When I analyze an entire season I go to all the effort to calculate Wins Produced.

When I want to evaluate players in a single game, though, I turn to Win Score and PAWS (Position Adjusted Win Score).

**Wins Score and PAWS (again)**

Just to review… Win Score – the simple version of Wins Produced – is calculated as follows:

Win Score = PTS + REB + STL + ½*BLK + ½*AST – FGA – ½*FTA – TO – ½*PF

PAWS is necessary because player performance depends on position played. As noted in The Wages of Wins, Centers and power forwards tend to get rebounds and not commit many turnovers. Guards tend to be the opposite. When we look at players from 1991-92 to 2007-08 we see that Win Score per 48 minutes varies across position as follows:

Centers: 10.99

Power Forwards: 10.45

Small Forwards: 7.44

Shooting Guards: 6.20

Point Guards: 6.42

To get PAWS48 (PAWS per 48 minutes) you simply subtract from each player’s Win Score per 48 minutes the corresponding position average.

**Game One Best (and Worst)**

PAWS48 and PAWS was calculated for each player in Game One of the 2008 NBA playoffs.

**Table One: Analyzing Game One of the 2008 NBA Finals**

The players listed in Table One were evaluated according to the position where they played the majority of their minutes. Looking at the Boston Celtics, we see the leader in PAWS was Paul Pierce. As those who watched the game will remember, Pierce nearly died in the third quarter. But he was resurrected after just a few minutes and managed to return to lead Boston to victory.

Pierce was not the only Celtic to play well. Leon Powe, Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, and Rajon Rondo were all above average. James Posey, though, was the second least productive player in the game.

Posey would have been the least productive player, but Kobe Bryant grabbed that honor. Although Kobe played quite badly (a fact I think everyone – including Kobe – acknowledges), he was not the sole reason the Lakers struggled. With the exception of Derek Fisher, Vladimir Radmanovic, and Pau Gasol, every player on the Lakers was below average with respect to PAWS.

**True Hoop Stat-Geek Smackdown Thoughts**

In 2007 I participated in Henry Abbott’s True Hoop Stat-Geek Smackdown, placing a respectable third. This year I was not able to participate (for reasons I will explain in a few weeks). I did, though, take the whole “geek” thing one step further. Whereas the geeks Henry assembled used numbers to forecast the winners in the playoffs, I used what I know about the methods used by the geeks to forecast the winner of the smackdown. Yes, I forecasted the “top geek” (and what that makes me I do not wish to consider). And my choice – Justin Kubatko – did indeed win the contest.

Looking at last year’s contest, it appeared that Kubatko and I were using essentially the same approach. In forecasting the winner of each series we considered each team’s efficiency differential. Kubatko, though, took one extra step. He also considered home court advantage. And with this extra step he was able to win in 2007. Given that I think his method is best, I fully expected Kubatko to win again in 2008.

It’s interesting to note that Kubatko has picked the Lakers to prevail in the finals. If we consider regular season efficiency differential and home court advantage, the Celtics are the obvious choice. The Lakers acquisition of Pau Gasol, though, presents a problem. If you only consider what the Lakers did with Gasol in the line-up, you could argue the Lakers are better than the Celtics. At least, that’s what Kubatko is arguing.

Although I understand the argument, I am still going to stick with the Celtics. I would note, though, that the teams are pretty close. And I am not sure the numbers can call a series between teams where there is so little difference. In essence, I think calling this series involves little more than guessing. Of course, although I understand this point, I still hope I guess right.

– DJ

The WoW Journal Comments Policy

Our research on the NBA was summarized HERE.

The Technical Notes at wagesofwins.com provides substantially more information on the published research behind Wins Produced and Win Score

Wins Produced, Win Score, and PAWSmin are also discussed in the following posts:

Simple Models of Player Performance

What Wins Produced Says and What It Does Not Say

Introducing PAWSmin — and a Defense of Box Score Statistics

Finally, A Guide to Evaluating Models contains useful hints on how to interpret and evaluate statistical models.

*Basketball Stories*

Vince Gagliano

June 7, 2008

Interestingly enough, if we use the “Superstar Theory”, then the Celtics, led by the .370 WP48 Kevin Garnett, should take the title.

Andrew Bynum was closing in on a .400 WP48, but he had the injury. For this season, Kobe Bryant has a .247, Pau Gasol .200, and Lamar Odom .253

Add that to LA’s outstanding supporting cast, and it’s entirely possible that, for the first time in 28 years, a world championship could be won by a collection of “really good” players.

However, there is one nuance that is unduly ignored in “West’s Folly” – Gasol has played better as a Laker than he did as a Grizzly that entire season, largely due to increased FG% (58.9/50.1), decreased fouling (2.2/2.0), and a better assist-to-turnover ratio (2.16/1.45)

Using the estimate provided by PAWS, his WP48 is .311, the highest score of any team member not named Bynum.

So the theory might be valid after all…

reservoirgod

June 12, 2008

Prof. Berri:

Question #1 – What do the increases in WS48 across all positions mean? Are they simply a result of the league being played at a faster pace this season?

Question #2 – Where does the 1.614 value come from (or represent) in the formula for calculating Est. WP48 from PAWS?

Question #3 – Why do you prefer PAWS/PAWS48 instead of Est. WP/Est. WP48 when analyzing single games?

Thanks for the great work,

Rick H.

April 18, 2010

Wow… I hadn’t seen Gerald Wallace’s box score.