Wednesday, October 27, 2010

AGS for Front Offices Audit: Toronto Raptors (Part 1:Draft history)

This article uses the Wins Produced metric to discuss the productivity of NBA players. This metric is based on box score statistics that are adjusted for other factors including pace, position and team. A general scale is given for these, and links to advanced explanations are listed at the bottom of the page.

Wins Produced per 48 Minutes (WP48) – The number of wins a player produces in 48 minutes of play. 0.100 is average and 0.250 is considered the “superstar threshold”. A player a WP48 of 0.000 produces no wins, and any player with a negative WP48 produces a negative number a wins (or, if you prefer, a positive number of losses)

For more information on the terms used in this post, please consult the Glossary of Terms.

As promised, let's take a look at the Raptors' management plan. To start, I have been analyzing the organizational philosophy of the Raptors, and after hours of work, I have come up with an image that summarizes my findings:

Hey - I never said I was an artist
There are certainly more than a few obstacles for the Raptors to overcome in order for them to simply win a playoff series, let alone a championship. So, using Arturo's standards for evaluating front offices - previously employed by Andres to evaluate the Nuggets front office - let's see what the Raptors are doing well and where they can improve.

1) Get an advanced stats model to gain an edge over other teams. Make sure this model correlates with winning.

Raptors GM Bryan Colangelo seems to be skeptical about stats, and, as far as I am aware, does not have any dedicated statistical analysts working for the team. While he claims to have read parts of The Wages of Wins, he clearly doesn't buy into Wins Produced or he wouldn't have made a lot of the moves has has (Bargnani, Turkoglu, etc). So that's a fail.

2) Bolster your roster with draft picks rather than free agency.
3) Flip scorers for draft picks (see 2).
4) Use later picks on high risk/reward players for a cheaper price.

Let's take a look at what happened to all the draft picks the Raptors have had since 2000. Although Colangelo has only been around since 2006, I think we should also look at how the Raptors did BBC (before Bryan Colangelo), so let's look at the last 10 years of Raptors drafting:

That list doesn't look too good - but we are not done yet. We also have to consider that some of those picks were immediately traded to other teams:
  • Kareem Rush, along with Tracy Murray, and a 2003 draft pick (Luke Walton), to the Lakers for Lindsey Hunter, Chris Jeffries, and a 2003 draft pick (Ramon Van de Hare)
  • Roy Hibbert, along with T.J. Ford, Rasho Nesterovic, and Maceo Baston, to Indiana for Jermaine O'Neal and Nathan Jawai
  • Acquired Pape Sow and a 2005 draft pick (Uros Slokar) from the Miami Heat for a 2004 draft pick (Albert Miralles)

And what about the draft picks that Toronto traded away:
  1. 2001 draft pick (Ousmane Cisse), along with Kevin Willis, Alex Radojevic, and Garth Joseph, to the Nuggets for Keon Clark, Tracy Murray, and Mamadou N'Diaye
  2. 2002 draft pick (Jason Jennings), along with Charles Oakley, to the Bulls for Brian Skinner
  3. 2005 draft pick (Fran Vasquez), along with Corliss Williamson, Tyrone Corbin, and Kornel David, to the Kings for Jerome Williams and Eric Montross
  4. 2005 draft pick (Travis Diener), along with Mengke Bateer and Remon Van der Hare, to the Magic for Robert Archibald and a 2005 draft pick (Roko Ukic)
  5. 2006 draft pick (Renaldo Balkman), along with Jalen Rose, to the Knicks for Antonio Davis
  6. 2007 draft pick (Jared Dudley), along with Michael Stewart, to the Cavs for Lamond Murray and a 2004 draft pick (Albert Miralles)
  7. 2007 draft pick (Taurean Green) to Portland for John Wallace
  8. 2008 draft pick (Goran Dragic) to the Spurs for the rights to Giorgos Printezis
  9. 2009 draft pick (Jack McClinton), along with Matt Bonner and Eric Williams, to the Spurs for Rasho Nesterovic
  10. 2009 draft pick (Jonas Jerebko) to the Pistons for Carlos Delfino
  11. 2010 draft pick (Da'Sean Butler) to the Heat due to the Shawn Marion trade
  12. 2011 second round draft pick to the Pistons for Carlos Delfino
  13. 2013 second round draft pick to the Mavs (to acquire Slomon Alabi)
  14. 2014 second round draft pick to the Celtics (to acquire Patrick O'Bryant)
  15. 2015 second round draft pick to the Rockets (to acquire David Andersen)
  16. 2016 second round draft pick to the Grizzlies (to acquire Turkoglu)

    And what about future draft picks they've acquired:
    1. 2011 first round draft pick from Miami (Chris Bosh trade)
    2. 2015 second round draft pick (51-55 only) from the Clippers for Hassan Adams

      Phew! That was a lot of work. By the way, these last two lists may not be complete - it turns out that it's actually quite difficult to find out what happened to all the draft picks that the Raptors have acquired or traded away over the years (my best resource was, unsurprisingly, Wikipedia). Adding everything above together, how successful has Toronto been with its picks? To evaluate drafted players, we'll turn to Arturo's handy Draft Score spreadsheet, which ranks the past 30 years of draft picks. Since the total number of players drafted is 980, each draftee can be expressed as a percentage (1-n/980). Please note: Arturo's draft numbers are based only on the first four years of a player's career (their rookie contract) and includes only those players who managed to play at least 1600 minutes over four years (400 minutes a year). Numbers for players drafted after 2006 are calculated using Andres Alvarez's Automated Wins Produced.

      If you'd rather view this spreadsheet as a webpage, click here.

      Given that list, what can we say about the Raptors' recent draft history? Abysmal. Of the 15 retained draftees that could have played four seasons by now, only six were even ranked (ie: nine players didn't even manage to play 400 minutes/season in their first four seasons). The six rankable players - including Chris Bosh - had an average ranking of 517/980 (48%). Take out Bosh (144), and the remaining five players had an average rank of 585/980 (40%). The Raptors simply do not draft well.

      Toronto has been the team trading the draft picks in order to get...mostly unproductive bench players. The Raptors fail #2 and #3 big time. Up until 2006 (the first year with Colangelo at the helm), the Raptors were doing okay on #4, but since then, they haven't had any second round picks to use, because they traded them away (not entirely Colangelo's fault, as many of the transactions happened years ago). But because they demonstrated that they have no understanding of the value of second round draft picks, I'm giving them a fail there too.

      This post is getting far too long, so I'm going to split it into at least two parts. In the next part, I want to review individual draftees and then see how the Raptors measure up to the last three aspects of Arturo's requirements.

       - Devin


      1. Au contraire Dingham,

        There was a Toronto Star article which indicated that the Raptors use some "advanced" stats to track player productivity, via 2 consultants that they have on the team.

        I find it funny that a person with a degree in economics (Colangelo) wouldn't value stats that much. Maybe he never had to run a regression in school because they were too complicated to run without modern computers?

        Anyways, he doesn't know what he's doing and this franchise is crap.

        All that said, I'll still support them.

      2. Pardonez-moi, mais je m'appelle M. Dignam, pas M. Dingham.

        Merci for your comments though - can you find a link to that article? That would be awesome. My guess is that "advanced stats" means stuff like deflections, charges drawn, that sort of thing. It probably isn't a model, and it probably doesn't correlate with winning, so I'm pretty sure I can still technically get away with that answer.

        And as for your last two statements: I concur.

      3. That draft history is a horror show! I remember when Colangelo was hired, a move I wholeheartedly supported at the time, he said (as I think all new execs say) he wanted to change to culture of the organization. Too bad he didn't/couldn't actually do that. This team needs a reboot and some real professionalism. And that means paying attention to the statheads, as well as some other things. I want Kevin Pritchard, new GM of the Toronto Huskies (or something like that)

        Nice work so far on this. I'd be interested on your statistically-informed opinions on how the team actually goes about changing its fortunes, multi-year project that that will inevitably be.

      4. Yep, I'm getting to that - it'll be part three.

        Kevin Pritchard did a good job with the Blazers. He would be a pretty good choice, but my personal favourite would be...Arturo Galletti.

        And that has nothing to do with the fact that he promised me a job if he ever gets hired as a GM. NOTHING. Really though, I would trust Arturo to turn the franchise around better than anyone else.

        Interesting idea with the name change. My guess is it would be too expensive for a name change regardless of whatever else happens. Think of all the sign changes, flyers, ads, and papers that would have to be put out to raise awareness. Unless you made a huge contest out of it, but even still....

      5. Name change? I like it! Bring back the Huskies! Devin, you're uniquely positioned to benefit from the name change because all of the other Raptors blogs become useless until the file a domain change!

      6. Good point. Unfortunately, I don't make a cent from this site, so it doesn't really help me :(

        That brings up an ethical issue: if Arturo gets hired as Toronto's GM (very unlikely) and then he gives me a job with the I have to stop writing about the Raptors?