Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Nerd Numbers Guest Post: The Regend Continues

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I'll have part two of my response to Tom Liston of Raptors Republic up shortly, but in the meantime, Andres Alvarez - the currently blogless nomad of the Wages of Wins Network, and the man who created the automated WP site - has graciously offered some additional commentary on Reggie Evans.

Here's what Nerd Numbers has to say (with very slight editorial changes):

A common theme in Nuggets history (I'm a Nuggets fan) is to let good rebounders go and get very little back. A common theme in Raptors history is to have good players arrive who then underperform. In the case of Reggie Evans only half of that is true.

Jose CalderonTOR1.020480.1918.1
Amir JohnsonTOR4.017510.1736.3
Ed DavisTOR4.812980.1875.1
Reggie EvansTOR4.06110.3564.5
Joey DorseyTOR4.74280.1961.7
Julian WrightTOR3.36480.1141.5
James JohnsonTOR3.14180.1551.3
Jerryd BaylessTOR1.510230.0591.3
Peja StojakovicTOR2.8220.5570.3
Jarrett JackTOR1.33470.0230.2
David AndersenTOR5.01500.0400.1
Ronald DupreeTOR3.113-0.1140.0
Alexis AjincaTOR4.5160-0.0090.0
Marcus BanksTOR1.022-0.160-0.1
Linas KleizaTOR2.51032-0.009-0.2
Sundiata GainesTOR1.589-0.106-0.2
Solomon AlabiTOR5.040-0.332-0.3
Trey JohnsonTOR1.981-0.170-0.3
DeMar DeRozanTOR2.72495-0.012-0.6
Leandro BarbosaTOR1.51322-0.028-0.8
Sonny WeemsTOR2.51304-0.054-1.5
Andrea BargnaniTOR4.82313-0.119-5.8

Table 1: Raptors Numbers for 2011 through March 28th

On a per minute basis, Reggie Evans is playing at a similar production level of some of the top players in the league. There are a few drawbacks. As Devin pointed out, he’s a one trick pony. What’s more is he’s older and has struggled with injury. I wouldn’t hang my hat on Reggie Evans to save the flailing Toronto Raptors, but I would be happy he’s helped out.

Tom Liston over at Raptors Republic looked at this from a few perspectives. Based just on wins and losses the Raptors are better with Reggie Evans, which the Wins Produced metric wholeheartedly agrees with. Tom also looked over what stats changed with Reggie Evans in the lineup vs. him out:

The Raptors: shoot a bit worse, have less assists and blocks while significantly outrebounding their opponents and holding them to a lower FG% with Evans in the lineup. However, it’s a bit of a mystery on why the team gets to the line 23% more when Evans is active.

The Wins Produced metric uses the box score statistics as they relate to winning. Tom hits two things right on the head: getting more possessions, getting more easy shots (shooting free throws can be the best way to score), and getting your opponent to shoot worse are all great ways to win. Reggie Evans definitely helps on the possession front and thus helps his team out.

Tom also brought up Adjusted +/-. Let me make this clear: this is not a good metric. Quoting Adjusted +/- to me goes over about as well as reading Tarot cards or the player’s horoscope to explain their performance. The basic idea behind Adjusted +/- is that you look at the player on and off the court (which it does), account for the impact of teammates (which it really doesn’t), and thus explain the player’s value (ditto). Luckily Tom even points out a good reason behind this (how about that Reggie starts and plays next to a black hole of a center?) So all in all I liked Tom’s analysis and thought I’d add to it with the Wins Produced metric. How have the Raptors done with and without Reggie Evans this season (by game)?

The cool news is that most of the players played better with Reggie than without. Here’s how it breaks down:
  • Jose Calderon and Andrea Bargnani played better without Reggie, but the improvement was marginal. 
  • Bayless and Kleiza improved without Reggie, although they switched positions (which in their cases boosted their WP48). 
  • Davis and Dorsey are two young Power Forwards who improved without Evans. They also got more minutes with him out. Coincidentally, according to Devin, these are the two players who should not be put on the court at that same time as Evans.

Reggie Evans helps the Raptors out by doing one thing well. He’s also old, injury prone and has an expiring contract. Without him, the Raptors have several talented Power Forwards just waiting for minutes in Amir Johnson, Ed Davis and Joey Dorsey. The Raptors would do well to retain these players and let Reggie Evans - and more importantly, Andrea Bargnani - leave.


P.S.: Tom pointed out that Devin was very pessimistic about the trade for James Johnson. Johnson is young though and improved on the Raptors. A funny note (which I do not even pretend to be causal) is that Johnson played well above average with Reggie Evans and below average without him. As he’s played less than 500 minutes for Toronto this season I wouldn’t celebrate just yet, but I would play him at SF for now instead of DeRozan and Weems.

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