I'm not going to go into methodology right now (that's for a later, much longer post), but basically I've been working on an advanced statistic. It's essentially just statistical plus-minus over replacement player, which I then turn into wins. Full season spreadsheet for all players who played 100+ possessions is here. Here's the top 15:
And here's the bottom 15:
Friday, May 10, 2013
This is my response to Andres Alvarez's article at WoW on why George Karl shouldn't have won coach of the year. Alvarez is a really smart guy, but I disagree strongly with him on this issue.
Let’s be straight: the key reason Karl got this award is that the Nuggets won 57 games — a franchise best! And many think this was more than people expected. Enter wiLQ at ! He tracks what . Of the analysts wiLQ tracks, 8 thought the Nuggets were a 55 win team or better, including John Hollinger and Wages of Wins (yes, we do agree occasionally).
I'd hazard to say that most of the media members who vote on this award, (mostly old school newspaper reporters and broadcasters) don't look at the projections from from statisticians like Hollinger or Pelton and bloggers like Moore and Harper. So in the voters' (wrong) perception, the Nuggets overperformed. I don't agree with this, but you can't argue against it by looking at the projections of really smart people the mainstream media doesn't read.
When it comes to Effective Field Goal percentage (eFG%), the best three players with major minutes are: Kosta Koufos, Javale McGee and Kenneth Faried.
What about offensive rebounds? Kosta Koufos, Kenneth Faried, Javale McGee
Getting to the line? Danilo Gallinari, Javale McGee, Ty Lawson, Kenneth Faried.
The Nuggets offense is really good and the three players that consistently show up are Koufos, Faried and McGee!
Alright, last fun test. The driving force behind the Nuggets were three talented bigs. This is a pretty proven recipe for success. So clearly Karl played them a lot, right?
So just because these three players are at the top of the statistical categories the Nuggets succeed in, we're supposed to believe that they are the ones that make the Nuggets good in these categories? Huh? Sure, these three are the driving force behind the offensive rebounding which has been big. But eFG%? The reason these guys have high eFG%s is because they take all their shots at the rim, a good thing to be sure, but they aren't creating those shots and that high eFG%. Consider this: all three players are assisted on more than 65% of their shots including 74% for Koufos. How can these guys be the driving force behind the offense when all their shots are created by the Andre Iguodalas and Ty Lawsons of the world.
· Kenneth Faried – 28.1 MPG, 4th
· Kosta Koufos – 22.4 MPG, 8th
· JaVale McGee – 18.1 MPG, 9th
Uh…what? Karl has two good seven footers that rock on offense (the thing driving his team’s success) and he can’t even play them a combined 48 minutes a game?
There are 96 minutes of playing for PFs and Centers per game. These players take up about 71% of that, too little in Dre's opinion. There are a couple other factors that can be considered here including:
- The defensive struggles of McGee and Faried. McGee is a historically horrible defender, despite what his block numbers may indicate, who struggles with help defense and is lost far too often. Faried is inexperienced, undersized, and struggles defending in space. Dre notes that defense was not the key to Denver's success, but why does that justify abandoning it? A large reason this year's Nuggets are better than previous year's versions is the improved focus on defense (Thanks, Iggy).
- Note that the Faried/Koufos 2-man lineup's Net rating is lower than the Nugget's average on the year, and that the Faried/McGee lineup is minus 0.3 points per 100 possessions. These aren't small sample sizes either. So the three guys he wants to play more fit into only 2 positions and don't really play that well together. OK, then.
- Denver's small lineups were A. Just really damn good B. Skewed opponents mathups (See, Zach Randolph trying to guard a Danilo Gallinari pick and pop) and C. Improved the Nuggets turnovers forced and team speed, which fed into a lethal transition attack that was such a huge part of the offense. And the offense has been "driving [George Karl's] team's success," right?
Alright, well in the playoffs — where teams shorten their rotations and increase their best players’ minutes — surely Karl realized their importance and upped their time, right?
Last thing: the COY is a regular season award.
Friday, April 26, 2013
Blake Griffin and Zach Randolph are both power forwards. They're both physical players, if in different ways. 34.8% and 44.2% of their respective offenses come from post ups, per Synergy (hyperlink please). As one would expect, it's been a rough and tumble battle for positioning down low. The refs have called the dubiously viewed double foul in each of the three games, quickly met by wide spread derision on the medium of communication known as twitter. Problem is, nobody can actually explain this derision.
My question: what is actually bad about the double foul? Does it take anything away from the game of basketball? Two players receive personal fouls, heightening the chance of a foul out, but it's not as if they haven't been battering each other with fouls all game. It's not a copout—two players really can foul each other at the same time, especially if it's a tussle for deep positioning which we see on a possession-by-possession basis between Griffin and ZBo.
If anything, the double foul is a good thing. It's not random—sometimes refs will just alternate between guys in the battle, hoping to get it correct. It punishes both players for puling the same crap over and over again, and retaliating. It can speed up the game by eliminating free throws.
So why do people become so enraged over these simple double fouls? It's an outlet for anger against the referees in general. This rage can be unleashed when the ref calls what to many seems a copout; the referee was just too lazy to figure out who actually committed the foul first.
Nobody should be surprised when a double fouls are called in the next however many games this series will take. Now, let's change our attitudes towards them and realize what they really mean.
Monday, April 1, 2013
As the mainstream media, grew more and more against Westbrook, the blogosphere grew more an more in love with him, beginning the #LetWestbrookBeWestbrook movement.
A lot of this has gone too far.
The idea behind LWBW was that Westbrook was--and still is--are bonafide point guard, a distributor with passing numbers similar to those of Deron Williams, Jrue Holiday, Ricky Rubio, and Tony Parker. He wasn't shooting too much, as many in the mainstream media claimed, and was an excellent player being unfairly criticized. He certainly wasn't the worst point guard in finals history.
But now the script has flipped. On good Russ nights, those 30, 12, 7 games punctuated by a massive transition flush, the echo chamber that is basketball twitter is abuzz with LWBW tweets. And this is fair. Let him be the dynamic, one-of-a-kind wrecking ball that he is and enjoy it.
But Westbrook will have those 4-17 games, and just as the mainstream media remembers these and not the great games, most of the blogosphere blows these games off, only remembering the LWBW moments. Very ironic.
Some will, but please don't take this as a criticism of Westbrook, the player. I love his competitive fire more than anyone and I'm putting him here as a candidate for the fourth best player in the league. I just hope that in the future, people on both ends of the spectrum can judge him more fairly.