The Least Valuable players

Posted on 10/19/2010 by


“The most dangerous kind of waste is the waste we do not recognize.” – Shigeo Shingo

Muda is the Japanese word for something  that is wasteful, doesn’t add value or is unproductive. The reduction of waste is one of the central ideas of the Toyota Production System (which in the west is called lean manufacturing) because the reduction in waste is an extremely effective way to increase profitability. How does this apply to basketball you might ask? Let’s talk about the least valuable players.

In series of previous posts (Build me a Winner rev.2) I talked about how I would run an NBA team if I were a GM.

We can all dream (Image courtesy of

In it I made the following point emphatically:

“Never,ever,ever,ever have a loss producing player <.000 WP48 on your roster who has spent more than two years in the NBA. If you must evaluate potential, use the d-league (unless the bullet principle is being implemented). Lot’s of candidates here but we’ll call this Morrison’s Theorem of diminishing returns.”

Now’s  a good time to go  for the Basics if this is your first rodeo. As I’ve been trying to build a model to predict the upcoming NBA season,  I’ve noticed more that a few of these loss producing players on more than a few rosters.  So who are these players that should never be in your teams roster? Who are the the least valuable players in the NBA that should make fans cringe upon seeing their names in the program and more importantly where are they playing? The answer won’t really surprise readers of this blog.

Here are the qualifications for the LVP list:

  • Only the 2008,2009,2010 seasons count
  • Player must have played more than 1200 minutes
  • Player must have accumulated less than zero wins in that period

I found 64 players that qualify for this list. 48 are currently on 25 NBA rosters.

The list looks like this:

9 of the ten worst are still gainfully employed in the NBA and 7 of the 10 are projected for more than 1000 minutes. If I summarize by team (and sort by projected minutes for 2011 for LVPs):

We see some not so surprising names at the top of that list in Philly, Washington, and Minnesota and one stunner in OKC. This is why my model doesn’t like the Thunder as much as the pundits. As currently constructed, their roster assigns more than a a quarter of their minutes to 4 LVPs (granted Green is getting better) .

Now some of these player’s will be cut but some won’t. And their presence might just be difference in some of the tighter playoff races.

Right Bulls Fans?

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