Using a technique I used with some success (in a limited sample size) last season, I did an early estimate of the number of wins I think the presently constituted Milwaukee Bucks roster will produce in the 2012-13 NBA season.
First, I went to Hoopshype and determined which players were under contract to the Bucks for next season.
Second, I took a guess at the number of minutes each contract player would play based upon how many minutes they have played in the past, how Scott Skiles has used them in the past, and their age. I had to take a big guess when it came to John Henson and Tobias Harris, but I’m thinking each will be used a lot for a rookie and second year player.
Third, I estimated the “winning percentage” each player would produce based on a weighted average of their last three, two, or one seasons, depending on the number of NBA seasons each has played.
Example using Ilyasova
So, for example, Ersan Ilyasova has played more than three seasons. In the past 3 seasons he has posted winning percentages of 0.787%, 0.467%, and 0.538%, respectively. To estimate what I think he might produce next season, I gave triple weight to his most recent percentage, double weight to his second most recent percentage, and single weight to his most distant percentage and then divided the sum of all of those numbers by 6 to get an estimated 2012-13 winning percentage for Ersan Ilyasova of 0.639%. Since I estimate he will be alloted about 2152 minutes of playing time, I believe he will account for 8.9 “Player Games” (minutes/241.2) and will produce 5.7 wins and 3.2 losses for the Bucks.
Dalembert will add wins above 0.500%, Monta Ellis will subtract wins above 0.500%
I am projecting that the addition of Samuel Dalembert will provide a large positive for the Bucks. I am tempted to give him more minutes, because the Bucks don’t have much behind him at the center position, but throughout his career his minutes have hardly ever wavered from the 25-26 minute per game number. He simply hasn’t shown that he is a 34 minute a game player, so I cannot project him as such.
On the other hand, unfortunately, Monta Ellis has always been a high minute player, but for the last three seasons he has not produced win numbers that would even place him in the upper half of the NBA. Will Skiles realize Ellis’ likely destructive impact? I’m guessing he will not, unless Ellis really falters. Thus, I cannot minimize the negative impact Ellis will have on the Bucks bottom line.
In fact, I am projecting that the former Golden State combo of Ellis and Udoh will have a large negative impact on the team and will cost them 5 full games above 0.500%, meaning, if the Bucks give the Ellis and Udoh minutes to a 0.500% player they will be a 47 win team, but I’m projecting they will not.
Harris and Henson
My early estimate of Henson was that he would be a below 0.500% win producer as a rookie. However, I saw enough in the Summer League numbers to cautiously make him an above o.5oo% win producer. I am leery of that projection, but for now I will stick with it.
I am much more sanguine about Tobias Harris. He was only slightly below 0.500% last season, and therefore I am fairly comfortable projecting him at slightly above 0.500% next season.
Areas for Growth
Where could the Bucks pick up extra wins? For starters, they could trade Monta Ellis for a decent win producer. That would help a lot. They could also get a decent backup center and get rid of their awful backup trio of Udoh, Sanders, and Gooden. They could give more minutes to the underappreciated win producer Beno Udrih. Or, Ersan Ilyasova could post the same lights out shooting numbers next season that he did last season and therefore post a higher winning percentage than I project.
But what tends to happen is the changes (or flat out errors) cancel each other out and the estimate ends up being in the right neighborhood. So absent some major addition, the 2012-12 Bucks will be slightly above 0.500%… I think.