Bucks Diary

Friday, November 28, 2008

Bucks Win Contributions compared to replacement level players

After I did yesterday's post, I was thinking about which positional deficiency on the roster is least excusable. I had a hunch, but I wasn't sure. To test my hunch out, I applied the baseball concept of "value over replacement player" to the situation.

Why? Well, when I do Total Win Contribution, that is a measurement against a hypothetical "average player", with the average set at zero. But "average players" are actually very good players and quite hard to come by. So the statistic captures the player's impact on wins, but it doesn't completely capture his overall value to the team.

"Value over Replacement Player" does. It tells you each players relative value by telling you how much he's contributing compared to the contributions a qualified scrub could provide in the same minutes. A "scrub", or in other words a "Replacement Player", is officially defined as a player that the team could acquire with little or no cost.

For my purposes, I defined the Replacement Level Player at each position as any player who played at least 0.5% of his team's overall minutes but not more than 6%, and who spent at least 40% of his time at the given position. I figured if a guy is being used for less than 15 minutes a game, he is pretty expendable and thus easily acquirable, and I established the 40% floor to insure that the player was someone most teams would utilize at the given position.

Once I established those replacement values (using last season's NBA Win Profiles), I compared the Win Contributions the Bucks were getting at each position against the Win Contribution they could get at the position using only Replacement Players, and thus I established the Bucks Total Win Contribution over Replacement Level for each position.

New Findings

1. Not surprisingly, the position easiest to replace is shooting guard (making Michael Redd's max contract even more indefensible), followed by small forward, point guard, power forward, and then center. I think I told someone recently that the center position was easy to replace, but my head must have been out to lunch. Obviously, given the physical requirements of the position, that is going to be the position MOST DIFFICULT to replace, and indeed it was.

2. Seen under this light, the Bucks deficiency at small forward is totally inexcusable. They aren't even getting scrub level play out of that spot, and when you consider that Jefferson is playing above average... well you kind of know we got problems at backup.

3. Seen under this light, the contributions we are getting from center aren't horrible, and the contributions from point guard and power forward are superlative.

4. In the next couple of days, I am going to compare each individual Bucks value over a replacement player, so look for that.


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