H-Town Sports

Houston Sports Blog - Real sports cities have TWO Conference USA teams

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Pts + Reb + Def + Winner - (Potential * Enigma) = Daryl Morey?

Packaging a player (and his burdensome contract) who simultaneously manages to lead his team in SportsCenter highlights per minute played, benchings per minute played and lingering cases of pinkeye with a similarly situated player from the college ranks and obtaining a proven, effective professional basketball player in return? Do I smell Moneyball? If this trade is a prelude of the Daryl Morey era, then being a Rockets' fan is about to become a much more enjoyable experience than it has been for the past decade.

Courtesy of the innovative minds at 82games.com, amateurs like us can easily get their mitts on stats like those that Daryl Morey and his ilk use to evaluate players.

One such example is +/-, which is used primarily in hockey, but which is beginning to become trendier in the basketball world. Here's a quick comparison:

Battier led the Grizz in +/- ratio in 2005-2006 - the Grizz outscored its opponents by 360 total points while he was on the floor last season, at an average of +6.1 points per 48 minutes. When Battier was off the court during games, his team was outscored by an average of 2.4 points per 48 minutes, an amazing spread of 8.5 points, which led the team. He was second on the team in defensive average (86.2), indicating that his presence on the court correlated strongly with a more effective defensive performance from his team. In 2/3 of the games in which Battier played last season (54 out of 81), the Grizzlies outscored their opponent while he was on the floor, which also lead his team. Note also that this was not a small sample size, as Battier was on the floor for 71% of the minutes that his team played, second only to Paul Gasol's 78%. And for those of you concerned about Battier's multi-year contract, under which Battier made $4.9M last season, the guys at 82.games interpret Battier's play last season as being worthy of $10.54M, more than double his actual salary.

Stro? Think opposite. The Rockets were outscored by an average of 4.8 points per minute while Swift was ON THE FLOOR, breaking even when he was on the bench. His "Fair Salary" based on his play last year is estimated at $1.94M, or 38% of the $5.0M that the Rockets paid him for the season. The contrast between Battier and Swift could not be more clear, if your goal is winning basketball games.

***Two tidbits:

#1) Which Rocket led the team in Win% - you guessed it. Or did you? The answer is (I proudly reveal) - Kentucky's own Chuck Hayes. The Rockets outscored their opponents by 7.3 points per 48 minutes when Chuck was on the floor and outscored their opponents while he played in 70.3% of the games in which he played.

#2) Which Rocket had the worst impact on his team from a +/- perspective? Without a doubt, the answer is Juwan Howard. Howard was sixth worst in the entire NBA, as the Rockets fared 9.0 points per 48 minutes better when he was on the bench than when he was in the game. Let's see how that plays out in Juwan's future with the Rockets.

#3) Need a backup PG? New Orleans fared 7.8 points per 48 minutes better while Speedy Claxton was on the floor than when he was not.


Blogger Tim said...

Quite a pair of posts analyzing the trade--one for the common hoops fan, and another for nerds. Well done.

Thu Jun 29, 12:53:00 PM  
Blogger Ted Bosquez said...

The Grizzlies message boards have been pretty split on the trade, but it would seem that a majority of fans are criticizing the trade for sending a hard-working, fan favorite to the Rockets for a never-was Swift and disinterested Gay.

The Rockets seem to be picking up a quality team and community guy who has proven he can offer quality defense and solid offense for a team.

The more I read about this move, the more I like it ...

Thu Jun 29, 01:09:00 PM  

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