Early Morning Hiccups – Nov. 8

Despite me fearing the worst, Early Morning Hiccups hasn’t failed miserably so far. In fact, there’s just enough info to spill the second edition into the net. After all, maybe the English-speaking world hasn’t put Lithuanian basketball into the boring shelf… What do you think?

RaptorsRepublic.com – ‘Statophile, Volume 1’

Welcome to a new idea here at RR. The goal of Statophile is to produce a weekly summary of advanced metrics – to analyse beyond what’s beyond the basic boxscore. We will also address a few perceptions from readers each week and look to confirm or bust them.

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The most shocking metric? Linas Kleiza’s 7.3 PER. Kleiza is supposed to be one of our key “go to” players on offense and this is a major concern (yes, it’s only six games, but…). Klieza is currently ranked 43rd out of 53 small forwards for PER. This cannot continue. Heck, even Jamario Moon is 3.5 ahead of him. His true shooting percentage is near the bottom on this team and his assist percentage tells us he’s not moving the ball enough.

Heat Index @ ESPN – ‘Big Z for the win’ 

Now that we’re getting a sense of how the Miami Heat’s offense is going to work — all those superstars running all over the place! — I had a thought strike me, as clear as day.

When the Heat are in crunch time, and need a bucket, in all likelihood Zydrunas Ilgauskas will have incredibly open looks. Defenses will simply be too worried about everything else. When he does, the Heat should not hesitate to get him the ball — the man is not only incredibly tall, but he can also shoot.

In-the-game.org – ‘Euroleague Week #3 – random bits’

A method to determine the youngest and oldest Euroleague team? As you know, simply calculating average roster age doesn’t do the job when teams play seven man rotations with 30+ year olds while sitting five teenagers to fill up the bench. Weighed age is a simple method to determine the true age of a roster in connection with playing time. You multiply age with minutes played for every player on the roster, then take the sum of all players’ “age * minutes played” and divide it by team minutes played (200 for a 40 minute game).

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You’d expect Rytas (with 18-year-old Jonas Valanciunas in significant minutes) and Partizan down there. Roma? Maybe not. They have Vladimir Dasic (1988), Nihad Djedovic (1990), Luca Vitali (1986) and Josh Heytvelt (1986) in the rotation.

In-the-game.org – ‘Euroleague 10/11 advanced team stats’

In-the-game.org set up an advanced team stats page for the running Euroleague season. Most efficient offense so far? Milano. Worst defense? CSKA. Best offensive rebounding? Real. Defensive rebounding? Charleroi.

Yerone Arbel @ Euroleague.net ­– ‘The free throws fairy’

Lietuvos Rytas dropped to a surprising 0-3 record after a 73-69 road loss to Cholet Basket, its second close loss in a row. Cholet certainly earned its first victory at this level in a decade, and the difference was a visit from the free-throws fairy to Western France some time around the 27th minute of that game. Cholet finished shooting 38 free throws, more than any other team this week except Panathinaikos, which had the same amount but with an overtime added. In the first half, Cholet hit only 11 of 20 attempts, while late in the third quarter something changed. From then until the buzzer the French champs made 15 of their 18 attempts. The player who stood out in earning and making the free throws that would win the game for Cholet was guard Fabien Causeur. By drawing 10 fouls, Causeur went to the line no fewer than 14 times. By comparison, in the first two games of the season, playing a total of more than 63 minutes, Causeur drew 3 fouls and didn’t shoot even a single free throw.

Grubelei.de – ‘Is the German Beko BBL the second best basketball league in Europe?’

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My point is that even if you consider the Adriatic League as the second best league in Europe, you have to keep in mind that it is not a national league, that national leagues show different features like relegation, play-offs and a bunch of not-so-good teams which water the league’s stock.

It’s not the only regional league in Europe. There’s the Eastern European VTB league covering Poland, Russia, some Baltic states, Finland and Ukraine. There’s the Baltic Basketball League consisting of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Sweden. Is the Adriatic League number one of the three major regional leagues VTB, Adriatic and Baltic? Off the top of my head I would say yes. But VTB seems to get better each year. In western Europe we don’t have such a regional league.

I would agree that – Euroleague and Eurocup left aside – the Adriatic league offers the 2nd best competition in Europe during the regular season right behind the Spanish ACB but it’s not the 2nd best league as it is “incomplete” compared to the traditional league format.

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Early Morning Hiccups – Nov. 8

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