Naeem Talukdar

Ball + stats. Just the facts, m'am.

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Amir Johnson – NBA’s most underrated?

Last week, I wrote on Pat Beverley, one of the more underrated players in the league. But if I had to name one person who I consider to be the most underrated player in the association, the first name that would pop out is Amir Johnson.

Let’s go through why.

As a closeted Raptors fan, I got to see Amir’s emergence from a nobody scrub into the leading big on a 3rd place in the Eastern Conference playoff team. He never put up big box score numbers, but ever Raptors fan that watched him loved him. I don’t think there’s a single more universally appreciated player on the team. But when asked about it, nobody really knows why.

The fact is, among players playing 31 minutes or less, Amir Johnson might be the best in the entire league. His impact reminds me a lot of James Harden in his final year of OKC – where all his advanced metrics were through the roof, but his box score numbers were...

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Patrick Beverley is the best player in the NBA

Well, not really. But he’s much better than you might think.

The Rockets “reserve” guard (although it seems like he’s practically on a see-saw with Jeremy Lin) became (in)famous last year for knocking Westbrook – and simultaneously, the Oklahoma City Thunder – out of playoff contention entirely. Bill Simmons posted an article on Grantland about the brutish guard and how much hate he carries throughout the league.

In a game when fierce rivals are having thanksgiving dinner together, Beverley’s throwback badboy game is refreshingly old-school.

But one line in particular stood out from Simmons’ piece:

Patrick Beverley: someone who’s not that good, tries way, way, wayyyyyy too hard on defense, and drives everyone else insane.

Let’s get something straight here: Patrick Beverley has made a living out of working his tail off. But he’s also really, really, ridiculously good. Let’s look at...

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Mark Jackson’s Rotation Problems

It’s easy pickings nowadays to rag on Jackson’s rotations, especially since the Warriors have lost 4 of their last 7, often to inferior opponents. With #fullsquad in tact, injuries aren’t an excuse either. But the fact of the matter is, this team is a lot more talented than it’s record.

To figure out exactly how badly Jackson is screwing things up, I decided to run a Simplex analysis on the Warriors team to figure out the optimal rotation schedule. It turned into a natural algorithm being run for 12 hours, but this is roughly what it looks like (this grid represents one quarter, with each column representing one minute of gameplay):

Screen Shot 2014-01-29 at 12.16.37 PM.png

Rough notes: the lineup is very staggered, and involves a lot of substitutions. It’s possible to make this an easier play, but we’re assuming Mark Jackson isn’t so daft as to be able to make more than 4 or 5 substitutions a quarter. Now, compare to the...

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