Is Antoine Walker For Real?
AFTER SEEING ANTOINE WALKER
play so well against the New Jersey Nets on TV, I started
to believe the hype surrounding him. When a big man can shoot, pass, and rebound
like that, he's unstoppable.
Unfortunately for Boston, Walker doesn't normally shoot,
pass, and rebound like that. His field goal percentage,
free throw percentage, three-point percentage, assists, and
rebounds in that game were all better than
his season averages. Walker's offensive and defensive
ratings in that game were 110.8 and 89.5; his season numbers prior
to that game were 91.3 and 98.5.
At last count, 66 NBA players were shooting 50% or worse from
the line. That is almost 20% of all the players in the league.
Aside from the well-chronicled ones like Shaq, Rodman, Chris Dudley, and Nick
Anderson, there is also Tim Duncan, Stacey Augmon,
Chris Gatling, Greg Ostertag, Bob Sura, Cedric Henderson,
Tyrone Hill, Calbert Cheaney, Tim Thomas, and Jermaine O'Neal.
can also be used to evaluate individuals. For example, if you
really think that Antoine Walker should score on 50% of his
possessions, what is the chance that he would score on only
70 of 152? Plug in to the calculator the values 0.5, 70, and
82 (=152-70). You find that if he truly does have a 50%
floor percentage, he has
only a 19% of scoring on 70 (or fewer) possessions out of 152.
The biggest disappointment thus far is Toronto. Damon
Stoudamire has played well, but last year's surprises
Walt Williams and Doug Christie have been reminding everyone
why they were obtained so cheaply.
The second biggest disappointment is Detroit.
The Pistons' offseason personnel moves were bad,
losing Otis Thorpe and Terry Mills, while picking up
Brian Williams, who has made just about every team
he's joined worse than it had been. But it is Grant Hill's
inability to hit the open
jumpers that is accentuating the team's troubles.
Given how well Orlando has done without Penny Hardaway
and how well Detroit did in one game without Grant Hill, it makes
you wonder whether these do-it-all kind of players
After Atlanta's first loss, a 21 pointer to the Knicks,
they had outscored their first 12 opponents by an
average of 2.5 points per game. That scoring margin usually
equates to a team that wins only 7 or 8 of those 12,
Despite having two great defensive players in David Robinson
and Tim Duncan, history's trend showing
that Twin Towers do not necessarily make a great defense is
proving accurate. The Spurs are playing better than average
defense, but can't match the Knicks, the Bulls, or the
Cavs in their ability to stifle another offense.
The Lakers are looking like the best team in the league, but
Rick Fox is struggling, Shaq is hurt again, and both Eddie Jones and
Nick Van Exel are playing over their heads. The team will come down to earth
in January, but if the gains by Jones, Van Exel, and Robert Horry
are real, the team will be the best in the west. If Kobe Bryant is
hitting his J, then they're even tougher.
Allen Iverson is continuing the improvement
of his rookie year, putting up numbers reminiscent of
a younger Jordan. Stephon Marbury had 15 turnovers in his last
Just as Jordan inspired bald heads, Iverson is inspiring
corn rows. Just as no one could live up to Jordan...
Anyone who tells you that Miami is surviving just fine without
Alonzo Mourning is a fool. Miami allowed opponents more
than 100 points only 11 times last year. They have allowed 100 points
or more 6 times in their first 11 games this year.
Scoring is slightly down this season, but the NBA shouldn't worry.
This is the first time in more than a decade that the pace of
the game has actually picked up. The great offensive players
may be getting old, but at least the younger guys are starting to
force a faster pace. I don't know for sure, but I think the longer
three-point line may also have something to do with it...