I took a crack at predicting how many wins the Bucks will produce next season based on the events of the last month. The win estimates are based on each player’s past production, their playing time averages and trends, and some assumptions that I discuss below.
At this point my rough estimate is that the Bucks will end up in the neighborhood of 46.4 wins. First the forecasted wins and losses, then some of the built-in assumptions. (Let me add that I don’t think the Bucks roster is finalized):
2010-11 Bucks: An Early Guess
1. Andrew Bogut…8.7 wins and 1.7 losses
2. John Salmons…7.3 wins and 4.2 losses
3. Brandon Jennings…6.1 wins and 5.3 losses
4. Carlos Delfino…4.7 wins and 2.9 losses
5. Corey Maggette…4.7 wins and 4.2 losses
6. Drew Gooden…4.5 wins and 5.2 losses
7. Ersan Ilyasova…3.9 wins and 2.3 losses
8. Luc Richard Mbahmoute…3.1 wins and 2.7 losses
9. Chris DouglasRoberts…2.0 wins and 3.6 losses
10. Larry Sanders…0.9 wins and 1.4 losses
11. Darrington Hobson…0.5 wins and 1.3 losses
ASSUMPTIONS BEHIND THE ESTIMATE
1. Jennings will get a little better
I think Brandon Jennings will improve from last season. The one area Jennings was outplayed last season was scoring effectiveness. That’s because he simply could not hit two point shots, especially at the rim. Why do I think he will improve on that? I have no justification, I just think he will. I also think his assist total will go up, helping his win production.
2. Ilyasova will, too
I don’t know what to do as far as Ilyasova’s playing time. I have it declining, but if Gooden falters, Ilyasova should be able to step in. Either way, I really think Ersan Ilyasova will continue to improve his productivity in the second season of his second Bucks stint. First, he shouldn’t have to play any center. Playing center depressed his numbers. Second, he will cut down on his fouls, which also sapped his win production.
3. Maggette will play around average
Corey Maggette’s win production has been in decline over the last four seasons, as I outlined on the day the Bucks acquired him. My gut tells me that he will be able to arrest that decline and turn his production slightly back above the .500% mark, but not quite up to his average over the last four seasons (.575%). He’s getting old, and older players traditionally decline.
4. Moute’s playing time will be reduced
This assumption doesn’t make that big a difference, but I think Moute will be the odd man out. However, if and when the Bucks defense falters, Skiles will go to him. So that makes his playing time pretty hard to guage.
5. Gooden will play to his three season, six team median
From what I saw in my brief analysis of his last three seasons, Drew Gooden is a pretty volatile win producer. He’s had about six separate partial season stints in the last three seasons, and he’s generally been all over the board, primarily because he is not a very efficient scorer. The average PF/C produces +1.70 points above scoring possessions used for every 48 minutes of action, Gooden only produces +0.44, so his scoring defense needs to be strong for him to be effective. Last season in both LA with the Clippers and Dallas he played about .500% basketball with each team. I have him slightly less than that. He could be better, he could be worse. That’s probably why he gets traded so often.
6. Salmons will be good, but not as good
As I documented, in his short spring stint John Salmons outproduced his career numbers fairly substantially. In fact, he did much better with the Bucks than he did during the rest of last season with the Bulls. And he’s on the wrong side of 30, which is bad news for perimeter players. But through my Green and Cardinal glasses I say he will split the difference between his Bulls and Bucks stints and play to his MWS48 for the entire season (+0.75). Its actually not that dangerous an assumption, because his three season median is +0.23, so he may get back to the level I project.
7. CDR will be bad, but not as bad
God help us, CDR better not be as bad next season as he was last season with the Nets. I don’t think he will be quite that bad. One gets the impression from some of his comments that his heart just wasn’t in it last season. I think Skiles will make sure that either his heart will be in each Bucks game, or else his body will not be. I also am assuming he will play some point guard, along with another surprise (and probably temporary) candidate for backup PG minutes…
8. Hobson will see 3rd string time at PG
If Darrington Hobson can cover the position, his college numbers suggest PG is where he is best suited. Or rather, “point forward”. He is a playmaker and not a scorer. His instinct is to pass. In that sense I’ve compared him to another former Bucks lefthander, Jerry Ice Reynolds. Reynolds was a much better finisher, though, and thus a much better win producer than I think Hobson will ever be.
I reserve the right to amend this prediction as events require. And of course its always contingent upon health, which as Bucks fans know is dicey. But last season I did pretty well (I predicted 40.9 wins when the consensus had the Bucks below the Nets — I can’t link to it because my old site “got exploded” but here was the original link chart. As you can see, I was wrong all over the place, but the wrongs tended to cancel out, just as they did the previous season when I had the Bucks winning 31.2 games, which was within three wins).