Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Who's Not Honoring Me Now? (i)

OK, let's get this bloggy started right, let's get this bloggy started quickly.

We've had a few weeks to digest all the comings and goings around the league, so it's prediction time, but that'll be another post. Time to find out Who's Not Honoring Me Now -- I'd guess that numnut Marty Burns, but no, Marc Stein is this week's designated Hater.

Laker Rankings:
(1) - Sagarin
(1) - Hollinger/ESPN
(2) - Stein/ESPN
(1) - Burns/SI
(1) - Ball Don't Lie/Yahoo
(1) - Murphy/Covers

So, the Celtics have lost at INDIANA and at home DENVER -- two teams that will struggle to make the playoffs, and the Lakers layed an egg at home to a hot-shooting and certain contender Detroit team. Somehow, that was enough for Stein to put the Lakers at #2.

Meanwhile, the Sagarin index has the Lakers with a larger point lead over the #2 spot (Cavs) than the homecourt advantage factor, meaning the Lakers should be favored in any game, home or away.

Pretty easy schedule so far, and nothing daunting coming on the schedule, so mainly the Lakers just need to stay focused, especially on defense. Here's something not-at-all surprising: The Lakers are 4-3 at home against the spread (yawn, we're up 18, let's relax, stop playing D, and let Sasha jack up some shots), and 4-1 ATS on the road. So color me worried that we'll see a setback in one of these next 3 home games (Nets, Mavericks, Raptors).


$9,000,000,000 Write Off said...

So, the Celtics have lost at INDIANA and at home DENVER

I’m not offended by Stein (not impressed, either). The Lakers lost at Indiana and at home to a team that would struggle to make the Western Conference playoffs, so I think that the "body of work" analysis is a toss-up between the Lakers and Celtics.

The Lakers’ talent on defense is improved by replacing Walton with Ariza, but Bynum > Touriaf isn't enormous. Scheme wise, it almost doesn't matter. When Fish, Gasol, and Vlad are on the floor, they don't scramble well (so any rotation will suck) and they can’t cover their man (so Kobe and Bynum are stretched). Boston doesn't have that problem and can play defense all game. .

People say, "The Lakers don't play 48 minutes of defense”, but they really mean that the starting 5 plays as bad as it did last year. When Farmar & Ariza replace Vlad & Fish is when all the fun begins. And Farmar’s not even that solid on D, but in comparison to Fish he’s Bruce Bowen.

PS: Fish has the worst shooting percentage on the floor. Please stop driving.

flyE said...

These rankings were done prior to the Indiana loss, so I stand by my statement. You really think Detroit would struggle to make the playoffs in the West? I guess only if, technically, with a strong 9 teams just about everyone will struggle.

Anyway, we'll see next week. It isn't just the loss but the way the Lakers are playing -- they might be the best team in the West still, but they are a step behind the Celtics and Cavs.

Interesting if you check Sagarin today -- the Lakers are #1, but only because they are #2 in the individual rankings while the Celts and Cavs split 1 & 3. Hollinger has the Cavs #1, and his rankings have a recent-game bias which Sagarin doesn't. Hollinger reminds me of Nate Silver -- his statistical methods are tres interesante, but when he veers into personal interpretation the heavy biases come to the forefront.