A Short Post on the Hornets

The post on adjusted plus/minus involved an examination of Darious Songaila.  And that examination required that I look at the New Orleans Hornets this year.  It would be a shame to let this analysis go to waste.  So here is a brief post on the Hornets.

Let’s begin with the play of Darren Collison.  That story begins with Chris Paul.  CP3 was the MPP (Most Productive Player) in the NBA in 2008-09.  This year, though, he has been limited to 38 games.  So someone else (probably LeBron) will be the MPP this year.

Without Paul, the Hornets have turned to Collison.  As Mark Spears of Yahoo.com notes, Collison has been a pleasant surprise; averaging 18.5 points, 8.6 assists and 3.7 rebounds in 24 games as a starter

Collison – and this should not be surprising – is no CP3.  To see this, let’s look at the WP48 [Wins Produced per 48 minutes] numbers for the Hornets this season. 

Table One: The New Orleans Hornets after 63 games in 2009-10

As Table One reports, Paul has posted a 0.375 WP48 mark.  Collison – across the entire season – has only posted a 0.080 WP48.  So Collison has been below average in 2009-10.

Since the mid-season point (or the point where the Hornets had played 41 games), Collison has been better.  Across 819 minutes he has posted a 0.126 WP48 mark.  When we consider the fact that rookies tend to be below average, Collison has been very good.  Of course, “very good” is not as good as CP3.  So the Hornets are suffering some with Paul out of the line-up. 

Beyond the story of Collison, let me comment briefly on a couple of stories posted at Hornets247

Joe Gerrity has noted that Tyson Chandler played better than Emeka Okafor during each player’s first season with the Hornets.  Chandler posted a 0.301 WP48 for the Hornets  in 2006-07 (at the age of 24).  The next season his production declined to 0.244.  And in 2008-09, his WP48 mark fell to 0.078 (primarily due to injury).  Okafor is posting a 0.159 WP48 this season.  So relative to Chandler in 2006-07, Okafor is doing less. But relative to what the Hornets got last year, Okafor is an improvement.

Marcus Thornton is also a step-up for New Orleans.  Last year, Rasual Butler posted a 0.077 WP48.  This season, Thornton is posting a 0.078 WP48.  Okay, not much of a step-up.  But that analysis is for the entire season.  If we focus on performance since the midpoint, Thornton’s WP48 mark is 0.144. 

So it looks like the Hornets – despite the acquisition of Songaila – did make a few good moves last summer.  And when Chris Paul comes back, New Orleans might have enough to be a very average playoff team in the Western Conference. Yes, it will take something more for the Hornets to rise to be a serious contender for an NBA title.

- DJ
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Our research on the NBA was summarized HERE.

The Technical Notes at wagesofwins.com provides substantially more information on the published research behind Wins Produced and Win Score

Wins Produced, Win Score, and PAWSmin are also discussed in the following posts:

Simple Models of Player Performance

Wins Produced vs. Win Score

What Wins Produced Says and What It Does Not Say

Introducing PAWSmin — and a Defense of Box Score Statistics

Finally, A Guide to Evaluating Models contains useful hints on how to interpret and evaluate statistical models.

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