Normally when I post a story in this forum I include a table or two with the empirical evidence backing whatever point I think I am making. While attending the Western Economic Association meetings, though, my time was fairly restricted. So I decided to just post the story and skip the tables.
Now that I am back, though, I have time to make and post the missing tables. For those who are interested, here are the tables that should have been posted with each story.
Let me start with the post entitled: Thoughts on the Jason Richardson Trade
Two tables should have been included. The first details the performance of the Warriors in both the first and second half of the 2006-07 season.
As noted in the post, it is hard – looking at these numbers – to argue that Stephen Jackson or Al Harrington had much to do with Golden State’s resurgence. The change that does jump out at you is in the performance of Richardson.
When we look at the career performances of J-Rich – detailed below (along with Baron Davis) – we see that what Richardson did in the second-half of 06-07 was not entirely consistent with his career to date.
In recent years Richardson has been above average (think Rashard Lewis), but not the equivalent of Kobe Bryant. Which player will show up in Charlotte? That is a story line to watch in 07-08.
One last note on this story…. when we look at the playoffs we see that Al Harrington only played 19 minutes per game as the Warriors defeated the Mavericks. Against the Jazz, though, Harrington played 29 minutes per contest. It’s interesting that the Warriors had less success as Harrington logged more minutes. Not surprising, but interesting.
Okay, on to the next post: Drafting Ray Allen
This post needed four tables. First we need to look at how the Celtics performed in 2005-06 and 2006-07.
When we look at these numbers we see three players whose WP48 (Wins Produced per 48 minutes) was well above average in 2006-07 but whose minutes were limited. These three players are Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce, and Al Jefferson. To this core the Celtics are adding Ray Allen. As the following table details, Allen has generally been very good in his career.
To put Allen in perspective, consider the career productivity of Kobe Bryant.
In The Wages of Wins we detail the 1996 draft. Through the 2004-05 season Bryant led this draft class in Wins Produced. Ray Allen, though, was ranked second. If we update this analysis through the 2006-07 season we see that Steve Nash has just passed Allen. Still, Allen has been a very productive player in his career and the difference between him and Kobe (and Allen and Nash) is much smaller than people suspect.
Beyond noting that Allen is a pretty good player, the post also noted how rare it is for rookies to produce ten wins. This is detailed in Table Six.
As this table reveals, only fifteen rookies in the past fourteen seasons have produced ten or more wins. In other words, rookies tend to suck. Yes, we expect Greg Oden and Kevin Durant to be good NBA players. But we should not be surprised if it takes these players a year or so to make a huge impact.
And the final comment posted on my trip was entitled: Rashard Lewis Goes to Orlando
A table this post needed was a discussion of how the Magic performed in both 2005-06 and 2006-07.
This table reveals that Grant Hill was about an average performer at small forward for Orlando across the past two seasons. One should note that Hill has historically been much better than average.
In fact, as the above table reveals, Grant Hill was an amazing player for the Pistons in the 1990s. And when we consider his entire career, Hill has produced more wins than Kobe Bryant (in nearly 5,000 fewer minutes) and posted a much higher WP48.
Still, all the injuries have taken a toll and Hill is not the player he once was. So Lewis can be a step-up.
Again, as noted in the post, the career productivity of Lewis is lowered because he has often played power forward. If Orlando can keep Rashard at small forward, he might be worth the maximum contract he signed. He certainly is not worth this money at power forward.
Now that I am back I can get back to posting on a more regular basis. Tomorrow I want to comment on the Western Economic Association meetings, which has served as the annual gathering of sports economists from around the world for more than a decade. Hopefully I can offer some coherent comments on the more than thirty papers presented last weekend (including the one I helped write).