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Is the NBA a Point Guard Dominated League?

25 May

James Brocato asked on Wages of Wins Journal: Is the NBA a Point Guard Dominated League?

I think it’s an interesting question but he focused on a sample size with only 5 championship teams and I’d like to investigate topic deeper than that.

Because I’m following up a post on Wages of Wins I’ll start with their rating system.
First, here’s a breakdown of Wins Produced from last season by position [data and positions taken from here]:

Pos Wins Produced Minutes WP/48
PF 276,3 119487 0,111
PG 274,9 119861 0,110
SG 244,4 123620 0,095
C 220 114451 0,092
SF 218,2 117509 0,089

In 2009-10 it looked like this:

Pos Wins Produced Minutes WP/48
C 251 117463 0,1026
PG 248,6 120428 0,0990
SF 248,4 121803 0,0979
PF 242,6 117723 0,0989
SG 238,4 117081 0,0977

So last season point guards improved but no matter how you slice it one big guy position produced more wins.

When we break it down into 30 pieces [teams] results are somewhat surprising:
Correlation coefficient between PF’s Wins Produced and team’s Wins Produced was 0,1563.
Teams with 50+ Wins Produced without any good PF = Nuggets.

Correlation coefficient between PG’s Wins Produced and team’s Wins Produced was 0,2748.
Teams with 50+ Wins Produced without any good PG = Heat, Lakers, Magic.

Correlation coefficient between C’s Wins Produced and team’s Wins Produced was 0,4705.
Teams with 50+ Wins Produced without any good C = Heat, Boston, Thunder.

Correlation coefficient between SG’s Wins Produced and team’s Wins Produced was 0,5153.
Teams with 50+ Wins Produced without any good SG = Spurs [Manu is listed as a SF].

Correlation coefficient between SF’s Wins Produced and team’s Wins Produced was 0,6564.
Teams with 50+ Wins Produced without any good SF = Lakers, Thunder [Durant is listed as a PF].

Well, you probably knew that Lakers and Heat were constructed in a very unusual way but it seems like last season good swingman was the most essential piece… and that’s probably because of total Wins Produced from the whole position.

BTW, that’s exactly a point which I don’t get regarding issue with “league of PGs” – if most teams have a productive/solid player on one position… it really isn’t any advantage and you need to be better somewhere else!

Anyway, I can recognize that sound from miles away “hey, maybe Wins Produced don’t recognize valuable contributions by Point Guards!”. Fine, let’s think about it…

I checked the same thing with Win Shares but with a different position allocation [taken from Doug’s stats]:

Pos Win Shares Minutes WS/48
PF 295,7 114663 0,124
PG 258,3 133711 0,093
C 238,4 100956 0,113
SF 237,7 120989 0,094
SG 237,1 124649 0,091

In 2009-10 season it looked like this:

Pos Win Shares Minutes WS/48
PF 284,5 114047 0,1197
PG 255,8 138064 0,0889
C 251,4 99874 0,1208
SF 248,6 124980 0,0955
SG 229,4 117518 0,0937

Well, point guards played a lot of minutes… but still in terms of productivity they aren’t leaders in any way.

Yes, those were all box scores stats so they have to miss something, right?
Well, let’s check regularized adjusted +/- (RAPM) in 2010/11:

Pos RAPM per 200 poss Minutes RAPM/48
PF 221,45 114717 0,00193
SF 173,29 121043 0,00143
PG 88,04 133779 0,00066
SG 83,84 124704 0,00067
C 32,75 101013 0,00032

Do you prefer simple +/- system [still from 2010/11]?

Pos +/- per 100 poss Possessions +/- per poss
PF 4176,57 219815 0,019
SF 2249,88 233383 0,0096
PG 1999,14 257704 0,0077
C 745,16 193199 0,0038
SG 395,40 239172 0,0017

I’m pretty sure you can spot a trend here…

So to sum up, in which way Point Guards dominated in the NBA last year?
– They could have played the most minutes [shocker, there are more 6- than 7-footers!],
– They probably got most headlines [and most, if not all, reporters are short guys, is it a coincidence?],
– They lead in a category “the longest amount of time with ball in hands” [which is their freakin’ job!].

So I think the conclusion couldn’t be simpler than that one: IMHO without any major rules changes [lower basket? bigger courts?] basketball was, is and always will be a big guys game…

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6 Comments

Posted by on May 25, 2011 in Expanding Horizons

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

6 responses to “Is the NBA a Point Guard Dominated League?

  1. Crow

    May 28, 2011 at 00:40

    Thanks for the summary data. Would be interesting to also see the correlation coefficients for the other metrics besides Wins Produced to check for differences in metric indicators of position importance to winning.

     
  2. wiLQ

    May 28, 2011 at 22:32

    I haven’t done it in the first place because of different position allocation for both metrics… but I’ll try to use those from Wins Produced for Win Shares’ analysis.

     
  3. wiLQ

    May 30, 2011 at 12:56

    OK, another problem with that idea: do you know where is list of Win Shares broke down by teams?
    Because all those lists http://bkref.com/tiny/votkA combine production for both teams player played for during season and checking it all by hand is not very efficient.

     
  4. Johnc120

    May 24, 2014 at 06:18

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