Monday Mavs Donuts: Weird Basketball Science

DallasBasketball.com
Posted Sep 2, 2013


We can come up with reasons for Mavs optimism that can be easily justified. But we are always cautious when it comes to attempts at anything approaching 'science.' Why? Because as is often the case with 'basketball formulas,' science finds itself defied - as we establish in Monday Mavs Donuts.



DONUT 1: The dark-horse Mavs? ...

WagesofWins.com has analytically measured the transactions of the offseason to project possible outcomes for the upcoming season. There are optimistic bubbles percolating through our minds as a result of the analysis, which dares to mention the Dallas Mavericks as a 'dark-horse' contender amid the 'what-if's.' Michael Dugat's review of their work is here. .... But it's only the start of our thoughts ...
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DONUT 2: But the flaw ...

Our man David Lord has another angle on WagesOfWins.com's work ...

The strength of this article is the willingness to attempt to predict who will win next season using numbers. But the numbers are just numbers, not science, and we need to keep that in mind.

The weaknesses are the same as those that Hollinger has in trying to take simple formulas and make them predict the future. Here's how I would disagree with the conclusions in the WagesOfWins article:

*The formula is a mathematical exercise of lots of assumptions. It can provide no more insight than the accuracy of the assumptions themselves.

*As with most NBA formulas, the inability to accurately measure defense seems apparent in the results.

*How do you measure chemistry, fit, and impact? Team A plus player B does not become a team that's simply as good as A+B, but that's the formula here.

*The "common sense" of how the NBA works, as defined by NBA history, should be the way to stress test the results, and weigh the assumptions. But his results defy common sense over and over.

DONUT 3: More D-Lord ...

Some of my common-sense quibbles with WagesOfWins' conclusions:

*This formula takes Houston from 45 wins to 67.
*This formula has Brooklyn going from 49 wins to 36. Wait, what?
*This formula has Miami's 66-win team slipping to 55.
*Detroit jumps from 29 to 54 wins

Unfortunately, because I see so many of his answers that simply make no sense, I can't buy into his take on any specific team - in particular, Dallas. And for all his rosiness over the Mavs additions, he sees the team being bettered by only three wins, from 41 to 44. In light of the fact that Dirk is unlikely to miss 29 or more games this season (as he did in 2012-13), an increase of only three wins after a stellar off-season (by his definition) makes no sense to me at all.

In the end, the reasons for optimism can be justified. But the attempts at anything approaching "science,'' as is often the case with "basketball formulas,'' falls short.

DONUT 4: Congrats, Fin! ...

The story told in "The Butler'' is a special one: The film tells the based-on-a-true story of Eugene Allen, the White House’s butler for over 30 years, serving eight U.S. presidents. It is "Forrest Gump''-like in its depiction of "Cecil Gaines'' being involved, in a sense, in historic moments of the civil-rights movement.
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But the presence of stars Forest Whitaker and Oprah Winfrey is only half the story. Financing for the independent film -- which now has some Oscar buzz -- was brought together when more than 40 financial heavyweights pitched in. ...

Many of the investors in the $30-mil movie are African-Americans, and among them is Mavs great Michael Finley. Fin gets "producer'' recognition in the film ... kind of a cool thing for Mavs fans to see as the lights come up and the credits roll.

DONUT 5: Party time! ...

A tip of the cap of appreciation to Frisco Party Station, your neighborhood headquarters for all your party needs ... everything! All the neighborhood schools represented -- college and even high school! -- and the party is on!

DONUT 6: Which Pickup Guy are you? ...

This video truly does nail the stereotypes we all fit into when we play pickup basketball. Which "Pickup Guy'' are you? See the video and discuss on DB.com Boards!

DONUT 7: Lingering Odor of Lamar Odom ...

My column on Lamar Odom's time in Dallas is striking a nerve with Mavs fans. And yet I don't hear many Mavs fans striking out at Odom. There is some level of sympathy for his plight ... and in my piece, I think I find that appropriate level.

DONUT 8: A great Mavs cause (and golf!) ....

Mavs fans are invited to give, golf and dine and participate in Hackberry Creek Country Club's annual Charity Classic. The event will feature a golf tournament, a tennis triples tournament and a concert. The event is Friday, September 20th, requires a donation of $125, and benefits a trio of charities, including the Dallas Mavericks Foundation, which supports organizations in the Metroplex which addresses the community's most pressing problems involving youth, specifically education, good health, and community service activity.

For more information on the tournament, visit Mavs.com.

DONUT 9: Thanks, Studio Movie Grill! ...

A great partner with us in charitable work and a great place to get a movie and a meal ... thanks for the DB.com relationship, Studio Movie Grill!

DONUT 10: Follow the Mavs on Twitter ...

Follow the Mavs on Twitter: Mike Fisher, Chuck Perry , David Lord and Michael Dugat keep you up-to-the-minute informed on all things Mavs!

DONUT 11: Ellis and the Mavs culture ...

My thoughts on Monta Ellis and the Mavs culture.

DONUT 12: The Final Word ...

Devin Harris is probably looking at Christmas time before he's fully recovered from toe surgery and ready to roll in another basketball tour of duty in Dallas.
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“My main focus right now is to get healthy,” Harris tells Mavs.com. “I’m pretty sure I’ll fit in at some point — play some 1, play some 2. That’s never been a problem for me to get on the court, but I think my main focus is just to get healthy.”

I say this with great affection for Devin the person and player: The issue isn't him "getting on the court''; it's him "staying on the court'' because of the fragility that has always plagued him, in part due to his admirably reckless style of play.

Last year, Devin was limited to just 58 games in Atlanta. He has missed at least 10 games in each of his past six seasons. This toe injury cost him a planned three-year, $9-mil deal as he's now playing on a vet's-minimum deal.

So he'll be back on the court by, say Christmas. But what Mavs fans really want to see is him staying on the court beyond that.




Related Stories
WagesOfWins: The Mavs' Dark-Horse Contention?
 -by DallasBasketball.com  Aug 29, 2013

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