Utah Jazz and Wins Produced ... 11 games into the Season

Howard Smith-US PRESSWIRE

I like the Wins Produced stat. Andy doesn't. We'll probably argue about it a lot. But anyway, as promised, here's an update on the Jazz team's Wins Produced and what it suggests about the team this year.

We are 11 games into the season. As I wrote earlier, I am posting data about Wins Produced as outlined in the Wages of Wins Journal about every 10 games. Although no all-in-one stat is perfect, I find this to be the best available look at how much players are helping the team win games. (It should be noted that Andy disagrees. We may hash out an email debate about statistics similar to the one we did regarding Derrick Favors).

Before I present the data in 11 games, it is important to remember some things about how Wins Produced is calculated:

  • It's ultimately derived from team scoring differentials ... which has been noted by many, many statistical gurus as the most accurate predictor of future success.
  • Scoring efficiency matters more than individual scoring totals. This is because a) teams have roughly the same number of possessions per game, b) if one guy doesn't take a shot another guy will.
  • The numbers are position specific. Thus Hayward's production is compared to the production to average SG's, Big Al's production is compared to that of average C's, etc. The numbers are also adapted according to playing time in different positions. So Millsap's numbers are a combination of the time he plays PF compared to an average PF and the time he plays at SF compared to an average SF.
  • The team's defensive performance is divided equally among all players. Box score numbers, such as blocks, steals, and defensive rebounds, are given to individual players according to what they produce, but the nebulous concept of team defense is simply allocated to all players equally.
  • The statistic has been accused of overvaluing rebounds. Which will make our look at the first eleven games particularly fascinating.
  • A perfectly average player is produces 0.100 wins per 48 minutes. So players with higher WP/48 are producing at a higher than average rate in their playing time.

Anyway, here are the stats:

(data from thenbageek.com)

NAME POS Games Minutes WP48 Wins Produced Projected Wins Produced
Al Jefferson C 11 361 0.092 0.69 5.1
Mo Williams PG 10 357 0.083 0.62 4.6
Paul Millsap PF 11 350 0.182 1.33 9.9
Gordon Hayward SG 11 334 0.138 0.96 7.2
Marvin Williams SF 11 306 0.119 0.76 5.7
Randy Foye SG 11 274 0.003 0.02 0.1
Derrick Favors PF 11 270 0.235 1.32 9.8
Jamaal Tinsley PG 10 170 -0.028 -0.1 (0.7)
Enes Kanter C 11 149 -0.057 -0.18 (1.3)
DeMarre Carroll SF 6 86 0.362 0.65 4.8
Alec Burks SG 5 41 -0.446 -0.38 (2.8)
Jeremy Evans F 3 11 0.295 0.07 0.5
Kevin Murphy G 2 5 -0.571 -0.06 (0.4)
Raja Bell SG 0 0 0 0 -
Earl Watson PG 0 0 0 0 -
Total 5.7 42.5

Thoughts about the numbers:

  • First of all remember that while 11 games is enough to make some reasonable claims about what has happened thus far, it's not nearly enough to accurately predict what will happen the rest of the season. Players regularly have 15-game stretches that are far better or far worse than their norms.
  • Out of the players who are in the regular rotation (sorry Jeremy and DeMarre), the team has only four players who have performed above average to date: Millsap, Hayward, Marvin, and Favors.
  • Al currently leads the NBA in total rebounds (and is 4th per game) ... when a stat accused of overvaluing rebounds lists Al as slightly below average right now, that's indicative of a guy who has performed below expectations.
  • Randy Foye has been quite bad so far. We don't notice because of a couple of good scoring nights (Yay Points!). But overall, yikes — and Hollinger agrees (11.3 PER). Basically Randy has done well at spot-up 3's and FT's. He is really bad at 2's, rarely rebounds, rarely gets to the line, gets few assists, all while fouling a ton ... basically he does nothing well except shoot spot-up 3's and hit FT's. The most concerning thing to me is that this performance falls into the range of his career. Even more concerning than this, he has actually played more than Derrick Favors. Which is important because ...
  • Derrick Favors has been the most productive player yet ranks 8th in minutes played. Teams will never reach their potential unless its most productive players play the most minutes. Either other bigs need to really step up or Favors needs to take their spot.
  • Our PG situation is really bad. We'll get to Mo in a bit, but our backup PG's have been primarily Tinsley with a bit of Foye. Egads. No wonder our offense has rarely had any flow.
  • Mo has been slightly below average (like Foye, this is largely unnoticed because of a couple of noticeable hot spells). This is also, unfortunately, consistent with his career norms.
  • Kanter has been struggling a lot. This surprises nobody. I would be going crazy with his playing time if he was performing like he was last year. But he hasn't yet. So I am very happy with his playing time ... enough to work through problems and improve if he's got it in him, but at the bottom of the regular rotation.
  • DeMarre (in limited time) has been good. A huge chunk of this is shooting 12% higher than his career average. So I wouldn't bet my house that it will last. At the same time, hopefully he can continue to be a decent NBA player... something I have regularly questioned and would love to eat crow about.

Right now the Wins Produced stat says the Jazz should have 5.7 wins. Since this is impossible in the real world, 5-6 is perfectly understandable. This stat also predicts a 42-40 record. This is fairly consistent with a team currently ranking 15th and 16th in offensive and defensive efficiency (as Clark pointed out this morning). I don't think anyone would argue that a) this probably won't make the playoffs and b) to make the playoffs several players will need to step up more than they have in the first eleven games.

The good news is that some players are stepping up. Al Jefferson, for example, has been quite a bit better in the past few games. Hopefully this continues.

At the same time ... Randy Foye. Well, I've got a whole post coming about this in a day or so. This will also include a lot about some dude named Alec Burks.

* * *

As for the overall numbers, I'll revisit this in about ten more games and see what, if anything, has been happening since then.

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