Bucks should be appreciably taller (does that mean better??)

As it stands, my early prediction for the Bucks (46-48 wins) seems to be on the low end of the spectrum.  But, I won’t change it just to change it.  I’d rather be wrong, and then determine why I was wrong, than be right with a subjectively padded total.  Otherwise, you might as well just listen to JA Adande’s estimate and totally ignore mine.  If both are subjectively generated, at least his would be based upon access to inside information.

For that reason I’m very reluctant to make any adjustments to any win estimate I make without compelling, tangible evidence upon which to base the adjustment.  

But such evidence could arise.  From where?  Well, if you twisted my arm right now, I’d say the most likely thing that would sway me to adjust the numbers upward would be evidence that the Bucks defense in 2010-11 will be much stronger than its already strong 2009-10 defense.  (my estimate for OKC last season would have been way low of the mark chiefly because I did not see their improved defense coming). 

A better defensive team is not that hard to imagine.  For one thing, the team will almost certainly be much “taller” next season, and there appears to be some kind of correlation between team height and many of the key defensive statistics, most notably opponent field goal percentage.

Last season, I think the Bucks were on the shorter end.  I looked at the Bucks roster from last season and took each player’s percentage of playing time and multiplied it by his height in inches.  For last season’s team, I came up with a representative height of 6’5”.  I don’t know how that stacks up with the rest of the NBA, but I’d think it would represent the shorter end of the spectrum. 

For next season, I estimate the Bucks representative height will be a bit over 6’7”.  That seems like an appreciable increase (again, I have nothing to compare it with, its just my sense). 

If the team is taller, and if those taller players can still execute Scott Skiles defensive principles with the same alacrity as last season’s team, then the team almost has to get even better defensive results.

If the 2010-11 Bucks are a much improved defensive team, then obviously the results will be even better, all things considered.  But I’m not there yet.


7 Responses to “Bucks should be appreciably taller (does that mean better??)”

  1. palamida Says:

    Ty, how about this as a comparison:
    Draftexpress has their databse, – these are avgs. by position, of drafted players. (note that drafted doesn’t mean an active player in the league, but it’s probably close enough).
    PG – 6′ 0.98″
    SG – 6′ 3.68″
    SF – 6′ 6.39
    PF – 6′ 7.97
    C – 6′ 10.64″
    that’s about 6’6 (was too lazy too crunch it, so i did it off hand).
    We are talking about height here and not SR, but I think it’s safe to say your instinct was correct here – 6′ 7 is an above avg. mark.

    • tywill33 Says:

      Nice Work Palamida.

      Now the question is, will the defense be better as a result? My sense is that it probably should be, but I don’t know. It was pretty good last season. I have to decide what to do here.

      Thanks for the info!

  2. Abe Says:

    I think our defense will regress this year, but our offense will go from I believe 24th overall to somewhere around 15, while the defense will go from 2 to 5.

  3. tywill33 Says:

    The offensive improvement you foresee would almost certainly carry extra wins. A lot of smart people are forecasting that result.

    I just can’t get there with my system. And as I wrote in the post, I’d rather be wrong with a principled estimate than right with a gerry-rigged estimate, because if I start fudging the numbers, I really have nothing to offer anymore.

    • palamida Says:

      Being taller, generally speaking, does equate to better defense, but that alone (meaning, height) does not account for all the factors that go into team defense e.g – personal skill sets, team chemistry (which seems to affect defense more than it does offense), etc.
      with that said, I don’t see any reason why the Bucks defense should be less effective this coming season with one caveat and that’s Bogut’s health, will he be a 100%, how soon and for how long? if Bogut stands tall they should be ok.

      As for 2th to 5th issue Abe has brought up – it’s important to remember that it’s the actual numbers that make up the eff. diff. Being 2th or 28th by itself only means the defense is above or below avg. What it doesn’t tell us is by how much? and that’s the important figure. Moreover, this is a relative business: The Bucks (or any other team) defense, and how it measures in the league is contingent upon the opponents; Since most of the players season by season are returning to their respective teams, and only a fraction of the PT is assigned to rookies (while veterans retire) I suppose we can assume that unless a team truly revamped it’s roster (and that seldom happens) we should expect quite a low variance in that regard, meaning- if for example your -2.4 p100 was good for fifth overall a similar mark the next season would probably get you to around the same rank.

      • tywill33 Says:


        When you say team chemistry, do you mean how well they get along as individuals, or do you mean something more like the mix of size/skill?

  4. palamida Says:

    Ty, I meant the former :p
    U know, guys enjoying coming to practice and willing to stick their necks out for each other. I meant what’s usually referred to as- “locker room atmposphere”.

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