A New Game?

By:
Published: November 21, 2013
go-game-yin-yang[1]

It’s all about the game and how you play it
All about control and if you can take it
All about your debt and if you can pay it
It’s all about pain and who’s gonna make it

— Motorhead, The Game

New Orleans Pelicans News

Since the last news piece, the New Orleans Pelicans have gone 1-0, defeating the Utah Jazz, 105-98. While not a crushing defeat of the Jazz, the Pelicans continue not only their winning streak with Ryan Anderson back (though still playing through some pain), but they also have yet to lose a quarter since his return; they are 6-0-2.

The 5-6 Pelicans play the Cavaliers this Friday, ending their homestand. Four of the following five games are on the road. Each of the games are on the radio and FSNO.

Off the court, pelicans.com has a quick, fun interview with rookie center, Jeff Withey.

Around Bourbon Street Shots

There are a few reasons for this out-of-sequence news piece, but the main one is to formally introduce Nick Lewellen as a writer here. Nick has pitched in before, has managed to put up with me, and now he’s joined the team. Nick’s interests outside of the Pelicans include economics and game theory, as some of you may remember. You should be looking forward to, as we are, some really interesting work from Nick and the rest of us now that he’s on board.

Say “Hey” to Nick, everybody.

Also, follow him, then irritate him on twitter.

Besides adding Nick, we also added a 2014 All-Star Weekend section to the site, which you can access from the menu bar. It will grow in the coming weeks. Right now, you can hover over the tab to get a link to the official ballot page.

Ryan and Michael discuss the return of Ryan Anderson, the good that may or may not follow, and whether certain other NBA teams’ performances are real or a mirage on the most recent episode of In the NO.

Grayson looks at fans taking to social media to discuss the future (or lack of) of Monty Williams. Chris Trew discusses ways to use social media creatively to make Anthony Davis an All-Star starter in this week’s Trew to the Game.

We’ve had several conversation pieces this week. A Pelicans Scoop addresses a number of questions, including the temperature of Monty’s chair and the King Cake Baby v. the soon-to-be-altered Pierre the Pelican. Nick (yes, that one) and Pellissier have a nice, logical conversation about Anderson that leads to Tyreke and beyond. Gerry V and I discuss leadership, Eric Gordon, and dessert.

`Voices’ of the People

Hey everyone, why don’t we start a campaign similar to “I’m In” to increase awareness of the upcoming All-Star weekend in New Orleans and to promote the idea of having Anthony Davis as a starter?

I do apologize for copy-pasting here but I had already written a post about this yesterday at atthehive.com

In 2003 Yao Ming was a rookie and He surpassed Shaquille O’Neal (a 3-time NBA Finals MVP at that time) in voting to become the starting center for the Western Conference All-Star team. So, it is a matter of who gets the most vote and who wants to be watched the most!

I believe Anthony Davis deserves to be an All-Star even at this young age of 20.

And we can make him an all-star. All we have to do is to vote as many times as we can every day until voting closes in 64 days from now.

You can cast a vote in 5 different ways for him on any given day. One by sending an SMS, one at nba.com, one on twitter, one on facebook, one using the nba gametime app. Actually you can vote 6 times if you also have an instagram account.

If I vote 5 times a day for the remaining 64 days. I will have 320 votes in for Anthony Davis. If we can find enough devoted fans to do this every day, that could easily make 1 million votes for Anthony Davis and that will definitely make him one of the top vote getters. Griffin and Love will be the biggest competition for Davis. I fell like Durant and Howard will be the top 2 vote getters in the western conference frontcourt followed by either Love, Griffin or Davis.

Kempleton

Man, I really dont know about that trade just yet. I am not opposed to dealing gordon at all for a better big to pair with AD, but Ryno brings so much to this team off the bench, as we all saw on saturday night. We have alot of talent at the guard position, but from watching all of these games, you can see the wholes on our roster, and the most evident one, is the fact that AD is a hound in the paint, but the man needs some help. The pels will never be a contender without another defensive minded big that we could pair with AD, because as we all saw against that HORRIFIC loss against the lakers, he is going to have a tough time pairing up big physical bigs like we all said to begin with. I would love to put Monroe with AD, but you have to decide if dealing two solid players are worth Monroe. In my best case senairio, we would keep Ryno, but make a move for a different big, that we could aquire via trade for gordon and witney. Also by dealing Ryno, we lose a ton of bench prudction, and we go from having a very deep bench, to one that cant hang with most in the nba.

jdtufts10

Eric Gordon has been amazing so far. So happy that he’s healthy both physically. He and AD have been the two most consistent players on this team. It’s really awesome to see the turnaround this year.

loudlikepat

42 Sense

With the return of Ryan Anderson, fans have seen the return of wins . . . but why? Why did the Pelicans collapse without Anderson?

Many fans were decrying the lack of three point shots. Through the first 9 games (those without Anderson), the team attempted 111 threes compared to 648 twos and 203 free throws, or 12.3 threes, 72 twos, and 22.6 free throws per game. In the two games since Anderson’s return, the rest of the team has attempted 13.5 threes, 56.5 twos, and 28.5 free throws. Anderson attempted 8 threes, 4.5 twos, and 1.5 free throws per game, bringing the Pelicans’ total to 21.5 threes, 61 twos, and 30 free throws per game.

The data is summarized here:

FTA/G 2PA/G 3PA/G PTS/G Average TS%
First 9 22.56 72.00 12.33 96.89 0.51
Last 2 – Not Ryan Anderson 28.50 56.50 13.50 97.50 0.59
Last 2 – Ryan Anderson 1.50 4.50 8.00 22.50 0.85
Last 2 – Total 30.00 61.00 21.50 120.00 0.63

Now, this is just a small sample, but the data shows something interesting: Anderson’s arrival increased the number of three point attempts by 1.2 per game for other players. One may be able to say the increase is merely noise, and I will not dispute that, but the 8 threes Anderson attempted upon his return simply were not taken by the rest of team during his absence.

Also, some will balk at the use of per game statistics over rates or per time measurements. The real issue is Anderson’s effect on the Pelicans, so per game statistics should be just fine for measuring his effect quickly.

The lack of three point attempts prior to Anderson’s return has been conjectured to be due poor coaching or a lack of respect for the three point shot. This data perhaps supports another theory I had, one which Mike mentioned on the podcast: Monty was simply installing his system, and given the short-term absence of Anderson, asked his players to play within the role set for them in larger plan, the logic perhaps being that it is better to get the system installed rather than tinker with roles more than necessary.

While there no proof that this is what Monty was thinking, the data is pretty clear. Again, I realize that this is based on small samples, but the three point attempts nearly doubled once Anderson returned . . . that may be a large enough signal to require a large sample to detect.

Theory aside, his return also reduced the number of two point attempts (which is intuitive) and coincided with an increase in free throw attempts. The increased spacing coupled with the injury-delayed emergence of Tyreke Evans may the explanation here.

So, maybe it is not all Anderson, but he’s certainly a part of that big bump in the team’s true shooting percentage, as shown in the table. How much of the rest of the team’s increase is due to him is debatable, but maybe it does not matter. They are, after all, on the same team.

Over the next several games, these numbers may normalize, and the team will return to the style of play seen through the first 9 games. On the other hand, a new game may have emerged . . . or may continue to emerge in the event the system is still not fully installed. One may lament that it has taken at least this long to get system in place, but if the team can tread water without it and without Ryan Anderson (or Tyreke Evans?), consider what they may be capable of once they have it down cold.

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