Playoff Performers in the NBA

(All numbers used in this post come from Andres Alvarez wonderful Automated Wins Produced website and database. Andres deserves full credit for my ability to do my playoff analysis in a relatively quick timeframe)

(Note#1: A sharp eyed reader noticed that I’m missing some teams on the data. I will work on addressing this in the next few days and hit it in a follow-up post)

(Note#2: Andres kindly provided me with the data I was missing so all tables are now corrected)

As readers of this blog will know, I’ve been working my way thru a review of all 16 playoff teams based on my half baked notion that what wins in the regualar season doesn’t track to the playoffs.  One of the persistent questions that comes up is around who gets better or worse come playoff time and since were all about the Fanservice here I’ve decided to post some numbers (I’d also like to use them in upcoming team reviews, so everybody wins).

Around that question I’ve put together a nice table of all active players who’ve played at least 400 minutes in the playoffs and put in their regular season WP48 as well. I’ve also calculated the % Change for the players to see who steps it up and who flails when rings are on the line and as a bonus I’ve put in the all time ratings:

The Table is here

Who are the Best Active Players? Here’s  the Top 50:

Some points on the table:

  • Howard does not get enough love for carrying his team in the playoffs.
  • Lebron had help in Cleveland (Wallace) but injuries denied him his best chance.
  • Some real surprises (Jeff Foster,Chuck Hayes and Noah)
  • Jason Richardson goes wild in the playoffs.
  • Vinsanity at 50 is a surprise.

A further refinement is 30 or under active players. With these parameter,  I can only find 48 above average playoff performers:

Some points on this table:

  • Hayes & Evans again are surprises (Hayes might be an effect of the postion adjustment though). So is Gortat.
  • Haslem is good in the playoffs (Uh-oh)
  • Paul and Howard playing together would be the first time two of the top ten playoff performers have played together in their prime.

One more post (rest of the 1st round playoff losers) coming today.

Arturo Galletti Written by:


  1. August 2

    I’m not surprised to see Reggie Evans on this list. He has some very unique defensive tools:


  2. Anonymous
    August 2

    Why do you capitalize random words?

  3. Guy
    August 2

    Arturo: Interesting data. I think you will find it better to do your regular/playoff comparison as a plus/minus calculation rather than percentage. For one thing, you have negative percentages for some players who greatly improved their performance, because their regular-season WP48 was negative. Also, players with low WP48 can post huge percentage gains/losses with rather modest changes in performance.

    Overall, the average player in your table declines by .029 WP48 in the playoffs — which is just what you’d expect to happen in the post-season. Will be interesting to see if the average decline varies by position.

    • Guy,
      I will definitely be doing a part 2 on this post at some point in the near future.

  4. Mike
    August 2

    I’m surprised that Chris Paul is not on the list, not even on the above average playoff performers under 30. By my hand-wave spreadsheet I have CP3 at around 0.25 career playoff WP48 with 687 playoff minutes played.

    • Yeah. Just checked it. Turns out I’m missing some playoff teams in the spreadsheet. I’ll update it over the next few days (I need to get a query of the data) . Any requests for your no-prize article?

  5. August 2

    Hey all,

    Arturo was kind enough to give me a very nice byline at the top and was even nicer to use the passive voice about his spreadsheet missing data. The last data I sent him was missing some players. As he’s mentioned he’s now got it updated.

    Also is it any surprise one of the players that improved by over 100% in the playoffs is named Andres?

  6. […] and I may revisit them another day. I’ve left the door open for many more tales, including as Arturo has pointed out the mysterious absence of his Celtics and their glorious 86 season on the Terrific […]

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