January 24, 2010

Dave Berri's Guide To The Warriors

The Wages of Wins guru has posted his midseason stat reports, listing WP48 (Wins Per 48 Minutes) for every NBA player... the Warriors ratings (based on games through the New Jersey win) have already sparked discussion over at GSOM. WP48 is by no means a perfect metric. Like just about every other production-based measurement, it mistakenly deems Troy Murphy to be an excellent player. WP48 by no means ignores defense -- Ben Wallace rates excellently here, for instance -- but the stat has its quirks, and is perhaps most useful when balanced against plus-minus data (which exposes Murphy as the detriment he is).

An average-quality NBA player produces 0.100 wins per 48 minutes (which makes sense, as with five guys like that you'd win about 50% of the time). LeBron, the top dog in this stat as in all others, produces 0.420 wins per 48... if you produce 0.150 wins per 48, you're pretty good, and if you produce 0.200 wins per 48, you're borderline elite. Negative numbers are more than possible, and a couple dozen players actually rate worse than -0.100 wins per 48.

1. Kelenna Azubuike, 0.256
2. Andris Biedrins, 0.203
3. Corey Maggette, 0.188
4. Anthony Randolph, 0.117
5. C.J. Watson, 0.103
6. Stephen Curry, 0.099
7. Anthony Morrow, 0.084
8. Devean George, 0.058
9. Monta Ellis, 0.049
10. Stephen Jackson, 0.035
11. Cartier Martin, -0.010
12. Vladimir Radmanovic, -0.048
13. Mikki Moore, -0.059
14. Ronny Turiaf, -0.070
15. Anthony Tolliver, -0.116
16. Chris Hunter, -0.131

In his brief but excellent season, Kelenna Azubuike posted a higher WP48 than all but 21 other NBA players. That undoubtedly overstates his case, but he was off to a blazing start, combining aggressive, efficient offense with the best individual D of any Warrior. Here's hoping he can muster some of the same next year. Andris Biedrins rating this highly will disgust some, and he's probably also getting overrated a bit here, but if you think he hasn't been good, think again. A guy who rebounds like mad, passes brilliantly for a center and plays game and decent defense will help you win games. Did you really think it was an accident that we started playing better when he came back?

Only nine wings -- LeBron, Odom, Wade, Durant, Iguodala, Manu, Kirilenko, Roy and Pierce -- rate better than Corey Maggette. Corey ranks ahead of Carmelo Anthony and, yes, Kobe Bryant... laugh if you like, but Kobe's having his weakest offensive season in years and noticeably coasting on defense (understandably in both cases). WP48 doesn't sing the praises of Anthony Randolph as energetically as BP's Win %, but even so, he rates better than Al Jefferson, Chris Kaman, David West, Paul Millsap, LaMarcus Aldridge and a host of other bigs. C.J. Watson did just enough in his blistering start to outweigh the depths of his slump; he rates as a very slightly above-average NBA player.

Steph Curry rates very slightly below the NBA average. His showing is by no means bad for a rookie, but it's nothing worth writing home about either... Blair, Lawson, Evans, Casspi and Harden all outrate him. Anthony Morrow has been in free-fall since returning from his family emergency, and we can only hope that this latest hiatus will erase the timidity he'd been showing. A 0.084 guy is still useful, at any rate. A 0.058 guy is, too, so take a bow, Devean George; your defensive contributions have been noted.

Next, we find three little gunners, all in a row. Monta Ellis's efficiency issues have been discussed ad nauseam, and Stephen Jackson's hoggin' is still seared into all of our brains. For all the fanfare surrounding both, neither guy has done all that much to help us win games this season... Aaron Afflalo, for instance, rates as much effective than both. Cartier Martin's barely subzero showing actually speaks quite well of his defense, because he sure ain't scoring efficiently or passing the ball.

Finally, five guys who have stunk. Ronny Turiaf and Anthony Tolliver have valid excuses -- Ronny's been hurt all year, and Tolliver might well be in positive numbers if this analysis included yesterday's games -- but Vladimir Radmanovic, Mikki Moore and Chris Hunter have just been assy. Vlad, in particular, has been dragging us down... only six NBA players who rate as badly as he does have played as many minutes as he has.

In broad strokes, the news here isn't all that bad. We have five guys who rate as above-average players, and in Curry, a sixth who'll join them with another good game or two; Anthony Morrow isn't far off the pace, and Brandan Wright had an impressive 0.141 mark last season. A lot of Warriors have played like garbage, but with the exception of Turiaf, they're not guys we actually expect to produce anyway. Going forward, we have a nice nucleus, if we can fare better on the injury front...

...and if we can figure out how to wring some wins out of Monta Ellis, whose season, by this metric and others, rates as the equivalent of a guy running 80 MPH on a treadmill set at 81. His WP48 was 0.178 in '07-'08, meaning he was almost as effective as Maggette is now... since then, Monta has improved his defense, increased his playmaking, and even developed a nascent post game, and yet somehow rates as no more conducive to success than a slumping Courtney Lee.

When Don Nelson finally skedaddles, he will leave no shortage of messes in his wake. The next guy should prioritize fixing this mess -- Monta's bizarre ineffectiveness -- above all others. We will need better lineups, we will need better defensive coaching, we will need better planning and more attention to detail. But most of all, we need to turn our superstar into a winner. Until we figure out how to do that, this team will remain a joke.

1 comment:

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- Kris