Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Hipster Basketball Hall of Fame: An Introduction

A few months ago, Neil Paine wrote an interesting article speculating on whether Shawn Marion, he of the two-handed push shot favored by many rec league players, was worthy of induction in the basketball hall of fame. The article shed light on a player who the general population will not remember 10 years from now, but who every serious basketball fan once knew about, respected, and loved or feared depending on whether he played for your team. In the end, Paine concludes that Marion falls short of the criteria for induction by using the Keltner List to aid his analysis. Whether or not you agree with his conclusion in this particular case, it is certainly true that Marion is just one of a large collection of players to fall into the category of "not a household name, but a solid, and at times dominant, player in his prime."

As a big NBA fan, I feel as though these players deserve some sort of recognition beyond the occasional epithet from an NBA color commentator. In many cases, these players had unique attributes to their games (like Marion's jump shot) which appeared unusual but which true fans could grow to appreciate. Generally living under the radar, whenever a player like this ends up making it big (James Harden), a portion of his fans were inevitably disappointed that they could no longer keep him a secret to themselves. Who do these players sound like??? Indie bands beloved by hipsters across the country! This is such a good concept I am amazed I didn't think of it earlier.

From here on out, Volume Shooters will run sporadic pieces on "inductees" into this hall of fame chosen by our staff writers, with Shawn Marion as the inaugural member since he inspired the hall's creation. To give it some sense of legitimacy, we will need our own version of the Keltner list (which, for those of you who didn't click on the above link, is a set of 15 questions designed to determine whether a player is a worthy inclusion into the Hall of Fame in his or her respective sport). Here's our initial stab at a list:

1. Did this player have something unique or unusual about his game that distinguished him from many, if not all, of his peers? A must for inclusion, although this is a very broad category. Marion's jump shot, as covered above, was such a thing.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Javale Making it Rain...on the basketball court

I thoroughly enjoyed the G-chat between Jack and Paul where they contemplated which was a better end of quarter strategy with 3 seconds or less left - having your best shooter try a contested 25 footer, or your center (or other worst shooter that would be uncovered in that situation) shoot a wide open 3?

I'm here to address this argument. My first thought was "no effing way Dwight Howard or any other center should ever get a look from 3." Luckily, I have data to make my opinion for me! Using Pro Basketball Reference's shot finder, I found the expected value of just the situation that Paul described. I limited it to all 3's taken in the first three quarters (because only Vinny Del Negro would run a play like this at the end of the game) of games last season, where there was 3 seconds or less left in the quarter. I also filtered by shots inside 30 feet to exclude half courters and other obviously low percentage shots.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Making It Rain

**Edit - After reading this article for the first time, one of our editors looked like Dwight in this scene after realizing Steve Nash wasn't included.  Sadly, I have to agree and acknowledge that I messed up. Watch this...start at around 0:40.  His form is perfect, his hair is flowing, and his career shooting averages are absurd (49/43/90 - yeah you read that right).  So my apologies to all 7 of our readers.**

Watch this video. Specifically, watch Ray Allen.  Notice how he disappears from the screen for a while?  Rondo runs a fast break, and you never see Ray – not until the ball is kicked out to him in the corner for a sweet three.  It’s important that you see this.  It’s important that you know that instead of making a cut towards the basket for a layup (like most kids are taught), Ray runs to the corner and spots up.  It’s important to note that Ray Allen would do this even if it weren’t a fast break (he would run around screens until he popped open in that spot).

Monday, January 7, 2013

A Case for Javale: Let the man shoot!

Below you will find an hour-long g-chat conversation about the strategy of having an NBA center take an end-of-quarter three pointer. It was based on thisvideo, but my conscience won’t let me post something that makes Javale look good, lest the casual reader see it and think he’s a good basketball player.  So I’m compelled to share thisother video with you as well. Enjoy.

Sent at 10:06 AM on Wednesday
Paul:  btw did you see javale's three and subsequent celebration last night
Sent at 11:14 AM on Wednesday
me:  hahaha no
i'll look it up
Paul:  boy was it funny
Sent at 11:23 AM on Wednesday
me:  haha what the eff was he doing?
also, that play was clearly just "it's the end of the quarter we're up 13 it's the regular season who gives two craps"
and finally...his form isnt terrible, right?
Paul:  apparently
at nevada, he was a 33% three-point shooter his last year
on a not-too-tiny 42 attempts
me:  yeah. he had a follow through at least?
he may make my "people i like to watch shoot" column
Paul:  hahaha
he is actually shooting free throws better this year
honestly though ive always thought that was an underrated end of quarter play
who really has a better shot at making a 3
ray allen fading away from 27 feet with two guys contesting
or a completely wide open center
Sent at 11:29 AM on Wednesday
me:  ray allen