Sunday, October 17, 2010

More on 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) 

An anonymous reader (by the way, you guys do realize you can create blogger profiles, right?) posed a logical question: if the Raptors shouldn't have selected Bargnani with the first overall pick in the 2006 NBA draft, who should they have chosen instead?

I'll begin answering this question by first looking at the productivity of the 2006 lottery picks (picks 1-14):

As you can see, there weren't that many productive players selected in the top 14. But amongst these 14 players the most productive was Brandon Roy. Roy produced more than 50 more wins than Bargnani over his first four years - not too shabby. I think, given the chance to do the 2006 draft over, everyone in their right mind would be happy with Roy instead of Bargnani.

But Roy was not the most productive player available. The next table shows the productivity of all the players in the 2006 draft who managed to play at least 1600 minutes over four seasons (why the cutoff? Any fewer minutes than that and we don't really get a good indication of a player's productivity):

Rajon Rondo was the most productive player of the 2006 draft. He'd be my number one pick if I had to do the draft over. Renaldo Balkman (who hasn't produced that many wins due to lack of playing time) and Roy are next on the list. Given that the Raptors already had a very productive point guard at the time (Jose Calderon), you couldn't blame them for passing on Rondo and choosing either Balkman or Roy instead.

But notice the trend? Look at the draft numbers of everyone on the list. The most productive player was chosen at #21, second at #20, and the third at #6. Rounding out the top ten most productive players are numbers 47, 14, 49, 23, 24, 13, and 4. And that brings up one of Arturo's most important points: teams are not very good at drafting the best players available. If they were good at recognizing talent, they wouldn't have let Rondo drop all the way to #21, Milsap to #47, etc.

Also note that Bargnani was the 4th least productive player (on a per-minute basis) in the entire 2006 draft. I think the fact that the #1 pick ranks 27th out of 30 players shows that:

  1. It was a mistake to draft him so high
  2. He was a monumental bust.
Hopefully that answers all the questions everyone has about Bargnani. I know that - as with everything else - there will be those who will not be swayed by the huge amount of evidence suggesting that Bargnani is a bust. Given that people ignore mountains of evidence all the time, I am not insulted or surprised by this. However, if you are going to come onto this blog and make a case that I am wrong, be prepared to support yourself with facts rather than subjective judgments.

Penny Arcade says it best

 - Devin


  1. Nice series Devin. I'm enjoying what you're doing with the numbers.

  2. Stupid comments aside, I've enjoyed making them. Your draft score data is an awesome resource. If I have the time, there are tons of things I'd like to do with it.

  3. I think this is a related question, although thankfully not about Bargnani: What do you think the Raptors should be doing management and coaching-wise this year? I think it's obvious that they are in the "bullet scenario", if I remember Gallati's phrase correctly, but 1) how do they follow through on that (i.e. who do they try to move and for what?); and 2) what should Triano and staff be doing this year in terms of player development, given that winning games this season isn't necessarily the only (or even main) priority? What skills do they emphasize for particular players? Who's a lost cause? etc.

    Enjoy your site, although I think I might have taken offence a bit over the last question asked. Sorry for that. Also, I can't be bothered to develop a profile. If I do, I think I'll become "Total Fuckwad" - has a nice ring

  4. So were you the anonymous who posed the question that led to this post? And that's part of why creating a profile is so useful - I have no idea who you are and what comments you've made. Plus, if you leave a valid, insightful, and/or logical question, I can give you credit for it (TotalFuckwad does have a nice ring).

    What direction should the Raptors be headed? That's a good topic for a new post :) . Regardless of my answer, I don't think that the organization is consciously performing the bullet scenario - they seem to be bumbling around like they always have in the past.

    I've got a couple of things to prepare - preseason review 3/4, and continue to develop my season projections (I don't know how Arturo and the others do it so quickly) - while I deal with this new subject, so it may be a few days before you have your answer.

  5. I'd be interested in seeing a map of a direction for this latest rebuild of the Raptors based on something other than Bryan Colangelo's instincts. But maybe it'd be better left for later, after there's a larger sample size to see how players like Alabi and Dorsey (if he even makes the team) are doing.

    Couldn't agree more that management is bumbling as usual. BC with that TPE is like watching a toddler play with a loaded handgun.