Toronto will be terrible.

The following post uses the Wins Produced metric. During the long offseason Dave Berri took a little time to tweak it a little. You can find all of the numbers for last decade or so here, as well as a handy tutorial!

It’s opening day as I write this, so now’s a good time to get my Raptors prediction out there. Numbers first, with an explanation to follow:

Player Pos. Pred. WP48 Pred. Mins Pred. Wins Lockout Adj.
Ed Davis PF 0.190 2321 9.19 7.39
Jose Calderon PG 0.168 2033 7.13 5.74
Amir Johnson PF 0.196 1615 6.59 5.30
Aaron Gray C 0.123 700 1.80 1.45
DeMar DeRozan SG 0.031 2800 1.80 1.45
Jamaal Magloire C 0.156 423 1.37 1.11
James Johnson SF 0.032 1000 0.66 0.53
Gary Forbes SF 0.027 1000 0.56 0.45
Anthony Carter PG 0.083 300 0.52 0.42
Leandro Barbosa SG 0.010 1136 0.24 0.19
Jerryd Bayless PG 0.005 1603 0.16 0.13
Rasual Butler SF -0.004 1100 -0.08 -0.07
Linas Kleiza SF -0.034 836 -0.59 -0.47
Solomon Alabi C -0.189 300 -1.18 -0.95
Andrea Bargnani C -0.072 2513 -3.77 -3.04
Total 0.060 19680 24.40 19.64

Last year’s Raptors finished with 22 wins, and if this year’s team played a full 82 game season, I’d put them at 24-25 wins. As this season will only be 66 games, I have to adjust that total accordingly, and I get about 19-20 wins.

Individually, the team should be led by three players — Ed Davis, Jose Calderon, and Amir Johnson — who should account for the vast majority of the team’s wins. I expect all other players on the team’s roster to account for only about one win.

This season’s new acquisitions — Aaron Gray, Jamaal Magloire, Gary Forbes, Anthony Carter, and Rasual Butler — will only add about three wins. Gray and Forbes are the most promising, but probably won’t see very much playing time; Magloire and Carter are formerly decent veterans who are old, have been declining for years, and could drop off a cliff at any moment; and Butler should end up being the least productive of the bunch (older and never productive). Thankfully, each of these newly acquired players is cheap and on a one-year deal, so the long term ramifications of these signings will be minimal.

As far as departed players go, Sonny Weems will not be missed. After a promising 2009-10 campaign, Weems regressed significantly last season. It’s a good thing he’s now stuck overseas. The other Raptor stuck overseas is Joey Dorsey. Dorsey was quite productive in limited minutes last season — as he has been for his entire career — so it’s a shame he won’t be back. The other two players the Raptors should miss are Julian Wright and Reggie Evans. Wright was also productive in limited minutes last season, but with the arrival of James Johnson, there was very little chance of him returning. Hopefully he gets another chance with an NBA team in the future. Evans was excellent last season, but he was limited to about 800 minutes due to injuries. While he is a productive player, he is older, injury prone, and plays the same position as two of the team’s three best players. I’m glad he ended up on a team that’s likely to be playoff-bound and will have a use for him.

(Brief aside: it’s also a good thing that Chris Kaman is no longer on the Clippers, because that might have been awkward)

Yes, the Raptors were relatively stacked at the power forward position last season. As I noted above, two of the team’s “modest three” play this position. If I arrange the numbers by position, we can see the impact this has even more clearly:

Pos. Pred. WP48 Pred. Mins Pred. Wins Lockout Adj.
C -0.022 3936 -1.78 -1.43
PF 0.192 3936 15.78 12.70
SF 0.007 3936 0.56 0.45
SG 0.025 3936 2.04 1.64
PG 0.095 3936 7.81 6.29
Total 0.060 19680 24.40 19.64

Power forward will continue to be the team’s strength. The point guard position will be roughly average — a relative strong point for Toronto. Shooting guard, small forward, and centre will all be around a WP48 of zero; there will be a small number of wins produced at SG, but most of these wins will be offset by the losses created by the team’s centres (specifically the team’s least productive player).

I will conclude the post with my standard disclaimer for making pre-season predictions: I do not pretend to have exceptional forecasting abilities. My prediction method involves a three year weighted average of both WP48 and minutes played, with adjustments made to minutes to make the minutes add up properly. I can’t predict injuries, trades, or playing time, nor can I predict players who have uncharacteristic seasons. But I’m sure that you knew that already.

- Devin

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