Stephen Jackson Wants a Better Team

Posted on September 2, 2009 by

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Stephen Jackson stated the following a few days ago: “It’s just things are in the air right now. I really can’t get too much into it right now, but I’m just looking to go somewhere where I can go and win a championship.”

Translation: Jackson doesn’t think the Golden State Warriors are very good and he wants to be traded to a contender.

Evaluating Jackson

Jackson averaged 20.7 points per game last year, a mark that led Golden State.  If all one cared about was scoring, then Jackson would be considered a very good player.

Of course, there are other aspects to the game of basketball.  If we look at Jackson’s stats (at Basketball-Reference.com) a few deficiencies stand out.  An average small forward has a 48.2% adjusted (or effective) field goal percentage. Jackson’s career mark is 47.5% and last year he only shot 46.6%.  With respect to rebounds, net possessions (rebounds + steals – turnovers), and blocked shots, Jackson is also below average.  Yes, he can get assists and steals.  But his deficiencies overwhelm his few advantages.

As a consequence, although he has played 19,470 minutes in his career he has only produced 15.1 wins.  His career WP48 is 0.037, well below the average mark of 0.100.  In fact, in nine seasons Jackson has yet to be above average.

Last season the Warriors won 29 games.  The team’s Wins Produced of 31.2 indicates Golden State was a slightly better than their record indicated.  Looking at the players – reported in Table One – we can see who was responsible for these wins.  Or in the case of Jackson, who was not really responsible. Last year Jackson was paid $6.6 million and only produced 2.4 wins.

Table One: Golden State Warriors in 2008-09

Beyond a relatively low level of productivity, Jackson is also old and expensive.  Before the next season ends, Jackson will be 31 years of age.  He is also scheduled to receive $35 million across the next four seasons.

Jackson on a Better Team 

When we consider the entire Jackson picture, it seems a contender wouldn’t be helped much if they acquired his services.  It’s also apparent that the Warriors shouldn’t care much if he departs.  As it stands now, Jackson is going to get $10 million dollars in 2013-14.  Given the age profile of NBA players, at that point he will be a very unproductive 35-year old player.  So if the Warriors do find a contender that wants Jackson, now is the time to make a deal. 

Let me close by noting the other argument made by Jackson.  As noted a few weeks ago,  the Warriors could improve next season. In other words, it’s possible that Jackson will get to play on a better team if he just stays where he is.  Jackson is not likely to be the major reason the team improves, but he can still enjoy the additional wins.

Of course, I made this statement before the Warriors signed Mikki Moore.  As I have noted in the past, Moore is not a very productive NBA player. And if Moore takes minutes from Andris Biedrins, Anthony Randolph, or Brandan Wright; Golden State’s attempt to turn this team around will not be helped.  Nevertheless – despite the signing of Moore and the comments of Jackson – the Warriors could be much better next season.  All it would take is a few different decisions (and yes, that does make it sound far easier than it is).

– DJ

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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

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.