(Points + Rebounds + Steals + ½Assists + ½Blocked Shots – Field Goal Attempts – Turnovers - ½Free Throw Attempts - ½Personal Fouls) / Minutes = Win Score per Minute

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

A few thoughts about a Fisher

Even though many things have already been said about the news that Derek Fisher is leaving the Utah Jazz so he can be with his family, I wanted to chime in. Seeing as how I've blasted Fisher in this space for his play (although the blast was aimed at Jerry Sloan more than Fisher), it's only fair to praise him as well.

There are those who believe that athletes should not be considered role models. While I agree with this sentiment, it is an unavoidable fact that people (especially kids) look up to athletes and want to be like them. That is the way our society works, and until they decide to stop showing sports on TV, it will always be that way. As a parent, it's always good to see athletes who are clearly good people and who have the same values I'd like my family to have.

It's easy to look at the millions of dollars Fisher has already made and say it must be easy to give up $21 million when you've already got millions in the bank. But anyone who says that has probably never been offered $21 million. I obviously don't know what that is like. But I know the feeling of wanting to have enough money to make sure your kids are taken care of the best way possible. And I'm sure that $21 million would have come in handy for the expensive procedures that the Fishers' daughter will be going through.

But you can't help but respect a man who clearly identifies where his priorities are. Not that it matters to him, but Derek Fisher has gained a fan for life. I will root for him wherever he ends up, and will be praying that everything works out for him and his family. And kudos to the Jazz for letting him opt out of his contract. They could have easily insisted on getting something out of this. Restructuring Fisher's contract to expire after this year could have created an attractive asset in faciliating some sort of trade this summer. But we must also give respect to Larry H. Miller, owner of the Jazz. Some people don't agree with the way he runs his businesses, but for all his faults, Miller has a few values that he always sticks to, and family is one of them.

All the best to the Fisher family.

As for the basketball ramifications of this, it actually turns out fantastic for the Jazz. For all his leadership and other veteran qualities, Fisher wasn't producing well on the floor. This now clears up some of the logjam at two guard, and allows much more time for the young players, which Sloan refused to play as long as Fisher was available. Ronnie Brewer has showed productivity in limited time, Gordan Giricek is not a terrible option, and newly drafted Morris Almond had one of the highest approximated WP48 of any two guard in the draft. Plus, this clears cap space for the Jazz to re-sign Deron Williams. Should be interesting to see how the Jazz play this year, if they can keep things rolling from their Conference Finals appearance.

Until then, Derek, we'll be thinking about you.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Finals MVP?

The season's over, with the San Antonio Spurs once again at the top of the basketball world, having proven once again that fundamental basketball, while less aesthetically pleasing to some, is still the way to win a championship. Or having proven that you must have a dominant big man to win a championship. Or that defense wins championships. Or whatever.

The point is that the season is over, and with it go any new stats for us to study. Our last gasp before the summer is to look at Finals MVP. It went to Tony Parker this year, marking the first time that Tim Duncan has been in the Finals and not won the MVP. He probably deserved it, if only for all the crowd shots of Eva Longoria he gave us. Let's take a quick look at the top contenders on the Spurs.

Tony Parker
Game 1: PAWS 1, PAWSmin 0.026
Game 2: PAWS 6.2, PAWSmin 0.174
Game 3: PAWS -3.6, PAWSmin -0.094
Game 4: PAWS 5.9, PAWSmin 0.150
Total: PAWS 9.5, PAWSmin 0.063

Tim Duncan
Game 1: PAWS 10.8, PAWSmin 0.278
Game 2: PAWS 5.5, PAWSmin 0.153
Game 3: PAWS -3, PAWSmin -0.090
Game 4: PAWS -4.9, PAWSmin -0.122
Total: PAWS 8.4, PAWSmin 0.056

Manu Ginobili
Game 1: PAWS 3.9, PAWSmin 0.140
Game 2: PAWS 9.4, PAWSmin 0.336
Game 3: PAWS -7, PAWSmin -0.258
Game 4: PAWS 2.3, PAWSmin 0.069
Total: PAWS 8.6, PAWSmin 0.074

If you at this in terms of Position-Adjusted Win Score per minute, then the surprising winner is Manu Ginobili, who's fantastic Game 2 canceled out his horrific Game 3, and he was consistently good in the other two games to garner a PAWSmin of 0.074. Manu consistently plays about 10 minutes less than Duncan and Parker, however. So the MVP in terms of overall Win Score is Tony Parker.

Parker really played better in these four games than his season average. His PAWSmin for the entire year, regular season and postseason stands at 0.027, good but not great. But he stepped up in the Finals (or, possibly, he was helped by the fact that the Cavaliers had no one who could stay in front of him). Either way, Parker had a good series. His Game 3 was poor, but he played well in Game 1, and was fantastic in both games 2 and 4. Looks like the voters got it right, and your Finals MVP is Tony Parker. Congratulations again to him and the Spurs.

As for this blog and the Win Score Stats site, we'll be taking a posting hiatus and working on programming over the summer. If you check this site from time to time over the summer, you'll probably see the occasional post commenting on some upgrade to the stats site, and I may post some analysis if I get bored. Please have us bookmarked for next year, however. I have a lot of upgrades planned, including being able to search through past years' stats.

Now is the time to leave ideas and requests for the stats site. I still have some previous comments stashed away that I plan on doing, but you are welcome to rehash old requests, or post any new ideas you have for next year. Again, thanks for all the support. Enjoy the summer.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Domain name issues

I'm not sure how many of you are using the new address for the Win Score Stats site, "winsproduced.com", but just FYI there will be some changes happening there in the next few days and also in the coming weeks. I'm moving that address to a new internet host, so it may not be working for the next few days. However, you can still access everything at www.jasonchandler.com/basketball. After I get settled in at the new host, I'll be moving all the jasonchandler.com stuff permanently over to winsproduced.com. I'll leave a redirect in there, but at that time all links should point to winsproduced.com. I'll keep everyone updated further as things change. Thanks for all the support.

P.S. Can you guys think of anything interesting to talk about concerning this NBA finals? Because I'm stumped.

Monday, June 4, 2007

No, seriously, these are the REAL top 10 players in the NBA

Saw a story on Digg titled "The 'Real' Top 10 Players In The NBA". It got a lot of comments, both positive and negative. Decided to do a post on "seriously, the real top 10 players". Tried to back up my position with some facts and figures. Let's see how it turned out.

** This is an aside to anyone who hasn't heard of Win Score or Wins Produced **

Wins Produced and Win Score are a new way to evaluate NBA players. It focuses on trying to figure out which players contribute the most to their team wins. For in-depth discussion, please see the "Wages of Wins" blog or buy the book (Yeah that's an affiliate link!).

Basically, Win Score is (Points + Rebounds + Steals + ½Assists + ½Blocked Shots – Field Goal Attempts – Turnovers - ½Free Throw Attempts - ½Personal Fouls). Wins Produced is a more complicated formula, but they correspond very closely with each other. In other words, Win Score approximates Wins Produced. I'll be using Win Score for my evaluations. An "average" NBA player will produce a "position-adjusted" Win Score (PAWS) of zero.

A common way to look at Win Score is Position-Adjusted Win Score per minute, or PAWSmin. For a quick and dirty check, 0.050 is good, 0.100 is great, and 0.150 is fantastic.

** Done with aside **

Now, the easy way to do this would be to point everyone to the list of Win Score stats by player, and say, "Order this page by PAWS, and you've got your top 10". So you can avoid the click if you want, here is that quick list:

NamePosition-Adjusted Win Score
1. Jason Kidd637.3
2. Shawn Marion562.6
3. Carlos Boozer490.6
4. Tim Duncan468.7
5. Kevin Garnett461.3
6. Marcus Camby421.4
7. Steve Nash406.3
8. Dwight Howard362.7
9. Dirk Nowitzki359.0
10. Amare Stoudemire350.9

* Couple quick caveats, I'm using position adjustments from 82games.com, and all numbers are for this year only, regular and postseason combined.

If you want, you can just stop reading now and start complaining. I'll get you started: "Marcus Camby sixth? What are you smoking?" or "How is Carlos Boozer ahead of Tim Duncan? You're out of your mind!"

Now we all know that no single statistic is perfect. And no single person's opinion is perfect. So I'll now combine my opinions with the Win Score statistic to achieve something even less perfect than either one separately. But hopefully I'll make some good points and inform you, if not actually entertain you.

My list of the REAL top 10 players in the NBA (this year) (so far)

1. Tim Duncan - yes, this is the safe and boring pick. But it's true! I defy anyone to make a coherent argument against Tim Duncan. Without mentioning free throws. OK, he has one weakness. But even his Achilles' heel isn't as bad as Shaq's. He scores well, rebounds well, blocks shots, is an excellent help defender, has good hands, passes well, has great court vision, and is the most patient man on the court. He'll run three pick and rolls, get the interior pass, post up his man, wait for the double team, fake a pass, lull his defender to sleep, and then bank one off the glass. Twenty-two seconds of defense, and you still get schooled. That's Tim Duncan. Total Position Adjusted Win Score: 468.7 Position Adjusted Win Score per minute: 0.142

Vitals: 3 championships.....probably the 4th on the way. End of discussion.

2. Shawn Marion - yes, he has no titles. But there is not a more complete player in the NBA. He shoots 52%, rebounds exceptionally for a 6'7" combo forward. Steals, blocks, free throws, 3-pointers, you name it, this cat does it. Does it well. He's a seriously underrated defender as well, often guarding 6'9" or 6'10" power forwards in the Suns' small ball lineup. Does Nash make him better? Yeah, but he's gonna be good anyway. Total PAWS: 562.6 PAWSmin: 0.164

Vitals: Good at everything.....one of 3 players in the league to have more steals than turnovers (min. 100 steals)

3. Jason Kidd - yes, he can't shoot. But he is likely the best NBA player ever...who couldn't shoot. But he does everything else to make the people around him and his team better. Runs an offense better than almost anyone, pinpoint passing accuracy. Rebounds like a power forward. This is not exaggeration. His rebounds per 48 minutes are equal to Rasheed Wallace and Alonzo Mourning. It's a shame that the third-best player on his team is apparently Richard Jefferson. Total PAWS: 637.3 PAWSmin: 0.184

Vitals: 34 years old, but still brings it.....did I mention that he averaged a triple-double in the playoffs?

4. Kevin Garnett - yes, his team stinks. But I still believe when God created the perfect basketball player, it was Kevin Garnett. He's big, intimidating, smart, has a fierce desire to win, and probably scares the bejeebers out of most of the people he meets. This was a down year for him, and he still lead the league in rebounding. Plus he shoots his free throws well, and passes well. Total PAWS: 461.3 PAWSmin: 0.152

Vitals: Stats were way down this season, still fantastic.....if the Jazz don't at least try to trade Andrei Kirilenko and Mehmet Okur for Garnett, I'm gonna cry myself to sleep.

5. Steve Nash - yes, he's not a good defender. But he makes up for it in so many ways. He shoots 52 percent, and that's for a guard who doesn't get tons of layups. His assist numbers are inflated by Phoenix's pace, but would probably still be tops in the league on a slower team. And Nash is money from the free throw line. Total PAWS: 406.3 PAWSmin: 0.132

Vitals: Best fast breaks in the league.....I never would have placed him this high with last year's greasy hair.

6. Dirk Nowitzki - yes, he's not mean enough, but some guys just aren't. Look, we need to stop with the Larry Bird stuff. He's tall, he's white, he has really bad hair. Whatever. Dirk has grown into a top-shelf player. He has one of the prettiest shots in the league, he's a good passer and dribbler, especially for a guy his size. Sure, he is the leader of his team, and shouldn't have let the Warriors get the best of them. But he wasn't the only Maverick to have trouble in that series. Total PAWS: 359.0 PAWSmin: 0.117

Vitals: 90% at the free throw line.....Hasslehoff issues holding him back

7. Carlos Boozer - yes, he's not a great defender, but did you watch the man play this year? Although Boozer was #3 according to Win Score, I had to move him down a bit because of below average defense and because his rebounding totals may be a tiny bit inflated from playing with a center that likes the perimeter. However, the Jazz were possibly the best-rebounding team in the league this year, and Boozer was a big part of that, along with his 55% shooting and interior passing skills. Total PAWS: 490.6 PAWSmin: 0.153

Vitals: First full year back after major injuries, he's only getting better.....can you imagine if the Cavs still had him?

8. LeBron James - yes, he's only 22, but he's already deserving to be up here with the best. After the last week, is there anything left to say about LeBron? He can do anything and everything that he puts his mind to. If he had some more decent teammates, Mike Brown could afford to sit him for more than a minute or two a game, and would probably get the same output from him at 40 minutes a game that he gets at 46 minutes a game. Total PAWS: 326.0 PAWSmin: 0.083

Vitals: My vote is to call Game 5 "LeBron's 25 straight".....his "old LeBron" character kills me every time.

9. Kobe Bryant - yes, he's a "me first" player, but sometimes he has to be. If the clock is winding down and you absolutely need two points, is there anyone else you'd give the ball to? But it's not just his scoring, Bryant has improved his game a hundred times since he was a rookie. If there's anything to bring him down some, it's that he has a low assist to turnover rate for someone who handles the ball as much as he does (1.57 to 1). Somebody get this man a point guard. Total PAWS: 286.7 PAWSmin: 0.085

Vitals: 81 points in one game, unbelievable.....guy has some need for attention problems

10. Manu Ginobili - yes, he's a flopper, but the rest of his game is too good to get bogged down in that. The Spurs are not a one-horse team. As the Jazz found out, you can find ways to slow down Duncan, but if you do, Manu will make you pay. After Kobe and LeBron, he's the most deadly scorer in the league who's range goes from the 3-point line to the basket. Total PAWS: 327.6 PAWSmin: 0.130

Vitals: Supremely difficult matchup at shooting guard.....Like Nash, I'd probably move him up if he cut his hair, the bald spot is too much

Honorable Mentions: There were a number of centers in the top range of Win Score that I chose to move down for various reasons. Marcus Camby has yet to play a full season of 82 games (although if the Nuggets trade him for Kwame Brown, which is rumored, they will regret it for a long time). Dwight Howard needs to learn to hold onto the ball better. Amare needs defensive work and was outrebounded by a guy who is 6'7". Tyson Chandler needs to take a few more shots. And then there's David Lee. If he puts up the same numbers he has now when he's playing 3000 minutes a year, I will absolutely put him on this list. Only Jason Kidd can match Lee's PAWSmin of 0.184.

As for the other's on that other guy's list (Yes, I understand his list was made before the year began):
Dwyane Wade: Year cut short by injury, low assist-to-turnover ratio
Paul Pierce: Started out great this year, too inconsistent, few rebounds for a swingman
Elton Brand: Doesn't rebound enough for a PF/C
Shaquille O'Neal: Free throws, turnovers, really? You need to ask?

OK, 1700 some-odd words, I feel like I'm creeping into Gregg Easterbook territory here. If you enjoyed this article, please show your support by digging it (you'll want to be on the specific article page, not the blog front page).

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Top Playoff Performances

A list of the top playoff performances has been requested, and I am nothing if not ready to please the masses. So I threw up a quick and dirty page that recreates the "Every Game, Every Player" page, but just for the playoffs. You can check that out here. That page will update along with the rest of the site for the remaining games in the playoffs. For those that just want the top 10 figured out and displayed for them, I've created a spreadsheet that shows the top in PAWS and PAWSmin.

There are a few interesting things to mention about this.

1) If your team made the playoffs, but doesn't have a good point guard and doesn't make a play to trade for Jason Kidd, then your GM might need to find a different line of work. Yeah, if you are rebuilding, then a few years of Kidd won't create a championship. But if you are team in the playoffs, that wants to make a run in the next two years (Rockets? Lakers? Heat? Magic?), you've got to at least give it a shot and see if its possible. The guy continues to play amazingly well.

2) Andrei Kirilenko's big game came the same day that Deron Williams posted the worst win score of any player during these playoffs. He, along with Fisher, Boozer and Millsap, managed to win the game, even with a horrible performance from their point guard.

3) Every game in the list was won by the team with the best player. Not too surprising, but we've seen regular season games where one player was incredible, but the team lost the game. Having the best player on the floor seems to be important in playoff games.

4) LeBron's 48 points is not on the list. He garnered a 19 Win Score for the game and an 11.2 PAWS. However, I bet if we did a list of top second half Win Scores, his would probably be right at the top. It does show one interesting thing though. Stats are great for evaluating games and showing you what happened while you weren't watching. But they certainly are no substitute for watching the game. Even the most devout stat man would have to admit that Game 5 was one of the most impressive performances they've ever seen in their life, whether or not the stats say so.

It will be interesting to see if LeBron can keep up his improved play against the defense of the San Antonio Spurs. Detroit was supposed to be a defensive juggernaut, but I never saw the kind of intensity from them that I saw throughout the entire Spurs-Jazz series.

It's going to be a lot of fun. I'm sure David Stern breathed a huge sigh of relief when he saw it wouldn't be a Spurs-Pistons finals. It will be a great contrast. The disciplined, smart, steady Spurs against the athletic (except for Big Z), freewheeling and fun Cavs. I can't possibly think of a way that Cleveland wins this series, but I am rooting for them. Who knows? If Gibson can keep up his recent play, if Ilgauskas can pester Duncan into bad shots, if Varejao's hair can distract Manu Ginobili....well you just never know. And that's why it's fun.

We have a winner!.......well, almost

For those still interested, let's take a quick look at the fantasy game and see if anyone has a chance to catch obreck3 at this point. Here are the scores after the conference finals:

obreck3 - 2083
momotiki - 2015
aomcgill - 2014.5
jchan - 2014.5
huey - 1952.5
jlewis44 - 1941
mike - 1936
amarishnu - 1918.5
tlarkin - 1871
jasonyiin - 1716
drock113 - 1620

The top is relatively unchanged, but there has been big shakeup in the second half of the group, as jlewis44 has shot up three places in the standings and is threating fifth place as we speak. As for players left, we've got the following:

Everybody's got Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobli and LeBron James, so those that only have those three (me, aomcgill, amarishnu, and "curse your half point" momotiki) have nowhere to go but down.

Huey, tlarkin and drock113 have Drew Gooden in addition to the three. Mike has Tony Parker. Obreck has, unfortunately for the rest of us, Parker and Gooden, and has pretty much sewn up this contest. The only one with even a tiny chance of winning is jlewis44. Jlewis44 and jasonyiin both have Parker, Gooden and Anderson Varejao, and Jlewis is currently ahead of jasonyiin. So unless Varejao surprises us all and goes for 143 Win Score in the Finals (he has 82.5 so far in the playoffs), looks like your champion is Obreck3. You might want to be thinking of what special link you'd like to have as your fantastic grand prize. Another thanks to all those who played...please leave suggestions of how to make this better come next season.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The King

I'm working on a big post about playoff performance that will probably have to wait until the playoffs are finished, but I wanted to quickly drop some thoughts on LeBron James. It's interesting to see the different takes people have on him. Some think he is too unselfish, some think he doesn't know how to control his body, some want to see more agression, some want to see more finesse. Some think he is Michael Jordan, some think he is Magic, some think he needs to mature more, some think it is amazing what a 22-year old kid is doing in this league.

Count me in the last category. But take out the qualification of a 22-year old kid. It is amazing what LeBron James is doing in this league, regardless of his age. Especially in these playoffs, he has been incredible. Now, if you just look at shooting, you see he has gotten worse in the playoffs:

LeBron James: 2006-07 Regular Season Shooting
Minutes per Game: 41.0
Points per Game: 27.3
Field Goal Percentage: 47.6%
3-Point Percentage: 31.9%

LeBron James: 2006-07 Postseason Shooting
Minutes per Game: 44.6
Points per Game: 24.6
Field Goal Percentage: 42.6%
3-Point Percentage: 30.0%

So he is shooting worse and scoring less in more minutes per game. Not that impressive, right?

Now let's look at his non-shooting stats (I'm including free throws here, you'll see why):
LeBron James: 2006-07 Regular Season Non-Shooting
Free throw attempts per game: 8.99
Free throw percentage: 69.8%
Rebounds: 6.7
Assists: 6.0
Steals: 1.60
Turnovers: 3.21

LeBron James: 2006-07 Postseason Non-Shooting
Free throw attempts per game: 9.57
Free throw percentage: 77.6%
Rebounds: 7.9
Assists: 8.4
Steals: 1.86
Turnovers: 2.71

He has increased his free throw attempts and percentage, as well as his rebounds and assists, and has improved his steals - turnovers rate significantly. All of this leads to the following Win Score / Wins Produced calculations:

LeBron James: 2006-07 Regular Season
Total Win Score: 738.5
Position-Adjusted Win Score: 243.24
PAWSmin: 0.076
Approximate WP48: 0.227

LeBron James: 2006-07 Postseason
Total Win Score: 158.5
Position-Adjusted Win Score: 96.875
PAWSmin: 0.155
Approximate WP48: 0.355

I don't need to tell you that this is an incredible jump in productivity from the regular season to the playoffs. LeBron has gone from a top 30 player in Wins Produced to a top five player. There should be no criticism of how LeBron James has played in this postseason. He is giving us one of the great individual performances of the last few years, and has his team feeling confident that they can take down the mighty Pistons.

Cleveland should start figuring out a spot to put the championship trophies. Whether or not they win this year, I have a feeling LeBron will be in the hunt every year for the next decade. It's a good time to be a Cavs fan.

EDIT: I should have known it was too good to be true. Mr. Berri showed me a miscalculation I made. The playoff numbers should be as follows:

LeBron James: 2006-07 Postseason
Total Win Score: 158.5
Position-Adjusted Win Score: 61.625
PAWSmin: 0.099
Approximate WP48: 0.264

So he is performing better, but it isn't the amazing increase that I thought I spotted. Certainly nothing to write an entire post about. Apparently I need to stick to the programming end of things.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Frustrations of a Fan

I'm pretty sure this post is coming only from my frustrations at watching the Utah Jazz look like a team of rookies whenever they play in San Antonio. And so the righteous indignation that will come through in this post is probably not going to be properly aimed. But I'm going to let it fly anyway, knowing full well that I am letting my emotions get the best of me.

It's OK.

As I was updating the database this morning with the stats from last night's game, I took a second to look at each of the Jazz players, mentally checking off in my mind how the numbers corresponded with my impression of how they played.

Fisher was terrible....check
Kirilenko, Harpring and Okur were below average....check
Millsap didn't get nearly enough playing time....check
Deron Williams is a stud....check
Boozer played great on offense, terrible on defense....huh?

I was stunned to see that Boozer, according to Win Score, played almost as well as Tim Duncan. How could that be? I watched him fall asleep on the defensive end time after time! I checked Fabricio Oberto's line (the man Boozer was covering most of the night) to be sure, and there it was, 14 points on 6-7 shooting for a man averaging 4-5 points per game through the season. And from my own viewing I knew that at least 5 of those 6 shots were ridiculously easy layups made possible by the lackadaisical defense of one Carlos Boozer.

Now, I've always been a defender of the Wins Produced system, even against those saying that it underrates good defenders and vice versa. There is a very long post on the Wins of Wages Blog that goes over this whole phenomenon of defensive team statistics in great detail. But I guess I had never seen a disparity this egregious with my own eyes before. So I'm concerned.

What is the answer here? There are some possibilities:

1. My eyes deceive me, and Boozer really did contribute as much to a possible win as Tim Duncan did.
2. Win Score and Wins Produced are limited in their ability to evaluate a single game, but the effects balance out over an entire season, which makes for an accurate evaluation of 82+ games.
3. There is a fairly significant flaw in the way Wins Produced evaluates those at the top and bottom of the defensive totem pole.
4. ??

Help me out here, guys. Is there a fourth option I'm not seeing? Have any of you had similar experiences where something didn't add up quite right for you? We all know that there is no perfect metric, so should I even worry about it? It's still the best thing we've got, right? Right?

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

What goes around, comes around

I made a comment a few months ago (in a post I'm not especially proud of) about how ESPN.com must be required to mention LeBron James as the lead story in any game he participates in, whether or not he actually played well. This was in reference to a game in which Ben Wallace played fantastic, but the lead was something to the effect of "LeBron's 20-something points not enough".

Today, we have the opposite-but-equal effect coming into play, as all the leads about last night's game refer to LeBron only scoring 10 points as the Cavs lose to the Pistons. On the radio this morning, all I heard coming in was that LeBron didn't score enough and he shouldn't have passed the ball on the last play of the game, he should have taken it to the hole. And pundits will take every opportunity to let us know that LeBron is not Michael Jordan or Magic Johnson, and that he still doesn't have what it takes to be a champion.

As always, let's take a look at the numbers, shall we? The box score of the game reveals that LeBron almost had a triple-double. Here is his line:

James, LeBron - 45 min, 10 points on 5-15 shooting, no free throws, 10 rebounds, 9 assists, 1 block, 4 steals, 2 turnovers, 1 foul. This gives him a Win Score of 11.5 for the game, a PAWS of 4.5 and a PAWSmin of 0.101. Calculating the approximate WP48 gives us 0.267, which is actually better than James' average for the year. Only Ilgauskas and Varejao played better in this game than LeBron did.

The real issue here is that none of the Cavs' outside shooters were on yesterday. Sometimes LeBron's shot will be off, but he usually finds other ways to contribute. If that happens, someone has to step up and start making outside shots. And no one did.

Sasha Pavlovic: 4-14
Donyell Marshall: 1-4
Eric Snow: 0-4
Larry Hughes: 4-13
Daniel Gibson: 0-4

Out of those five players, only Larry Hughes did ANYTHING else to redeem himself, garnering a few rebounds and a couple of steals. The other four players did nothing else but shoot poorly. And that is why Cleveland lost the game. LeBron and the post players did everything they could to give Cleveland the chance to steal the first game in Detroit, but the outside shooters couldn't make shots when they needed to. And if they want their season to extend past Game 5 in Detroit, someone besides LeBron will have to start making shots.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

2 Down, 2 To Go

After almost a month of games, we're down to 4 teams, Utah, San Antonio, Cleveland and Detroit. I wonder if anyone predicted these four teams would be the ones left. I doubt there were many who believed Utah would be here. I mean, they're my team and I didn't even think they'd get this far. I'm excited to see how this all plays out. Now, let's take a look at our fantasy game standings:

obreck3 1770
momotiki 1704
aomcgill 1703.5
huey 1703.5
jchan 1703.5
mike 1657
tlarkin 1652
amarishnu 1621
jlewis44 1600.5
jasonyiin 1419.5
drock113 1388.5

Although there is a traffic jam in spots 2-5, obreck3 has gotten a huge advantage over the rest of the pack. Let's see if we can figure out if anyone has a chance to overtake him by looking at what players are left in the playoffs.

Pretty much everyone has Billups, Boozer, Duncan, Ginobli and LeBron.

In addition Obreck3 has the following players left: Drew Gooden, Antonio McDyess, and Tony Parker.
Momotiki, Aomcgill and I have Rasheed Wallace
Huey has Gooden but not Billups
Mike has Tony Parker
Tlarkin has Gooden and Tayshaun Prince, but not Boozer
Amarishnu has McDyess and Paul Millsap
JLewis44 has an interesting team, with Gooden, McDyess, Parker, Prince and Anderson Varejao, but no Boozer
Jasonyiin also has Varejao, plus Prince, Parker, Gooden and Chris Webber
And Drock113 has Gooden and McDyess.
(Let me know if I made any mistakes here)

So I'm not sure anyone will be able to catch obreck3, but there look to definitely be some shakeups in the standings over the next little while. Some people have as many as eight players still going, with others only having 5. As for me, looks like the only way I can have a chance to win (tie for first, that is) is if Detroit and Utah play for the title, and Rasheed plays a whole lot better than McDyess. Guess we'll see what happens.

Anybody else feel like they have a good chance to win? Or any predictions on the remaining series? I'm gonna refrain from predicting anything this time. It's just embarrassing.

EDIT: I missed Owen's comment on the previous post. He listed the number of players left on each team. I didn't realize JLewis had 10 players left. He should be shooting up the rankings in the next little while.

-Going into the third round of the playoffs, here is how many players each contestant -has remaining.

-OBreck3 8
-Momotiki 6
-AoMcgill 6
-Huey 5
-Mike 6
-Tlarkin 6
-Amarishnu 7
-JLewis 10

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Suns, Spurs, Suspensions, Statistics

There has been plenty of commentary on the suspensions for tonight's Spurs-Suns game, so I'm not going to talk about whether the NBA was right or wrong in this thing. But it does seem like everyone is just assuming that the Suns will lose this game, now that two starters are out. Let's see what WP48 has to tell us about the chances. (I'm going to use the approximate WP48 from my stats site in this analysis, so just know that all WP48 numbers are approximate)

First of all, how does this affect the Spurs? Robert Horry has a knack for coming through in the clutch, at least that is his reputation. But he hasn't given the Spurs much this year overall. Horry has shot poorly (37%), but somewhat made up for that through decent rebounding, assists, steals, blocks and a low turnover rate. He still ended up below average, with a WP48 of 0.091, just under the average player (0.100). I'm guessing his minutes will be mainly taken up by Fabricio Oberto or Matt Bonner. Both of these seem to be slight upgrades. Oberto's WP48 is 0.116 and Bonner's is 0.122. The other option is probably more minutes for Francisco Elson, and having Tim Duncan play more power forward rather than center. Elson's WP48 is 0.066 and would seem to be a slight downgrade from Horry. Either way, it appears the changes won't affect the Spurs much, and they should play more or less equal to how they have played throughout the season.

As for the Suns, they will be missing Amare Stoudemire and Boris Diaw. Stoudemire is one of the best players in the league, and his WP48 of 0.291 shows that. Diaw, however, has dropped off significantly from his breakout year and is sitting on a WP48 of 0.019, well below an "average" player. The loss of these two players will result in more minutes for everyone on the Suns. They've been playing with a rotation of 8 players as it is, and this brings the list down to 6 players, of those that have been getting minutes for Coach D'Antoni. Kurt Thomas is going to be asked to step up in this game and probably play 40 minutes. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, however. Thomas has played well this year and currently has a WP48 of 0.189, which is actually pretty good. The options for the rest of those minutes, however, don't look quite as good. James Jones and Jalen Rose are probably the most likely to see increased minutes, and they stand at 0.048 and 0.081 WP48, respectively. Of course, both of those players are an upgrade from Boris Diaw, with the only problem being that they don't play the same position as Boris. All things considered, things don't look as horrible as they seemed for the Suns. The biggest issue for them will probably be if Thomas can have a good game and play a solid 40 minutes. If the starting five of (I'm guessing) Thomas, Marion, Bell, Barbosa and Nash can all stay on the court for 40-45 minutes, then I think the Spurs will have a much tougher game than they expected.

I don't know if I'd bet on the Suns....but I probably wouldn't put any money against them either. How do you think the game is going to play out? Are the Suns going to get too tired and get blown out in their own building? Or will they rally together and get the best payback imaginable? Either way, should be a fun night.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

23 Points can be Deceiving

Just looked at the Nets-Cavs score and saw something interesting that warranted a quick post. Richard Jefferson, Vince Carter and Jason Kidd, the Big 3, each scored 23 points in this game. A quick glance tells you they each played a great game. But digging in further, you find something different. Take a look at the box score for each of the three players.

Each made 8 shots, but Kidd only took 12, Jefferson 17 and Carter 19. Plus, Kidd made 5 three-pointers. Then you look at the rebounding, again Kidd leads, 13 to 8 to 6. Of course he leads in assists, but he also only had 3 turnovers to go with all those assists.

Let's completely ignore the position played by each of these players and just look at raw win score.

Kidd - 26.5
Jefferson - 10.5
Carter - 4.5

When you look at that, it's pretty clear who carried the team this game, now isn't it? I keep hearing rumors that Jason Kidd is going to be traded to the Lakers or the Mavericks or whoever. The rest of the league better hope he doesn't go to the Mavericks, because I can't imagine how many games they would win next year if he did.

What do you think? Are these Win Scores misleading, or do they paint the right picture? And if you were an NBA GM, would you try to trade for Jason Kidd?

P.S. I wasn't able to watch the game, but noticed Jason Collins fouled out with 1 point, 5 rebounds and 4 turnovers. Did anyone watch it who can tell me if he played well defensively? People say the numbers don't show what he does, but I just don't see it.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

The Basketball Razzies, Part 2

I can't possibly quantify how wrong I was about the Chicago Bulls. Even after Game 2, I still thought they would come and get some confidence back at home and even up the series at two games a piece. Anyway, in honor of the Bulls' collective belly-flop, I give you part 2 of the Basketball Razzies, the award for Worst Game Performace, Individual.

And the nominees are:

Jermaine O'Neal - Indiana Pacers - March 30, 2007

O'Neal said, after this game, "It's not really about what other teams are doing. It's about what we're doing. Or a better way to put it, what we're not doing to win games." Very perspicacious, Jermaine. In this game, O'Neal shot 4-18, and had five more turnovers (8) than rebounds. Top that off with five fouls and only 2-4 from the line, and it's amazing Indiana only lost this game by 8 points.

Gilbert Arenas - Washington Wizards - November 24, 2006

The truly horrible games must come from those you expect to be great. Elias had this to say about the game:

"Gilbert Arenas, who had scored 20 or more points in each of his previous 10 games, was held to three points in 32 minutes. Only one other player in NBA history had a single-season streak of at least 10 games scoring at least 20 points broken by scoring three or fewer points in at least 30 minutes."

Of course this game came against the ferocious defensive force known as the Memphis Grizzlies. They forced Gilbert into 4 turnovers, and he somehow managed to avoid getting a rebound for the entire game.

Danny Granger - Indiana Pacers - April 10, 2007

Granger had a great year, and appears to be headed for NBA stardom. However, on this day, it was not to be. You'd think at some point in missing his first 13 shots, Danny would have decided not to shoot anymore. Yet he somehow took 17 shots, making only two. And his contributions ended there. One assist and two rebounds in 39 minutes make you wonder what exactly he was doing out there, at least when he wasn't shooting.

Adam Morrison - Charlotte Bobcats - December 29, 2006

A lot to say about this one. The Bobcats actually won this game, despite Morrison's contributions and Kobe's 58 points. The game went into triple overtime. And this game probably set a record for the largest separation between two teammates in Win Score. Morrison finished with a -10.5, while his teammate Emeka Okafor turned in one of the great performances of the year and garnered a 31 Win Score.

Morrison's five rebounds and two assists were not enough to make up for 3 turnovers and a dismal 1-15 shooting night. You put an "average" player in there and the Bobcats probably win by 14 in regulation. Just an absolutely phenomenal game all around.

Marvin Williams - Atlanta Hawks - April 14, 2007

OK, so the game was meaningless for the Hawks, already mired in the lottery section of the standings. But you've gotta still show up for the game. The game was all but over at halftime, as the Cavaliers went to the locker room up 56-28. Marvin Williams was the anti-star of this anti-show, shooting 3 for 15 and only pulling 2 rebounds in 41 minutes, a pathetic total for a man standing 6 foot 9 inches. I don't know if the Hawks were tanking, but if not, they did the best impression of it I've ever seen.

And the winner is:

Jermaine O'Neal - Indiana Pacers - March 30, 2007

It absolutely had to be. His Position-Adjusted Win Score of -23 blew everyone else out of the water. The poor shooting, the lack of rebounds for a PF and the turnovers combined into a perfect storm of NBA mediocrity. The fact that we all know O'Neal is a pretty good player only adds to the mystique of this game for me. Will it be topped this year? Not likely, but maybe one of the Bulls can make a run at it next game.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Second Round, here we come!

Well, the first round could be classified as "less than riveting", but there were at least two fun / interesting series, and the winners are coming together. Utah / Golden State should make for a great time, if only to see which team gets to play "their way". Will it be a defensive grind a la Jerry Sloan? Or will Nellie's run-and-gun take over? A great chance to watch two of the best coaches in the business, with completely different styles.

OK, that's enough of my own biased opinion. Which second-round matchups sound the most interesting to you?

Here is some quick fantasy game news, this is the top players so far in the game

1. huey - 977
2. obreck3 - 967.5
3. momotiki - 945.5
4. aomcgill - 945
4. jchan - 945
6. mike - 930
7. tlarkin - 918.5
8. amarishnu - 873.5
9. drock113 - 821
10. jlewis44 - 818.5
11. jasonyiin - 808

Some quick stats on the teams:

Six players were chosen by every team: Nash, Nowitzki, LeBron, Ginobli, Marion and Duncan.
Another six players were chosen by every team but one: Howard, Billups, Bosh, Deng, Stoudemire and Ben Wallace.

From there it got interesting:
Eight people are ticked that Jason Terry, Dwyane Wade and Yao Ming have been eliminated.
Seven will be enjoying Jason Kidd and Carlos Boozer's points in round 2.

The difference makers are probably in the players who are still active, but weren't chosen by many players.
These include:
- Tony Parker, 4 teams
- Rasheed Wallace, 4 teams
- Leandro Barbosa, 2 teams
- Anderson Varejao, 2 teams

All in all, only 30 different players were actually selected. As for my picks, I feel fairly confident since "aomcgill" chose the exact same team as I did. However, I almost changed that, in fact, I actually thought about adding DeSagana Diop to my team.

Thank goodness.

How do you guys feel about your chances? What players do you think will show up with big numbers in this coming round?

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Avery Johnson is a really good coach, so what the.........?

I don't have time to properly research this at the moment, but I wanted to throw this out there while it is fresh in my mind. While everyone is loving Golden State right now, and some people are discussing what Dallas has been doing wrong, I've only seen a few people mention in passing what I think is the single biggest difference in this series.

And mind you, I never thought I would say this, but I think the biggest problem for the Mavs is the lack of playing time for Erick Dampier. He has consistently been the third best player for this Mavericks team, anchoring the middle, rebounding, and shooting a ridiculously high percentage. And now he's turning in one and two-minute games. How does this make sense?

I know he's not fast enough to get back on fast breaks, but wouldn't his offensive rebounding skills get rid of four or five fast breaks per game? I can't understand why a 67 win team is adjusting to a team that barely made the playoffs.


Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The Baketball Razzies, Part 1 of a few

With the news that the Celtics may be dumping ol' Bassy Telfair, I decided to do the first part of a post I've been sitting on for a week, trying to get finished.

This was inspired by Bill Simmons, the Sports Guy, who wrote: 'I wish the NBA had the equivalent of the Razzie Awards so Dunleavy could win "Worst Coach of the Year."' So we'll give him his wish, whether he reads it or not, and we'll try to use Win Score as justification for the nominees and winners.

Without further ado, the Basketball Razzies, part one:

Worst Player of the Year


Sebastian Telfair - PG - Boston Celtics

Telfair has got to be the biggest disappointment of the year. Expectations were high when the trade was made that allowed Portland to get Brandon Roy. Not only did Telfair fail to meet expectations, but he managed to perform worse in almost every major category than his career averages, which were dismal to begin with.

Do we start with the 37% FG shooting, including 29% from behind the arc? Or maybe the anemic totals of 2.8 assists and 1.4 rebounds per game. Telfair's Position Adjusted Win Score per minute comes out to -0.110, meaning that, like the others on this list, he actually took away wins while he was on the court. Of course, since the Celtics ended up in the lottery, this was actually a good thing this year.

Replacement: Chad Ford (ESPN Insider required) argues that the Celtics should hang on to Bassy and try to get something in a trade, saying "giving up an asset like Telfair for nothing only hurts the Celtics". However, that is not true. If the Celtics would have dropped Telfair before the season that would have allowed Rajon Rondo and his (approx.) 0.161 WP48 more time as his natural 1 spot. Delonte West could have split the rest of the time with Rondo, and the Celtics would have been a lot better this year. The Celts should drop Telfair like he's hot, because you know Doc Rivers wouldn't be able to resist playing him, and I hear the Celtics plan to try to be a good basketball team next year.

Adam Morrison - F - Charlotte Bobcats

It's not nice to hate on rookies. I know this, but there's just no getting around it. Morrison played way too many minutes for a guy contributing such a large amount to the failure of his team. Some of the highlights include his 38% FG shooting, 130 turnovers and three rebounds a game. Not much rebounding for a guy who claims to be 6'8". He managed over the year to get a position-adjusted Win Score of -401!

Replacement: The Bobcats should probably be going with Matt Carroll at SG, Gerald Wallace at SF, and Sean May at PF. Each of those players managed to be above average at their position and should be on the floor much more than Morrison.

Jason Collins - C - New Jersey Nets

I have a soft spot in my heart for the baby-faced Collins, having dealt with years of his brother somehow making a place on Jerry Sloan's roster. But how the Nets even made the playoffs with Collins playing the way he has this year is a testament to how good Jason Kidd and yes, even Vince Carter have been this year. Collins shot 36%, a shocking number when you consider that most of his shots should be taken close to the rim. And how a supposed seven-footer can only average 4 rebounds in 23 minutes a game is beyond comprehension. Add to that a Shaqian 46% on free throws and a paltry .5 blocks per game and you've got a PAWS/min of -0.137 and a player only a brother could love.

Replacement: Looks like the only viable chance for a replacement would just be to send out Josh Boone and see what happens. The Nets' big men have all been less than stellar, but Boone managed to play better than average (an estimated .122 WP48), and deserves a chance to try to perform that well in extended minutes.

Antoine Walker - F - Miami Heat

You wonder why the Miami Heat aren't nearly as good this year as last? It's not all just injuries. Let's compare Walker shooting drop from last year to this one.

FG% 3P% FT%
05-06 .435 .358 .628
06-07 .397 .275 .438

So why is he playing half of every game? It's not for his shooting, and heaven knows it's not for his defense or 4 rebounds per game. If someone can figure this out, please let me know. A PAWS/min of -0.122 isn't helping his case either.

Replacement: I guess part of the reason may be that Udonis Haslem is a bit undersized for PF. But they've got to put him out there at PF and let Dorell Wright, Jason Kapono and James Posey fight for the SF minutes.

And The Winner Is---

Jason Collins, congratulations!

I couldn't bear to give it to Morrison, being just a rookie. I'm sure he reads this blog, and I don't want to crush the spirits of such a young man. Telfair played terrible, but didn't have as many minutes as the rest. As for Walker, at least he passes well for a big man. I just couldn't find anything justifying the time Collins spent on the court. Poor shooting, poor rebounding, a ton of fouls. I think New Jersey would have a lot better chance in this Toronto series if they would let loose with Josh Boone. Well, maybe next year.

So what do you think? Did I make the right choice? Any names I missed (By the way, the requirements to be in this category were 1500 minutes played. I'll be doing Worst Supporting Player later on.)

Friday, April 20, 2007

Here come the playoffs!

The matchups have been set, the dates laid out, and we're finally ready for the first round of the NBA Playoffs. Here's hoping there are a few good series, to keep the first round from feeling like an eternity.

If you want to join in the fantasy game, you'll need to sign up and pick your team before the first game starts on Saturday. At that point I'll be turning off the ability to change your team. To qualify for the "big prize" and the admiration of your fellows, you'll need to have no more than 20 players on your team. Looks like we've got about a dozen teams set up so far, should be a fun time watching the results.

I'm gonna throw some predictions out there just for fun. As with March Madness, I'm terrible at this, but I like to do it anyway.

Western Conference:
Dallas def. Golden State in 6
Phoenix def. LA Lakers in 5
San Antonio def. Denver in 5
Utah def. Houston in 7

Dallas def. Utah in 6
Phoenix def. San Antonio in 7

Phoenix def. Dallas in 6

Eastern Conference:
Detroit def. Orlando in 4
Cleveland def. Washington in 4
Toronto def. New Jersey in 6
Chicago def. Miami in 7 (yeah, that's right)

Chicago def. Detroit in 7
Cleveland def. Toronto in 6

Chicago def. Cleveland in 6

Phoenix def. Chicago in 5

For some reason, I just really like Chicago this year. I know they've been inconsistent, but when they play well, they play really well. So after looking at this, I think we're almost guaranteed a Dallas/Miami final again. Oh well, we'll see.

How about you? What team do you have good feelings about for no rational reason? What teams do you see in the Finals? Enjoy the playoffs.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Good news, everyone!

I'm pleased to announce that I've received a sizable donation from a user who wishes to remain anonymous. This donation is large enough that I will be able to purchase a domain name and move the site over to its own hosting. It will pay for a few months of service as well. I'm extremely grateful and excited for this development.

I'll be using the next few months to revamp the site and move it over to the new hosting. While the location of the stats site will change, this blog won't, so be sure to check back here for updates on new features and to know when the site gets moved.

I'll probably also send out an email to those that sign up for the fantasy game just to let you know when we have completely moved over to the new site. Don't worry, I promise you won't be getting a lot of spam from me. I'll only use your email addresses to send you site updates 2-3 times a year.

As for the fantasy game, we've got almost a dozen entries so far, I think it will be really interesting to watch the scores as the playoffs progress. So if you haven't signed up yet, please do so. I had someone ask about a possible prize, and I can't really offer anything this year except for maybe a shout-out and a link to the site of your choice (within reason, of course). And of course you'll have the praise and respect of your peers, a prize that is beyond any mere dollar amount.

Anyway, thanks again to the Wages of Wins Blog for advertising this little game, and I hope you all enjoy it. Please continue to send ideas and features you'd like to see in the future. I have a list of all the requests, and will be spending the off-season working on them. Enjoy the playoffs!

Monday, April 9, 2007

A Brewer and a Fisher

OK, some fantasy game news, plus a rant that you can feel free to skip. As far as the fantasy game, you should now be able to sign up, login, and choose your team. Let me know if you come up against any bugs, anything confusing, etc. I haven't set the limits yet, but here are my general thoughts:

1. Each person chooses 20 players
2. Points are gained through all rounds of the playoffs, based on Win Score
3. Total points gained are simply the total Win Score for each player added together

So you would have to look at which players are going to go far in the playoffs, which will get a lot of time, which will play best. I think the first few players are no-brainers, but after that it could get interesting based on which team you think will go far.

Anyway, please leave comments on how things are working. It's still very rough, but the playoffs start in about week, so I wanted to get it out there.

Note: the following rant was written yesterday, before the last Jazz loss. It applies even more with Fisher's latest PAWS/min of -0.267, and Brewer only seeing 5 minutes of action.

I hate to put another Utah post on here, but I just gotta rant. The Jazz and the Houston Rockets are in a race for home court advantage in their first-round playoff series, and the Jazz have just finished up a pathetic performance against Golden State and extended their losing streak to four.

Granted, streaks happen. Good teams lose a few in a row. Bad teams win. No big deal. But it gets more aggravating the closer we come to the playoffs, especially knowing this could cost the team home court against the Rockets. Winning playoff games in Houston? Not a trivial task.

As much as I love Jerry Sloan and the way he coaches, there is one thing he does that drives me insane, and that is how he always gives veteran players the benefit of the doubt over rookies. Sometimes it seems like he doesn't even consider talent level when doing so.

Now, Derek Fisher is a fantastic person. I respect him, I like him, I'm even glad he is on the Jazz, because I think his knowledge and experience has helped Deron Williams advance quicker than he may have otherwise done. But the man is killing the Jazz on the court. Killing them.

He's shooting under 39% on the year, 33% in the past month. He's been playing a lot of shooting guard, and I'd like someone to explain to me why a 32-year old man who is 6'1" is guarding the likes of Kobe Bryant and Michael Redd. Fisher's WP48(approx.) is -0.015. Negative!

This would all make sense if there were no other options. But there is a 22-year old, 6 foot 7 inch option sitting on the bench. Sometimes this option sits on the bench ALL. GAME. LONG. It's Ronnie Brewer. He's shooting 52% on the year, and has an approximate WP48 of .139.

We can go over all the arguments against giving minutes from Fish to Brewer. He's inexperienced. His stats came in garbage minutes. He can't sustain over more playing time. He doesn't know how to defend the superstars. He's just a rookie!

Fine. But we'll never know until he gets more time, right? Hopefully the last two games are signs of the future. Brewer played 18 and 33 minutes, garnering PAWS/min of .282 and .138. Unfortunately, those were negated by Fisher's 31 and 29 minutes with PAWS/min of -.113 and -.215, and the Jazz lost both games.

If I were in charge here (and luckily I'm not) the main lineup would be Williams, Brewer, Kirilenko(or Millsap when Andrei is injured), Boozer and Okur. Fisher would only get in the game for the 10-12 minutes Deron Williams is resting. Then the Jazz could maximize his leadership and teamwork skills while minimizing his effect on the court.

Monday, April 2, 2007

An Alliterative Take on Position Adjustment

Well, it's back to the grind this week, and though I've mainly been working on the fantasy game (to try to get it out well before the playoffs begin), I've also added a small tweak to the player listings. In trying to accurately decide what position a particular player plays, I've taken some information from 82games.com. On that site, they show each player's position percentage played. For example, through the year, Tracy McGrady has played 38% of the Rockets' available minutes at shooting guard, and 25% of the available minutes at small forward. The page also shows McGrady using "0%" of the available minutes at power forward.

To calculate a particular player's position adjustment, I first add a tweak factor of 0.5% to each number. I have found that this does a very good job of reaching 100% for each position on the team. This leaves McGrady's percentages at 38.5% SG, 25.5% SF and 0.5% PF. I extrapolate those numbers to 100%, so for McGrady it would be 59.7% SG, 39.5% SF and .8% PF. Then I take the position adjustments found by regression in The Wages of Wins and calculate a position adjustment. (Scroll down to "Calculating PAWS").

Tracy McGrady
SG 59.7% .128 .076416
SF 39.5% .152 .06004
PF 0.8% .215 .00172

McGrady's new position adjustment is .138, which I think accurately reflects that he plays both shooting guard and small forward, but plays more minutes at shooting guard.

I have shared these thoughts with David Berri, and he seems to be receptive into this way of getting a player's position adjustment. The key is making sure that this automated method gives results that are close enough to the manual method of allocating out a team's minutes by hand. If any of you notice any results that seem strange to you, please leave a comment on this posting, and I'll take a look at them. It's possible that my scripts have missed a player here or there, or that the results are off. But hopefully this will be a good step to making this site closer to representing the Wins Produced formula accurately, so I can positively portray a particular player's position played plus produce a perfecter portrayal of a player's per-game production. Perhaps.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

I'm jealous of myself.....

Well, I'm heading on vacation starting tomorrow and won't be back until Tuesday, so we'll see how well my automated updates work this weekend. My guess is not well, since they are depending on an outside free service. We shall see how it goes. As for me, I'll be in the Bahamas for a few days, so the jealousy can begin now. This isn't a usual thing for me, in fact I haven't been outside of Utah in 5 years except for a trip to Vegas, which is only 6 hours away. So I'm not gonna feel bad about it, I'm just going to enjoy it. If, by chance, the updates don't work right and there are missing stats, please be patient and I'll try to get to it some time on Tuesday.

Couple more things...now might be a good time to mention my idea for a Fantasy Win Score game. My first thought was to let people create a team by picking 15-20 players. The winner would be the one who's team amassed the highest total win score throughout the playoffs. So you'd have to choose between good performers for average teams and average performers for good teams, you'd have to try to figure out which players will play consistently well in the playoffs, and which players will get sufficient minutes to rack up Win Score. Anyway, any thoughts on this idea would be greatly appreciated. If you have ideas of how to set it up better, let me know. Try to keep it simple however, the playoffs are only a few weeks away.

Also, David Berri and I are trying to work together to get a better way of deciding what position a player is. I know a few of you have noticed the disparities between the WP48 on my site and the one calculated by Mr. Berri and company. One of the issues is that I am using the shortcut calculation from Win Score and not adding in any team adjustment. This should have very little effect on the final number, the bigger issue is that we have been calculating the position adjustment differently. Hopefully we can come upon a good solution and you should see the WP48 numbers here coming closer and closer to the official numbers from the Wages of Wins team.

Again, thanks for all the support. Have a good weekend....I know I will.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Some new ways to look at the data....

Well, I didn't have as much free time as I'd hoped, but there are a couple new ways to look at the Win Score data this morning. They're just not as polished as I was hoping.
First, you can look at every day of the season and see the games played on that particular day, then drill down to see the list of players in that game. This feature is accessible from the front page, or you can click below:

Win Score Stats by Day

The second thing is just a huge list of every game by every player (over 20,000 individual games so far). This is a good way to find the best and worst individual games in any category. This link is available on the front page as well, or here is the link:

Win Score stats for every game, every player

I also was playing with new ways to look at the position adjustment. Over at 82games.com, the player pages give a percentage of time each position is played, so I tried using that to calculate position adjustments, hoping to see if it approximates any better. I've used the new position adjustments on the Miami Heat, so you can take a look and see if you think it works better or not.

Also, by request I've put a donation link. This is through PayPal and the link is only on the front page. You'll see a small graphic that says "Donate" on the right of the page. Thanks again to those who have already helped out by making a purchase at Amazon or clicking on a Google Ad.

I will try to keep rolling out new features as time permits, so keep checking back, I'll think you'll like the things I've got planned for the future.

P.S. Don't know if anyone noticed, but my bracket sucks. Again. I mean, Davidson? What was I thinking?

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Win Score Discussion and Commenting

I've been watching the comments closely the last couple days, and wanted to thank those who submitted new ideas and polite comments, both positive and negative.

There's nothing wrong with debate, I encourage those who are interested in basketball to debate. You are welcome to use this forum, or the Wins of Wages blog. But what I don't want to see is any personal attacks on here. We don't need anyone calling other people "hacks" and other such nonsense.

My favorite comment from the previous post came from "Anonymous" (of course) and said this:

"the point is now people can evaluate the predictive power of "pseudo"-wins produced. So even you, anonymous hater, can examine how well win-score does over the course of a season and determine whether it's something you're willing to embrace or not."

The point is exactly that. Now you've got the data available to you. And I'll be building more options into the site and more ways for you to access the information that you can use to form your own opinion. I'm not affiliated with David Berri or his colleagues in any way. I just read the book and enjoyed it enough to use some of my personal time to work on this project.

Now you can choose to use your personal time to formulate an opinion on this. And if you have something polite and intelligent to say, please share it here. If you prefer petty bickering, there are other places on the internet that thrive on that sort of thing.

Thanks again to all those who are showing interest and contributing by clicking Google ads or purchasing Amazon products. If the average for the last few days keeps up, I may have revenue enough to switch the site over in a few months. Have a great day and enjoy the NCAA tournament everyone. In case anyone is interested, here is my bracket:

Sweet Sixteen: North Carolina over Marquette, Texas over Arkansas, Vanderbilt over Oral Roberts, Georgetown over Boston College, Ohio State over BYU, Tennessee over Albany, Texas A&M over Louisville, Nevada over Memphis, Florida over Arizona, Davidson over Butler, Notre Dame over Oregon, UNLV over Wisconsin, Kansas over Villanova, Virginia Tech over Southern Illinois, VCU over Pittsburgh and UCLA over Gonzaga.

Final Four: Georgetown over Texas, Texas A&M over Ohio State, Florida over Notre Dame, Kansas over UCLA.

Texas A&M takes the Big Dance 69-66 over Kansas in an exact repeat of their regular season game.

I never do well in these brackets, I always pick too many upsets and ride the wrong horses into the championship game. We'll see how it goes. Good luck to all of you.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Finally, something to play with!

I've got a beta version of the stats ready to go (as in so beta, that it's alpha). So those of you interested, go take a look.

However, PLEASE read the rest of this post before you click on over to it.

Couple of important things to know before you go crazy.

1) Like I said, this is not finished by any means. I've gotten the basic functionality there, and I would like to hear from you ideas on what to add to this. The only thing I've really thought about alot but haven't implemented yet is a way to look at the schedule of games and then a page for each individual game, with the two teams and the players involved. Past that, I'm wide open to hear what you guys want to see. Also, if you notice any bugs, things that don't work right, missing players, etc, please let me know.

2) Right now this is just on my own personal site. Shared hosting, shared database, the works. I'd like to move it off of this. Preferably soon. However, to keep the wife happy it has to pay for itself. So you'll notice a few ads. I've tried to keep them out of the way so as to not interfere with usability, and hopefully they won't be too bothersome. If you appreciate the work being done, that's one way to show it. And as soon as the page produces enough to purchase a domain name and a few months of hosting, I'll move it on over.

3) Not that I'm too worried about it, but lets not publish this too widely just yet. Tell a few friends or whatever, but don't post us on Digg just yet.

4) All comments can come back here to the blog. That way I can keep it all organized 'n' such.

5) Oh yeah, you'll notice that some of the numbers are a little bit weird. Mainly that the WP48's don't match the studies done over at the Wages of Wins blog. I've used the math from this post to estimate WP48. The issue is with the assigning of positions. When DBerri and company calculate Wins Produced, they manually go over a team and assign minutes based on who is playing what position. This is a somewhat complicated process, but it ends up with a good approximation of what position each individual player plays. Since I don't have a good automated imitation of this process, I've just pulled the players' positions from the ESPN.com site and used that. This affects PAWS, PAWS/min and WP48. You'll notice large changes in some players, especially those listed as "forwards" (PF/SF) and "guard forwards" (SF/SG), since those respective positions have greatly different position adjustments. I'm not sure how to get around this issue. If any of you have any ideas of a way to automatically calculate this, it would be appreciated.

Thanks for all the supportive comments thus far. Hopefully this will turn into a useful tool for everyone.

Here is the link. Enjoy.

Monday, March 5, 2007

Long time, no post

I've learned that if I try to concentrate on two things at once, they both end up not getting done. So I've been only concentrating on getting the win score stats up and online. For those of you who are interested, that's why this blog hasn't seen a new post for a week and a half. We've seen what happens when I create a post without doing the proper research, so I won't subject you to that again.

I've got the database set up and got my daily stat pages created, so I just have to organize this into a nice user interface and we'll be ready for public consumption. Please be patient, and I think you'll enjoy what I'm preparing. Thanks to any of you who are still checking into my progress. I should have something up and ready for you to play with by the end of the week. Keep your fingers crossed.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Why Ben Wallace was Worth Every Penny

When Chicago signed Ben Wallace to a four-year, $60-million contract, quite a few people were skeptical. When Wallace had a rift with head coach Scott Skiles over a headband, people became more and more worried. When Wallace was producing below his average of the year before, people starting screaming about what a mistake the Bulls had made in signing him.

Slowly and quietly, those screams have died down to whispers. Soon they will be gone, because the Bulls are at least going to make it to the Eastern Conference Finals, and probably will go to the NBA Finals. And the reason for that is Ben Wallace. OK, one of the reasons for that is Ben Wallace. The young players on the Bulls (discounting the rookies) are generally playing well: Hinrich, Duhon, Nocioni, and especially Luol Deng.

As much as I believe in statistics, however, I still believe veteran experience counts for something we can't quite quantify. For instance, I believe Derek Fisher is helping the Jazz be a better team this year. That belief is not supported by his stats, but I believe his presence is helping Deron Williams progress faster than he would have otherwise, and we can see this impact in DWill's performance. As for Ben Wallace, he is having a large effect on the Bulls in both stats and experience, and I think both of these will help the Bulls in their playoff run.

The reason I bring this up is because of the Cavaliers - Bulls game last night. The Bulls won the game, helped immensely by a tremendous performance from Wallace. His line:

44 min, 6-8 FG, 2-2 FT, 19 reb, 5 ast, 2 stl, 7 blk, 1 turnover, 1 foul, 14 points

All in all he had a win score of 30.5, which would put this game in 4th place this year on raw win score. A fantastic game, one of the best of the year. And what is ESPN.com's headline? "LeBron's 29 not enough". They must have some kind of contract provision where they must mention LeBron James for every game he plays. That's the only explanation.

However, the lead does explain why the Bulls will go far into the playoffs, and the Cavaliers will not. Once again this year, LeBron is carrying this team. And you can't pull a team all the way to the Finals by yourself. James' "help" in this game consisted of Larry Hughes putting up a 9 for 26 shooting night (Win Score: 1.5) and a supporting cast in which no other player took more than 8 shots. That's not gonna win you a lot of games.

Now, Ben Wallace is obviously not going to perform this way every game. And LeBron's supporting cast will step up now and again. But I have a feeling in April and May we'll be seeing more games looking like this one than not. Wallace's playoff experience, along with his top-notch play, will push the Bulls to great things. Maybe the Cavaliers should have found a way to sign Wallace last summer. Things would have looked very different in the East.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

This post has nothing to do with Win Score

I've got something I just need to talk about. I'm getting really tired of hearing people complain about the All-Star Game. You'd think our very existence was at risk, with the way they talk about it. Get a load of these comments:

Pat Forde (ESPN.com) - "College basketball does not trivialize its product with lounge acts or no-try, in-season All-Star games."

Jack McCallum (SI.com) - (Comparing the Vegas All-Star game to one played in Hell) "All in all, then, I give a slight advantage to HELL."

Henry Abbott (truehoop.com) - "This was a creampuff -- 99 percent air."

Jason Whitlock (aol.com) - "The game is a sloppy, boring, half-hearted mess."

Chris Sheridan (ESPN.com) - "It's just too bad that the Sin City setting didn't produce a game that was special."

Before I go on, let me point out that these are writers who I respect and read often, and I generally enjoy their thoughts and opinions. Also I must say that the Jason Whitlock article is powerful, and he has some good points about the dangerous road the NBA is heading down concerning the thug image.

I read all this, and kept my mouth shut, but couldn't do it anymore after listening to the local sports radio talking heads go on and on about the All-Star. Obviously I don't have their direct quotes.....has someone invented a TIVO for the radio?.....but the gist of it was in the vein of "When I was growing up, we watched basketball for the competition." and "I can't enjoy a game with no defense."

This went on for a full half-hour. And there are two words for this. Sports Snobbery. I can't stand to listen to another Sports Snob discuss how they can't enjoy a game without fierce competition. It's All-Star weekend, for the sake of St. Peter. The preliminary events included a race between a fat guy and an old guy, and Carrot Top driving the lane against Bow Wow.

These All-Stars are supposed to focus, run hard, and play good defense for 82 games a year, plus the playoffs. They are put on the all-star team as a reward for playing well. And yet we somehow believe they must play lock-down defense in the All-Star game?

Sports Snobs, climb down off of your pedestal and just enjoy All-Star weekend for what it is: a huge party. And enjoy watching the best players in the world have fun. Shaq's fancy dribbling? T-Mac telling Mehmet Okur to miss a free throw so he could put back a dunk? Good stuff. Enjoy it. And save your complaining for the playoffs.

Monday, February 19, 2007

A question...

I received a comment from a user that was interested in seeing a searchable, sortable database based on Win Score or (probably better) Wins Produced. Something that would be updated daily and allow users to see team and individual stats, sort players by position, total Wins Produced, WP48, etc. It would take some time to get ready, but I'd be happy to do it. I'd like to know if there is more interest out there and I'd like to hear any further ideas you have about this. Please leave comments on what sort of things you'd like to see.

For my next post I'm planning on returning to the top ten list and do some adjustments based on positions and per-minute averages.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Rookies vs. Sophomores Challenge

I always get geeked up for All-Star weekend. There's something about the atmosphere that encourages fun, excitement, and best of all - no defense.

Look, defense is great for winning basketball games, and no one appreciates a well-timed AK-47 block like myself, but in general I'd much rather watch offense. Give me a 127-124 game over 78-69 any day. And that's why I love the All-Star game and especially the Rookies vs. Sophomores Challenge.

We already got a prediction from our friends over at the Wages of Wins, and it looks like they were right on. The closest the game ever got was 0-0, and the rookies mostly looked lost and outmatched. I mean, Chris Paul had 9 steals. Nueve! Yikes.

Just for fun I calculated out the Win Scores for each player in this game. Mostly I was looking for a chance to pimp Deron Williams and Paul Millsap. Both of these players are big reasons why the Jazz are playing so well this year, and I'm glad they got a chance to show off in this game.

Millsap was definitely the best rookie in the game, scoring 22 and pulling down 8 rebounds, while compiling a Win Score per minute of 0.52. Has the rest of the league finally figured out what a player this guy is? Surprisingly, the next two highest Win Scores belonged to Rudy Gay and Adam Morrison. Maybe they could be more productive for their respective teams if the opponents would stop with the pesky defense! Unlucky Jordan Farmar rooted the rookies with his four turnovers and managed the only negative win score in the game.

Now for our victorious sophomores. David Lee had as close as you can get to a perfect game in basketball. Fourteen of fourteen shots, 11 rebounds and two blocked shots. His win score of 28 would have placed him on our top ten list for the year, if this were actually a real game.

As mentioned before, Chris Paul almost grabbed a triple double with points, assists and steals. And DWill had the third-highest Win Score per minute on the team, although he curiously only played 15 minutes. All in all, a tremendous game for the sophomores. When Monta Ellis shoots 13-16, you've done something right.

Here's hoping that the real All-Star game provides as much excitement and fun as this game did. And here's hoping for a few "Money" shots from Mehmet Okur (and we won't discuss whether the numbers agree that he should be in the game).

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Big Scorers....are they really that great?

I got thinking today about scorers, and why they are such a commodity in today's NBA. Obviously a prolific scorer is fun to watch, and the NBA is an entertainment business after all. But high scorers seem to get all the attention. And especially when a player goes off for 40 or 50 points, there is a lot of media attention paid to that fact. I decided to look at the highest-scoring individual games of the year so far to see if the players deserved all the attention they were receiving.

The list I came up with can be seen here. I limited the games to those where one player scored 45 points or more, and got a result of 16 games. Interestingly, the list contains almost exclusively guards. In fact, there is not a single player on the list who isn't considered at the least a shooting guard/small forward.

This surprised me quite a bit, because it seems like it would be a bit easier for big men to get high point totals, since most of their shots are close to the basket and they tend to have higher FG% than guards. I grew up watching big men like Hakeem Olajuwon, Shaquille O'Neal, David Robinson, Karl Malone, etc. But there really isn't a dominant scoring big man in the NBA today. My best prediction for finding a center or power forward that can score 50 points would probably be Amare Stoudamire.

Anyway, I took these 16 games and sorted them by Win Score per minute. Let me lay out the average Win Score per minute by position, so we have a reference point.

- Point Guard: 0.132
- Shooting Guard: 0.128
- Small Forward: 0.152
- Power Forward: 0.215
- Center: 0.225

In the case of those players that often play at two positions I averaged the two numbers to get a comparison point. So:

- PG/SG: 0.130
- SG/SF: 0.140
- SF/PF: 0.1825
- PF/C: 0.220

I use ESPN.com's fantasy listings to decide which position a player is listed at. So any complaints should be redirected there. Now that we have our reference points, let's look at the list. At the top of the list is a fantastic game by Mr. Hibachi himself, Gilbert Arenas. He managed to score 45 points on only 22 field goal attempts, adding 5 rebounds, 6 assists and 2 steals while only committing 2 fouls and a single turnover. Not a bad night's work. For this game he had a Win Score per minute of 0.641, almost 5 times the average WS/M of a point guard. And the Wizards won the game handily.

The list continues with similar stories. Efficient shooting, additional rebounds or assists, and low turnovers. In the top of the list this usually lead to a victory. The only exceptions to this rule were Tracy McGrady losing to the Dallas Mavericks (probably the best team in the league), Michael Redd losing to the Utah Jazz on a last second missed shot, and a duel between Kobe Bryant and Arenas where they ended up with identical win scores, but Arenas got a little more help from his teammates.

The bottom of the list is where it gets interesting for me. These three games prove that scoring a lot of points doesn't necessarily mean you are helping your team. First is Richard Hamilton, king of the 30-1-1 box score. He contributed 51 points but little else to Detroit's loss at the hands of the New York Knicks. Kobe Bryant scored 58 points, true, but took an astounding 45 shots, committed 4 turnovers and fouled out of the game as the Lakers lost to Charlotte.

And then we have Allen Iverson, who our friends at the Wages of Wins have commented on extensively. In a game against Miami this past November, Iverson managed to score 45 points and somehow post a WS/M worse than the average point guard. Not only did his performance not win the game for his team, but it actually contributed significantly to the loss.

We see that scoring points does not always equal a good performance in the NBA. Now, there are those who might say the lack of quality in Iverson's teammates dictate that he play the way he does. Well, we can save that debate for another post.

Monday, February 12, 2007

John Amaechi - Why Didn't Utah Give Him a Chance?

I'd like to post a few quick thoughts on John Amaechi. This topic hits close to home (literally) because he has made some accusations against the Utah Jazz, which happen to be my hometown team. If you follow this blog at all in the future, you'll probably notice a bit of bias toward the Jazz. I'll try to keep it to a minimum.

Among the many other things Mr. Amaechi has said in the past week, he has had many things to say, both positive and negative, about the Utah Jazz organization. I listened to an interview on the local sports radio station as I drove home from work this evening. He said a lot of interesting things, but the one I'd like to comment on is his position that Jerry Sloan was biased against him because of his sexual orientation.

Mr. Amaechi said that he was not given a fair chance to play in Utah. That he deserved to play more minutes and have a chance to show what he could do. Let's see what the numbers tell us. First let's look at his career numbers up to the point that he was signed by the Utah Jazz. Amaechi played three seasons before going to the Jazz; one for Cleveland and two for Orlando. We'll discount his early days in Cleveland and focus on the two seasons in Orlando: the best two seasons of his career. In those seasons he played 3,394 minutes and posted averages of 9.2 points and 3.3 rebounds a game. Underwhelming stats for a man who stood 6 feet 10 inches tall. Even more underwhelming is his Win Score per minute of .057. The average Win Score per minute of a center is .225, so we can see that Amaechi was already far below average.

For some reason the Jazz decided to sign him. Maybe they thought he had potential to become a better player. Who knows. Let's see how that turned out. In his two years with the Jazz, Amaechi managed to lower his standards, and ended up with a Win Score per minute of .0075. That's two zeros before the seven.

All in all, John Amaechi ended his illustrious career with a Win Score/min of .041. He shot 40% for his career. He averaged only 6.4 rebounds per 40 minutes. He committed almost as many turnovers as assists, blocks and steals combined. Never, in his entire career, did he record one double double.

Now I don't know Jerry Sloan, and he may or may not be biased against homosexuals. But the Jazz had options at center like Greg Ostertag, who wasn't a great player by any measure, but managed to be decent at times. He rated a Win Score/min of .193 in 2002-2003, and was obviously a better choice for minutes than Amaechi.

When it comes down to it, the evidence seems to point to another reason for Amaechi's lack of playing time. He just wasn't a very good NBA player.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Start with an easy one.....then build up.

For my first Win Score post on the stats of this NBA season, I'm going with an easy one. The following is the top 10 games of the years, as measured by Win Score. This is just the simple equation (Points + Rebounds + Steals + ½Assists + ½Blocked Shots – Field Goal Attempts – Turnovers - ½Free Throw Attempts - ½Personal Fouls), with no per minute calculations, no position adjustments, nothing. Pure and unadulterated, the games in which one player contributed the absolute most to his team winning. You might be surprised by a couple of these.

I'll be linking out to these tables, because I can't find a good way to display a table in Blogger. It keeps pushing down the table and leaving a ton of white space above it. So here is the link to this set of data.

A couple of things jump out at me on this. First of all, the list is almost exclusively big men. That is to be expected. Power Forwards and Centers easily average a much higher Win Score than non-post players. Second, although the top of the list is dominated by high-rebound games, the second half isn't. Ron Artest made the top ten with only 8 rebounds. So rebounds are important for a good Win Score, but not required. High-efficiency shooting is.

Lastly, I found it interesting that two of the top four performances came in a losing effort. At some point maybe I'll detail the Win Scores of the rest of the team in those games to see how they wasted such top-notch performances.

Saturday, February 10, 2007


Where the computer nerd crosses with the sports nut, we find stats. I've found myself in a surprising minority among my acquaintances, as those I work with in the IT department have no use for sports, and the neighborhood sports junkies have no use for computers. It's a strange place to be in, as I can't find anyone that wants to talk about these things that bounce around in my head. Therefore, as everyone knows, the best way to clear your mind is to blog it!

I've been reading the tremendous "Wages of Wins" blog a lot lately, and liking it more and more as I read. The book was a great read, especially for someone like myself who almost put it back once they saw it was written by a bunch of economists. Luckily I decided to forge through it, and enjoyed the writing as much as the ideas. A few weeks ago I had an idea to use the equation for "Win Score" (a stat introduced in the book) to look at the best individual and team games in the NBA. I left a few comments and saw that Mr. Berri didn't have the time nor the inclination to do that particular research.

I thought this was a good opportunity to start up a blog on something I have a real passion for, and hopefully something that will be interesting to other people as well. That remains to be seen. The plan is to get a few posts up, and then ask Mr. Berri if he would mind adding a link from his site to mine. Failing that, maybe I'll try to find another way to see if anyone is interested.

I'll try to be responsive if there are any questions or requests. I've got the database filled up with tasty data, and I'm ready to SQL the crap out of it, so feel free to ask about anything related to this year's NBA stats. (Remember this isn't about Wins Produced, that's a much more complicated thing, just Win Score and whatever other general stat question crosses your mind.)

I think I'll start with a post on the best games (decided by Win Score) of the year so far. I usually read ESPN.com, so I'll try to always link results to the corresponding ESPN.com page. Again, thanks for reading. I hope you enjoy what you see here and come back for more.