It's official: this blog is a wild, raging sucess. We are averaging over thirty visitors a day, no more than a third of whom are ourselves or our parents. We have over six followers on Twitter. We have been viewed by somebody in Slovakia (love you guys!). If anything, we're burning too bright, too soon; there's a real risk of a "Snakes On A Plane"-style post-hype lull here.
But for now, we're lodged firmly in the silicone bosom of the zeitgeist. As such, it seems like a good time to invent our own Golden State Worriers statistic. We don't have a deep understanding of statistical analysis, nor a unique insight into the subtleties of NBA player value, nor even anything fresh or interesting to say. But you don't need any of those things to make a statistic. You just need a blog and an acronym.
As we've discussed before, one of the most maddening things about these maddening Warriors is the difficulty in figuring out who our best players are. For most teams, good or bad, this isn't a difficult exercise: the Cavs' best player is LeBron James, the Knicks' best player is David Lee. The Warriors? Well, Monta is probably our best player, except that he may actually be unbelievably horrible, which probably means Maggette's our best player, except that we don't do better when he plays, which means it's Morrow, except Morrow might not actually be any good at all, so then I guess it's Curry, except Curry's one of the worst starting point guards in basketball, so maybe it's Randolph, but WAIT DID RANDOLPH JUST DRIBBLE WHILE INBOUNDING, so, crap, I guess our best player is, what, C.J. Watson? It's a friggin' mess, is the point. All of these guys help us in many ways and hurt us in many others... it's hard to figure out who's actually contributing and who isn't. Even the various statistical metrics of player value can't agree on how to rank these Warriors; plus-minus statistics disagree with PER, which disagrees with Win %, and so on.
But you know what? We can make these metrics agree, by squashing them together. If we take all of the most credible rating systems, record their rankings of the effectiveness of various Warriors, and then average those rankings, we should have a pretty good aggregate list of who's helping and who ain't. A guy who rates well by plus-minus and PER and Win % is not likely to suck; a guy who rates poorly by all those measures is not likely to do anything else.
If we combine these ratings, we can find order in all of this chaos. We can come to a decent consensus about the contributions of our guys, not by out-analyzing the industry's best nerds, but by lazily piggybacking on their work. So we're gonna wisdom-of-crowds this bad boy, and create a ranking worth believing in: the Stathead Consensus On a Roundballer's Effectiveness. From this day forth, we Worriers will be keeping SCORE.
Our ingredients? Individal Win % from Kevin Pelton and Basketball Prospectus, John Hollinger's Player Efficiency Rating, and the positional opponent PER and adjusted plus-minus numbers from 82games.com: one overall evaluation, one offense-minded metric, one defense-minded metric, and a measurement of team success when the dude in question is on the floor as opposed to off. Some of these metrics are more credible than others, and there's some analytical redundancy here... we're not going to worry about that for now. Maybe we'll add some other metrics as we go, maybe we'll remove some of these four. Look, creating a stat that will definitely take the sports world by storm doesn't happen overnight.
Let's dive in. The rankings of the eight Warriors who've played more than a third of our minutes:
The best SCOREing Warrior should be no surprise: it's America's sweetheart, Corey Maggette! His ranking is perhaps unfairly buttressed by his team-leading showing in opponent PER (the shakiest stat we're currently using), but BP confirms that Maggette has had something of a defensive impact, and he didn't need a high rating there to rank as our most effective player. Anybody who thinks that Corey Maggette hasn't been our MVP hasn't been paying attention, and by God, this shoddy, made-up stat proves it. Similarly, CJ and Randolph's good showings will make sense to anyone who's been watching the games with clear eyes. And Monta finishing near the middle of the pack sounds about right, as he has made a million good plays and a million bad ones. Like Maggette, Monta is buoyed by a strong and possibly misleading showing in opponent PER; without that, he might rank closer to the bottom of our SCORE rankings than the top.
Morrow's recent struggles have dragged down all of his ratings. We are still much better when he's on the floor, and his defensive results are not bad. But his individual production now rates far below average even on this benighted team, and he's obviously no kind of asset unless he gets himself going again. Every statistical measurement you can find thinks Steph Curry has been a below-average contributor on a 7-19 team... let's all acquaint ourselves with the idea that he has a lot of growing up to do. And Mikki and Vlad -- you'll never believe this -- stink! If anything, this ranking makes them look better than they are, as they're miles behind the pack in most of these measurements.
Next time out, we will add some tweaks and throw in some other players. (You'll notice that this ranking method could be applied to the league as a whole, not just one particular team; calculating that would be a bear, as several of these stats are not listed sortably on their respective sites, but we'll post an overall NBA leaderboard at some point down the line.) For now, know that Corey Maggette, CJ Watson and Anthony Randolph have been our most effective players, and that they merit more minutes and more respect than they've been given. And revel in the birth of a new statistic, one sure to add notoriety to a blog that's already dripping with it.
I guess what we're trying to say is: you're welcome, reader. You already knew that this was the best damn lo-fi stat-heavy rambling Warriors blog with occasional swears on the Internet. Now you know something even deeper and more magical. Now you know... the SCORE.