Thursday, August 21, 2008

A Look at USA Basketball Productivity

Out of pure curiosity, I calculated performance and productivity ratings (PaP) for individual players on the USA Men’s Basketball Olympic Team through their first six games. The results help evaluate the opinions of visitors who voted on this site’s poll – more importantly, the statistics provide data to support who is “gettin’ it done by goin’ to work” during the Games.

Even the common viewer can postulate that King James is a flat-out star and “Superman” Howard is a beast in the paint. Bosh, as his production shows, has been active and provided stability at both ends of the floor. Besides Bron-Bron, however, nobody has been more multitalented than the man from Miami.

D-Wade has performed like the Energizer bunny on Red Bull, and the ratings demonstrate his versatile play. He has been absolutely everywhere, offensively and defensively and, to the average fan, a heck of a player to be coming off the bench. As many coaches say, though, it’s not who starts – it’s who finishes the game. And in Wade’s case, it’s also what he does every minute he is on the floor.

Here are the ratings for all players who have logged at least 75 minutes. Note that in creating the formula for these ratings, I attempted to attend to the points of emphasis for this USA team, namely defense and rebounding (Coach K priorities), sharing and taking care of the ball, and ability to convert all types of shots: free throws, 2-point field goals and 3-point field goals.

Interestingly, the top five are a solid squad, especially if we think of a more typical lineup with two bigs, two wings, and a point, rather than the 4-out, 1-in trend.

11 comments:

dskz said...

Not a bad top 5 right there. Best top; 5 in basketball

potrero joe said...

Considering this comes from a MIT prof, I'm disappointed. Where's the proof, or attempt of, for how these numbers actually contributed to team wins?

Maybe I'm spoiled by Dave Berri (http://dberri.wordpress.com) , but if I just wanted to see a list of numbers defining performance I'd stick with USA Today.

Dr. Oliver Eslinger said...

dskz - thanks for reading

potrero - I'm not an MIT prof, I'm a coach...just wanted to crunch some numbers for the fun of it...dberri is the man...thanks for your interest

JGK said...

Hey Doc. I think people are just asking to see the components of the formula and how they are weighted (for transparency obviously). Any chance you can show us the spreadsheet?

I think it's interesting that guys like Kidd and DWill are down at the bottom while CP3 is in the middle. What do you think about the intangibles that these 3 PGs bring to the game that cannot be fully calculated using formulas? Is there a +/- assessement (like they do in hocked) as part of the PaP?

Thanks. Keep up the the good work.

Dr. Oliver Eslinger said...

Thanks, JGK, for the interest - Points are obviously a big deal, but other formulas, I believe emphasize scoring too much. As a coach, I'm big on defense and, of course, all the other details of the game that aid possessions. So, to compare the PGs, especially CP3 and Dwill, who are scoring guards, it comes down to boards, playmaking, and what they do with their minutes. So, fouls hurt, and turnovers really hurt the rating. Steals are very significant because they create a new possession. I also like weighting rebounds similarly, whether they are offensive or defensive. Either way, a new possession or play is created. And as far as intangibles that are not in formulas -- that is the very reason statistical analysis isn't the end all, be all from a coaching standpoint. I like using it as a guide to highlight areas and help preparation. And here, I just like using it as a fan...excited to watch the upcoming games...

Special K said...

As much as I'd love to see the formula, I think most everything would show pretty similar results. Was your formula derived imperially or heuristically?

Anonymous said...

So if Paul and Williams are both scoring guards, why does Paul rank so much higher than Williams and Kidd? It can't be about playing time, because Prince is ahead of them and he plays sparingly. It is time to give Paul the title of best American PG in the league. Also, defense was emphasized, and Williams is too slow to stop quick point guards (like Paul).

I also like the top 5 as a starting lineup.

Anonymous said...

Great work doc, really interesting stuff. I'd only disagree with the slight change made from your post (solid 5) to the poster above me (ideal 5). The notion that a starting five without Kobe would be better than one with him is incorrect. Can't put a price (or a numerical value, apparently) on him shutting down the other team's best player.

Best,
Brian Rubaie
Dallas, Texas

Dr. Oliver Eslinger said...

special k - yes, I ran some other formulas, too, and Wade is on top. More interesting to me was the order of the other players...

CP came out higher than the other PGs because of his steals, assists, Dboards, and minimal TOs...

Brian - good point - obviously, no formula is perfect and there is something to be said of Kobe's focus on shutting down opponents...he made his teammates' jobs easier by playing extreme denial and filling in where needed and they made his role easier as well...

Special K said...

You really didn't answer the question of how you came to decide on this formula? Did you run regressions and correlations between box score stats and team performance? And when you say that you ran several other composites it makes me worry that you just kept adjusting a base formula until it produced the kind of results you wanted to find.

Dr. Oliver Eslinger said...

special k - sorry, man...imperially and heuristically...don't worry, I didn't adjust looking for a particular outcome...just interested in discovering the most efficient one to use from a coaching standpoint.

Based on original Visionary template by Justin Tadlock
Visionary Reloaded theme by Blogger Templates

Visionary WordPress Theme by Justin Tadlock Powered by Blogger, state-of-the-art semantic personal publishing platform