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

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).


Anonymous said...

Hey, OT but I was checking out your winscore website and checking out my Blazers, and couldn't help but notice that the stats you have listed for LaMarcus Aldridge is very off. You seem to be missing around 15 games, and most of them were his better games towards the end of the season when he finally started getting a lot of burn, so the overall winscore is also very off.

JChan said...

Hey, thanks for spotting that and pointing it out. The missing games don't seem to follow any pattern, so now I'm getting nervous that I may be missing more information. I'm going to wait until the season is over and then go through and re-import all the data, double checking it to make sure I get everything. Thanks again.

Anonymous said...

It's interesting that there is only one wing player on this list, everyone is a PG or a 4/5. And half the list has been the subject of a trade rumor since the season ended.