May 22, 2011, was the one-year anniversary of High Basketball IQ.
And Dallas beating Miami in the Finals marked the official end of my first year covering the NBA here.
Congratulations to me!
It's been a long road, and I've enjoyed every minute of it!
And I learned so much and got so much better at analyzing the game and dissecting and correcting my own weaknesses.
I want to take a look back at my first year and some of my greatest accomplishments and failures.
And hopefully, I'll be even better next season!
1. Picking Dallas as a Contender Before the Season
After being embarrassed and humiliated by some of my picks earlier in the season, it felt so good to get one right, and on such a grand scale.
Absolutely nobody had Dallas on their radar when I did.
At the time Dallas was thought to be nothing more than an old team of soft chokers whose window of opportunity had closed and been nailed shut.
But I went with my system and called it like I saw it.
Not only that, I also nailed their championship rotation (almost to a man) by calling out Rick Carlisle for the minutes he was giving Rodrigue Beaubois and wasn't giving DeShawn Stevenson and JJ Barea.
When you consider the enormous strength of the "Roddy B" movement and how popular the anti-Dallas sentiment was at the times I took both stands, I almost deserve an award for my audacity alone.
And when you add in the fact that I was right on both counts and everybody else was wrong on both counts, it is even more proof that HBIQ stands alone when it comes to breaking down basketball, at least in some areas.
Even still, I must admit that I got lucky with the pick.
I made the pick before I knew how to, or even that I should, include the coach as part of the team evaluation.
And it so happened that Rick Carlisle was able to master the game and get his roster to live up to the overflowing amount of talent which was on it.
I had no idea when I made the pick what kind of coach Carlisle really was.
But I would like to thank Carlisle and Dallas for making me look good!
It is very much appreciated!
2. Predicting the Rise of Blake Griffin and the Clippers
While everybody else was busy riding around on their high horses and judging LeBron James for "The Decision," I was busy analyzing basketball.
And the greatest fruit of my labor was the sensation which became known as Blake Griffin.
Griffin took the world by storm and helped lead the NBA to popularity not seen since the last days of Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls.
And HBIQ was there from the start, telling you how unbelievable Griffin was when everybody else was still using the Clippers as a punchline.
It is yet another example of HBIQ being one step (at least) ahead of the competition when it comes to player and team evaluations.
3. The Introduction of Groundbreaking Advanced Statistics
One thing you'll notice is that you'll never see me quoting PER, points per possession (PPP), plus/minus, adjusted plus/minus, win shares, WARP or many of the other popular metrics which are all the rage these days in certain circles.
That's because they are all flawed and therefore meaningless.
Points per possession is a legitimate statistic when tracked and logged from actual possession from real games, but that is not how it is done.
PPP is typically figured using a formula like this one, so the numbers it comes up with are nothing more than guesstimates and not accurate based on what actually took place during real games, which makes it wholly invalid.
Most of the others are based on box-score data, but the box score itself is flawed, and so will anything be which comes from the box score.
I believe in getting things right here at HBIQ. That's why I created my own advanced statistics.
It started with the introduction of my own floor chart and a way to track every little ball movement and deflection and count what the box score doesn't.
Individual plus/minus (IPM) makes plus/minus and adjusted plus/minus look like the jokes that they are.
What difference does it make that Golden State allowed more points when Monta Ellis was on the floor if he wasn't directly responsible for the points they allowed?
IPM tracks individual players and counts all of the points their teams allow as a direct result of their mistakes and failures to give you the exact and specific person responsible for the points a team allows and not just a guess based on who was on the floor at the time.
And unlike plus/minus or adjusted plus/minus, you don't have to gather a year's worth of data to come to a foggy "conclusion," which will be full of noise, error rates, question marks and black holes.
All you need are a few select games, and you'll know exactly what's what on the defensive end of the floor.
My advanced defensive statistics track stops and take measuring defense to a level never before seen in public.
And I redefined clutch to make it match what I saw as clutch based on watching the flow of the last few minutes of close games.
Put it all together and you'll be analyzing basketball better than anyone else on the planet.
4. The Creation of HBIQ Cinema
Not everyone is a stat geek.
Some people just want to sit down and have a good time.
And that is why I came up with HBIQ Cinema, HBIQ Legends Cinema and HBIQ Underground Cinema.
The highlight reels which came out at the end of the season were so inspiring that they needed their own special place.
So all you have to do is click either cinema label at the end of an article, and you'll link to all of the videos in that category and can entertain yourself for as long as you wish.
It's one of the best ways around to spend a morning, afternoon or evening.
5. Comprehensive Rookie Evaluations
Have you ever wondered why one rookie went on to have a great career and another was terrible beyond description?
Or why it took someone five years to find himself?
It's much deeper than the genius of the personnel man who drafted him.
HBIQ put together a full breakdown and gave the answers to how and why this happens.
And a week later I did a follow-up which looked at some late bloomers who went on to have or are having outstanding careers after getting off to somewhat slow starts.
It's the most thorough analysis I have seen.
6. Coaching Analysis
Don't think for one minute that you can look at the talent on a roster and determine how many games a team will win.
What if Kurt Rambis decides that Anthony Tolliver is his sixth-best player? Or installs an offense which runs through turnover-prone big men?
You would be in big trouble.
It didn't take long for me to figure out that incompetent coaches are blog-killers.
And unless you want to end up like I was during the season, irate on a nightly basis and ready to throw your remote through the television due to all of the miscalculations, gaffes and bungles of bad coaches, please consider the ability of the coach before you make a prediction.
7. The NBA's Best Point Guards
As we all know, it is a point guard league.
And my article on the NBA's best point guards is by far my most popular based on feedback from those who have read it.
1. Picking Detroit to Compete for the Central Division
This was my most humiliating moment of the season.
It's so bad that I feel one-inch tall as I write this. My only consolation is my Dallas pick was as good (and more) as this was bad.
You can see a full breakdown of what happened under the "Coaching Analysis" link.
2. Missing on Toronto
I ripped Toronto to shreds in my Eastern Conference preview and in my article on the best point guards in the NBA.
I whiffed on that one.
It's hasn't shown up in wins and losses yet, but they do have some talent there, and I got it wrong.
3. Lack of Respect and Recognition from Peers
Not that I care, but you would think that someone who has accomplished as much as I have in such a short period of time would be the toast of the sportswriting world, with quotes and interviews and links to all of my articles swarming the blogosphere and job offers to write about the NBA (I do care about the job offers).
But that hasn't happened.
It hasn't happened despite the fact that I know that they know I'm here.
Only one person has ever linked to anything I have written, so I would like to thank Tom at Indy Cornrows for the love he showed me last August.
And no one has contacted me about getting approved so that I can have HBIQ linked to, if that's even the process.
Why I am getting ignored like this despite all of my great work is one of life's great mysteries and at the same time is also very frustrating.
I have come to the conclusion that there is nothing I can ever do to get the respect I deserve and have accepted the fact that this is the way it is going to be.
But I've decided to continue to kick their asses anyway and analyze basketball better than ever.
And maybe one day I'll land that job and become a paid sportswriter.
Note: Format from Hawks Str8t Talk at Peachtree Hoops.
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