The Big Easy

“The Mardi Gras memories
Of creole tunes that filled the air
I dream of oleanders in June
And soon I’m wishing that I was there” -Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans

A cross cultural melting pot with awesome food. A Colonial city with old world charm and kicking music. It’s no surprise that New Orleans is my kind of town and given the lack of a previous cheering interest, I always cheer for her team’s to do well. For the longest time that meant the Saints and the Tigers but in 2002 the Hornets brought the NBA back to town after an absence of more than 20 Years.

Mr. Basketball Louisiana

Now not only did basketball come back to the big easy but the 2005 draft brought them a once in a lifetime player: Chris Paul.  How good is Chris Paul? If I look at all the players drafted in the last thirty three years (using my handy rankings ):

(Note: If you’re new here, the numbers used for the ranking and the rest of this post are explained here).

For his first four years, He’s fifth best behind some guys named Barkley,Magic, Bird and Robinson and just ahead of some piker named Jordan.  So the Hornets lucked out and found that transcendent and rare superstar that we know gives you hope , keeps you in constant contention and guarantees the long term success of the franchise right? No. The Hornets got their superstar but have failed to keep him happy. They did such a bad job that trade rumors swirled this summer (and I may have made some jokes about that).

Still Available

Now the front office got overhauled and the team got remodeled. There are still some rumblings of discontent . In contrast to other disgruntled NBA stars (Hint: one is a superstar who makes lists and one is overrated and wants to go to the Big Apple), Chris Paul had a legitimate gripe. He’s a historically great player who’s franchise has not stepped up to the plate to build a winner around him in the last few years. The question is has that changed for this coming season?

The New Orleans Hornets in 2009-2010

25-20. That’s the Hornets record when Paul went down to injury January 29th against the Bulls.  At that rate the Hornets would have won from 45 to 46 games if he hadn’t gotten hurt. So this was, at full strength a better team than their final 37-45 record. Let’s take a look at their roster from last year:

Based on wins produced, the Hornets slightly overachieved in 2009-2010. As for the roster turnover, while they lost what amounted to 43% of their minutes from 2009-2010 oddly enough they only lost 11% of their win production. In fact, if we average the WP48 for those lost minutes we get .022 WP48 which is below the level (.050 WP48) we use for rookies and replacement level players.  This we shall see is a case of addition by subtraction.

The New Orleans Hornets in 2010-2011

 

(Note this is current as of 10/21/10) The Hornets brought in seven new players and two rookies to replace the players they lost and a simple projection shows that their roster as built only gets the to about 42 wins. A more complicated projection looks like this:


49 Wins. See here for detail on how this was done and  note that Raw wins are simply ADJP48 (Raw productivity per 48 minutes) times Minutes played divided by 48. I’m also using depth charts from here (thanks to  Sham Sports).Now this first projection only assumes 2368 minutes for Paul. If we move his minutes to 2008/2009 levels:


54 wins.  So by clearing out the dead weight and getting some decent low cost pieces, this New Orleans team is not only better than last year’s team, they’re edging slightly into contender territory. New Orleans is a playoff team with a superstar (Paul) and a decent big (Okafor) and some complementary pieces. Rarefied air indeed for a small market franchise. We can only hope that the story plays out for the the Big Easy more like San Antonio than Cleveland.

 

22 Comments

  1. Chicago Tim
    10/21/2010
    Reply

    You had them at 45 wins last week, didn’t you?

  2. entityabyss
    10/21/2010
    Reply

    By cutting pargo, they now go up 10 wins… Beautiful. CP3 my favorite player currently in the league. I love this.

  3. entityabyss
    10/21/2010
    Reply

    Sorry for the double post, but with them winning 10 more games, they’re better than a lot of other teams from your last projection. When will you put up your very last projection? Or your next one?

    • 10/21/2010
      Reply

      After rosters are finalized, you get my final pre-season projection.

  4. some dude
    10/21/2010
    Reply

    those are some big jumps for Ariza and Thorton in WPs.

    How is Willie Green producing 6 wins? He’s a terrible player and even WP48 last season agrees. Why is he being rated so highly?

    • 10/21/2010
      Reply

      I’m doing ADJP48*MP(Projected), adding it and subtracting out league average productivity. So Willie is producing 6 Raw Wins (which would be much less in WP)

  5. some dude
    10/21/2010
    Reply

    I just realized you have Willie Green as a backup SG. That makes no sense at all. He’s the backup PG.

    In fact, the only backup PG you have to Paul is Shakur, who has been cut 3 days ago.

    And according to 82games.com you have your position breakdowns off.

    I think these things, especially Green not being the backup PG, is a big reason why your projections appear too high.

  6. some dude
    10/21/2010
    Reply

    Sorry for a 3rd post.

    Coach monty williams also made Bellinelli the starter over thorton and Peja also coming off the bench with Ariza playing the 3 exclusively. Peja at those minutes projected seems high as indications are under 24mpg for him which even if he didn’t miss a game caps him below 2k.

    This team is not sniffing 55 wins.

    • 10/21/2010
      Reply

      Stupid ESPN depth chart. I’ll fix it. Won’t make a huge difference.

  7. some dude
    10/21/2010
    Reply

    Use yahoo for your depth charts. ESPN is slow to adjust.

    Okay, explain this to me about Willie. He played 1500 min at ADJ48 of .154 and produced .75 wins.

    This season you have him projected at 1400 minutes at .167 (why is he even improving at 29) and with 6 wins produced.

    What am I missing?

    • 10/21/2010
      Reply

      Fixed it.
      I typically use Wikipedia,Yahoo,Hoopshype and ShamSports. I was in a hurry today and used ESPN only. Never again.

      As for Willie, SG his age over the last five years on average increased their ADJP48 slightly (this goes back to my finding that b-balls players are having longer primes,later peaks).

      It’s six raw wins . ADJP48*MP/48=.167*1688/48 =5.9 Raw Wins

      Assuming Position adjustments remain the same and he’s 100% a PG his WP48 will be:
      .167-.258+.099= .008 and his WP =.008*1688/48 =.28 Wins Produced. I don’t really care about individual WP for team projections.

  8. some dude
    10/21/2010
    Reply

    ah, i misread it as Raw Wins. I see. Makes more sense (though it’s still a favorable projection for someone I think should barely be on a roster).

    Something just feels wrong about 55 wins even if CP3 plays that much. Someone is being overrated in this model. Or maybe a bunch are collectively being overrated, I dunno.

    Not sure if all you projections are done, but if so, do all the wins add up right?

  9. 10/21/2010
    Reply

    They will.

    Don’t over think it. This was a 46 win team before losing CP3. They got rid of Songalia who was bad. Traded Posey & Collison for Ariza and the model expects Ariza to better than last year (which playing next to CP3 isn’t a stretch).

    • some dude
      10/22/2010
      Reply

      yeah, i get that but also other teams got better and worse. getting better isn’t enough, you have to improve relative to everyone else.

      Kings, Clips, W’s all got better in the west IMO. Only team above NOH that definitely got worse is Phx. I maintain Houston is better now that Yao is back, though your model disagrees. Portland should be better too. NOH didn’t improve enough to matter.

      I was looking over your over/under article and it just feels like the West has too many wins. too many teams over 35 wins. In fact, I see you only predicted 2 total teams in the West below 35 wins. Sorry Arturo, but that’s not realistic. Has that ever happened for a conference?

      I’m only trying to help you. Something seems off. There’s no way 13 of 15 Western teams are going to be close to .500 teams or above, which is what you got. Not when you play 52 games against each other and injuries happen and quite a few Eastern teams got better.

      On a sidenote, watching Blake + Lamar obliterate David Lee right now. Ellis -22, Lee -17. 55 wins you say? :P

      • 10/22/2010
        Reply

        Monta is like a human WP sine wave.
        It’s 45 for GSW right now (and they’re playing a projected 60W team).
        2007 came close. The bottom of the East is just really, really,really terrible. The real scary part is that the worst teams in the West (Twolves and Clips) look to have bonafide superstars in Love and Griffin. Who on Washington, Philly,Indiana or Toronto is covering those two (or Marc Gasol, Yao/Scola, Cousins/Dalambert)?

  10. some dude
    10/22/2010
    Reply

    no doubt. Those teams have no real stars. But you could say the same thing last season (sans Toronto with Bosh) and yet there weren’t close to 13 35+ win teams in the West.

    The bottom of the East got slightly worse from their really bad state. The top of the East got better and so did most of the middle (Chicago, Milwaukee) or stood pat (Orlando, Atlanta). The top of the West got better (LAL, Portland) or stood pad outside of Phx.

    It’s simply not realistic to have that many wins in the West. If you’re right that the bottom of the East is god awful, then that means the West overall is much tougher and since you have 22 more games against the West against tougher competition, this should hurt mediocre Western teams like Memphis and such.

    • 10/22/2010
      Reply

      It’s a valid concern. I’ll take this into account in the final model (somehow, i’ll have to do maths).

  11. some dude
    10/22/2010
    Reply

    i wish i could advise you how to do it, but alas, that’s why you get paid the big e-bucks. :D

    Wonder what Mike Miller’s potential 2 month hiatus will do to the Heat’s predicted wins. They sure are starting off hurt. James Jones starting. yeesh.

  12. 10/22/2010
    Reply

    Some dude:

    Miller only played 54 games last year, so the missed time isn’t the issue w/ his injury. The issue is that he probably wasn’t going to get 33 mins/gm like he did last year so that will lower his production from 1800 mins to possibly as few as 1300 mins. The real issue is whether he can produce at the expected level after the injury. If he can maintain 0.200+ production, then it might only cost the Heat 2-3 wins. It would be great if James Jones could flashback to his last season in POR, though.

    • some dude
      10/22/2010
      Reply

      well, here’s my suggestion then.

      If we know he’s out to say Jan 1, then why not run a model with the team until Jan 1 and act like Miller got traded to the team on Jan 1 and run a 2nd model.

      Let’s see if it’s still 2-3 games or if it’s more because of the horrible depth the 1st two months.

      One issue I have with the models is that it distributes the minutes evenly even though we know someone like Boozer won’t play the first 20 games or so.

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