Wrapping it up for another week, and this one is almost worth its own post, but let’s just make this a little longer than usual thanks to an email gem from Michael Brandon:
I looked back at your Nov. 21 blog entry, referencing 82games.com, a site I appreciate.
Also, I was looking at the stats of minutes played by players that are either rookies or new to their teams, and comparing them to the Raps. Of all the teams the Raps have played this year, new players to the team have accounted for an average of 19% of the playing time, and rookies have only accounted for 5% of total minutes.
In the case of the Raps, 63% of their minutes are played by players new to the team, of which 16% of total minutes are played by true rookies. Anthony Parker, who has not played an NBA minute in years accounts for 13% of team minutes.
No other team the Raps have played come close in new player minutes (Hawks 33%, Bucks 35%).
To me, that underlines the subjective notion expressed here and elsewhere that lack of familiarity is part of this whole debate. But there’s more from Michael:
I also looked at the W/L records of the league for further insight.
As near as I can tell, the East only is winning 28% of their games against the West (in part because the lower-ranked teams by W/L record have been West loaded early), and they only win 54% of their home games against any opposition.
The Raps have won 60% of their home games (3-2), and probably should have won one out west, maybe two if the stars were aligned (or California fell into the ocean).
So, we have people screaming for the head of Sam Mitchell, because a team with 62% of their minutes eaten up by new players, is one game behind the average this early in the season. I thought that consensus was for the Raps to be average this year (41 wins) or less (30-40 wins).
I don't want to quibble with the numbers on 82games.com. There is nothing to quibble about. However, there is more to the story.
Good points. Thanks, Michael.
|Early pre-vegetarian pie-eating contest.|
One more email. Regular Tim Farrell weighs in with another Raptor-related observation:
Garbajosa suddenly can't shoot . . . could it be . . . the curse of Vince Carter's jersey??
Not only that, Tim, but T.J. Ford is wearing Rafer Alston’s old number and Chris Bosh has Vincenzo Esposito's. You may be on to something.
One more helping. Here’s a sport where expansion is not only encouraged, but inevitable – until this year, that is, the world pie-eating championships, gone from a marathon to a sprint and now including a vegetarian option (from Times Online):
"They’ve taken things too far this year - pies are supposed to be meat and potato and anything else just isn’t normal," said Dave Smyth, 48, a painter from Hindley, who won the first contest in 1992 when he ate an impressive four pies in three minutes.
Your newspaper operations are a mess and your baseball team is a disaster. So, what do you do? Why, invest heavily in the baseball team, of course.
On Monday, Tribune confirmed that it would pay free-agent slugger Alfonso Soriano $136 million over eight years. It's spending more than $200 million total on many players this off-season, as well as hiring a new manager, veteran Lou Piniella.
As the late, great Cubs announcer Harry Caray might shout in disbelief: Holy cow!
Sports around town. Look no further than the Air Canada Centre Tuesday, and the Metro Hoops Showcase (6:30 p.m. tipoff), apparently the first-ever high school basketball doubleheader to be played on the hallowed, history-laden hardcourt where Negele Knight once trod. Seriously, they'll put on a better show than many of the recent hoop nights the place has seen.
Watching. The Vanier Cup, live from Saskatoon (Saturday, 3:30 p.m., The Score). Saskatchewan vs Laval, and it should be a hooly. And as is the custom around here, Neate Sager’s got the preview (including the weather forecast - cold, very cold).
Pooch punts. Yup, he’s back, tail between his legs after a piddling 0-5 record that puts him squarely in the league of many of the world's best public handicappers – it’s Jinks the Vizsla, scarfing down another set of kibble-or-cookie plays of the week:
Jacksonville –3 over BUFFALO
New Orleans +3 over ATLANTA
Chicago +3 over NEW ENGLAND
Philadelphia +9 over INDY
SEATTLE –9 1/2 over Green Bay