Friday, May 13, 2011

2010-11 Raptor Charts Part I

New readers, please check out the basics before leaving any comments.

I have a couple of things to post today (with more to come in a bit). The first is a link to a piece about the "most harmful players" of the regular season by Ty Willihnganz over at Courtside Analyst (take a stab at why this article would be relevant to the Raptors). Ty also has posted his MWS Charts for every NBA team - go and take a look at Toronto's numbers. The overall numbers are very similar to Wins Produced - although by MWS, Bargnani looks even worse, Reggie looks even better, and Ed Davis looks more average.

I have also been working on various Raptor charts over the last few weeks. Several weeks ago, I looked at how the Denver Nuggets' FGA changed before and after the Carmelo Anthony trade, and the intention was always to apply the same technique to the Raptors at the end of the season. Well, the season has been over for the Raptors for a while now, so it's time to get this up.

You didn't think that was all I've been working on, did you? In addition to the team FGA charts, I will also be posting Net Possession charts, Helpers charts, and Scorers charts. Don't know what I'm talking about? I'll explain once we get there.

First up: FGA Charts.

I've changed the organization of the chart; when I made the Denver ones I sorted players by total FGA, and this time I'm sorting by games played. I think it's easier to identify which players stick out (either by taking more or fewer shots than one would expect) this way. Of course, with the bars arranged horizontally, it's still hard to examine the tendencies of individual players, so we still need individual charts. Here they are:

What do these tell us? Andrea Bargnani, DeMar DeRozan, and Leandro Barbosa take a lot of shots. For bit players, Sonny Weems and Linas Kleiza are pretty shot-happy too. Jose Calderon, Amir Johnson, Ed Davis, Julian Wright, and Reggie Evans don't take very many shots. Of course, none of this is very surprising if you followed the team throughout the season.

But I know a way to make this more useful; instead of simply looking at FGA, what about trying to figure out which players make the most out of their opportunities? The simplest way of doing this is to take the components of win score that measure shooting efficiency, which would be PTS-FGA-0.5xFTA. This formula takes the added value of three pointers into account, but does not reward players for shooting inefficiently from the field or from the line. By measuring this on a game-by-game basis for each player, we can get an idea of how often a player has productive games (from a shooting perspective), as well as their season totals. Here's what the chart looks like:

Ah, this is much more useful. Now we can clearly see who the best scorer on the team is: Amir Johnson. Even though he didn't take many shots, he made the most of his opportunities and actually led the team in "scorer points", with 113 of the the team's 381. Similarly, using this method we can see that Weems and Evans are very unproductive scorers, Calderon is also a little bit lower than we'd hope, and Barbosa and Bargnani actually do okay here. Of course Ed Davis does just as well as those two - while taking far fewer shots - but hey, at least they are positive.

But those are only the totals - what about the game-by-game results? Well, for starters, Bargnani had the worst shooting game of any player on the team - he had one game where his "scorer points" were in the -11 to -15 range. To balance that out, though, he also had two of the team's four 10+ games. The rest is rather hard to figure out without individual charts, so here we go again:

A couple of interesting points: the team results suggest a normal distribution that is slightly skewed towards the positive end. This means that, in general, better shooters are taking more shots. Moving to the players, Bargnani and DeRozan have distributions that are roughly the same as the team distribution...which kinda makes sense, given that they took the bulk of the team's shots. Barbosa, Weems, and Kleiza all have normal-ish distribution as well, but theirs are skewed towards the negative end. Amir Johnson, Ed Davis, Julian Wright, and Joey Dorsey all have distributions that are skewed even more positively.

Now we know which players were the best at shooting and scoring, but what about gaining possessions and "helpers"? Well, I've made charts for those, too. But this entry is taking too long to get posted, so I'm making it into a separate post.

 - Devin

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