Posts Tagged ‘New York Knickerbockers’

NBA Power Rankings by “Ty Rating”: the rising Heat and the sinking Celts

February 17, 2012

Using the same formula, and the same gambling website (Statfox Sports), that I used to power rank the likely NCAA tournament field, I power ranked the National Basketball Association.

My NBA chart is set up a bit differently because I condensed three steps.  Instead of posting each team’s Win Score and Defensive Win Score, followed by the expected winning percentage and then the winning percentage the rest of the league is posting against the same schedule, and then the “Ty Rating” based upon that, instead I post below the “Comparative Win Score” the “Comparative Defensive Win Score” and the Ty Rating based upon the same.  Let me provide a quick example.

Example using the #20 Milwaukee Bucks

Below on the chart, the 20th ranked team is the Milwaukee Bucks.  Under “WS” the Bucks post a “-1.1″.  That means the Bucks Team Win Score is 1.1 points below the Win Score the rest of the NBA is posting against the same schedule.  Under “DWS” it says “-2.1″.  That means that the Bucks are allowing their Opponents to post Win Scores that are 2.1 points higher than the same teams have been able to post against the rest of the NBA.  (Defensive Win Scores that are indicated as negative mean a below average performance).  If you add the two numbers together, you arrive at “-3.2″.  You then divide that by 10 to arrive at “-0.32″.  This is the Bucks “absolute” Marginal Win Score, from which I can calculate their absolute winning percentage, which is their “Ty Rating”.  Essentially, it is the difference between the winning percentage the team has achieved versus the winning percentage the rest of the NBA has achieved against the same schedule plus 0.500.  So, while the Bucks expected winning percentage is 0.404% (11.7 wins and 17.3 losses — the team is actually 12-17), because the rest of the NBA is only playing 0.455% basketball against the same schedule the Bucks have played, the Bucks “absolute” winning percentage, or their “Ty Rating” is 0.449%, so its a little better.

Here is the chart:

NBA WS DWS Ty Rating
1 Miami 7.6 6.1 0.733
2 Chic 7.1 6.4 0.731
3 OKC 5.5 5.1 0.682
4 LA Lakers 3.4 5.5 0.653
5 Denv 6.8 1.1 0.636
6 LA Clip 4.9 2.7 0.631
7 Orlando 2.6 3.7 0.609
8 Dallas 3.1 2.9 0.606
9 Phila 0.4 4.8 0.591
10 Atl 3.4 1.1 0.579
11 San An 3.1 0.8 0.569
12 Port 0.8 2.6 0.557
13 Memp -1.5 2.8 0.524
14 Hous -1.3 1.7 0.509
15 Ind -1.8 1.9 0.504
16 Minn -1.1 1.1 0.501
17 Bost -4.9 4.8 0.499
18 Utah -0.6 -0.7 0.479
19 NOH  -4.9 1.9 0.451
20 Milw -1.1 -2.1 0.449
21 NY Knicks -4.6 1.1 0.441
22 Phoenix -0.8 -2.8 0.441
23 Clev -1.6 -2.2 0.438
24 Gold St 1.8 -6.1 0.429
25 Sacra -3.5 -5.9 0.343
26 Tor -7.1 -3.1 0.329
27 NJ Nets -5.7 -6.6 0.294
28 Detroit -8.7 -4.2 0.283
29 Wash -6.6 -7.4 0.265
30 Char -9.9 -9.2 0.181

NBA Ty Ratings

Heat and Bulls clearly the NBA elite

Its neck-and-neck between the Miami Heat and the Chicago Bulls for best team in the NBA.  The two teams also rank #1 and #2 in overall offensive efficiency (by which I mean relative Win Score), and they invert that order for #1 and #2 in overall defensive teams in the NBA as well (by which I mean relative Defensive Win Score).

Three teams surprised me with their placement.  The Lakers are a lot higher than I anticipated.  They may have some fight left in the Purple and Gold.  And on the other side, the Boston Celtics placed much lower than I expected at #17.  The Celtics still play top 10 defense, but without Kendrick Perkins, the team is really struggling on the boards, and that is costing them games.  The other team who placed much lower than I anticipated was the New York Knickerbockers.  However, as I discussed two posts ago, the addition of world famous PG Jeremy Lin, the Knicks have shored up a major weakness and may begin to ascend the rankings.

Another surprise was the Minnesota Timberwolves.  I knew they were playing much better this season, but it is actually their defense that is propelling them more so than their offense.  That is surprising.  The aforementioned Bucks seem to have been stuck in the #18-#21 power ranking range throughout the entire Scott Skiles/John Hammond administration.  That is disappointing, to say the least.

Finally, we have the putrid Charlotte Bobcats and almost-as-putrid Washington Wizards.  What is the thread that runs between each organization?  Michael Jeffrey Jordan was in a management position for each.  Bucks fans, we cannot be thankful for much, but we can be thankful for this:  Herb Kohl prevented Michael Jordan from bringing his eye for talent to Milwaukee.  Jordan makes Isiah Thomas look like Branch Rickey.

Finally, has anyone heard from PG John Wall?  I thought he was supposed to be such a game changer for the Wizards when they selected him number one overall last season.  He certainly has not been.  His career is heading toward oblivion, just as many of us predicted when he was drafted.

Jeremy Lin benefiting from a massive “substitution effect”

February 16, 2012

If you’re eating chicken shit, and someone offers you chicken salad instead, it doesn’t matter if you don’t particularly like chicken salad… it will taste much better to you than the chicken shit tasted.

That’s part of the power behind Linsanity and the resurgence of the New York Knickerbockers.  Sure, Jeremy Lin is a nice ballplayer, and right now he has a well above average MWS and Winning Percentage, but what has really made him look awesome is the comparison between what he is providing the Knicks at the point guard position and the dreadful play they have gotten from the position this season when Lin was not on the floor (or indeed, on the Knicks roster).

Here is the latest Knicks Win Chart for 2011-12 (What do the different columns in the Win Chart mean?  Click here for simple explanation):

NEW YORK KNICKS (through February 15, 2012)

T Chandler 17.45 11.68 2.89 0.993 4.2__0.0 2.1 6.3
L Fields 8.14 6.33 0.91 0.656 2.6__1.4 0.6 3.2
C Anthony 6.83 6.22 0.31 0.554 1.7__1.4 0.2 1.9
A Stoumire 8.25 8.35 -0.05 0.494 1.7__1.7 -0.1 1.7
I Shumpert 3.15 5.36 -1.09 0.315 1.0__2.3 -0.7 0.4
J Lin 8.75 6.24 1.26 0.716 0.9__0.4 0.3 1.2
S Novak 9.09 6.18 1.45 0.749 0.8__0.3 0.3 1.1
B Walker 4.39 6.43 -1.02 0.329 0.8__1.6 -0.4 0.4
J Harrlson 11.11 9.56 0.77 0.634 0.7__0.5 0.1 0.8
J Jeffries 6.89 9.69 -1.39 0.266 0.5__1.3 -0.4 0.1
R Balkman 9.39 6.83 1.28 0.719 0.4__0.2 0.1 0.5
J Jordan 10.57 0.63 4.97 1.346 0.3__(-0.1) 0.2 0.5
T Douglass -1.95 7.11 -4.53 -0.266 (-0.6)__2.8 -1.7 -2.3
M Bibby 2.55 9.21 -3.33 -0.062 (-0.1)__1.3 -0.7 -0.8
Exptd 14.9__15.1
Act 15.0__15.0

Chandler and Fields still more valuable

As you can see from the Win Chart, the real MVPs of the Knicks are Tyson Chandler and Landry Fields.  But Lin has made a large relative impact because the Knicks former starting PGs, Mike Bibby and Toney Douglass, were not only bad, they were SO bad they were taking wins off the board.  Thus, replacing them with an above average player of Lin’s production had a massive impact on the team.

To illustrate, when Jeremy Lin is in the game, as the chart shows, the New York Knicks are getting a player with a Marginal Win Score of +1.26.  If all 5 positions were manned by 0.500% players, and you substituted Lin into the game, then Lin’s contribution alone turns the Knicks into a 0.545% team.  Not that large an impact.  However, in actuality, Lin did not replace “0.500%” caliber PGs.  In fact, the other Knick point guards combined produce a MWS of -2.84, which equates into a combined non-Lin winning percentage from the position of 0.020%.  To put number in perspective, if you add the other Knick PGs to the hypothetical 0.500% team described above, they would turn that team into a 0.406% team.  In practical numbers, the non-Lin Point Guards would turn a 41 win team (in a normal season) in to a 33 win team, whereas when Lin stepped in and replaced them, his production turned that hypothetical 41 win team into a 45 win team.  That’s a huge difference.

The story gets better when you consider that the “other Knicks” are somewhat better than a 0.500% team.  Indeed, as the Win Chart above shows, the Knicks are getting better than 0.500% play from several key players.  Tyson Chandler has been phenomenal at the center position.  I credit him with producing 4.2 wins and no losses.  And after a slow start, last year’s rookie phenom Landry Fields is back to playing above 0.500% basketball from the shooting guard position.  Then you consider that Carmelo Anthony plays nearly 0.700% basketball when he’s in there and healthy, and you have a pretty good team.  The thing that was holding the Knicks back, and I illustrated it earlier in the season, was their incredibly poor play from the point guard position.  Enter Linsanity.

That’s why, by comparison, Jeremy Lin has made such a major difference.  He turned a tremendous weakness into a strength, which magnified the impact that contribution made.  In basketball, I call that the substitution effect. (I think the real economic  “substitution effect” is when you switch from Coke to Jolly Good during a recession, but its been a long time since Econ 101).

EDITOR’s COMMENT:  Do they still sell Jolly Good soda? It was an off-brand that came in a variety of flavors and at one time had jokes written on the inside bottom of the can, as I recall.  I remember you’d finish the thing, then you’d have to close one eye and try to direct the inside of the can toward the sun so you could strain to read the dumb joke/riddle to your friends. ” Let’s see… What has four legs buttttt cannnn nnnnnot… shit, I can’t read the last word… oh…  ‘run‘? What has four legs but cannot run? ”  The things we used to find entertaining.  Good times.

CORRECTION:  The original post had Carmelo Anthony as a slightly more productive player than he has been.  The original post therefore calculated Carmelo’s wins at 2.1 and the Knicks estimated wins at 15.3, which were both in error.  It was pointed out by a reader, and has been corrected.

How long will the LINsanity last??

February 11, 2012

In the last 3 games, Jeremy Lin-sanity has hit the New York Metropolitan area.  But how long will this condition last?  One way to predict is to use the past as precedent.

Based upon Marginal Win Score, Lin is off to a superb start to his NBA career.  The majority of his time has still been his time with the Golden State Warriors (where he was pretty good) but he will soon eclipse that as his Knickerbocker time is likely to continue to grow.

Here is Lin’s NBA Win Chart so far, with his Harvard college numbers below that.  (I could not provide any estimate of his Harvard Defensive Win Score, because the StatFox server has been down all Saturday morning… college bball betting action must be hot)

NBA 9.98 5.65 2.18 0.869 1.8__0.2 0.8 2.6

When Harvard was his home

As you can see, while Lin has been way above average during his short NBA career (as the chart shows, based on his production I credit him with producing 1.8 NBA wins and only 0.2 NBA losses so far), he is also playing above his own personal college resume.  This is a big red flag for me.  You generally see a 33% decline in Win Score production when the player steps to the pros.  It makes sense… if you couldn’t produce better numbers against inferior college defenders, why should we expect you to do so in the NBA?

Therefore, Lin’s numbers over four seasons at Harvard suggest he is playing above himself at this time, and that his winning percentage will soon decline.  In the long run, his Harvard numbers would project him as a slightly below average NBA point guard, at best.

However, if there is one spot where players can outperform their college numbers, it is the point guard spot.  I have a theory as to why.  The largest pool of talent is at the shorter guard positions.  Therefore, the talent levels at those positions should not be as markedly different between college and the pros as one would expect at the taller positions like center and power forward.

In Lin’s case, though, playing against the Beauregards and the Van Houtens of the Ivy League was not exactly like playing against the Manigaults and the Knowings of Rucker Park.  He should have done better, one would suspect.

But Lin obviously has some game, so maybe he continues the fine start he has made and establishes himself as a permanent member of the NBA’s upper middle class.  We shall see how his story plays out over the balance of this season.  He has at least injected some life into an otherwise forgettable NBA campaign.

Shouldn’t the New York Knicks have a better record?

January 18, 2012

Last month the New York Knicks began their first full season with the frontcourt of so-called superstars SF Carmelo Anthony and PF Amare Stoudamire.  The team then added the win producing center Tyson Chandler to that frontcourt, and PG Mike Bibby to the backcourt.  Yet the team has a lower winning percentage than they had at the end of last season.  What gives?

Using Marginal Win Score, I calculated the winning percentages produced by each NY Knick performer and projected them out over 66 games.  (See “GLOSSARY” page in the “Courtside Reading” column on the right hand side of this blog).  Here are the numbers I produced:


New York WS DWS MWS W% W66 W>0.5 V66
T Chandler 16.74 11.01 2.86 0.989 10.1__0.1 4.1 13.2
C Anthony 9.55 6.87 1.34 0.729 6.6__2.4 2.1 7.7
L Fields 5.23 4.77 0.23 0.541 4.5__3.9 0.3 4.8
I Shumpert 3.44 2.42 0.51 0.589 3.5__2.5 0.9 4.4
J Harrelson 11.09 11.16 -0.03 0.497 2.7__2.7 0.1 2.8
A Stoudamire 7.36 9.24 -0.94 0.343 2.3__4.3 -1.1 1.2
B Walker 4.55 6.05 -0.75 0.375 2.0__3.4 -0.7 1.3
R Balkman 12.88 11.26 0.81 0.639 1.1__0.6 0.2 1.3
S Novak 3.82 8.38 -2.27 0.116 0.2__1.1 -0.5 -0.3
M Bibby 4.62 10.05 -2.71 0.042 0.2__3.4 -1.6 -1.4
J Jeffries 1.99 7.48 -2.74 0.036 0.0__1.3 -0.6 -0.6
T Douglas -0.46 9.37 -4.91 -0.331 (-2.2)__8.8 -5.5 -7.7

Reasons the NY Knicks are not better

1. Carmelo and Stoudamire are not “superstars”

Carmelo Anthony is playing at his normal, above average level.  He has never posted elite win statistics at any point in his career.  The fact that he is not doing so this season should come as no surprise.   Stoudamire used to be a superstar or near superstar.  Since his knee injury, he has not been, and since he came to New York his winning percentage has been below 0.500%.  It has gotten slightly worse this season.

2. Fields bubble burst

Last season Landry Fields finished among the Top 20 Most Valuable Players in the NBA, according to Marginal Win Score.  That was a shocking outcome, because his college resume did not suggest he could post such outstanding statistical numbers.  Thus, I expected him to come back down to Earth this season and he has so far.  His decline accounts in large measure for the Knicks dreary beginning.

3. Toney Douglas is playing horribly.

Last season PG Toney Douglas was a slightly below 0.500% performer.  This season, he has been awful,as the Win Chart shows.  Douglas is getting outperformed by his counterpart PG to such an extent that he is not merely creating losses, he is actually taking wins away from the Knicks.  The Knicks wised up to this and have given the PG job to the rookie Iman Shumpert.  Shumpert looks like a good defender, so the team could see some improvement at that position.

4. Mike Bibby is shot

If the team expected a major contribution from G Mike Bibby, they did not look at his recent performances.  Last season Bibby was a below 0.500% win producer in both Atlanta and Miami.  So his “performance ceiling” was not very high to begin with.  To make matters worse, it appears as though his “performance floor” has gone down substantially.  At the moment he is playing neither defense nor offense.  He could rally to the point that he would bring himself up to last season’s below average standard, but I am not optimistic that he will.


Tyson Chandler is playing at maximum efficiency.  Carmelo is playing like Carmelo, and I would not expect to see Amare play much better than he is playing.  So the Knicks hope for a play-off berth rests, I believe, in the hands of Landry Fields and the aforementioned Iman Shumpert.  Those are the two players who could improve their play to the point that the team really starts advancing.  If neither one does so, the team may not make the postseason, and that would qualify as a major disappointment for Knick fans.


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