Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Looking at the Sixers' Roster

After the NBA Finals, my plan had been to take a look at the Sixers' roster using PER, WP48, ,and Adjusted +/- to determine where the Sixers stood and determine what their biggest needs were. Then I was going to propose ways for them to get better this off-season.

Obviously, I didn't get around to it right away. And in the meantime, the Sixers have made a few minor moves. (What? You wouldn't consider the Elton Brand signing a minor move...?)

That said, I thought it would still be a useful exercise, and now we'll also be able to evaluate the moves the Sixers have made this offseason in the context of the needs we identify.

For now, let's just look at the Sixers' roster as it stood at the end of last season (I've posted these numbers for the starters before-- in the posts comparing the Sixers to the Clippers):

(by the way-- if anyone knows how to import a spreadsheet into blogger, please let me know. Typing everything in neat columns isn't really my forte!)

PER Adj +/- WP48 Status

Andre Miller 18.51 -8.70 .167 signed
Willie Green 12.91 -0.75 -.019 signed
Andre Igoudala 19.05 4.95 .172 restricted free agent
Reggie Evans 11.05 2.75 .143 signed
Samuel Dalembert 15.62 0.73 .197 signed
Louis Williams 16.71 -7.68 .080 restricted free agent
Thaddeus Young 16.58 12.33 .099 signed
Jason Smith 10.76 -1.37 -.039 signed
Louis Amundson 7.59 n/a -.172 free agent
Herbert Hill n/a n/a n/a free agent
Shavlik Randolph 15.05 n/a .029 free agent
Kevin Ollie 9.81 n/a .017 free agent
Rodney Carney 12.15 1.54 -.032 signed
Calvin Booth n/a n/a -.033 signed

So looking at these numbers for the Sixers' roster at the start of the off-season, what do we see?

First, these stats don't agree on the value of our players. Some players rank high on PER, but low on adjusted +/-. Others low on PER, but high on WP48. So it isn't clear just from putting up these numbers how the roster should be evaluated. Unless, of course, you believe unreservedly in one metric, in which case things are much easier for you.

That said, I think it's a safe assumption that a player who rates well on all three metrics is a good player. On that basis, it seems clear that Andre Igoudala and Samuel Dalembert were the Sixers' cornerstones last season, ranking above average on all three metrics. That said, neither one really breaks into all-star territory on any of the three metrics.

As far as the other starters go, Andre Miller and Reggie Evans were either good (on two metrics each) or bad (on one metric each) depending on which metric you rely on. For now, I'll go with the majority of metrics and view the Sixers as being solid at both of these positions. Willie Green, on the other hand, is considered below average (or bad) by all three metrics.

Looking at the bench, we can see that Thaddeus Young had a very good rookie season. Beyond that, the results are mixed, at best. Louis Williams is either slightly above average (PER), slightly below average (WP48), or downright crappy. Rodney Carney was either below average (PER, WP48) or above average (adjusted +/-). Jason Smith was poor, despite the relatively positive reviews he received during the season. And the rest of the roster didn't really play enough to be evaluated, although Shavlik Randolph seems to be the most promising from the end of the bench crew.

In general, I think the numbers show that the Sixers' most glaring need was to improve the shooting guard position. Resigning Igoudala also was a clear off-season priority (although, as noted, not for all-star money). Simply accomplishing these two goals would have made the off-season a solid success, most likely ensuring a return to the playoffs. Beyond that, putting together a bench that inspires a bit more confidence was probably the next most urgent need. Resigning Louis Williams seems likely to help in that regard, but he's not nearly as certain to help as I think most people believe (including me before I did this analysis).

And I guess I should note that if you think adjusted +/- is clearly the best indicator, then strengthening the point guard position, and not the shooting guard position, is actually the Sixers' biggest need.

So that would have been the doctor's prescription for this off-season. In my next post, I'll take a look at how the Sixers' actual moves (so far) have matched (or not matched) these needs.


Louis said...

I am not a fan of Miller at he point. If we slide Ig over to the shooting guard spot then we have already addressed that need, adding Brand addressed power forward and we still have to get consistently-good (across all matrix) point guard.

Anonymous said...