User Interview: Jakotay

Q&A with noted SimLeague Basketball user Jakotay

We recently contacted noted SimLeague Basketball user Jakotay to discuss the latest release, double-teaming, allocating minutes, bowling a 900 series, Barry Sanders, defensive ratings, Tony Gwynn, traveling, rookies and the most interesting roundtable discussion ever.

WIS

Thanks for taking the time out to meet with us.

Jakotay

Thanks for flying me out to the WIS compound. (Editor's Note: That may or may not be a joke.)

WIS

Who is Jakotay?

Jakotay

I hail from the clan of Maison, son to Michael. My name is Coley M. Maison I. I'm a mid 30's, happily married father of three living in the fresh water capital of the world, St. Clair Shores Michigan. My name comes from a Notre Dame QB, Coley O'Brien circa 1969 I guess. And no, no one is a Notre Dame fan in my family. (GO BLUE!) My dad just liked the oddity of the name.

WIS

How did you learn about WhatIfSports.com?

Jakotay

WDFN 1130am Detroit Radio. I think they caught it via Bill Simmons and contacted you guys. I believe it was Tarek who did an on-air interview. Back then Baseball was your only game. It's been fun to be a part of the expansion WIS has had the past 5+ years.

WIS

Who are some of your favorite coaches, players and teams of all-time?

Jakotay

During my lifetime Barry Sanders is probably my favorite of all time. Walter Payton was a great runner, Emmitt Smith was as well. Sayers, Jim Brown, so many others. But, no one could run like Barry. No one. I also likened to Tony Gwynn after the Tigers won the Series in 1984. Great hitter. Yzerman, the ultimate captain. Great for the city, the organization, and the sport itself. Getting to watch Jordan play was bittersweet as a Pistons fan. Not a favorite for obvious reasons, but much respect for his skill level. There's a handful of Soccer players and a bowler or two but I'll spare readers from having to look them up. As far as coaches, Chuck Daly, Sparky Anderson and Scottie Bowman. Teams are primarily Detroit teams. I followed San Diego during Gwynn's career. And as a Lion's fan you have to have an alternative team to root for so I followed the Dolphins for a while. And my two favorite announcers of all time are Ernie Harwell and Johnny Ufer.

WIS

Did you play much basketball (or other sports) growing up?

Jakotay

I was primarily into soccer and baseball until I got to middle school. Then it became everything the school offered. I played organized hoops, baseball, football, and soccer until a knee injury forced me to limit participation. 2 cadaver's tendons, 3 screws, a metal plate, and a couple rubber bands prevented me from most things except golf, bowling, and softball (thankfully I can hit a few out so running the bases are not as important).

WIS

What players did you admire most growing up?

Jakotay

When I was growing up athletes were not revered as they are today. I had my favorites but it was not a total admiration in terms of a role model. I always admired Barry Sanders for handing the ball to an official after he scored (not that I don't like end zone celebrations). There was just a simplicity and classiness to it.

WIS

What is your favorite sports moment?

Jakotay

Yet to come - Lions winning a Superbowl. Of those moments realized, probably the '84 Tigers winning the World Series. I actually watched the game with my mitt on my hand the whole tim, even though I was at home. A close second was attending SuperBowl XVI with my father. Great experience but I was too young to fully realize its true meaning. I rooted for San Fran because the Bengals are a tiger and I already had (the Detroit) Tigers to root for. The logic/reasoning should speak to my age at the time. Personally it was losing to Alexi Lalas' team in the state semifinals for soccer.

WIS

Besides simulation sports websites, what are some of your other interests and hobbies?

Jakotay

My main interest is my family. I grew up in an awkward environment having lost my mom when I was two. My dad bought a house down the street from my grandparents. He was in law enforcement and worked odd hours so I spent a lot of time with my grandparents. I lost a lot in that environment and refuse to let history repeat itself so I spend as much time as possible with my wife and kids. I also participate in the sports my body allows me to play (bowling, golf, softball). I enjoy a lot of winter sports - ice boating (awesome thrill), snowmobiling, running a motorcycle on ice with studded tires. I also enjoy fishing (all seasons).

WIS

What is your favorite WIS moment?

Jakotay

Probably my second basketball championship. My first one came from copying players from the Top 25 list's best teams (not a specific team but the most-used players). It rings kind of hollow now, but it was my first team I think. The second one was actually my own fault.

WIS

You have played almost all of our games. Which do you prefer and why?

Jakotay

Yeah, sorry about missing out on Clutch Dynasty - maybe someday. I prefer hoops. I'm not sure why. It's probably because I've made some good "sim friends" there. That's not to say the other sims don't have good people. It just never clicked at that time. I have also taken to the football sim a little bit lately. The football season is too short though.

WIS

As a fan of basketball, what are your thoughts on the current state of the game?

Jakotay

I look at the game mostly through the Pistons. Their teamwork and efforts are sometimes overlooked. I see what they are doing along with San Antonio and see efforts in making it a team sport again. The things that grind my ax the most are that traveling, palming/carrying (when dribbling) and the 3 second rule are not called as much as they should be. I guess the players whine too much when they commit a foul. Apparently they all get robbed every time.

WIS

If you had the power to replace David Stern as commissioner, what is the first thing you would try to change?

Jakotay

The first thing I would do is not to change anything, but to ensure something doesn't change - the licensing of stats. I know it's the hot topic of late, but that's just crap. I guess the first thing I would do it to make sure those who watch the highlights don't have to see Kobe's face after he fouls someone (You know the face - mouth half opened, arms out to the side, inner eyebrows come down). In all seriousness, I'd remove traveling (or add a half step), carrying/palming the ball, and the three second rule from the rule book if they aren't going to call it. I can't imagine any of today's players being able to play in the mid 70's, at least at their current level.

WIS

Build your all-time dream basketball team:

Jakotay

Oscar, Jordan, Bird, Russell, and Wilt w/ Dr. J, Kareem, and Magic off the bench.

WIS

What is the top sports related thing you want to do in life that you have not yet done?

Jakotay

Bowl a 900 series. Although I did shoot an 837, throwing 32 of 36 strikes. I realized shortly thereafter it was probably as close as I would get. So I quit after that season (well, for that and my drinking team had a bowling problem).

WIS

Which five people, past or present, sit at your dream roundtable discussion (do not have to be sports related)?

Jakotay

How about E-monk, seble, tinmanpb, colonels19 and myself. What a great discussion that would be! Honestly, if I could I would forgo picking 5, I'd pick one as I would give anything to sit with just my mother and discuss my life with her.

WIS

You have been integral with helping us test our new SimLeague Basketball engine. What can you tell users who may be unfamiliar with the game about the merits of SimLeague basketball?

Jakotay

The sim will produce only so much of IRL numbers. To find those numbers you need to research and analyze results of current sim leagues, understand how the sim works (per minute not per game) and see how teams that are successful are put together. Do some analysis to determine the threshold of needed IRL numbers and then draft accordingly. Of course you are asking a guy who has 140+ hoops teams and 3 championships. I am hardly in a position to give any noteworthy advice. But, I will say you will get out of this experience what you put into it. Throwing out 5 guys and saying they should win is B.S. Know and understand the game, ask questions, get better.

WIS

With the new SimLeague basketball engine, what is your general strategy for building teams?

Jakotay

Balance. With the new defensive ratings I am still learning their affect. I know you do not need 5 guys above 90, but you do need a couple with good defensive ratings who can play at multiple positions. The release is still fairly new so I am working on double teaming as well. Right now I am not trying to focus on doubling leading scores and instead I am trying to work on leaders in other stat categories.

WIS

What is the most important thing to keep in mind while drafting?

Jakotay

Theme League or Open league? That is the biggest factor to keep in mind when drafting. What is allowed? Rookies? Clones? Position or Minute minimums? With that in mind, today, get as much production as you can in 18,300 minutes. In a week or two, get as much production as you can into 19,680-20,000 minutes. How you determine production is up to you. Work with a formula or idea and build on it. Eventually it will work as long as you keep improving on it.

WIS

Are there any players in specific that you like to put on your teams, or that you feel consistently overachieve?

Jakotay

No. I avoid guys I did not care for IRL but in my efforts to get as much as I can out of the team I have to forgo that idea at times. I'm not sure any player overachieves (their IRL numbers) in the sim, except with minutes. I think many of the best "overachievers" are no name guys who you have to search out and find. Sure Wilt, Jordan, etc will perform well. We expect that. But we did not expect Corey Gaines to be so popular a few revisions ago. There are plenty of those guys not yet found.

WIS

Underachieve?

Jakotay

All of them. I have yet to see any sim result where IRL numbers were exceeded (sans theme league geared toward exceeding IRL numbers). But I do see many players exceed my sim expectations and I think any player can if you build around their strengths.

WIS

How do you go about setting your depth chart and allocating minutes?

Jakotay

I have to use excel now. Before this last release it was fairly easy. Now, at least in first setting up the depth chart I have to use excel so I can remember why I have that extra 240 minutes at SF (because he can also play SG and I need those minutes there). Some guys can recall what they were thinking when they drafted each player. I cannot. I also move guys around to maximize my drafted d-ratings as long as they have no position penalty. I think the new release will yield an IRL minutes/82 column so this will not be so cumbersome anymore. I also will look at opposition depth chart and move guys with better d-ratings to face off against them (when position penalty allows it).

WIS

Do your game plans for offense and defense differ based on the team you have? What do you normally do with these settings?

Jakotay

Again, we are in an infant stage of a new release. I am still experimenting with the settings. I will typically draft a lot of possessions so that I can play any combination of tempo. That way I am covered regardless of what my opponent uses as a tempo. I am playing around with matching my opponent's tempo right now. I figure if I drafted better than him then I will win more often than not. If I don't think I have better numbers than him I am trying goofy stuff like opposite tempo and doubling a PG for no reason other than to be different.

WIS

How much emphasis do you put on scouting future opponents and double-teaming?

Jakotay

I will check our previous meetings. Check some of the box scores for previous tempo settings. Check their team stats for stat leaders. Set double teams. It may seem like a lot, but it only takes a couple minutes or so.

WIS

Do you make transactions (call-ups/demotions, waiver wire, etc.) during the season? Why or why not?

Jakotay

I make call-ups for injuries all the time, but never touch the poison that we call the Waiver Wire.

WIS

Who are the users you respect and who challenge you the most?

Jakotay

For the past few years I have suffered at the hands of what I call The Big Three. (uvasooner, qistat, and e-monkee-yet). One of the three of them has knocked me out of the playoffs 94.2% of the time. Not that I'm counting. Those are the ones I find the most challenging right now. As for the ones I respect, there are too many to name and I am too fearful to forget one so I'll just say I respect them all!.

WIS

What is your favorite aspect of SimLeague basketball?

Jakotay

Having some idea of what would have transpired had Wilt and Russell played together. Or Stockton and Magic, Michael Jordan and Oscar Robertson....

WIS

What is your least favorite aspect of SimLeague basketball?

Jakotay

Most are going to be addressed in the next release. Most important to me is minutes. I don't want to begrudge those who draft 17,800- 18,500 minutes their ability to stretch those minutes. I just feel that if a team plays a minimum of 19,680 minutes in a season then we should have to draft that many. The idea is to best mimic reality right? Also, not having individual defensive match-ups kind of stinks. Those are coming in the future as well.

WIS

If you were in one of our games, which sport would you play? At which position? And, how much would you be worth?

Jakotay

When did you say the Soccer Sim would be done? (Editor's Note: Good question. It may not be as far off as one may think.) I guess I would probably be in the baseball sim - 2nd base slap hitter with a good eye. I'll overrate myself and say a .280 hitter with .320 OBP and occasional power. Probably 3.6 - 4.0 mil. I should note that it would be impossible to "normalize' me though.

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