John Hollinger - Warriors Forecast

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» Fri Oct 19, 2012 8:53 am
Can someone post his article. The dude is near dead on about everything he says about the regular season and I'd like to see what he is saying about us. ... rs-outlook
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» Fri Oct 19, 2012 7:42 pm
I hate John Hollinger. I don't read much into anything that guy says. I forget what it was but I've read things from him from the past and it just pissed me off. I'm trying to post the article but its not letting me log in for some reason. I'll try again later.
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» Fri Oct 19, 2012 7:53 pm
It was a landmark moment in the history of the Warriors -- a chorus of boos raining down on owner Joe Lacob during a ceremony to retire Chris Mullin's jersey. It had less to do with Lacob in particular than with the general frustration of a fan base that's suffered for two solid decades with no relief in sight.

Last season's Warriors had offered hope that things might change, right up until they enacted one of the most brazen tanking strategies in recent memory. That's when the locals -- who have seen one playoff team in 18 years, in a league in which more than half the teams qualify -- finally snapped.

Yet the big picture in Golden State is far more encouraging. The new management has made some mistakes, and we'll discuss a few of them in a moment, but one shouldn't lose sight of all the genuine improvements since the disastrous Chris Cohan-Robert Rowell years. Basketball people are making decisions again, ownership is far more engaged and accountable, and the franchise appears to have snapped out of its decadelong habit of eating its own young.

And, unbelievably, it appears the Warriors might field a team that's interested in playing defense. The Warriors showed improvement on that end last season before they started tanking, and thanks to a trade for defensive rock Andrew Bogut, Golden State could become a league-average outfit at that end. The last time that happened was under P.J. Carlesimo in 1998-99.

Unfortunately, Lacob's tenure so far has shared two weaknesses with the previous regime: a tendency to want to win news conferences, and a questionable understanding of the salary cap. The former doesn't necessarily affect the product on the court, as long as Lacob can restrain his inner James Dolan, but the second is a bit more worrisome.

A series of iffy moves has tied up Golden State's cap for at least the next two years, most notably the decision to exercise the amnesty rights on Charlie Bell instead of Andris Biedrins. Last season's snafu came in the form of a Stephen Jackson-Richard Jefferson swap that effectively saw the Warriors pay $11 million (and give up the same in cap space) for the rights to Festus Ezeli. Not good. Between those two moves, Golden State's payroll will be about $20 million higher in 2013-14 than it should be, with essentially no difference in the quality of the product on the court.

But all that will quickly be forgiven if the Warriors put a team on the floor that competes and avoids further tanking shenanigans. Despite some missteps, there's a decent core here, with solid depth, crazy shooting and a dominant defensive anchor. It's not clear whether that will be enough to break the playoff drought, but it should at least return the Warriors to the ranks of respectable basketball teams.

For two-thirds of the season, the Warriors hung in a tough Western Conference playoff race despite multiple injuries to point guard Stephen Curry that essentially ruined his season. With an improved bench and, more notably, a few players willing to play defense (Brandon Rush and Dominic McGuire in particular), the Warriors were 17-21 on March 12, having just beaten the Clippers on the road, when the team traded Monta Ellis, Kwame Brown and Ekpe Udoh to Milwaukee for Andrew Bogut and Stephen Jackson. (Jackson later would be rerouted to San Antonio in the Jefferson deal referenced above.)

It was a solid trade in the sense that it finally got the Warriors a real center in Bogut. But since he was out for the season and Ellis was leading the team in scoring, it also effectively crushed any chance the Warriors had of making the playoffs. Further moves reinforced that point, as Golden State embarked on a brazen tanking operation designed to avoid ceding its first-round pick to Utah; the Warriors would keep it if it fell in the top seven picks, which required a concerted effort to pile up losses. By finishing 6-22 with a crew that included luminaries such as Jeremy Tyler, Mikki Moore and Mickell Gladness, the Warriors juuuuuust finished in a tie for the seventh-worst record, and then sweated out a coin toss with Toronto and the lottery itself to land at No. 7.

Curry played only 26 games and was never totally right when he played, leaving concerns that his ankles can't take the pounding of a full season. However, positive stories abounded. Rookie Klay Thompson rebounded from a slow start to show a lot of promise as a shooter and scorer. Wing Brandon Rush had a career season, second-round pick Charles Jenkins proved a keeper and David Lee recovered from a rough first season in the Bay Area to put up more Lee-like numbers. Mark Jackson, in his first year as coach, kept his players' respect and got reasonably solid efforts from them.

But, this being Golden State, defense was still a problem. It was worsened by the late-season tankfest, but at no point was this a quality defensive squad. The Warriors finished 26th in efficiency and, plagued by a hole at the center position, landed dead last in defensive rebound rate at a pathetic 69.1 percent. A healthy Bogut will change that in a hot second.

The Warriors also had the league's fourth-highest foul rate, were 28th in opponent secondary percentage and were below average at forcing turnovers. There was no aspect of defense at which they were good, only those at which they were comparatively less bad.

Offensively, they showed more promise, particularly with their shooting. Even with Curry playing only a minor role, the Warriors were second in the NBA in 3-point shooting at 38.8 percent. They also shot 2s better than the league average and had the league's fourth-lowest turnover rate.

But two factors held them back. The first (more minor) one was that they didn't draw fouls, finishing just 29th in free throw attempts per field goal attempt. Even their inside players, such as Lee, tended to be more shot-makers than foul-drawers, and the perimeter guys all wanted to shoot jumpers.

The real problem was a lack of second shots. Golden State was not only the worst defensive rebounding team, but it also nearly matched that feat at the offensive end, as only a historic effort by the Celtics prevented the Warriors from being league-worst at both ends. As a result, the Warriors were fifth in true shooting percentage and had the fourth-lowest turnover rate ... yet were only 11th in offensive efficiency.

Their woes on the boards marked the third season in a row the Warriors were last in the NBA in overall rebound rate -- worse even than their league-worst numbers the previous season. Golden State has been either 29th or 30th in rebound rate for an astounding six straight seasons.

To which one retorts, once again: Andrew Bogut.

Golden State continued building out its bench in the hopes of making a playoff run behind a healthy Bogut and Curry. While the offseason thankfully lacked the cap silliness of the previous two, one item to watch is the luxury tax. The Warriors are about $1 million over the threshold and might calve a secondary player at the trade deadline to slide underneath.

Drafted Harrison Barnes, Festus Ezeli, Draymond Green and Ognjen Kuzmic: The first three all should contribute this season. Barnes had his detractors, but he is big and can shoot, which should at the very least make him a reasonable facsimile of the departed Dorell Wright. Green -- a crafty, undersized 4 who can pass, shoot and rebound but will struggle on D -- was one of my favorite players in the draft. And Ezeli was more of a straight need pick; he is a backup center and will never be anything more than that, but he adds another big defender who can rebound to support Bogut.

Traded Dorell Wright to Philadelphia for Jarrett Jack: A three-way deal with the Sixers and Hornets reshaped the Warriors' lineup to get another guard in the mix. While Jack was a Fluke Rule player and is expected to decline this season, Golden State had a crowd at small forward and needed a reliable option should Curry's ankles disintegrate into a fine powder.

Let Nate Robinson and Dominic McGuire go; signed Carl Landry for two years, $8 million: I'm not as crazy about this move for two reasons. First, Landry has a player option for the second year, which means if he plays well, he's gone, and if he plays poorly, the Warriors are stuck with him. But the second reason is he's almost a perfect replication of David Lee's pros and cons, albeit in muted colors. Landry is a very poor defender and rebounder, but he can hit faceup jumpers and score in the paint. In other words, the Warriors can't ever play Landry and Lee at the same time, because they'll give up about 800 points per possession. As a straight value proposition, it's not the worst move, but that's as heartily as I can endorse it.

Re-signed Brandon Rush for two years, $8 million: Rush had a very strong 2011-12 season, and this was a reasonable value, even though he has an option for the second year just like Landry. But between his defense and 3-point shooting, Rush is a genuinely valuable player, one who likely will start if Harrison Barnes proves unready.

Can I get X-rays of Bogut's and Curry's ankles, and then make my forecast? The health of those two almost certainly will dictate whether the Warriors can snap their five-year playoff funk or whether they'll spend another year in the lottery. (Sans pick, this time, unless they tank even harder; Utah gets the Warriors' draft pick unless it's in the top six.)

Bogut might not be ready for the start of the season in the wake of last year's ankle trouble, and I've penciled in Curry to miss some games as well given his recurring frailty. Nonetheless, the Warriors look like a decent threat in the West if Bogut can play at least 65 games, because he so ably addresses the two failings -- rebounding and interior defense -- that have plagued this team for a decade. The Warriors also have a much better bench than in recent years, although Bogut's position is the weakest link in that second unit.

Besides Bogut, the other reason to like this team is all the shooting. Curry and Thompson are knock-down 3-point shooters who likely form the best shooting backcourt in basketball. Around them, Barnes, Rush and Jefferson all are strong 3-point threats, Lee, Jack and Landry are accomplished midrange shooters, and Green can stroke it, too. Nobody will be surprised if this club leads the league in 3-point shooting, and that could open plenty of room for Bogut and Lee to operate inside.

Unfortunately, Bogut won't have a ton of help at the other end, and on the nights he's out of the lineup, the Warriors' defense is likely to be as ugly as ever. Lee, Landry, Curry, Thompson and Green all are somewhere between bad and awful at this end, while Barnes is likely to take his lumps as well. That puts a cap on how good this team's defense can be, regardless of Bogut's dominance.

Sum it all up, and you could get a team that could easily make the playoffs, especially if Curry and Bogut stay in the lineup all season. Could. Unfortunately, I have to project what's likely rather than what's merely possible. And the most likely scenario is that Golden State's two stars miss just enough time to keep the Warriors out of the money for another season.

Prediction: 40-42, 3rd in Pacific, 10th in Western Conference

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» Fri Oct 19, 2012 10:18 pm
8th ave wrote:I hate John Hollinger. I don't read much into anything that guy says. I forget what it was but I've read things from him from the past and it just pissed me off. I'm trying to post the article but its not letting me log in for some reason. I'll try again later.


Blackfoot, I can't believe you think that dude is dead-on. He's the antichrist to the sobering notion that stats don't tell the whole story. If Hollinger ran the world, LeBron would have 8 titles by now. The dude is a stat junky and has zero regard for traditional forms of player evaluation. I have about the opposite sentiment as you; I think he's a safe betting blow hard who couldn't call an upset with a flux capacitor...

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» Sat Oct 20, 2012 2:19 am
His playoff predictions are off because playoffs are inherently a crapshoot. Still predicts at a higher accuracy than anyone at ESPN for the playoffs. Secondly, his regular season predictions are at 91 percent accuracy. If you want to put in terms of Vegas. He'd make 131.31 dollars for every 100 dollars. So, 1.00 dollar to 2.31 dollars. He's very accurate. He watches the game and gives pretty candid scouting reports.

Secondly, his predictions are adjusted because he knows his stats have inherent flaws to it. He even puts in his scouting report why this person would have a misleading PER in some. I can't remember what player he talked about but the person was an average scorer and a very high PER. He said that was because his passing rate was very low so he had very little turnovers, which bloated his PER. The notion that he doesn't have the whole story is a myth.

Advanced stats are still better than traditional stats even if you don't like them. Traditional stats say Kobe is a better passer than Iggy. Well, Kobe has a 33.3 usage rating. Iggy has a 17.2 usage rating. In terms of rate, Iggy is a much better shot creator for his teammates, which is why his assist ratio is much better despite Kobe averaging more per game.

In 06-07, our series with the Mavs. His numbers predicted we'd win, the only reason he didn't pick us was because he was like "well, 67 wins, man." Not really relevant to anything I said previously, but I thought it was a neat fun fact.

As for traditional scouting: John Hollinger is pretty good at evaluating talents coming from college. And having better stats to evaluate talent does not take away from that. Advanced stats aren't without their flaws, but the flaws they have are also present in traditional stats and sometimes worse.

All the complaints I see about Hollinger aren't true for the most part. I am not really sure why these myths exist about him.
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» Sat Oct 20, 2012 10:10 am
I am a huge believer in advanced stats (dunno why you'd suggest that I didn't like them?). When used moderately with other forms of evaluation, they can be tremendously useful.

But here's the thing: anybody who relies 100% on (a) traditional stats, (b) advanced stats, or (c) their "gut" is lacking in their ability to evaluate. Hollinger is a Type B. He believes that advanced statistics tell the whole story and in the same way a guy like Chad Ford is a moron for going 100% off his gut, Hollinger is a pompous blow hard who talks down to readers that aren't willing to buy into his "math must equal truth" rationale.

Of course he'd make money in Vegas; stats are a complete and total safe bet. That's why the house goes off of them. But would you consider Charles Barkley a basketball genius because he always picks the statistical favorite? If stats ran the world, why would teams play the games? In my opinion, guys who fall back on the safe bets 100% of the time (like Steinmetz, like Barkley, like Hollinger) aren't doing their job; they're just presenting us with a medium that's already available to those who know where to look.

If you believe Hollinger's efficiency stats are a direct representation of the game, you're telling me you believe Rajon Rondo is the 19th best point guard in the league and Jeremy Lin is the 8th best. You're telling me that Thaddeus Young (8) is a better SF than Luol Deng (25), Rudy Gay (10), or Gerald Wallace (12). You're saying you'd rather have JaVelle McGee's crazy ass (8) than Tyson Chandler (13), Roy Hibbert (10), or Marc Gasol (15). And that's cool; God knows, there are some who believe advanced stats are never wrong. But I'd heavily disagree. You gotta have a proper balance of many forms of evaluation. You gimmie a 3-on-3 squad of Rondo, Crash, and Hibbert all day versus Hollinger's crew of Lin, Thaddeus, and McGee and see who comes out on top.

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» Sat Oct 20, 2012 11:43 am
See, you don't read Hollinger or pay attention if you think he only goes off of math. That's a complete misrepresentation. By his own admission his PER stat is flawed because it does not take into account defense that is not steals/blocks. That's what is wrong with it.

And, no, that's not Vegas works. I am guessing you are implying the safe bet is the favorite or the person who is supposed to win? I am going off of that premise so correct me if I am wrong. You will not win money in Vegas just betting the favorites. This payout that was projected for Hollinger was based on Boldness as well.

Take his Lakers at four for example. He says they will compete for a champion and that they will be really ****ing good, even according to his numbers. He has them at four because of the initial chemistry problems, the age, and the lack of bench. His numbers say second best in the west by starting rotation or first if you don't have any of the older guys declining by anything.

Hollinger doesn't go off his stats completely because they aren't as accurate as they could be yet, he knows that. It's not like baseball where the advanced stats for hitting are dead on. Basketball is away and far behind baseball in terms of evaluation and that's why he factors in other things.

He does not think Chandler, Crash, and Hibbert are better than the three mentioned. Follow the dude on twitter, he writes what he watches and is pretty candid about it.
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» Sat Oct 20, 2012 12:01 pm
You're correct: I absolutely don't read Hollinger. IMO, it's a waste of time and eye sight.

Hollinger's 2010-'11 Predicted Standings:

Actual 2010-'11 Standings: ... d_Cnf.html

Sure, the playoffs are infinitely easier to predict after a season has been laid out in front of you. But when Hollinger tries his hand at predicting success before the season, he fails to the tune of 83%, only predicting 5 out of 30 teams correctly. I sense we're just going to have to agree to disagree on this; I cannot and will not pretend that I think John Hollinger has any sort of credibility or foresight.
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» Sat Oct 20, 2012 12:03 pm
Lastly, if you're claiming he isn't 100% reliant upon his advanced statistics, than he has made an all-encompassing, born-again about face from when I was an ESPN subscriber between 2004 and 2007.

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» Sat Oct 20, 2012 12:30 pm
First thing is first: John Hollinger ‏@johnhollinger
90-95% model. Small subjective adjustments. MT @16to17 How do you make record predictions? Conjecture or based on a model?

Proof that he has been the most accurate ... -for-wins/ ... n-2010-11/ ... edictions/

2010-2011 was his worst year at predicting, but the other two should help you have a bigger sample size. He had two top seasons and one average. His track record speaks for himself.

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