One might expect a team that’s close to winning a title to be the biggest mover at the trade deadline. But the biggest mover was actually a team sporting a 0.358 winning percentage. The New York Knicks made three moves this past week, with the biggest the trade that brought Tracy McGrady to the Big Apple.
It’s well understood that the Knicks primary motivation is to clear salary cap space so that the team can make significant moves this summer. So it wouldn’t be suprising to learn that the Knicks current cast of characters might not be as competitive as the team’s fans might like. But looking at this team’s current roster yields perhaps a pleasant surprise.
Here is a quick glance at this team’s current line-up [WP48 or Wins Produced per 48 minutes reported].
Chris Duhon: 0.046
Tracy McGrady 08-09: 0.163
Danilo Gallinari: 0.100
Al Harrington: -0.012
David Lee: 0.244
Sergio Rodriguez: 0.107
Eddie House: 0.023
Wilson Chandler: 0.090
If McGrady can play as well as he did last year, the Knicks will have three above average players in the starting line-up (Gallinari is an above average small forward) and one above average performer off the bench.
The problem for this team is a lack of production in the frontcourt. Yes, David Lee is the most productive player on the Knicks (and yes, it doesn’t seem wise to just let him go this summer). But after Lee the Knicks don’t have much at power forward or center. Al Harrington is currently in the negative range. And a similar story can be told about Eddy Curry and Jonathan Bender (about the only big men left on the roster). So the Knicks will probably have to play a smaller line-up much of the season.
Despite this problem, given the above WP48 numbers, this current roster could expect to win about 35 or so games across an 82 game season. Yes, after all these moves the Knicks might be a bit better. So if this team was worth watching before these moves (and I am not sure that’s true), then they are still worth watching across the last 29 games of the 2009-10 season.
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Our research on the NBA was summarized HERE.
Wins Produced, Win Score, and PAWSmin are also discussed in the following posts:
Finally, A Guide to Evaluating Models contains useful hints on how to interpret and evaluate statistical models.