Monday, March 26, 2012

NBA All-Overrated Team

PG Monta Ellis
PER tells us that he's one of the most inefficient basketball players in the game today, even if you'd love to have him on your fantasy team.  Yes, he puts up big numbers, but they're entirely context based.  He led the league in minutes played last year while taking more than 20 shots per game for Golden State's prolific offense, so of course he averaged two dozen points per game.  With Stephen Curry, David Lee, and Dorell Wright flanking him he should have been racking up assists left and right, but he's a volume shooter who's never averaged more than six assists per game.  Comparable to Russell Westbrook, he's a shoot first, pass later point guard who piles up some impressive stats but can't be the centerpiece of a team.  Now he's in Milwaukee with the plodding Bucks, and predictably his numbers have taken a hit as he struggles to get comfortable in his new digs.  It will be interesting to see how he adapts to a team that stresses defense and employs a fellow chucker in point guard Brandon Jennings. They're essentially the same player, so we'll find out if they can coexist throughout the remainder of the season.

Honorable Mention: Ricky Rubio-flashy passes mask the fact that he's an atrocious shooter

SG Tyreke Evans
The third year King is more of a combo guard who can also play some small forward because of his size (six-six and 220 pounds), but the fact remains that he's an atrocious three-point shooter.  He's hit less than 26 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc and is down to 21.3 percent this year.  At that rate, don't even bother shooting threes unless you're so wide open that you could drop the ball, lace up your Nikes, pick the ball back up and still have a wide open look. Shooting guards need to spread the floor by sinking threes, so Evans hurts his team by being deficient in this category.  Now that would be okay if he knocked down a good amount of his field goals, say 46 percent (which he did as a rookie), but he hit just 41 percent last year and rates as a subpar shooter. I feel like the 2010 Rookie of the Year is not getting the most out of his potential.  This is a guy who averaged over 20 points, five boards and five dimes per game in his first season, numbers he's capable of putting up every night on a crummy team like the Kings (even with Jimmer Fredette jacking up shots and Marcus Thornton sharing the scoring load).  But he hasn't been able to improve on his promising debut, doesn't do anything exceptionally well and has taken a step back in several areas.  Bill Simmons once said that nobody compiles empty stats like Evans, meaning that his contributions look good in the box score but do little to help his team win.  Ironicallly those well-rounded stat lines mimic those of Andre Iguodala.  Evans, just 22, is still a work in progress, so he's someone to watch as he works his way back from a sprained ankle. 

Honorable Mention: O.J. Mayo-A great start to his career has been diminished by back to back subpar seasons

SF Carmelo Anthony
'Melo is having a down season across the board, and his struggles/injuries have played a big part in New York's disappointing performance prior to Head Coach Mike D'Antoni's stepping down.  Anthony has always been a premier scorer, but his plummeting field goal and three point percentages have caused his scoring average to dip over 20 percent, from 25.6 points per game last season to an even 20 points per game this year (but hasn't dropped more than 17 since D'Antoni's departure).  He's shooting a woeful 40 percent from the floor and 29.3 percent from downtown, both below career norms, and the typically prolific free throw shooter isn't getting to the line as much, either; his 6.3 attempts per game represent a career low and are a far cry from the 8.9 attempts he averaged during his last full season in a Denver uniform.  His assists are up, but almost everything else would be the worst or second-worst figure of his career.  To be fair, his 33.3 minutes per game are lowest of his career and he's been banged up, but his numbers have declined two straight years now.  The Knicks need him to be better than this if they want to hold on to their playoff slot.  He's been up and down this year, but if he settled down over this final month while the Knicks get hot then everyone will remember why New York looked like a legit contender prior to the season.

Honorable Mention: Luol Deng-was so underrated that he's become overrated.  Didn't deserve to make the All-Star squad, and his numbers aren't impressive for someone who logs nearly 40 minutes per game
Like most New York athletes, these guys are overrated
PF Amare Stoudemire
His statistical dropoff this year resembles the one Chris Bosh suffered last year in his underwhelming debut with the Miami Heat.  But everyone knew Bosh's numbers would take a hit playing alongside superstar scorers Dwyane Wade and LeBron James; STAT should still be getting his numbers on a team with only one other major scoring threat--the aforementioned Anthony.  Their games just aren't compatible with each other because both need the ball in their hands and prefer to go one-on-one in isolation.  Anthony is notorious for holding the ball and slowing the offense down. Neither can pass particularly well, which is unfortunate for Stoudemire because he is lethal coming off the pick and roll or pick and pop.  That's why he thrived with the elite distributor known as Steve Nash in Phoenix, but New York lacks a true point guard (sorry Jeremy Lin) that sets up his teammates, and his offense is suffering.  All of his numbers are down.  He's taking five fewer shots and two-and-a-half fewer free throws per game, so it's no surprise that his scoring average has plunged nearly eight points per game, from 25.3 to 17.6.  His shooting percentage (.477-very mediocre for a power forward) is below 50 percent for the first time since 2003-2004, when he was a 21 year-old sophomore.  The Knicks are too top-heavy and don't have enough depth to pick up the slack for him, so he needs to get it together ASAP.  Tyson Chandler can't be counted on to be a frontcourt scorer; that's what the team is paying Stoudemire for.  He doesn't provide much on defense, and almost all of his value is tied into what he can do on offense, so he can't afford to see his scoring average fall by roughly 30 percent.

Honorable Mention: David West-has been very disappointing in his Pacers debut, clearly benefitted from playing alongside Chris Paul in New Orleans

C Brook Lopez
He's currently sidelined with an ankle injury, and I feel bad kicking him while he's down, but here goes.  For a seven footer, his rebounding numbers are absolutely abysmal.  After grabbing more than eight rebounds a night during his first two seasons, he hauled in just six boards per game last year and was averaging a meager 3.6 rebounds in the five games he played this year.  Now something just doesn't add up there--either he's not hitting the glass or he can't get good interior position, but when you're that tall you should be close to double digits in that department.  For the love of God, his twin brother Robin Lopez barely plays and still gets 3.1 rebounds per game (unfortunately the talent chasm there is much greater than the one between Marc Gasol and Pau Gasol).  Brook's rebounding numbers and scoring have gone in the opposite direction, so I think he's just putting too much energy into his offense and, as a result, is slacking on the boards.  And can you blame him? People are always impressed by high scoring averages, and he's got them with 20.4 points per game last season and 17.4 for his career.  But don't be fooled; they're a byproduct of playing for a terrible team and being the only true frontcourt scoring option on said team.  His field goal percentage has hovered between 49 and 50 percent over the past three seasons, which doesn't compare well with other centers.  His unique combination of size, rebounding ineptitude, and inflated scoring averages reminds me a lot of Andrea Bargnani sans the three-pointers.  He'll be 24 on Sunday, so he's still young enough that he could improve and potentially learn a thing or two from teammate Kris Humphries.  He has to reverse this troubling rebound trend, even if it costs him a few points per game.

Honorable Mention: DeAndre Jordan-athletic freak and monster shot blocker, but he's a black hole on offense.  Can't hit free throws, doesn't pass well and probably won't score unless it's a put-back or alley-oop


  1. Let me ask you: how many current players can be the centerpiece of a team? 4? 5? 6? 7? Westbrook is a top 10 player in the nba. Sure, I also think he can't be the best player on a title team, but to say Ellis can't be the centerpiece of a team similarly to westbrook isn't that bad of a thing, because only a handful of players can be 'the man.'

    But, I'm confused as to how Ellis is overrated. He's never made an all-nba team, AS team, or had any MVP votes. Who exactly is overrating him? To say he led his team in pts. and minutes, which had a prolific offense, it sounds to me that he's actually very underrated given those things. And while it's a small sample size, GS is 3-7 without Ellis this year, and those 3 wins are against SAC(2) and NO. That's pretty awful.

    Also, he's never really been a PG, so not averaging 6 apg isn't necessarily that bad, actually his assist totals are pretty good given the fact that he's a small SG. He's averaging 6 apg this year currently. And Kobe has only averaged 6 apg once in his entire career. I don't think looking at assists this way is a very good parameter to indicate how willing of a passer/facilitator someone is. Kobe did play in the triangle, which is set up for team assists, but not necessarily individual assists. When Phil came to the bulls, we saw the same thing with jordan, as his assists plummeted immediately. Not ironically, Kobe's best assist year was in 05, the year Phil didn't coach the lakers. Ellis did exactly what his team and coach needed him to do: play heavy minutes(over 40) and score a lot. His shooting pct. actually weren't that bad.

    Somewhat agree with evans, melo, and amare. But, this year is a mess with a condensed schedule and the lockout. I just think these players on your overrated team are just underperforming much worse than last year. I don't think any of them, except for Melo making the AS team probably, is really being overrated this year. Amare is struggling, but so are the suns since he left. Melo and Amare, while both legit AS for several years, cannot be 'the man' on a title team most likely.

  2. I agree with almost everything you said, but it's not fair to compare Ellis with Kobe in the assist department. Bryant is a shooting guard who, as LA's go-to scorer, takes a ton of shots, so I would argue that his assist numbers are actually quite impressive given his role on that team. Ellis is a point guard for an elite offense, and should be getting double digit assists every game. Instead, he's more focused on getting his own shot than making his teammates better. There's plenty of offense on that team, so he should embrace his role as a facilitator. There's no reason he can't put up Deron Williams numbers-more than 20 points and 10 dimes per game.

    You're right that most of these guys are underperforming (probably due to the lockout), but Melo and Stoudemire have always been overrated because they put up big numbers for big offenses in Denver, Phoenix, and New York. People thought they were elite players, but this season has exposed some of the flaws in their game i.e. don't defend or pass well and poor shot selection.

    1. But, ellis isn't really the PG. And westbrook only has 5.4apg this year, and he's a top 10 player and the thunder are a great team. I don't think the warriors are that great offensively, I think you're overrating their offense.

      The reason I bring up Kobe is because he's a perfect example of correlating assists to passing(unselfishness according to most) doesn't work. Kobe actually does pass/facilitate a lot, but he actually doesn't have the ball as much as many think he does. He gets a lot of hockey assists and passes that lead to shooting fouls, which aren't assists usually. And a lot of Kobe's FGAs draw 2-3 defenders making it much easier for his teammates to get offensive rebounds, which is what happens often. I guess we disagree with Ellis' assists, though. You could be right, though, I don't watch that many warriors' games. Iverson recorded high assist numbers, but that doesn't mean he passed a lot. He seemed to often only pass when it would potentially lead directly to an assist only. Kobe often has to pass out of the double team, and then the next guy passes to the guy who gets the bucket(hockey assist).

      Melo and Amare probably have been overrated some in the past. I think good nba observers have always known both of them weren't good defenders, but maybe most didn't. Amare's teams have made 2 conf. finals, and melo led his team to the conf. finals once, losing to the lakers. In all 3 instances, the teams these 2 guys lost to in the conf. finas went on to win the title. But, I'm not sure either one was truly rated at an elite(top 5) level. They've both made several 2nd and 3rd all-nba teams, which is right where they've belonged for several years, but not this year, but they've had injuries this year.

    2. Ellis is a shooting guard and always has been a shooting guard, so I kinda of have difficulty taking this seriously, especially because you seem so adamant about him being a point strange..

    3. Boyer is way WAY smarter than you and he should hijack your pathetic attempt at a blog.

    4. Regardless of Ellis's position, my point is that he's still overrated. I believe he has spent some time playing point guard in Curry's absence.

  3. Pretty sure Steph Curry has been the GSW point since he arrived. Baron Davis was the point before Curry. Monta has never been a point guard in the NBA and should never be expected to have 10 assists per game in any season.

  4. DeAndre Jordan- Interior defence and rebounding excellent. When was he rated so highly as a scorer? On a team with Butler, Blake, Paul, Williams, Young and Billups you just set picks and force double teams in the post. on offence thanks Jordan.

    1. Just because he's not one of the team's top scoring options doesn't mean he has to be a one dimensional player.

  5. Most over rated SG is Kobe. If all stats were equal he'd be the greatest of all time. But their not, and he definatly isn't. A glutinous scorer, no doubt, a massive champion, sure, but less poisonous than some other players with less stats.

    1. Kobe is pretty overrated, especially the notion that he's a closer since there have been several studies proving his failures in clutch situations. He's still one of the best shooting guards ever, though, so it's hard to overrate him.

    2. These 'studies' are far from telling the whole story or even much of it. They're sloppy and consist of small sample sizes. Abbott's study was cherry-picking as well. Sure, Kobe has failed in the clutch like everyone else, but he never shies away from the big moment and wants the ball. These clutch articles are just water cooler talk at best. I suppose they're fun, but they're far from being a good analysis of anything.

      If Kobe was so unclutch, then why did his coach declare he was the team's most clutch player as a rookie at age 18, and gave him the ball in late game situations in the playoffs? Sure, he failed miserably, but he was already the best option, better than shaq, van exel, and jones. Maybe Kobe's reputation as a closer is overstated, but not by much. Teams wouldn't continue to double team more than any other player in the league for several years now, at all stages of the game.

      I just saw Jordan as an honorable mention. I definitely agree with him, mainly because he was a high commodity during the last offseason, and while he's a quality big, and nothing special. He has hardly no offensive moves at all. He's a similar player to chandler, but not as good.

    3. Obviously Kobe has hit a ton of big shots in his career, but what these articles are saying is that the isolation move with the clock winding down is already the least efficient basketball play, regardless of who's holding the ball. Kobe probably takes more of those shots than anyone else, so it's no surprise that he rates as one of the worst in the league during those situations.

      I get why there's a lot of hype around Jordan because he's young, athletic, and flashy, but those ESPN highlights don't translate to greatness. You look at his stats, and they're nothing special. He's Kendrick Perkins, more or less. Like you said, he's similar to Chandler, but not as good.

  6. That's maybe a by-product of a lot of these clutch articles, but the main pt. of almost all of these articles is to bash Kobe and proclaim him not being clutch. Kobe isn't one of the worst in isolation sets. He might have a high # of isolation sets, though. In last-second shots, this is what you have to do, though, if you're behind. Now, if there's 5-6 minutes left in the game, that might be a different story, and more ball movement might be better.

    But, once you realize that Kobe is the only playmaker on the lakers(before they added sessions) for the past several 8-9 years or more, and that pau and bynum aren't as great many think they are, then the narrative is different, which most of these idiots don't realize. Kobe has been needed to be scorer and facilitator of his team at the same time. Phil admitted eo. He said jordan could just focus on scoring, since pippen was there to facilitate, and both of them fit together well.

    Also, Kobe, not by his choice, is put into an isolation play with 5 or fewer seconds left on the shot clock because the offense becomes stagnant. The primary reasons for this is Pau not being able to create his own shot or bynum having his first move taken away has no counter and struggles mightily against double teams, so kobe is given the ball with no other choice but to shoot an awful shot in a very difficult situation. And it's better to shoot an awful shot than to just take a shot-clock violation. And this the main reason why viewers sometimes think Kobe takes supposed 'bad' shots early in the shot clock. They aren't necessarily bad shots either, but maybe not great. He probably takes these often because they very well might/probably be the best shot he or his teammates will see during the possession, because if he waits for his teammates to figure something out and they can't, then they just hand the ball off to him with 4 seconds left, and that's almost always a losing situation.

    I would say Jordan is much more like Chandler, since he's very athletic like Jordan, which Perkins is nowhere near as athletic. However, chandler/perkins both seem to be much superior defensively than jordan right now. I would take Jordan over Perkins right now, well maybe right now, but for his upswing, yes. Perkins is a hardnosed brute who won't back down and loves defense.

  7. Yes, at the end of the day, Kobe Bryant is a very smart basketball player. He has an incredible amount of confidence that results in bad shots from time to time, but the thinking behind them is that he believes he can make them, and has before. If he gets space, it's just his natural instinct to pull up and shoot the ball, which is fine because open shots don't grow on trees. Everyone says he needs to get gasol and bynum more involved, and i suppose that's true to some degree, but he does a pretty good job at that for a non-point guard. I don't feel like their offense is suffering, you know what I mean?

    You're right about LA never having a true playmaker point guard, but then again they never really needed one because of the triangle offense and running everything through Kobe. It wouldn't hurt if they had a steve nash/rajon rondo type distributor, but at the end of the day kobe bryant needs the ball in his hands. He's always been the best, and he'll keep playing that way until it's clear that he isn't anymore.

    The real question is, do the Lakers have one more title run in them?

  8. Yes, that's the beauty of the triangle. However, you're right, a legit PG would make the triangle so much better. But, if you get someone like Payton, circa 2004, it might now work. But, even with the triangle, there's going to be several times/game, and always late in games regardless of what type of offense you run, where one player needs to make the play happen, either shot or pass.

    Now, with sessions, there's more options and less predictability. The lakers were able to get away with it when Kobe was healthier and younger, but with a 33yo, 16-year vet, it's just not feasible. The lakers have more than a fighter's chance to win the title, but not much more. Bynum needs to get his act together, and he and Pau need to play more aggressively for the entire game. Kobe has to play phenomenally for each round. His teammates aren't good enough to carry him much through any rough patches. Their defense needs to improve.