For a guy who actually thought about being a writer in university, I must say that I find it painfully difficult to actual write anything longer than 140 characters. You can blame it on texting or twitter, but I think spending the better part of my adulthood watching 5-6 different basketball games simultaneously on 6 tv’s probably deserves some blame.
That being said, Its been quite some time since my last entry so consider this an NBA recap of sorts.
They were who we thought they were
I predicted the Miami Heat to run roughshod over the rest of the NBA when they assembled their “big three” of LBJ, Dwade and Bosh in 2010. I was wrong. Sort of.
back then I wrote;
OKC provides a glimmer of hope - if they can add one more great player then they have a shot in a few years time. They have Westbrook who has the ability to be a decent defender, as does Harden. And they have a relative defensive ace in Thabo Sefalosha, but nobody with enough size to handle LeBron. The players in the league who are best suited to handle LeBron, Artest, Pierce, and Battier are all on the wrong side of 30.
Get back to me when Lebron is 31 because for the next 5 years it’s over.
Of course Mark Cuban and the Mavs had the last laugh in 2010 and now the Lakers have stacked the deck for a few more runs at it, but I still think the Heat are pretty much set for the next 4-5 years.
I think basically Spoelstra and the Heat staff deserve a lot of credit for figuring out the right style of play and filling out the roster. Initially i wanted to see a lot of LeBron playing PG, but he’s much much more well suited to playing the 4 and thats precisely what the Heat did last year during their playoff run.
Fortunately for Miami there aren’t too many bigs in the league that can really punish Miami for playing small and as long as Miami is willing to surround LBJ with a bunch of 3 point shooters they’ll be absolutely devastating.
Now that the Lakers have picked up Dwight things have changed somewhat. People forget just how good Dwight Howard is on both sides of the ball. Do you really think that any one other player (save for LeBron) could have taken Orlando to the finals in 2009? Dwight is scary good and now he is playing on a stacked Lakers starting five.
The Lakers Heat matchup presents as good an example of conflicting basketball styles (small vs big) as I can recall. It’ll be interesting to see if either team blinks first or if both teams stay true to their philosophies. In last years finals OKC and coach Scott Brooks didn’t alter their lineups or make many adjustments. They stayed big and their bigs had a lot of trouble defending out to the 3 point line, and I personally think that cost them a chance of winning the series.
The difference between the Lakers and OKC is that the Lakers bigs will actually produce on the offensive end whereas neither Ibaka or Perkins have to be guarded in the traditional sense. So if Mike Brown decides to stay big (and I think he should) against the Heat, you won’t hear a peep out of me. both Dwight and Pau are very good offensively.
Yes, Dwight is a good offensive player. A lot of people confuse being good offensively as someone who has a polished look to his offensive game, being good offensively in the NBA means that when you are on the floor, your teams offense performs better than it does when you are off the floor. Dwight does a lot of things on offense that makes his team more efficient and because of that, he is a fantastic offensive player.
The Lockout Effect
I get asked quite often how betting the NBA lockout shortened season went last year and in a word it was exhausting.
First off our model had no idea it was a lockout, it had no idea that teams didn’t have a proper training camp nor exhibition schedule, last year was the only year we ever had to add ad hoc “hack” at the end of our models output. That created a lot of uncertainty and I was legitimately worried that the year would be extremely difficult to cap.
We did however come up with a few different hacks, I say different hacks because the hack wasn’t static, it had to be malleable and fluid as the season progressed. I don’t really like to talk too much specifically about my methods so I apologize if this is unnecessarily vague. But ya last year was exhausting.
In addition to the fluid malleable hack, the season itself was a nightmare in terms of scheduling. Normally I work around 70 hours a week during the season, but if feels like a smooth 70 hours. I basically spend nearly every waking hour save 2-3 a day working on basketball during the season, the lone saving grace for me was the light Turner TNT Thursday nights (previously coined “date night” by my ex). Thursdays were nice, I could relax and take it easy. Last year, there were no light Thursdays. It was pretty much a mess of basketball every day all season long.
I remember following twitter the night the lockout ended and being so excited that I couldn’t stop smiling. I also remember the last week of the regular season rolling around and being nearly as excited.
Despite the exhaustion, it was a pretty good year from a betting standpoint, but still I never really felt like I had a chance to catch my breath till the end of March. I am usually a bit sad when the regular season is winding down, not last year. I was earning, but I couldn’t wait for it to be over. This year I can’t wait get back to the grind of a regular regular season. All thats left is to deal with all that messy lockout data from last year.