Nothin' But NETS

Men Lie, Women Lie, Numbers Don't

Basketball By The Numbers: 101

Leave a comment

Basketball is a game of numbers. Modern basketball statistics allows everyone from fans to enthusiasts adequately explain what happens on the court. Statisticians have figured out the factors that lead a team to victory. The most important statistics is the possession. A possession in basketball is considered as ending with a made shot, a defensive rebound or a turnover. With only a limited number of possessions a team must efficiently use their possessions, scoring the most points possible also known as offensive efficiency. Similarly, we can rate a defense by calculating how many points a team allows per possession which is called defensive efficiency.

We can even further break down offensive/defensive efficiency with 4 key factors: shooting, turnovers, rebounding and free throws. These factors are the foundation of Wins Produced (WP), a metric developed by David Berri, Martin Schmidt, and Stacey Brook to measure how any given player’s individual contributions relate to winning basketball games.  With this metric we can account for the amount of wins a player produces for that game (per minute production), for the season and throughout their career.

We can accurately categorize players based on their production or WP (thanks to The NBA Geek [TNG]):

    • < 0.0 WP48 A player who actually costs his teams wins (i.e. this player is actually worse than a player who contributes nothing)
    • < 0.100 WP48 A below-average player
    • > 0.100 WP48 An above-average player
    • 0.175+ WP48 A “star” player. If WP48 were the metric used for choosing all-stars, most players with 0.175+ would make the cut (i.e. these players produce twice as many wins per minute as an average player)
    • 0.225+ WP48 A “superstar” player. These would be All-NBA 1st-team and MVP candidate

With that in mind, lets take a look at the best and the worst the NBA has to offer as of 1/2/12, based off of WP, courtesy of TNG:

Paul, Chris LAC PG 32 1055 0.351 7.7 7.8 23.4 5 13.6
Durant, Kevin OKC SF 30 1190 0.306 7.6 6.4 34.4 9.6 4.9
Chandler, Tyson NYK C 31 1006 0.326 6.8 7.1 18.9 15 1.1
James, LeBron MIA PF 29 1109 0.286 6.6 5.8 33 10.6 8.8
Varejao, Anderson CLE FC 25 901 0.328 6.2 7.1 18.8 19.2 4.5
Harden, James HOU SG 30 1144 0.215 5.1 3.6 32.9 5.5 6.6
Duncan, Tim SAS PF 32 965 0.251 5 4.7 28.2 15.4 4
Kidd, Jason NYK PG 27 806 0.294 4.9 6 13.9 7 6.6
Randolph, Zach MEM PF 28 993 0.236 4.9 4.3 23.1 16.9 1.8
Noah, Joakim CHI C 29 1137 0.205 4.9 3.3 15.6 12.7 5.4
Faried, Kenneth DEN PF 33 970 0.239 4.8 4.4 19.9 16.6 1.2
Kirilenko, Andrei MIN SF 23 807 0.284 4.8 5.8 18.2 9.4 4.3
Drummond, Andre DET C 34 664 0.341 4.7 7.5 17.2 17.7 1
Rondo, Rajon BOS PG 26 980 0.231 4.7 4.1 16.7 6.5 14.8
Lee, David GSW PF 31 1166 0.19 4.6 2.8 25.6 14 4.6
Hickson, J.J. POR C 29 834 0.263 4.6 5.1 21.2 18.3 1.6
Batum, Nicolas POR SF 29 1110 0.196 4.5 3 20.5 7.1 5.5
Bryant, Kobe LAL SG 31 1202 0.179 4.5 2.5 37.5 6.6 5.9
Ibaka, Serge OKC PF 30 964 0.212 4.3 3.5 21.3 12.6 0.5
Griffin, Blake LAC PF 32 1023 0.196 4.2 3 26.5 13.2 4.6

And here are the worst of the worst in the NBA; these players actually cost their teams victories:

Bargnani, Andrea TOR FC 21 688 -0.164 -2.3 -8.2 23.5 6.3 2
Beasley, Michael PHO F 30 710 -0.155 -2.3 -7.9 20.6 7.2 4.5
Seraphin, Kevin WAS PF 28 691 -0.11 -1.6 -6.5 20.9 10.3 1.8
Cole, Norris MIA PG 27 519 -0.115 -1.2 -6.7 11.3 3.6 5.2
Rivers, Austin NOR SG 30 831 -0.068 -1.2 -5.2 12.8 4.1 4.6
Mullens, Byron CHA FC 27 838 -0.067 -1.2 -5.2 18 12.1 2.3
Wayns, Maalik PHI G 18 144 -0.366 -1.1 -14.5 14.3 1.3 6.7
Lamb, Doron MIL SG 21 276 -0.182 -1 -8.7 13.2 3 3.3
Jeffries, Jared POR FC 22 198 -0.215 -0.9 -9.8 6.5 6.8 2.4
Smith, Nolan POR PG 17 142 -0.299 -0.9 -12.4 14.5 2.4 6.8
Davis, Glen ORL FC 25 824 -0.048 -0.8 -4.6 23.3 11.5 2.7
Waiters, Dion CLE SG 24 761 -0.05 -0.8 -4.6 21.4 3.7 5.2
Kleiza, Linas TOR SF 20 376 -0.096 -0.8 -6.1 18.9 6.6 2
Smith, Jason NOR C 24 401 -0.09 -0.8 -5.9 21.2 9.8 1.8
Samuels, Samardo CLE PF 18 196 -0.147 -0.6 -7.7 14.2 6.9 2
Zeller, Tyler CLE C 28 693 -0.041 -0.6 -4.4 15.5 10.4 1.7
Pargo, Jeremy CLE PG 21 422 -0.067 -0.6 -5.2 20.8 3.6 6.7
Maynor, Eric OKC PG 27 337 -0.081 -0.6 -5.6 12.8 2.4 8.8
Pargo, Jannero WAS PG 7 102 -0.255 -0.5 -11 9.9 2.8 6.6
Stiemsma, Greg MIN C 24 260 -0.096 -0.5 -6.1 11.3 8.5 1.1

The most interesting aspect of this chart is the fact that the NYK have 2 players, not named Carmelo Anthony, as a top ten player! Why isnt Melo a top 10 player yet still considered by many as a MVP candidate? Why do we constantly label certain players as MVP candidates when they’re not? Is there a preference amongst playing styles within the NBA? Well we’ll have to save that for another post but for now lets enjoy some holiday singing.

This gallery contains 1 photo.