Friday, October 15, 2010

More on Bargnani

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)

I thought the last post was pretty exhaustive, but some readers want to see what Bargnani's numbers would look if he had been playing SF. Now, before I post the numbers, keep the following things in mind:
  • His numbers were accumulated playing C and PF. If he had moved to SF, he might have seen a decrease in his AdjP48, and therefore see his WP48 (SF) decline from what is shown here
  • For Bargnani to play SF, that means that at all times there must be two other players on the court who play PF and C.
  • Bargnani has never been a SF, and will not be a SF this season. Even when Bosh was around, Bargnani was a defensive 5. If we squint as much as possible, we might see him as an offensive 3. That means - at the very best - Bargnani is 100% PF (which he isn't)
With that out of the way, here is the table:

As you can see, even if Bargnani had accumulated all his stats as a SF he would still have been less productive than both Kwame Brown and Greg Oden. Yes: moving Bargnani over to the SF spot - which, for the reasons listed above, shouldn't be done - would still make him the most unproductive first overall pick of the last 10 years...but at least he would beat Griffin and Wall.

In order for Bargnani to be a complete player, someone needs to carve him some legs, arms, and a torso (because right now, he's just a bust).

 - Devin


  1. Yup, they compounded their error making him a C (or a PF). And rumour has it Dorsey is going to get cut. Good to see this team's rebuilding is in the right managerial hands.

    So here are some related questions (which might not be worth the time to answer): What would the Raps have looked like if Colangelo had taken someone else with that #1. Rudy Gay? Brandon Roy? Lamarcus Aldridge? Who, with the obvious benefit of hindsight, was the best pick?

  2. Anonymous: what do you mean, "they compounded their error making him a C or a PF"? Bargnani can't play SF, if that's what you mean. It would be like playing Nash at SF, PF, or C.

    As for your second question: I thought this issue might pop up. I'll write another post (hopefully the last) on this soon.

    Short answer: not Gay, not Aldridge. Roy wouldn't have been too shabby. Tune in later for the full list.

  3. If you don't like the questions, don't answer them. It's your blog.

    What I mean by compounded is that they 1) shouldn't have chosen Bargnani but 2) once they did they saw his height and thought they could make him into a centre despite the fact he appears to lack some basic skills/instincts a quality centre needs in the NBA. Bargnani played SF in the Euroleague before he was drafted. Unlike Steve Nash, he was once familiar with the position and has some skills more in keeping with that position than a centre. Still not a good player but making him into the Raptors 5 for the past 3 years made a poor choice worse. Personally, I think he is/was Vlad Radmanovic.

    On a general level, I've wondered a bit about the positional designations in calculating your stats. Does anything change if we divide the professional basketball world into "bigs" "wings" and PG's instead of C, PF, SF, SG & PG? I think that's how a lot of coaches and GM's think of things these days. Not a lot of difference between C & PF, SF & SG these days.

  4. What gave you the indication that I didn't like the questions? On the contrary, I thought it was a logical question to ask (and it was one I was anticipating)?

    There are some players who can play multiple positions, and Bargnani is not one of them. He is way to slow to play SF in the NBA. He is tall and a pretty big body (not really in a muscular way, either). He's best suited to the PF and C positions.

    If you are interested in how WP was developed, check out David Berri's the Wages of Wins (

    Short answer on the positions: yes, it does change things. Cs are the most productive players on the court (mostly due to rebounding and a lack of TOs), then PFs (rebounding), then SFs, then PGs, then SGs. I would agree, it is how a lot of GMs think these days. But it wouldn't make sense to do that for the NBA. Should we group Shaq and Antawn Jamison together? Clearly, Shaq is a centre is should be expected to grab more rebounds. The SG/SF is a bit trickier visually, but SGs tend to get fewer rebounds, miss more shots, and turn the ball over more.

    That being said, when I did WP for the FIBA games, I could only separate players into guards, forwards, and centres (due to lack of positional inforamtion). If you have to group positions up like that, the C/F/G method is the best.