May 30, 2011

Nick Collison and Steve Nash: An Appreciation

Filed under: Uncategorized — wwinston @ 5:36 pm

I’ll be honest, there is no perfect way to rank basketball players. But some methods really give ludicrous results. Based on the current season how would you rank Nick Collison as an NBA player? If you saw the Dallas-OKC series you saw how well Collison defended Dirk and how well OKC played with him in (OKC was +9 points in 135 minutes Nick was in and -29 points in 109 minutes he was out). Yet Nick’s PER rating ranks 268th in the league!.  I just do not think a box score metric can capture the full measure of a player’s ability. Many things (mostly involving defense)  happen on the court that the box score does not track (taking charges, setting screens, denying  Dirk the ball, etc.). The following numbers show how great Collison is.

  Collison Durant Harden Westbrook Perkins Maynor Sefolosha Mohammed Ibaka
Collison and  other in 10.58488 13.16189 10.74301 10.94008 21.39435 8.795835 9.21063 13.85873 10.93732
Collison out and other in dnp 4.199121 0.259533 2.976136 2.581464 -5.45218 2.248966 -3.88659 2.110555
Collison in and other out dnp 5.903702 9.968239 10.19988 9.623786 12.35439 11.02362 9.924921 10.31993
Collison out and other out 1.361913 -16.6958 2.120075 -8.00712 0.937869 2.633226 -0.38008 1.859774 -0.00036

These numbers show how well Thunder played per 48 minutes (adjusted for strength of opponent) in different situations. For example, looking at the Durant column we see with Nick and KD in Thunder played 13 ppg better than average and with Nick out the great KD in OKC was only 4 points better than average . With Collsion and KD out OKC was a horrible 17 ppg worse than average and with Collison in and KD out OKC was +6 ppg.  You can see that putting Nick in invariably made the Thunder better. Overall with Nick in Thunder were +10.6 ppg and with Nick out only +1.4. While Adjusted +/- may be fairly noisy over the course of a season, these numbers show that during his time on the court Nick is an elite player.

 By the way, our Adjusted +/- for Nick Collison this year has him 2 ppg worse than average on offense but 8 ppg better than average on defense, and he ranks 28th in Adjusted +/-

By the way Steve Nash ranked 22nd in PER but if you look at the following data you will see why he ranked #1 in Adjusted +/-. With Nash in Suns were good +7 ppg;  with him out there were horrible -15 ppg. Brooks and Dragic (the backup point guards) are decent players, so do not blame them. Steve Nash is the ultimate example of a player who makes his teammates better.

  Dudley Frye Nash Hill Gortat Warrick Brooks Dragic Childress Richardson Carter
Nash and  other in 7.43 8.27 7.24 7.88 8.56 2.81 54.33 7.61 6.98 8.31 5.45
Nash out and other in -12.13 -16.54 dnp -20.16 -11.25 -14.82 -7.70 -19.60 -15.11 -38.88 -14.83
Nash in and other out 7.11 3.97 dnp 4.50 6.42 8.34 7.00 7.22 7.26 6.85 8.51
Nash out and other out -24.16 -13.92 -15.04 -13.25 -18.16 -15.38 -18.27 -10.31 -14.98 -12.84 -15.10

May 27, 2011

Why the Mavs should be Favored

Filed under: Uncategorized — wwinston @ 9:34 am

I am sure Vegas favors the Heat in the NBA finals, but the Mavs have been the better team in the playoffs. Here is how well the final four teams played during each series.

Team ROUND 1 ROUND 2 Round 3 Average
DAL 12.5 21.4 13.1 15.07
MIA 10.7 10.9 10.4 10.65
OKC 12.4 11.3 7.4 10.48
CHI 6 8.8 7.8 7.35

What does this 15.07 mean?  We looked at the ability of Dallas’ opposing players  to adjust the actual scoring margin. So if Dallas played opponents who average 10 points better than average for a game and won by 5 on road they played at a level of 10+5+3 (for home edge)=18. Thus Dallas played 15.7 points better than average per game during playoffs. The key thing to note is Heat played at almost exactly the same level during each series and the Mavs worst effort was better than the Heat’s best. Running these ratings through a Monte Carlo simulation gives the Mavs a 65% chance to win the series.

Here is the chance of each possible outcome:

Games Mavs Heat
4 0.11 0.03
5 0.24 0.04
6 0.16 0.11
7 0.14 0.17

For example, Mavs have a 14% chance to win in 7 games.

May 26, 2011

Why the Thunder Lost

Filed under: Uncategorized — wwinston @ 12:46 pm

The Thunder should never have gone down in 5 games. Dallas played great but OKC made many blunders. It was clear to everyone that Collison needed to be on court more but Ibaka and Perkins logged more minutes than Collison. With Collison in OKC played 16 points better than average and with Collison out 4 points worse than average. Also with Perk and Ibaka in OKC in 84 minutes played 13 ppg worse than average and was -38 points.  Also OKC closed Game 5 with MAynor and Westbrook on court. All season this has been poor (13 ppg worse than average).

  On the other hand Dallas made great lineup decisions. OKC’s blunders allowed Dallas’ usually poor starting lineup to flourish. Mavs even found a great lineup (Peja, Chandler, Kidd, Terry and Marion, #4 below) to rest Dirk.

Here are some details on the most played lineups for each team in the series. Lineup 1 for example, played 54.62 minutes, played 17.34 ppg better than average and was +13 points.

1  Chandler    Kidd        Marion      Nowitzki    Stevenson     17.34    54.62  OKC  DAL*     11.43    13       13600_DAL_2011
    2  Chandler    Kidd        Marion      Nowitzki    Terry         54.24    32.39  OKC  DAL*     41.48    28       21792_DAL_2011
    3  Barea       Haywood     Nowitzki    Terry       Stojakovic    12.63    23.55  OKC  DAL*     10.19     5       86082_DAL_2011
    4  Chandler    Kidd        Marion      Terry       Stojakovic    55.93    16.53  OKC  DAL*     43.53    15       83232_DAL_2011
    5  Barea       Haywood     Marion      Nowitzki    Terry        -35.16    12.07  OKC  DAL*    -51.70   -13       21570_DAL_2011
    6  Chandler    Kidd        Nowitzki    Stevenson   Terry         19.12    11.90  OKC  DAL*      8.06     2       28960_DAL_2011
    7  Haywood     Kidd        Marion      Terry       Stojakovic    -6.19     9.96  OKC  DAL*    -14.44    -3       83264_DAL_2011
    8  Haywood     Kidd        Marion      Nowitzki    Terry         68.10     7.81  OKC  DAL*     61.53    10    

You can see the 4 lineups the Mavs played the most were very good. Mavs went with Barea too much; he was abused defensively.

Now look at most played OKC lineups. Four of the 5 lineups that played the most were bad!
    1  Durant      Ibaka       Sefolosha   Westbrook   Perkins      -15.89    57.50  DAL  OKC*    -22.54   -27       77896_OKC_2011
    2  Durant      Harden      Ibaka       Westbrook   Perkins       -7.26    25.65  DAL  OKC*    -20.58   -11       73832_OKC_2011
    3  Collison    Durant      Harden      Westbrook   Perkins       34.56    19.73  DAL  OKC*     29.22    12       73770_OKC_2011
    4  Collison    Durant      Harden      Maynor      Westbrook    -14.77    16.12  DAL  OKC*    -29.77   -10        8746_OKC_2011
    5  Collison    Durant      Ibaka       Sefolosha   Westbrook    -14.75    14.97  DAL  OKC*    -28.84    -9

The following lineups were great for Thunder during entire season. Note #3 above was good all year. Why did we not see more of the good lineups below when the other lineups faltered?


OKC      20.85 (   12.71    8.02   -4.69   30.19    1.91    6.32)   84.57 minutes   53 appearances     3 B     14.19       25 $
Collison      Durant        Harden        Westbrook     Perkins       24.41 years      73770_OKC_2011

OKC      18.29 (    5.10   11.72    6.62   23.17    1.03    6.22)   82.31 minutes   82 appearances     5 B     13.41       23 $
Durant        Harden        Ibaka         Sefolosha     Westbrook     22.74 years      12392_OKC_2011

OKC      26.83 (   19.20   11.52   -7.69   56.04    3.21    5.62)   62.46 minutes   59 appearances     6 B     26.13       34 $
Collison      Durant        Harden        Maynor        Mohammed      26.13 years      33322_OKC_2011

OKC      22.36 (    6.78   -0.96   -7.74    6.49    0.79    3.66)   62.34 minutes   42 appearances     7 B     21.56       28 $
Collison      Cook          Harden        Ibaka         Maynor        24.01 years        614_OKC_2011

OKC      35.90 (   13.67    4.01   -9.65   24.04    1.83    6.14)   61.45 minutes   38 appearances     8 B     28.12       36 $
Collison      Durant        Sefolosha     Westbrook     Perkins       25.47 years      77834_OKC_2011

    OKC      30.92 (   16.66   17.09    0.43   32.15    2.34    5.83)   58.68 minutes   44 appearances     1 C     22.09       27 $
Collison      Cook          Durant        Harden        Westbrook

May 23, 2011

Do the Bulls still have a shot?

Filed under: Uncategorized — wwinston @ 7:39 pm

Everybody is writing the Bulls off. Can they come back and give the Heat a battle? It looks like the Bulls are fine when Bogans is off the court and Brewer is in.

  • In 50 minutes with Deng  and Rose(the Bulls two top players in) and Bogans in Bulls are -15 points and play 3 points worse than avg. per game (adjusted for strength of players faced)
  • With Deng and Rose and Brewer in and Bogans out in 32 minutes Bulls are +15 points and have played at +29 level.
  • Overall with Brewer in and Bogans out Bulls are +22 points in 60 minutes and have played at +29 level.

It appears the only shot the Bulls have is more Brewer and less Bogans.

Askik and Brewer in 33 minutes +15 points and +20 rating. Even in the two losses with these two on court Bulls outscored Heat in both losses.

May 16, 2011

How Blazers Celtics and Pacers blew their chances

Filed under: Uncategorized — wwinston @ 8:03 am

Philosopher George Santyana said “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” Some poor playoff lineup decisions made by the Blazers, Celtics, and Pacerssupport the validity of thus aphorism. All numbers below are per 48 minutes and adjusted for strength of opponent’s players on the court.

  • Through the whole season the Blazers were great with Aldridge and Miller and no bigs on the court (15 points per game better than average). With any bigs on the court with Miller and Aldridge Blazers were only +3. Against Mavs Aldridge and Miller with no bigs played at +9 and Aldridge and Miller with Camby played at  +3. Less playing time for Camby might have turned at least one  close loss into a win.
  • The Pacers all season were great (+9) with Dunleavy and Foster on the court. Against Bulls this dynamic duo was +25. Yet the Pacers only put these guys on the court 10 minutes per game. Surely more PT for these guys would have resulted in at least one more win.
  • Like everyone else I thought the Celtics should break things up because they can no longer contend for the title. Looking at some data convinced me I was wrong. The Celtics, despite playing with a crippled Rondo, played 10 points better than average in Heat series.  If they had brought in Arroyo instead of West as the backup point guard they would have played much better. With West in Celtics were down 40 points and with West out Celtics were +18 points and played 20 ppg  better than average. This is consistent with the regular season during which with West on court Celtics played 10 ppg worse than average. During regular season Celtics played at -4 level with Arroyo in, so he might have been a better choice as backup point guard. Also he knew Heat defensive schemes and that might have helped him.

Three other amazing tidbits:

  • The Knicks fell on their face with Anthony and Amare in. They played 2 ppg worse than average. Rest of season Knicks played 1 ppg better than average.
  • Everyone thinks the Wolves had a horrible season. But if you look at minutes when Webster, Hayward, Koufos, Pekovic, Flynn and Darko were all on the bench Wolves were great: 8 ppg better than average (355 minutes).
  • When Nocioni and Turner were both off court 76ers played an amazing 8 ppg better than average in 1800+ minutes. Rest of time 76ers played 4 points worse than average.

May 11, 2011

NBA Playoff Ratings May 10

Filed under: Uncategorized — wwinston @ 7:00 am

Here are updated NBA ratings based on playoff games. For example, Dallas played 12.5 points better than average in Round 1, 21.4 points per game  better than an average NBA team in Round 2 and 16.1 points per game better than average in entire playoffs.

Team ROUND 1 ROUND 2 Total
DAL 12.5 21.4 16.1
MEM 12.8 9.1 11.3
BOS 12 10.1 11.1
MIA 10.7 10.9 10.8
OKC 12.4 8.6 10.7
CHI 6 8.8 7.4
ATL 6.8 5 6.1

May 9, 2011

How the Mavs Shocked the World

Filed under: Uncategorized — wwinston @ 8:35 am

I am sure nobody (including the Mavs) predicted a 4-0 sweep of the Lakers, In retrospect it seems so simple : penetrate and move the ball until the Lakers miss a rotation and hit the open 3. For 3 years nobody could solve the Bynum-Gasol-Odom frontcourt combos. In this series (despite the announcers praising Bynum to the heavens) Bynum’s  defense did the Lakers in. To prove this assertion note that when Dirk and Terry were in for 96 minutes Mavs were +62 points, rest of series Mavs were down 6 points. When Dirk and Terry were in and Bynum was in Mavs were +54 points in 61 minutes and outscored Lakers by 124-82 pace. When Dirk and Terry were in and Bynum was out Mavs were +8 points in 36 minutes and outscored Lakers only at a 99-89 clip,

May 7, 2011

Playoff Heroes May 7

Filed under: Uncategorized — wwinston @ 12:03 pm

Who’s the playoff MVP so far?  Tough to tell. Assuming all other 9 players on court have played at their entire season level we can back out Adjusted +/- point ratings and Impact Ratings (based on how chance of winning game changes when player is in). This is like having a TV on every minute of every game.  Here are results. This data gives us some interesting insights

  • The Bulls need Korver on  the court to win.
  • James Jones is an unsung key to Heat success.
  • The success of the Griz is really a team effort.
  • The Mavs are more than just Dirk: Kidd and Terry have been key.
  • Rose has played amazingly well despite poor shooting and a bad ankle.



Player Points Impact
Rose 10 34
Korver 14 58
Dirk 19 57
JET 11 59
Kidd 10 49
Zebo 10 34
Marc Gasol 7 39
Battier 11 19
Mayo 14 49
Young 9 27
James 15 31
Wade 10 36
James Jones 8 31
KD  13 45
Westbrook 5 31

May 5, 2011

Playoff Ratings thru May 4

Filed under: Uncategorized — wwinston @ 9:09 am

Here are ratings of playoff teams through May 4. If you played against players averaging say 10 points better than average per game and won by 4 points per game, your rating  (ignoring home court, which we do include) would be +14. Playing at a +15 usually results in a title.

·         Dallas 14.1

·         Mem 13.1

·         Mia 11.7

·         OKC 9.9

·         Bos 9.4

·         LAL 7.6

·         Atl 7.4

  • Chi 5.9

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