Posts Tagged ‘Win Charts’

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.


Reexamining the Point Guard Crop from the First Round of the 2009 NBA Draft

January 19, 2012

Remember three years ago, seven (7) point guards were selected in the First Round of the 2009 NBA Draft?  With Ricky Rubio debuting this season with Minnesota, we can revisit that Draft and see if the “experts” got it right.

Here is the Crop’s Marginal Win Score win production for this season, projected out over the entire 66 games:

R Rubio 10.79 3.74 3.52 1.099 9.6__(-0.9) 5.3 14.9
T Lawson 8.73 2.95 2.89 0.993 8.7__0.1 4.3 12.9
J Holiday 5.45 2.81 1.32 0.726 7.1__2.7 2.2 9.3
Jennings 7.04 8.02 -0.49 0.419 4.1__5.8 -0.8 3.3
S Curry 9.44 8.06 0.69 0.619 1.9__1.1 0.4 2.3
T Evans 5.77 6.79 -0.51 0.416 4.0__5.7 -0.9 3.1
J Flynn 2.06 11.28 -4.61 -0.279 (-0.3)__1.6 -0.9 -1.2

The Chart from this season suggests that Ricky Rubio could be the best player from the Crop.  If he can maintain his fantastic start, he could also be the one “elite” player.

Here is the “Career to Date” chart for the Crop, projected to the end of this season:

T Lawson 8.94 4.81 2.07 0.848 19.6__3.5 8.1 27.7
S Curry 9.09 7.67 0.71 0.624 15.8__9.5 3.1 18.9
J Holiday 6.69 6.39 0.15 0.527 15.4__13.8 0.8 16.2
R Rubio 10.79 3.74 3.52 1.099 9.6__(-0.9) 5.3 14.9
T Evans 6.61 6.83 -0.11 0.483 14.1__15.1 -0.5 13.6
B Jennings 5.16 5.78 -0.31 0.453 13.6__16.4 -1.4 12.2
J Flynn 2.88 9.38 -3.25 -0.048 (-0.8)__15.9 -8.4 -8.8
7.166 6.3714 0.397 0.5694

The Chart suggests that the second best PG from that Draft, or possibly the best, has been Ty Lawson, the player selected last among the Crop.  I never understood how it was possible that he could go so low.  Lawson played against high level collegiate competition for three seasons and excelled.  In his final season at UNC, he did not have a single poor game.  He was as close to a “sure thing” as you will find in the modern NBA Draft. And yet he was somehow perceived to be the 7th rookie Point Guard.

The third best PG appears to be Stephen Curry of Golden State.  I was skeptical about Curry coming out of college because he played poorly in his senior season against the top competition.  I also thought he would have to play mostly two guard, and he appeared to small and frail to play that position.  But, his very effective jump shot has made up for those shortcomings.

Now, the next best PG is hard to say.  It appears that Jrue Holiday might be moving into that role, but based on the entire body of work, the fourth best PG from that Draft is probably Tyreke Evans of Sacramento, the first PG chosen.  Actually, Evans is more of a PG/SG, as he splits time between the positions.  Evans started his career well, but now he has settled into a slightly below 0.500% player.

In the next position I think it is a toss up between Holiday and Brandon Jennings of the Milwaukee Bucks.  Holiday appears to be surging for the rejuvenated 76ers, but I am not buying it.  I think he and Jennings are essentially the same player, or thereabouts.  Remember how everyone thought Jennings would be such a superstar just because he scored 54 points in one of his first games?  It was an aberration, and it may have been his undoing.  Jennings has never really settled into the classic PG role.  He is a shoot first player, not a playmaker.

The unmitigated “bust” of the Draft was PG Jonny Flynn, who was the third PG taken, and the second one taken by Minnesota.  Flynn now resides on the bench in Houston.  Flynn’s college career suggested he could be slightly below average, but I am beginning to be skeptical of all graduates of the Syracuse system (Wesley Johnson, for instance).  The Orangemen alum cannot play defense, and they seem to use the College 3pt shot to make themselves appear more efficient than they actually turn out to be.

That said, I still do not understand how anyone could have valued Jonny Flynn ahead of Ty Lawson.  Each player has about the same stature, and Lawson was clearly the more accomplished.  Again, I cannot figure that one out.


Huge night for LRBMAM

January 16, 2010

I have updated the Milwaukee Bucks Win Chart to reflect the productivity in last night’s win over Golden State.  Luc Moute and Andrew Bogut and Brandon Jennings all had big nights.

If you notice on the Win Chart I have eliminated positional data.  Two reasons for that move.

Popcorn Love (but its more than that to me)

One, as you know, I’ve detached the Bucks Win Chart from reliance.  I now do a straight Marginal Win Score myself off the awesome Play-by-Play data “flow chart” provided on  Truly awesome feature.  It makes straight Marginal Win Score so much easier to provide.

And with true straight Marginal Win Score, position is irrelevant.  It’s all about matchups.  For instance, if Jennings is on Monte Ellis, who cares if I call the pair “point guards” or “shooting guards”?  Its Jennings vs. Ellis, and that’s all.  That’s the important thing.

Second, eliminating positional data makes updating the chart so much faster and easier to do.

Popcorn’s “Quarter-by-Quarter” chart does the same.  Now I can discern, without having to read the unreadable NBA transcript, exactly who is on the floor at any given moment.

The net result will be a Marginal Win Score that is even more reliable.

Why?  Because if I can see clearly who is on the court I can cross check their heights and weights.  If I have that information I have a system that almost always gets the defensive matchups right, and that’s the key.

So, back to the game.  Last night everyone on the Bucks had “positive” MWS games except Charlie Bell, who is sinking like a ship, and Jodie Meeks, who was rising before last night.

When you read the Win Chart, pay attention to the last column.  It tells you which way a player has been trending this month.

Notice how Bogut, who we criticize for being up-and-down, is almost right at even?  Ironic.

Charlie Bell is one downward facing dog.  Don’t be fooled though by Ridnour.  Bear in mind he is falling from virtual Mount Everest.  Bell most certainly is not.

Luc Moute just completely changed his numbers around last night.  Dominant.

Pay attention to how these numbers trend now that I have a bullet proof method of pairing Buck vs. Opponent.  I’m interested to see what happens.

Wisconsin Badgers basketball Win Chart

January 14, 2010

This is a momentous post.  This is a first for me as a blogger.  Tonight I have broken into the realm of college basketball analysis with the first ever “NCAA Basketball Win Chart”.  It is linked to below and it covers the 2009-10 Wisconsin Badgers basketball team and it allocates responsibility for the team’s wins and losses to date using an amended version of MWS48 fitted to the college game and known as MWS40.  (Its the same exact thing as MWS48 except as I say the numbers are adjusted to account for the 200 minutes of player court action in a college game).

The reason I did it was (1) if you look up at the top it says “… pro and college basketball” and I haven’t produced one single college post yet (note: if you notice the name on the banner is now just “Courtside Analyst”.  That name, for whatever reason, “Lulu“ed almost three times better than “The Courtside Analyst” or “Bucks Diary”).

But more importantly, reason (2) is I was asked by a reader via email what impact I thought the Wisconsin Badgers basketball team would feel from the loss of forward Jon Leuer.  I sincerely did not know, so I worked it out.  In the words of those bullshit artist nurses who came around to your kindergarten on vaccination day, “they’re gonna feel a little sting”.

CLICK HERE for the 2009-10 Wisconsin Badgers Win Chart

(through 16 games)

Leuer and Hughes the best, but who is Wilson?

I’m going to keep my comments brief because I really haven’t studied the Badgers other than watching them play Marquette, so beyond Travon Hughes and Bohannon I’m not really familiar with the team’s personnel.

But here’s what the numbers tell me.  Leuer was the team’s best win producer.  They will almost certainly be much worse off until he returns from his broken wrist.  But they won’t be dead in the water by any means.  They play fabulous Win Score defense, and almost the entire roster of regulars produces positive MWS40, although I’m sure most of that is still padding from the pre-holiday schedule.  Although they did play Duke and Gonzaga.

The one possible avenue of recovery I see is this Wilson kid from Cleveland Ohio.  He’s a forward and, although I don’t know his situation, he has been quite productive, indeed productive well beyond the minutes he’s been alloted.

So getting him on the court, if that is an option, could help cushion the team’s fall.  He could play the forward/guard spot with Nankivil and Jarmusz playing the big forward spots (there are really only 3 spots in college basketball — 2 “big” forwards, a forward/guard, and usually two interchangeable point guard types).

Or they could play Taylor as a third guard.  They have a few options.

The point is that, yes, Leuer’s absence will knock them off their pedestal a bit (KenPom has them in the Top 5 in his adjusted efficiency rankings — I’d never seen them that high ever before).  But they should make it to the tournament and get things rolling then.

In the very near future I’m planning to do Win Charts for the Marquette Warriors and the Minnesota Golden Gophers as well.

FOOTNOTE:  If anyone knows of any Badger blogs that might be interested in this analysis, or might have readers who might wish to critique the same, could you please leave a referral comment.  Thank you.

Why the Chicago Bulls have declined

December 20, 2009

About three days before the season started, I was trying to guess how many wins the Chicago Bulls would end up with based upon the Marginal Win Score per 48 averages of their roster over the last two seasons.  I think I came up with around 38 wins.  Not even close.

But what’s gone wrong?  Who is underperforming?  I did a Win Chart of this season’s team to find out who was creating the team’s wins and losses.  The results were somewhat surprising.  You can see the 2009-10 Chicago Bulls Win Chart if you click here.

Derrick Rose playing brutal basketball

I would say the most surprising result I came up with concerned sophomore point guard Derrick Rose.  If you go to the above Win Chart and then click on the link in that Chart to last season’s Bulls Win Chart you will see that last season Rose was basically a .500 player.  Not bad at all for a rookie.  And since players normally progress substantially in their second seasons, I expected Rose to step up to the near elite level this season.  So far this season he has actually gone the other way, and he’s done so in dramatic fashion.  He is playing awful basketball.

But why?  Where has his game declined?  If you look at his “Production Page” on and compare it to the same from last season, its obvious.  Everything about Rose’s marginal production is basically the same except his marginal scoring efficiency.  That has really declined.

Last season Rose outscored his opponents by +3.0 points per 48, and he only needed 3.0 more scoring possessions per 48 to do so.  So his “scoring impact” was basically a wash for the Bulls.  This season, though, he is outscoring his opponent point guards by +4.4, but he now he requires 7.4 more scoring possessions per 48 to do so.  In Marginal Win Score terms that’s -3.0 divided by two which comes out to -1.50 per 48.  That’s damaging.  Unless he’s making up for it in other areas, which he isn’t, those kind of numbers from a significant minutes guy will lead to a lot of losses.

There are plenty of others who share some of the blame.  Noah’s production is down, Brad Miller’s production is down, and so is Kirk Hinrich’s.  Hinrich’s decline has been the steepest and the most surprising.  He’s usually pretty reliable.  Then you throw in the two rookies, and there you have a recipe for a bad team.

Luol Deng not at fault

The one player who cannot be blamed is Luol Deng.  He’s “progressed to the mean” if that’s a valid phrase.  Meaning, after a down season or two, he’s producing wins for the Bulls this season at almost exactly his career Player Win Average.

If you remember last summer I did a “Win Resume” for Deng and found that his career Player Win Average was .684%.  The last two seasons it had declined a bit to around the .500% level, but this season he’s got it back at .695%, and since he’s been able to stay healthy, he’s making one of his better Win Contributions (+0.181).