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Secrets of the NBA Trade Market

A lot of “experts” like to talk about what certain players might get traded for.

But those people are ignoring some crucial considerations about how the trade market works.

It’s HARD to make trades in the NBA. A lot harder than most people think.

First of all, let’s look at the foundational pieces of player value.

What do teams consider? Among the most obvious factors:

  • How a player fits in with the personnel and coaching staff.
  • The organization’s plan and overall direction for the future.
  • The player’s contract in relation to the payroll and the aforementioned plan.
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How the Back to the Basket Big Man Died

In last month’s mailbag, we took a quick look at why the NBA doesn’t have as many post scorers as it used to.

This question deserves a deeper inspection.

A journey, even.

Here’s the question one more time:

Q: It seems like there aren’t as many post scorers in the NBA as there used to be. Why do you think that is? Are players not as skilled as they were in the past?
– Brian

To really understand what’s happened, we have to do a bit of role-playing.

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Mailbag #1: Pick-and-rolls and post play

We’re doing something a little different this week.

I’m in the process of moving right now — from Vegas to Portland — and all my equipment is nice and cozy and packed up.

So let’s turn this into an opportunity to answer some questions I’ve received from HoopsThink readers over the last few weeks!

Q: What teams are the best at running the pick-and-roll, and what kind of personnel is best suited to run a lot of it?
– Antonio

The Spurs stick out to me as one of the NBA’s top pick-and-roll teams.

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What analytics can tell us about shot selection and consistency

You don’t need a PhD in statistics from Harvard to learn meaningful information from numbers.

There are a lot of things you can find out very easily, if you know what to look for and what to ignore.

Ian Levy of Hickory High and I talked about how some basic metrics can give us valuable insights into concepts like shot selection and consistency on the court.

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How Vantage Sports can change the way we evaluate defense

Vantage SportsAnother cool tool!

(I have fun times with rhymes.)

(Okay, that’s enough.)

Vantage Sports is a sports analytics company that combines advanced data tracking (like SportVU) and human logging (like Synergy) to create a really powerful new vehicle for evaluating basketball.

I’m especially excited about the metrics they’re introducing on the defensive end, including closeouts, on-ball and of-ball screen defense, and different aspects of help defense.

On the offensive side, their data is so detailed that it includes things like individual crossovers and dribble moves.

I talked with Brett McDonald, the CEO of Vantage Sports, about how Vantage Sports can change the way we look at important parts of the game.

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How SportVU is revolutionizing the NBA

SportVUMaybe you’ve heard about SportVU by now, but do you know EXACTLY how NBA teams are using it to get ahead?

Let’s back up for a second.

SportVU is the camera-tracking system put in place by STATS LLC.

All 29 NBA arenas and a few college ones now feature SportVU cameras.

It measures an incredible number of things that happen on the court.

It’s led to the creation of metrics that measure things like rim protection, running speed, running distance, and passing.

I spoke with Brian Kopp, Senior Vice President, Sports Solutions at STATS LLC.

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The biggest mistakes college coaches are making

I don’t envy college coaches.

Recruiting, scouting players, gameplanning . . .

Practice, developing players, keeping everyone happy . . .

It’s a lot to balance.

I spoke with Alex Kline of The Recruit Scoop about some of these challenges.

Alex was named one of Forbes’ 30 Under 30 and is respected by players and coaches all over the country.

In this video, we talked about:

  • The challenges players face in making the adjustment to playing in college
  • How college coaches can get their new players adjusted as quickly and comfortably as possible
  • The state of the transfers in college basketball
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What it takes to be a good evaluator

Ever wonder what you need to do to develop your evaluation skills?

I spoke with Frank Burlison, a veteran basketball scout credited with discovering players such as James Harden and Russell Westbrook, about his views on evaluating players.

We talked about:

  • What it takes to be a good judge of talent
  • What he looks for in evaluating point guards
  • How to judge a player’s decision-making ability
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How to build a winning team without stars

If you’re not the University of Kentucky or the Miami Heat, and you don’t have star players knocking on your door, what can you do?

Putting a system in place that allows you to plug in undervalued players is the key.

I spoke with Grantland’s Brett Koremenos, a fellow spread pick-and-roll connoisseur, about how teams can compete without having elite players.

He’s coached at several levels, including the ABA, and formerly wrote for NBA Playbook as well.

Watch the video below to hear:

  • How teams can compete even without star players
  • Who we think is one of the most underrated point guards in the league
  • How to evaluate a point guard’s ability
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How Elite Point Guards Dominate With The Pick-And-Roll

secret-pick-and-roll-gifts-of-elite-point-guard People ask me for my opinion on point guards more than any other position.

They seem to expect me to just pick out the guys with the coolest dunks or highest assist totals.

Those things matter, but there’s something that’s a lot more crucial.

It’s how they run the most popular play in basketball: the pick-and-roll.

Running it well requires a lot more nuance than just being the quickest or the best ball-handler.

To talk about how and why pick-and-roll play sets point guards like Chris Paul, Rajon Rondo, and Steph Curry apart from their peers, I spoke with Coach Nick from BBALLBREAKDOWN.

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  • About James Kerti

    James Kerti is the founder of HoopsThink and a basketball scout and consultant who has worked with over 50 Division I schools and NBA teams.