Bucks Diary

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Could Moute be the Bucks' Carl Landry?


I'll be honest. When I first saw the Bucks picked Luc Mbah a Moute with their second round pick, my reaction was "huh"?

Then I looked up his stats. At first I was a bit underwhelmed. His production in his final year was not very good. HOWEVER, if you look back at his two previous seasons, he was pretty productive. His freshman year was particularly impressive, when he provided UCLA with a Win Contribution of around +0.429 (I'm not positive about the exact position he played, so I can't be precise about his contribution... suffice to say it was significant). So what gives with the drop off? Should we be concerned?

Not necessarily. Let me toss out a theory. In the book The Wages of Wins the authors discussed a certain phenomenon they encountered during while analyzing statistical production over the course of ten NBA seasons. I can't remember what how they referred to the phenomenon, but here I'll refer to it as "The Kevin Love Syndrome".

What happens is, when you pair two productive players together there is a tendency for one or both of the players to see their Win Contributions reduced, even though either or both player's has not in fact lost any of their productive capacity. And the net effect to the team is usually enhanced. Its just that the "credit" for the team's success gets spread out. Or, in some cases, the credit is shifted dramatically from one player to another. Perhaps that's what happened here.

The evidence suggests it did. If you look at the numbers you will see that this past season Moute's share of UCLA's overall defensive rebound haul went down dramatically. But that doesn't necessarily imply that he is any less of a rebounder than he was two years ago. Defensive rebounding involves a lot of "gimmes". So it could just be that Moute deferred some of the easier boards to teammate Kevin Love.

If my theory accurately describes reality, the Bucks may have gotten themselves a poor man's Carl Landry here. That would be a bit of a coup. You will recall that Landry came out of nowhere to put up stunning Win Contribution numbers, particularly during the Rockets stunning 23 game win streak.
That might not be all of Moute's value either. UCLA was an outstanding defensive team during Moute's years in blue (for all 3 of his season's, Pomeroy had the Bruins ranked among the top 3 defensive teams in the country). So one can assume Luc brings something to that party as well.

With all of that said, however, I have to air out one beef I have with the pick. Richard Hendrix of Alabama was still on the board at 37 (he went to Golden State at 49). I really wish Bango would have snagged him. His productivity was off the charts and his size and strength are absolutely ideal for the NBA "4" spot (remember I only consider "basketball height", meaning standing reach). If he has some flaw, I just completely missed it. I think Golden State got another huge Win Contributor for their growing stable of talent. Chris Mullin has really impressed me (Brandon Wright shows signs that he will be quite productive as well).

But, all in all, I think Bango had an okay draft day. He may have upgraded the 3 spot, depending on how much Richard Jefferson has in the tank. The Joe Alexander pick is somewhat intriguing, he's a big mountain boy who certainly seems to have the right attitude (plus his Joe Atlas like strength will be a considerable physical upgrade over Yi's "wimpy, wimpy, wimpy" approach), and as I said, our new mystery man Moute just might turn out to be a hidden treasure.

On the downside, our enemies had good days. Which will be the topic of my next post.

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