Statistical Analysis: Should We Have Gone With Marion?
Old 07-06-2009, 02:32 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Statistical Analysis: Should We Have Gone With Marion?

I read an interesting article today by two NYU Stern graduates about the roles of players in the NBA. Their premise was that each player on a team fills one of six roles: Scorer, Disher, Inside Presence, Banger, Wall, or Filler based on various statistics (like FG%, PPG, APG, RPG, etc.).
The scorer is obviously the leading scorer, but he also was strong in several other categories; the disher is the man who got the most assists and steals; the inside presence is the guy who was a good scorer and rebounder, but not the best in either category; the banger is the rebounder and the guy with a lot of fouls, which show his physical play; the wall is the guy who got blocks and some rebounds; finally, the filler was good in several categories, but not the best at any, and on any given night could contribute to any of them (this doesn't necessarily mean that he was a bad player; for example, Scottie Pippin was the filler on the Bulls '88-'89 team).

They had a pretty complex (and time-consuming) system of figuring out what each player's values are, which I did not recreate. However, I was intrigued. I decided to create a similar analysis of the 27 games after the Marion trade. My stats are not nearly as accurate as the original survey, and the values they used are slightly different, but I took the "top" 9 players on our team after the trade (which I figured out by omitting players who played less than 10 mins/game and who played less than 15 games; notable omissions were Hump, Voskhul, POB):

Bosh, Marion, Calderon, Parker, Bargs, Kapono, Graham, Ukic, Pops

From there, I figured out how much the nine guys scored, rebounded, assisted, stole, blocked, and fouled in total. Then, I took each player's averages and divided them by the total, getting the percentages for each player in each category. Finally, I placed them in the 6 categories that the two analysts came up with and figured this out:
We had one scorer: Bosh. One disher: Calderon. One banger: Pops. One wall: Bargs. The other 5 players were fillers: Parker, Roko, Kapono, Graham, Marion. No inside presence guy, as described by the analysts. Bosh was too good at too many categories to be a true inside presence player, as was Marion, who was among the team leaders in nearly every category, even steals and assists. Bosh scored 22% of the squad's points, grabbed 23% of rebounds, got 11% of assists, 19% of steals, 28% of blocks and 14% of fouls; he clearly was the most important player on the team and had at least a fair contribution to every single category (remember that 1/9 = 11%). Other notable stats included: Calderon got 39% of all assists; Bargs got 33% of all blocks; Kapono was highly ineffective, getting >10% only in fouls.

The Stern guys found a correlation between the number of wins and the distribution of players among the categories. The more specialized players a team had, the more they won. On the other hand, the more fillers a team had, the more the team lost. Their stats were taken from the '88-'89 season, and the most diverse teams were exclusively among the top.

I decided to crunch the numbers again, for the Lakers. I found that not only did they have more diversity, but even the players who played insignificant minutes and did not make it into their "top" 9, like DJ Mbenga and Josh Powell, were highly specialized. Mbenga, for example was among the leaders on the team in blocks (even though he played 11th-man minutes), clearly a wall-type player. Powell was an inside presence, contributing decent points and rebounds in very limited minutes as well. They had a player in each of the six specified types, and Bryant, their top scorer and assist man, was by far less versatile than Bosh was. They also had only 3 fillers. The only player that was specified out of our group of scrubs (Banks, POB, Douby, Voskhul, Hump) was POB, who blocked a decent number of shots and got rebounds, making him a wall. The rest of our team fits well into the filler type, which means that we are even less specialized than my percentages indicate. Even Voskhul, who was supposed to be our banger or wall-type player was very ineffective at everything except fouling.

Guys like Pat Riley have always stated that each player on a team should learn a specific role, learn it, and try to excel only at it. Our team was very, very poor in this respect. BC did a great job of bringing in an obvious banger in Evans, especially considering how poorly Kapono fared in every single category. However, he also brought in the guy who was the third-best scorer, rebounder, and passer on the Magic, another jack-of-all-trades type of guy. Yes, Marion was also a filler, but the categories that he was strongest in: blocks (21%), steals (18%), and rebounds (19%) were important to us because we had no several players who could do each one well. He was more of the defensive-minded/filler player, while Hedo is the offensive-minded/filler type guy.

Anyway, I certainly believe that we got a better overall player in Hedo than we could have (possibly) had in Marion. He brings things to the team that cannot be measured in stats: clutch performance, high IQ, good decision-making, more options on the offensive end, etc. But maybe, BC should have gone in an altogether different direction, using our cap space not to sign Hedo or even Marion, but several players that could have improved our team in several areas of the game, much like the Evans trade will improve our rebounding and likely nothing else. Hopefully, DeMar can be a player of the Ariza mold, a guy on LA that was in name a 'filler', but who was there mainly for hustle plays and defense (he got 19% of the team's steals), and who also contributed a little bit to every category. I guess only time will tell what players BC will add to the roster, so its too early to tell, but I really hope that BC has a plan to bring in more guys that will help us in areas like defense and toughness.
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Old 07-06-2009, 02:46 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Interesting. It'll suck watching the other teams slashers score 40+ like they usually do. I was looking forward to the combo of Marion and Deroz possibly stopping the slashers or at least slowing them down. Deroz can't be the primary defender as a rookie. He's got too much to learn.
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Old 07-06-2009, 02:48 PM   #3 (permalink)
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This team has needed to refine roles since the 47 win season, and the inability to do so due to injuries and a general imbalance has been the biggest problem they've had. Marion was great in turning that around. Hedo should be very nice in different aspects as well. This team is now very tough with regard to matchups on the offensive side. If Hedo can do some of the stuff that Marion was able to do in terms of a tighter team defense, (and where he lacks lateral quickness he does have length) then they are going to all look better in roles that fit. The only thing I still wonder about is how Hedo and Bargnani fit together. I think Andrea's role is going to have to change some this season, and Hedo can actually make that easier. Hedo is going to find him inside in ways that Jose failed to do too often last season. Marion was another guy that could get into the paint and do damage, but didn't have enough of a passer to make the best use of those talents. Hedo changes that equation dramatically. He might make POB look pretty good.
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Old 07-06-2009, 02:57 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Marion doesn't want to be here, so the question of who we should have gone with is pointless.
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Old 07-06-2009, 03:07 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffb View Post
Marion doesn't want to be here, so the question of who we should have gone with is pointless.
Hypothetically speaking...

Don't be so quick to poop on AR's party, have some fun with it
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Old 07-06-2009, 03:13 PM   #6 (permalink)
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i think we should have stuck with marion and we still might who really knows we could end up getting him back in a trade. although, we'd loose his bird rights that's not really that important.

i was also loking forward to derozan and marion stopping slasher's dead in their tracks.


maybe bryan which i hope he does because he always maintained marion as the main priority in resigning will get marion back in a trade.

maybe he'll get a younger marion in a trade.

right now it's all about trade,trade and more trade.


We all know bryan loves to make splashes. so, he'll definitely have more than one trade going to happen.

If you look at it right now it looks like he is keeping few players and trying to trade the rest. but, no one is safe.
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Old 07-06-2009, 03:21 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I'd still take Hedo. I remember how annoying he was when he had the ball and just knew the bullshit he would pull off. Well, now he's gonna pull off some bullshit for us
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Old 07-06-2009, 03:21 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by B-RAD View Post
i think we should have stuck with marion and we still might who really knows we could end up getting him back in a trade. although, we'd loose his bird rights that's not really that important.

i was also loking forward to derozan and marion stopping slasher's dead in their tracks.


maybe bryan which i hope he does because he always maintained marion as the main priority in resigning will get marion back in a trade.

maybe he'll get a younger marion in a trade.

right now it's all about trade,trade and more trade.


We all know bryan loves to make splashes. so, he'll definitely have more than one trade going to happen.

If you look at it right now it looks like he is keeping few players and trying to trade the rest. but, no one is safe.
Marion doesn't want to be here.. But you're right about one thing...trade, trade, trade.
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Old 07-06-2009, 03:24 PM   #9 (permalink)
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i'm sorry marion does not want to be here does not compute
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Old 07-06-2009, 03:26 PM   #10 (permalink)
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i'm sorry marion does not want to be here does not compute
Somehow that's not surprising.
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Old 07-06-2009, 03:30 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zachus22 View Post
Hypothetically speaking...

Don't be so quick to poop on AR's party, have some fun with it
I'm sure he wasn't trying to poop on anyone's party. Though he should've read more than just the title, because the point I made and tried to support with stats was that we need more specialized players that know their role instead of guys that are good overall but cannot be depended on for a certain skill on a consistent basis. Look back to the Raps' heydays: we had guys like Alvin Williams, who was a good defender and passer; JYD, who was the dirty player who got lots of rebounds; Oakley, who was the enforcer; Antonio, who was the inside banger. All of these guys were there to compliment VC, who was by far the most able and talented scorer. Same thing applies to every team that has been successful lately.
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Old 07-06-2009, 04:17 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Marion doesn't want to be here, so the question of who we should have gone with is pointless.
Marion wanted more money and that's understandable. BC could easily have offerred it. We were a better overall team with Marion and the other players and MLE. He should have offered it. My guess is he figured he could turn Hedu into a S&T but he couldn't.
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Old 07-06-2009, 04:23 PM   #13 (permalink)
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The team was attempted to be built around Bosh, shooters were added(but he sucked) inside presence was added(but he was broken) etc.

Its just that the parts didnt work out.

Turk is a solid addition because if he plays similar to what he did in Orlando and Bargs improves they should take over the offense from Bosh(who really shouldnt have had so much run through him) and it will allow, in theory, for him to become a little more of a tradition low post player and brin gthat defense he had at the Olympics; albeit against inferior teams.
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Old 07-06-2009, 04:26 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Marion wanted more money and that's understandable. BC could easily have offerred it. We were a better overall team with Marion and the other players and MLE. He should have offered it. My guess is he figured he could turn Hedu into a S&T but he couldn't.

Actually, he offered him 4yrs/32-34Mil and word is Marion didn't even respond. And to be honest i'd rather have Hedo @ 5yrs/53Mil then Marion @ 5yrs/50Mil. I really think that through Colangelo's dealings with Marion/his agent he realized Marion didn't want to be here and at the last minute had to amke a decision and imo he made the right one.

His options were, sign Hedo or try and S&T Marion when nobody wants him. The fact is, he must have tested the waters for a S&T for Marion as well, and the results must have been pretty piss poor. He had 3 days of discussions last week with Marion/agent and knew he hads to look elsewhere.

BTW, Marion's tweet a few weeks ago thanking Raptor fans seems now to have been very telling.

Last edited by jeffb; 07-06-2009 at 04:31 PM.
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Old 07-06-2009, 04:32 PM   #15 (permalink)
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I think Marion was looking for the same numbers Hedo got. When 9 million a year was presented, Marion balked at it and that's how the whole Hedo signing came about. I don't think it's anything to do with Marion not wanting to be here. The guy loves the city. It just all came down to dollars.
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Old 07-06-2009, 06:03 PM   #16 (permalink)
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son of a bitch doesn't want to be here. why waste time? not many players want to be here anyway. maybe we should try and take a shot at other international players in the league. Ginobili, Yao Ming, Belinelli in the future. Americans take us so lightly...
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Old 07-06-2009, 07:33 PM   #17 (permalink)
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as sad as this is, at this point no one will touch yao with a 10 foot pole... dude may never play again, and probably not this coming year in an effective way.
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Old 07-06-2009, 08:24 PM   #18 (permalink)
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as sad as this is, at this point no one will touch yao with a 10 foot pole... dude may never play again, and probably not this coming year in an effective way.
Yao is by far the most popular player in the world. He can get a team 30+ million viewers just by showing up. It doesn't make sense to pick him up basketball-wise, but as a marketing move, he can still fill seats in any arena and turn any bottom-feeder into the most (internationally) watched team in the NBA.
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Old 07-06-2009, 08:32 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Marion would have played here. This is still an NBA franchise. Let's not think that Americans are allergic to playing here in general.

I would think that Marion and Fegan figured that they held the upper hand, since renouncing Marion and all the rest of the FA's on the team seemed like the only option. They completely misread BC's desire to get things done in a hurry in these situations, so trying to play their strong hand just left them a little high and dry. It sucks being faced with that much of a paycut when you are looking at having the opportunity to capitalize on the free agent market. I can understand how they ended up misplaying the whole thing. But I'd bet that BC gave them as much of a headsup as he could.
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Old 07-07-2009, 05:36 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Bosh (...) him to become a little more of a tradition low post player and brin gthat defense he had at the Olympics; albeit against inferior teams.
That's what they thought in 2004 too.

As for 2008 I agree they won hands down but Bosh still played guys like Yao Ming, Pau Gasol & Luis Alberto Scola.

Very interesting OP!
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