[The Bullets-Wizards have had 15 different 7-footers suit up over the years. Only one appears in this photo. Via SI Vault and B-R.]
Roy Hibbert is a very, very tall man. Seven feet-and-two-inches tall, in fact.
And over on Grantland, there is a really, really good article about Hibbert’s development. How D.C.’s own Big Roy went from Georgetown scrub to NBA All-Star in eight years.
Go read it.
Author Jordan Conn captures the routine — from Hibbert’s pre-game stretching to his mixed martial arts practice — that transformed a 7-foot-2 non-athlete into one of basketball’s best players. But in the sea of detail, there was one data point that jumped out to me. (Bolding is mine.)
Citing data from the Centers for Disease Control, Sports Illustrated estimated that there are fewer than 70 7-footers between the ages of 20 and 40 in the United States. Seventy 7-footers; 30 starting NBA centers.
If you’re Nate Robinson’s height, you need to be an exceptional athlete to make the league. If you’re Hibbert’s, you just have to be pretty good.
Playing 27.1 minutes per game this season and averaging 17.9 field goals per 36 minutes while shooting an effective-FG percentage of 0.450 doesn’t exactly put Jordan in good company, historically.
According to the Basketball-Reference.com database, 12 such NBA players since the 1991-92 season have averaged 25 to 30 minutes per game, attempted at least 15 field goals per 36 minutes, and have had an eFG% less than 0.455. Those players, ranked by Win Shares Per 48 Minutes:
NBA coaches are constantly tinkering with their five-man units. Whether someone starts or not really takes a back seat to the primary concern of which players work well together, and only then, how match-ups can be exploited. In the very least, lineup data can tell us which combinations of Wizards have best played together with success (must less whom they are doing it against… high- or low-quality opponents). The lineup statistics for these 2011-12 Wizards also tell of a failed plan from the start. But if the ultimate goal was to get a top four pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, then maybe Ernie Grunfeld & Co. haven’t failed after all.
Eighteen different five-man units have played 25 or more minutes together for Washington this season. Below is the distribution of those lineups ranked by minutes played, and including the plus/minus per 48 minutes for that lineup. Yes, one lineup this season played 41 minutes together and would have been down by 38.4 points had they hypothetically played an entire game together against hypothetical competition. It’s hypothetically pretty sad. I’ve bolded the five lineups with a positive plus/minus per 48 minutes, if that helps.
OK, so what if we were to rank those 18 lineups by best to worst plus/minus per 48 minutes, but hiding all names except for those of JaVale McGee, Nick Young, Andray Blatche and Nene. What if…Read more »
Nenê tries to defend John Wall,
which won’t be happening anymore, aside from practice hoops.
[photo: K. Weidie, Truth About It.net]
So that’s that. Wizards General Manager Ernie Grunfeld finally found dance partners in the Clippers and Nuggets in a three-team deal just moments before today’s trading deadline. JaVale McGee has disappeared into thin air, now a member of the Nuggets along with Ronny Turiaf (we hardly knew ye). Nick Young’s career in D.C. has gone up in smoke as he packs his bags for home, sunny California, now a member of contending Clip Show. And Nenê Hilario, one of the league’s most underrated players, will make his way to the nation’s capital as the Wizards’ starting center, along with L.A.’s Brian Cook and a second-round pick …
Which makes me wonder: what will become of Kevin Seraphin?
[Editor's note: This is the TAI debut of Dan Diamond (@ddiamond) -- long-time reader, retired anonymous blogger, and the best pound-for-pound rebounder in DC -- (Dan's claims, not mine). Dan is here to discuss Cavs rookie Kyrie Irving, who's just 19-years old and having fun. For instance, as his coach, Byron Scott, spoke with the media at the Verizon Center tonight, telling them how Irving would be in the starting lineup (after missing last night's game with the flu), Irving jumped on a nearby service cart and honked the horn. Verizon Center security got tough with him, let Irving know that he shouldn't do that. The kid played tough, too, at first, but the exchange ultimately ended with smiles. Later, in the locker room, as Luke Harangody related the story to another Cavs teammate, Irving explained that that's just who he is right now, a 19-year old, and to check back when he's 22. I'll let Dan Diamond take it away. -Kyle W.]
Numbers, stats and ratings that help define the Washington Wizards season thus far… John Wall’s ability to find offense at the rim (and finish); the Wizards’ ability, as a team, to shoot and pass to each other at certain points of the game; and Truth About It.net’s on-going DC Council 3-Star player ratings for each game.
JOHN WALL at the rim.
Wall’s offense is finishing at the rim, so let’s check on how he’s doing and who he compares to.
When Washington and Toronto matched-up in Canada last Friday night, Amir Johnson of the Raptors came off the bench to score 18 points and grab 13 rebounds in a 106-89 win over the Wizards. ”They’re making him look like an All-Star,” someone probably said, also noting that this Washington franchise has seemed peculiarly deft doing so over the years. During my time following the team since 1990, nights like Johnson’s certainly don’t seem like an anomaly. But just how good is Washington at making otherwise mediocre opponents look like All-Stars? And how does Washington compare to other teams?
Since Johnson is the subject, I wanted someone who has scored at least 18 points and grabbed 10 rebounds off the bench. Certainly a guard could look like an All-Star with 17 points and 8 assists off the bench, as would a non-starter scoring 25 points in a reserve role (ignoring other stats), but I eliminated them for this particular exercise. Also, you could certainly have a no-name starter put up All-Star stats, but assuming he’s starting with other quality talent, his success is somewhat dimmed. A bench player it is.
The player’s team has to win the game. Because All-Stars, or at least All-Star efforts, always are victorious, right? (No, not right, but just another factor of elimination for this post.)
Twenty-two games, one-third of the season, is over for the Washington Wizards. To say the least, it’s been tough on this rebuilding team. And to stress that “team” part, let’s see which combination of players has been working the best together, and which combinations haven’t.
According to BasketballValue.com, 177 different five-man units have seen action for the Washington Wizards this season. 177 sounds like a lot, but only 54 of those units have seen more than five minutes of court time together, so this post/results will focus on those, i.e., no need to include units such as John Wall, Jordan Crawford, Roger Mason, Rashard Lewis and Jan Vesely, who have seen a total of 0.03 minutes on the court together.
Five units have seen 31.75-percent of the total action. Those five units are:
Wall – Young – Lewis – Blatche – McGee (10.44% of court time, 110.25 minutes)
The Washington Wizards talk about fourth quarter full-court pressure defense against Chicago, which helped make the 10 point loss a little more interesting, to say the least…
If anything, Randy Wittman has proven that he’s no Flip Saunders, past his own claims of the two being “polar opposites.” No, it’s not about wins and losses (beating the Bobcats twice? please), at least for the rest of this season. Yes, outcome is important and positive outcomes are nice, but ask a fan about winning or losing, and the Wizards can’t win. From moral victories to lottery losses to scoreboard reward, not many can be satisfied in this current state of four victories and 17 losses.
Wittman is willing to try more new things, starting Jan Vesely at the four over Andray Blatche for example. Or, down 78-63 to the Chicago Bulls on Monday night with nearly a quarter left to play, throwing a full court press after a Chicago timeout allowing Tom Thibodeau to insert M.V.P. point guard Derrick Rose back into the game. It’s not like Saunders didn’t reach deep into his bag of gimmicks, responsiveness from his players was clearly the issue.
“I was a little hesitant to really do what we did there in the fourth quarter,” said coach Randy Wittman at the end of the night, “because… [chuckles]… we hadn’t worked on it, but I said, ‘Let’s go, guys, we got one chance here to make this a ball game.’”
Washington responded immediately — with a unit of John Wall, Jordan Crawford, Nick Young, Trevor Booker, and JaVale McGee – racing to a 15-8 run in fewer than four minutes. Thanks to the pressure, the Wizards trimmed their deficit to eight points. A Nick Young three-pointer capped the comeback, with Wittman afterward stomping his feet all over the hardwood floor to remind Young to not bask in his offense, but rather to find the shooters and pressure as necessary. Chicago answered by finally breaking Washington’s full-court defense with ease, ending the Wizards run with a Carlos Boozer dunk, holding their lead at 88-78.