Today's column comes from the severely tickled little gray cells from other bloggers. My thanks to FlCeltsfan for dredging up in her Daily Links where I found the piece from CelticsHub.com, who offered the below as part of the notes and quotes from the "http://www.sloansportsconference.com/2010/agenda/". Zach's entire piece is a fascinating read and I look forward to his next installment from the conference.
--More from Cuban: Fans would “be shocked,” he said, at how often players just forget what play the team is supposed to run coming out of a timeout.
--Cuban: “Some guys in our sport are morons. You want to dump them on another team.” Cuban said teams try to conceal the fact that some of their guys are “morons” in a scheme he called “protect the moron.” He suggested that teams should “out the morons.”
--Cuban returned to this theme later in discussing Gerald Green: “Oh my God,” he said. He then talked about Green’s athleticism before concluding that Green “just doesn’t understand the game of basketball.”
--Pagliuca on pace: “We want to run. Doc believes in the transition game and getting up the court.” The Celtics "http://www.basketball-reference.com/leagues/NBA_2010.html", meaning only eight teams play more slowly.
--Cuban and Dean Oliver (the Denver Nuggets’ stat guru) both agreed that it’s obvious which teams use advanced stats and which don’t. The consensus seems to be that the following clubs have embraced adjusted plus/minus to varying degrees: Houston, Boston, Oklahoma City, Denver, Dallas, Portland, Orlando, Cleveland and (perhaps) San Antonio.
--Cuban can spot the non-believers easily: “There are times when another team puts five guys on the floor and you get excited,” he said. And later: “I can tell immediately if a team is using stats based simply on their line-ups.”
--Houston GM Daryl Morey agreed: “You watch the defense of the other team, and based on what shots they are trying to take away, you ask, ‘Do they know what shots are the most efficient?’” In other words: If your team is playing Houston, and your defensive guys are focused on preventing Houston from taking 20-footers, Morey is laughing (quietly, of course) about your team.
Now I suppose that it isn't too hard to believe players forget what play is called coming out of a timeout, after all football players forget the play, snap count, and assignment. But obviously not all the knives in the drawer are sharpened equally. The Celtics lean toward the opposite end of the spectrum. Defensive rotations depend upon recognition and reaction. Offensive plays are not simple to begin with and they extend into nearly endless options. Once again the key is recognition and reaction. Slow recognition and/or slow reaction leave teammates in the lurch.
It is no accident that the Celtics were in attendance at the conference and were in the list of teams using advanced stats. They always have an additional critical factor in player evaluations, be they drafts, FA signings, trades, or extensions. Your Boston Celtics--morons need not apply. Think it is a coincidence that Danny's biggest draft faux pas involve athletic dullards that never "got it?" Gerald Green (whose slide meant Ainge had done less research than usual) and Marcus Banks have such impressive physical tools that a succession of teams tried to salvage value from their terminated Celtics' careers.
A lot of the activity in the blogosphere has revolved around players Danny "should" have gone after. Some of his lack of interest, I think, directly reflects this intellectual aspect of the Celtics' screening process. I believe this has been a factor in the apparent lack of pursuit of such players as Darko, Ty Thomas, Kwame, Sean Williams, and Bird Man, all of whom possess the size and athleticism that has created problems for the Celtics front line.
As for current Celtics, I thought my opinion of Tony Allen had bottomed out but the Detroit game plumbed new depths. A look at his stat line: 7:11 0/1 0/0 2/2 0-0-0 5 0 1 2 0 2 seems to indicate a player avoiding shots (1) and looking for assists (5)--fine so far. The problem is that on those two turnovers he jogged back on defense while his teammates tried to stem the attack he set up for the opposition. The steal came while he loafed along the lane nearly ten feet from his assignment. The last of his assists was a showboat move passing the ball off the backboard for a dunk by Nate--the quintessential made-for-ESPN play for a meaningless basket rubbing in a sealed victory. His attitude and play is exactly what I don't want on my team when I'm choosing sides for the next game (season). This lackadaisical performance came in his first extended minutes in quite some time when he had an opportunity to show the coach he was staying ready and knew how to do-it-right. Instead Brain-Fart Tony loafed on defense and failed to get back after his turnovers. Playing on the last year of his current contract, already had no qualifying offer following his rookie contract, 5 years in the league and I'm not sure he has learned anything but how to cash his paycheck.
One final note about the Pags comments on running. Doc and Danny believe in it. Tommy consistently clamors for it. And yet this collection of antiques is singularly illsuited to a fast paced game. Half the team is on their last legs and conserve energy rather than race to fill the lanes on the break. Other than Nate none of the off-season and new additions are racehorses. The only two young gun wings suited to the up-and-down game were injured much of the first half and left in the deadline trade. Heinsohn's run-baby-run game remains a hope for the future rather than a war cry for the present. With Perk rebounding and Rondo pushing it up, the Green will create some early offense but the track meet is only a dream. Strangely the Celtics often look the fastest in the half-court offense where the blur of passes overwhelms the defense with ball movement. The ball, at least, seems not to suffer from "old" legs.
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Another excellent article Lee. Danny leans heavily on the "Brain Doc" and his input when selecting players in the draft and signing them as free agents. That gives this another whole wrinkle. We have Dr. Niednagel to thank for Scal who has the same brain typing as MJ. He knows the game but has few physical gifts to carry out his knowledge of it.