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

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.


Anonymous said...

good post

Anonymous said...

don't be so quick to apologize. I think LBJ's performance last night makes your post (however inaccurate) seem even more prescient.

JChan said...

That's true. What happened last night was amazing. Unbelievable in the true sense of the word, as in "I seriously can not believe that just happened, even though I watched it with my own eyes."

David Berri said...

Can you post the top performances in the playoffs in terms of PAWS and PAWSmin? I think people would like to see this (and I didn't collect the data).

jeremy said...

Interesting to see this (even the corrected version). I gather this was before the 48 point outburst.

Everyone focuses on scoring, but this is another example of how a guy stepping up his game in less sexy ways (rebounding, more steal, fewer turnovers) can help tip the scales so that an underdog can win a series.

I'll second Dave's request about playoff-wide PAWSmin, especially in terms of the Warriors' performance.

David Berri said...

Take a look at how close LeBron's performance in game 6 was to what he did in game 7 (in terms of Win Score per minute). I just did the numbers in my head, but they look very similar.

David Berri said...

Okay, I meant game 5 in the previous comment.

JChan said...

Yeah, it looks like his game 5 performance got a Win Score of 19, and in game 6 he got 17. Still had a great game.

The main difference was obviously that he got some help. In game 5, only Ilgauskas had a positive PAWSmin, but in game 6, LeBron got help from Gibson, Ilgauskas and Larry Hughes. Gibson played spectacularly, with a PAWSmin of 0.454. I'll try to do that post later, and maybe he'll be on the list of top performances.

I redid LeBron's numbers and (assuming I did it right this time) it looks like he's got an estimated WP48 of 0.290 now in the playoffs. Not sure at what point this gets statistically significant, but I'm impressed.

David Berri said...

I have the same result for LeBron. Interestingly (at least to me) Duncan has an estimated WP48 of 0.331 in the playoffs. And he has a better supporting cast. Obviously the Spurs are a favorite for title number four.