Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Great for the Sixers. Great for Brand? -- Part II

In my previous post, I compared the Sixers' and Clippers' "other" starting four (apart from Elton Brand) based on PER to try and see whether Brand made a mistake in deciding to come to the Sixers if he was just concerned about being a part of the better basketball team. Based strictly on the PER numbers, the decision to sign with the Sixers appeared to be the correct one.

Today I'll be checking to see if Adjusted +/- gives a different take on the situation.

You can find adjusted +/- stats at Sixers stats are here; Clippers stats are here. Baron Davis's stats from the Warriors come from here.

Looking at the point guards, Baron Davis (6.29) has by far the highest +/- of any of the eight "starting" players, while Andre Miller (-8.70) has by far the lowest. Compare that result to PER, which ranks Davis ahead of Miller, but only slightly. Also in contrast to PER, but this time in a good way for the Sixers, adjusted +/- ranks Samuel Dalembert (0.73) ahead of Chris Kaman (-2.23)

As expected with the shooting guards, Cutino Mobley (-3.63) and Willie Green (-0.75) both fall in the negative range, although surprisingly (at least to me) Green isn't in the realm of the terrible. On the other wing, Andre Igoudala (4.95) unsurprisingly trounces Al Thornton (-5.57). Corey Maggette (3.88) had a very respectable adjusted +/- (just as with PER), but he's no longer with the Clippers.

So based on adjusted +/-, the Sixers hold an advantage at three of the four positions. In addition, the Sixers' adjusted +/- total is -3.77 -- bad, but still better than the Clippers' overall total of -5.14.

As discussed with PER, this total ignores the likelihood that the Sixers slide Igoudala to the SG position and insert Thaddeus Young into the starting line-up at SF. Based on adjusted +/-, this change makes a huge difference in favor of the Sixers since Young had an extravagantly high adjusted +/- of 12.33 (not a typo; he had the third best adjusted +/- in the league last season). Putting Young in the starting line-up would leave the Sixers with their advantage at three positions, but it would increase the Sixers' overall total to 9.31-- increasing their advantage over the Clippers from 1.37 to 14.45.

I can't imagine Young will have such a high adjusted +/- next season. But even assuming he regresses towards an average performance and Thornton improves (as Clipper fans expect), it still seems like the Sixers come out ahead in this analysis. And I don't think anyone should expect Eric Gordon to put up better numbers this year than Cutino Mobley did last year, so I really don't see the addition of Gordon making much of a difference to this analysis either. I guess it's possible that if you just say Thornton improves and Green remains in the starting line-up than the Clippers can overcome the 1.37 adjusted +/- difference that exists between the starting line-ups based on what happened last season. But then again, we could make any assumption we want about how people will perform next year (after all, anything can happen) if we want to reach a certain result. So I think that we should just stick with the numbers from last season for now.

I will say that I was shocked to see that Miller did so poorly in adjusted +/-. He's generally considered a very good, if not quite top tier, point guard. Watching him play, he always seems to be doing positive things. In terms of the other advanced stats, he ranks well in PER, and I know that he also does well under Wins Produced (which I'll look at tomorrow). Hmm. Definitely something to think about.

(One side note-- Reggie Evans had an adjusted +/- of 2.75 last season, third best on the team. He'll most likely get reduced minutes to some extent with the arrival of Brand, but if he gets the vast majority of the back-up big man minutes (in a three man rotation of Brand, Dalembert, and Evans) then the Sixers will be very solid up front according to adjusted +/-.)

So what have we learned so far about whether Brand made a good basketball decision to sign with the Sixers over the Clippers?

According to PER, the Sixers and Clippers each have an advantage at two positions, but the Sixers are stronger overall.

Adjusted +/- leans even more in the Sixers favor, giving the Sixers an advantage at three positions, as well as an overall advantage.

Check back tomorrow to see what Wins Produced has to say on the matter.

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