Bucks Diary

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Memo to Coach Skiles: The Bucks best line-ups

Bucks fans, you can criticize my reasoning, my productivity, my sense of humor, my basketball acumen... but never say I'm not working overtime to bring you the best Bucks information I can muster.

Panning through the available Bucks information, I think I came up with another nugget: Marginal Win Score per player by position. This statistic reveals, in theory: (a) the Bucks best lineups; (b) the best position for each Buck; (c) the cost of playing certain Bucks at certain positions; and, (d) the Bucks lack of depth at several key positions.

What is Marginal Win Score?

In my little world, the key to success in basketball is for the five players on the court to collectively produce more Win Score statistics than their five "counterpart opponents". That margin, divided by 2, is what I refer to as "Marginal Win Score". The greater that margin, the more games above .500 a team can expect to finish.

On my chart, each Milwaukee Bucks player's Marginal Win Score is expressed as a "per minute" phenomenon. Any value above +0.000 is an above average Marginal Win Score.

The Rule of 65%?

I just dreamed this one up, and it may not hold water, but it seems to me a good way to project a team's win potential is to add the Marginal Win Scores of its starting five, average those out, project the record the lineup would be expected to produce over a full season, and then multiply that by 65%.

How did I come up with 65%? Basically by observing that the maximum amount of playing time you can expect to muster out of 5 players is 75% of all playing minutes. But that's unrealistic. What normally happens is each of your starters consume about 13% of the playing minutes at his given position, which adds up to 65%.

If you take last season's starting five, that unit projected out to 41-41 over a full season. 65% of that is a little over 26 wins, which is right where they finished. I'll continue to test this theory and let you know if it holds spit.


1. I'm going to go back in time to check this out, but I believe Michael Redd should not be played at small forward under any circumstance. The marginal advantage Redd normally enjoys at shooting guard not only disappears, it turns decisively to the opponents advantage... causing double damage to the Green and Crimson. Same thing occurs when you move RJ away from small forward.

2. Charlie Villanueva's primary shortcoming as a power forward is his inefficient shooting. He enjoys a marginal advantage over his opponents in every key category except shot attempts. When you get to that category, CV loses decisively. Which supports my theory: a power forward with an outside game is only valuable if he can produce as many points per shot as a power forward with an inside game. If he cannot, its like bleeding wins.

3. The Bucks have no viable backup to Andrew Bogut. None. If he goes down, the team will be sunk, no question about it. And the tragedy is, you can find "Greg Kite" type backups... guys who will get you rebounds at least and therefore won't get decisively outproduced... at less than market value.

4. Gadzuric, Elson, Lue, and Allen have all been terrible. Just brutal.

5. The Bucks, in theory, have no backup at small forward either. There's more hope there, though, because I think Moute's poor numbers reflect some very difficult matchups he's had there (LeBron in particular) and I still hold out hope that Joe Alexander will square himself away.

6. Bogut's having a terrific season. That's not even debatable. He's playing with tremendous determination.

7. Notice how many lineups the Bucks can put together this season that are each theoretically much better than the starting five they employed most of last season?


At November 24, 2008 at 3:36 AM, Anonymous paulpressey25 said...

If CV would just stop shooting three pointers all together, he becomes a really nice offensive big-man.

You can tell Skiles is trying here. CV this season is taking some nifty 10-15 foot jumpers and hitting them. But he still seems to revert to that three point garbage.

You are correct on Bogut. If Bogut gets in foul trouble or has one of his games where he mentally doesn't show up, the team is doomed.

Where is "Harvey Catchings" when you need him? Probably on another team as a casualty of expansion from 23 teams back then to 30 now.

At November 25, 2008 at 1:02 AM, Blogger TCW said...

I agree. All we need is a stop gap to take up minutes and grab rebounds and play defense... we don't need Swen Nater.

We have nothing.

Skiles is a master, though, at recognizing what is and isn't working, and even what is the best of the worst options.

Example: going through the numbers I came to the odd conclusion that the best bad option at backup center is Malik Allen. I'm thinking, "No way Skiles plays him there."

Tonight, the bulk of the backup minutes went to Allen.

And he has a keen eye for the best five players at any given time. He's a master.

One thing he has to be careful about, though, is playing CV or Croshere at backup center against a real center. Those numbers are awful.


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