Sunday, 30 August 2015

Go Spurs Go!








(Thursday, 2 April 2015)

Saturday, 29 August 2015

My favourite NBA legends and John Starks

Just kidding about Starks. He is an NBA legend too, but mostly for the New York Knicks fans. I have never been their fan, but watching Starks was always memorable, mostly in a good way. He put all his heart in playing basketball and it was spectacular. Starks was a great dunker, but he was also a good 3-point shooter.

The video below is quite inspiring with a perfectly fitting song. At first I couldn't understand the main lyrics, so I spent some time searching for the song. I spare you the trouble – it's “Comin' from where I'm from” – from a song with exactly the same title by Anthony Hamilton.

Please notice Starks' awesome dunk over Horace Grant with Michael Jordan close by (from 1:36 in the video below - showed 3 times from different angles).



Below there are video highlights of my favourite two NBA legends, who stood out from the rest because of their passing ability.

The first one is Clyde Drexler, who was an incredible dunker, but also a great passer and defender. He finished his career with over 22000 points, over 6000 assists, over 6000 rebounds and over 2000 steals – the ONLY (!!!) NBA player to ever do it.

Plese notice Drexler's behind the back passes (from 2:33 in the video below).



The second one is the best NBA player ever, considering players' heights – John Stockton. He finished his career with over 15800 assists (over 3700 more than the second on the all-time list Jason Kidd!!!) and over 3200 steals (over 500 more than the second on the all-time list Jason Kidd!!!). Even though he is only 185 (6-1) tall, he still grabbed over 4000 rebounds and shot with 51.5 % from the field!!!

Please notice Stockton's very long perfect pass at 2:21 in the video below (showed twice almost from the same angle).



(Saturday, 6 September 2014)

Friday, 28 August 2015

Assisted (by John Stockton with Kerry L. Pickett)


What a beautiful book! If you like John Stockton as a basketball player then you must read it. My rating: 10/10

This book is a real autobiography, meaning that basketball is only one of many things John Stockton writes about. Of course his basketball career is always in the background, but he tries (successfully) to explain what other people and what other things helped him become the person he is. In turn it explains what made him such a great NBA player, but from this book you will NOT learn what a great player he was. There are only hints of his greatness, for example his Dream Team selection.

Stockton starts with his Hall of Fame induction, but it is clear that he doesn't want to brag about it. This first chapter is just an explanation what made him write his autobiography. To sum it up: during his Hall of Fame induction speech he was not able to even mention many people who deserved to be mentioned and Stockton felt bad about it. That's why the rest of the book is filled with names of all the people who were important to him throughout his life, on and off the court.

There are no basketball stats in the book. And there is no detailed description of his NBA career. There are only flashes of his memories, but they are both fun and insightful. Stockton describes some little know facts from his life, but he also gives his honest comments on some of our world's aspects. He isn't afraid to write even about a few things that are not quite “politically correct”. And he gets his point very well.

I must say that I have imagined young Stockton a little differently. From this book I have learned that he did some really stupid things, just like any one of us. And he was very lucky to get away unhurt. Well, maybe not quite unhurt – he had a silver tooth when he was young because he had lost the real one in a bike-jumping accident.

Stockton describes some memorable moments of his career, but he picks them the way he likes. Some of them are totally inconsequential for the reader, but important to Stockton. On the other hand he is very modest and writes about some things in a by-the-way kind of way. Not to brag, but to simply state a fact. Stockton omitted some of his personal achievements altogether – he doesn't even mention that he was named the 1993 All Star Game MVP (together with Karl Malone) or that he was the leader of the NBA in assists for so many years.

There are numerous black and white pictures throughout the book, but there are also 14 pages (right in the middle of the book) of a fine paper (clearly better than the rest) featuring many great-looking colour pictures. A very nice addition.

When I was reading this book I thought: “Oh man, what a great story! I have quote it. And this one, too. And this. And this. Damn it! I would have to quote half of the book! Wait… Would that be legal?” The main problem with quoting Stockton is the fact that he tells his stories in a very thoughtful way and it is impossible to quote a part of them without altering (losing) their meaning. Below there are some quotes to give you only a hint what the book is like.

    With my whole world seemingly at my side and the rest of the world tuning in, I listened to a brilliant acceptance speech by David Robinson. Friendly, confident, and seemingly completely at ease, he delivered a heartfelt and genuine oration without the aid of notes or a teleprompter. I was so impressed with David that I began to think of twenty ways I should change my own remarks. Sensing my distress, Nada tapped me on the hand, smiled, and whispered, “Yours is good. Just go ahead with it.” She helped me more with those few words than she will ever know.

    Mom and Dad were great at finding individual time for all of us kids but it was often in the flow of their workday. I think that is something that is missing in our modern culture: kids working with their parents. It was both enriching and fun, and provided time for some pretty good talks.

    I knew I had to tell Dad about this collision. I worried about it for hours. When he saw the damage, he managed a signature head scratch before asking if anyone was hurt. “No,” I replied. “Were you horsing around?” he asked. “No”, I echoed (not this time, anyway). “Well, the car is only a tool. Take it and get an estimate tomorrow,” he replied. I was surprised at his soothing and thoughtful response but shouldn't have been. Dad was at his best when things went badly. Even today, at eighty-four, he rallies when we need him the most.
    My relief was erased a month later when Mom and Dad informed me that due to the ticket and the accident I would have to pay for my own insurance. The premiums would reflect my recent driving record. I was going to have to mow a lot more lawns and shovel a lot more snow if I wanted mobility. My lack of protest might have surprised my folks. I think they expected some negotiation at least.

    Coach [Dan Fitzgerald] even talked when he drove. Everyone buckled up in his car, and it had nothing to do with the law. While driving, he would spend more time looking and gesturing to the backseat while delivering one of his gems than he did watching the road. I think Coach drove by Braille, listening for honks and relying on the rumble strips on the road's edge to stay in his lane.

    My contract was guaranteed for two years, but I felt certain it would be only a one-year hitch. I didn't doubt my own ability at that point but was convinced the Jazz would soon realize their mistake and send me packing. Everything was based from that point forward on that notion. I would save money and live sparsely so I had something to show from the whole experience. It was a mind-set that worked for me. I would practice and play as if there were no tomorrow. In this hunkered-down mentality, I was oddly comfortable and relaxed about the challenge. The way I saw it, I really had nothing to lose.

    Over the years I watched how Larry [Miller] treated his employees. He made it his business to know a little about each of his numerous workers. Getting to know them by more than their name was a priority. Striking up conversations with all employees within the organization without regard to their station was part of his method of operation. He made saying thank you a trademark. Larry treated people well even after he succeeded. I used to joke with him when he would take me out driving in his Shelby Cobra on mountain roads or at his race track: “It's good to be the king!” The beauty of Larry was that he shared the blessings he had with others. He was a good king.

    (…) Most of the comments I remember from Coach [Frank] Layden had more to do with how to be a good person than how to become a good basketball player, although the two roles often ran together. I frequently recall his sage advice to me at our first meeting: “Don't change who you are now that you've arrived.”

    Coach [Frank Layden] was hysterically funny yet serious about his work. He told jokes often as a method of making larger point about a game or life. He frequently spoke in public with a distinctive style. People would roll in the aisles at his self-deprecating deliveries such as “I have to hurry; they feed me every fifteen minutes,” a reference to his ample girth. Coach also had a special ability to use humor to relieve tension. One time when we were watching film from a previous game, the camera zoomed in on Coach's popped shirt button, which had exposed his belly. Because we were coming off a couple of losses, the tension in the room was palpable. Nobody wanted to show a reaction of any kind. From the back of the room, Frank bellowed, “I need a sign that says, 'Space available.'” We all busted our seams laughing. By the way we won the game that night.


(Monday, 6 April 2015)

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Clyde The Glide: My Life in Basketball (by Clyde Drexler with Kerry Eggers)


What a unique book! If you are Clyde Drexler's fan it's perfect.
My rating: 10/10

This book, like the title says, is mostly about basketball. There are some parts about Drexler's private life, but they are in the background. The main part of the book is all about basketball.

Around half of the book was written by Clyde Drexler himself and the other half are quotes made by his family members, friends, coaches and teammates. All those quotes were gathered by Kerry Eggers who had come up with the idea of writing such a book about Drexler. In his introduction to the book he writes that he spoke with more than 60 people in the process. Here's an interesting part of the introduction:
    Many of his friends and teammates took the opportunity to deliver some verbal jabs. Clyde never flinched, never asked to have the anecdote removed or altered. He took it in good fun and with the affection that it was intended, and he seemed to thoroughly enjoy it all.

The quotes in the book are mixed with Drexler's narration in a very thoughtful way, so they compliment each other as best as they can. But it is not obvious when you flip through the book without actually reading it. At first look I thought that the book could be a disappointment, but I was sooo wrong. It turned out that all those quotes are in fact even better than Drexler's parts, mostly because they praise Drexler so much.

Drexler himself stayed true to his character – a modest guy who doesn't want to brag about himself. I think it was hard for him to write about his own achievements because he was such a big star throughout his basketball career. He decided to take a matter-of-fact approach to write about himself, but his narration about everything else is great. I enjoyed especially the parts about Drexler's teammates and coaches from his best teams – the teams that made it to the NBA finals. You can feel his fondness and his great respect for all those people.

Clyde Drexler describes his basketball career in a pretty detailed way. There are his basic stats, his personal records, his awards, his team's regular seasons results and summaries of his team's every playoff series. Some years are described more thoroughly than others, but that is something obvious – every one of us has some favourite moments from his (or her) past.

It's fun to read so many good things about Drexler, but there are also some things that I was really surprised about, for example the fact that Drexler had a very strong character as a player.

Here are some quotes to give you an idea about the book:

    When the Cougars [University of Houston] were recruiting Michael [Young], they asked him who was the best player he played against. He said, “That's easy. The kid at Sterling.” They said another player's name. Michael said, “No, not him, Clyde Drexler.” They were shocked.

HAKEEM OLAJUWON: After practice [at University of Houston] I was invited to join the players at a pickup game, and there I got to see Clyde's skills. I was impressed with his competitiveness and the fact that his game was not just one-dimensional. He had a complete game – he ran the floor so well, his rebounding and scoring, and one of his specialties was his ability to make steals.

HAKEEM OLAJUWON: (…) I don't know how he did it, but he positioned himself so that every time a shot was blocked it went right into his hands. The ball goes up, everybody fights for it, it gets grabbed by somebody – that's Clyde. When a ball gets swatted away and somebody saves it – that's Clyde.

DENISE PINK [Clyde's sister]: (…) He could spontaneously dunk in a way that people had never seen. If I were to say: “OK, Clyde, count to three and do this dunk,” he couldn't do it. But put him in a game situation and he would always improvise and execute like no other. It was amazing.

    Coach Lewis [University of Houston] didn't want to stop practices too much to talk while you were playing. I thought that was pretty smart. I hated coaches who stopped things every couple of minutes. Let the players play while they are sweating and in a flow. When we were through, Coach Lewis would go to the chalkboard and talk about things. He would stop a scrimmage only if it were necessary. Unless you lose a tooth, keep playing. If one got knocked out, he might stop playing for a minute.

JIM NANTZ: Clyde was exceedingly polite and thoughtful. He was someone who, the minute you met him, you liked him.

HAKEEM OLAJUWON: (…) His jump shot was suspect because all they [NBA scouts] ever saw was him running the floor and jamming. He had a very good jump shot, but no one knew it because he dunked all the time.

STU INMAN: (…) The thing that came through from conversations with all of them [college coaches] was that Clyde was the glue on that team. (…) They said he did what he had to do to win a game. His ego never interfered with his will to win. When we brought him for a personal workout and an interview, he impressed everybody with his intelligence. He was a straight shooter, a no-nonsense guy, and he had his life together. I remember noting in our pre-draft material he was working at a bank in the summers, a job that related to the course of study he was involved in at the university.

STU INMAN: (…) Bruce [Ogilvie] called me after Clyde had taken the [psychology] test, and he asked me – it was meant as a joke – is there any way he could have gotten the answers ahead of time?

DARNELL VALENTINE: One day at practice [during Drexler's first NBA season] Clyde threw a behind-the-back pass. That wasn't a part of Jack Ramsay's philosophy about the game. In fact, that was the exact opposite of how Jack felt basketball should be played. Jack said something to Clyde about it. The very next play, Clyde came down and threw another behind-the-back pass. I mean, the rest of us all kind of looked at Clyde like, “Whoa.” Nobody dared to do that with the Doctor. But Clyde had enormous self-confidence, and most of the time could back it up, and I always admired that in him. He believed in himself so much, believed so much in his abilities, that he was not going to be denied.

KIKI VANDEWEGHE: (…) I can remember quite clearly talking to Jack [Ramsay], who had just traded what amounted to five players for me. I said, “Look, you need to play Clyde. He is the best player on this team.” Jack looked at me like I was crazy. He said, “I just traded five players for you, and you are telling me Clyde is a better player?”

BOB COOK: (…) He never had a physical complaint before a game, like a lot of guys would. “That's an excuse for failure,” he would say. He never played the injury card, and I always admired that.

DWIGHT JAYNES: (…) Mike [Schuler] told me, “I used to think Clyde was a tough guy to coach. By today's standards, he is a choir boy.”

TERRY PORTER: (…) He had his moments with the coaches, but on the floor, he always tried to encourage his teammates. The only player I played with who approached his greatness was Tim Duncan. Clyde was the best perimeter guy I ever played with, hands down.

    I worked hard every summer to stay in shape. I didn't work out on stationary machines. I ran and lifted weights and went to the gym and shot every day. I spent five, six, seven hours a day working out every summer. That is how I got better.

    Every day was a new adventure with that group. Danny [Ainge] hadn't received his contract extension, supposedly because management had run out of money on the rest of our deals. At Christmas, Danny bought boxes of chocolates for everybody and gave them out on the plane. He handed Petrie a box; when Geoff opened it, it was empty. “Sorry, I just ran out of chocolates,” Ainge told him. Everybody just roared. Petrie was good-natured about it. He had to admit it was funny.

KARL MALONE: If you were starting a team and looking for a two guard, you would choose Michael [Jordan]. The second one would be Clyde. There is no shame in that. That is just the way it was. Clyde was a remarkable player in all ways. I have a great deal of respect for him.

    The first time I got the ball [after his trade to the Houston Rockets], we were in our set offense, and all of a sudden, my guy left me to double-team Hakeem [Olajuwon]. I was thinking, “I'm not used to this. Defenders just don't leave me like this.” I had an open shot inside the key, looked around, and didn't know what to do. Hakeem had the biggest smile on his face. He said, “Shoot, Drex, shoot!” I traveled, and then I threw up an airball. I'll never forget that. At our next timeout, we went back to the huddle, and Rudy [Tomjanovich] was laughing. Hakeem said, “Drex, you are going to kill people playing on this team.”

    When I look back at my career, one of the most rewarding things has been my relationship with fans. It is always hard for me to imagine how a professional athlete wouldn't fully appreciate those people who are so supportive and, in reality, pay their salary. I have a problem with athletes who don't extend fans the simple courtesies of an autograph, a handshake or a smile. Those guys just don't get it. The fans have always been great to me.


(Sunday, 3 May 2015)

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

The Admiral: The David Robinson Story (by Gregg Lewis and Deborah Shaw Lewis)


My rating: 9/10

This is a great book, but it may be divided into two separate parts and this is exactly how I will review it.

I. The David Robinson Story – the years 1966-1991.
This part starts from chapter 2 and it ends in the middle of chapter 13. It is around 80 pages long.

My rating: 10/10

There is a HUGE amount of interesting things about David Robinson. For example I didn't know that he was such an intelligent kid, but there is also a deeper story behind it. Before he was old enough to show his intelligence his parents were worried for whole three YEARS if his brain was OK – as a 6-month baby he got jammed between a bed and a wall in such a way that he was not able to breathe. When his mother found him he was already blue because of the lack of oxygen and he did not start breathing on his own even after she freed him. She saved his life by doing a CPR – she was a nurse and she knew the procedure, but doing something like this on her own little baby was a challenge. Nobody knew how long he had not been breathing, so nobody could tell if his brain was damaged or how much it was damaged.

I was surprised that David Robinson was gifted not only towards basketball, but also many other things like mathematics, electronics or music. He actually chose to study at the Naval Academy in Annapolis for its educational standards, not basketball. Then in the middle of his studies, when it was already clear that he could end up in the NBA, he had to make a decision whether to stay in the Navy or change the college. The stakes were very high because by staying and then graduating from the Naval Academy he would then be required to serve in the Navy for FIVE years instead of playing in the NBA right away. Before he finished his studies it was clear that he would have to serve for only 2 years, but when he made his decision to stay in the Navy it was equally possible that it will be 5 years of service, not 2. Can you imagine any other person making such a decision?

II. The David Robinson Story – the years 1991-2012.
This part consists of chapter 1 (a kind of introduction), the second half of the chapter 13 and the remaining chapters of the book (from 14 to 20) – around 64 pages in total.

My rating: 8/10

Most people know that David Robinson was a truly good person, but I was surprised how much religious he became in the year 1991. And he was not afraid to speak about it in public. This spirited part of his life is emphasized in this part of the book. To me it was not really an issue, but I was somewhat disappointed that basketball was pushed too far into the background. There is most basic info about his NBA achievements and awards, but I was very annoyed that some things were described almost pathetically, for example the San Antonio Spurs' playoffs runs.

This part of the book is interesting for a whole different reason – it's remarkable how truly good a person David Robinson has become, being already an NBA star. Wow!

Please, notice that the things quoted in the chapter 1 are taken out of context and can be wrongly understood – not a good way to start a book. At first they seem like a wishful-thinking, but in later chapters it becomes clear why and in what circumstances David Robinson said such things.

Please, remember that David Robinson is not an example because of what he did as a very famous and rich person, but what values made him to do all those things. It's obvious that a normal person, with normal salary, would never be able to do some things David Robinson did.

Summing up:
The book is AWESOME for David Robinson's fans who are interested in his early years and for people, especially young people, who would like to read about a real superstar who values other things more than wealth and career.

Here are some quotes to give you an idea about the book:

    Soon David's intelligence began to create problems in the classroom. He would finish his work faster than any of the other children and got everything right. But once he was finished, he would distract the other children who were still working.

    One evening when David was five years old, Mr. Robinson had been playing piano with David next to him. Then Ambrose got up and walked into another room. A few moments later he was surprised to hear a familiar tune. David's parents walked in to see David at the piano playing the same song his father had just been playing.
    “David!” his father exclaimed. “How did you learn to play that song?”
    “I just watched you play, Dad” David explained.

    David liked VMI [the Virginia Military Institute] well enough. But he was practically awestruck when he came home from a weekend visit to the Naval Academy [in Annapolis]. “Wow, Mom!” he exclaimed. “The lab set up is better than any college I've visited. They have so much equipment I couldn't believe it. But I can't make up my mind.”

    The physical demands were also tough. To start with, all midshipmen were expected to swim one hundred meters – four lengths of the pool. David couldn't make it. So he was assigned to a swimming class where he had to swim for forty minutes at a time. He also had to dive off a tower thirty feet high. It would take him a while to conquer his fear and learn to make the dive without thinking.

    The classes themselves were tough – thermodynamics, navigation, advanced calculus, physics, computer science and technology, contemporary American literature, advanced computer programming, celestial navigation, advanced numerical analysis, computer data structures, partial differential equations, and economic geography. The homework load nearly overwhelmed him that first term. “Most days we had too much,” David says. “The rest of the time we had way too much.”

    But they quickly noticed how graceful and athletic he was. His roommate Hootie Leibert recalls a required three-week course in gymnastics. “David was so big I didn't think he could do it. But after the rest of us looked bad, he got up on the parallel bars and started making these fancy moves and doing all sorts of stuff. It only took him a week to do everything required to get an A in the course.

    That was it. David had made his decision. He had chosen academics over sports.
    David never anticipated the reaction. He was praised in speeches and editorials all over America for his character. People were more impressed than ever. Here was a young man who chose commitment, loyalty, learning, and national service over celebrity and wealth.

    Not only had David led the league in scoring in 1994, but he was also the NBA's top rebounder in 1991 and led the NBA in blocked shots in 1992. David and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar are the only two players in NBA history to achieve this trifecta.

    (…) While other franchises plowed through difficult periods of dissension and it's-my-team lip-flapping, nary a word of jealousy between Robinson and Duncan ever became public, if, indeed, any was uttered at all.

    David is also motivated by gratitude and the realization that he has been tremendously blessed. “I've been given ridiculous favor. When you're in a position of influence, with access, you can be a voice. I like to say, 'If you have a strong voice, don't whisper.' ”

(Sunday, 3 April 2016)

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Videos of John Stockton

Below there are some videos of John Stockton that I found on Youtube. I wanted to post them together with this review: Assisted (by John Stockton with Kerry L. Pickett), but the post would be too long.

I wrote some things about Stockton here: My favourite NBA legends and John Starks, but I have to point out one more thing – John Stockton played for 19 seasons (exactly 1504 regular season games) and retired when he was 41 years old, finishing with CAREER averages of 10.5 assists and 13.1 points per game. That's a CAREER double-double average !!! From 1504 games !!! How awesome is that ?!?!?!



The second and third videos show Stockton in the game 6 of the 1997 Western Conference Finals (Stockton's highlights and the whole game respectively). In the book Assisted Stockton himself describes his buzzer-beater in this game as his favourite moment in the NBA. But he “forgets” to mention that in this game he in fact scored 11 of the Utah Jazz's last 14 points. That's Stockton's modesty, again.



There is one thing I wonder about – when the game gets tied at 100 there are 22.4 seconds on the clock, but the next play starts with Utah Jazz having the ball again and there are only 2.8 seconds on the clock. Does anybody remember what happened in between these plays?



The last video shows the 1993 All Star Game. That game was a unique one, for many reasons. Most notably the game was quite tight and intense, for an ALL Star game, and the ending felt like a playoff game. John Stockton, together with Karl Malone, was named the game's MVP.



(Monday, 6 April 2015)

Monday, 24 August 2015

Videos of Clyde (The Glide) Drexler

Below there are some videos of Clyde Drexler that I found on Youtube. I wanted to post them together with this review: Clyde The Glide: My Life in Basketball (by Clyde Drexler with Kerry Eggers), but the post would be too long.

I wrote some things about Drexler here: My favourite NBA legends and John Starks, plese reade it first.



The second video shows Drexler's phenomenal dunk from his college times, when he was a member of the legendary Phi Slamma Jamma.



The third video is Drexler's TOP 20, kind of. My favourite play is numbered 18 - Drexler's finger-roll over David Robinson. Cool.



The next two videos show Drexler together with the Portland Trail Blazers. They were such a fun team: Clyde Drexler, Jerome Kersey, Terry Porter, Buck Williams, Kevin Duckworth and Clifford Robinson, among others.





The last two videos show Drexler teams' best seasons: 1991-92 (Portland Trail Blazers) and 1994-95 (Houston Rockets).





(Sunday, 3 May 2015)

Sunday, 23 August 2015

A picture of Mario Elie

I am currently reading a great autobiography book written by John Stockton with the assistance of Kerry L. Pickett, titled “Assisted”. I am going to review it in detail, but I need some time to do it. I have already searched Youtube to find some videos of Stockton to post them together with the review. In one of the videos I saw a picture that made me smile. I have to share it.

I am talking about the picture of Mario Elie looking at the Utah Jazz players celebrating John Stockton's 3-pointer at the buzzer that sent them to the 1997 NBA Finals. Elie's expression is ice-cold, but whoever remembers this player knows how ironic this picture is.


When I look at this picture I imagine Mario Elie's thoughts: “So, this is the feeling when somebody else makes a clutch 3-pointer at the buzzer. Hmmm …”

Usually it was Elie who made such shots for the Houston Rockets, winning 2 NBA titles by the way. One year later (in 1998) he signed with the San Antonio Spurs and was making cluch 3-pointers again, winning another NBA title. Please, notice the reaction of Gregg Popovich in the second video at 3:21.





(Monday, 30 March 2015)

Saturday, 22 August 2015

San Antonio Spurs are the NBA Champions! Again! Congratulations!

San Antonio Spurs are the NBA Champions! Again! Congratulations!

San Antonia Spurs has been my favourite NBA team for a very long time, mostly because of Tim Duncan – one of the best basketball players of all time. I have always liked Duncan for his calm and professionalism. Many people have called him boring, but winning an NBA Championship is not about excitement, but about getting the job done. And Duncan lead the Spurs to 5 NBA Championships! And to 16 regular seasons with at least 50 wins!

On the site:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tim_Duncan
I found a good comment made by Duncan himself: “If you show excitement, then you also may show disappointment or frustration. If your opponent picks up on this frustration, you are at a disadvantage.”

Here’s is a link to a very interesting, eye-opening article about Tim Duncan as a person:
http://www.poundingtherock.com/2014/6/15/5811100/nba-finals-spurs-tim-duncan-mystery-revealed

Tim Duncan alone couldn’t have achieved so much without a significant help from his teammates, obviously. Kawhi Leonard, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, Boris Diaw, Danny Green, Tiago Splitter, Patric Mills, Marco Belinelli, Matt Bonner, Aron Baynes, Jeff Ayres and Cory Joseph – they all did a great job this year. The best job, however, did Gregg Popovich, who was able to coach the San Antonio Spurs into a perfectly-working team. This is what basketball is all about: team play. Here’s a San Antonio Spurs 2014 tribute:


And here’s what a 37-year old guy from Argentina was able to do in the game 5 of the NBA 2014 finals:


Here’s why Kawhi Leonard was named NBA 2014 finals MVP.




Kawhi Leonard seems like another great franchise player for the San Antonio Spurs. When Duncan was drafted in 1997 the biggest such player was obviously David Robinson. But there was another player then who spent almost his entire NBA career with the Spurs – Sean Elliott. I just had to mention him, because he was the author of the Memorial Day Miracle. It happened in the game 2 of the 1999 Western Conference Finals, during the 1999 playoffs which ended with the first NBA Championship for the San Antonio Spurs. Elliott really pulled off a miracle then – he had to catch a very difficult inbound pass (almost intercepted by Stacey Augmon), keeping his right foot from stepping on a sideline (he placed the foot in a slightly unnatural angle), but it got him off balance and he had to dribble once not to be called for travelling, then he had to launch a 3-pointer still balancing over the sideline and keeping his heels from touching the line (he jumped using only the fronts of his feet) and he had to shoot the ball in a very high arc not to be blocked by Rasheed Wallace (who jumped VERY high, but was too far away). And the shot went in! A miracle!


Sean Elliott was a good shooter, but he was also known for his explosive style of play close to the basket. Please, take a look:


(Monday, 16 June 2014)

Friday, 21 August 2015

San Antonio Spurs Tribute - The Beautiful Game

When I search Youtube for some NBA videos I choose only movies with some good music. Today I found three videos that are AWESOME. I can't believe that I had not found them earlier. Well, maybe the very beginning of the second movie is not perfect, but its ending is definitely perfect.







(Saturday, 9 April 2016)

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Ste-phen-omenon Curry

Stephen Curry is a phenomenon. I like that guy because to me basketball has always been all about shooting. Not dunking, but shooting. And he can shoot from VERY far.



.

(Wednesday, 10 February 2016)

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Happy 40th birthday Tim Duncan!

(Originally posted on Monday, 25 April 2016)



Tuesday, 18 August 2015

I think it's over

(Originally posted on Friday, 20 May 2016)

This was the San Antonio Spurs' best regular season ever, but Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili had their worst personal playoffs numbers. I think neither of them will return for the next season. But it's OK – they did more than enough to make their fans happy.







Monday, 17 August 2015

Great song for a great tribute video!

(Originally posted on Friday, 22 July 2016)





Sunday, 16 August 2015

First baskets in the NBA by chosen players

What a cool video! I have to share it.



(Wednesday, 10 February 2016)

Saturday, 15 August 2015

This made my day

(Originally posted on Thursday, 5 May 2016)

I've always liked David Robinson and this GIF made my day.


Monday, 10 August 2015

Sunday, 9 August 2015

Tim Duncan – the luckiest NBA center ever

(Originally posted on Wednesday, 10 August 2016)

Tim Duncan is one of my favourite NBA players ever, but I do NOT like it when he is called “the best power forward ever”.

Tim Duncan was very LUCKY to be drafted by the San Antonio Spurs – a team with a fantastic center David Robinson. I think that in most of the other teams Duncan would play at center, because it would be better for the team. While playing with David Robinson, it was not necessary.

Duncan was doubly lucky that he played with David Robinson - he didn't have to worry about the strongest opponents (centers), especially in defence, and he and Robinson had both easier time against most of the other teams because it's very hard to defend against two big men, especially as gifted as they were.

Robinson was smart enough to accept a different role in the franchise that was “his” in the whole previous decade. He focused on defence and let Duncan carry the San Antonio offensively, especially in clutch times – this was the only thing at which Tim Duncan was clearly better than David Robinson.

David Robinson did a great job playing as a secondary, yet tremendously gifted big man, next to Duncan, for whole FIVE years! Duncan won 2 NBA MVP awards in that time. And let's not forget that David Robinson was the NBA MVP himself (in 1995).

Overall I am against comparing players according to their nominal positions. The best players are the ones who can do whatever is needed to win games. Moreover the nominal position is the position at which a particular player starts a game, but much more important thing is how many minutes he plays at this position and how many minutes he plays at a different position.

During the 2003 playoffs David Robinson started at center, but played only 23.4 minutes per game. There was another nominal center Kevin Willis, but he played only 5.1 minutes a game. Tim Duncan started at power forward, but he played 42.5 minutes per game, so he played AT LEAST 14 minutes per game at center, not at power forward.

One could argue that a team can play without a center and that Duncan was power forward all the time. Well, I wouldn't agree with that because a power forward guarding a center is doing the center's job. And in offence if there is no center then the power forward has more possibilities to drive to the basket, so he is NOT a classic power forward either.

The most important reason I consider Tim Duncan as a ceter is the fact that since the 2006-2007 season Tim Duncan is listed as center! That's 10 seasons of his career!

Beside David Robinson there were also other great players in San Antonio when Tim Duncan started his career, most notably Sean Elliott who was the 3rd pick in the 1989 draft. Moreover Duncan played for a great coach – Gregg Popovitch. I think Tim Duncan and Gregg Popovitch enhanced each other's legacies significantly. Lastly the San Antonio Spurs organization, as a whole, was a dream come true to Duncan. He was very lucky to be drafted by such a great team. The luckiest NBA center ever!


















Saturday, 8 August 2015

Funny San Antonio Spurs GIFs and JPGs

(Originally posted on Saturday, 13 August 2016)

Here are some funny San Antonio Spurs GIFs and JPGs plus one extra non-Spurs funny GIF.







































Friday, 7 August 2015

How to compare NBA scorers (improved analysis)

(Originally posted on Monday, 18 July 2016)

This is an altered version of my previous post on this topic. My final calculations are slightly different (there is a difference when interpreting positive and negative extra values of shooting percentage) and they are based on the actual shooting percentage averages from the last 40 years. However, I left the previous examples, because they are very easy to calculate, even in memory.

Recently I had been toying with NBA statistics because I wanted to work out my own way of judging the value of different NBA drafts. The most important statistic are obviously total points scored (PTS) and points per game average (PPG), but I wanted to calculate the positive value of high percentage scorers and the negative value of low percentage scorers. Obviously a high-percentage scorer is better, but the question is how much better.

I used my formulas for calculating extra values for the NBA top 30 points per game (PPG) scorers. I used a current list (at the end of 2015-2016 season), but it will change it the future:
http://www.basketball-reference.com/leaders/pts_per_g_career.html

I decided to make separate calculations for 2-point shots, 3-pointers and free throws. In each case I had to assume a reference point for all the players. I decided that it would be best to calculate a league-wide average from the last 40 years. I based it on the league-wide team-averages of TOTAL numbers that I found on 40 such sites:
http://www.basketball-reference.com/leagues/NBA_2016.html

To be precise: from each such page I took the line “League Average” and summed them all.


1. Extra value of 2P%

This is a rather stable statistic, at least in the last 40 years. Currently the league-wide 2P% is 49.1 %, in 2006 (in the season 2005-2006) it was 47.8 %, in 1996 it was 48.6 %, in 1986 it was 49.5 % and in 1977 (the first season of the 40 seasons I analysed) it was 46.5 %.

An average 2P% from the last 40 years is exactly 48.3 %, but in the examples below I assumed a reference point of 45.0 %. The reference point of 45.0 % surprisingly makes the examples much easier to visualize and calculate in memory than any example with a reference point of 50.0% (not to mention the correct reference point of 48.3 %).

A player who attempted 2000 2-point shots (2PA) and made 1000 of these shots (2PM) (2P% = 50.0 %) during 100 games is worth for an average team 2.0 extra points per game. He scored on average 20.0 points per game (2000*50.0%*2/100) and the team would score only 18.0 PPG without him (without him the team would have to attempt all his shots: 2000*45.0%*2/100 = 2*1000*90.0%/100=2*900/100=2*9).

On the other hand a player with 3000 2PA and 1000 2PM (2P% = 1/3) during 100 games is “worth” for an average team -7.0 “extra” points per game (he took away these points from his team). He scored on average 20.0 points per game (3000*1/3*2/100), but the team would score 27.0 PPG without him (3000*45.0*2/100= 3*1000*90.0%/100=3*900/100=3*9).

Please, notice again that the positive extra value of 2P% is a virtual value. The first scorer actually scored 20.0 PPG, so he was already credited for those extra 2.0 PPG in the box-score. However the second scorer wasted those 7.0 PPG irreversibly (assuming that there were no offensive rebounds), so the negative 2P%_E values should be directly used to judge the scorers. The same goes for 3P% and FT%.

The precise formula for total extra value of 2P% is like this:

2P%_E = 2PA*(2PM/2PA-0.483)*2

All my formulas are made for TOTAL values, but here I had to divide the results by the number of games played by the players.

The best 2P%_E scorers from the NBA top 30 PPG list are:
1. Shaquille O'Neal: 3.22
2. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: 2.79
3. Wilt Chamberlain: 2.55
4. Charles Barkley: 2.49
5. Adrian Dantley: 1.84
6. LeBron James: 1.73
7. Bernard King: 1.31
8. Karl Malone: 1.26
9. George Gervin (NBA stats only): 1.23
10. Michael Jordan: 1.15

All the other players from the list have a value lower than 1.00 PPG. The worst 2P%_E scorer from the list is George Mikan (-3.18 PPG for his NBA stats only), but in his times the league-wide 2P% was much lower than 48.3 %. The worst 2P%_E scorer from the list from the more recent times is Allen Iverson: -1.25 PPG.


2. Extra value of 3P%

This is a less stable statistic than 2P%. Currently the league-wide 3P% is 35.3 %, in 2006 it was 35.9 %, in 1996 it was 36.7 %, in 1986 it was 28.1 % and in the years 1977-1979 there were no statistics for 3-pointers. What's worse the number of 3P attempts was varying greatly over time – it was as low as 166 in 1981 and as high as 1975 in 2016. This is almost 12 times more 3P attempts! Even worse, some teams and players relied on 3-pointers and some other ignored them almost completely. For these very reasons I decided to value the 3P% in reference to the league-wide 2P% (48.3 %).

I calculate the extra value of 3P% in a slightly different way to take into account the fact that the 3P shot is worth 3 points:

3P%_E = 3PA*((3PM/3PA)*3-0.483*2)

Let's analyse an example with the reference point of 45.0 % (incorrect reference point, but very easy to calculate in memory). For example a player with 1000 3PA and 300 3PM (3P% = 30.0 %) during 100 GP is worth exactly as much as a player with 1000 2PA and 450 2PM (2P% = 45.0 %) during 100 G:
1000*30.0%*3/100=9.0 PPG
1000*45.0%*2/100=9.0 PPG
In this example (incorrect reference point) a high-scoring 3P shooter is good for his team if he makes more than 30% of his 3P attempts and he is bad for his team if he makes less than 30% of his 3P attempts.

Calculations with the correct reference point of 48.3% show that a high-scoring 3P shooter is good for his team if he makes more than 32.2 % of his 3P attempts and he is bad for his team if he makes less than 32.2 % of his 3P attempts.

The best 3P%_E scorers from the NBA top 30 PPG list are:
1. Stephen Curry: 2.65
2. Kevin Durant: 0.81
3. Dirk Nowitzki: 0.59
4. Larry Bird: 0.31
5. Carmelo Anthony: 0.22
6. LeBron James: 0.21
7. Kobe Bryant: 0.09

As you can see Stephen Curry is a phenomenon (Stephenomenon Curry). All the other players from the list have a value lower than 0.03 PPG. The worst 3P%_E scorer from the list is Charles Barkley, but his 3P%_E is only -0.31 PPG.


3. Extra value of FT%

This is a very stable statistic. Currently the league-wide FT% is 75.7 %, in 2006 it was 74.5 %, in 1996 it was 74.0 %, in 1986 it was 75.6 % and in 1977 it was 75.1 %. An average for the last 40 years is exactly 75.3 %.

I calculate the extra value of FT% taking into account the fact that a free throw is worth 1 point:

FT%_E = FTA*(FTM/FTA-0.753)

The best FT%_E scorers from the NBA top 30 PPG list are:
1. Kevin Durant: 1.05
2. Rick Barry (NBA stats only): 0.78
3. Dirk Nowitzki: 0.75
4. Oscar Robertson: 0.75
5. Michael Jordan: 0.67
6. Larry Bird: 0.66
7. Kobe Bryant: 0.62
8. George Gervin (NBA stats only): 0.62
9. Jerry West: 0.57
10. Adrian Dantley: 0.57
11. Stephen Curry: 0.56

All the other players from the list have a value lower than 0.50 PPG. Stephen Curry may be the best player as far as FT% is concerned, but he attempts too little free throws per game and this is the reason why his FT%_E is not the highest one. In fact there are 10 players ahead of him in this regard.

Clearly the worst FT%_E scorers from the list are Wilt Chamberlain (-2.75 PPG) and Shaquille O'Neal (-2.10 PPG).


4. Overall value of scorers (PPG-S%_NE)

Overall value of scorers should take into account the negative extra values of 2P%, 3P% and FT% (negative extra value of shooting percentage = S%_NE). Negative extra value of FT% should NOT be compensated by positive extra value of 2P% for the reasons already mentioned – a good 2P% scorer was already credited for his extra points in the box-score, but any missed free throws mean that he wasted such points irreversibly.

PPG-S%_NE = PPG + 2P%_NE + 3P%_NE + FT%_NE

Before I give you my final list I have to say something in defence of the low % (“negative”) scorers on the list. We have to remember that their coaches for some reasons kept them quite long on the floor, so maybe their teammates would be even worse for the team if they had to play longer minutes or take more shots than they actually did?

The best PPG-S%_NE scorers from the NBA top 30 PPG list are:
1. Michael Jordan: 30.12     (30.12 PPG -0.00)
2. Kevin Durant: 27.4     (27.4 PPG -0.00)
3. Wilt Chamberlain: 27.31     (30.07 PPG -2.75)
4. LeBron James: 27.11     (27.19 PPG -0.08)
5. Jerry West: 26.65     (27.03 PPG -0.38)
6. George Gervin (NBA stats only): 26.16    (26.18 PPG -0.02)
7. Oscar Robertson: 25.68     (25.68 PPG -0.00)
8. Allen Iverson: 25.31     (26.66 PPG -1.35)
9. Karl Malone: 24.89     (25.02 PPG -0.13)
10. Elgin Baylor: 24.88     (27.36 PPG -2.48)
11. Kobe Bryant: 24.87     (24.99 PPG -0.12)
12. Carmelo Anthony: 24.69     (24.94 PPG -0.26)
13. Dominique Wilkins: 24.63     (24.83 PPG -0.20)
14. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: 24.41     (24.61 PPG -0.20)
15. Bob Pettit: 24.34     (26.36 PPG -2.02)
16. Larry Bird: 24.29     (24.29 PPG -0.00)
17. Adrian Dantley: 24.25     (24.27 PPG -0.02)
18. Dwyane Wade: 23.47     (23.65 PPG -0.18)
19. Pete Maravich: 22.44     (24.24 PPG -1.79)
20. Stephen Curry: 22.4     (22.4 PPG -0.00)
21. Bernard King: 22.27     (22.49 PPG -0.21)
22. David Thompson (NBA stats only): 22.11    (22.13 PPG -0.02)
23. Bob McAdoo: 22.02     (22.05 PPG -0.03)
24. Dirk Nowitzki: 22.01     (22.01 PPG -0.00)
25. Julius Erving (NBA stats only): 21.93    (21.97 PPG -0.04)
26. Rick Barry (NBA stats only): 21.86     (23.17 PPG -1.31)
27. Charles Barkley: 21.68     (22.14 PPG -0.46)
28. Shaquille O'Neal: 21.57     (23.69 PPG -2.12)
29. Paul Arizin: 20.51     (22.81 PPG -2.31)
30. George Mikan (NBA stats only): 19.13    (22.32 PPG -3.19)

Please notice that in case of 6 players (Michael Jordan, Kevin Durant, Oscar Robertson, Larry Bird, Stephen Curry and Dirk Nowitzki) their overall scorer value is equal to their actual PPG average. That's because they were above-than-average shooters in 2P% and FT% categories AND they were at least good enough 3P shooters not to harm their team (Michael Jordan) or there were no statistics for 3P% in their time (Oscar Robertson).

This way of comparing NBA scorers can be used only for this very purpose. The overall scorers' values above CANNOT be used to judge the draft value of NBA players. More on that in my next post, but it boils down to the fact that not all of the points should be credited to the actual scorers – basketball is a team sport after all. Moreover, weak shooters are simply punishing themselves by not scoring some points that better shooters would score. Punishing them more because of their poor shooting would be an overkill.

Thursday, 6 August 2015

How to compare NBA players (improved analysis)

(Originally posted on Friday, 22 July 2016)

This is an altered version of my previous post on this topic. The main difference is that I calculate values of three different types: offensive, defensive and negative. Offensive values are for points, assists, steals and half of the overall value of rebounds. Defensive values are for blocks, steals and half of the overall value of rebounds. Negative value is only for turnovers.

The second main difference is the fact that my improved calculations increased the value of an assist (it was definitely too low) and significantly decreased the value of a point scored (the value that makes different statistics comparable).

The values of all the statistics can be applied directly to any game as a cool way to verify their correctness. The total offensive values are a very good approximation of the actual box-score points scored in tight average games. The difference between total defensive values of opposing teams as well as the difference between total negative values of opposing teams additionally explain differences in points scored.

In this post:
How to compare NBA scorers (improved analysis)
I described a way to compare NBA scorers. It was meant as a first step to compare NBA players, using also other statistics, but my improved analysis shows that the positive values of high % scorers are totally virtual (a good shooter is already credited for his extra points in the box-score) and the negative values of low % scorers are not so negative after all (their coaches for some reasons keep them quite long on the floor, so maybe their teammates would be even worse for the team if they had to play longer minutes or to take more shots than they actually do). Lastly, weak shooters are simply punishing themselves by not scoring some points that better shooters would score. Punishing them more because of their poor shooting would be an overkill.

The analysis in this post (unlike in the above mentioned post) is based on one CRUCIAL thing. All kinds of players (scorers, passers and rebounders) have to do their job to achieve, as a team, an average result. All of them. So, for example, we CANNOT credit a point guard for 2 points per 1 assist, because a scorer also had to do his job – there would be NO assist if the scorer missed a wide open shot or a dunk. And it works the other way round too – not all of the points should be credited to the actual scorers – basketball is a team sport after all. The question is how all the statistics should be compared to each other.


All the statistical data I used I found on this site:
http://www.basketball-reference.com/

I based some of my calculations on the league-wide team-averages of TOTAL numbers that I found on 40 such sites:
http://www.basketball-reference.com/leagues/NBA_2016.html

To be precise: from each such page I took the line “League Average” and summed them all.


REBOUNDS

I started with the value of a rebound and it turns out that it's a VERY solid foundation on which some other statistical values may be based.

I decided to start with the most extreme example – one team grabs EVERY rebound. To make the analysis easier I assumed that all the players have 2P% of 50.0% and they attempt only 2P shots. It goes like this:
1. Team-1 – a FG made – 2 points.
2. Team-2 – a FG made – 2 points.
3. Team-1 – a FG missed – 1 rebound (offensive) for Team-1.
4. Team-1 – a FG made – 2 points.
5. Team-2 – a FG missed – 1 rebound (defensive) for Team-1.
6. Team-1 – a FG missed – 1 rebound (offensive) for Team-1.

This is the whole sequence that is repeated a number of times in the whole game – the next 2 shots would be made (one shot by each team) starting with Team-1, exactly as it was at the start of the sequence.

The sums for the sequence are:
Team-1: 4 points and 3 rebounds (2 offensive and 1 defensive).
Team-2: 2 points and 0 rebounds.

Let's put this into a game perspective. How many possessions are there during the whole game? For a team 100 possessions would mean 100 points (100 shot attempts with 2P% of 50.0% multiplied by 2 points per shot made). So 200 possessions per game is a good approximation. But there are 6 possessions in the sequence and 200 can't be dived by 6 without any fraction. For this very reason I assumed 204 possessions per game (204/6 = 34 sequences). In a tied game there would be 102 possessions (102 points) for each team.

The sums for the whole game would be:
Team-1: 136 points and 102 rebounds (68 offensive and 34 defensive).
Team-2: 68 points and 0 rebounds.
Differences: 68 points and 102 rebounds.

Rebound's overall value (imprecise): 2/3 (68/102).
Rebound's offensive value (imprecise): 1/3 ((136-102)/102 = 34/102). Rebound's defensive value (imprecise): 1/3 ((102-68)/102 = 34/102).

Calculating values for offensive and defensive rebounds gives different values in different examples BUT calculating a value for ANY rebound gives ALWAYS the same value! The value depends only on the assumed FG%.

To show you that this is true I prepared another example. I assumed that all the players have 2P% of 50.0% and they attempt only 2P shots (similarly to the first example), but Team-2 grabs half of the defensive rebounds (and still no offensive rebounds). It goes like this:
1. Team-1 – a FG made – 2 points.
2. Team-2 – a FG made – 2 points.
3. Team-1 – a FG missed – 1 rebound (defensive) for Team-2.
4. Team-2 – a FG missed – 1 rebound (defensive) for Team-1.
5. Team-1 – a FG made – 2 points.
6. Team-2 – a FG made – 2 points.
7. Team-1 – a FG missed – 1 rebound (offensive) for Team-1.
8. Team-1 – a FG made – 2 points.
9. Team-2 – a FG missed – 1 rebound (defensive) for Team-1.
10. Team-1 – a FG missed – 1 rebound (defensive) for Team-2.
11. Team-2 – a FG made – 2 points.
12. Team-1 – a FG made – 2 points.
13. Team-2 – a FG missed – 1 rebound (defensive) for Team-1.
14. Team-1 – a FG missed – 1 rebound (offensive) for Team-1.

This is the whole sequence that is repeated a number of times in the whole game – the next 2 shots would be made (one shot by each team) starting with Team-1 AND after the next missed shot by Team-1 the ball would go to the Team-2, exactly as it was at the start of the sequence.

The sums for the sequence are:
Team-1: 8 points and 5 rebounds (2 offensive and 3 defensive).
Team-2: 6 points and 2 rebounds.

Let's put this into a game perspective. There are 14 possessions in the sequence and 200 can't be dived by 14 without any fraction. For this very reason I assumed 196 possessions per game (196/14 = 14 sequences). In a tied game there would be 98 possessions (98 points) for each team.

The sums for the whole game would be:
Team-1: 112 points and 70 rebounds (28 offensive and 42 defensive).
Team-2: 84 points and 28 rebounds (0 offensive and 28 defensive).
Differences: 28 points and 42 rebounds.

Rebound's overall value (imprecise): 2/3 (28/42).
Rebound's offensive value (imprecise): 1/3 ((112-98)/42 = 14/42).
Rebound's defensive value (imprecise): 1/3 ((96-84)/42 = 14/42).

As you can see the values (imprecise) are the same as before. Some of the rebounds cancel each other out, but what is left explains the point difference perfectly (at least in the examples). But the examples assumed 2P% of 50.0 % and the league-wide average 2P% from the last 40 years was 48.3 %.

When both teams shoot with higher percentage then the values of a rebound are higher and when both teams shoot with lower percentage then the values a rebound are lower. If both teams would miss all their shots then the value of a rebound would be ZERO!

Let's divide the overall value of a rebound from the examples above (2/3) by the assumed 2P% of 50.0 % = 2/3/0.5 = 4/3 = 1.333(3) = 133.333(3) %. It means that for the assumed 2P% of 50.0 % the value of the rebound is 33.333(3) % higher than the assumed 2P%. So the value of the difference between the assumed 2P% (0.5) and the average league-wide 2P% from the last 40 years (0.483) was worth: (0.5 – 0.483) * 4/3 = 0.0226(6). We have to subtract this value from the value of the rebound from the examples (2/3) = 0.6666(6) – 0.0226(6) = 0.644.

BUT in the examples above there was another assumption: all the field goals were worth only 2 points. In reality some of the field goals are 3-pointers. In the last 40 years exactly 9.86 % of the field goals were 3-pointers, so the average value of a field goal is 2.0986 (0.0986 * 3 + 0.9014 * 2). This value (2.0986) is 4.93% higher than the one (2.0) I assumed in the above examples (field goals only from 2P shots).

BUT (again) if we take 3-pointers into consideration then we have to take the FG% instead of 2P%. The the average FG% in the last 40 years was 46.5 %. So the value of the difference between the assumed 2P% (0.5) and the average league-wide FG% from the last 40 years (0.465) was worth: (0.5 – 0.465) * 4/3 = 0.0466(6). We have to subtract this value from the value of the rebound from the examples (2/3) = 0.6666(6) – 0.0466(6) = 0.62.

So the value of a rebound with 3-pointers involved is 0.62 * 1.0493 = 0.65 (a little higher than 0.644 calculated for 2P shots only). Half of the value is the offensive value and half of it is the defensive value.

TRB_O (before fine-tuning) = 0.325 * TRB
TRB_D (before fine-tuning) = 0.325 * TRB

I don't like such precise values and I will fine-tune them at the end to make them easier to remember and use, but for the precise calculations of other values I will use these rebound-values.

There is one VERY important thing left to analyse for rebounds: what the rebound-value means in a tied game? In the examples above the rebounds explained both positive extra points for Team-1 and negative extra points for Team-2. Half of the rebound value was “offensive” and half was was “defensive”. In the second example some defensive values cancelled out some offensive values, but their value stayed the same. So, in a tied game ALL the offensive values are cancelled out by ALL the defensive values, but their values should stay the same too (as the two examples showed).

In a tied game with 100 points and 50 rebounds for each team the offensive value of 50 rebounds would be 16.25 (0.325 * 50). It means that on average 16.25 points (out of 100 scored) were earned by sheer rebounding, so they should be credited to players with rebounds, NOT to the actual scorers!

With only rebounds and points (and no assists and no other statistics) the scorers should be credited with 83.75 points (100 – 16.25), which is 83.75 % of their scored points. But other statistics (most importantly assists and steals) do influence scoring, so the value of a point scored is LESS than 0.8375 point. The question is how much less. It will be described toward the end.


ASSISTS

You can't make an example for assists similar to the example for rebounds, so I was left only with common sense and the actual numbers from the last 40 years. The total number were:
a) field goals made: 127185,
b) field goals attempted: 273321,
c) assists: 75567.

The average FG% was: 127185/273321 = 46.5 % (as I wrote before). However an assist means 1 FG made on 1 FG attempted. So the without assists the numbers will be much lower:
a) field goals made without an assist: 51618 (127185 – 75567),
b) field goals attempted without an assist: 197754 (273321 – 75567).

The average FG% for field goals without as assist was: 26.1 %. ONLY 26.1 %!!! What does it mean? It means that team-play is much better than individual-play. Pretty obvious, isn't it?

Individual play means that scorers can score all by themselves, although with very low FG%. So, an assists means that a shot was MORE probable (100.0 % – 26.1 %) = 73.9 %. But this added probability was thanks to team-play not to an assist alone.

Team-play means that passers and scorers complement each other. Even after a VERY good pass there would be NO assist if the scorer missed a wide open shot or a dunk (such a situation falls into the category of FG% without an assist). So the added probability of a field goal (with an assist) means that BOTH the passer and the scorer did their job.

Whose job is easier? On average the scorer's job is easier, BUT good scorers make the point-guard's job easier too. A particular point-guard would have less assists when playing with weak scorers than when playing with good scorers. I assumed that 70.0 % of the credit for a field goal after an assist should go to the passer and 30.0 % of the credit should go to the scorer. This is very subjective, but I HAVE to make an assumption to be able to calculate things.

The average value of a field goal is 2.0986, but we have to remember that 16.25 % of all the points should be credited to the rebounders. We end up with this calculations: 0.739 * 0.7 * 2.0986 * (1 – 0.1625) = 0.909.

AST_O (before fine-tuning) = 0.909 * AST


BLOCKS

A block stops a shot completely, so it negates the average field-goal value of not-blocked shots (a block is counted as a missed shot toward the shooter). In the last 40 years there were 127185 FG made, 273321 FG attempted and 16534 blocks. So the average FG% for non-blocked shots was: 127185 / (273321 – 16534) = 49.5 %.

The average value of a field goal is 2.0986, so the average value of not-blocked field goal is 2.0986 * 0.495 = 1.04, but blocks hardly any occur against 3-point shots, so I can safely round it down to 1.00. The same analysis for 2P-shots only gives the block value of 0.99.

BLK_D = 1 * BLK


TURNOVERS (negative) and STEALS (defensive)

Similar analysis to blocks, but with normal FG average: 2.0986 * 0.465 = 0.976. This value is lost by a turnover, however some turnovers (51.0%) transform into steals. The question is how much should we credit the stealer and how much should we punish the player who committed the turnover?

Once again I have to point out that all the players should do their job and their job is also to play defence. While playing defence they should be aware what is going on around them and they should steal weak passes. But there are some steals that should be fully credited to the stealer, because they played some VERY good defence. But how many such above-average steals are there?

I assume that 35.0 % of steals should be credited to the stealer (VERY good defence) and 65.0 % should be “credited” to the player with the turnover. But there are also turnovers without steals (49.0 %), so they should be fully “credited” to the player with the turnover: -0.976 * (0.51 * 0.65 + 0.49 * 1) = -0.802. For the steal it (positive defensive value) would be: 0.976 * 0.35 = 0.342.

TOV_N (before fine-tuning) = -0.802 * TOV
STL_D (before fine-tuning) = 0.342 * STL


STEALS (offensive)

The offensive value of a steal means “easy points coming from steals” (the added probability of a field goal) – there are some fast-breaks from steals that end with an easy field goal. But not every such fast-break ends with a field-goal. And not every steal results in a fast-break.

On one hand a steal is not as valuable offensively as an assist because it doesn't make the shot 100 % sure, BUT a steal means that there was no need for a defensive rebound to get the possession, so those 16.25 % should NOT be credited to the rebounder. A change in possession is connected with defence (already described), so those 16.25 % should NOT be credited to the stealer either.

Let's assume that 66.6(6) % (2/3) of steals end with very easy points that make everybody's job MUCH easier (it's impossible to judge how many assists come during fast-breaks, so I ignore this issue completely). The average FG% is 46.5 % and the average value of a field goal is 2.0986, so the calculations are: 2/3 * (1 – 0.465) * 2.0986 = 0.749

STL_O (before fine-tuning) = 0.749 * STL


PERSONAL FOULS

I don't value personal fouls. Why? Not every foul ends with a free throw and some of the fouls that end with free throws are GOOD because they were committed either on a weak FT shooter or to prevent easy points. And the offensive value of a FT (for the opposing team) is reflected in points scored (for the opposing team).

PF_D = 0


POINTS

Knowing the value of a rebound, the value of an assist and the value of a streal I can calculate how much is left for the points.

For points after an assist the calculations are:
(1 – 0.1625) * 2.0986 * 0.261 + (1 – 0.1625) * (1 – 0.261) * 2.0986 * 0.3 = 0.848.
The first part refers to the part of a point that scorers are able to score all by themselves, although with a very low percentage of 26.1 % (the credit for 16.25 % of the average FG value with such a FG% goes to the rebounder and what is left should be credited to the scorer) and the second part refers to the added probability of a field goal (the credit for 16.25 % of the added probability of the average FG value with such a FG% goes to the rebounder, 70.0 % of what is left goes to the assist-maker and 30.0 % goes to the scorer).

For points from a steal the calculations are:
0.465 * 2.0986 + 1/3 * (1 – 0.465) * 2.0986= 1.350.
The first part refers to the part of a point that the scorers are able to score with all the playars doing their average job and the second part refers to the added probability of a field goal (the credit for 2/3 of the added probability goes to the stealer). A steal means that there was no need for a defensive rebound and this is why no rebounder should be credited in such situations.

For points without an assist nor steal the calculations are:
2.0986 * (1 – 0.1625) = 1.758.
The credit for 16.25 % of the average FG value with the average FG% goes to the rebounder and the rest goes to the scorer.

These 3 kinds of situations happen in different numbers, so I had to calculate a weighted-average of the above values using total numbers from the last 40 years. The result is 1.128. This is the average value of a FIELD GOAL that should be credited to the scorer. The average field goal value is 2.0986, so 53.75 % (1.128 / 2.0986) of the points scored from field goals should be credited to the scorers.

As for free throws I decided that I will credit all of them to the scorers. Yes, some of the fouls occur during team-play, but many of them are committed early in the play and are the fault of the defender rather than the result of good team-play. Moreover some of fouls are tactical – toward the end of the game or against a weak free throw shooter. Finally, my values for rebounds were calculated for field goals only, so they may be not correct for the part of the points from free throws (in the actions ending up in at least two free throws there is no FG%). For these very reasons I will credit all the points from free throws to the scorers.

PTS_O (before fine-tuning) = 0.5375 * (PTS – FT) + 1 * FT


FINE-TUNING

I used the offensive values calculated above (for rebounds, assists, steals and points) and checked the total team-average number of points from the last 40 years (using the data obtained the way I described at the beginning). The number of total team-average points I calculated was 341676.32 and the actual number of total team-average points scored was 331374. The difference was 10302.32, so the error was ONLY 3.1 %!

To be honest I was glad that there was some error because it allowed me to find a reason to fine-tune the too-precise values.

My FINAL (fine-tuned) values are:

PTS_O = 0.5 * (PTS – FT) + 1 * FT
TRB_O = 0.33 * TRB
TRB_D = 0.33 * TRB
AST_O = 0.9 * AST
STL_O = 0.75 * STL
STL_D = 0.33 * STL
BLK_D = 1 * BLK
TOV_N = -0.8 * TOV

The number of total team-average points I calculated using my final offensive values (for points, rebounds, assists and steals) was 331707.83 and the actual number of total team-average points scored was 331374. The difference was 333.83, so the error was ONLY 0.1 %!!!

The total negative value of turnovers was -41757.60 and the total positive defensive value of rebounds, blocks and steals was 71124.25. Such values, on average, cancel each other out, but in a particular game the difference between these values calculated separately for the opposing teams should explain, to some extent, the actual point difference between the teams.

The average total values of a team per game were:
Total offensive values: 102.6
Total negative values: -12.9
Total defensive values: 22.0
Total overall values: 111.7


VERIFICATION

To verify my values I used the last 3 NBA games (games 5, 6 and 7 of the 2016 NBA finals), my favourite NBA game ever – the Memorial Day Miracle and the game 7 of the 2013 NBA finals (the win by the Miami Heat over the San Antonio Spurs):
http://www.basketball-reference.com/boxscores/201606130GSW.html
http://www.basketball-reference.com/boxscores/201606160CLE.html
http://www.basketball-reference.com/boxscores/201606190GSW.html
http://www.basketball-reference.com/boxscores/199905310SAS.html
http://www.basketball-reference.com/boxscores/201306200MIA.html

The numbers mostly speak for themselves, but please remember that some games are played MUCH differently than an average game - it's only the DIFFERENCE between overall values that counts. The differences between the values are given in the brackets.

Game 1:
Teams: Cleveland Cavaliers at Golden State Warriors
Result: 112 – 97 [15]
Total offensive values: 98.28 – 92.89 [5.39]
Total negative values: -12.80 – -13.60 [0.8]
Total defensive values: 26.16 – 25.17 [0.99]
Total overall values: 111.64 – 104.46 [7.18]

Good enough approximation. Please notice that in this game both LeBron James and Kyrie Irving scored 41 points, but LeBron James was MUCH better (44.5 overall against 28.84 overall).


Game 2:
Teams: Golden State Warriors at Cleveland Cavaliers
Result: 101 – 115 [-14]
Total offensive values: 92.90 – 115.45 [-22.55]
Total negative values: -11.20 – -8.00 [-3.20]
Total defensive values: 16.20 – 25.81 [-9.61]
Total overall values: 97.90 – 133.26 [-35.36]

Weak approximation, but it is explained by the fact that one team played significantly below average and the other team played significantly above average. My values are calculated for the average game, so when the actual numbers for the opposing teams go in the opposite directions from the average numbers, they get multiplied. It seems that the bigger the difference the higher the multiplier.


Game 3:
Teams: Cleveland Cavaliers at Golden State Warriors
Result: 93 – 89 [4]
Total offensive values: 93.39 – 87.42 [5.97]
Total negative values: -8.80 – -8.00 [-0.8]
Total defensive values: 24.15 – 20.18 [3.97]
Total overall values: 108.74 – 99.60 [9.14]

Very good approximation.


Game 4:
Teams: Portland Trail Blazers at San Antonio Spurs
Result: 85 – 86 [-1]
Total offensive values: 90.31 – 88.90 [1.41]
Total negative values: -12.00 – -12.80 [0.80]
Total defensive values: 20.49 – 22.86 [-2.37]
Total overall values: 98.80 – 98.96 [-0.16]

Almost perfect approximation. Cool.


Game 5:
Teams: San Antonio Spurs at Miami Heat
Result: 88 – 95 [-7]
Total offensive values: 88.89 – 85.79 [3.10]
Total negative values: -11.20 – -12.80 [1.60]
Total defensive values: 21.15 – 20.83 [0.32]
Total overall values: 98.84 – 93.82 [5.02]

Strange approximation – pointing at the wrong team. But the absolute error is acceptable.