Thursday, May 31, 2018

LeBron now GOAT; Midnight Announcement Leaves Nevada No. 1

What a 24 hours for basketball! But before we run through why LeBron James (who will always be tied to our Dwyane Wade) takes the court tonight at Golden State having passed Michael Jordan as the most valuable player of all time, let's talk about what happened just before the midnight deadline for players to return to their colleges rather than stay eligible for the NBA draft in three weeks ...

At 11:33 p.m. ET last night, Cody Martin tweeted that he would return to Nevada, and at 11:34 his twin Caleb Martin confirmed he would stay as well - beating the Midnight deadline for players to leave the NBA draft t return to school. Kentucky, Villanova, Tennessee, Maryland and Virginia Tech were not so lucky, losing players to drop in the top 25.
However, Kentucky's replacement players were so good that they actually remained the No. 3 team in the nation. Duke passed them for No. 2, but Villanova fell from No. 2 to No. 10 - with Kansas rounding out the projected Final Four. Here is the top 25 with notes on teams that lost players to the NBA once and for all at Midnight.
Team   Top 8 Value Add
1.   Nevada   52.98 – Cody and Caleb Martin announced return at 11:33 pm to keep them at No. 1 with 52.98 combined Value Add.
2.   Duke   46.65
3.   Kentucky   stayed in third despite 241st Vanderbilt (5.17) & 272nd Gabriel (4.93) dropping but being replaced by almost as good 9th and 10th men (8.22 combined Value Add) as Villanova dropped further and Duke moved ahead of Kentucky’s 45.33
4.   Kansas   42.26
5.   Oregon   41.52
6.   North Carolina   40.31
7.   Mississippi St.   40.05
8.   Louisiana St.   39.18
9.   Auburn   38.66
10.   Villanova   dropped from 2nd after 25th ranked Spellman (8.01 Value Add) & 32nd DiVincenzo, (7.84) both left and replacements are a combined 6.85 to lower team from 47.51 to 38.51
11.   Gonzaga   37.94
12.   Tennessee   dropped from 6th after Alexander, 5.89 left and with (1.25 replacement) lowered from 42.01 to 37.37
13.   Syracuse   37.44
14.   North Carolina St.   35.07
15.   Indiana   34.95
16.   Virginia   34.62
17.   Texas   34.28
18.   UCLA   34.26
19.   Kansas St.   34.16
20.   Michigan St.   33.63
21.   Marquette   33.13
22.   Maryland   39.36 – dropped from 9th after 33rd ranked Huerter (7.82) left and only a 1.23 replacement to lower from 39.36 to 32.77
23.   Florida   32.73
24.   Iowa   32.49
25.   Arizona St.   32.1 (moved from 26th to 25th due to Virginia Tech dropping out)
Dropped Out - Virginia Tech   33.49 – dropped from 21st to 33rd after 381th ranked Alexander-Walker (4.25 Value Add) left with only 1.32 replacement Value Add to drop from 33.49 to 30.85
... now back to the inconvenient truth that LeBron James takes the court tonight as the GOAT, at least if that means the most valuable player in the history of basketball. Now that all of my friends in North Carolina and Chicago have stopped reading, let's walk through this.
As Golden State opens as a double digit favorite in the opener of the NBA Finals, Michael Jordan fans are likely to still be able to cling to their one argument for his superiority over LeBron James - six championships.
This ignores the fact that Jordan was one of THREE Hall of Famers playing at HOF levels (one of those years all three were in the top 15 in MVP voting) were on the 4th, 5th and 6th championship, and that argument leaves Jordan behind Robert Horry (7 titles), a legitimate contender for the greatest of all-time in Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and many previous players who had more than six.
In this his 15th season, LeBron James was more than twice as valuable as Jordan was in his 15th and final season based on career Win Shares (the only way to truly compare players from different eras).
In fact, in his five seasons without Hall of Famer Scottie Pippen on the court with him, Jordan never even had a winning season, averaging just 30 wins and 52 losses. Jordan apologists complained when James went to Miami to likewise team up with a future Hall of Fame Player in Marquette's Dwyane Wade - but James did not need a Hall of Fame teammate to make his teams awesome - averaging a 51-31 record in the years before and after he and Wade teamed up.
So when they had to carry their teams without the help of another Hall of Fame player, James’ teams were 21 wins better than Jordan's teams.
It is also fair to note that while Pippen finished 5th, 7th and 9th in MVP voting three of his years with Jordan, and in one year Dennis Rodman gave Jordan TWO teammates in the top 15 in voting - only one season has LeBron ever had a top 9 teammate (Wade 7th, as his best player was prior to James' arrival). In short, Jordan never produced nearly the same results as Jordan EXCEPT when he had Hall of Fame support far superior to the poor cast James dragged to the NBA Finals some of his years.
The three years before Jordan arrived in Chicago, the Bulls averaged a 36-46 record. Jordan played three seasons before another Hall of Fame player arrived, and during his three years befoer adding Pippen Jordan's teams averaged the identical 36-46 record. Jordan scored a lot - but his team was no better with him until another Hall of Famer came along.
Compare this to the transformation of the Cavs after James’ arrival. The Cavs prior to James were far worse than the Bulls prior to Jordan, with a 17-65 record. For an apples to apples, they averaged 25-67 in the 3 years prior to James arrival (11 games worse than the pre-Jordan Bulls), yet in their first three years with James the averaged 42-40 for a 17 average improvement in wins to ZERO for Jordan.
Jordan did not lead his team to a winning record until he was 25 and Pippen had arrived - but by age 25 James finished his seventh season having taken his Cavs to an average mark of 50-32 before leaving to Miami to team up with a player almost at Pippen’s level in Wade.
The difference continued throughout their careers. In the years before or after James and Jordan left and arrived, James’ teams averaged being 22 games better with him than without him and Jordan's teams did not improve at all until an extra Hall of Famer was added to the roster.
The dreadful Cavs improved 18 games as soon as the teenager James took the court. When he went from the Cavs to the Heat the Cavs lost 42 more games and the Heat won 11 more games. When he went back to the Cavs they won 20 more games and the Heat lost 17 more, for an average of 22 more wins a season with than without James.

LeBron arriving or departing
Before and After
Cleveland Cavaliers
Cleveland Cavaliers
Miami Heat
Miami Heat
Cleveland Cavaliers
Teams 22 games better w/LeBron

Contrast this with the amazing lack of difference Jordan’s departures and returns made. When he arrived from UNC he made the Bulls one game worse at 27-55, and as noted did not improve them one game over his first three years. When he took the 1993-94 season off the Bulls were only two games worse. 

James critics will note that Jordan then came back for only part of the 1994-95 season, but he was there for the entire playoffs and the team did just as well as they did the year before without him - a loss in the Conference Semifinals. The next year they had a monster year - but remember that was only after adding a THIRD Hall of Fame Player in Dennis Rodman to the them.
And then Jordan played his final two seasons with the Wizards’ - his 14th and 15th seasons, but unlike James’ 14th and 15th seasons he was simply not very good, getting a couple of MVP mentions the first year and then having a nice farewell tour. The Wizards’ were 10 games worse when he arrived, and just as good the year after he left.

That means the only time a team was more than two games better the year after or before Jordan left was after the 1997-98 season - WHEN ALL THREE HALL OF FAME PLAYERS LEFT AT ONCE.

Jordan arriving or departing
Before and After
Chicago Bulls
Chicago Bulls
Chicago Bulls
Chicago Bulls***
Washington Wizards
Washington Wizards
Teams 4 games better w/Jordan

*** because of the 1998-99 strike, the Bulls record is projected with 21 wins

Jordan was an incredible leader of teams with other Hall of Fame players, and he knew how to close when his teammates were superior to all the opponents they would face. I will even grant that his three best seasons may have been slightly better than any of James' seasons.
However, James’ ability to take teams that should not be in the playoffs all the way to the NBA Finals time and time again is a much dramatic than Jordan’s ability to make sure his Hall of Fame teammates did not blow championships.
James passed Jordan and he is still playing strong.
Unless you want to argue that Horry is greater than Jordan because of the extra championship, it is time to admit there is a new all time King.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Statis-Pro Baseball Game (Learn Free Basic Version in 5)

Below are the original basic game instructions, but we now suggest these:

 The flow of the game with new simple Fast Action Cards on this pdf:

1. Read top line of first card for 2-12 number to see if action is on the pitcher or batter card.

2. On the 2nd card, read the second number (Random Number 11-88) to see what happens on that card. (If noone is one base, change any BK, WP or CD on line 2 to an OUT).

3. If the result is an OUT, check the third number on the next card to see where the ball is hit.

4. The Error Reading on the 4th card is only used if; there is a hit on the BATTER card on line 2 OR, there is a possible error (e?) on line 3 with an out. If the fielder's E number is in the range on this 4th line then everyone is safe in an out or gets an extra base on a hit. Flip for another 11-88 and if the number is 61-88 give batter and runners one additional base for a throwing error.

BD or CD exception instead of 2-12 on top line. Ignore these if noone on base. If at least one runner is on base, BD means to use the clutch batting at the bottom of the batter card  use tto determine if it is a base clearing double (BD-2B), home run, or just a foul ball. If you get a CD with a position, then look up the fielders CD (clutch defense) 1-5 and use the chart at the bottom of this blog for result.

Basic Game

Click here for the new and improved instructions. The 2022 Projected cards are now available here.
PARTS NEEDED. Playing Statis Pro is as easy as A, B, C. The following 2-part tutorial video (Set up of game inning video then 13th inning of Dominican Republic vs Puerto Rico) gives a quick 10-minute visual of how you play the game based on the basic instructions in this blog and a photo of the setup here.

A. Player Cards. You can choose players from this sheet of all projected 2022 players that look like this: .

or you can order current cards by clicking here for cards that look like this and contain the same information.

Since the projected 2019 players all pitchers and batters have been adjusted for ballparks so all players perform as they would in an average ballpark. This continues with the 2022 cards.

B. Two 6-sided dice are rolled to determine whether to use the pitcher's card or the batters card. The range after the pitcher's PB: 2- tells you what dice combination keeps the action on his card. Scherzer needs a roll of 2-8 to keep the action on this card (see both his card and his row above), but in the roll below the combination was a 9 on the blue dice, meaning we use Betts' card.

C. Two 8-sided dice of different colors (or a dice simulator) gives a result of 11-88 to find on that card. In this case, the result is a 27 which falls in the "2B7: 22-27" range meaning a double. Note that if you are using the free row version instead of the card, only the last number of each range is shown, and since "27" is higher than Betts' highest number for a single (1B) is is 21, anything higher than 21 and up to the "33" listed as "2B: 33" is a double. Notice that if the blue dice had resulted in 8 or lower to keep the action on Scherzer's card then that same "27" on the other dice would have been a strikeout since his card shows the range of K: 22-52. Here are the 10 possible results:

  1. 1B = Single 
  2. 2B = Double (only on batters' cards)
  3. 3b = Triple (only on batters' cards)
  4. HR = Home Run (only on batters' cards)
  5. BK = Balk if anyone on base (only on pitchers' cards)
  6. K = Strikeout
  7. W = Walk
  8. HPB = Hit by Pitched Ball (only on pitchers' cards)
  9. WP/PB = Wild Pitch or Passed Ball (only on pitchers' cards)
  10. Out = Out - if you do not have a 20-sided die simply record as an "Out" and all runners hold. However, if you do have a 20-sided die, then find the column header that shows what bases are occupied, and go to the die number to determine what kind of out occurred (letters mean Grounder, Double Play, Fly Out or Line Out). On a roll of a 18 or 19 there could be an error, and a 20 is a flyout out to centerfield unless you are playing advanced rules. Sorry, ignore the DP with bases empty, obviously just one out on that box)

If an RHP (Right-handed pitcher) faces an LP or LN (lefthanded batter), then change a roll of 88 to a single. The same is true if a LHP faces a RP or RN.

However, if an RHP faces a RN or RP, then a roll of 11 is changed to a strikeout. If a LHP faces an LN or LP it is even harder to get a hit, as any roll of 11 or 12 is a strikeout. Note that SN and SP batters do not have any adjustments no matter if they face a LHP or RHP. (In the advanced rules the numbers at the bottom of a batter's replace these adjustments, so "11/87" would mean strikeout on 11 against lefty pitcher but single in 87 or 88, while "88/11" would mean single against lefties on 88 and strikeouts against righties on 11.)

Add Baserunning and Bunt Option (Optional in Basic Game)

Rather than simply having runners advance as many bases as the batter, you can use their speed (OBR/SP of A to E on the card) to try to take extra bases. When trying to take an extra base on a hit, or steal a base, the runner is only out if you roll a "6." On a roll of a 1 through 5, if his OBR or SP is not good enough to take the extra base, then he just stays on the base. An OBR: E cannot try to take an extra base, and a SP: E cannot try to steal.

Just decide which of the three you want to do and roll one 6-sided die instead of all 4 dice.

1 die
Extra Base on hit
Stealing base
OBR A, B or C Xtra base        
SP AA, A, B or C steals     
Sacrifice, OBR: A batter safe for hit
OBR A or B Xtra base
SP AA, A or B steals
OBR A Xtra base
SP AA or A steals
Xtra base only if 2 outs
Only SP AA steals
Foul, use normal hitting
Hold base
Holds base
OF throws out runner

Out Stealing
Leader Runner out

Once a batter is done hitting, and you decide if you want to try to take an extra base, steal or bunt, then go to the next batter. Click here for advanced rules.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

NBA Draft Raid of Nevada, Villanova and Kentucky In 24 Days Would Leave Duke No. 1

Value Add Basketball calculates Nevada, Villanova and Kentucky in the top three spots after hundreds of transfers and NBA decisions in May tracked on the google sheet of projections of all players and teams. However, multiple players on each of those teams may still leave for the NBA draft in 24 days, leaving Nevada only 71% of their current Value Add and Villanova and Kentucky 67% each.

As long as the NBA claims at least one player from each of those teams Duke will emerge as the preseason favorite. The table below shows each team's current Value Add rating, followed by their conference and the percent of their Value Add that would remain in a worst case of all their prospects turning pro. Teams cut their losses because their 9th best player moves into the rotation if the top star goes pro, and then the 10th best player if two leave for the pros etc.

NBA Draft Net projects five Duke players will be taken in the NBA Draft, but because the have committed to leave their Values are not included in Duke's 4th best 46.65 rating. However, Nevada's 52.98 top ranking assumes both 31, Cody Martin (ranked 31st with a 7.85 Value Add) and Caleb Martin (ranked 48th with a 7.51) stay - so if one or both leave Nevada would likely drop behind Duke despite solid replacements. Likewise Kentucky and Villanova.

The Big East-centric breakdown will appear on this CBS/247 site and the Facebook page.

Here is the top 25 assuming everyone stays, with the percentage each team would retain if every prospect listed departed. The ranking of all teams can be found here.

RnkTeamTop 8 VAConf% if NBA players lostPossible NBA (rank, player, Value Add)
1Nevada52.98MWC71%31, Cody Martin, 7.85 & 48, Caleb Martin, 7.51
2Villanova47.51BE67%25, Spellman, 8.01 & 32, DiVincenzo, 7.84
3Kentucky47.21SEC67%180, Washington, 5.65, 241, Vanderbilt, 5.17 & 272, Gabriel, 4.93
5Kansas42.26B1283%64, Azubuike, 7.03
6Tennessee42.01SEC69%70, Schofield, 6.98 & 161, Alexander, 5.89
8North Carolina40.31ACC100%
9Mississippi St.40.05SEC64%43, Holman, 7.58 & 75, Weatherspoon, 6.93
10Maryland39.36B1064%33, Huerter, 7.82 & 137, Fernando, 6.2
11Louisiana St.39.18SEC100%
12Auburn38.66SEC84%154, Wiley, 6.00
13Gonzaga37.94WCC85%183, Hachimura, 5.62
14Syracuse37.44ACC59%39, Battle, 7.7 & 40, Brissett, 7.69
15North Carolina St.35.07ACC83%168, Dorn, 5.81
17Virginia34.62ACC81%102, Hunter, 6.55
18Texas34.28B1285%255, Roach, 5.03
19UCLA34.26P1271%238, Hands, 5.19 & 275, Wilkes, 4.91
20Kansas St.34.16B1283%165, Brown, 5.84
21Michigan St.33.63B1080%90, Ward, 6.64
22Virginia Tech33.49ACC87%381, Alexander-Walker, 4.25
24Florida32.73SEC80%93, Hudson, 6.61

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

3 New Yankees Sluggers Give Edge Over Astros; Red Sox and Indians Round Out For AL Contenders based on Statis-Pro

Unlike other tabletop baseball games, Statis-Pro player cards enable fans to quickly grasp the value of a player. An average pitcher had a PB of 2-6, meaning he controlled the game on the card equivalent of a dice roll of 2-6, but a pitcher card with a 2-9 indicated he only risks hitting the batter's card on the equivalent of a 10, 11 or 12 roll to rate as one of the top 5% of all pitchers.

When a pitcher allows the batters' card to come into play yields an average home run range is 27-32 - actually four home runs out of 64 possible results on the base-8 system (there is no 29 or 30 combo). If you take 30 seconds to type in 9 MLB projected stats to let the google sheet calculate crude cards for Yankee rookies Miguel Andujar and Tyler Austin you see they have fantastic home run ranges of 32-36 and 24-32 respectively. Add the massive Home Run range of 22-34 Giancarlo Stanton who came to the Yankees from Miami after leading baseball in home runs and you realize the new Yankees lineup looks more like the 1927 Yankees than the team that just missed the World Series last year with Aaron Judge and company.

Looking through the cards of the strong players (2-8 or 2-9 pitchers or strong home run/hit range) gained or lost to adjust for how much a team's cards look better or worse than last year, the Statis-Pro rosters rank the Cleveland Indians as tops due to incredible pitching from starters to relievers, and the Yankees seem to be second best behind that line-up with the Astros and Red Sox right behind them and the Angels improved enough to perhaps sneak in as the final wild-card team.

In real life after one month, the first four playoff teams match-up but the Seattle Mariners are ahead of the Angels for the final spot. However, the Indians would only make the playoffs due to the AL Central being very weak, and the Astros starting rotation that looks just above average is actually lights out (top trio is 10-1 with a 1.50 ERA vs. going 55-49 with a 3.88 ERA in their combined two seasons before joining the Astros.

At the end of the season, we will see if the final standings are closer to what they are now or to how good the cards look from last year moved to their current rosters as reflected below. You can play Statis-Pro here or by finding an old game on-line, and you can order cards or make your own using this google sheet. (Notes on my Statis-Pro season are kept here)

TeamRating2017 WLBig additions (or full seasons)Losses
Cleveland Indians10.010260Chisenhall 28-35 PT, Alonso 24-32Robertson R 2-8 FA
New York Yankees9.09171New Stanton (Mia) 22-34 fr Mia, Andujar 31-35, 27-37Castro 36-41 to Mia
Houston Astros8.610161Stassi 26-33None
Boston Red Sox8.69369Martinez 25-38 Com, Velazquez 2-8R PT,None
Los Angeles Angels8.08082Cozart (Cin) 31-36, Upton 26-34 Det, Ohtani 34-38 & 2-8S Japan, Richards 2-8 S PTPetit 2-8 Rel to Oak
Minnesota Twins6.28577Reed 2-8 Mets, Morrison 21-28W TBNone
Seattle Mariners5.27884Nicasio 2-8R Com, Leake 2-8 S PT, Healy 32-36 Oak, Gordon 42 a/a fr MiaZych 2-8 R FA
Toronto Blue Jays4.87686Hernandez 22-34 PT, Grichuk 24-31 StLRasmus 27-37 PT to Bal, Leone 2-8R to St Louis
Texas Rangers4.47884Minor 2-8R KCNone
Baltimore Orioles4.27587Rasmus 27-37 TB/PT, Beckman 35-42 PTCastillo 31-37 CWS
Chicago White Sox3.86795Delmonico 24-32 PT, Castillo 31-37 Balt, Gioliti 2-8 StPT, Avila 2-8 RelLAD,Cabrera 35-38 Free agent
Oakland Athletics3.47587Olson 15-32 PT, Petit 2-8 Rel LAAAlonso 24-33 to Cle , Madson 2-9 to Wash, Healy 32-36 Oak to Sea
Kansas City Royals2.88082Hosmer 36-42 to SD, Alexander 2-8 Rel LAD, Minor 2-8R Tex
Tampa Bay Rays2.48082Wendell 42-43Morrison 21-28W to Minn, Dickerson 33-37 to Pitt, Hunter to Phillies 2-8R, Cishek 2-9R PT,
Detroit Tigers0.06498CAldelario 41-42 PT,JD Martinez 27-37 PT, Upton 27-35W
AL Average5.481.780.3Ave. AL Batting Card 27-32 HR, Pitcher 2-6