Bucks Diary

Friday, February 29, 2008

Measuring the Bucks defense in February


If you are a regular reader of this blog, you will know that I go through phases. One day I'm hooked on this theory, the next day I'm hooked on that one. Well, my latest obsession is a pseudo-defensive metric I concocted called "Opponents' Win Score".

I refer to it as "pseudo-defensive" because the formula does not exclusively measure an opponents' offensive statistics. But I still think that looking at a team's Opponents Win Score is a very telling way to evaluate that team's defensive performance.

My thinking is, if the Win Score metric is indeed an accurate measurement of how proficient a player or team is at accumulating the particular statistics that correlate closely with wins, and it seems to be, then conversely "Opponents' Win Score" should serve as an accurate measure of how proficient a team is at disrupting its opponent's attempts to procure said statistics. And isn't that the essence of defensive basketball?

If you accept that reasoning, then you have to conclude the Milwaukee Bucks did not put forth much defensive effort this past month, especially in games played away from the Bradley Center. Here is a list of their February "Opponent Win Scores". Bear in mind when you are reading it that the NBA average team Win Score per game is 42.5, and, according to Draftexpress.com, the top Team Win Score average is 55.7 (Phoenix) and the bottom average is 34.9 (Minnesota). And according to my last calculations ten days ago, the worst Opponent Win Score average was held by Memphis at 50.1 and the best was held by Boston at 28.1. (Sidenote: I think the fact that the best and worst Team and Opponent Win Score averages are held by teams that are generally considered the best and worst offensive and defensive teams in the NBA adds further credence to my use of the statistics as measures of offensive and defensive prowess -- even though I recognize that citing a particular statistics alignment with "conventional wisdom" is generally a dubious way of establishing its legitimacy.)

As you can see by my chart, the Bucks worsted the Grizzlies overall OWS average last month by posting a 51.9, which is off Milwaukee's poor season average of 47.9, and which includes a laughable road OWS of 58.3. Consequently, the Bucks wasted a fairly decent offensive month (as I documented in my last post), and a pretty favorably scheduled month (8 home games), netting a disappointing 4-8 record.

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