Some Dominoes Fall, Others Do Not

By:
Published: February 23, 2013
Domino Theory

No control of destiny
Wake me up to reality
I can just see Anarchy
And there ain’t no telling
who’s in charge here

Hey, ho, let the bombs blow
Let the dominoes fall
I ain’t got control

— Rancid, Dominoes Fall

Sports

The New Orleans Hornets All-Star break was not as effective as breaks other teams had, leading them to an 0-3 week. Their record has fallen to 19-37, landing them in a clump of three teams in the cellar of the West, three solid games behind Minnesota who is more than three games behind the rest of the West. For those hoping for a good chance at a high draft pick, for teams in the East have worse records than all the teams at the bottom of the West, giving them only about an 18% chance at a top 3 pick.

Only two of the losses came with Eric Gordon. Their record with Eric Gordon is 10-10, 3-4 without him. Not much difference. For reference, in the last 7 games with Eric Gordon, the team is 2-5, and 3-7 in the last 10. In the wins column, he’s just not making a difference.

Execution was the story in the 96-87 loss to Chicago. The teams were essentially even everywhere in the box score, except the score. Rebounds were in Chicago’s favor, but not dramatically so, and not enough to explain a 9 point loss. With 10 minutes left to play, the Hornets were only down by 1 point. An 8-2 run by Chicago in the next 3 minutes led to an 7 point margin with 7 minutes left to play. The next two minutes saw 3 points by the Hornets, 2 by the Bulls, leaving the Hornets with a 6 point deficit to overcome in 5 minutes. In the last 5 minutes, Eric Gordon hit a two point shot, a three point shot, missed a three point shot, and committed 3 turnovers. Vasquez added a only one turnover that mattered, two misses, a defensive rebound, and a single made shot for 2 points. No one else scored. 7 points on 6 shots, 4 turnovers, and a single rebound from the guards is poor execution. The lone assist was on Gordon’s three point shot and was from Vasquez. No attempts from the bigs in last 5 minutes? None? Not good.

Losing to Cleveland 105-100 has a very simple explanation: Kyrie Irving. After C.J. Miles tied the game at 74 with 9:23 left to play, Kyrie Irving scored 19 points for Cleveland. He scored 16 points in his previous 25:17. 7 of these 19 came from the line, and Cleveland ended the game with 5 more made free throws than the Hornets.

The 104-100 Dallas loss was also a matter of execution, but the entire game really was dominated by extreme runs. The fourth quarter started with the Hornets down 4, then, other than an opening 2 points by Dallas, saw the teams trading runs of at least 4 points until Dirk stopped a Hornets run at 3 points with a bucket of his own, bringing the Mavericks within 1. Anderson hit a three to give the Hornets a 4 points lead with 55 seconds left to play. The Mavericks ended on a 8-0 run to seal the game. The Hornets plays in the last minute: miss by Vasquez, miss by Gordon, turnover by Gordon on an inbounding pass after timeout.

The Hornets have 4 games in the coming week, including a back-to-back which will force Gordon not to play in Oklahoma City, unless something changes with his restrictions, Wednesday night. The other games are the Kings tonight, the only foreseeable meeting in New Orleans of the Brooklyn Nets and the New Orleans Hornets Tuesday night, and the Pistons Friday night, all at home. All four games are on Fox Sports New Orleans.

News

The biggest news items of the week are things that did not happen.

First, the Hornets made no moves at or near the trade deadline, making their last trade of the season the Carroll deal. There was chatter about Eric Gordon. Whether you wish to trade Gordon or not, it is best for other teams to be interested in him.

Second, there has been no change in Eric Gordon’s injury status. His hand injury hasn’t caused any more missed games, and the back-to-back restriction is still in place.

Third, Anthony Davis bumped knees with a Mavericks player and missed the rest of that game. All reports are that he could have returned and that he will start tonight against the Kings.

Also, discussion on Hornets Report indicates that some of the improvements of the control room in the Arena have begun.

Off the court, Pelicans season tickets will be discounted in over 80% of seat locations. I do wonder if the other under 20% will see some price increases. Since it did not come up in the article, it is reasonable to assume that this will be the case.

In an effort to have long-term sustainability in ticket sales, the Hornets/Pelicans next season will introduce pricing plans that will vary within sections, with season price reductions ranging from a high of $2,124 – a discount of 44 percent from the current price – to a low of $50.

Additionally, 3,748 seats will be reduced by 20 percent or more and there will be 2,162 seats available in the arena at $10 or less per game.

Update: Here is the new pricing map. I did not get a price increase.

Around the Site

The lone podcast of the week featured trades, none of which came to pass. A video chat with the site’s writers focused on trades as well.

For a few reasons, Eric Gordon was a major focus of the week. Mason outlined Gordon’s injury history, and I looked at his recovery rhetoric to try to determine why it’s taken over a year for him to recover from arthroscopic surgery. Reader Michael Pellissier reviewed his performance relative to his prior seasons and other players with similar salary.

`Voices’ of the People

I think Hornets fans frustration with Gordon is fueled greatly by the mystery shrouding his injury and if some percentage of it is being overexaggerated. Of course our beloved front office is just as responsible as him for the said mystery.

The most mysterious part of this for me by far: How did he get vetted for the contract he received not only our medical staff but also the highly acclaimed Phoenix staff.

houp garou

Though I like GS as a trade partner, not enough value for Gordon in this scenario.

“Objective data” suggests Dell has never, and would never, give up an asset like EJ while at the same time relieving GS of a cap black hole contract essentially for free. Green or Ezeli (C-level prospects, career backups) are not enough incentive to do so.

Taking on either of those atrocious contracts is worth a 1st rounder by itself, so the fact that GS can’t include next year’s is a major strike against this deal.

The main reason Dell would hold out for both Barnes and Thompson is because he has no pressing need not to. Gordon’s value is at an all time low, and Dell has major cap flexibility for the next year plus and has few reasons to make a hurried deal such as this (unless he is simply anti-Gordon, which he thankfully isn’t).

Ogden Park

I like that we didn’t make any moves before the deadline. It gives us a chance to take the best player available in the draft.. which should turn out to be a nice player. Then Dealer Demps can really make some deals.

I do really like Fro-Pez but think that it would be a great trade to put a Human Bull of a player like Pekovic next to AD for the next few years. During that time it’ll allow AD to add some muscle and be the center of the future that other teams are tying to compensate for!!!

Lopez and maybe Smith or Miller and a 2nd round pick for Pek would be yet another fantastic trade!

CoReMeGa

42 Sense

A favorite topic of discussion in Hornets world is Monty’s rotations, particularly Davis’ minutes. I’ve tracked Davis’ performance for a while here, and while his performance has been down since he returned from rehabbing his stress reaction, that performance increases as his minutes are limited.

Rather than spot-checking these statistics, I decided to do a more extensive and formal study. I took the top minute-getters since Gordon’s return (Aminu, Anderson, Davis, Gordon, Lopez, Vasquez) and looked at the correlation between several stats reported in the standard box score (not just minutes played) and the outcome of each game in that span of time.

Below are the most significant results of the study, ignoring the double-dips (e.g. when defensive rebounds couple, then significance of total rebounds, if present, is redundant). The team’s record during this span in the games in which the player recorded time is listed by each player’s name.

Aminu (12-14): The results are not terribly surprising. Aminu’s defensive rebounding and scoring couple significantly with victory. That’s about it. That’s not to say that he shouldn’t try to do anything else . . . the results may fail to hold if he leaves the `footprint’ the data has established.

Anderson (13-14): Something a little more interesting here. Anderson’s made three’s couple significantly to victory, as does the associated percentage. The more surprising result is that his number of free throw makes and free throw attempts are negatively correlated with victory; the make rate does not matter. These facts likely combine to mean that a team that forces Anderson inside the arc more often is more likely to win that does so less often, even at the cost of a foul.

Davis (13-14): The result shows that Monty is correct . . . lower minutes for Davis correlates with victory. This is not to say the Hornets will win more games if they continue to reduce Davis’ minutes. It doesn’t work that way. Other stats, such as free throw makes and free throw attempts, are negatively correlated with victory, but they all simply reflect that they tend to increase as playing time increases.

Gordon (10-10): The most significant thing Gordon does in terms of fueling wins is keeping his turnovers down, with more assists and higher free throw percentage contributing as well. Keeping his three pointers lower is a help, as well.

Lopez (13-14): More offensive rebounding by Lopez leads to more victories.

Vasquez (13-14): Not surprisingly, his scoring correlates to victory. Same with steals; his contributions here matter. More surprisingly, his assists are not correlated with victory, and his turnovers are not negatively correlated with victory (actually the correlation is positive, just not strong).

There’s some interesting stuff here, some of which confirm observations recently. Keep in mind, the absence of a factor likely means that it does not correlated to victory. For example, Lopez’s blocks do strongly affect the game. As long as he keeps doing what he’s doing, operating at the `upper end’ of his offensive rebounding range is what he can do to most help the team succeed on the court this season.

4 comments
thouse
thouse

The offensive rebounding observation is a good one. To my eyes, the Hornets appear to be crashing the glass with more frequency than normal. I have no idea how I could prove this. Anyone else see this?

CarnbY
CarnbY

That's some good info, thanks!

504ever
504ever

This is great stuff. I was especially interested in the Davis minutes part, which you and I speculated about on this site. Do I read this right that any one of the six things listed above happening tends to make us an approximately .500 team?

Jason Calmes
Jason Calmes

Thanks. Ignoring interactions, this says when the 'good things' happen then team is over 0.500 since they do the helpful and unhelpful things and end up at 0.500.