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Thursday, November 01, 2007

You Don't Need a Weatherman...

You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.
Bob Dylan, "Subterranean Homesick Blues"
This week's edition of the NBA Barometer is up on (subscription required). Barometer is a weekly column where I track who's hot and who's not in the NBA.

Here's a clip from this week's column:

Got Bowen'd?

In the Spurs' season-opening win over the Blazers, Bruce Bowen did not score. He was 0-5 from the field, including three missed three-pointers. He didn't draw a foul. But in my eyes, he contributed about nine points to San Antonio's victory margin - which coincidentally (or perhaps not coincidentally) was nine points. Because Bowen put Brandon Roy on lockdown.

Last year's top rookie scored just seven points on 2 of 10 shooting from the field. His career average is 16 and change... my nine point estimate is the difference between Roy guarded by Bowen and Roy guarded by a mere mortal on defense.

I know this is a very simplistic way of looking at things. Obviously, basketball is a team sport, and Bowen wasn't the only guy to defend Roy Tuesday night. Just as obviously, Roy wasn't at full strength after missing most of the preseason with heel problems. But that doesn't change the fact that, in today's NBA, an elite perimeter defender like Bowen (Or Ron Artest, or Tayshaun Prince) can absolutely change the outcome of a game by taking the opposition's lead scorer out of the mix entirely.

We need a new stat to measure this… but that stat would probably need to include dozens of different variables and require a formula as long as Andrei Kirilenko's arm. I'll leave it to one of our resident math professors to muddle through that, and for now, whenever a great wing scorer is shut down by great on-ball defense, we'll just say "he got Bowen'd," and not worry too much about that player's offense going forward.

Fantasy players take note - particularly in daily transaction leagues or games like's "Pick One" – starting your wing scorers against the Spurs is probably a bad idea. A similar trend may emerge with the Kings once Ron Artest returns from his latest suspension, but we'll wait and see on that. New Sacramento coach Reggie Theus is reportedly experimenting with Artest, even using him at the top of a 1-3-1 zone at times.

To read the entire column, including player upgrades and downgrades, you'll need to subscribe to Rotowire.


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Design by Dzelque Blogger Templates 2008