Shaq is conjuring the Ghost of ’72 Wilt! (Celtics Win Chart)

Boston Celtics 




MWS48 Win__Loss 




Player Winning



R Rondo 1.2 +4.40 3.0__(-0.6) +0.593 1.249%
P Pierce 3.1 +2.34 2.4__0.2 +0.341 .900%
R Allen 2.0 +1.65 2.1__0.6 +0.250 .783%
S O’Neal 5.0 +6.09 1.9__(-0.7) +0.414 1.537%
K Garnett 4.1 +1.21 1.7__0.7 +0.163 .707%
M Daniels 2.6 +3.08 1.4__(-0.1) +0.232 1.025%
D West 1.4 +2.81 0.4__0.0 +0.056 .979%
N Robinson 1.0 -1.40 0.3__0.8 -0.088 .264%
B Davis 4.6 -2.03 0.3__1.9 -0.244 .157%
V Wafer 2.0 +2.89 0.2__0.0 +0.040 .994%
S Erden 5.0 -2.49 0.0__0.7 -0.094 .079%
J O’Neal 5.0 -4.09 (-0.1)__0.6 -0.115 -.192%

MWS Total:



Pythagorean: 13.6__4.4


Well, well, well.  Return of the Shaq!

Shaquille O’Neal is playing astounding basketball in limited time this season and it has helped power the indomitable Boston Celtics to yet another terrific start.  Shaq’s incredible Marginal Win Score of +6.06, his streamlined game, and his age, remind one of the magnificently efficient season posted by Wilt Chamberlain for the historic 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers (you can read more about that team here).  The astounding thing is, Shaq showed no signs that he was capable of such a revival in any of the last three seasons.  He’s been all right in his last three campaigns but nothing more.  This season, so far, he’s been much more.

A look at Shaq’s performance compared to past seasons indicates most of his improvement has come on defense.  He is still the same highly efficient shooter he has been for most of his career, and he is still the same exceptional rebounder, but this season he is not allowing counterpart centers in the lane, and when they come in the lane they are not making baskets, nor are they rebounding.  At the moment opposing centers are shooting only 42% when on the court with the Diesel, and they are grabbing a mere 9.3 rebounds per 48 minutes.  Those figures are each well below the norm for NBA centers.

Beyond Shaq, the Celtics are of course powered by the greatness of Rajon Rondo.  He keeps getting better and better.  For the past two or three seasons, he has been the Celtics leader.

The team is also receiving a heightened contribution from veteran Paul Pierce, who has elevated his production so far.  Ray Allen is as steady as they get.  He shows no signs of decline and is having another solid start.

You cannot say quite the same for PF Kevin Garnett.  His numbers, while good, are way off his normal brilliance.  Perhaps age and injury are wearing him down.

And Jermaine O’Neal — put a fork in him.  He’s been done for years.

Finally, why does Doc Rivers insist on believing that Baby Davis is worthy of starter minutes.  He’s a tease and nothing more.   So he had a few good games late in last season’s playoffs.  Big deal.  Season after season he has proven that he is a big time loss producer and this season is no different.

I would also note in closing that the severally underrated bad boy Delonte West was off to a terrific start before his unfortunate wrist injury.  Throughout his career he has been an underappreciated win contributor.

The Celtics look like they have at least one more run in them, and a lot of that has to do with the resurrection of the Diesel.


3 Responses to “Shaq is conjuring the Ghost of ’72 Wilt! (Celtics Win Chart)”

  1. jbrett Says:


    Wilt was a little younger, and it was a different era in terms of bench minutes, but he played over 40 per game; Shaq isn’t anywhere near that in terms of total contribution. It is, however, a renaissance in terms of production; might we infer that he has more respect for his current teammates than in the past, and therefore more willing to be a role player?

  2. Seif-Eldeine Says:

    How come some of these standards are measuring players negatively and the same players positively? What makes them get different results?

    As for KG, I do not know what his stats are like currently, and do consider stats an important indicator of someone’s success, but when you watch the games you see clearly KG is having his best season as a Celtic yet.

    In particular, much of his athletic ability after the knee injury he sustained during the 2008-2009 has returned. In one game he grabbed 17 rebounds and scored over 20 points! He is also been an intimdating factor on the defensive end of the court.

    Last night, he banked a shot off the backboard on a Rondo alley-oop. Because of his increase in vertical recently, he has consistently been able to throw down alley-oops and get up high to block shots (even though he still does not do this at a phenomonal rate.)

    This may be his best season since he won the MVP.

    • tywill33 Says:

      Which players are you referring to when you say they have both negative and positive numbers.

      Are you referring to the negative numbers in the Win Credit columns. Those are actually “negative losses” which means the players are performing so much higher than average that they are actually producing wins and taking losses away.

      Here’s how I explain it. Let’s say you have five salesmen, three are average, one is a superstar, and one is a slacker. Under ordinary circumstances, the slacker would cost you business, but the superstar salesman does so much more than his share that he not only maximizes his own sales production, he also has a spillover effect on the rest of the team that removes their losses.

      Can you have an entire team of “negative loss” producers. Yes! The 2008 United States Olympic team proved that. That team, obviously, did not “win” more than their 8 Olympic tournament games, but in relative terms they beat their 8 international opponents so badly that their pythagorean wins (the number of games a team with their productivity level) would have won did indeed come out to an amount greater than 8 wins!

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