Markieff Morris could be undervalued, Tristan/Jimmer overvalued and more advanced stat nuggets

Advanced stats favor Markieff Morris (right) over Tristan Thompson. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images North America)

Advanced stats favor Markieff Morris (right) over Tristan Thompson. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images North America)

College and NBA performance is correlated but the correlation isn’t perfect, as James Brocato writes on the Wages of Wins Journal.

Still, taking a look at the Position Adjusted Win Score per 40 minutes (PAWS40) numbers can shed some light on prospects whose advanced numbers may be better than you thought in college and vice versa.

The guy who immediately sticks out to me is Markieff Morris, who ranks second among power forwards with a 13.5 PAWS40 behind only Kenneth Faried, the small school product whose 17.2 score laps the field.

Markieff ranks a spot ahead of Derrick Williams in this measure (12.7 for the UA star) and also ranked in the top 10 of John Hollinger’s college PER (29.74), where Williams was third (32.69).

What impresses me most about Markieff is his stellar defensive rebound rate. He corralled 24.4 percent of the available defensive rebounds and 17.7 percent of the available boards. Since rebounding often translates to the pros, this bodes very well for Markieff, who edged out his twin for the Big 12 PER lead. According to StatSheet, Markieff excelled in true shooting percentage as well, shooting 61.1 percent two years ago and 64.1 percent last year when he ranked second in the Big 12.

On the flip side of this ValleyoftheSuns favorite Tristan Thompson grabbed about half as many defensive boards as Markieff, according to Hollinger’s stats, with a 12.8 DRR. Thompson is known as a quality rebounder due to his superb work on the offensive boards (12.6 ORR) but it concerns me that his teammate Jordan Hamilton was a much better defensive rebounder (17.5 DRR).

Thompson’s PAWS40 of 8.1 is second worst among the DraftExpress projected lottery picks. I’ve been high on Thompson in recent days, but it’s disconcerting that he grabbed defensive rebounds at a Robin Lopez-esque rate in college, and his 53.6 true shooting percentage does not exactly impress.

On the topic of Hamilton, his PAWS40 (11.0) ranked second to Kawhi Leonard among small forwards and as noted previously he’s a superb defensive rebounder for a wing, which has been very important for Phoenix in recent years. Hamilton’s 25.79 PER ranked fifth in the Big 12 behind three Jayhawks and Alec Burks.

Advanced stats and Jimmer

Jimmer Fredette ranked seventh in all of college basketball with a 30.80 PER, behind only Faried and Williams when it comes to expected first-rounders.

But the PAWS40 metric isn’t so kind to him with Jimmer scoring a 9.3 to place him outside the top five in point guards and in the bottom third of the top 12 DraftExpress prospects.

Peter Newmann and Dean Oliver of ESPN Stats and Info (Oliver is one of the leaders of the advanced stats movement) broke down Jimmer on TrueHoop and don’t exactly see him as a future star in the making.

His career pure point rating of minus 0.2 for his BYU career and minus 1.8 last year are not what a team should want out of its point guard of the future.

Newman and Oliver determined the most similar college players to Jimmer are as follows: B.J. Armstrong, Dana Barros, Randolph Childress, Travis Diener, Litterial Green, Scott Haffner, Lucious Harris, Allan Houston, Steve Nash and Khalid Reeves. In that group we have a number of busts, some very solid players and a certain two-time MVP.

Newman and Oliver conclude by writing:

Superficially, Fredette’s scoring volume has inflated his value to the point where he may be a lottery pick. His ceiling is lower than others because of his age, and his ability to develop into a passer is in question. When evaluating the entire package, Fredette projects better to the NBA as a late first-round or early second-round pick, given his one specialty skill. That way, he can begin to carve out a career as a designated shooter, with a chance to improve his overall game.

From Stubmling on Wins we learn that “scoring totals have the biggest impact on where a player is drafted,” with Prof. David Berri and company finding that a prospect who increases his scoring average by four points per 40 minutes will get drafted an average of six slots higher.

Considering Jimmer averaged 28.9 points per game last season, he seems like an obvious candidate to be drafted higher than he should, especially when factoring in Jimmermania and the emotional appeal to drafting a player like him. Therefore, the Suns could likely find better value at 13 than Jimmer.

And 1

  • Stumbling on Wins also notes that playing on an NCAA champion or Final Four team are statistically significant factors that lead to a better draft position. Based on that Kemba Walker can be expected to be selected higher than he should, and the same could be true for Brandon Knight and Shelvin Mack.
  • In Jimmer’s YouTube video on his Phoenix workout, his agent Chris Emens said “there’s a very high degree of probability that [the Suns’} draft pick will come out of the workout.” Along with Fredette, Tristan Thompson, the Morris twins, Chris Singleton and Iman Shumpert attended a workout that Alvin Gentry told Jimmer was “the best workout he’s ever had.” The Suns’ brass told Jimmer they want either a forward or a point guard with their pick.
  • ESPN’s Chad Ford writes that the Suns are “in hot pursuit” of Minnesota’s No. 2 pick for the right to draft Derrick Williams. Ford writes the Suns might be interested in trading Marcin Gortat and the No. 13 pick for the No. 2 selection and center Nikola Pekovic. As much as I’d love D-Will in a Suns jersey, I don’t think he’s worth giving up a certifiable center in Gortat as well as No. 13 although he could be that future star the Suns crave.
  • Tristan Thompson only has plans to work out for teams between pick Nos. 4-13 and he told TheScore he feels that’s his range. I wonder if the Suns have told him anything to make him believe they are his floor or whether he is just being optimistic.

Tags: Derrick Williams Jimmer Fredette Jordan Hamilton Markieff Morris Tristan Thompson

  • Mel.

    I will seriously stab a rusty knitting needle through my skull if Gortat gets traded. I know we’ve made a dynasty out of screwing up our center position, but for the love of all that’s holy… there isn’t a viable big man in the Suns’ price range that fits our program as well as Marcin.

    Unless he’s already decided that he’s sick of the team, or won’t play without Nash. In which case, he STILL deserves a better out than Minnesota.

  • shazam

    agree w/ mel

  • dan

    I wouldn’t trust Wages of Wins metrics. They are known to overvalue rebounding, especially defensive rebounding, and undervalue scoring. Example: Kevin Love is good but not MVP worthy as Berri’s metrics suggest.

  • Steve

    I agree about Marcin wholeheartedly. I want him here. But think about this:

    The Wolves with Love at the 4, Beasley at the 3, the Suns’ 13th pick at the 2, Rubio/Flynn at the 1, and Marcin at the 5? That has the makings of a playoff team. Three very good players, a middling PG with some potential for being very good/great, and if they can find a half-way decent 2, all that team would need is chemistry. It makes sense for Minny to get rid of either its No. 2 pick or Michael Beasley. They shouldn’t want both UNLESS they believe Derrick Williams isn’t going to be there or they don’t want Derrick Williams even if he’s there. If I were Minnesota, I would be shopping that 2nd pick and I would settle for nothing less than someone of the caliber of Gortat.

    As for Wages of Wins, I tend to agree with dan. I think advanced stats are awesome, but sometimes, you have to look at what your eyes are telling you. In some cases, Wages of Wins can seem very off. Overall, I think it’s great that sabermetrics are taking over basketball.

  • Ryan

    I’m not entirely against trading Gortat when his value is high, but I think Gortat and the 13th pick may be a little steep for Williams….but would be nice to finally sale high rather than what the Suns usually do.

  • Cam

    Trading Gortat and the 13th pick in a weak draft for a “tweener” would ran as the dumbest trade ever for the Phoenix Suns. This would be far stupider than trading Kurt Thomas and a 1st rounder to the supersonics for cap relief. I like Williams but all I have to say is hell no. Unless we make a trade we have a gilt of wings, I know let’s trade our starting center, a possible all star next year, for another wing. Sounds great. Stupid. Go Suns.

  • Rich Anthony, (KJL)

    The Gortat information is just another reason as to why the Suns should just move Nash and get it over with.

    The theory is there. You get this PF that is supposed to be the second coming of STAT in our system, put Frye back in the 5 position, and the Suns are fun again.

    And out of the playoffs again.

    And in the lottery again.

    So what the hell. May as well get rid of Nash instead. I’m sorry but even in his tremendous physical condition, I’d much rather build around Gortat and youth than him at this point.

    If he is working as hard as reports say and he improves now that he has time in games, he will be a formidable man in the middle. One that demands attention from other teams which makes the inside out game continue to work, just in a more traditional way.

    I’m not wasting anymore text on that scenario. It’s more idiotic than a sound byte by George W. Bush.

    Our writers sure do have a lot of love for this Morris kid. We seem to really enjoy the “other brother” in these drafts.

    Nothing against him really, but is he really what we’re needing at the 4 in a youngster who has holes in his game?

    In our system, what he is good at offensively doesn’t really mesh well unless he’s outside shooting, and Channing Frye is far superior in that aspect of the game.

    On the other side, Gani Lawal is terrible from long range, but that’s why we have Channing, JMZ, Nash, etc.

    Lawal better fits what we need, right now, at that 4 position. I went looking around for some detailed scouting on Morris and Lawal. Check it out.

    Markieff Morris
    “He’s effective within a few feet of the rim and as a spot up shooter on the perimeter, but he’s missing an in between game … Facing up and using a dribble is not part of his repertoire … Missing advanced high post moves, and struggles to draw fouls despite his physical interior play … His ceiling is not as high as some of the other longer more athletic bigs … ”

    Gani Lawal
    “Lawal is a relentless player in the post with great potential … He is a big time athlete with combination of a great body, huge wingspan (7’0’’) and excellent motor … Has great footwork for a big man and runs the floor extremely hard … Offensively, his game is based on his strength under the basket with putbacks, rebounds and hook shoots (shows solid touch with his right hand) and he does a great job at holding down his position … Good finisher around the rim. If he catches the ball in the post and decides to turn around for a jump-shot, he will most likely try to shoot it off the glass … Likes to play a physical game and is very hard to stop if he caches the ball on the low-post … Has ability to get his defenders in the air and draw fouls … Lawal possesses soft hands and he is very explosive player off the ground when he catches the ball in the paint or going for a rebound … Solid passer inside the post with good vision … ”

    If you read both of those profiles you’ll see both players have weaknesses. However, Morris’ strengths, in our system, are not things that would be used very often because we don’t throw it into the post and he isn’t taking Frye’s position outside.

    Lawal has range issues, but his strengths are exactly what Nash would be looking for as long as he Lawal can catch and dribble it [at the most] twice before SMASHING it through the hole. He has also been in the system for a year and better understands the improvements needed and in that regard is further ahead than Morris and in my opinion, a better fit and more valuable.

    I’d even take Lawal, already in house, over Tristan Thompson.

    I think because Lawal got hurt we didn’t get a chance to see him added to the rotation, (and eating all of RoLo’s minutes off the bench), and I also think that as long as he is in house the pick at 13 is better served on Hamilton, Alec, or Jimmer if any of those 3 are sitting there.

    I will punch small rabbits to death if they trade Gortat.

  • Jenks D.

    I would trade Marcin Gortat for a straight #2 pick, but not with our #13 pick….thats the worst deal ever. maybe if there was a stand-out center like a DeMarcus Cousins. If we traded Gortat, we would be left with Robin Lopez at center and we all know he doesnt live up to his brothers (Brook Lopez) potential.

  • Ryan

    At the very least Johnny Flynn should be thrown in that deal, and Minny’s 2nd pick….if the Suns are gonna give up the 13th pick, Gortat and take back Peckovic…gotta get more than Derrik Williams….oh and there will never be a trade as bad as the Kurt Thomas Trade.

  • JohnD

    There are liars, damn liars and statisticians. PER, PAWS40, and the “advanced metrics” prove nothing. If you make enough assumptions and scale-up projections, you can prove anything. Ask any coach whether you can take a player’s statistics and accurately project them to 40 or 48 minutes – they will laugh at you. You cannot do this in the science and engineering disciplines and you cannot do this with basketball players either. I challenge anyone to prove these “advanced metrics” on any level correlate to wins, championships or even ‘all pro’ status – you certainly cannot use college statistics to project performance at the next level.

    As to all of these made up trade rumors with the T-Pups. The T-Pups have a plethora of flawed players that banded together to achieve 17 wins. The late Cotton Fitzsimmons cautioned, “Be careful of players that put up bug numbers on bad teams.” I would not give anything more than a couple of seconds for the likes Michael Beasley or Jonny Flynn

  • Mike Meez

    First of all, Ryan is correct: nothing will ever be as bad as the Kurt Thomas trade. Kurt Thomas (who was a key big man for us at the time as we had no true center) plus 2 first round picks for a 2nd round pick and trade exception. Add in that the Sonics later traded Thomas to Spurs who used him to beat us in the playoffs. One of those trades that will probably not be remembered in the long run because it doesn’t include any big names, but which is truly one of the dumbest trades of all time.

    As much as I love Derrick Williams after watching him play the last couple years at UA, I tend to agree that the Suns should not trade Gortat for him. I’m not concerned about throwing in the 13th pick at all because this draft class is so weak, but Gortat might turn out to be the best big man Suns have had in a while.

    Then again, I wonder how much Gortat is really worth without Nash; we all know how Nash makes everyone else better. It seems to me that almost of all Gortat’s success on the offensive end is attributable to Nash’s deft passing. I don’t know if Derrick Williams is an All-Star type player in the NBA but in college he created his own shots on the offensive side. He takes guys off the dribble, is a good spot up shooter, finishes at the rim, and is a great 3-point shooter to boot. He’s still only 20 so I’m excited to see him develop at the next level. He’s a little shorter than Amar’e but has more fire on the defensive side so I think he’ll be about as good rebounding. Ok, I just talked myself into trading for the 2 pick to get Derrick hahah.

    No matter what you think, you at least have to like the Suns front office thinking about moving up in the draft. I like the aggressiveness.

  • Steve

    @JohnD-Look at who the advanced stats say are the greatest players in the long run and tell me advanced statistics are worthless.

    If you are familiar with me, you’ll know that I always say I trust my eyes first, then look to the advanced stats to see if they back me up. USUALLY our eyes don’t lie, but sometimes they do. USUALLY advanced stats don’t lie, but sometimes they do.

    Advanced stats will tell you Michael Jordan is the greatest player who has ever lived. Advanced stats will fill the top 20 with names like Wilt, Kareem, Magic, O’Neal, Bryant, Bird, Malone, Barkley, etc etc etc. And there are no anomalies to speak of. Advanced stats get it right, for the most part.

    Is PER perfect? No. Is WS48 perfect? No. DWS? No. None of the advanced stats are perfect, and only a fool would tell you they are. But advanced stats almost always back up what we see with our eyes in the first place, and sometimes they can open our eyes to things we didn’t even realize.

    For instance, Carmelo Anthony has been widely acknowledged as a top 10 player in the league for the past few years, but some advanced stats don’t even put him near that realm. I think the advanced stats are right in this case. I think Melo’s game is garbage (well, not garbage, but not top 10 either, or even top 30). Our eyes and/or hearts tell us that Garnett and Pierce are the best players on the Celtics (this year), but I was thinking RayRay deserved more of the credit than the other two (or at least an equal share). Look at Ray’s numbers in the playoffs. He was an animal.

    I’ve given you a few examples of how advances stats are good. You put the burden of proof on me, now I’ll send it back to you. Tell me how they’re bad.

    Oh, and back up this quote, “Ask any coach whether you can take a player’s statistics and accurately project them to 40 or 48 minutes – they will laugh at you.”

    Get Rick Carlisle to laugh at that. Get Alvin Gentry to laugh at that. Get Doc Rivers to laugh at it. How about Phil Jackson. Show me SOMETHING where a respectable NBA coach dismisses advanced metrics as if they’re not useful. You can’t just say something like that and not be able to back it up. Btw, I think you’re missing the point of projecting to 48 minutes, but we won’t get into that.

  • John D

    Little touchy there Steve?

    Show me a single quote from any NBA head coach including Carlisle, Gentry, Jackson or Rivers that includes the phrases PER, advanced metrics , WS48, sabermetrics, etc…” I have not been able to find one. With respect to their use of these 40-48 minute projections, lets take a look:

    I am sure coach Jackson created his rotation based on 40 and 48 minute projections. That is why we saw so much of Devin Ewbanks, Matt Barnes and Derrick Caracter as opposed to Ron Artest. All of them have better scoring and rebounding projections at 40 mins than Ron Artest who plays more minutes than all of them combined.

    I am sure Coach Gentry was aware that he a center that averaged 17 and 10.5 on a 40 minute basis – if only he played Garret Siler for 40 minutes. He obviously needed to bench Gortat, Frye and Lopez.

    I’ll bet that Doc Rivers would be glad to swap Rondo for Boykins or Hakim Warrick who both had a higher PERs. I am sure most NBA coaches will strongly prefer Ryan Anderson and Chris Anderson over Marc Gasol because the former two both had higher “PERs.”

    Rick Carlisle will be pleased to learn that Jason Terry ranks well behind the likes of Lou Williams, Rodney Stuckey, Chris Wilcox, etc.. in PER. I am sure he belives that his team would be better with Earl Boykins than JJ Barea based on PER.

    Similarly, Rick Carlisle will be pleased to know Kevin Love is the fourth best player in the league – certainly better than Dirk based on PER. Did Love’s impressive PER contribute to a winning team? Dirk’s lesser PER combined with Jason Terry’s downright pitiful PER (ranked102nd) combined for a championship. I am not disparaging Kevin Love ; I am only pointing out the obvious flaw in this “advanced metric.”

    From a historical perspective can you explain why Bill Russell is only the 97th ranked player and cannot hold a candle to such greats as; John Drew, Elton Brand, Dan Issel, Marques Johnson, Larry Faust, etc.. And Oscar Robertson is #21; ranking behind Dwayne Wade, Chris Paul who also rank ahead of Magic Johnson. Lebron is better than Abdul-Jabbar and Magic? Not yet and maybe not ever.

    Even the gurus that developed the advanced statistics for baseball do not find this endeavor credible when applied to basketball.

    As far as my, “missing the point of projecting to 48 minutes,” I can only tell you I am not missing anything. There is no point to a 48 minute projection. No one plays 48 minutes; scaling up to this point is as useful as scaling to 60 minutes. As a person formally trained in engineering, I actually know how to scale up from one regime to another and I have actually done numerous multi-variable data analysis to develop correlations between dependent and independent variables. Statistics is simply a tool that measures the fit of the data. An actual correlation between a dependent and independent variable that can be used to predict a future event must be based on a scientific principle or the laws of physics. The only correlation in basketball that I know of is that the team that scores the most points wins 100% of the time. As for scale up, you simply cannot project a player’s performance at 40 minutes of playing time by scaling up his statistics from an average of 5, 8 or even 20 minutes of playing time. Coaches know this intuitively and persons grounded in engineering and science can usually explain this from a theoretical point.

    Finally, I also have graduate degrees in business (statistics, econ, etc… none of which are based on a hard science or mathematics) and law. I have worked with economists trying to develop “models” in this soft science to predict future economic performance from various past parameters. A quick glance at our present economy and the debate over how to get it back on track should tell you effective this has been. As for law, I can tell you more than likely than not this never gets past Daubert or Frye motions and into a courtroom and would be rightfully considered “Junk Science.”

    Place your belief in this flawed social science if you want to, that is your choice. But do not be surprised when others who do not follow you down this path or question this.

  • Michael Schwartz

    I find a lot of merit in advanced stats, as most people who regularly read this blog know by now. The first thing to consider when analyzing advanced metrics in basketball is that there is no “Holy Grail” statistic that gives you a perfect answer for everything and due to the nature of the sport perhaps there never will be. But I do feel like taken as a whole advanced metrics paint a better picture of what’s going on than merely our eyes.

    For example, we all know there’s a ton of noise in adjusted plus-minus, but when you see a guy like Steve Nash consistently at the top of the leaderboard in this category and then this year being at the top of the league while pretty much the rest of his team is in the negatives that’s telling. Anybody who watched this team this season would tell you that seems pretty accurate.

    I feel like the rate statistics are immeasurably better than typical stats like points per game and rebounding per game. As we learned from the Suns this decade, we must look at team scoring averages on a pace-adjusted basis. It doesn’t matter what teams scores the most point but what team scores most efficiently. Rebound rate is another stat I love since you can compare players based on the percentage of rebounds they grab.

    Also @JohnD I suggest you check out the Wages of Wins. Prof. Berri and co. do correlate different performance measures to wins. His WP48 stat and overall theories certainly have their critics but I find this stat to be fairly credible and he does exactly what you say cannot be done from an economic perspective.

    In sum I just feel all these tools must be taken together to get a greater picture than what we can see with our own eyes. For the purposes of this piece, I’m merely pointing out that Tristan Thompson’s defensive rebound rate is alarmingly low for a guy who’s a project on offense and is supposed to be this great rebounder whereas Markieff was a model of efficiency and a defensive boarding beast in college.

  • Michael Schwartz

    Oh, and coaches do use advanced stats. Mark Cuban relies on a slew of stats. In fact, he hired Rick Carlisle based on advanced stats work showing that Carlisle’s players were more effective with him in comparison to how players performed with any other coaches, and the majority of the league (including the Suns and led by teams like Houston and Boston) has some advanced stats influence.

  • Steve

    @JohnD- Am I supposed to be impressed that you’ve been “formally trained in engineering” and that you have a BUSINESS degree (the laughing stock for all engineers). I AM an engineer (and I don’t want this to impress you, don’t care if it does or doesn’t). I understand numbers very well, and I can see that you can at least read numbers very well. You took the time to research a few possible miscues of PER (which is my least favorite advanced stat, by the way. Another thing you would be familiar with if you knew me). You also only looked at one advanced stat at a time, which is essentially the same thing as saying, “Player X gets 17ppg. They must be a great player and their team’s second/third option.” It doesn’t make sense. You act as if one stat paints the entire picture of a player.

    When I said you’re missing the point about 40-48 minute projections, it’s because you’re thinking everyone actually believes those are the numbers someone would get if they played that amount of minutes. That’s now what they’re for. You even said yourself what it really is for, but I guess you’re too blind to see it because you hate advanced stats so much. “Statistics is simply a tool that measures the fit of the data.” Bingo. X-minute projections are all about comparing production rates. Does that mean a garbage bench player who scores eight points in four minutes of play at the end of the game could have threatened Wilt’s record if he had played all 48? NO! And NO ONE in the world thinks that is what projected stats are trying to say except for you, apparently. Advanced stats are typically for measuring EFFICIENCY, and efficiency can often be tweaked by those who are savvy by slightly adjusting minutes one way or the other. As Michael pointed out, this is a method Rick Carlisle often employed, and it won him the finals.

    I’m also glad Michael brought up adjusted +/-, because that is easily in my top 3 of useful advanced stats. Really, you looked at PER only (which is highly inflated toward the offensive side of the ball, especially point production and shooting percentage). And like I said in my previous post, only a fool would think that any ONE advanced metric was perfect on its own. The argument for advanced metrics is not that it can tell you EVERYTHING about a player. The argument is that knowing someone’s WS48 might be more useful than knowing their ppg, or adjusted +/- might be more useful than their rpg, or DWS might be more important than spg, etc etc etc. No one said advanced metrics are perfect. I’m just saying they’re not as broken as you think, your reasoning is really without base, and you’re completely wrong for thinking everyone isn’t going to be jumping on this train. The ship has already sailed, and the NBA has been and will continue to be consumed by it.

    Three years ago, I was in the same boat as you. I hated PER with a passion. I thought it was the most useless stat I had ever seen. I looked into the formula itself, saw some merit in it, and my research brought me to other advanced stats such as adjusted +/-, WS48, WS, OWS, DWS, OR, DR, pct stats, usage, etc, and the entire picture became much more clear. Advanced stats are a heck of a lot more useful than traditional stats, and you couldn’t be more wrong in thinking the rest of the world doesn’t already know that.

  • Keith

    Uh, no, Steve. I am no engineer, and like most people I know, I think advanced stats are crap. You can use stats to prove anything. It’s easy to watch games and see who is better than other players. I couldn’t care less about these advanced stats and John just gave several wonderful examples of why they are complete BS.

  • Steve

    “I think advanced stats are worthless because I say so.”

    Ok, we’ve already dealt with that argument dan, JohnD, and Keith. I’ve heard that one before, and it’s completely invalid.

    Saying, “PER said that Earl Boykins was better than JJ Barea during the regular season! PER is totally inaccurate!” is not a valid argument. It’s hasty generalization. Plus, if you leave subjectivity to be the only determining factor of who is better than who, I GUARANTEE you will find less agreement than you would get from using advanced statistics. So, the argument that there are a few examples where advanced stats SEEM to be incorrect is doubly wrong. It’s wrong because it’s a hasty generalization, and it’s wrong because you’re making the assertion that you can tell more easily who is better WITHOUT advanced stats. You can’t.

    Please, people, use your brains.

  • Steve

    I forgot to mention another reason for projecting statistics earlier… if you only look at cumulative stats, it can make a huge difference over a single season or especially a career. For instance, let’s say we were looking at win shares. If you look at win shares only, it will lead you to believe that Kareem was the greatest “winner” of all time because he has the most win shares. It will also lead you to believe that Karl Malone was a better winner than MJ, even though MJ beat Malone twice in the Finals and played for the winningest team in NBA history. WS48 (win shares per 48 minutes) will tell you a different story. MJ is the greatest winner of all time while Malone barely cracks the top 20. (before you bash me, yes, I know that “win shares” does not directly correlate to “winning”)

    You can do this with any stat, even traditional stats, and the same things apply. In fact, for those of you who are bashing projected stats (which are really to figure out rates of production), what do you think ppg, rpg, apg, spg, bpg, anythingpg are? It’s a rate that can be used for projection, whether that be from quarter to quarter, game to game, season to season, career, or what have you. Would you say someone who scores 35 ppg but only scores 525 points in a season is a better scorer than someone who scores 656 points in a season? You might, but it would probably depend on how many games that second player had actually played, right? What if that second player had only played in 5 games? That’s a pretty amazing scorer, right (beating Wilt every game, I’d say so)? But if that second player had played in 82 games, would you say he’s a better scorer?

    You can’t have things both ways. If you want to say advanced stats are CRAP, then you’ll have to say that ALL stats are crap. Advanced stats are simply tinker toys to figure out production rates, and the building blocks are traditional stats. Stats are an extremely useful thing, and I don’t think it’s just a coincidence that nearly every advanced statistic backs up what our eyes tell us in 90%+ of all cases. Do you think you could get 90% of all basketball fans to subjectively agree that player X is better than player Y?

  • Michael Schwartz

    I think the biggest argument in favor of advanced stats is just that almost every team possesses some sort of advanced stats person and some teams have entire departments. In a league where the tiniest edge can make a difference, that’s telling. One of the bigger advanced stats teams is the Dallas Mavericks and, well, I think they are doing just fine these days.