Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Week 5 WP numbers

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After almost a week travelling to and fro, I'm back and ready to post the Week 5 auto WP numbers. A lot of important things have happened, especially Reggie Evans going down with a broken foot and the imminent return of Ed Davis. Here are the numbers (spreadsheet here):

Here are my thoughts:

  • Reggie. The player with the third highest WP48 in the league (minimum 100 MP) was the driving force behind the relatively surprising Raptors. Now that he's out for 4-6 weeks with a broken foot, the team is going to have to find a way to replace his productivity (which was mainly due to rebounding).
  • Could that player be Joey Dorsey? I've said it over and over - when Dorsey gets playing time, he produces at a very high level. He started in Evans' place the other day and replaced him quite nicely. Surprisingly, Dorsey's rebounding is very similar to Reggie's. The only problem he might face is foul-trouble and a lack of minutes.
  • With Jack gone, Calderon has picked it up quite a bit. Perhaps the Hornets trade has lead to some psychological gains in his case. He's really only improved with regards to shooting, something I've been waiting for, so it's not unexpected.
  • Bayless and Stojakovic have been quite good in limited minutes (and Jack has been terrible - with a WP48 of -0.159 in 70 min - over in New Orleans). But it's too early to fully evaluate stats just yet, so no one jump on me just yet. Bayless still can't shoot, but so far he's been getting to the line like crazy.
  • Bargnani still "leads" the league with -1.5 wins, and his closest competitor is Knicks centre Tomofey Mozgov at -0.9 wins. Barring injury, I think Bargs is a lock to win the fewest wins produced this year.
  • Bargnani is shooting less accurately, but a decrease in FGA and an increase in FTA has helped to offset that. Overall, he is playing slightly better than he was last time.
  • Kleiza has gotten a little bit better across the board, and it's showing in his numbers. Mind you, he's still been terrible so far this year, but he's improving.
  • Sonny Weems has gotten quite a bit worse. His FGA have stayed about the same, but his FTA have decreased and his PPS and AdjFG% have dropped quite a bit (from 1.11 to 0.98 and 55.7% to 49.1%, respectively).

And how was Bargnavans doing?

Pretty well, actually. With Evans out, who will the Raptors pair up with Bargnani, and will they make up for his flaws? Only time will tell; tune in next week to find out!

Or, you know, watch the games. But if you come here, you won't even have to!

 - Devin


  1. Devin:
    You say this: "Reggie. The player with the third highest WP48 in the league," and then you say this:
    "Could that player be Joey Dorsey?... He started in Evans' place the other day and replaced him quite nicely. Surprisingly, Dorsey's rebounding is very similar to Reggie's."

    Do you really not see the connection? This is diminishing returns staring you in the face. The reason Evans' rebounds can be replaced by a 27-yr-old scrub on the bench is because his production isn't that valuable in the first place. In fact, lots of teams have had bench players who can put up a 15+ Reb48. But that just shows you it isn't really a scarce skill -- it just means the team's scheme is set up to have that position take a lot of rebounds.

    When a top scorer goes down, do teams have guys on the bench who can easily generage 25-30 points a game? No. If a baseball team's top homerun hitter goes down, do they discover guys on the bench who can hit HRs just as frequently? Almost never. But finding a "great rebounder" is easy. That should tell you something......

  2. Guy:

    I thought you might pop in with a comment about that.

    Dorsey's rebounding numbers have been consistently good, so it's really not that much of a surprise. You could say that it's just the team's scheme...or you could say that the coaches realize that someone (Bargnani) isn't going to rebound and are inserting other people who will.

    Regardless of whether players are "good rebounders" due to a system or due to innate ability, the end result is the same. And that doesn't bother me, because WP evaluates actual productivity rather than ability.

  3. Devin: I'm sorry, but you have to care about whether it's the system or ability -- it makes all the difference in the world. If it's the system, then it's wrong to give credit to the individual player. If anyone -- or even low-paid bench players -- can get these rebounds, then getting them adds little value to the team. If the coach can change the scheme and radically change players' Reb48, without significantly changing total team rebounds, then that tells you the guys with a high Reb48 aren't really "more productive."

    Let me try an analogy: in baseball, the goal of the defense is to make outs. Every team's first baseman records a huge number of outs, far more than any other fielder. But that's only because he stands where outs are made. It involves very little skill. But by your reasoning, he's "productive" so we shouldn't care whether it reflects a "skill." That's completely mistaken.

    Or take football. Who should get the credit for a 25-yard field goal? You could say the kicker does: after all, he kicked the field goal and the team got 3 points; if he had missed, zero points. But that's crazy, because we know every NFL kicker makes 25-yard attempts 98% of the time, and the players who drove to the 8-yd line and made the kick possible deserve the credit.

    You can't just stop your analyis at "he got the rebound, so he must be productive." The question is always "what is this player adding to the team that other players can't?" If Evans' "production" is easily replaced, then it isn't really production. You don't easily replace the 3rd most productive player in the league, BY DEFINITION. WP should be a tool -- don't let it become a blindfold.

  4. Guy:

    "If the coach can change the scheme and radically change players' Reb48, without significantly changing total team rebounds, then that tells you the guys with a high Reb48 aren't really 'more productive.'"

    And that's not the case here. Bargnani has always been a terrible rebounder, and Dorsey has always been a good rebounder. And, as it has been noted before, reb48s don't change very much from season to season, so we don't see that with other players either.

    It may be the case that there are not-so-good rebounders who have benefited from playing their whole careers in systems that pad their rebounding totals, but, since they have never played in a system that takes rebounds away from them, we'll never really know.

    Calling Dorsey a scrub is silly. The reason why he would get playing time in place of Evans is precisely because his skill set is similar to Evans'.

    It's not "he got the rebound, so he must be productive". It's "he got the rebound, which adds to the team's rebounding totals and explains team productivity." A little more nuanced, but important.

    For example: Troy Murphy is not having a good year so far, but over the last several years WP has ranked him very highly. Why the difference? That's where analysis comes in. In Indiana the system was different. He's also coming off of injuries. What about Wade and James? Both aren't playing as well as they did last year. Is it because they suddenly lost their abilities? No, it's because they aren't playing as well, which is due to the way the offense is organized on that team. WP is a tool, you just have to know how to use it properly. "Bad players" can become "good players" if they simply decide to "play the right way", and the opposite is true as well.