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.

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## 4 comments:

I like this first bit of analysis. This is the kind of stuff I don't have time to do.

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.Shouldn't this point to an inadequacy with the formula? Obviously a position adjustment is needed. But why should this be needed?

Actually I don't think it implies an inadequacy in the formula. The way basketball is played insures that any proper formula must have a position adjustment. Let's compare with baseball.

We can see that catchers, throughout baseball history, have in general been poorer hitters than outfielders. However, there is no actual reason why this must be. A catcher could be the best hitter in the league. (Look at Joe Mauer)

However, in basketball, because of the tremendous advantage given to tall players, we cannot say the same thing. A point guard cannot be among the league leaders in rebounding (Leaving out a few once-in-a-generation players like Magic and Oscar Robertson). But it is an actual physical limitation. Point guards are generally shorter than other players and play generally farther away from the basket. There is no way a point guard can be expected to get a similar number of rebounds as a center.

That being said, we cannot just discount the importance that a rebound has on helping a team win the game. So we must give a rebound it's proper due, and then use a position adjustment to allow us to compare the relative performance of guards and centers.

No formula can perfectly describe how good a player is. But I think a position adjustment is key to helping us find better ways to calculate the worth of an NBA player.

Hmm, I still am a little hesitant to agree. There isn't a position adjustment for batting average in baseball because every player is doing the same thing-- hitting a baseball safely a certain % of the time. Certain positions tend to be weaker at that statistic, but are better in others (slugging).

In WinScore, however, supposedly every statistic important to winning is included. If that were the case in baseball, all the other intangibles including fielding would be included in a combined formula that weighed the contributions of each separate position and produced one final 'value' measure.

Thus in WinScore, if every necessary statistic is used, why are centers almost twice as valuable as SG's? I have to think the importance of ballhandling, outside shooting, and perimeter defense are being shortchanged.

That being said, I am interested to see your 'position-adjusted' Top 10 list and look forward to hearing your further thoughts on the matter.

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