“I, at any rate, am convinced that He does not throw dice.” -Albert Einstein talking about God
I’ve been online for only a few hours this weekend. The reason for this is that I was throwing a party at my house on Sunday.
I spent my weekend doing prep work. I scrubbed floors, I cleaned toilets and I even got down on my knees and finished both with a razor (hardwater is a pain to get out). Our house gleamed by sunday (and a great time was had by all thanks for asking).
The funny part is that I logged off on Friday thinking “I’ll log on for a few hours this weekend and put up a quick post on a particular player, nothing major”. Life is funny sometimes (and God’s a funny guy).
I ended up taking on America’s Statistician in Chief, Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight (and to my credit even though I wrote the piece at 2AM on a saturday I didn’t bring up anyone’s mother).
Naturally I expected a bit of feedback and a few requests. Background first:
- First off there’s this piece: The Nets and Knicks May Be Better Off Without ‘Melo.In it Jared Diamond of the Wall street Journal (with an able assist from our own Prof. Berri) debunks some of the hype surrounding an old favorite, Carmelo Anthony . The relevant points being that Melo to New Jersey (Derrick Favors and Devin Harris to Denver, The Nets get Chauncey Billups and Rip on top of Melo) would be a train wreck for the Nets. Melo to the New York (assuming it looks something like this: with Fields, Chandler, Curry and picks from a Randolph trade as the featured assets for the Nuggets) would be a Isiah-esque for the Knicks as they would win roughly 29 games over a full year (and I bust a gut laughing at the ridiculous New York Knick management ).
Here’s some food for thought:
And as I finish typing that paragraph the ESPN ticker flashes with the news that the Nets are talking to Melo about an extension.
Nevermind, we’ll carry on.
The second relevant piece was the post from the aforementioned Mr. Silver:
His claim is simple. Advanced stats such as Wins Produced (see here for the Basics) miss the true value of Carmelo Anthony as a player. To quote:
In taking all of those shots, however, Anthony has also done something else: he’s made his teammates much more efficient offensive players.
And because he makes his teammates more efficient by being inefficient himself, Melo is more valuable than he appears.
Now yesterday I pulled the data for every single game for the nuggets for the past two years (see here ). I then divided all the games into games where Carmelo played and games where he did not. Finally I worked out Points generated per shot for each scenario. The results are here:
You can see that Mr. Silver is right. Melo’s teammates are more efficient with him on the floor. But only slightly (.9% this year and .1% last year) and Melo ends up shooting that advantage away. At this point we go to the to the request.
A few readers asked me to redo the table using True Shooting %. Asked and answered:
The numbers tighten up with the shift. In 2009-2010, Melo’s teammates actually shot better in games he did not play in (but scored less points per shot). This year they’ve been slightly worse. As a team however they always shoot better (whoever you want to measure it) without the innefficient high volume shooter and there should be no doubt that that’s what Melo is.
For Melo, the Nuggets and apparently the Nets an old story is being repeated, that of the overrated scorer getting traded. The team getting him should remember the history of that sort of trade.