So before I get into this post, I'd just like to note that while I love stats, I'm not a statistician. I love hearing what everybody else on this site has to say about stats because it helps me understand how they're best applied. With that said, I'm going to take a stab at pointing out some things that just don't seem logical to me in Hollingers latest team analysis of the t-wolves and our jazz.
I'll start with his end of season predictions.
Minnesota 2011-2012: 26-40 (39%)
Prediction for 2012-201: 45-37 (54%)
Jazz 2011-2012: 36-30 (54%)
Prediction 2012-2013: 44-38 (53%)
So Hollinger predicts a pretty big jump for minnesota. He essentially says that they'll have a 13 game turnaround from what they had last season (adjusting for an 82 game season). Again, that's no small leap.
Now, onto his reasoning. Hollingers main argument for the T-Wolves making this big a jump is replacing their horrible players with average players. This isn't something I disagree with. In fact, we make the same argument all the time as jazz fans right? Here's what he says:
"Go down the list, and you'll see Tolliver, Milicic, Johnson, Ellington and Webster all had single-digit PERs, and those five players played nearly 5,000 combined minutes."
5000 minutes is a ton of minutes. Those minutes will be replaced mainly by 4 players (shved, AK, Roy, Buddinger), who aren't great, but are a big improvement over the 5 previously mentioned. This is where the team is going to improve. I don't buy that they won't have injury problems like last year though, with rubio coming off his knee surgery, AK being chronically injured, and Roy's bumb knees. Still, I don't doubt that these new wings will improve the T-wolves marginally.
Here's where I have my beef. As you saw above, Hollinger predicted that the jazz would have a worse winning percentage this year than we had last year, but nearly everything Hollinger said would improve the t-wolves are things that should improve the jazz as well.
Hollinger pointed out that the jazz had 5 players that were negatives last year. Josh, CJ, Bell, Watson, and Tinsley. I'll be assuming that tinsley and watson get very limited playing time this year....
Here are the PER's of those players above
Josh Howard- 10.55
Raja Bell- 8.36
average-10.34 (I realize this isn't statistically sound, but it gives a good ball park idea of combined production)
total minutes-4,407 (just 600 less than Minnesota's crappy group).
Those players were almost as bad as Minnesota's 5 players last year. Not quite as bad, but close. Now, lets look at replacements for both teams. (I'll be using Roy and AK's last season, and this will be Shved's first season here so I won't use him).
There are a couple arguments against my very unscientific methods that I want to address.
1-Players above could have a better PER this season than they had their last season-------I think this argument has validity, but Marvin and Mo have just as much of a chance to improve their PER this year as AK and Roy do.
2- Mo is replacing Devin's spot, not Raja Bell's spot------ This argument has the most validity to it, but I feel that I also could have included Burks as someone who will take those minutes, but just didn't add him because he's not a new player on the team. He'll also likely have a much better PER this year, probably higher than Mo's.
3- The Timberwolves old crappy 5 were slightly worse than our 5, and their new 3 are slightly better than our new 3------ This is true. But how many more wins than us will that equate to. 12? Not likely. I'd say the difference is more likely 3-4 games at most (not based on any statistical equation I did, but just because I'm writing this and I can, I say 3-4)
4- Per is an offensive statistic, it doesn't account for the improvements they get on defense with AK------this is true, but the same goes for the jazz as we improve significantly with Mo and Marvin.
Again, all the numbers that I threw out aren't exact, but I feel they can give us a good ball park feel to the similarity between us and Minnesota.
Alright, it's time to wrap this up. Hollinger thinks the t-wolves improve by 12 games by subtracting really crappy guys and adding average guys. Hollinger also thinks the jazz decline by one game by subtracting bad players and replacing them with average guys (and I'm not even going into our growth from within with Favs, Hayward, burks, and kanter).
Tell me everyone, am I missing something?! Are we really that much more of an injury risk team than Minnesota that we wouldn't improve? I'm ok with Minnesota improving that much (I don't know how he came up with that number, but it seems fair). My biggest problem with all of this is that he thinks the jazz will not only not improve, but that we'll digress somewhat this year. I'm usually a big John Hollinger fan, but it doesn't seem to me that this makes any sense at all. I don't know why this made me annoyed enough to write an article about it, considering EVERYONE in the media constantly underrates the jazz. I guess I expected more from somebody that pretends to be objective, but it seems in reality he uses stats to further prove his subjective view points.....just like the rest of us do :)