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Now that the season is official over for the Raptors, it's a good time to review how the season went.
Team Record: 22-60 (28th)
Eastern Conference Standing: 14th
Team Wins Produced: 23.3 (27th)
Point Differential: -6.28 (27th)
Even the brief numbers aren't pretty; in a little bit I'll take a deeper look at the team numbers, but for now let's just take a quick look. The Raptors finished with the 3rd-worst record in the league (2nd-worst in the East), behind only Cleveland and Minnesota. In terms of Wins Produced and point differential - both better indicators of team quality than Win-Loss record - the Raps finished with the 4th-worst numbers in the league.
Certainly not very happy numbers. And actually, even worse than the paltry amount of wins I predicted that the team would end up with (which was 28 wins). What happened to the Raptors this season? Well, it would make sense if I compared what I thought would happen against what actually happened.
Well, if I could've predicted the minute distribution at the start of the season (which, obviously, I couldn't do before the season started), I would've been within 0.6 wins of what actually transpired, which is pretty damn good. Of course, that doesn't mean that I nailed every player perfectly; there are some discrepancies, and that is to be expected. While player performance is relatively stable from year to year, players can get injured, improve their level of play, or see their performance decline due to age or regression to the mean. That being said, the majority of the players on the team were very close to what we would expect based on their historical performance.
Based on these numbers (and the more detailed numbers that are up on the 2010-11 Raptor Season Stats page), I'm going to hand out a number of team awards. I don't want to give any player more than one award, because I'll be using each award to offer a brief comment on the player's season, but each award is well-deserved in every case.
Team MVP - This award is given to the Raptor who produced the most total wins over the course of the season.
Jose Calderon led the Raptors with 8.1 wins in 2102 minutes - rather comfortably ahead of Amir Johnson (6.1 wins), Ed Davis (5.5 wins), and Reggie Evans (5.3 wins). Calderon followed up a poor preseason with a slow start to the season, but once former starter Jarret Jack was traded to the Hornets, Calderon largely returned to form. Despite the constant complaints about Calderon's defense and his low scoring totals, Calderon is still - without question - the team's best point guard, and ended the season with the most wins of any player on the team.
Team LVP - This award is given to the Raptor who produced the fewest total wins over the course of the season.
Andrea Bargnani wrapped up this award earlier in the season; in fact, Bargnani actually "led" the entire league in terms of fewest wins this season and won the eponymous Andrea Bargnani Award (formerly known as the Darius Songaila Award). What else is there to say about Bargnani? His performance this season was so poor that even Bryan Colangelo seems like he's finally had enough. I've spent so many words on this subject that I really don't feel like I have anything new to add at this point, other than to point out the fact that he played even more poorly than I expected.
Team 6th Man - This award is given to the Raptor who produced the most total wins while coming off the bench (fewer than 50% of games started).
Ed Davis finished 3rd on the team in wins - with 5.5 - and only started 17 out of the 65 games he played. Although I thought Davis would be a productive rookie, he exceeded my expectations. Of the 34 rookies who played 500 or more minutes this season, Davis finished with the 5th most total wins and was only one of six rookies to post better than average expected scoring numbers. Like most rookies, he'll have his work cut out for him on the defensive end, but it was still quite a positive rookie season for Davis.
Team 12th Man - This award is given to the Raptor who produced the fewest total wins while coming off the bench (fewer than 50% of games started).
Leandro Barbosa produced the 3rd fewest wins on the team (at -0.6 wins) because - although he didn't start any games - he played 1392 minutes on the season (7th on the team). Technically Sonny Weems should win this award, as he produced fewer wins and started only 47.5% of the games he played this season, but Weems was so much closer to the cut-off mark that I wanted to give this award to someone who was more of a bench player (and besides, Weems is going to get a much more "prestigious" award). Barbosa's story on the season is a familiar one for the Brazilian over the last couple of years; his shooting is very slightly above-average and he scores a lot of points, but unfortunately, like a lot of Raptors this season, he doesn't offer much else.
Team MIP - This award is given to the Raptor who improved on their historical performance the most (as measured by total wins).
Earlier on in the season - before the injuries - it looked like Reggie Evans was going to end up playing a decent amount of minutes this season. Actually, based on his preseason playing time, I changed his predicted playing time up to 1700 minutes - from the 762 minutes I predicted based on last season's numbers - and then Reggie ended up playing 795 minutes due to injuries. Go figure. Anyways, although Evans didn't play that many minutes, he stepped up his play quite a bit. The Regend improved his win totals by 2.9 wins, and, more importantly, his WP48 by 0.176. While Reggie has played well in the past, he has never played as well as he did this season. Why is Reggie so productive? Simple: the man rebounds at a historical level and doesn't attempt to do what he can't.
Team LIP - This award is given to the Raptor who improved on their historical performance the least (as measured by total wins).
I expected a lot more out of Sonny Weems this season. Last year he was close to an average player (his WP48 was 0.073); this year his WP48 was -0.050, and he produced the second fewest wins on the team (and was 17th from the bottom league-wide). Based on his past performance, I expected Weems to produce 2.1 wins given the minutes he played this year, but in reality he ended up producing -1.5 wins. Last year Weems looked like a more promising prospect than DeMarr DeRozan; this year, while both players are significantly below average, Weems no longer offers anything that DeRozan - or anyone else, for that matter - cannot provide. As Weems is a free agent, it is unlikely that he will return, and for Raptors fans that is undoubtedly a good thing.
Most Surprising Player - This award is given to the Raptor who was the most pleasant surprise (cannot be the same player who won the MIP).
When James Johnson came over from the Bulls in exchange for a late first-round draft pick, I did not expect him to be a very productive player, but so far during his brief stint in Toronto, Johnson has been slightly above-average and improved across the board. However, he still doesn't offer very much more than Julian Wright - another player who is unlikely to return next season - and I still think that the trade was a waste of a first-round pick, which could potentially be used to draft a very useful player. That being said, across his 698 minutes of play, he produced 1.6 wins - 2.3 more wins than I expected - and was the Raptor who surprised me the most.
Most Disappointing Player - This award is given to the Raptor who was the most disappointing player (cannot be the same player who won the LIP).
Back when Linas Kleiza played in Denver - before he went to play over in Europe - his WP48 was around 0.088 and he was close to an average player. Given that he had benefited from a year of European ball and was one year older, I was hoping that we'd see some improvement from him. Sadly, Kleiza struggled with injuries all season long and never posted season win totals in the positive range. If Kleiza can get healthy, there is a good chance that he'll return to his nearly average self next season, but it's not likely that he'll ever be much more than an average player.
Bang for the Buck Award - This award is given to the Raptor who produces the most wins per million dollars of salary (only players who do not have a rookie contract are eligible for this award).
Joey Dorsey produced 0.8 wins and had a $854 390 salary this season, which makes his wins/$million ratio 2.57 and also makes him the winner of this award. Ed Davis (2.87) had a higher wins/$million, but he's still on his rookie contract. Dorsey was very productive when he played; here's hoping that he's back again next season, and may he play many of the minutes that would otherwise go to Bargnani!
Black Hole Award - This award is given to the Raptor who passes the least relative to their position (fewest passes per touch - minimum 30 minutes played/game).
DeMar DeRozan passed the ball on 36% of his touches this season. Once we adjust for position, he ties for the 7th biggest black hole in the entire league! While Bargnani passed even less (28.5%), on average, shooting guards pass more often than centres and power forwards; relatively speaking, DeRozan (z-score of -1.35) passes less often than Bargnani (-0.73), and this is true whether or not we classify Bargnani as a centre or a power forward. Going forward, DeRozan will have to improve his passing, three-point shooting, and rebounding if he wants to become a productive player.
Best Scorer - This award is given to the Raptor who has the highest True Shooting percentage (minimum 400 minutes played).
Amir Johnson is the Raptor who was the most productive shooter on the team. What really impressed me this year about Amir was his free-throw shooting; Johnson went from 63.8% last season to 78.8% this season. In addition, his time spent with assistant coach Alex English also help to expand his range (although he should continue focus on shots closer to the basket, as those shots are more likely to go in). Johnson's TS% was 60.8%, and don't think that that was out of character for him; his career TS% is 61.6%. Whoever is coaching the team next season, it would be wise of them to put Johnson in a position to take additional efficient shots.
Master of Disaster - This award is given to the Raptor who has the most turnovers per 48 minutes (minimum 400 minutes played).
Jerryd Bayless had the most turnovers per 48 minutes on the team this season, with 3.9. While his assist rate was pretty decent, Bayless is more of a combo-guard than a point guard, and is not a good replacement for Calderon at this point in his career. If you take into to consideration the amount of time Bayless had the ball in his hands, of course there are other players on the team who turned the ball over more often (Dorsey, Evans, Wright, Calderon, and James Johnson), but hey, I'm trying to hand out awards to everyone on the team! I had to come up with something for Bayless!
So Long and Thanks For All the Fish Award - This award is given to a useful Raptor who is not likely to return next season.
Julian Wright is a serviceable (WP48 0.098) and young (24 years old in May) forward who, before James Johnson arrived, was getting a decent minutes as a backup. Well, once James Johnson showed up, Wright was glued to the bench...so much so that when the time came for him to get off the bench and into the game, he decided that his glutei were accustomed to the feel of pine and didn't want to play. If the Raptors were better at evaluating talent, they would've kept Miami's first round pick and simply re-signed Wright this off-season...but hey, the Raptors would have probably wasted the the pick anyways, as they don't exactly have a stellar drafting record.
I'll be working on some more end-of-season posts in the coming weeks. Next up will be a look at the more detailed team stats and how they compare to the rest of the league.