January 20, 2010

Can the Rockets Make the Playoffs?

Filed under: Uncategorized — wwinston @ 9:43 am

The Rockets have done surprisingly well without all star Yao Ming. Their problem is teams like Memphis and the Thunder have greatly improved, and this greatly reduces the chance that the Rockets can make the playoffs.

     The Rockets top 9 players are (by Adjusted +/- ratings) very close in ability.   In limited time we have Andersen (+5 rating) as their best player (on a per minute basis) and the disapointing Ariza (-3 rating) as the worst of their rotation players.

      We have another measure of player ability called Impact Rating. Impact rating works like Adjusted +/- except we look at how a team’s chance of winning the game changes when a pkayer is in and out of the game. To see the difference between a rating based on points and a rating based on chance of winning a game, suppose the Rockets are dowm by 20 points with 3 minutes to go and cut the lead to 5 points. This comeback would really help the Adjusted +/- of the players on the court for the Rockets, but would have little influence on their Impact rating. This is because the chance of the Rockets winning the game changed from say 2% to 0% in this 3 minutes spurt.

    When we look at the Impact Ratings for the Rockets it becomes clear who drives the Rockets success and failure on the court.

  • Scola 34% Impact,  Landry +19%, and Andersen +27% drive the Rockets success.
  • Ariza -18% and Hayes -18% drive their lack of success.

          We can also look at the Rockets key Impact players during the last 7 games:

  • Scola, Landry and Andersen’s Impact ratings are virtually the same as their full season ratings.
  • Hayes -45% has had much worse Impact while Lowry has had a -35% Impact. Ariza has a -25% Impact.

Our metric indicates  Lowry, Hayes and Ariza have recently been the primary culprits costing the Rockets games .

Here are some more comments on the Rockets:

  • With Lowry and Brooks as the backcourt the Rockets play 5 points per game better than an average NBA team. The rest of the time the Rockets play like an average NBA team,
  • In 29 minutes the trio of Hayes Lowry and Budinger filled out with a choice from Landry Scola, Battier and Ariza has played an amazing: 57 points better than average per 48 minutes (in 29 minutes.) These combos certainly deserve more time.
  • Andersen has been great in his limited minutes. The Rockets should experiment to see if he can maintain his effectiveness over a few more minutes.
  • Andersen +14 Adjusted +/- Rating in 4th quarter has been great in 4th quarter while Hayes (-13 Adjusted 4th Quarter +/-) has played poorly. To the Rockets credit Andersen plays more in 4th quarter than any other quarter and Hayes plays less in 4th quarter than any other quarter.
  • Interestingly, Budinger is great in the 1st and 3rd quarters but mediocre in the 2nd and 4th quarters.
  • Landry, on the other hand plays his best in 1st and 4th quarters , but poorly in the 2nd and 3rd quarters.

Here is a look at the effectiveness of the Rocket’s primary lineups.

For example, lineup 1A in 631 minutes plays only 1 point better than average.  Lineup 1A has lost by 33 points but is above average because this lineup faces tough opponents. Lineup 2A with Landry for Hayes is much better than 1A but plays less. 3A, 11A and 12A are great (all have Brooks, Lowry and Landry) and definitely deserve more PT. As a matter of fact the trio of Brooks, Landry and Lowry filled out with players excluding Hayes and Scola has played 14 points better than average in 255 minutes. This is the Rockets at their best.

       ACTUAL    THEORY     OFF     DEF  IMPACT  ZSCORE   SIGMA     PLAYING TIME                             SIMPLE       �
HOU       1.10 (    1.27   -0.76   -2.04   -1.57   -0.07    2.37)  631.53 minutes  181 appearances     1 A     -2.51      -33 $
Ariza         Battier       Brooks        Hayes         Scola         27.40 years       4238_HOU_2010

HOU       9.18 (    2.45    3.72    1.27   35.00    0.76    2.25)  132.40 minutes   89 appearances     2 A      4.35       12 $
Ariza         Battier       Brooks        Landry        Scola         27.35 years       4366_HOU_2010

HOU      19.96 (    9.96   10.78    0.82   32.54    1.34    2.11)   98.63 minutes   59 appearances     3 A     20.93       43 $
Andersen      Brooks        Budinger      Landry        Lowry         25.23 years        793_HOU_2010

HOU      -3.17 (    8.29    6.91   -1.37   22.92    1.02    2.04)   96.63 minutes   53 appearances     4 A     -2.48       -5 $
Andersen      Battier       Budinger      Landry        Lowry         26.50 years        789_HOU_2010

HOU      10.65 (    3.88    3.10   -0.78    9.50    0.44    2.95)   95.45 minutes   56 appearances     5 A     13.08       26 $
Andersen      Ariza         Budinger      Landry        Lowry         25.14 years        787_HOU_2010

HOU     -19.28 (   -0.20    2.45    2.65   15.64    0.19    1.75)   65.26 minutes   53 appearances     6 A    -19.12      -26 $
Ariza         Budinger      Landry        Lowry         Scola         25.17 years       4882_HOU_2010

HOU       1.60 (    2.40    2.68    0.28   20.02    0.46    2.25)   57.07 minutes   39 appearances     7 A     -1.68       -2 $
Ariza         Brooks        Landry        Lowry         Scola         25.84 years       4874_HOU_2010

HOU      -3.12 (    0.23    0.91    0.68  -16.15   -0.36    2.32)   51.78 minutes   29 appearances     8 A     -3.71       -4 $
Ariza         Battier       Brooks        Hayes         Landry        26.72 years        398_HOU_2010

HOU       2.40 (    0.73   -1.18   -1.91   10.40    0.14    1.86)   51.22 minutes   33 appearances     9 A      1.87        2 $
Ariza         Battier       Landry        Lowry         Scola         27.11 years       4870_HOU_2010

HOU       0.75 (    6.48    3.33   -3.16   13.89    0.71    3.10)   48.67 minutes   31 appearances    10 A      2.96        3 $
Andersen      Ariza         Brooks        Landry        Lowry         25.81 years        779_HOU_2010

        ACTUAL    THEORY     OFF     DEF  IMPACT  ZSCORE   SIGMA     PLAYING TIME                             SIMPLE       �
HOU      16.92 (    2.69    0.68   -2.01  -18.21   -0.23    2.27)   44.11 minutes   42 appearances    11 A     10.88       10 $
Ariza         Battier       Brooks        Landry        Lowry         26.17 years        782_HOU_2010

HOU      19.44 (   10.89    7.14   -3.75   27.31    1.29    1.98)   42.70 minutes   22 appearances    12 A     23.61       21 $
Andersen      Battier       Brooks        Landry        Lowry         27.17 years        781_HOU_2010

        ACTUAL    THEORY     OFF     DEF  IMPACT  ZSCORE   SIGMA     PLAYING TIME                             SIMPLE       �
HOU       9.02 (    4.81   -0.54   -5.35    4.27    0.39    2.95)   38.51 minutes   24 appearances     1 B      9.97        8 $
Andersen      Ariza         Battier       Landry        Lowry         27.08 years        775_HOU_2010

HOU      -2.92 (   -0.44   -5.67   -5.22  -26.17   -0.69    1.95)   36.71 minutes   23 appearances     2 B     -3.92       -3 $
Ariza         Battier       Hayes         Lowry         Scola         27.16 years       4742_HOU_2010

6 Comments »

  1. I love your posts Wayne, but man, your tables is UGLY.

    If I can make a suggestion: embed a Google Spreadsheet.

    http://docs.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=55244 has all the details, and http://embeddable.blogspot.com/2007/04/embed-google-spreadsheet-in-your.html has an example.

    It would pretty much look like excel, a massive improvement :)

    Comment by Moike — January 21, 2010 @ 7:36 pm

  2. Thanks for sharing your mid-season observations on the Rockets. I was hoping you could answers a few questions I had:

    What is the difference between ACTUAL and THEORY?

    Is ZSCORE based on both THEORY and IMPACT (it looks to be that way)?

    Subjectively, it seems that the Rockets better offensive players (Andersen, Landry, Scola) do well by IMPACT rating, while the better defensive players (Lowry, Hayes) don’t do as well. Is there, by chance, any connection between how good a player is offensively versus defensively and how much he “impacts” the chances of winning? That is, are offensive players more valuable in terms of “impact” than defensive players?

    Comment by durvasa — January 21, 2010 @ 7:46 pm

  3. Stuff is not in word or excel but I will lok at this.

    Comment by wwinston — January 21, 2010 @ 9:00 pm

  4. Theory is sum of individual player ratings. So if actual-theory is postive the lineup plays better than it should. ZSCORE is based on actual and impact. I think your conjecture on offense and defense is coincidence but a theory worth investigating.

    Comment by wwinston — January 21, 2010 @ 9:02 pm

  5. Thanks. I have a follow up question. If I take the difference of ACTUAL and SIMPLE/48min, does that corresponding to the strength of the opposition faced?

    Comment by durvasa — January 23, 2010 @ 12:19 pm

  6. Yes. exactly right.

    Comment by wwinston — January 23, 2010 @ 12:36 pm

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