Talking the NBA at The Short Corner

Yesterday I was given a chance to be a guest on the Short Corner Podcast with Paul Shirley and Justin Halpern.  Of course Paul is a former NBA player, and like Justin (who writes for television) is currently a writer.   And both are obviously fans of the NBA.  Our conversation only lasted for the first 20 minutes, but the entire podcast (which is well worth listening to) lasted for more than an hour.

Our primary topic of conversation was the recent article I wrote about the Brooklyn Nets for the Atlantic. But along the way, we discussed more than a few basketball-related subjects. For example…

  • we learned that Paul first heard about my work when his mother gave him The Wages of Wins
  • players who are not outstanding with respect to shooting efficiency are not outstanding scorers (not surprising that we talked about that)
  • coaching doesn’t matter much in the NBA (again, probably not surprising)
  • DeAndre Jordan is very good
  • and Paul Shirley was more productive in his career than Marcus Fizer

With respect to this last topic, Paul mentioned the Chicago Bulls of 2003-04.  This team was actually discussed in some detail in The Wages of Wins.  Since Paul played for this team, he noted that in the book we report his Wins Produced for that season.

Since the book has appeared, we changed how we measure the impact of defensive rebounds.  This changed doesn’t impact much.  Nevertheless, for those who are interested, here are the updated Wins Produced numbers for the 2003-04 Bulls.

Chicago Bulls 2003-04

Minutes

Wins Produced per 48 minutes

Wins

Produced

Jerome Williams

1,230

0.231

5.9

Kirk Hinrich

2,706

0.097

5.5

Tyson Chandler

782

0.212

3.5

Antonio Davis

2,032

0.072

3.1

Jamal Crawford

2,811

0.051

3.0

Corie Blount

756

0.137

2.2

Linton Johnson

734

0.103

1.6

Donyell Marshall

408

0.150

1.3

Rick Brunson

402

0.114

1.0

Eddie Robinson

1,024

0.044

0.9

Scottie Pippen

412

0.070

0.6

Ronald Dupree

893

0.005

0.1

Kendall Gill

1,411

0.001

0.0

Lonny Baxter

147

0.003

0.0

Jannero Pargo

345

-0.018

-0.1

Jalen Rose

529

-0.014

-0.1

Paul Shirley

86

-0.127

-0.2

Roger Mason

43

-0.326

-0.3

Chris Jefferies

187

-0.107

-0.4

Marcus Fizer

738

-0.095

-1.5

Eddy Curry

2,154

-0.040

-1.8

 

Summation of Wins Produced

24.1

 

Actual Wins

23

 

As one can see – and as Paul notes in the podcast – Paul did more than Marcus Fizer for this team.  This point is important, since Fizer was a star at Iowa State and the 4th player chosen in the 2000 NBA draft.  Paul was also a star at Iowa State (and Fizer’s teammate) but not drafted by any NBA team.

Fizer’s inability to produce much was a recurring theme for the Bulls.  Eddy Curry was another lottery pick he didn’t help much.  So although the Bulls were awful after Jordan and Rodman left and were given lottery picks for their misery, they were not able to consistently turn these picks into productive players.

This, though, was not the big point we were trying to make in the podcast.  The big point was that Paul did more than Marcus Fizer.

And that is what we see throughout each player’s career.

Paul Shirley’s Career Wins Produced

Season

Wins Produced per 48 minutes

Wins Produced

2004-05

-0.178

-0.1

2003-04

-0.127

-0.2

2002-03

-1.336

-0.1

Career

-0.190

-0.5

 

Marcus Fizer’s Career Wins Produced

Season

Wins Produced per 48 minutes

Wins Produced

2005-06

-0.049

0.0

2004-05

-0.039

-0.7

2003-04

-0.095

-1.5

2002-03

0.049

0.8

2001-02

-0.047

-1.9

2000-01

-0.119

-3.9

Career

-0.058

-7.2

 

So there you have it.  Clearly Paul was a “better” NBA player than Fizer.

Later in the broadcast Paul and Justin note that “better” players in college get to play by different rules.  These numbers suggest that perhaps Paul was owed a few more favors (at least, in the NBA).

Again, it was fun talking to both Justin and Paul.  And it is well worth listening to the entire hour.

- DJ

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