A new way to measure individual defensive performance in basketball
Alright Bucks fans, I think I have developed a way to tell the full story about the debacle that is the 2007-08 Milwaukee Bucks... on both sides of the court. At last, with my easy new defensive metric individual responsibility can be meted out where it belongs and the weak links can be exposed. No more hiding behind the cloak of "collective responsibility."
Introducing "Counterpart Win Score" to measure individual defensive performance
I wasn't satisfied with the "Defensive Rating" metric used by basketball-reference.com to grade the defensive performance of each player. It seemed to be too dependent on the performance of the entire team.
So instead I referenced the "counterpart" data provided by 82games.com (a "counterpart" is the guy you are guarding) and did a "Position Adjusted Win Score" analysis on each Bucks collective counterparts. Sort of a Win Score in reverse.
Here's my thinking. If "Win Score" is a formula that accurately measures the way any given player's statistical output translates into victories... and I am convinced it is... then I figure the degree to which each Buck prevents or allows his counterparts from accumulating said statistics provides a good indication of the degree to which that Buck has prevented his counterparts from contributing to victories for their teams. And isn't that the definition of defense?
When you look at my chart, here is what is going on: the first column is the player's "Position Adjusted Win Score / 48", what I will call his offensive contribution to victory. The second column is the cumulative "Position Adjusted Win Score / 48" of every guy that Buck has guarded this season. The third column is the player's "True Win Contribution" which is the sum of those two numbers divided by 2 and then multiplied by the player's percentage of overall playing time. (Note: Since I'm doing this entirely from the Bucks perspective, all "+" numbers are good. Also, keep in mind that a Win Contribution of .000 is exactly average, and a Team total of .000 will indicate a .500 team, so any contribution of a positive number indicates the player has contributed to a winning season, and vice versa.)
Discussion of results
1. Pressey25 was right!! The Bucks backcourt, especially Mo Williams, is awful defensively. Mo has wiped away his good work on offense with his poor work on defense.
2. I was stunned to see that Yi Jianlian is a good defender. Remember, "defense" under my definition is more than just "checking your man". Its keeping him off the boards, its getting him into foul trouble, its forcing him into turnovers, its preventing him from accumulating assists, ... Of all the starters Yi the most to disrupt his counterparts from making a positive contribution. I feel much better about him now. I still think his best spot is SF because of his offensive tendencies.
3. I was disappointed but not shocked to see that Andrew Bogut is not that effective defensively. Granted, he sometimes has to leave his man to help, but those instances should have come out in the wash, so to speak, by now. I think he needs to do a better job of scoring prevention, and rebounding prevention.
4. Royal Ivey, you are exposed! Get out now!
5. Charlie V and Bobby Simmons are basically wastes of space.
6. Oh, I have to close by giving respect to Desmond Mason, the only Buck above average on both sides of the court. I was sure wrong about him.