The Relative Value of Andrew Bogut

I just updated the Milwaukee Bucks MWS48 Win Chart.  You will notice the Win__Loss Credits are exactly equal to the Bucks record, 24.0 wins__27.0 losses.  That’s just an accident.  It has no significance.

But its easy to kind of gloss over the numbers once you’ve looked at the Chart Page a few  times.  Thus the All-Star break is a good time to highlight exactly who has produced the team’s wins and its losses.  I list the responsible parties in order below.

Remember, Wins and Losses produced are each a function of playing time.  So a player with more losses produced is not necessarily a player who is performing at a lower level than one with fewer losses produced.  It may simply be that the player with the greater number of losses produced has been on the court more often.  The inverse is true for wins produced.

Milwaukee Bucks Win Production Leaders

1. Andrew Bogut_____4.8 wins

2. Carlos Delfino_____3.4 wins

3. Brandon Jennings_____3.0 wins

4. Luke Ridnour_______2.9 wins

5. Luc Richard Mbah Moute______2.5 wins

6. Ersan Ilyasova_________2.2 wins

7. Charlie Bell________1.8 wins

8. Hakim Warrick________1.7 wins

9. Kurt Thomas_______0.6 wins

10. Jerry Stackhouse_______0.5 wins

11. Michael Redd_______0.3 wins

12. Jodie Meeks______0.2 wins

13. Roko Ukic______0.2 wins

14. Fran Elson______0.0 wins

15. Dan Gadzuric_____(-0.1) wins

Milwaukee Bucks Loss Production Leaders

1. Brandon Jennings_______4.1 losses

2. Charlie Bell______3.6 losses

3. Ersan Ilyasova______2.6 losses

4. Hakim Warrick______2.5 losses

5. Carlos Delfino_____2.1 losses

6. Luc Richard Mbah Moute______2.1 losses

7. Luke Ridnour_______1.7 losses

8. Michael Redd______1.7 losses

9. Jodie Meeks_______1.7 losses

10. Kurt Thomas_______1.6 losses

11. Andrew Bogut______1.2 losses

12. Dan Gadzuric_____0.9 losses

13. Jerry Stackhouse_____0.5 losses

14. Fran Elson______0.2 losses

15. Roko Ukic_____0.2 losses

The High Relative Value of Bogut

On the old Bucks Diary blog, I wrote a post ranking the worst contracts in pro basketball.  My aim was to list the contracts according to “toxicity” by which I  meant some combination of overpricing along with a substantial commitment in terms of remaining years.

Because the value of Andrew Bogut’s contract and its remaining number of years were similar to the contracts I listed among the “NBA’s most toxic contracts”, many criticized me for not excluding Bogut’s contract.  Those  that did so ignored the concept of relative value.

Like it or not, height is a very valuable asset in the sport of basketball.  It trumps athleticism and even raw basketball skill.

I would estimate there are thousands of guys playing rec ball around the United States who are better “basketball players” than many of the big men who are in the NBA.  They shoot better, dribble better, and jump better.  The problem is, they’re all under 6’2”.  And the value of a sub-6’2” small forward, power forward, or center is virtually nill, no matter how high they can jump, how well they can dribble, or how proficiently they shoot the basketball.  Its just an ugly fact of the game.

And obviously, as you move rightward across what I call the “Five position spectrum” (PG-SG-SF-PF-C), that ugly fact becomes more and more manifest.  In fact, once you get all the way to the center position, tall players with even the most rudimentary basketball skills are still have a chance to play in the NBA.

That’s why a center with decent basketball skill has such high value.  The distribution of talent at the center position is particularly stratified.  You have about 5 to 8 very high win producers, about 20 pretty decent producers, a sub-layer of okay producers, then the bottom simply drops out of the talent pool.

Witness the Bucks situation at backup center.  They have nothing but loss producers manning the spot (though Kurt Thomas once was very good).  Yet each of those players is still drawing an NBA level paycheck because they combine enough height with just enough basketball skill to just barely get by.

As you can see  from the win/loss lists, Andrew Bogut does much more than merely get by.  That’s what makes Andrew Bogut so valuable, and indeed more valuable than other non-centers might produce exactly the same number of wins as him.

At center, a good win producer is a rare commodity.  Bogut’s an excellent win producer at a position.  He’s the Bucks most valuable player this season, and provided he doesn’t get injured, he will probably be their most valuable player for at least a few more seasons to come.

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One Response to “The Relative Value of Andrew Bogut”

  1. tywill33 Says:

    I’m trying to get in as many posts as my time allows, but this post illustrates the hazards of writing too fast and editing too hastily.

    I’m embarrased by the number of obvious typos and “half edits” that were left in the final post (by half edits I’m referring to the times where I edited the first half of a sentence and then didn’t take the time to make sure the other half of the sentence agreed). I apologize.

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