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.