December 16, 2009

Updated Plus-Minus Numbers, 12/16/09

We shall look upon your works, ye, and despair...

(I've omitted the guys who've either been traded or too injured to play more than 10% of the time. You know... those seven guys.)

• Three players are rising quickly by these metrics: our current bench nucleus of Corey Maggette, C.J. Watson and Anthony Randolph. The fact that they often play together adds some redundancy to their numbers... they're reflecting halo effects back and forth between themselves. Still, I don't think there's anything fundamentally illusory about their rankings. They are the only three Warriors who've been performing well on a consistent basis of late. They've earned their good numbers.

• Yeah, I called Anthony Randolph consistent. A guy can make frequent mistakes and still be consistently productive. Watch the games, motherfucker.

• The bloom has fallen off the Chris Hunter rose, and yet his stratospheric plus-minus persists. Part of this is thanks to the trio cited above, as Hunter has generally played in bench-intensive game segments... part of this is undoubtedly just noise. But there is a legitimate lesson here: that our defense is greatly helped by a frontcourt player with the size and commitment to positioning to at least make opponents notice him. Hunter is little more than a big dude with a pulse, but a big dude with a pulse is a lot more useful than Mikki or Vlad.

Anthony Morrow's overall plus-minus remains strong, but he's a good bit down from where he was only a week ago... that should be no surprise, given his recent struggles. Interestingly, there's still no indication that he's been anything but a defensive asset -- opponents shoot worse, hit the offensive glass less and score a good bit less effectively when he's on the floor. But we now shoot worse when he plays, even accounting for three-pointers; our overall avec-Morrow offense is very marginally superior to our sans-Morrow offense, but thanks only to better offensive rebounding and fewer turnovers. As in the first few games of the year, Morrow has hit a patch of offensive dysfunction... the recurrence is worrying. Still and all, it's not all bad news here. If we keep rebounding and defending better when he plays, it's hard to imagine that he won't be a solid asset going forward.

Stephen Curry is also tumbling down the list, and unlike Morrow, his overall numbers are not strong, no matter how you slice 'em. Curry's results are far, far less impressive than appearances would indicate... as good as he looks, he's not helping us at all, and he's struggling more than the vast majority of his fellow rookie PGs. He could improve in any number of ways: by shooting more, by cutting his turnovers, by committing fewer fouls and other mistakes on defense. But it'd be nice if this guy showed us something soon. If it's not yet time to worry, it soon will be.

Monta Ellis... oy. His numbers are every bit as horrific as the last time we looked at them; if anything, they now carry greater weight, as there's more sample size and plausibility in our non-Monta results. We have discussed Monta issues ad nauseam of late, so we'll avoid getting in the weeds here. Suffice it to say, the alarm bells are ringing as loud as ever.

• You'll never believe this, but Vladimir Radmanovic and Mikki Moore actually kind of stink! As with the last time we checked, Mikki has the worst Simple Rating of any NBA player to have appeared in 30% or more of his team's minutes. The new wrinkle? Vlad now has the sixth-worst Simple Rating in the league, given the same playing time minimum. And if Vlad starts tonight as one would expect, by this time tomorrow he'll have played in over 40% of our minutes, despite having worn a Bobcats uni for the first third of our schedule.

To recap: our only three currently effective players can not crack the starting lineup; our notional star is still on pace to have the worst plus-minus in starter's minutes in NBA history; our highly touted rookie has been unequivocally bad; we continue to start two of the six worst full-time players in the league.

Business as usual, in other words.


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