Bucks Diary

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Revised Win Profile for the 2007-08 Milwaukee Bucks

With the fall here and the NBA just around the corner (Thank God), I promise I am going to pick up the pace of my writing.

First off, though, I finally revised and updated the Milwaukee Bucks Win Profile Chart for the 2007-08 season. It tells a pretty ugly story. You can click here to see it. (Here's a primer on what the statistics mean if you're new to the site.)

According to the chart, and anyone who watched any of the action from last season, the ugly story of the '07-'08 Milwaukee Bucks can be easily summarized. Milwaukee's headline players were mediocre, and their supporting cast was downright awful.

A prime example is Michael Redd, Mr. Olympics. Redd was not as bad as I thought last year. But that doesn't let him off the hook. He was paid a King's Ransom to be a star, not a "not bad" player. "Not bad" players should be... like your sixth or seventh men in your rotation, not your lead dog. Not your "max dollar" guy. Certainly not.

The story is pretty much the same for Andrew Bogut, he was just an average player, no more no less. Although he wasn't paid to produce maximum results like Redd was, so I cut him some slack. On the plus side, his offense is improving steadily. He needs to shore up his on the ball defense. Hopefully, Coach Skiles can play a role helping get that done.

Charlie Villanueva... I hope we're not counting on too much from him. Every year he has an excuse why last year he didn't produce on a consistent basis like he's going to do this year. It was Toronto, he was hurt, it wasn't fair to start Yi... he's an excuse machine, and I don't want to hear it any more. Too bad he's not a Win Production Machine, or a Defensive Efficiency Machine, or a Consistent Rebounding Machine. That I would like.

Clearly, the newest Buck, Richard Jefferson, needs to step his game up this season. His numbers for the Nets last season were superficially flashy, but in terms of Win Production they were basically the same as Desmond Mason's. So we won't improve unless he does. But for some reason I think he will. I think he will redicate himself to defense and rebounding and efficient scoring. He'll inherit something of a leadership role, I think, on the Bucks, and that will cause him to rise up.

Getting back to last year's sorry team... I want to give Bobby Simmons and Royal Ivey special abuse. Never have two stiffer players desecrated the Greend and Red. Between them they used up about 15% of the Bucks courttime in '07-'08, and they couldn't produce a single win! In fact, by my calculation, they cost us 0.6 wins! Thanks for nothing chumps!
Then you look at Gadzuric. Has a decent contributor ever fallen faster and farther than that guy? Of course, he was completely mishandled, but that's a story for another post.

Here's hoping for better results in '08-'09!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Win Profile for the 2007-08 Seattle Supersonics

This is actually an old chart that I never completed, so the style is a little different, but basically the same. The Seattle Supersonics, now known as OKC, statistically produced around 22 wins, but had actually only 20 wins.

Click here to see the Seattle Supersonics Win Profile


1. Kevin Durant had a rough first year. He should not have been rookie of the year. He was strictly a volume scorer. I think putting him at guard was a mistake. He can't guard the position, and moving to the perimeter convinced him to unlearn the art of rebounding. Big Mistake. Put him back to small forward, I say.

2. Jeff Green may never be a good player. He wasn't a good player last year.

3. There's nothing else to say, unfortunately. The Sonics had one of the worst exit seasons in sports history, and they were just plain boring.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Win Profile for the 2007-08 Indiana Pacers

This is the last installment of Remember the ABA week on Bucks Diary. Today is the Win Profile for the 2007-08 Indiana Pacers. The Win Chart shows 34.6 calculated wins produced, against 36 actual wins... so pretty good.

With this profile complete, I think I'm almost half way through the Association now. I have to chart every player on every team before October so I can use the results for my 2008-09 NBA Preview.

Click here for the Indiana Pacers Win Profile


1. I remember making fun of Jeff Foster at one Bucks game. I shouldn't have. He's a hell of a player. He was the best performer on the Pacers last season with a Personal Won-Loss Record of 77-5.

2. The most productive Pacer was Mike Dunleavy, recording 8.2 wins.

3. The Pacers were smart to go after TJ Ford this offseason, and smarter still to deal Jermaine ONeal. Jamaal Tinsley and the backup point guards were collectively awful in 07-08, and O'Neal's offensive production really went into decline.

4. Kareem Rush got way, way more playing time than he should have gotten. His defense was terrible, and his offense was below average. It just shows how coaches can be decieved by shooters.

5. David Harrison was the worst Pacer by far. Why do they keep him around?

6. If Troy Murphy played defense, he would be very productive. His offense is stellar, but he's undermining it with weak play on the other end of the court.

7. Its pretty clear Danny Granger is more naturally suited to the 4 spot. He doesn't cover 3s well at all.

Win Profile of the 2007-08 New Jersey Nets

Today's Win Profile is of the 34-48 New Jersey Nets. This time our "Win Totals" were quite accurate. With 33.8 calculated wins produced, we nearly hit the Nets win total on the head. Again, its not that big a deal if the numbers are dead on or off by a bit, they're just as valid either way, but its still much more satisfying to be closer to the mark.

Click here to see the New Jersey Nets Win Chart

Observations about the Nets

1. The Nets cannot continue to give substantial minutes to Jason Collins at center. He is hideous on the offensive end, where he absolutely bleeds wins.

2. As you can see Bucks fans, according to my calculations, Richard Jefferson was severly below average last season, both on offense and defense. That is despite his scoring totals, which I believe represented a career best. As I stated elsewhere, his peripheral numbers have taken a sharp decline.

3. I guess Vince Carter was a lot more productive than I would have thought. He was the leader of the Nets in terms of Wins Produced.

4. Devin Harris looks like a substantial step down from Jason Kidd. Harris is just an average point guard. Kidd, on the other hand, was a big win producer, albeit a win producer on the decline. The player in the Kidd trade who might have a surprisingly positive impact for the Nets is center Desagna Diop. He played well at a position where the Nets clearly struggled.

5. Before Diop, the Nets were simply getting killed at the center position. The trio of Nenad Kristic, Jason Collins, and Jamaal Magliore were just awful.

6. With a Personal Won-Loss Record of negative 22 wins and 104 losses, Kristic has put himself firmly in the running for the NBA's worst player.

Administrative Note: The Statistic I used to call "If he were the whole team" I now call the player's "Personal Won-Loss Record". I borrowed the more succinct name from a similar statistic I found in Dean Oliver's book "Basketball on Paper". I think Oliver calculates his "Personal Won-Loss Record" according to the offensive and defensive efficiency marks the team achieved with the player on the court. Mine, on the other hand, is a calculation of the number of wins produced by the player above or below the average number of wins you would expect a player to produce in the same number of minutes divided by the player's overall percentage of playing time plus 41. So they're different statisitcs, but the concept is pretty much the same.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Win Profile of the 2007-08 San Antonio Spurs

This is Day 2 of Remember the ABA week on Bucks Diary. Today we look at the 2007-08 San Antonio Spurs. Click here to see the Spurs Win Profile Chart.

As you may notice, the Spurs Win Profile was not quite as dead-on as the other previous team Win Profiles had been. The Spurs profile was able to explain 51.6 of the Spurs 56 victories, which is a little better than 85% accurate, but I had been doing better. Yesterday, with the Denver Nuggets, I think I came within a game of their actual win total. But you'll have some teams that are off by a little. Overall, the formula is 94.6% accurate. And I went back and looked at the Win Splits I did at the end of the season, and the predicted record I got there varied from the Spurs actual record by the same number of games. So my calculations of individual performances were accurate, and that is the crucial thing.

Before I go on to my comments on the Spurs results, I have a new measure for determining "elite" status in the NBA. If a player can produce in the neighborhood of one victory for every one percent of playing time he consumes, he is an elite player. That's phenomenal production that projects out, as you can easily figure, to the fictional total of 100 victories. So far Kobe, Paul Pierce, and LeBron James were just short, whereas KG and Dwight Howard were well over, and so was Andrew Bynum in limited action, and now we add to the list the name Manu Ginobli.


1. I've said this already, but Bruce Bowen may be the worst "high minute" player on a good team in NBA history. His defense is basically reputational rather than factual at this point in his career, and he has never produced on the offensive end at all. He's costing the Spurs, and its a poor reflection on Popovich that he doesn't realize it.

2. Same with Jacque Vaughn. Why is he out there for so many minutes? They couldn't find anyone who could do even a little better than average defense and way below average offense?

3. Ditto for Robert Horry. Put that guy out to pasture.

4. You're going to blow up over this one, but technically, Manu Ginobli is a better Win Producer per minute of action, or was this season, than Kobe or LeBron. Of course, injuries hurt your value and they must be accounted for, and you have to show up in the postseason too. Ginobli sure didn't.

5. Tony Parker was kind of less than I thought he would be. His defense was pretty good, but his offense was just kind of okay.

6. You ever wonder why Damon Stoudamire gets kicked around to every team in the Association? He's cotton candy. He looks good, but there's no substance to him. No productivity on either end of the floor. He was horrible for the Spurs.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Win Profile for the 2007-08 Denver Nuggets

Welcome to "Remember the ABA" week on Bucks Diary. This week I will be profiling all of the old ABA teams that still function in the NBA. First up is the team with the head coach Antlerheads love to be ambivalent about, George Karl.

Click here to see the Win Profile for the Denver Nuggets

What do the statistics mean? (explains all the statistics I use in my Win Profile Charts).


1. We're back on track. The "half win" formula predicted that the Nuggets would produce 50.6 wins, whereas the team actually won 50 games. I was very pleased. I never look at the win total until the very end so as not to bias anything, and for some reason I thought Denver won around 56 games, so I initially believed I was way off. Thus, I was juiced to see how dead on I was. As you may recall, we were about 3 games off on our last profile of the Cleveland Cavaliers.

2. Give it up for Allen Iverson. He had a very nice season in 2007-08. He was pretty efficient (for him) on offense, and he produced on the defensive end, too, which may shock some people. He is maligned, but compare his win total last season to Michael Redd's, and you will see why Redd should be ashamed of himself for collecting maximum dollars from the Bucks.

3. The most controversial result of this Win Chart is easy to spot. According to me, Marcus Camby is a horrible defensive center. Yet he routinely lands on the All-Defensive team. I stick by my results. If you look at the statistics, his counterpart centers score and rebound at will when Camby is on the court. That is destructive. And its most likely the product of the very freestyle shotblocking that has, ironically, won him so many defensive accolades. I think Denver would be better off if he got back to playing fundamental defense on his man, and concentrated on keeping his man off the boards. As you know, I am not a fan at all of the current NBA style of "help" defense. I think it breeds individual mediocrity.

4. Carmelo Anthony is often mentioned in the same sentence with LeBron James. As this Win Chart and my previous Win Chart on the Cavaliers points out, he doesn't belong in the same paragraph with LBJ. Anthony's a nice player, but he's not on the elite level. He needs to shore up his defense, protect the ball better, and improve his secondary offensive numbers to reach James' illustrious level.

5. We have a new candidate for Worst Player in the NBA, and his name is Bobby Jones.

6. Milwaukee's own Mike Wilks makes a nice showing. In his limited playing time he projected out as a 57-25 player. Sure, he only played 110 or so minutes, but its what you make of the opportunities you're given.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

What's Hammond's ryhme? What's his reason?

For the life of me I can not detect any logical pattern connecting the curious offseason personnel moves made by new Milwaukee Bucks general manager John Hammond except this... he likes to collect players with little or declining productive value... and he hates physical power forwards. Hates em!! Will not touch em!!

And that bothers me. Its not that I mind the guys Hammond gave away. Not at all. Its just that I wish I could convince myself that he knew what he was doing when it came to the guys he asked for in return, or the guys he picked up in free agency, or the guys he picked up in the annual "crap shoot", errrr... NBA Draft (Sidebar: we should have started worrying when Hammond freely conceded in May that to him the draft was "a crap shoot"-- Dude!! That's not good enough. You're being paid the big bucks to make it LESS than a crap shoot. If you can't do that, we might as well go down to the Milwaukee Zoo and let Samson the Gorilla throw darts at a board.) But I can't. I just can't figure out what the hell he's doing.

Lets examine some of Hammond's "major" offseason improvements to the Bucks:

1. Richard Jefferson: Big scoring average last year masked the fact that his peripherals and his defensive numbers have been in free fall since his injury. I spotted this -- the guys on RealGM spotted this -- why didn't he see this? Perhaps Jefferson can get it all back this year, but how likely is that?

2. Joe Alexander: With safe and reliably productive power forwards on the board, Hammond rolled the dice on this workout wonder who really does nothing well on the basketball court unless there happens to be a bench press sitting idly at half court. If not, he's out of luck. He raised eyebrows with his stunningly awful play this summer in Las Vegas. He proved to watchers that he can't rebound well enough to play the power forward and he lacks the basketball versatility to play the small forward. Hey, maybe he can do routines with the Energee Dancers during timeouts.

3. Luke Ridnour: Lets face it, he may be a nice guy, but he's a decided downgrade from Mo Williams at the point guard. Mo Williams was a horrible defender, but he was a positive contributor on the offensive end. Ridnour was bad on both sides of the court. The guy plays hard, but aren't you tired of "Thanks for the effort, here's another loss", Antlerheads?

4. Malik Allen: Malik is a good defender, and would be a nice compliment to a versatile 4, but we don't have a versatile 4. Allen provides nothing on the offensive end. Poor Bogut. We thought he had it bad when he had to play next to Jamal Magliore... I bet Magliore looks like St Stephen to him about now. When is the Bucks front office going to get him someone physical who can compliment his finesse game?

I don't have time for anything more. The rest are basically more of the same... I didn't even mention Damon Jones. God, I hate that guy.

What I might have done

Faced with the same circumstances, at the helm of the Good Ship SS BucksNation, I might have done this. After making the Jefferson deal, I might have conceded that the offense would center around 4 pretty soft scorers... guys who will exclusively handle the offense -- Redd, Jefferson, Bogut, and off the bench Villanueva. Accepting that, I would have steadfastly determined to balance it off, and maximize the talents of my new coach, by making sure that every other guy I would have added to the roster would have been a glass crashing, knuckle dragging, punch you in the mouth straight up thug. Anyone remember the dudes who tried to steal Robbie Benson's scholarship in "One on One"? That's essentially the kind of player I'm referring to. Defenders and rebounders. Guys who can play Skiles ball... or Celtics ball, take your pick.

And my point guard acquisitions would not have been diminutive Tyron Lue or Luke Ridnour, and certainly not Damon Jones. I would have looked for players in the mold of Ron Harper. Guys who didn't need to score or fill up the sheets, but who could hit the boards, protect the ball, and defend like crazy. If I needed some punch from that position, I still have Ramon Sessions. Therefore anyone I would have picked up would have been a ball hawk first and foremost. Think Aaron Rouse of the Packers, except at point guard.

And at power forward, I would have drafted Joey Dorsey of Memphis rather than Alexander. I guarantee he will be a better pro. And he is the exact kind of Maurice Lucas clone I have been begging the Bucks to put next to the Aussie for years. At small forward the one move I sort of agree with Hammond on is the drafting of the Prince out of UCLA. His defensive versatility fits my vision perfectly.

Now, of course, my vision may be ridiculous bunk. And everything the Bucks fans on RealGM have written on the boards over there about what the Bucks ought to do may be bunk. But at least those fans seem to have thought about the Bucks considerable personnel problems and at least tried to come up with COGENT plans of action to address them. And that puts those Antlerheads, whom I consider the heart of Bucksnation (they're thinking Bucks Basketball twentyfourseven!!), one chess move ahead of the Bucks real real GM.

Win Profile for the 2007-08 Cleveland Cavaliers

Administrative Notes: I fixed the Orlando Magic Win Chart in the previous post. It is now totally complete. Sorry for posting it half finished. I didn't realize the bottom wasn't done until I had already completed the post. Also, I have cleaned up some of my past Win Charts as well. I notice in looking at them that my weakest effort is my Bucks chart. That's only because it was my first one. But I still can't let that stand. But let me finish the rest before I clean that up.

Cleveland Cavaliers Win Profile Chart Click here

LeBron dominates

1. LeBron is not quite the offensive force that Dwight Howard is, nor the defensive force that Paul Pierce is, but he's carrying that Cleveland team almost all by himself. The second biggest win producer has only half of Lebron's wins. And if you look in the column "Win Value over Average" 12 of the Cavaliers on the Win Chart produced fewer Wins than the average NBA player would be expected to produce in that player's given amount of playing time. In other words, they were "losing team" players.

2. Not Ben Wallace, though. He made a nice contribution in his short stint with the team.

3. Look at the sweet ballplayer the Bucks got for Mo Williams!! Not only is he a loudmouth malcontent, he plays no defense and no offense and he was a 15-67 performer last year!! How fast can we cut the bum??

4. Sasha Pavlovic is one of the worst basketball players in the NBA. Sorry. He just is.

5. Drew Gooden played well for the Bulls, but he didn't play so well for the Cavs. No wonder they wanted him out of town.

6. Larry Hughes. What a joke.

7. This is one of the first teams in which my Win Total was off by more than a full win. But it wont be the last. The Warriors and the Heat will be off by much worse. But that really doesn't bother me. In fact, if every calculation was right on the money... THEN I would think something was odd. If that makes any sense.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Oh, btw Antlerheads, the Force is not with Luke

Someone had a hopeful comment about Luke Ridnour yesterday (leave your names so I can give you proper credit!!). I wish, but not really. Go to my last post and click on the Seattle Win Profile. I think I have Skywalker adding about 1.6 wins to last seasons Sonics. Which was way under what he should have done for his amount of playing time.

Now granted Mo Williams was no great shakes, but Luke... he needs more training, his training is not complete! Okay, thats my last lame ass Star Wars reference I swear. I don't think I've done any analysis yet on Adrian Griffin, but I can pretty much guarantee he aint Adrain Dantley either. Which is why, two posts ago, I pretty much panned the Mo Williams trade as a lame effort.

Win Profile for the 2007-08 Orlando Magic

Here is the Win Profile for the Orlando Magic (woops, i didn't notice i didn't quite finish it. I'll clean that up tonight -- plus i'll add some comments regarding the results. Sorry. Sloppy. Sloppy.). It shows just what a beast Dwight Howard is (I know you shouldn't end a sentence with a verb, but i just did). That's why I was so infuriated yesterday, my only day off in the last two weeks, when I was watching the Jim Rome Show, and some chump was spouting off about how Howard was not "an elite player". I was like "shut up! shut up! shut your damn mouth!"

Guys like that piss me off. Its like, if you don't think so, prove it. They can't. All they can do is babble on and on about how he doesn't defense the pick and roll well enough or something.

Also, though. Once this whole process is done, I invite criticism of my Defensive Win Score. I think it holds up fairly well. One thing Im not 100% comfortable with is this: 82games doesn't list Opponents Steals. So, I have to go into basketball-reference, take the teams opponent steals, average them per minute, then take Professor Berri's 10 year averages at each position and apply them according to the position's played. I figure it works pretty well, because i have never run across any single NBA player who has perfected a better than average "ball security" technique that isn't directly related to his ability to handle the basketball, but nevertheless, I wish my method wasn't so arbitrary.

Oh, also, whenever I do this from now on, I'm going to list all the other teams I've already done, just for comparison sake. So, here they are, boys and girls (sorry they aren't all the same... I'll clean that up when I get time... that's pretty unprofessional I know.... but you don't realize how boring this task is... actually doing the Dwight Howards of the world isnt boring its when you get down the roster is when it gets excruciating but you need those guys just the same):

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Are the Bucks trying NOT to sell tickets?

I'm not going to analyze the Bucks Mo Williams trade because its not worth analyzing. They got rid of a defenseless point guard and picked up a pointless point guard, a big mouth retread, and a nobody. Nothing worth getting excited about in other words.

And thats the point of this post. Other than Scott Skiles, there's really been nothing worth getting excited about in BucksNation lately. They're really making my job as a Bucks blogger extra difficult. Let me illustrate with a little story.

I went to meet the ex-GF last night at a little dive bar on the corner of Milwaukee street and St Paul called MJ's (I won't get into that Ex-GF part of the story right now-- I'll blog about that at a later date -- for right now I'll just say it was pleasant but dont read into that).

Anyway, the point of this post is this -- the place was covered wall to wall in Brewer material. I said to the bartender "I like the Brew Crew stuff, but how about some love for my beloved Milwaukee Bucks??"

He replied "Ha, nobody likes the Bucks anymore, pal. In fact, nobody likes the NBA anymore."

Sad, but probably true. And this place, for those of you who know Milwaukee geography, is much closer to the Bradley Center than it is to Miller Park.

So, I seem to be a lonely voice in the wilderness, crying out my love for Bucks basketball. I wont shut up. But they could help out some... thats for sure. And trading for Luke Ridnour, Adrian Nobody, and a guy who goes on ESPN and proudly professes to be Terrell Owens BFF doesn't help my job any either, just so you know, Mr. Hammond.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Win Profile for the 2007-08 Los Angeles Lakers

Continuing on with my series of NBA Win Profiles for the 2007-08 season, today I win profile the 2007-08 Western Conference Champions, the Los Angeles Lakers. If you are unfamiliar with my win profile system, I would ask you to please click on the Celtic Win Profile before proceeding.

Click Here to View My Laker Win Profile Chart


1. Kobe Bean Bryant is a much better defender out of the 2 hole than he is out of the 3 hole. His Opponents Win Score is a -2.9 at the 2 Guard spot whereas it is only a -0.5 at the 3 Forward spot. Still good, but a rather large difference. I noted this prior to the NBA Finals and stated that it would be a mistake for Phil Jackson to get suckered into playing Kobe too many minutes at the 3 because of it. Yet he did, and it may have cost the Lakers the series.

2. Andrew Bynum was having a tremendous season before he went down. He was recording a +8.5 on the offensive end. That is a huge number. I'm not even sure if Orlando's big man Dwight Howard put up numbers that were that large. I will be doing the Magic next, so we shall see. Nevertheless, Bynum is a monster who is growing and who must be feared. Howard is still the King, but Bynum shall terrorize for years to come.

3. Gasol's second half with the Lake Show was not as great as I had expected, but I believe it is because he was forced to play out of position due to Bynum's injury. Wait till he gets put back at the 4. Although I am not convinced it is a slam dunk the Lakers will dominate. They still have to prove to myself and others that they can defend like big boys. You cannot win with strictly offense in this man's Association anymore.

4. Philipo, the numbers clearly show its time to go with Farmar at the point from here on out. You had a nice run with your boy D Fisher, but you have to sense when its time to jump to the next curve, and now is the time.

5. I was shocked to see how well Lamar Odom gets it done on offense. Those are almost KG like numbers. But he must improve his defense. With his size and athleticism, the mediocre defensive numbers he's posting are just unacceptable. He can and must do better. For the Lakers, a championship is not about Kobe... he's doing his bit... its about Lamar.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Puzzle coming together for at least one Buck rookie

If you read this blog you know that I have pretty much soured on Bucks first round pick Joe Alexander in near record time. He looks to me like a workout freak who's a mechanical player without a position. He does not appear versatile enough to play the 3, not big enough or nearly aggressive enough on the boards to play the 4. Hope I'm wrong, but I got a bad feeling.

I've got just the opposite sentiments when it comes to the Bucks second round pick from UCLA, the Fresh Prince... Luc Richard Mbah a Moute (I'm not even going to look up the spelling of his name, I'm going off memory). You will recall last month that Bucks Diary enthusiastically labeled his Vegas Summer League statistical performance "Better than expected!!", and since then everyone (including John Hammond and Scott Skiles) has been raving about his defense. From what I hear, the guy loves to square his man up and lock him down on the defensive end. That's Skiles Ball.

Moreover, the word is Moute, a natural 4, can back all the way up to the 2 on the defensive end. Nice. If that's true, what a great weapon he could be off the Bucks bench.

Has the UCLA-Milwaukee Bucks pipeline produced another Green-and-Red gem? Stay tuned to find out.

Bucks 2008-09 schedule released

This may be pitifully old news, but I'm trying to catch up on my emails, and this is a Bucks blog, so I feel obligated to post it. The Bucks released their 2008-09 NBA regular season schedule. Since the Bucks play the same basic formulaic schedule every year, there's no need to analyze how difficult or easy it might be. It doesn't matter. The Bucks just need to nut it up and take care of business for a change. Time to shine in '08-'09!!

The only real points of interest in the schedule for me were finding out when they scheduled the first Bucks-Celtics game at the BC (November 15th), and whether the Bucks played at home near Christmas. The former because I want to be there, and the latter because I want to take my 3 year old nephew Charlie to his first Bucks game (remember the little tyke holding the Bango mascot I got him?). I knew the only opportunity for that to happen would be when he comes over from Minnesota for Christmas, but for that to even have a chance the schedule had to cooperate. It did. The Bucks play the Detroit Pistons at the BC the Saturday after this year's Thursday Christmas. Perfect. Now I just need to get the ball rolling.

He's already been to a Timberwolves game. Time's a wastin, therefore, to turn him Green and Red. (Plus I want to see if he freaks when he sees the lifesized Bango. That could be worth a chuckle).

Friday, August 08, 2008

Win Profile for the 2007-08 Boston Celtics

At the beginning of the summer you may remember I started doing "Win Profiles" for each NBA team. That's where I compute and then assign credit for the team's wins according to the statistical production of the players on the team's roster. My assessments are based upon the Win Score efficiency metric developed by Professor Berri of the Wages of Wins Journal.

Anyway, I got about 5 teams done back in June and then abandoned the project. It takes a lot of time to do the calculations, and I just didn't have it.

Nevertheless, I want to have a complete 2007-08 win profile database, so these dog days of summer, when nothing much seems to be happening in the NBA, is the perfect time to do it.

Last night I completed my Win Profile for the World Champion Boston Celtics. After calculating the Defensive Half Wins and Offensive Half Wins produced by each player, dividing each result by 2, and then adding up the total of all Wins Produced by the roster, I was able to explain 65.1 of the Celtics 66 wins. (I can't tell you how gratifying it is to spend several hours over the course of a few days calculating each players Defensive Win Score at each position and his Offensive Win Score, doing all the necessary adjustments, and then having the result come so close to the team's actual record.)

Click here to see my results for the 2007-08 World Champion Boston Celtics (for comparison's sake, click here and view the Win Profile chart I did earlier for the 2007-08 Chicago Bulls -- its slightly different, but the basics are the same, and it helps illustrate just how prolific the Celtics were last season) . Click here if you need a refresher on the statistics I use. Please note that I also use two other newer statistics that aren't mentioned in the primer. One is "Wins above average". That is simply the number of wins the player produced minus the number of wins an average NBA player would produce in the same number of minutes (number of minutes x 0.002). I then use that number to calculate what I call "If He Were The Whole Team". What that statistic answers is this: If everyone on the team were producing wins above or below average at the same rate as this guy, what would the team's final record be? It gives you a measure of the caliber of season the guy had. Please note that really good players -- KG, for example -- will produce at a rate that would exceed 82 wins. And on the flip side really bad players will underproduce at a rate that would be worse than 0 wins. In each case I use fictitious records to explain their performances. Thus KG's "IHWTWT" record is 118-(-36), or 118 wins and negative 36 losses. It doesn't make literal sense, but it does explain just how far above average Kevin Garnett's production was last season.


1. Paul Pierce may be the NBA's Defensive Win Score player of the year. I do not think, and I'm going mostly on memory here, that any other player I have calculated so far has even come close to the 13.2 defensive half wins Pierce produced. Spectacular effort by P squared.

2. The biggest Win Producer on the team, though, was KG. And he accomplished even while missing a greater period of time during the regular season than most of his other superstar counterparts. He made good use of his time, clearly. He produced 8.5 more wins than the average NBA player would have produced in the same amount of playing time. Thats awesome.

3. They talk about the "Big 3", but Ray Allen did not produce nearly the amount of wins Garnett and Pierce produced. His Win production total puts him closer to the Celtic "supporting cast" than it does the Big 3.

4. Doc Rivers misused some of his players in a manner similar to the way other coaches misuse some of their players... he had players taking up minutes at position's where they were less productive. On defense, Ray Allen was much better at SG than SF, and James Posey was much better at SF than PF. Allen should not have played any minutes at SF, those should have went to Posey, and Posey's PF minutes should have went to the underappreciated Leon Powe.

5. By my calculations, James Posey's departure should not hurt the Celtics all that badly. I have him producing 5.2 wins. If you shift Posey's minutes to Powe, you ought to be able to cover that.

6. Sam Cassell was brutal, just brutal. He was the Celtics worst contributor. He was well below average on offense and defense.

7. Bucks fans, here's how you build a winner. You get win production from your highly paid players, and you hold the line when they're out of the game by getting defensive contributions from your crappy players. Look at how awful some of the Offensive Win Scores were for the Celtic bench players. But, most of them still turned in near average win contributions (remember, for bench players "average" is pretty good) simply by limiting the production of their counterpart opponents -- through Defensive Win Score. Thats what you have to do. No one can afford a roster full of big number producers, so your nonproducers must defend.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

The Bucks suddenly look SANE!

Who would have guessed 3 months ago that the Milwaukee Bucks would turn out to be Wisconsin sports model of a well-run franchise? The Brewers are throwing down in the dugout (I didn't mind the first push by Fielder... that was just an attention grabber. But the one that followed and the attempt that followed that looked like they were delivered with bad intentions behind them. Those were disturbing. And did you notice how like 12 guys jumped to restrain Fielder and like zero even thought to restrain Parra?) and losing ground rapidly. Meanwhile the Packers are just making themselves the laughing stock of America by flopping and then flipping and then getting tough and then backing down... just by generally looking clueless. Suddenly, then, the Bucks are looking pretty good by comparison. But give them time. They'll do something odd.

Hammond on Cable 32

I recently saw an interview with Bucks GM John Hammond on the Dennis Krause Show on Time Warner 32. Krause is, by the way, one of the very best sports interviewers anywhere, in my opinion. He asks intelligent questions, he asks things I want answered, he challenges guests without badgering, and he knows how to follow-up with aplomb. I just think he is brilliant, just a shade below Bob Costas (he stunned author David Mariniss with his provocative questioning during Mariniss' recent book tour for "Rome 1960". You could tell Mariniss wasn't expecting much from a local cable host, but he quickly squared himself up when he realized Krause's caliber). He's sort of wasted on Cable 32.

Hammond, on the other hand, isn't really impressing me so far in his tenure, but its early. For one, I thought his drafting left a lot to be desired. I'm still not sure what he was after. Number two, I'm annoyed by the fact that he religiously refuses to criticize any of the current roster for past indiscretions. 1) Redd doesn't play defense? "Oh, I don't know if that's fair" Huh? Have you seen the tape? 2) Villanueva is inconsistent? "I've heard that about Charlie V, but we're approaching everyone with a clean slate." Why? There's nothing wrong with holding players accountable for their body of work. I'd like to see a tougher mindset established.

The one encouraging thing I heard from Hammond was his insinuation that the point guard minutes will be distributed by merit rather than salary. That means the rising young quarterback Ramon Sessions ought to get a fair shot to unseat the defenseless Mo Williams.

As the Favre Turns

As I may have mentioned recently, I've been on the road a lot of late. I don't have satellite radio, I hate listening to music, and I find NPR utterly pompous. So what am I left with? FAVRE TALK... all the frickin' time!

Oh my God! I am about to go Colonel Kurtz. This Favre crap is driving me bonkers. "Do they really want him to compete?" "Is Favre being sincere?"... and on and on. The same points, the same issues, the same answers, minute after minute, hour after hour, day after day. Seriously, its driving me insane. And the thing that really gets me is when they go to the phone lines and 23 callers in a row make the exact same point!!! Why the fuck bother??? Here's the basic outline of the most popular point of the last week and a half amongst the Wisconsin beer and football crowd:

"Hello Caller"

"Yah, am I on?"

"Yeah, you're on. What have you got?"

"OK, now. Let me ask you dis... and be truthful!! Is it Ted Thompson's job to win football games? ("Yes.") Ok. Now, do the Packers have a better chance of winning dis year with Brett Favre as our quarterback... Dis year!! Who gives them the better shot at a Super Bowl, Favre or Rodgers??"

Over and over. And each caller asks the same goddamn question in just slightly, minutely, altered form and yet each does it with such conviction as if they all individually believe they are having an original thought. It drives me nuts!!! You just want to scream into the radio "Didn't you hear the last 22 guys make the same exact fucking point???? Why would you waste any time repeating it, you moron??? No one cares what you think."

I guess I could just shut off the radio. But then I'd be alone with my thoughts. Scarier yet.

Someday this war's gonna end.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Sorry NBA fans... and my take on Not Yet Brett

Another unacceptably slow week on Bucks Diary. Sorry NBA fans. Seems like I'm apologizing a lot this summer.

This past week I've been on the road from here to Madison everyday, and I just haven't had time to write. Besides which, I can't seem to think of anything intriguing to write about. If you guys have any issues you'd like explored, I'm all ears. At the moment I'm dry. In fact, the only Bucks thought I've had in the past week and a half is "Michael Redd's face looks thin. He must have once again put extra prepatory work in for the team he isn't paid to play for... just as he did last season. Lets just hope the team he is paid to play for doesn't get the same weak remainder effort as it did last season. That was a poor year for Redd." That was my one thought. Oh, and "Doesnt' Redd seem much more enthusiastic playing for Team USA than he ever does playing for the Bucks, or is that just me? Is anyone else annoyed by that, or is that just me?"

Here are some other thoughts not basketball related:
This has been one weird summer. You know all about my travails. Don't worry about me. But what is the deal with that Favre situation? At first I was in the extreme minority who understood the logic behind the Packer strategy -- the team absolutely has to find out this season whether Aaron Rodgers is worth a long term investment at the most important position on the field. Rodgers contract is running up and he's barely played. Long term, he could be better than... well at least the Latter Day Favre.

On the other hand, if you go with Favre, you're pretty much getting a one year deal of more of the same that we've had all decade, and likely a decline on that. Favre just isn't likely to be the savior everyone thinks. (I keep hearing he's "One of the greatest, if not THE greatest quarterback in NFL history." Huh? I don't see any evidence for that, other than longevity. Is Cal Ripken the greatest shortstop ever? Not hardly).

Bottom line, Favre no longer seems capable of going strong for a full season, and he hasn't been capable of winning playoff games for quite some time. It isn't likely he'll suddenly get better at either task this year, its more likely he'll get much worse.

And while it seemed at first blush illogical to prevent Favre from even competing for the starting spot,actually, its quite logical. After all, Favre would have a good shot at winning the competition. He's got the experience and he plays his best early on with a full tank of gas. But you don't want Favre to win, so what's the upside in letting him compete?

The true illogic came in the last week. All of a sudden we've gotten to the point where the Packers are paying one of their greatest players ever a veritable King's Ransom NOT TO PLAY. Alice in Wonderland stuff. It may make public relations sense, but it just seems so topsy turvy. For years and years (and years and years and years... LOL) Packer fans have been begging Favre to come back at the end of every season, and now this season they're suddenly paying him NOT TO COME BACK! Who would have thunk it would have gotten to this point. Oh well, just more grist for the wacky, depressing summer of '08.