Steve, sorry for the long post, but I know you love the strategy talk like I do. Some NBA coaches (Popovich a couple weeks ago and Thibodeau today) are trying to beat the Clippers by intentionally fouling Deandre Jordan. It’s not a terrible strategy overall. Most NBA teams average between 1 and 1.1 points per possession. Jordan shoots 40% from the line, so every time you foul him (shooting fouls, obviously), you can expect the Clips to score 0.8 points on that possession. That’s pretty good defensive efficiency, so I have no problem with what Popovich did that night. However, what Thibs did today was use that strategy to try and come back from a fairly large deficit (8 points or so) late in the fourth quarter (3-4 minutes to go). In that situation, the Clippers are perfectly happy to score 0.8 points per possession because they really only need to score a few more points to win the game. Jordan ended up 5-12 from the line, so right around his average. The Bulls’ win probability at that point is probably around 5-10%, and the only way they’re going to win the game is to have really fantastic defensive and offensive efficiency in those last 3-4 minutes. The DE would probably have to be around 0.5 or even lower. My larger point, and this is really stolen from Fezzik, is that EVERY SINGLE COACH IN THE NBA SHOULD UNDERSTAND AND BE ABLE TO EXPLAIN SOMETHING LIKE THIS, and in reality I’m sure the number who can do so is either zero or one (Popovich). It took me about five minutes of internet research to figure this out, and I have no background in accounting or statistics. If your coach can’t figure this out, fire him and hire someone who can, or keep your idiot coach and hire some kind of game manager/strategy person who the coach is required to listen to.
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