Well I'm back - and hopefully for good. After an eight day delivery delay, an OS crash, and a one day delay in the delivery of the new OS installation disk, my new computer seems to be up and running just fine.
Meanwhile, in a disturbing parallel, the Raptors - suffering through injuries and the return of unproductive players - have crashed as well. How bad has it gotten? In terms of record, the Raps are now in 14th place in the East, only ranking ahead of...the Cavs. In fact, the Raptors are 27th in the league standings, cavorting with the likes of the aforementioned Cavs, the Kings, the T-Wolves, the Nets, and the Wizards. Not only that, but the beloved "most consecutive games with at least one 3pt FG" streak finally came to an end, and the Mavericks are about to break the record, erasing Toronto from the record books forever.
Yes, it's been ugly lately.
But what do the WP numbers look like? Are the Raptors playing better than their record? Here are the numbers - as always, Powered by Nerd Numbers (full spreadsheet here):
Here are my thoughts:
- See all that red? Of the 21 players the Raptors have employed so far this season, ten - almost half of the roster - 47% - have produced in the negative range. "Oh well," you might say, "most of those players haven't played many minutes," and you'd be right: six of the ten haven't managed any more than 89 minutes played. Unfortunately, that also means that the remaining four have played significant minutes; Kleiza, Weems, DeRozan, and Bargnani (the current Four Horsemen) have combined for 4920 minutes of playing time, which is only 39% of the team's minutes.
- These four players have also combined to produce -4.9 wins. Yes, by playing these four unproductive players this many minutes, the Raptors have cost themselves almost five games in the standings.
- Barbosa gets a reprieve for now, as he is barely positive for the time being, but if you add him to the above numbers, you get five players producing -4.5 wins in 45.5% of the team's minutes. That is just an absolutely astounding level of putridity.
- Jerryd Bayless has not played well ever since his first few glorious games in a Raptor uniform; he's now a below average player over the course of his tenure with the Raptors. This is probably because he feels bad for defying my prediction that he won't be a productive NBA player, and is simply playing worse to make me feel better. Either that, or injuries, or small sample sizes, or some combination of the three.
- With all the injuries lately, the Raptors had to sign some fringe players to 10-day contracts and managed to acquire Alexis Ajinca (and the second round draft pick they sent to the Mavs to acquire Solomon Alabi) from the Mavs (in exchange for the rights to an old draft pick who will never play in the league). Although they have played limited minutes of the course of their careers, Dupree, Trey Johnson, and Ajinca have not looked like good players. Gaines is the more interesting case, as he was pretty decent when he played for the Jazz last year, but he hasn't shown anything so far this season.
- I like the idea of acquiring young centres on the cheap, but if you're going to do it, do it right and go after undrafted players, productive D-League players, or productive players from other leagues. Gaines was certainly worth the gamble, but - despite having impressive scoring averages - Trey Johnson was merely an above-average D-League player (WP48 0.150), and not even the best player on his team.
- The players who should be playing the most minutes: still Calderon, Bayless, Wright, Amir Johnson, Dorsey, and Davis.
- Add up the Wins and you get 14.9; since the Raptors have won 13 games, that means that they have been a little bit unlucky over the course of the season. Unfortunately, if you look exclusively at more recent numbers (thanks Arturo!), the Raptors are actually playing even worse than their record.
- Do I have to mention Bargnani's poor play? Last time I mentioned that his play was likely to get worse, and it has. He now has a comfortable lead over the other contenders for the Darius Songaila award. Is Bargnani a bust? Most definitely.
- Ed Davis: 11 GP, AdjP48 +0.069, Wins +1.5
- Amir Johnson: 11 GP, AdjP48 +0.018, Wins +1.6
- Jose Calderon: 10 GP, AdjP48 -0.008, Wins +1.4
- Julian Wright: 10 GP, AdjP48 +0.004, Wins +0.7
- Leandro Barbosa: 2 GP, AdjP48 0.000, Wins +0.3
- Linas Kleiza: 4 GP, AdjP48 -0.006, Wins -0.1
- Joey Dorsey: 6 GP, AdjP48 -0.034, Wins 0
- Alexis Ajinca: 3GP, AdjP48 --, Wins -0.1
- Sony Weems: 4 GP, AdjP48 -0.018, Wins -0.3
- DeMar DeRozan: 11 GP, AdjP48 -0.025, Wins -0.8
- Jerryd Bayless: 9 GP, AdjP48 -0.040, Wins -0.1
- Andrea Bargnani: 11 GP, AdjP48 -0.040, Wins -1.9
- Trey Johnson: 3 GP, AdjP48 --, Wins -0.2
- Solomon Alabi: 4 GP, AdjP48 -0.450, Wins -0.2
More posts to come over the next few days - I promise!