Editor’s Note: The following was written by Andres (Dre) Alvarez and originally posted at Nerd Numbers. In this post, Dre reviews the players who should have – and who should not have – been named to the All-Star game (according to Wins Produced). In addition to Dre’s discussion of “All-Star Snubs”, I would like to let everyone know about the following:
- Devin Dignam – at NBAEh? – has written a great discussion of the Rookie-Sophomore game. In addition, Devin has also offered a discussion of Championships and the NBA Draft. Finally, it should be noted tha Devin has created a “Required Readings” page that is well worth reading (it is required, after all).
- Arturo Galletti – from Arturo’s Amazing Stats – has been offering posts that allow on to visualize NBA player evaluations.
- Ty Willihnganz – at Courtside Analyst – has a series of posts evaluating all-time great NBA players (like Magic, MJ, Kareem, Sir Charles, etc…). He also has a post looking at what happens when a star player departs a team.
- At the Miami Heat Index, Mosi Platt also offers a post examining all-time great NBA players. More specifically, Mosi discusses the 50 greatest players in NBA history.
- For those who want a discussion of something more recent, Ian Levy – at Hickory High – has a recurring feature called “Last Night’s Numbers”. This feature reviews the numbers from each game played in the NBA (and you can’t get more recent than this).
All of this writing has been offered within the past 48 hours. So hopefully a quick tour around the Wages of Wins Network is becoming a part of your daily routine. If you miss a day or so, you will miss a great story (or two or three or four).
One last note before we get to Dre’s coverage of the All-Star selections. As Dre notes, my actual job is reducing how much time I have for blogging. Currently I am scheduled to write (by myself and with a number of co-authors), at least ten papers. These all need to be finished by the end of June. In addition, I am also teaching more than 200 undergraduates and graduate students this semester. I don’t plan on giving up writing for this blog and Huffington Post, but I suspect the amount I write on-line has to decline. I do want to thank everyone for making this forum a part of their day. And hope on days I don’t post you spend a bit more time looking around The Wages of Wins Network.
I don’t know if Dr. Berri has said this in any of his posts but he is actually quite busy with real professor work and as such has let some of us bench players fill in on some his posts. That topic seems rather valid today as the NBA announced the coaches’ picks for the reserve All-Stars. The starters are picked by the fans and they may use whichever metric they choose. The coaches are not allowed to vote for their own players and as such we’d expect they’d vote for the best talents rather than their favorites. So did the coaches pick the top talents in the league or were they swayed by other factors? Let’s take a look at how the final rosters shook out and if the coaches or fans left anybody deserving at home.
Table 1: Western Conference All-Stars. Players in bold are “suspect” picks. Rebounds, assists and points listed per 36 minutes.
Table 2: Eastern Conference All-Stars. Players in bold are “suspect” picks. Rebounds, assists and points listed per 36 minutes.
The players in bold did not make the top twenty in wins produced for their conference. We see that both out East and out West the fans picked one player that had no business starting in Amare and Carmelo. When it came to rectifying the fans mistakes the coaches actually did an alright job. With the exception of Dirk, Bosh and Johnson all of the replacements were sound. Out East they may have cheated a little and just picked all of the starting Celtics minus Shaq. Dirk is not even that terrible of a pick as he is a bit rusty and was in the top twenty before falling to injury. Chris Bosh is a tad iffy as a call but again he is not far removed from the top twenty. The real question mark however is Joe Johnson. Joe Johnson is playing above average, which is exactly the kind of positive language you want to use for a max contract guard. In returning to the Yay Points! Hypothesis we see his only major distinguishing characteristic is that he hit over 20.0 points per 36 minutes. It seems coaches can be fooled by points as well.
Having seen the All-Stars themselves we should take a look at the top players in each conference and see which players missed the cut and see if we can figure out why.
Table 3: Top 20 Players out West. Possible Snubs in Bold. Rebounds, Assists and Points in Per 36 Minutes.
Table 4: Top 20 Players out East. Possible Snubs in Bold. Rebounds, Assists and Points in Per 36 Minutes.
I was careful to say possible snubs in the table captions. A snub is a player that should have been picked instead of more deserving players. I’ll let you guys pick at the top twenty lists to agree or disagree with who should have gotten in. I would like to list a few players I think were snubbed.
Western Conference Snubs
- Kevin Love – Head and shoulders the best player in the league right now. He is scoring over 20 points a game on a TS% of 59.3%. He’s pulling down over 15 boards a game. I have no clue what the heck else the coaches want in a player. Epic failure by both the fans, who picked Melo over him and the coaches, who apparently are crazy. Editor’s Note: Since Dre wrote this, Love was named to the team by David Stern as the replacement for Yao Ming.
- Zach Randolph – Another player snubbed for players on better teams. Zach Randolph is putting up amazing numbers and has Arturo Galletti (@ArturoGalletti) saying crazy things on twitter like that the Grizzlies may actually be contenders.
- Lamar Odom – This may inadvertently be the fault of the fans over the coaches. Lamar Odom could arguably have fit in as a small forward next to an amazing front court of Love, Griffin and Randolph. However, the fans picked two small forwards as their starters. Lamar is still a top four big out West though and definitely deserved a nod. He keeps up his streak of being underappreciated.
- Steve Nash – He just managed to go toe to toe with Love and Howard for the month of January. Chris Paul is the undisputed top point guard but Nash is hands down the second best guard out West. The confusing thing is his scoring and assist numbers are great. The fans get a reprieve as Chris Paul was the obvious starter at PG but the coaches fail here.
In the case of Love, Randolph and Nash the players seem to suffer from not having a strong enough team. In short, the coaches don’t realize how much they need to credit these players. The same is actually true in Odom’s case. The fans and coaches agree Kobe is important and probably Gasol as well, but they may not realize how much Odom contributes on that team.
Eastern Conference Snubs
Kris Humphries – A classic story of an underrated player good at getting boards. Part of his problem is that he is not getting enough minutes. Unfortunately both coaches and fans are swayed by per game numbers and Humphries is below 10 on both points and rebounds. Looking at his per 36 numbers shows how well he’s actually been playing.
Landry Fields – Dr. Berri said Landry Fields for the hall of fame on the podcast (he may have been being sarcastic) I love Landry Fields and he belongs in this game. While he did just get his points per game to above 10 his stat line doesn’t have the classic 15.0+ points or 10+ assists that coached tend to hope for in guards. He is an amazing talent that may be partially responsible for Amare starting. Editor’s Note: I also said Landry Fields will never be in the Hall of Fame. The “never” part of this statement was disputed.
Josh Smith or Andre Iguodala – I list this one as a tie. If the coaches wanted a guard-forward, then Andre Iguodala was a much better choice than Joe Johnson. If the coaches wanted a Hawk then Josh Smith was a much better option. Sure, they don’t hit 20 points per game but it turns out that the game involves other things and these two players are actually quite good at them.
Out East it looks like the snubs were more forgivable than out West. David Stern will be able to name a replacement for Yao and unfortunately I don’t think he’ll be able to right all wrongs with just one pick. The clear choice is of course Kevin Love, who sadly isn’t getting much love from the fans or the coaches. Out East all I can say is that Joe Johnson gets to be part of yet another bad choice made by NBA decision makers.