Monthly Archives: November 2012

AFL Phantom Draft Accuracy

First and foremost, I’m at work so please excuse any incoherent structure or spelling errors. When boredom and mundane office duty strikes inaccuracy becomes my forte. Anywho…

Each year the AFL draft period brings about numerous phantom drafts. Some are independent, some mass media, and some more accurate than others.

The major roadblock when attempting to obtain information on an AFL draft class is the sheer lack of contributors and sources at ones disposal. A quick search of “Phantom AFL Draft” or “AFL Draft” on Google will turn over a limited number of results and given the heavyweights in the business (mass media) don’t post their finished products prior to the morning of the draft, getting a grasp on which prospects will land where can be quite troublesome.

The AFL doesn’t make the task any easier; there’s no television coverage of underage competition, no rolling analysis throughout the season and there’s zero statistical databases available. Unless you’re prepared to invest your weekends and wallet following the best junior talent in the country week to week its borderline impossible for the average Joe to form a highly accurate opinion on the latest crop of draftee hopefuls.

These hurdles may stand in the way but that hasn’t stopped a few pundits putting their foot forward and offering their thoughts on what to expect come draft day. Footy Trafic’s Kristian Pisano and Paige Cardona at Bound For Glory news are two of those individuals and both should be applauded for their efforts, especially considering their phantom drafts were much more detailed (specifically Kristian who provided in-depth statistics) and published a week prior to the headline acts at The Age and Herald Sun.

So how did the most popular Phantom Draft’s perform in regards to pick accuracy? I decided to compare predictions against what actually happened via a weighting system that subtracted a point for each spot that a pick was incorrectly listed. For example if you predicted a player to be picked 5th overall and they were chosen 8th, you lose 3 points.

Each individual also received a bump based on the date of publication. Kristian posted his phantom draft on Footy Tragic six days ago so he received extra credit, as did the Bound for Glory phantom draft. Emma Quayle and the Herald Sun posted their phantom draft the day of the draft, thus were not awarded any weighting.

The goal of a phantom draft is accuracy of information and just like the value of an “exclusive”, first in best dressed should be rewarded.

Only the top 20 picks were analysed and each party started at 100 points. If a player was not listed inside the top 30 picks (as was the case with Jackson Thurlow in 4-of-5 phantom drafts) the phantom draft received an automatic deduction of 5 points.

It’s no surprise that Emma Quayle again led the charge and continued to ride one of the finest off-season waves in the history of AFL journalism. When measuring the top 20 pick predictions of each phantom draft Quayle was twice as accurate as the Herald Sun despite both phantom drafts being published on the same day.

Feel free to raise the victory flag over at The Age yet again.

Ok, enough chit chat. The results based on this idiot’s points system are as follows;

The Age The Herald Sun AFL.com.au Footy Tragic

Bound for Glory

80 53 54 51 37

There’s a clear disparity with The Age far away the most supreme in terms of accuracy, the Herald Sun, AFL.com.au and Footy Tragic battling it out for second spot and Bound For Glory news bringing up the rear. Does this mean we should only focus on The Age and completely disregard the product from Bound for Glory? Definitely not. Footy Tragic and Bound for Glory brought you the information first and provided the most detailed analysis.

Pick accuracy is merely one aspect of the Phantom Draft and it becomes infinitely harder without any late mail. Who knows how different these results would be if the other three major media outlets posted their predictions a week earlier or released rolling volumes of their phantom draft as we made our way up to the big day?

All parties should be applauded for leading the charge and providing such information in a landscape that is so starved of analysis and regular attention.

If not for the fine folk mentioned in this article the average AFL fan would struggle to name five prospects in this year’s draft. The AFL Draft requires more exposure from top to bottom and all year round. The current structure limits a fan’s ability to obtain information, to learn, and in the process provides draft hopefuls a disservice.

When the 2012 Australian sporting fan can access more content, and view more live and archived footage of NBA and NFL draft prospects competing in the Colonial Athletic Association conference your product has problems.

This isn’t 1995. Any restrictions on exposure are a product of falling behind.

In a World spoiled for choice and an era saturated in information the AFL draft is one of the few remaining sporting events stuck in the past.

Without Phantom drafts and crappy three minute YouTube clips we’d all be in the dark.

It’s a damn shame.

You can follow Scott on Twitter: @ScottyBarby

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Debunking the (D)’Antoni Myth

See you later, Mike Brown.

The second the Lakers dumped head coach Mike Brown after a stale and long-winded five-game stretch the replacement rumor mill went into meltdown mode.

First up was Phil Jackson. Before anyone could break down the logistics of such a move Laker fans had Phil and Scottie Pipppen seizing control of the sidelines, the Championship parade was booked and editing on the latest Laker Dynasty DVD was underway.

Then Papa Phil allegedly demanded his own Planet, a Dr. Evil level one hundred billion dollars and for Mark Cuban to “suck his balls”,  essentially pricing himself out of the gig.

Enter, Mike D’Antoni.

Myself and numerous others, but most notably myself immediately took to Twitter to bash the D’Antoni signing. As a lifetime Laker hater this wasn’t a choice based on logic or reason, but more force of habit.

I have to hate everything the Laker franchise does, it’s the law.

Naturally I sounded off with the generic “defense wins Championships” line before throwing the run and gun offensive focused D’Antoni under the bus. Hey, I was drunk (I wasn’t drunk).

To kill the ill-informed stigma that arseholes like me carry around when it comes to D’Antoni shitting on defense I decided to take a look at the defensive numbers of the pre and post D’Antoni Knicks. Performing such a task prior to forming an opinion would have been the logical move but this is 2012 and we all have street cred to uphold. I also like reaching for excuses.

So what exactly do the numbers tell us? Well first of all they tell us that Mike D’Antoni had an 18-24 record as Knicks head coach before he chewed the bullet. Mike Woodson then led the same Knicks roster to an 18-6 record although we can’t be certain about how much of this was down to D’Antoni’s bad coaching, Melo not giving a fuck or Woodson promising Pizza after every win.

In their 42 games under D’Antoni the Knicks gave up an average of 96.47 points per game. To put that into perspective that would be good enough for the 18th best defense in the NBA today with the league average being 95.77 points. Under coach Woodson New York opponents averaged of 95.25 points per game in 24 regular season games, not a whopping differential.

The kicker in D’Antoni’s favor is that right around when he reportedly lost the Knicks lockeroom and the team completely quit, team defense tanked. D’Antoni’s final eight games saw the Knicks record seven losses with the team surrendering 107.75 points per game, shades of that sexy Suns defense we all remember from 2004/2005 when D’Antoni teams gave up over 100+ points per game for entire seasons.

If you eliminate those eight games where Carmelo led a Knicks mutiny and did everything possible to get D’Antoni fired the Knicks were allowing opponents to score just 93.82 points per game on the year, good enough for a top ten ranked defense in every year of the past decade.

And people say D’Antoni teams don’t play defense. I’m looking at you, me. Take a good hard look at yourself.

We all know that there’s more to defense than just points per game and if you look at the Knicks output pre-all All Star break the D’Antoni Knicks were above average defensively in numerous categories. The snapshot below represents a team’s defensive performance from a defensive efficiency standpoint and as you can see the Knicks were a borderline top ten squad. If you eliminate every play that involved Amare Stoudamire the Knicks defense is probably closer to a top five ranking, if not the league’s best.

 

The Knicks might have stunk it up at times under D’Antoni but the problems weren’t on the defensive side of the ball, at least not when everybody was invested and on the same page.

Its fair game to have doubts over the success of a Nash lead run and gun style that emulates the offensive philosophies of the 2005 Phoenix Suns, especially when the Laker core has an average age of 32 years old. These Lakers are old and their lack of athletic prowess is already firmly on show. Any concerns regarding the defensive end of the floor or D’Antoni’s dedication to defensive aspects of the game should be put to rest though.

The Mike Brown Lakers appeared to be laboring and washed up which is a strange thing to say just five games into a season. Can D’Antoni apply the required facelift and bring a refreshing “fountain of youth” feel to this veteran squad?

Who knows. Hopefully he gets more than five games to showcase the new system.

One thing’s for certain, we’ll all be watching and forming opinions, some of us incorrectly.

You can follow Scott on Twitter: @ScottyBarby