Finding Happiness with the New Jersey Nets

Posted on November 24, 2009 by

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My latest column for the Huffington Post focuses on the woeful New Jersey Nets:

Fans of the New Jersey Nets can’t be a happy bunch these days. Thirteen games have been played and the team has still failed to taste victory.

Happiness, though, is often driven by relative standing. Sure, some folks are better off than you. But if you can focus on those who are worse off, sometimes – in a perverse way – that can make you feel better.

Such a fact probably can’t make fans of the Nets that happy. After all, they are the only team without a win. But wins and losses aren’t always the best measure of a team’s quality. If we want to forecast the future we are better off looking at a team’s efficiency differential. Read the rest at Huffington Post Sports

The rest of this column moves past efficiency differential and on to the subject of Wins Produced.  If you are a regular reader of this forum, Wins Produced is a familiar concept.  It will be interesting to see, though, how the audience at Huffington Post reacts. 

Huffington Post also prefers that columns be kept to 800 words or fewer.  Regular readers of the Wages of Wins Journal know that I have a problem shutting up keeping it short (I almost always go past 1,000 words).  Had I more space I would have noted…

  • after 13 games the Nets have two above average players: Josh Boone [0.137 WP48]  and Chris Douglas-Roberts [0.174 WP48].  Every other player is below the average mark of 0.100.  Rafer Alston, Courtney Lee, Bobby Simmons, and Sean Williams are in the negative range.
  • after 13 games the Timberwolves (the other team I mention) have only one above average player.  Damien Wilkins has a 0.147 WP48 [Wins Produced per 48 minutes].  Corey Brewer, Brian Cardinal, Wayne Ellington, Jonny Flynn, and Ryan Hollins have all played more than 100 minutes and all have a WP48 that is in the negative range. 
  • Al Jefferson’s mark is 0.044 (last year his mark was 0.160).  And Ramon Sessions has a 0.096 WP48 [last year his mark was 0.198]. 
  • After these two teams, the New York Knicks have the lowest differential (after games on Saturday night).  The Knicks’ mark is -6.79.  So the Knicks are quite a bit better than the Nets and T-Wolves.
  • The top five teams are the Celtics (10.03), Trail Blazers (7.77), Hawks (6.89), Nuggets (6.71), and Mavericks (6.26). Again, this is after Saturday’s games. 
  • And finally… it’s obviously very early.  Numbers will change as more games are played.  I was going to emphasize this point at Huffington Post, but I ran out of space.

– 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

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.