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Players at heart of disagreement between metrics

25 Jan

Recently Alex at sportskeptic.wordpress.com collected a great dataset with multiple advanced statistics in one file and used it for comparison how different advanced metrics relate to each other. It was a great post and one I had in mind for some time so I’m glad someone else did it thus saving me some time ;-)

But as a fan of curiosities I wanted to explore the differences between them.
Obviously if you know how those advanced statistics are created [and you can read more about it in Alex’s description] you should know what to expect but I don’t think it can be substitute for details and specific names.
So which NBA players were the toughest for advanced metrics to evaluate in recent years?
Which played have caused problems each year or multiple times?
How extreme were differences?

Here’s what I’ve done for this post:
based on Alex’s database and for the last 5 years I ranked each player [with at least 1000 minutes played] according to five different metrics [PER, Win Shares per 48 minutes, Wins Produced per 48, new RAPM and ASPM] and then I calculated standard deviation of each player’s ranking.
Today I’ll focus on those players with the highest number which means their perceived value varied the most significantly between those 5 statistics. Tomorrow will be the opposite side, where stats value players similarly.

Let’s start with 2010-11, 245 players qualified and here’s the list of those with standard deviation above 60…

Player in 2010/11 team PER WS48 WP48 RAPM ASPM rPER rWS rWP rRAPM rASPM Std Dev
Ekpe Udoh GSW 9.7 0.032 0.007 1.5 -2.4 233 230 223 56 230 77.46
Brook Lopez NJN 19.3 0.105 -0.003 -2 0.33 34 118 229 195 104 77.27
Nick Collison OKC 10.8 0.113 0.079 6.3 0.05 217 107 147 5 113 76.74
Ed Davis TOR 15.8 0.12 0.19 -4.2 0.08 95 92 39 243 112 75.98
Amare Stoudemire NYK 22.7 0.134 0.039 -0.4 2.42 12 64 196 132 32 75.97
Al Jefferson UTA 20.1 0.128 0.079 -2.8 0.99 28 71 146 218 78 74.52
Monta Ellis GSW 18.6 0.089 0.068 -2.9 1.13 43 148 165 222 67 73.39
Ben Wallace DET 12.3 0.072 0.191 -1.1 1.21 197 184 38 157 60 73.24
Serge Ibaka OKC 17.7 0.164 0.206 -1.4 -0.64 59 28 24 168 156 69.92
Thabo Sefolosha OKC 10.4 0.097 0.192 -0.2 0.94 223 134 36 124 81 69.64
Kurt Thomas CHI 10 0.131 0.111 -1.4 1.04 231 67 110 170 74 69.47
Anthony Parker CLE 10.5 0.034 0.076 1.3 -1.85 222 228 155 65 214 68.96
Keyon Dooling MIL 11.3 0.08 0.078 2 -1.56 210 170 148 44 208 67.87
Earl Watson UTA 10.2 0.03 0.094 0.5 -2.86 228 232 129 93 236 67.54
James Jones MIA 11.1 0.145 0.147 0.9 -0.42 213 50 65 81 144 67.51
Ramon Sessions CLE 19 0.099 0.156 -2.5 -0.13 36 131 60 205 126 66.49
Andrea Bargnani TOR 16.4 0.053 -0.126 -3.3 -1.57 80 216 245 231 209 66.43
Metta World Peace LAL 11.2 0.087 0.102 2.4 0.31 212 159 123 34 105 65.95
Hakim Warrick PHO 16.5 0.116 0.092 -3.9 -0.96 74 99 131 240 174 65.59
Andray Blatche WAS 16.9 0.053 0.008 -1 -0.05 68 215 221 155 118 64.99
Keith Bogans CHI 9 0.118 0.146 -0.7 -0.47 237 97 67 146 147 64.55
Kevin Martin HOU 21.4 0.175 0.121 -1.3 2.69 19 23 101 164 25 64.36
Tyler Hansbrough IND 16.4 0.118 0.067 -2.5 -1.73 78 95 169 207 213 62.77
C.J. Miles UTA 14.4 0.061 0.001 1.2 -0.92 138 204 227 68 171 62.21
Greg Monroe DET 18 0.143 0.192 -1.7 1.73 52 52 35 183 44 61.78
Donte Greene SAC 9.7 0.021 0.002 0.5 -3.29 234 236 226 97 240 61.48
J.J. Redick ORL 12.8 0.143 0.14 -1.8 0.62 179 55 72 186 94 61.24
Charlie Villanueva DET 15.9 0.091 0.003 -3.4 -1.52 89 145 224 233 207 61.19
Baron Davis LAC 16.3 0.079 0.068 2.3 1.13 82 171 166 38 65 60.61
Carlos Delfino MIL 13.1 0.105 0.139 -2.9 0.89 167 119 76 220 83 60.56
Vince Carter PHO 14.2 0.06 0.062 1.9 -0.5 144 206 178 46 151 60.51

I won’t comment on everybody here but I’d like to make some notes…

  • Ekpe Udoh is a surprise at #1 but it happened mostly due to love from new RAPM.
    We will know more about him and his situation after current season.
  • Brook Lopez is a very interesting case.
    Depending on your point of view he may be good, above average, average, below average or terrible. ROTFL. That’s quite a range, isn’t it? And I guess Magic’s decision to trade Dwight to Nets may depend entirely on their opinion about him… but it most definitely won’t be applauded by everybody in basketball community.
  • I’ve expected Nick Collison on that list because he was a poster boy for +/- love in the recent years but I’m still [maybe stubbornly] convinced that he is just an average player who is also an extreme example why roster construction matters.
  • Ed Davis made a nice box-score-based case for more playing time but so far it hasn’t helped him.
  • Amare Stoudemire, Al Jefferson and Monta Ellis are just classic examples of players perceived as stars who probably shouldn’t be considered as such.
  • On the side of spectrum we have defensive specialists like Ben Wallace, Serge Ibaka, Thabo Sefolosha and Kurt Thomas. Of them I think the most interesting is Big Ben because one box-score statistic and one adjusted +/- suggest he was very good last year while three other ranked him below average.
  • Ramon Sessions’ presence on this list can be an explanation for his strange situation with minutes.
    The same thing with Andray Blatche.
  • Finally, we have an inside into Bulls’ decision to cut Keith Bogans… they probably didn’t check any statistic other than PER or something similar.

Let’s move on to 2009/10 [243 players qualified, all with rank’s standard deviation above 60 are below]…

Player in 2009/10 team PER WS48 WP48 RAPM ASPM rPER rWS rWP rRAPM rASPM Std Dev
Gilbert Arenas WAS 18.7 0.072 0.012 -0.1 2.51 37 183 218 119 29 84.71
Marreese Speights PHI 17.6 0.101 -0.025 -4.9 -1.15 57 127 236 240 184 77.56
Monta Ellis GSW 16.7 0.023 0.007 -3.4 0.14 68 236 222 227 112 77.51
Troy Murphy IND 18 0.159 0.212 -2 1.9 48 34 21 203 37 75.74
Serge Ibaka OKC 15.2 0.134 0.166 -1.7 -1.98 110 66 53 194 219 74.88
Corey Maggette GSW 20.3 0.145 0.066 -1.7 0.43 24 49 165 196 89 73.88
Brook Lopez NJN 20.1 0.125 0.095 -2.9 0.88 27 80 129 221 72 73.87
Thabo Sefolosha OKC 9.8 0.082 0.176 -1.1 0.35 232 169 44 163 96 72.43
Tyreke Evans SAC 18.2 0.097 0.115 -3.1 1.19 45 140 109 223 62 70.77
J.J. Hickson CLE 15.2 0.123 0.122 -5.3 -1.56 109 84 98 241 205 70.73
Anthony Parker CLE 9.9 0.103 0.143 1.7 -0.18 230 124 71 49 132 70.17
Drew Gooden DAL 16.1 0.125 0.115 -5.4 -1.13 87 81 108 242 180 69.49
Shane Battier HOU 11.1 0.095 0.147 1.5 0.55 217 147 65 52 84 68.63
Andray Blatche WAS 17.6 0.073 0.038 -1.6 0.73 58 181 199 192 75 68.57
J.R. Smith DEN 15.1 0.062 0.031 1.9 0.25 111 197 205 44 101 68.37
Ronnie Brewer UTA 12.8 0.108 0.184 -1.6 1.01 182 109 36 187 67 67.54
Jared Jeffries NYK 9.7 0.057 0.121 0.7 -0.47 234 207 102 75 148 67.43
Al Jefferson MIN 19 0.09 0.065 -1.6 0.56 34 158 168 191 83 65.81
Chris Kaman LAC 16.5 0.044 -0.053 -1.8 -1.33 74 224 240 199 192 65.40
Thaddeus Young PHI 14 0.047 0.009 0.9 -1.52 137 219 219 71 201 64.52
Luc Mbah a Moute MIL 11.8 0.122 0.185 -0.1 0.62 205 86 35 112 80 63.10
Hakim Warrick MIL 15.6 0.119 0.088 -3.9 -1.54 102 90 142 233 204 62.62
Shaquille O’Neal CLE 17.9 0.119 0.052 -1.5 0.62 50 89 182 186 81 62.36
Carmelo Anthony DEN 22.2 0.145 0.069 2.1 3.36 12 48 163 41 16 61.79
Rashard Lewis ORL 14 0.132 0.061 3.2 1.36 136 70 173 23 53 61.76
DeJuan Blair SAS 17.7 0.147 0.217 -1.4 1.29 55 45 19 177 58 61.32
Peja Stojakovic NOH 12.4 0.067 0.042 1.2 -1.74 192 191 194 62 213 61.26
Damien Wilkins MIN 11.5 0.056 0.142 -2.5 -1.24 211 208 72 219 189 61.26
David Lee NYK 22.2 0.163 0.162 -1.1 2.46 13 31 54 165 30 61.24
Chuck Hayes HOU 11.7 0.098 0.123 1.5 0.93 206 139 96 53 71 61.19
Al Harrington NYK 16.8 0.077 -0.03 -0.9 -0.6 66 174 237 159 154 61.19
Roy Hibbert IND 16.2 0.098 0.028 1.9 -0.15 81 134 207 45 127 61.14
Metta World Peace LAL 12.1 0.098 0.117 2.6 0.44 200 138 106 35 88 61.14
Dirk Nowitzki DAL 22.9 0.194 0.086 3.5 3.73 8 9 147 18 11 60.72
Channing Frye PHO 15 0.141 0.05 1.5 1.67 114 54 185 56 40 60.32
Nick Collison OKC 13.1 0.146 0.121 4.8 0.21 164 47 100 6 105 60.31

There are a lot of “repeat offenders” here so I’ll try to not repeat myself and I’ll ignore this angle until the summary of this post. Here are other notable points…

  • I’m not the biggest Marreese Speights’ fan but I’ve always felt some bad team should take a flier on him and give him more minutes than Sixers could afford. So I’m happy that he landed with Grizzlies and and least temporary his role will be big enough to stop worrying about sample size and opponents’ quality.
  • In hindsight, was new RAPM the only one to notice something in Troy Murphy’s performance which could have explained his eventual collapse or is it a coincidence? Either way, his stint with Nets was really strange.
  • Do you remember when Cavs refused to trade J.J. Hickson for Amare?
    I do and I’m even more puzzled by this decision now. Yes, he was young but in best case he was average-ish and had Amare convinced LeBron to stay it would be a HUGE win for the Cleveland.
  • It’s a first list for Shane Battier out of [spoiler alert!] 4 total in the last 5 years but you’ve already knew about him because he got an entire article in New York Times devoted to his non-obvious contributions.
  • Finally, Carmelo Anthony joined the club “non-star stars” [btw, is 40-50th best player worth max?] and based on this table alone I’m surprised by lack of minutes for DeJuan Blair.

Another table is about 2008/09 [246 players qualified, all with rank’s standard deviation above 60 are below]…

Player in 2008/09 team PER WS48 WP48 RAPM ASPM rPER rWS rWP rRAPM rASPM Std Dev
Kevin Durant OKC 20.8 0.132 0.126 -4.6 1.98 20 69 85 243 36 89.01
Marreese Speights PHI 18 0.146 0.045 -3.4 -0.65 54 50 194 234 147 82.48
Erick Dampier DAL 15.7 0.161 0.228 -2.2 1.64 103 34 16 215 50 80.31
Ime Udoka SAS 9.5 0.058 0.037 2.7 -1.87 234 209 205 39 214 79.72
Dominic McGuire WAS 10.8 0.04 0.169 -3.6 -0.91 217 226 50 238 167 77.33
Kevin Love MIN 18.3 0.124 0.16 -3.5 -0.25 48 82 59 236 129 76.59
Shane Battier HOU 10.7 0.123 0.19 2.5 1.51 219 89 33 42 61 75.88
Jose Calderon TOR 18.7 0.154 0.239 -1.8 1.73 42 42 12 201 47 75.19
Carmelo Anthony DEN 19 0.105 0.05 3 2 33 116 188 32 35 69.81
Sebastian Telfair MIN 10.8 0.019 -0.013 1.2 -2.37 214 240 233 76 229 69.08
JaVale McGee WAS 17 0.084 0.05 -4.7 -2.41 72 162 189 246 231 68.97
Desmond Mason OKC 7.1 -0.012 -0.001 0.8 -4.12 244 246 226 89 246 68.27
Charlie Villanueva MIL 18.6 0.112 0.031 -0.9 1.26 44 103 211 159 68 68.06
Al Harrington NYK 16.4 0.08 -0.014 1.7 -0.37 89 174 234 64 133 67.84
Josh Howard DAL 17 0.091 0.037 3.1 0.27 70 143 204 28 110 67.54
Ben Wallace CLE 12.2 0.138 0.213 1.5 2.44 189 67 23 66 26 67.53
Kyle Weaver OKC 10.2 0.049 0.13 0.3 -1.32 227 220 82 104 189 67.18
Baron Davis LAC 14.5 0.013 -0.002 0.9 -0.45 137 242 227 85 136 66.70
Jason Maxiell DET 15.8 0.141 0.17 -1.9 -0.68 102 60 48 206 150 65.52
Tyson Chandler NOH 13.4 0.114 0.126 2.2 -1.87 163 99 87 51 215 65.42
Andres Nocioni CHI 11.4 0.072 -0.012 1.3 -2.09 206 187 231 70 221 65.31
Michael Beasley MIA 17.2 0.081 0.011 -2.1 -1.61 66 171 224 214 204 64.53
Zach Randolph LAC 19.6 0.076 0.068 0.9 0.38 25 180 171 84 106 64.20
Reggie Evans PHI 10.4 0.078 0.15 -0.6 -1.75 223 178 64 145 208 63.19
Rasheed Wallace DET 14.9 0.114 0.041 3 0.85 124 98 199 33 81 61.21

Both Kevin Durant and Kevin Love had a rough start to their career considering their recent max extensions. First one had some issues with shooting efficiency [which were quickly corrected] and second one played shockingly low minutes for a future star.

This list is also a great remainder how NOT obvious was a trade between Clippers and Grizzlies involving Zach Randolph which eventually transformed them into contenders.

My final note regarding this season is about JaVale McGee…
I would have never guessed that PER could value him the highest.

Switching view to 2007/08 [247 players qualified, all with rank’s standard deviation above 60 are below]…

Player in 2007/08 team PER WS48 WP48 RAPM ASPM rPER rWS rWP rRAPM rASPM Std Dev
James Posey BOS 12 0.164 0.164 -2.4 2.02 189 29 47 200 44 84.99
Chuck Hayes HOU 11.2 0.136 0.226 2.2 2.61 217 67 24 39 29 81.00
Al Jefferson MIN 22.7 0.127 0.115 -3.4 1.36 12 81 100 223 64 78.18
Fabricio Oberto SAS 13.8 0.178 0.188 -1.9 1.84 148 21 35 179 49 71.92
Dwyane Wade MIA 21.5 0.082 0.097 2.6 3.65 16 163 131 33 12 70.74
T.J. Ford TOR 20.3 0.13 0.113 -2.1 3.55 24 79 103 189 15 70.27
Ben Wallace CHI 11.8 0.072 0.174 -1.4 1.01 198 181 41 163 73 69.78
Jason Kidd NJN 15.7 0.064 0.236 3 0.55 98 191 19 27 92 69.23
Shane Battier HOU 11.7 0.135 0.174 2.4 1.55 201 69 40 34 57 68.93
Reggie Evans PHI 11 0.068 0.162 0.1 -0.72 221 188 51 103 153 67.59
Brandon Bass DAL 15.9 0.132 0.124 -4.3 -0.77 92 74 88 235 160 67.58
Darius Songaila WAS 11.8 0.053 -0.04 1.2 -1.59 199 205 239 64 196 67.41
Rashad McCants MIN 14.6 0.04 0.004 1.3 -1.09 128 216 220 61 176 66.74
Tracy McGrady HOU 18.4 0.115 0.055 2.4 2.16 45 97 188 36 38 64.95
Erick Dampier DAL 15.3 0.165 0.234 -1.7 1.85 111 28 21 172 48 64.33
Richard Jefferson NJN 17.4 0.114 0.057 -2.7 0.5 64 98 187 210 94 63.88
Zach Randolph NYK 18 0.063 0.017 -0.2 -0.05 53 194 211 123 121 63.59
Dan Dickau LAC 12.5 0.071 0.063 1.5 -2.24 179 184 177 56 214 61.11
Keith Bogans ORL 10.9 0.106 0.138 0.8 0.19 224 116 76 78 106 60.68
Hakim Warrick MEM 16.2 0.09 0.064 -7.1 -1.79 85 153 175 247 205 60.51
Kevin Martin SAC 21 0.183 0.181 -1.4 1.77 19 17 37 162 51 60.22

Finally, here’s 2006/07 [261 players qualified, all with rank’s standard deviation above 60 are below]…

Player in 2006/07 team PER WS48 WP48 RAPM ASPM rPER rWS rWP rRAPM rASPM Std Dev
DeSagana Diop DAL 10.6 0.123 0.179 -1.5 1.87 232 84 40 195 48 88.10
Corliss Williamson SAC 12.7 0.054 -0.043 2.4 -3.27 191 221 252 47 254 85.59
Kevin Martin SAC 20.1 0.173 0.196 -2.2 2.15 33 24 35 219 41 83.29
Drew Gooden CLE 16.5 0.139 0.176 -3.8 0.51 76 58 43 242 93 80.27
Brian Cook LAL 14.8 0.083 -0.011 3.1 -0.97 116 167 239 26 178 79.70
Brad Miller SAC 13.5 0.072 0.053 3.9 -0.83 166 195 198 16 170 75.72
Carmelo Anthony DEN 22.1 0.14 0.053 0.2 3.04 19 56 197 113 24 74.49
Jermaine O’Neal IND 18.8 0.091 0.045 2.8 1.26 43 147 204 36 69 73.03
Jason Collins NJN 3 0.015 -0.052 0.8 -2.41 261 254 256 91 236 72.51
Jared Jeffries NYK 8.6 0.043 0.133 -2 -0.39 252 233 82 216 142 71.08
Mehmet Okur UTA 18.1 0.158 0.068 -1.3 1.23 58 34 176 187 72 70.89
Shane Battier HOU 12 0.144 0.165 2.9 1.29 204 52 54 31 67 69.63
Kurt Thomas PHO 11.4 0.115 0.102 2.8 -0.85 217 101 123 35 171 69.22
P.J. Brown CHI 9.7 0.075 0 1.4 -2.51 241 189 236 79 237 69.00
Andres Nocioni CHI 15.6 0.139 0.054 -2.2 -0.05 96 59 195 220 118 67.78
Rajon Rondo BOS 13.1 0.064 0.16 2 -0.1 172 208 59 56 124 67.47
Bruce Bowen SAS 7.1 0.079 0.056 1.5 -0.29 257 181 190 75 137 67.42
Eddy Curry NYK 17 0.079 0.005 -1.5 -2.25 69 180 233 201 231 67.33
Speedy Claxton ATL 7.3 -0.034 -0.045 0.5 -2.99 256 261 254 105 248 67.13
Carlos Delfino DET 12.8 0.101 0.165 -3.3 -0.44 184 131 55 235 149 66.64
Alonzo Mourning MIA 16.7 0.107 0.081 -0.2 -3.09 73 117 152 134 251 65.90
Tim Thomas LAC 13.6 0.092 0.029 2.6 -0.42 162 146 223 41 146 65.54
Reggie Evans DEN 13.5 0.096 0.239 -0.8 -0.86 165 139 17 162 172 64.92
Hakim Warrick MEM 15.9 0.082 0.032 -4.8 -1.68 90 169 218 259 212 64.17
Sam Cassell LAC 17.1 0.095 0.042 2.1 -0.09 64 140 211 55 123 63.33
Gordan Giricek UTA 11.3 0.076 0.056 1.8 -1.71 219 187 191 66 214 62.72
Andrew Bynum LAL 15.4 0.112 0.113 -4.2 -0.39 102 110 106 250 144 62.42
Fabricio Oberto SAS 11.9 0.144 0.124 -0.8 0.54 208 53 96 164 92 62.24
Craig Smith MIN 15.7 0.121 0.136 -2.6 -0.48 95 87 78 225 153 61.85
Rudy Gay MEM 12.4 0.011 -0.005 0.6 -1.89 194 255 237 98 219 61.63
James Posey MIA 12.7 0.13 0.187 -0.6 0.78 187 70 38 152 85 61.31
T.J. Ford TOR 18.2 0.091 0.105 -1.1 2.45 54 148 118 178 35 60.90
Zach Randolph POR 22.8 0.112 0.073 2 2.28 16 108 168 62 37 60.79
Luther Head HOU 13.7 0.123 0.15 -1.9 0.09 156 83 65 214 106 60.43
Ben Gordon CHI 18.2 0.152 0.07 3.1 1.87 53 41 174 25 47 60.17

To sum up those tables, here are players who were at the top the most often:

  • Hakim Warrick [4 times]
  • Shane Battier [4]
  • Al Jefferson [3]
  • Ben Wallace [3]
  • Carmelo Anthony [3]
  • Kevin Martin [3]
  • Reggie Evans [3]
  • Zach Randolph [3]
  • 23 players [2]

Battier may be the “no stats all star”… but The Most Polarizing Award should go to Hakim Warrick and I’m pretty sure his coaches would agree with this one ;-)

And the moral of this story for me is that the hardest players to evaluate are simply one-dimensional.
They could be one of the best in the world regarding this one skill but their value couldn’t be more directly linked to the way you value this particular dimension.

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3 Comments

Posted by on January 25, 2012 in Expanding Horizons

 

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3 responses to “Players at heart of disagreement between metrics

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