Thursday, May 22, 2008
CP3 Exposed???

This blogger claims Chris Paul is the NBA version of Milli Vanilli. Click anywhere for the original link. The question is: does it only apply to Chris or everyone? Because if it's everyone, you shouldn't single out the new Magic/Iverson

Judge for yourself

I have to mention a scorekeeping issue that really bothers me--and a problem that Hall of Famers Oscar Robertson and Rick Barry have talked about for years. Robertson, at one time the career leader in assists (he currently ranks fourth), has repeatedly said that assists are doled out much more generously by scorekeepers than they were when he played. Barry told me that the only statistic he trusts is free throw percentage because every other number can be manipulated in some way either by the player (for instance, missing a shot to pad one's offensive rebounding totals) or by the subjective judgment of the scorekeeper, who has the final word in deciding whether or not a tap is an offensive rebound, who should get credit for a steal--and what constitutes an assist. In my post about game one of this series, I pointed out that even though Paul was officially credited with seven assists on passes to David West (and 13 total assists) three of those assists were clearly scored incorrectly (Paul did not even pass to West on one of the plays in question!) and one of them was marginal at best. For game seven, I tracked every one of Paul's 14 official assists and it turns out that he actually should only have been credited with nine assists (see the notes at the end of this post for a breakdown of what happened on each of these plays).

Why does this matter? If you look at the boxscore and see that Paul had 14 assists then you might think that he had a great game. That is how David Berri and a lot of other stats gurus "analyze" basketball: by crunching unreliable numbers without ever watching a game. I love stats and numbers as much as anyone but, frankly, I am disgusted by this new wave of so-called "analysts" who think that a spreadsheet tells them all they need to know about basketball; they not only fail to realize the folly of this conception on a general level but they are oblivious to how subjective some of the "official" statistics are. Anyone who watched this game seven with understanding realizes that Paul played reasonably well, but not great. Paul got into the lane on a few occasions and made some passes that resulted in dunks but overall the Spurs did a good job of containing him--and that is one of the reasons that the Spurs won the deciding game in this series. Paul certainly did not dominate the flow of this game the way that Kobe Bryant does on a nightly basis or the way that LeBron James does even in defeat by forcing the opposing team to shadow him all over the court with multiple defenders.

Also, taking a broader view than just this game, Paul's assist totals are one of the major factors being cited by people who claim that Paul should have won the MVP and that he already ranks among the all-time great point guards. I think that Paul is the best point guard in the NBA today and that he was the third best player in the NBA this season behind Bryant and James but I also think that it is clear that assists are awarded much more liberally now than they should be or than they were in the past and that Paul is a big beneficiary of this largesse. I don't doubt that Steve Nash, Jason Kidd and other point guards also receive such help and I think that this kind of faulty scorekeeping is a major reason that Nash owns two MVP awards. If Nash had been credited with 8 or 9 apg instead of 11.5 apg and 10.5 apg in 2005 and 2006 respectively then the voters would have had a more difficult time justifying giving the award to a player who averaged less than 19 ppg each season and is a major liability defensively.

A Breakdown of Chris Paul's 14 Game Seven Assists

1: Stojakovic jumper, 9:22 1st q--Correct; Stojakovic caught the pass and went straight into his shooting motion.
2: Chandler dunk, 7:01 1st q--Correct; Chandler caught the pass and dunked it.
3: West jumper, 6:21 1st q--Incorrect; West caught the ball with his back to the basket at the 6:26 mark. Paul moved from the left wing to the top of the key as West turned and faced up Fabricio Oberto. West then dribbled, did a spin move and shot a tough fadeaway jumper. There is no conceivable way that this can correctly be scored as an assist. An assist is only supposed to be awarded if the pass significantly contributed to the score and if the player who received the pass made an immediate reaction to shoot. West executed multiple moves and fakes before he scored.
4: West jumper, 4:33 1st q--Incorrect; this one is so bad it is ridiculous: West received the ball from Paul at the right free throw line extended at the 4:40 mark. West pump faked Oberto off of his feet, took four dribbles, made a spin move into the paint, came to a jump stop, did an up and under move and then shot a jump hook. Seven seconds, four dribbles and multiple fakes happened between Paul's pass and West's shot! If Paul deserves an assist, then I think that West's point guard at Xavier should get one, too--he had about as much to do with West making this shot as Paul did.
5: Chandler dunk, 7:09 2nd q--Correct; Chandler caught the pass and dunked it.
6: Stojakovic three pointer, 5:22 2nd q--Correct; Stojakovic caught the pass and went straight into his shooting motion.
7: Peterson three pointer, 4:43 2nd q--Correct; Peterson caught the pass and went straight into his shooting motion.
8: Stojakovic jumper, 3:31 2nd q--Incorrect; Stojakovic caught the pass, pump faked, used an escape dribble and then shot. If the shooter does more than half of the work the passer is not supposed to receive credit and this basket would never have been scored without the fake and the dribble move.
9: Peterson driving layup, :24 2nd q--Incorrect; Peterson received the ball at the three point line at the :27 mark. If he had shot it at that point then Paul would deserve an assist, but Peterson took two dribbles, drove past Tony Parker, eluded Tim Duncan and made a layup. That is a one on one (or one on two) move, not an assisted field goal.
10: West dunk, :07 3rd q--Correct; West caught the pass and dunked it.
11: Chandler dunk, 10:15 4th q--Correct; Chandler caught the pass and dunked it.
12: Pargo driving layup, 8:34 4th q--Incorrect; Pargo caught the pass at the three point line at the 8:38 mark, faked a shot, drove past Tony Parker and shot a tough runner. If assists are going to be awarded on this play and on play number nine above then every single time someone passes the ball and the recipient eventually scores an assist should be awarded. Obviously, that is not within the letter or the spirit of what an assist is supposed to be, namely a pass that creates a scoring opportunity that otherwise would not have existed. If Pargo had caught the ball and shot, then Paul would deserve an assist but once Pargo created a shot then the pass lost any claim of being worthy of being designated as an assist.
13: Chandler dunk, 7:59 4th q--Correct; Chandler caught the pass and dunked it.
14: Pargo three pointer, 1:35 4th q--Correct; Paul back tapped an offensive rebound to Pargo, who caught the pass and shot it. Paul was rightly credited with both an offensive rebound and an assist on this play.


posted by Sickamore @ 2:29 PM  
  • At May 22, 2008, 2:58:00 PM, Anonymous Phella said…

    haha this shit is too funny. especially number 3. If they're awarding assists like that then the guy who brings the ball to the arena should get one, the ball buys should get one, the lady in the front row who gave the ball to the ref should get one.

    I bet those were home games too. On another note, this guy has too much time on his hands.

  • At May 22, 2008, 3:59:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Kobe is not consistent every night. And they do this type of stuff in life period..including music sales and etc which actually grants people their 'legendary' awards even though the numbers are wrong. But he sounds like he's hating on Paul too and like dude said before me...her has too much time on his hands.

  • At May 22, 2008, 4:22:00 PM, Anonymous typical female :) said…

    who cares. he's hot.

  • At May 22, 2008, 4:29:00 PM, Anonymous Candy Paul said…

    As Chris' wifey, I feel obligated to respond to the allegation of said "scorekeeping issue". With bitchassness running rampant in our communities, it is apparent that this blogger has come in contact with said disease. Currently there is no cure other than condemning infected individuals to solitude. With that being said...

    ::cues in Maino's "Hi Hater"::

    Before I leave, I ask that you change the picture of my husband for he is looking a little Silk the Shocker-ish. I would hate to see your site shut down.

    Candy Paul

  • At May 22, 2008, 7:04:00 PM, Blogger International Foxx said…

    Yeah I agree with "Candy" that dude has come down with a case of bitchassness! But this is one of the hundreds of things wrong with the NBA starting with the ref's who operate for David Sterns hidden agendas *cough* *cough* Lakers vs Celtics Finals. Oh but i don't think Candy is who she says she is unless this is her:

  • At May 24, 2008, 1:38:00 AM, Blogger David Friedman said…

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • At May 24, 2008, 1:40:00 AM, Blogger David Friedman said…

    Chris Paul is a great player--best pg in the league and third best player overall (behind Kobe and LeBron). I made that very clear in the post. I certainly don't think that he is the basketball version of Milli Vanilli. All I'm saying is that some of his official assists simply aren't assists, so some of the playoff records that he supposedly set this season are highly suspect. Also, giving CP3 an assist virtually every time D West scores makes it seem like the guy can't tie his shoes without CP3's help. D West is cold but the media make it like CP3 created him in a lab this year.

    As for having too much time, watching and writing about hoops is what I do and unlike a lot people in the business who mail in paint by numbers stories I actually get down to figuring out why teams win and why certain players are better than others--and the idea that CP3 has "made" D West is bogus. West gets a ton of points off of isos.

  • At May 27, 2008, 3:06:00 PM, Blogger Anupam said…

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