all stats taken from Basketball-Reference.com
I'm researching and exploring some methods to utilize in the hopes of making a more objective, more accurate prediction for the 2009-10 season with the goal of getting within, let's say, ten games of the Hawks' final record. A small step but one which would constitute an almost 30% improvement for me over last year's prediction. It's all about setting attainable goals. That last sentence is surely a petard on which I'll be hoisted.
This first table looks at Win Shares, cataloging each player's rate of Win Shares per 1000 minutes for his career, the 2008-09 season, and while playing for the Atlanta Hawks.
One can pretty easily take those rates, make an educated guess about each player's 2009-10 rate, assign minutes for 2009-10 season, and calculate a rough estimate of the team's projected wins. Something like this...
Last year's 47-35 team (46-36 Pythagorean record) earned 45.1 Win Shares.
The reasoning behind that Jeff Teague projection will be the subject of a future post which I'll preview here only by saying that point guards drafted outside of the lottery over the last six seasons, even point guards who have gone on to be above average players, have pretty much all been below average players as rookies. Collectively, they've been well below average.
Though Win Shares is a useful tool for a rough exercise such as this (not least of which because one needn't make hundreds of calculations) it doesn't give you much of an idea about the shape of a player's contributions. Thus, as a complement to Win Shares I've also looked at each player's Offensive Rating (ORtg) and Defensive Rating (DRtg) for the 2008-09 season and their careers.
Two things to notice in the above table:
- Lots of Hawks exceeded their career averages (last season inclusive) during the 2008-09 season. I think it's fair to expect the young players (Horford, Williams, Smith) to continue outperform their career averages even if they might not improve upon or even repeat their 2008-09 numbers. I think it's fair to expect the older players (Bibby, Crawford, Evans, Pachulia) to perform closer to their career averages in 2009-10. As for Joe Johnson, he's posted (in chronological order, 2005-2009) Offensive Ratings of 109, 109, 109, 110 and Defensive Ratings of 114, 111, 112, 110 in his four seasons in Atlanta. I suspect he'll post similar rates next season.
- Notice the similarity between Flip Murray's 2008-09 and Jamal Crawford's career. I still don't think that Crawford is likely to provide an upgrade over what Flip Murray produced last season.
Now, as to whether these objective measures confirm my suspicions that the Hawks have merely re-constituted last season's team (assuming they re-sign Marvin Williams) or whether this post just confirms that, before the fact, I can only conceive of avenues of inquiry which confirm my suspicions, I'm essentially neutral. What say you?