Bucks Diary

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Rough start for most big name NBA rookies (not named Oden or Love)

Its way too early to draw any conclusions about any of the NBA's rookies, but its not too early to begin following their progress. I'll be tracking them most of the preseason using the "Offensive Win Contribution" statistic. Win Contribution is a shorthand description of a player's entire average output according to how that output impacts his team's chances of success (using the Win Score oaccounting method), with +0.000 representing the impact of an average NBA player (a team of players making a +0.000 Win Contribution can be expected to win as many games as they lose. Anything above +0.300 is an excellent contribution, and the reverse is true).

Quick notes on the Rookies

1. Most of them are really sucking it up. The exceptions seem to be the big men. I think what happens is this: non-frontline players believe they are failures unless they produce points by any means necessary, efficiency be damned. As a result, they jack up way too many shots, and disregard secondary statistics (that's a one line synopsis of my high school career). Its no wonder they believe that: Kevin Durant won Rookie of the Year honors purely because on his scoring totals, despite the fact that I calculated he was amongst the 20 Most Harmful Players in the NBA last season (remember, harmful is a value judgment, not a skill judgment).

2. Love, Oden, and Michael Beasley are almost guaranteed to be big win contributors. I can't vouch for anyone else. Mayo, on the other hand, is almost guaranteed not to be, because of his style, his track record of inefficient play, and the pressures of the mismatched incentives I just talked about. There are several others who could go the same route.

3. I predict Sacramento's Donte Greene will be this year's Al Thornton: the rookie the press thinks is great but who, because of his position and lack of all around production, will actually be a guy who silently kills his team. Simple rule: in basketball, everyone has to rebound to some extent, and forwards absolutely must rebound. If they don't rebound at all (See, Richard Jefferson in the last two seasons) there's almost no way they can make a positive Win Contribution to their team unless they shoot something like 65% from the field and never turn the ball over. Good luck with that. Just roll up your sleeves and hit the boards Greene! A little hard work won't kill ya!


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