A couple of points that have emerged since I published the first part of a talk with the Dallas Mavericks' stat expert Wayne Winston:
On his blog, Winston has explained in some more detail why he thinks the Bulls were wrong to let Ben Gordon go.
David Thorpe cautions against reading too much into individual defensive ratings, as coaching has such a massive effect. His example: With Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis, Seattle was a bad team. Both players, then, had very bad defensive ratings according to adjusted plus/minus. Yet in the last two years, those same players have been starters (Allen on the 2007/2008 Celtics, Lewis on the 2008/2009 Magic) on the NBA's best defensive teams, with good defensive ratings. His point: Put a motivated player in a good defensive system, and they'll perform."On bad teams, there is often not a good plan," Thorpe explains. "But get them playing for Tom Thibodeau or Stan Van Gundy, and all kinds of players can master when to go over the screen, when to go under, when to lock and trail, which 3-point shooters to close out, not fouling on shot fakes, when to help from the weakside. ... Take the five worst defenders in the league -- so long as they're motivated to be good defenders -- and sprinkle them among the Cavaliers, the Magic, the Celtics, the Spurs and the Rockets, and I think you'd be surprised at how effective they could be."