Bucks Diary

Saturday, September 27, 2008

How is Paul Pierce not on the NBA's All-Defensive team?

When they decide who will be on the NBA All-Defensive team, they shouldn't do it by reputation (Bruce Bowen) or fancy shot blocking (Marcus Camby). They ought to award those players whose defense did the most to contribute to their team's success, or rather, whose defense did the most to limit the players they were assigned to cover from contributing to their team's success.

I try to determine that very thing with my "Defensive Win Contribution" metric. I look at each player's "Counterpart Opponent" statistics from 82games.com and calculate the "Win Score" above average per 48 minutes each player's collective opponents produced. Then I multiple the negative of that number by the overall percentage of playing time the player used to produce the player's "Defensive Win Contribution". The average DWC is +0.000, and anything above that represents the players defensive contribution to a winning team, and vice versa.


1. It is a dirty shame that Paul Pierce was not on the NBA All-Defensive Team this season. He had one of the greatest defensive seasons in the Association's history.

2. My All-NBA Defensive first team would be:
PG: Deron Williams, Utah
SG: Kobe Bryant, LA
C: Dwight Howard, Orl
SF: Paul Pierce, Boston
PF: Chris Bosh, Toronto (KG if he played more minutes)

3. The only reason Kevin Garnett isn't higher is because he missed a lot of time.

4. As you can see, Boston's bench defense was one of the well kept secrets of last season. Eddie House, Tony Allen, and Baby Davis were all magnificent. Doc Rivers made a near fatal mistake when he started giving away too many of their minutes to the inept veterans Sam Cassell and PJ Brown. You remember how instrumental Allen and House were in Boston's huge comeback win over the Lakers? Just another example of how valuable -- and how overlooked -- defensive win contribution can be.

5. Raja Bell gets all the accolades, but my numbers say the Suns best defender is Boris Diaw.


At September 27, 2008 at 6:15 AM, Anonymous Tunez said...

Nice article... Bosh is definitely underrated as a defender.

I hope that picture isn't being used as a testament to P-Dub's defense... cause if that ain't a foul, i've lost all faith in the refs

At September 27, 2008 at 3:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Holy moley, but is that Raw Lewis in your top ten?


At September 27, 2008 at 4:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with this effusive assessment of Pierce's defense. To be upfront, I'm a huge fan of his but trying to be as objective as I can, I think he's been a fabulous defender every year except for 2004 when for some reason, he looked sluggish for most of the season.

His greatest strength is moving his feet laterally. He doesn't have the classic physique (big butt, lack of great muscle tone) but you have to go by what you see on the court and he moves his feet and keeps his chest square to his man as well as anyone in the league. Having great defensive fundamentals certainly helps. If you ever watch a basketball instructional video, Pierce's technique is exactly how they teach it: he steps, slides and explodes, he swings his elbows to recover laterally, etc... He's also got a very long reach and the flexibility to extend his arms far into his opponent's shot. To top it off, he's as strong as anyone at his position and he's very tough to post up.

At September 27, 2008 at 8:01 PM, Blogger TCW said...


Remember, my assessment takes no account of technical skill. It only asseses counterpart opponent output per 48 minutes.

According to 82 games, Lewis' COs are shooting an effective field goal percentage of only 45.1%, well below the NBA position average, and they grab only 10.1 rebounds, also below the NBA average. Thus, it could be argued that he added to the team's defensive efficiency.

That said, I figured someone would question that one... but I really thought they would question Igauskas. Thanks for the comment.

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