There was a thread this morning asking why Rondo doesn't measure out as well in John Hollinger's PER stat as we might think he is...that Rondo ranked 47th in PER, so what is it about his game that doesn't translate to that advanced stat? Well, that got me thinking. I'm really into the APBR-metric stats in basketball, as I think they give us a LOT of information that either isn't apparent or else just flat out isn't in the box scores. But in order for them to be effective, IMO, you need to a) understand a bit about how they work, b) understand a bit about their strengths and weaknesses, and c) look at a large enough cross-section of the "advanced stats" to get a full picture of a player.
So I wondered: how do our players measure out vs their peers, according to the nerd stats? We have a lot of internal debates around here as far as how good our guys are, and because of the way the Cs play their impact isn't readily obvious in the traditional points/rebounds/assists summary/Sportscenter blurbs. So, what do the advanced stats say about our guys?
I'm going to look into all 4 of our All Star caliber starters, but I'll start it off today with Rondo since he was the subject of the post that got me on this. I'll compare him against 9 other newsworthy point guards (7 that I thought of by name, then the best point guards out of each of the last 2 draft classes by reputation). I'm going to look at 5 different stats: Hollinger's PER, Basketball-reference's win shares, Dave Berri's Wins Produced, 82games.com's Roland Rating, and BasketballValue's 1-year adjusted +/-. I'll give a brief blurb about each stat based on my experience with them, and then at the end we'll look and see how those stats would rank our guy vs the other bests at his position.
PER: Hollinger's stat, probably the most popular of the "advanced stats", favorable (compared to other advanced stats) to volume scorers and players that generate a lot of free throws; generally ranks those considered "great" by the general public well, though also will tend to have role players with good scoring-per-minute very highly. Here is how each of our PGs ranks in PER:
Win Shares: From Basketball-reference.com, shooting/scoring efficiency; loves points per shot (thus values FTs drawn). To account for different minutes played, we're going to look at Win Shares per 48 minutes played.
Wins Produced: Dave Berri's controversial stat (most likely to be trashed on an APBRmetric board) is also the one seemingly growing fastest in popular usage; wins produced values what he defines as possessions, so loves rebounds, steals, and blocks and doesn't like TOs; doesn't value shot creation, but does value assists. We'll look at Wins Produced per 48 minutes.
Roland Rating: 82games.com's Roland Rating is based upon a combination of PER and +/- stats. It looks at the individual PER of each player, the PER of their primary defensive assignment, and subtracts the 2 for a 1-on-1 value then they combine that 1-on-1 value with a team-impact based on-court/off-court +/- stat to get the rating. Tends to produce fewest "what???" rankings, because players that rank out highly in both the 1-on-1 and team stats are almost universally who we consider to be among the best in the game...though the order at the top isn't always what you'd expect.
1-year Adjusted +/-: This is Basketballvalue.com's APM calculation. I don't love it because APM is so incredibly noisy that a single year (or less) doesn't give conclusive answers. Even 2 years may be too short for an APM calculation. I like longer APM calculations, 4 years or more, to really clean up the noise and give a robust effect. Nevertheless, we're talking about this year so this is both the 1-year APM as well as the (huge) standard errors for each guy:
|APM (basketballvalue)||APM SE|
Overall Rank orders: Giving each of our 10 guys a '1' through '10' ranking based on where they ranked in each stat, here is a summary of how each guy did. I'll add an average across the 5 stats (with standard error) to give us a better idea how our seat-of-the-pants-advanced-stat-cross-section-view ranks Rondo with respect to 9 of the best point guards in the NBA:
|PER||WS48||WP48||Roland Rating||APM||Average||Std. Error|
Just about every advanced stat, no matter how calculated, agreed that Chris Paul and Steve Nash have been the 2 best point guards in the NBA this year. Likewise, just about every stat concurs that John Wall and Ray Felton have been clearly the worst of this top-10.
Rondo is smack-dab in the middle of the rest of those vying for a top-spot. With standard error considered Rose, Deron Williams and Rondo all overlap with each other for the 3 - 5 slots. Likewise Westbrook, Parker and Curry all overlap each other for the 6 - 8 slots. But Rondo is so well clustered that his ranking would overlap with everyone from Rose (nominally 3rd) to Parker (nominally 7th).
On the whole, I'm satisfied with that ranking for Rondo. He's not quite as good on the whole as Paul or Nash, but he's right there with Rose, Williams and the rest with a strong argument for top-5 PG in the NBA this year. Sounds about right to me.