Bucks Diary

Friday, January 04, 2008

Ranking the NBA's starting centers


In an attempt to figure out exactly where the holes are in the Milwaukee Bucks swiss cheese lineup, I spent the holiday's applying Professor Berri's Win Score algorithm, adjusted for position, to all the starters and every bench in the NBA. This is the third in my series of six postings ranking my results. I'll get the other three rankings (SF, PF, SG) up as soon as I can.

First, a couple of comments. All of the production data I used came from Draftexpress.com and is current as of December 31st. To determine the starting lineups, I first relied on HoopsHype.com, until I saw they had Charlie Villanueva listed as the Bucks starter (a situation that hasn't occured once this year). Then I tried Foxsports.com, but I realize they had some minor errors as well (they list Manu Ginobli as the Spurs starting SG, when in fact he has started only 3 games, and they list Jordan Farmar as the Lakers starting PG, when in fact he hasn't started a game all year).

In the end, I relied on a combination of the two plus my own knowledge. Not surprisingly then, a few of the players listed may not technically be starters, but the analysis is basically still the same.

What do the numbers in the rankings mean? The WS number is "Position adjusted Win Score per 48 minutes", meaning how many Win Score points the player scores per 48 minutes above or below the amount which would be scored by the average center per 48 minutes. The WC number is "Win Contribution", which is simply WS multiplied by the percentage of overall player minutes the player was alloted (Overall player minutes = Games played * 48 * 5) .

I have found in doing my calculations that a +1.000 WC indicates an elite player. There are only about 8 such players in the entire Association, and two of them play center (and they're probably not the two most people would consider the best centers in basketball). You have to be hugely productive and play a lot of minutes to achieve +1.000 WC status.

To indicate what a +1.000 player means to a team, you first have to know what WC means. If you add up all of the WC scores for every player on a given team, you can calculate the number of games they won in a given period of time within one or two games. And if a team's WC total comes out to +1.000 for an entire season, the calculation indicates that such a team would have won around 52 games. So, theoretically, you can surround a +1.000 player with a bunch of average players (ie players with WCs around 0.000) and still expect a 50+ win season (Kareem proved that in his rookie season, as did Larry Bird in his).

NBA's Starting Centers

1. Dwight Howard, Orl..........WS: +10.36............WC: (+1.627)
2. Marcus Camby, Den..........WS: +10.57...........WC: (+1.495)
3. Andrew Bynum, LAL..........WS: +7.96............WC: (+0.895)
4. Chris Kaman, LAC...............WS: +5.24...........WC: (+0.854)
5. Andres Biedrins, GS..........WS: +6.78..............WC: (+0.802)
6. Tyson Chandler, NO...........WS: +5.68.............WC: (+0.769)
7. Al Jefferson, MN.................WS: +3.55............WC: (+0.540)
8. Yao Ming, Hou....................WS: +3.10............WC: (+0.484)
9. Franciso Oberto, SA...............WS: +4.85.........WC: (+0.456)
10. Samuel Dalembert, Phi............WS: +3.19.......WC: (+0.435)
11. Kurt Thomas, Sea..............WS: +6.81.............WC: (+0.398)
12. Amare Stoudamire, Pho............WS: +3.34.........WC: (+0.386)
13. Spencer Haywood, Was...........WS: +3.49..........WC: (+0.369)
14. Al Horford, Atl...................WS:+2.39...............WC: (+0.301)
15. Erick Dampier, Dall..............WS: +4.50..........WC: (+0.286)
16. Zyraunas Ilgauskas, Cle..........WS: +2.13...........WC: (+0.280)
17. Ben Wallace, Chi..............WS: +2.13..............WC: (+0.255)
18. Rasheed Wallace, Det..........WS: +2.04...........WC: (+0.242)
19. Brad Miller, Sac.............WS: +1.00..............WC: (+0.140)
20. Joel Pryzbilla, Ptl..............WS: +1.48.............WC: (+0.134)
21. Shaquille O'Neal.............WS: +1.06................WC: (+0.122)
22. Nazr Mohammed, Car.......WS: +0.74...............WC: (+0.028)
23. Andrew Bogut, Mil.................WS: +0.08...........WC: (+0.010)
24. Troy Murphy, Ind..............WS: -0.38..............WC: (-0.034)
25. Josh Boone, NJ...............WS: -0.68................WC: (-0.035)
26. Kendrick Perkins, Bos............WS: -0.79.............WC: (-0.077)
27. Darko Milicic, Mem.............WS: -3.84.............WC: (-0.286)
28. Eddy Curry, NY................WS: -4.53.............WC: (-0.513)
29. Mehmet Okur, Utah............WS: -5.30............WC: (-0.531)
30. Anrdrea Bargnani, Tor.............WS: -8.14.........WC: (-0.652)

Comments

Profile of a winning center: a rugged player who lives to rebound, block shots on defense, and take only high percentage shots on offense...Profile of a losing center: Soft, foreign born player (or Eddy Curry) who is allergic to paint and therefore will not rebound and will shoot low percentage outside shots... If this analysis proves anything it is this: a center must rebound... you can get away with playing anyone at center as long as he is willing to rebound at least once every three minutes, and as long as he doesn't mind restricting himself to taking only shots he can make... The latter part was why Jamaal Magliore sucked, if he would have restricted himself to rebounding, he would have been gold -- but, no, he thought he was an offensive force to be reckoned with and so he undid all the good his rebounding would have done... Bucks' fans, at this point Andrew Bogut is simply a well below average starting center... You can only build a championship team around him at this point if you also include (a) Michael Jordan, (b) Larry Bird, or (c) Magic Johnson... And I'm only being half facietious... He has to get his numbers up, and he can do it if he follows my advice posting of a couple of days ago.

5 Comments:

At January 4, 2008 at 6:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was just thinking during the last couple of Laker games I caught, that even if you rule out Paul and Williams from that draft ("had two point guards"), Bynum's passed Bogut too. So that blows for us.

 
At January 4, 2008 at 6:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Also it's disappointing to hear some of us confused bastards deciding we should build around Yi and Bogut. Even if we ignore that Yi would almost have to play 3 to allow some magic third party to actually rebound well enough at the 4 to make up for them...

I mean, sometimes it seems like Yi's already making big strides pretty quickly. So build around him, sure. But if we need him to develop so quickly while we say "sure, Bogut can have until his 4th or whenever season to do the same if he needs that long," it starts to make sense why numbers can be so valuable along with the things we see, or double-check what we really value. Sure, I'd like Bogut to be a young up-and-comer worth building around too.

 
At January 4, 2008 at 10:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yo Ty, when do we start picketing the Cousins Center? I just want to make sure we coordinate our poster signs so we rip everyone who deserves it. Bobby is the only one off-limits because his son just died last month.

 
At January 5, 2008 at 12:51 AM, Anonymous glenn said...

I hate the Bucks right now. The only way to protest what is happening with the team right now is by withholding our money, whether by not paying to see games or not buying merchandise. Problem is, if we don't show support we could be looking at the future Las Vegas Bucks. Fuck Larry Harris. I like Bogut and Yi but I agree that we can't afford to have two soft guys as our front court. Micheal Hunt's call to trade Redd is silly, though. What's the point of trading Redd exactly? Cap room? For who? And who are we going to get of comparable talent? Keep Yi and Redd, try to trade CV, Bogut and Williams and hope for a good pick in the draft. If Kohl's willing to take the hit then try to buy out either Simmons or Gadzuric. At least that's my opinion. End of rant.

 
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