Mo Williams is an All-Star? The Real Shamockery

Posted on February 12, 2009 by


A quick question:  Should Maurice Williams been named to the All-Star team in 2008?

As I recall, no one thought that was the case when Williams was the second leading scorer for the Milwaukee Bucks last season. But as the second leading scorer in Cleveland – the team with the best efficiency differential (offensive efficiency minus defensive efficiency) in the NBA today – people thought it was a “shamockery” (Ben Wallace’s word) that Williams was passed over in 2009.

Is Mo Williams, though, suddenly a different player?  As always, let’s look at some numbers.

Table One: Evaluating Maurice Williams in 2008-09

As Table One indicates, Williams is virtually the same player in Cleveland that he was in Milwaukee.  His shooting efficiency is somewhat better with the Cavs (although not much better) while his assists are down.  In fact, the drop-off in assists appears to more than offset his improved shooting.  Despite a small overall decline in Win Score, Mo Williams is suddenly an All-Star.

And this leads one to the obvious conclusion.  To be an All-Star you simply need to score for a winning team.  Last year Mo Williams scored some for a loser. And no one thought he was an All-Star. This year he gets to play with LeBron James — and Wallace, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Delonte West, and Anderson Varejao – and suddenly Mo Williams is one of the very best players in the game.

As I have noted before, the purpose of statistics is to separate a player from his teammates.  Mo Williams is essentially the same player he was in Milwaukee (and you don’t need Win Score or Wins Produced to see this).  So if he wasn’t an All-Star last year, why is he going this year?  For fans of the Rajon Rondo, Vince Carter, Andre Miller, Jose Calderon, Mike Bibby, Andre Iguodala, Caron Butler, Rodney Stuckey, and even Delonte West; the Mo Williams selection is truly a “shamockery”.

By the way, my list of players who have done more than Williams is incomplete.  To see the names of the 78 players who produced more wins than Williams in the first half of the 2008-09 season, please see Every Player at the Midpoint of the 2008-09 Season.

– DJ

The WoW Journal Comments Policy

Our research on the NBA was summarized HERE.

The Technical Notes at 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

Wins Produced vs. Win Score

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.