How can the Celtics trade for Kyrie Irving be rationalized?

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schtevie
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How can the Celtics trade for Kyrie Irving be rationalized?

Post by schtevie » Thu Aug 31, 2017 4:53 pm

As someone who follows the Celtics with some interest and who wishes them well, but perhaps more importantly, as someone who would like to believe in progress (despite the times) I am interested in hearing a compelling argument as to how the Celtics have plausibly bettered themselves by giving up what they did to acquire Kyrie Irving.

Since at least the acquisition of Kevin Garnett, I might succinctly describe their front office philosophy as "plus-minus and patience", and this has served them very, very well. I cannot, by any means, say that my memory is encyclopedic, but I cannot recall any significant personnel move over the past decade where the plus-minus summation was significantly (if at all) negative. And now this.

I guess the parsimonious explanation is that in this instance Danny Ainge's minder fell down on the job, but perhaps there is some compelling argument for what otherwise appears to be taking big steps back (and pushing one's primary rival the same number forward).

Crow
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Re: How can the Celtics trade for Kyrie Irving be rationaliz

Post by Crow » Thu Aug 31, 2017 5:04 pm

The rationalization is probably:

offense first wins
need bigger player to get clutch playoff buckets
Crowder's playoff RPM was nothing special
Nets pick isn't going to be as high as hoped

I wouldn't have made Irving the prize.

I don't see the Celtics with him beating the Warriors. Not near enough defense. But I see a low chance anyone beats them in next 2 years at least.

I can see Kyrie walking to LA or Miami in 2 years. Or maybe traded again.

bondom343
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Re: How can the Celtics trade for Kyrie Irving be rationaliz

Post by bondom343 » Thu Aug 31, 2017 11:56 pm

Front offices likely don't look into stats the same way people outside might. I'd say this forum and some others online see basketball entirely differently than FOs (or ex players a la Danny Ainge) do. Personally I'd take IT straight up over Kyrie.

rlee
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Re: How can the Celtics trade for Kyrie Irving be rationaliz

Post by rlee » Fri Sep 01, 2017 12:26 am

hip,age,size,one year till max that they didn't want to pay

J.E.
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Re: How can the Celtics trade for Kyrie Irving be rationaliz

Post by J.E. » Fri Sep 01, 2017 7:36 am

schtevie wrote:Since at least the acquisition of Kevin Garnett, I might succinctly describe their front office philosophy as "plus-minus and patience", and this has served them very, very well.
I had the same impression. Then it seemed to go all to out the window when they let Amir walk

Also somewhat of note: Brown and Tatum were not rated highly by draft models. Granted, 2016 looks like an atrocious draft.
Don't understand why they didn't just take Fultz if they didn't want to hold on to IT

Rd11490
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Re: How can the Celtics trade for Kyrie Irving be rationaliz

Post by Rd11490 » Fri Sep 01, 2017 3:51 pm

I had the same impression. Then it seemed to go all to out the window when they let Amir walk
I agree that this summer they threw the past 5 years of organizational philosophy out the window, but I've never understood all the love for Amir. I think he's a very good and underrated player, but he's showing his age and he got played off the court last year in the playoffs.

I've always wondered if his advanced numbers were inflated due to the lineups he played in. Below is a breakdown of each starters % of possessions played with other starters and a plot of percentage of possessions played by number of starters on the court.

Image

http://i.imgur.com/lAa0arY.png

Sorry for going off topic. I agree that this is not a good move for the celtics, but I could see how you could rationalize it.

JoshEngleman
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Re: How can the Celtics trade for Kyrie Irving be rationaliz

Post by JoshEngleman » Fri Sep 01, 2017 6:30 pm

J.E. wrote:
schtevie wrote:Since at least the acquisition of Kevin Garnett, I might succinctly describe their front office philosophy as "plus-minus and patience", and this has served them very, very well.
I had the same impression. Then it seemed to go all to out the window when they let Amir walk

Also somewhat of note: Brown and Tatum were not rated highly by draft models. Granted, 2016 looks like an atrocious draft.
Don't understand why they didn't just take Fultz if they didn't want to hold on to IT
Well, from a relative standpoint, Tatum was highly rated by draft models. http://www.tothemean.com/tools/draft-mo ... 17/dv2/all

Based on the consensus, Tatum was #2. Lonzo was #1 with a bullet, with Tatum/Jackson/Issac all pretty close. In this case, getting Tatum plus the LAL/SAC pick, is a great piece of business. Although based on that consensus, it's insane they didn't take Ball, but that's neither here nor there. :D

Dr Positivity
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Re: How can the Celtics trade for Kyrie Irving be rationaliz

Post by Dr Positivity » Fri Sep 01, 2017 11:05 pm

- Not sweating Isaiah loss of value if they feel in 17-18 he was damaged goods, then after that they weren't going to resign him.

- If they feel Isaiah was partly a product of Stevens system, and Kyrie in it and away from Lebron has breakout potential. They're not just making this trade for lower level all-star Kyrie. They want Kyrie to win an MVP. The difference between 2017 Isaiah level and the next level above it is everything in the NBA and Kyrie is more of an upside bet to get there

- If Kyrie stays for longer than the next 2 years for Boston it opens up free agent possibilities in his late 20s after Horford comes off. Kyrie will be 28 when Davis becomes a FA. Are Kyrie and Davis friends? They were top prospects a year apart so could go back to their high school or AAU days. Have done Team USA. Both Nike. Kyrie has to be one of the best fits in the league for who the Davis super team would include

- Clears minutes for Tatum and Brown who the Celtics are sky high on
Last edited by Dr Positivity on Fri Sep 01, 2017 11:29 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Dr Positivity
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Re: How can the Celtics trade for Kyrie Irving be rationaliz

Post by Dr Positivity » Fri Sep 01, 2017 11:19 pm

Rd11490 wrote:
I had the same impression. Then it seemed to go all to out the window when they let Amir walk
I agree that this summer they threw the past 5 years of organizational philosophy out the window, but I've never understood all the love for Amir. I think he's a very good and underrated player, but he's showing his age and he got played off the court last year in the playoffs.

I've always wondered if his advanced numbers were inflated due to the lineups he played in. Below is a breakdown of each starters % of possessions played with other starters and a plot of percentage of possessions played by number of starters on the court.

Image

http://i.imgur.com/lAa0arY.png

Sorry for going off topic. I agree that this is not a good move for the celtics, but I could see how you could rationalize it.
I think Amir being even better in Toronto in advanced stats help help back up his Boston numbers as real

Rd11490
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Re: How can the Celtics trade for Kyrie Irving be rationaliz

Post by Rd11490 » Fri Sep 01, 2017 11:58 pm

I think Amir being even better in Toronto in advanced stats help help back up his Boston numbers as real
Don't get me wrong, I think Amir was really good in Toronto and early on it Boston, but I think over the last year and a half his age has really shown.

J.E.
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Re: How can the Celtics trade for Kyrie Irving be rationaliz

Post by J.E. » Sat Sep 02, 2017 8:49 am

Pure RAPM has Johnson 24th over the last two seasons, including the playoffs, in which he admittedly wasn't very effective. I'm sure his absense will hurt their regular season win total, though.
Aside from the stellar plus minus numbers, his per36 numbers are very good as well. He's super efficient, gets steals and blocks and doesn't turn the ball over much

As for Tatum being ranked highly in draft models - I'm very surprised to see him that high. Kind of flies in the face of everything that I've ever done in regards to draft models (which was a lot, back in the day). It also seems that many non-statistical projections were included in the "advanced consensus"

schtevie
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Re: How can the Celtics trade for Kyrie Irving be rationaliz

Post by schtevie » Mon Sep 04, 2017 3:18 pm

Without addressing them one by one, the suggested rationalizations of this trade (from the Celtics perspective) imply, at least, a disbelief in the precision of RPM estimates, and at most (worst), a complete rejection of the underlying premises of a plus-minus approach which actually aren't up for debate, i.e. that basketball is a zero sum game, that player value can be measured in terms of net points provided, and that contributions on offense (to a first approximation, at least) are coequal with those on defense.

And it's the latter bit that is most disconcerting and hard to square with the last decade of Celtics front office performance.

For a long time, I had on occasion wondered the degree to which Danny Ainge was an adherent to a plus-minus approach (despite the front office moves that strongly suggested it) but I at least assumed he was fluent with the arguments and evidence. But then last year (or was it the year before?) around this time I heard him interviewed on a local sports radio show, and he was talking about the pathways to the next championship and how this was dependent on getting transcendent individual talent. And then when he began discussing recent NBA history in this context my ears pricked up, as I was waiting for the "tell" - the discussion of the 2004 Pistons. And sure enough (as I recall) he offered this team as "the exception" of a championship being generated despite no stand-out talent.

So, in a sense, I was not surprised by this latest string of personnel moves (and it is my bad that I didn't include the release of Amir Johnson in my initial post - this being only testimony to my general lack of attention to NBA basketball these days). That Ainge didn't even understand that the Celtics ability to acquire KG was part and parcel the same phenomenon of the enduring inability of the league (and its fans) to understand the value of Ben Wallace was sadly ironic and foretold this preseason's debacle.

But there you go.

And speaking of enduring, here is the very recent offering where we see Zack Lowe utterly confusing himself on these exact grounds: http://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/2051 ... -trade-nba

He and Kevin Pelton ought to talk more.

Mike G
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Re: How can the Celtics trade for Kyrie Irving be rationaliz

Post by Mike G » Mon Sep 04, 2017 7:33 pm

Amir made 12 million last year, 2nd on the team. In RS he played 20 mpg, #6 or 7 in the rotation. In PO he was 10th/11th at 10 mpg.
Maybe they were tired of paying huge $$ for a guy the coach couldn't find minutes for?

Even if a player compliments a few lineups, if he's an albatross in other lineups, he can be a drag on the team as a whole.

Crow
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Re: How can the Celtics trade for Kyrie Irving be rationaliz

Post by Crow » Mon Sep 04, 2017 8:15 pm

Amir had strong positive raw plus minus on 7 of his 9 most used regular season lineups including all of the top 4,(and the starter group). He was good in more than just a few. 14 of the 20 most used were positive. But he and team had negative plus minus in all of his top 5 playoff lineups. Would need to dig deeper to try to figure out why.

This is a case where I think RAPM / RPM splits might offer clues. Look at first / last half season, against playoff teams / lottery, traditional / small ball lineups with & against, above average / below average matchup, at C / at PF, etc. Are there major differences in the parts? There could be and they could be more signal than noise. Look multi-year. Not necessarily providing easy answers but more scientific than ad hoc speculation (was he healthy, did Cs play same way, etc.) or giving up without trying to answer.

Did Stevens coach well in playoffs? It wasn't just Amir who was negative on Shadow's playoff only RAPM. 4 starters, 2/3rds of rotation were neutral or negative (most negative). Their net rating was worse than -3. They won 9 of 17 games but their Pythagorean expected wins was only 7 or barely over 40% (after the Cavs' thumping / IT injury). 4 of Steven's top 5 most used playoff lineups were negative and 7 of 10. Johnson in 2 of the 10. Only 26% of Stevens' 172 playoff lineup choices were cumulatively positive.

Where did Stevens rank on reasons Celtics fell short of ultimate goal? #1? 2? 3? Lower??

Crow
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Re: How can the Celtics trade for Kyrie Irving be rationaliz

Post by Crow » Mon Sep 04, 2017 9:42 pm

Hayward at about 20th (worst) percentile on Shadow's playoff only RAPM. Horford, worse (almost bottom 10%, just slightly above Amir Johnson).

Put Irving, Hayward and Horford together and on this measure you're slightly negative on your $75 mil / yr big 3. What a design, not counting possible negative synergies or new coaching mistakes.

Based on these numbers, Kyrie eventually saying f to the system, his teammates and Stevens seems likely. Not likely to work in long run but maybe more likely than the alternative. Was this Ainge's read ultimately? One way to interpret the trade.

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