# A Superstar gives you Hope

Posted on 10/02/2010 by

First, a plug. Go read Devin’s  latest post (see here).  Back? excellent.

Over the  last few days, I’ve been playing with the Championship Equation. The point of the equation is to identify necessary conditions to be met by any team wishing to contend for a title. So far I have:

• Win 52 or more games (Houston is an aberration that can be explained in one word: Hakeem)
• Have two star points (either >2 Stars, > Star + Superstar or > 2 Superstars) in your Playoff Top 6
• Have at least one .140 WP48 player who plays PF or Center in your Playoff Top 6 (credit to some dude)

Do this and you could win the title.

In the comments to the last piece, Reader Neal Frazier asks:

“I am wondering if there is not some floor of combined WP48 for the top 6 guys that may matter more than the number of star points – this may explain the houston phenomenon – so I am wondering what the lowest sum of WP48 for the top 6 guys from the champs from the last 30 odd years is and if that metric does a better job of narrowing the field of contenders than the star points system? Ultimately, are there fewer teams with the necessary sumWP48 than there are teams with 2+ star points and 52+ wins produced?”

I had a Derrick Rose post with all the numbers ready to go, but this is just too good a a question to pass up. I’ll save that piece for next week. Let’s take a look at Neal’s question. Basics first.

Basics (skip if familiar)

This article uses Wins Produced and WP48 [Wins Produced per 48 minutes] to evaluate player’s performance.* This measure uses three key components to evaluate a player:

• The player’s per minute box score statistics
• The player’s team’s per minute box score statistics
• The average performance at the player’s position (PG, SG, SF, PF or C)

A full explanation can be found here. To give a general scale, an average player has a WP48 score of 0.100. The very best players in the league usually have a WP48 over 0.300. To put this in perspective; an average player who plays a full season at 40 minutes a game would generate around 6.83 wins for their team.  In contrast, a player posting a 0.300 WP48 would generate about 20.5 wins at 40 minutes a game over an 82 game season.

I consider 400 minutes in a season a significant sample

I consider:

• a <.000 WP48 player a waste of a roster spot
• a .050 WP48 player a bench player
• a .100 WP48 player a starter
• a .200 WP48 player a star
• a .300 WP48 player a superstar

I may also talk about the half-baked notion and Wins over replacement Player (WORP).

Answering the Question:

The question is what is the lowest sum of WP48 for the top 6 guys from the champs from the last 30 odd years and does that tell us anything? To answer, I compiled:

• Qty of Players in the Playoff Top 6 in Minutes who were Stars (.200-.300 Wp48) or were Superstars (>.300 Wp48) in the Previous Regular Season. Star Points were awarded 1 for a Star, 2 for a Superstar.
• For those same 6 guys the Cumulative WP48 for the previous season,that season and the playoffs.

In table form, this looks like:

What can we take from this? All the teams with less than .800 WP48 from their top 6 coming into the season had a superstar. All got breaks (rookies, people stepping) but they had a superstar to make it possible.  If you have a superstar in the NBA, you have a shot at the title.

So the new rules are:

• Win 52 or more games (Houston is an aberration that can be explained in one word: Hakeem)
• Have two star points (either >2 Stars, > Star + Superstar or > 2 Superstars) in your Playoff Top 6
• Have at least one .140 WP48 player who plays PF or Center in your Playoff Top 6 (credit to some dude and we’ll call it the Suns Corollary)
• A superstar puts you in the conversation if you can make it in and surround him some talent (credit to Neal Frazier and we’ll call it the Hakeem Factor).

So based on this,  if we look at the Stars/Superstars again:

And account for Bigs over .140 Wp48 (or the lack thereof). The contenders list looks like this:

Favorites: Miami,Portland,Lakers,Spurs (no change there)

Contenders (have everything in place) : Orlando,Boston, Chicago, OKC, Warriors

Missing something teams : Phoenix ( a big), Charlotte,New Orleans, Minnesota (have a superstar but nothing else yet), Denver (one more star).

Phoenix drops because of not having a quality big. Charlotte is interesting but I don’t trust them yet. New Orleans and Minnesota could pull a Ginobli out of their hat somehow. Denver is the most realistic to move to the contenders group if they get a star back for Melo.

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