban sure has some bad track record at picking his generals.
  • Needs: A time machine to go back to 2006 with their current roster. Speed, athleticism and youth.
  • Major Moves: Dallas made some noise in the Lebron sweepstakes but  in the end ended up paying more than the going rate for his players and bringing in Tyson Chandler. These moves will keep them winning in the regular season but the playoffs?
  • 2011 Outlook: The Mavs are bit like Charlie Brown. They always think that this is the year they kick the football but at the end of the day the wind up on their back in pain. Mark Cuban has to feel that he’s done more than enough to win a title but sadly it’s always something. This is an old team that has not managed to get it done and at the end of the day to paraphrase Pink Floyd: the Mavs are one year closer to death. As much as I love Cuban for always putting a winner on the court he may need to blow it all up because as configured I see a first round exit in their future.  I can appreciate his loyalty to Dirk and his bitterness over 2006 but it’s time to go back to rebuild and recompile the database. In their honor and in remembrance of the 2006 finals I leave you with this ditty:

For want of a nail the shoe was lost,

For want of a shoe the horse was lost,

For want of a horse the rider was lost,

For want of a rider the battle was lost,

For want of a battle the kingdom was lost.

And all for the want of a horseshoe nail

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