Bucks Diary

Monday, May 08, 2006

Establishing value for each Bucks starter

I was reading Sports Illustrated and I saw they were using a baseball statistic called "VORP" -- Value over replacement player. Essentially that stat seeks to quantify the value a player gives a team by comparing his output to the output the team would get if they replaced him with an average player at his position.

From that I got an idea. I decided to evaluate each of the Bucks starting five by comparing their production (in Eff48 terms) to the production you would get from an average starter at each player's position. The numbers were sobering but hardly startling.

In terms of production, the Bucks have a below average starter at every position save for shooting guard (where they are getting magnificent production).

To derive my numbers, I took each team's starting five according to Foxsports.com, then I looked up each of those starter's Eff48 numbers as computed by NBA.com. I then determined the mean (the average) and the median (essentially the production of the 15th best player at each position) Eff48 number for each position. Finally, I calculated the percentage the particular Bucks starter varied from each.

What I was attempting to show was the difference in production between the Bucks player and the average starter at that player's position. That, to me, equals the player's value.

Here is what I came up with at each position. I will discuss the implications of these numbers in subsequent posts.

Point Guard: TJ Ford (mean: -13.1%) (median: -10.4%)

TJ Ford's Eff48 number of 19.37 ranks him as the 22nd most productive point guard in the Association. The average Eff48 for PGs is 22.29 while the 15th most productive PG (Luke Ridnour) has a 21.64. The top PG is Steve Nash at 32.69.

Shooting Guard: Michael Redd (mean: +18.1%) (median: +27.3%)

Michael Redd's Eff48 of 24.89 ranks him as the 6th most productive shooting guard in the Association. This is 18.1% more productive than the average starter at the 2, and, because of a lack of quality shooting guards, it is a startling 27.3% more productive than the 15th most productive SG (Ruben Patterson) who has a 19.64. Redd's value has skyrocketed in my eyes (more about that in a subsequent post). What this means is the Bucks have an elite player at a position where most teams are below average.

Center: Jamaal Magliore (mean: -13.27%) (median: -11.4%)

Jamaal Magliore's Eff48 of 20.32 ranks him as the 21st most productive center in the Association. The average Eff48 at the 5 position is 23.43, while the 15th most productive center (Tyson Chandler) registers a 22.94. Interestingly, if Dan Gadzuric put up the same numbers as a starter that he has in limited action (26.30) -- and since that is about his career average there is no reason to believe he could not -- then he would rank amongst the ten most productive centers and would provide the Bucks with a substantial increase over the average and the middle of the center population. Yet Stotts won't use him. I don't get it.

Small Forward: Bobby Simmons (mean: -12.2%) (median: -13.1%)

Bobby Simmons' Eff48 of 19.17 ranks him as the 19th most productive starting small forward in the Association. If you notice, his derivation from the average production at the position (21.83) is less than his derivation from the 15th most productive player at the position (Peja Stojakovic at 22.06). What that means is that small forward is the one position where most teams field an above average player, yet the Bucks somehow paid a premium price to get a player who is clearly below average, and if you ponder his career Eff48 (20.38) you might conclude that he will always be so. A gigantic mistake.

Power Forward: Andrew Bogut (mean: -8.6%) (median: -6.3%)

Andrew Bogut's Eff48 of 23.85 ranks him as the 20th most productive starting power forward in the Association. Power forward is the Cadillac position in the NBA. It is the most productive, and it features a greater percentage of the association's elite players than any other position. Bogut, being a center in college, was put in a difficult position when he was shifted to the power forward and asked to guard many of these heavywieghts. His productivity must be judged through that prism. Thus his derivation from the average Eff48 at the 4, which is 26.10, and from the 15th most productive starter at the 4 (Kenyon Martin at 25.48) is quite respectable. Consider that he would have been above average if he were played at center, and his numbers probably would have been better given that he would have been expending much less energy defending much lesser players. For example, Samuel Dalembert is the 7th most productive center while Chris Bosh is the 7th most productive power forward -- who would you rather check? In fact, I think the fact that he kept his head above water was an acheivement in itself.


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