The Scientific NBA Rankings (181 to 330): Roster Fillers and Bench Warmers

“Stranger, announce to the Spartans that here ee lie, having fulfilled their orders.”- Epitaph of Simonides, which was engraved as an epitaph on a commemorative stone placed on top of the burial mound of the Spartans at Thermopyla
Editor Dre: Let’s update the score first. Take a look. That’s how your team is looking right now. Don’t worry, it can still pick up. On with the show.
Let’s answer a fun question. Which players should you not be excited about? Survey says!

Thought I had forgotten about this didn’t you? Based on a very good idea by ESPN (Take every player in the NBA, establish a set of parameters for evaluating them (104 “experts” giving them points from 1-10 and averaging them) and count them down over a period of time).We decided to do our very own Wages of Wins version.It’s a great way to pass the time while prepping for Fantasy Football.

Being who we are however, we decided to be super robust in our method and criteria for evaluating players (it has a touch of personality too, as it’s based on my opinions). My criteria is as follows:

  • Rank every player based on eight categories:
    • Totals for: Wins Produced, Point Margin (from Points over Par), Wins Produced from Offensive stats, Wins Produced from defensive stats. This rewards the players that were the most valuable in total for their teams
    • Per minute numbers for :Wins Produced, Point Margin (from Points over Par), Wins Produced from Offensive stats, Wins Produced from defensive stats. This rewards the players that were the most productive regardless of playing time or injury. The one caveat is that a 400 minute minimum has been imposed for all players.
  • Using those eight ranks, average the player ranking in each category and rank players based on who had the best average ranking. This will give you a ranking on players based on their all around performance.

One of the interesting ways to think about ranking NBA players is in terms of NBA teams doing a draft from scratch from zero and drafting players based on their value. Under those terms teams would draft in a round of 30 with each team getting a pick per round. So players 1-30 should be tier 1 and number 1 on the depth chart, 31-60 should be tier 2 and number 2 on the depth chart. Using this logic and our rankings, like a fantasy draft, players can be segrated by those tiers (let’s call it a number on the depth chart).

You can tell i’m in the middle of my fantasy drafts, I’m treating the rank like a draft cheat sheet!

Once we know the player’s rank and depth we can use it to compare teams (because trust me when I say this, talent is not evenly distributed). The best teams will of course be those loaded with top picks.

Some o these guys are top picks. Some aren’t

Part 1, focused on players that where below my treshold for regular rotation guys. these where all players rated at 13th on the depth chart or below. In fantasy football terms these would be the waiver wire wonders.

Today we deal with the players who should be filling out the roster. These guys should be playing 7th to 11th on your teams rotation. You wouldn’t necessarily want them in your playoff rotation playing heavy minutes but you’ll need them over the course of an 82 game season.

You would be correct in assuming I’m keeping score (Editor Dre: Yup, the chart’s so nice I showed it twice!):

More on this later, let’s get to the rankings and today’s very special bonus feature.

Let’s focus on the players that have actually moved year on year.

On the growth side we have Kyrylo Fesenko leading the way (they must be doing something right for big men in indiana).  We have Nate Robinson, Hasheem Thabeet, JJ Hickson and Carl Landry showing signs of coming back to previous form. We also have some young players progressing nicely thru the Age curve in Avery Bradley, Ishmael Smith, Grevis Vazquez, Kevin Seraphin, Luke Harangody and DeMarcus Cousins.

The minus side is very interesting indeed. Chuck Hayes had an understandably off year amidst serious medical concerns. Raymond Felton ate his way onto this list. Andrew Bogut and Marquis Daniels had some injury issues. All four seem likely candidates for a rebound year.  Brandon Bass may be a function of the system he’s playing in now (although still a massive improvement over Big baby for the C’s). Kobe Bryant and Dirk Nowitzki  may  just be seeing the twilight of their careers fast approaching (although I give Dirk the stronger benefit of the doubt here as he’s only going to Germany recreationally).

If I look for players falling at least 50 spots two years in a row I get:

Name Age Exp Position 2010 2011 2012 Delta from 2011
Erick Dampier 37 16 5 42 133 226 -93
Metta World Peace 33 13 3 84 142 262 -120
Steve Blake 33 9 1 131 273 329 -56
Jamario Moon 32 5 3 44 153 326 -173
David Lee 30 7 4 28 146 318 -172
Chris Bosh 29 9 5 27 90 250 -160
Deron Williams 28 7 1 18 77 240 -163
Jon Brockman 26 3 5 53 141 311 -170

Erick Dampier, Metta World Peace, Steve Blake and Jamario Moon look to be in serious declines.  David Lee is someone who could be a big winner if Bogut gets on the court for the Warriors. Deron Williams and Chris Bosh both had career lows last year and their teams  really do need them to come back.

The data is publicly available for your perusal in a google doc:

NBA Rank data

The surprise for the day is that I am now including all the ranks for the 2010 season in the data.

And as a poster.


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