With or Without You - How Does This Core Fit Together?
Old 08-02-2013, 10:46 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Raptors With or Without You - How Does This Core Fit Together?

Hi guys.

I've been pondering how to capture defensive impact (and team offense impact) better through stats, and stumbled on a neat stat used in NHL circles called With Or Without You's (WOWYs). It is fairly simple - it just separates a player's stats into how the team and individual performs when he is playing with a particular teammate (or lineup) versus not with that teammate (or lineup).

Now, as far as I can find, there's no readily available version online for basketball, but I figure I can cobble something together from basketball-reference's On/Off splits and lineup finder. So I thought I'd try to take a look at the Raps and see what impact our players have on their teammates. I won't be able to see individual stats based on lineups (which is what WOWY really is, and I hope to find a way to look at that too), but the way the team performs when the players are on the court together is really what matters, so I'll look at that. This will be similar to the approach taken with adjusted plus-minus and RAPM, except I'll be targeting the impact on lineups with specific players.

What I'm interested in is how our pieces fit together - not so much the Gray's and Acy's of the world, but how our primary and secondary pieces either help or hinder the performance of our core pieces.

First, a list of the players and their impact on and off the court last year in general. I've also included the most used guys who are off the team now, as well as the new guys.

Player - ORTG On - DRTG On - ORTG Off - DRTG Off - Net Impact

DD: 105.3 / 107.3 / 109.4 / 109.5 / -1.9
Amir: 109.7 / 104.9 / 101.5 / 111.9 / +15.2
Lowry: 107.9 / 107.3 / 104.5 / 108.4 / +4.5
JV: 104.0 / 107.7 / 107.6 / 107.9 / -3.4
Ross: 106.4 / 109.2 / 106.2 / 107.2 / -1.9
Gay: 106.7 / 104.0 / 106.1 / 109.1 / +6.0
Fields: 108.4 / 108.4 / 105.5 / 107.6 / +2.1
Gray: 98.8 / 107.3 / 107.4 / 107.9 / -7.9
Acy: 113.8 / 99.8 / 105.6 / 108.6 / +16.9

Hansbrough: 100.6 / 100.4 / 107.0 / 99.6 / -7.1
Augustin: 100.3 / 102.0 / 106.8 / 99.0 / -9.6
Daye (DET/MEM): 107.4 / 105.5 / 104.4 / 104.5 / +1.9
Novak: 112.2 / 106.5 / 110.6 / 107.0 / +2.1

AA: 106.7 / 110.3 / 106.0 / 106.4 / -3.1
ED: 104.5 / 109.2 / 106.9 / 107.4 / -4.2
Bargs: 104.6 / 110.8 / 106.8 / 106.8 / -6.2
JL3: 105.4 / 111.5 / 106.5 / 106.9 / -5.7

So, yeah. I'm pretty glad we got rid of AA, Bargs and JL3. And as much as Eddy was a nice young piece to have, he wasn't exactly setting the world on fire in terms of impact. And those new additions don't exactly inspire confidence (Daye was awesome in DET and terrible in MEM, balancing out to that fairly even score you see above). Now, these are simple plus-minus stats, so mean little by themselves and are prone to problematic conclusions, but that's why I'm going to look at some lineup data next.

---

WOWYs:

So, what impact does each of these players have on their teammates? Let's use an example to go through in detail. I'm going to use Fields as an example, as he is touted by many (myself included) as an impact guy in spite of his individual numbers.

Player - ORTG with Fields - DRTG with Fields - Net RTG with Fields - MP with Fields
DD: 105.3 / 107.3 / -3.9 / 702
Amir: 109.7 / 104.9 / +4.9 / 516
Lowry: 107.9 / 107.3 / +4.1 / 475
JV: 104.0 / 107.7 / -3.3 / 308
Gay: 106.7 / 104.0 / +3.8 / 162

From here, we can extrapolate back from their season total numbers to get a "Without Fields" number, and find the difference between playing with Fields and without him. Keep in mind that a positive value in DRTG change is a bad thing.

Player - ORTG impact from Fields - DRTG impact from Fields - Net RTG impact from Fields
DD: +0.5 / +3.0 / -2.5
Amir: +1.3 / +1.2 / +0.1
Lowry: +5.1 / +0.5 / +4.6
JV: +3.0 / +2.5 / +0.5
Gay: +0.8 / -0.5 / +1.3

So you can see that generally speaking, Fields playing in the same lineup as DD is a bad idea - which supports the backup SG role for Fields, letting him play some with Gay while DD sits, or play SF with Ross at SG (as a note, Ross had a +9.7 WOWY with Fields). In fact, of all the players from last year that were retained, only DD had a negative Fields WOWY. The interesting thing of note here is that I expected Fields to hurt the team offensively, and help enough defensively to make up for it. However, the opposite seems to be true in most cases. He's a small negative defensively, and a more significant positive offensively. Note that he has good impacts particularly on Gay and Lowry - two aggressive scorers that draw a lot of attention, and can find a guy on a back door cut. Also note that Gay improves offensively and defensively when playing with Fields.

So, here's how the rest shape up. I'm looking at how our core fits together, plus how some "core hopefuls" such as Fields complement them. So I'll be doing DD, Gay, Lowry, JV, Amir, Fields and Ross (not Acy or Gray due to small sample size and I don't care, respectively). Plus I'll throw Bargnani on there just to show how much of a detriment he was while he was on the floor (if the first set of stats above wasn't clear enough).

Player - ORTG impact from DD - DRTG impact from DD - Net RTG impact from DD
Amir: -2.9 / -6.6 / +3.7
Lowry: -11.0 / -6.5 / -4.5
JV: -3.3 / -4.0 / +0.7
Gay: +0.5 / -1.5 / +2.1

Does not do well with Lowry. Otherwise is at least passable. Nothing big in either direction here.

Player - ORTG impact from Gay - DRTG impact from Gay - Net RTG impact from Gay
DD: +2.2 / -5.2 / +7.4
Amir: -1.2 / -5.6 / +4.3
Lowry: -2.3 / -8.3 / +6.0
JV: +8.7 / -9.4 / +18.0

Gay definitely had a big positive impact here.

Player - ORTG impact from Lowry - DRTG impact from Lowry - Net RTG impact from Lowry
DD: +2.1 / -2.3 / +4.4
Amir: +5.8 / -1.9 / +7.7
JV: +0.3 / -5.0 / +5.3
Gay: -0.4 / -5.9 / +5.5

Yep, Lowry fits well with this core. Solid PG. But a good point was brought up - was he better in the 2nd half when he settled down and had the Jose-shaped monkey off his back? Let's see.

Player - ORTG impact from KL 1st Half - DRTG impact from KL 1st Half - Net RTG impact from KL 1st Half
DD: +1.1 / +4.2 / -3.1
Amir: +11.3 / +6.0 / +5.3
JV: -1.9 / +2.1 / -4.0

Player - ORTG impact from KL 2nd Half - DRTG impact from KL 2nd Half - Net RTG impact from KL 2nd Half
DD: +2.8 / -8.3 / +11.1
Amir: +5.0 / -6.6 / +11.6
JV: -1.3 / -10.2 / +8.9

Yep. Yep yep yep. Good observation. Now for Jonas.

Player - ORTG impact from JV - DRTG impact from JV - Net RTG impact from JV
DD: -3.1 / -0.3 / -2.7
Amir: -1.1 / -6.4 / +5.3
Lowry: -7.4 / -2.5 / -4.8
Gay: +5.2 / -4.0 / +9.2

Big swings here, and I expect a lot has to do with his progress from the first half of the season to the second. I think I'll filter by half season.

*** NOTE: These have now been updated to be more accurate - previous version was an estimate based on the entire season, these are now based on partial season data available from nbaWOWY.com. So slightly different, but still a huge jump in performance from JV.

Player - ORTG impact from JV 1st Half - DRTG impact from JV 1st Half - Net RTG impact from JV 1st Half
DD: -5.9 / +2.9 / -8.8
Amir: -19.0 / -9.1 / -9.9
Lowry: -17.1 / +3.5 / -20.6

Player - ORTG impact from JV 2nd Half - DRTG impact from JV 2nd Half - Net RTG impact from JV 2nd Half
DD: -0.7 / -2.8 / +2.0
Amir: +1.8 / -5.6 / +7.4
Lowry: -1.3 / -5.8 / +4.5

Yep. What a difference. It helped that he played a lot more with Amir in the 2nd half, though that would definitely not account for these big WOWY changes. Why would Casey only play JV and Amir together a total of 24 minutes in the entire first half of the season? Insane. But still, who sees improvement like that mid season? Crazy pants. If he makes half the same progress in his game between the end of last season and the end of this coming one, we've got ourselves a player, guys.

Player - ORTG impact from Amir - DRTG impact from Amir - Net RTG impact from Amir
DD: +8.9 / -9.7 / +18.6
Lowry: +11.6 / -8.5 / +20.1
JV: +7.0 / -11.5 / +18.5
Gay: +7.9 / -9.6 / +17.5

Amir is hilariously awesome. He makes everyone around him SO MUCH BETTER. I might have to revisit my stance that we don't need to move Amir to tank - if we want those losses to pile up, he has to be the first to go. And if we want to be good, we've got to have him on the court as much as possible. Just because Amir is so awesome, I'll list his impact on everyone else as well.

Ross: +15.6
Gray: +7.0
Acy: +3.4
Fields: +9.8

Seriously. The only player on the roster that had a negative plus-minus while on the court with Amir was Gray (I include all the scraps and garbage like Pietrus I've left out above), and he's just a lost cause.

Player - ORTG impact from Ross - DRTG impact from Ross - Net RTG impact from Ross
DD: -5.2 / +2.4 / -7.6
Amir: +1.3 / +2.4 / -1.1
Lowry: +3.9 / +3.9 / 0.0
JV: -11.6 / +5.5 / -17.1
Gay: -1.5 / -3.0 / +1.4

Ross and Valanciunas, as you'd expect from two rooks, just proved too raw to be on the court together. Ross does not match up well with DD either. His slight positive impact on Gay suggests either a good fit or improvement towards the end of the year.

And the piece de resistance... And the single biggest reason to think the team improves this year over last (maybe besides Jonas' insane improvement).

Player - ORTG impact from Bargs - DRTG impact from Bargs - Net RTG impact from Bargs
DD: -0.7 / +3.5 / -4.2
Amir: +0.8 / +4.6 / -3.8
Lowry: -5.5 / +4.1 / -9.5
JV: -1.5 / +5.0 / -6.5
Gay: +0.4 / +7.8 / -7.4

Fun.

Anyway, I hope you guys get something from this. Feel free to critique and question - I've got a whole spreadsheet set up and can make changes where you think it necessary or informative.

Last edited by DanH; 08-02-2013 at 02:26 PM. Reason: Formatting error; Updated First Half versus Second Half calculation
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Old 08-02-2013, 10:59 AM   #2 (permalink)
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excellent stuff
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Old 08-02-2013, 11:02 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Great post Dan This made me love Amir even more!
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Old 08-02-2013, 11:05 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Amir yet again dominates +/- stats no matter how they're adjusted.

Such a great contributor.

He's essentially the 5th starter on this team, and I think it's the role he's best suited for.
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Old 08-02-2013, 11:32 AM   #5 (permalink)
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There is a weak link in the starting five and it obviously isn't amir or jv.
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Old 08-02-2013, 11:35 AM   #6 (permalink)
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You should consider having this professionally submitted. Seriously.
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Old 08-02-2013, 11:53 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carp View Post
There is a weak link in the starting five and it obviously isn't amir or jv.
Cmon Rudy ain't that bad
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Old 08-02-2013, 12:24 PM   #8 (permalink)
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nbawowy!, it's a new site built on that principle earlier this year, a lot of good info there.

I wish we could take a look inside Darryl Morey's or Marc Cuban's stats software. Judging by their occasional tweets, I think there are stats that do an impressive job looking at defense from various angles, but sadly they aren't in the public domain.
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Old 08-02-2013, 12:34 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woodchuck View Post
nbawowy!, it's a new site built on that principle earlier this year, a lot of good info there.

I wish we could take a look inside Darryl Morey's or Marc Cuban's stats software. Judging by their occasional tweets, I think there are stats that do an impressive job looking at defense from various angles, but sadly they aren't in the public domain.
Wow that's extensive! That has more of the individual player stuff I wanted to look at as well. I'll dig into that over the next while to see if there's anything else interesting in terms of player impacts.

That's a great tool.
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Old 08-02-2013, 12:37 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DanH View Post
Hi guys.

I've been pondering how to capture defensive impact (and team offense impact) better through stats, and stumbled on a neat stat used in NHL circles called With Or Without You's (WOWYs). It is fairly simple - it just separates a player's stats into how the team and individual performs when he is playing with a particular teammate (or lineup) versus not with that teammate (or lineup).

....
That had to be one of the easiest pieces I've 'read to understanding' - regarding stats - without the use of reference guides and google to extrapolate data (once I actually figured out how to do that that is).

Brilliant, I knew there was a reason I was on this site
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Old 08-02-2013, 12:39 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woodchuck View Post
nbawowy!, it's a new site built on that principle earlier this year, a lot of good info there.

I wish we could take a look inside Darryl Morey's or Marc Cuban's stats software. Judging by their occasional tweets, I think there are stats that do an impressive job looking at defense from various angles, but sadly they aren't in the public domain.
Wow for the wowy site - very very cool. After reading DanH's post that site was particularity easy to decipher
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Old 08-02-2013, 12:42 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Going back to the thread, I knew Amir had a positive impact but wow, that's across the board with any player. I also liked what I saw from Gay and KL and of course, JV's jump in the 2nd half is ridiculous. If DC does focus on offense going through JV those numbers should increase as he will (and better) learn to pass out of the doubles that will most assuredly be coming his way this season.

It's going to be a very very interesting 2 month evaluation period and how DD plays (yes Carp, I agree that at present DD is the weak link ).

Last edited by DocHoliday99; 08-02-2013 at 12:44 PM.
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Old 08-02-2013, 12:59 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Start Fields and let DD be 6 man.

Hell of a post btw.
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Old 08-02-2013, 01:11 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Great post Dan.

Amir makes everybody better!

Now I'm worried about Tyler being the primary backup big.
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Old 08-02-2013, 01:27 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Player - ORTG impact from Gay - DRTG impact from Gay - Net RTG impact from Gay
DD: +2.2 / -5.2 / +7.4
Amir: -1.2 / -5.6 / +4.3
Lowry: -2.3 / -8.3 / +6.0
JV: +8.7 / -9.4 / +18.0

Gay definitely had a big positive impact here.


Player - ORTG impact from Bargs - DRTG impact from Bargs - Net RTG impact from Bargs
DD: -0.7 / +3.5 / -4.2
Amir: +0.8 / +4.6 / -3.8
Lowry: -5.5 / +4.1 / -9.5
JV: -1.5 / +5.0 / -6.5
Gay: +0.4 / +7.8 / -7.4
Big difference from last year. Who says the impact of Bargani had nothing do nothing with our poor start. Replace the Italian dud with Amir from the start, add the big contributions when Rudy Gay is on the floor, the improvement of JV from the first half to the second half, and you have a much better team than last year. I think Lowry will be much better than last year. In the beginning of last season, he was doing too much and playing the hero. He has Rudy Gay, an impoved JV, and Demar as a third option.

Last edited by RAPMAN; 08-02-2013 at 02:03 PM.
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Old 08-02-2013, 02:07 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Start Fields and let DD be 6 man.

Hell of a post btw.
According to the stats that move would be supported and honestly, I like the idea.
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Old 08-02-2013, 02:26 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Big difference from last year. Who says the impact of Bargani had nothing do nothing with our poor start. Replace the Italian dud with Amir from the start, add the big contributions when Rudy Gay is on the floor, the improvement of JV from the first half to the second half, and you have a much better team thank last year. I think Lowry will be much better than last year. In the beginning of last season, he was doing too much and playing the hero. He has Rudy Gay, an impoved JV, and Demar as a third option.
You make a good point on Lowry - he was much improved in the second half, just like JV.

I went back and refined my 1st half versus 2nd half numbers (estimated teammates' minutes played, ORTG and DRTG before as half a season, now updated for actual 1st and 2nd half minutes played and RTGs as per that WOWY site - it is pretty darn useful), and did Lowry too.

See post for updated JV numbers, and I'll put Lowry's here as well:

Player - ORTG impact from KL 1st Half - DRTG impact from KL 1st Half - Net RTG impact from KL 1st Half
DD: +1.1 / +4.2 / -3.1
Amir: +11.3 / +6.0 / +5.3
JV: -1.9 / +2.1 / -4.0

Player - ORTG impact from KL 2nd Half - DRTG impact from KL 2nd Half - Net RTG impact from KL 2nd Half
DD: +2.8 / -8.3 / +11.1
Amir: +5.0 / -6.6 / +11.6
JV: -1.3 / -10.2 / +8.9
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Old 08-02-2013, 02:33 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Quote:
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Start Fields and let DD be 6 man.

Hell of a post btw.
LOL, I can see brains exploding in protest!
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Old 08-02-2013, 02:35 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by woodchuck View Post
nbawowy!, it's a new site built on that principle earlier this year, a lot of good info there.

I wish we could take a look inside Darryl Morey's or Marc Cuban's stats software. Judging by their occasional tweets, I think there are stats that do an impressive job looking at defense from various angles, but sadly they aren't in the public domain.
judging by how bad their teams are defensively, either the stats don't work, or they don't take them seriously
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Old 08-02-2013, 02:44 PM   #20 (permalink)
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also, great work, but (and I'm a major fan of numerical analysis in the nba) I have a lot of skepticism for any kind of so called advanced stats that are supposed to capture defensive impact and even overall impact. While pace or mpg adjusted basic stats and even things like PER are very reliable (even though PER is so often misused as a measure of a player's value), every advanced stat I've seen has at least a few if not many outliers. Like the warp based ranking of PGs that had parker way down the list despite being the best or second best PG last year.

Now the problem is that even a small number of outliers is enough to make the stat very unreliable. If you have to say, well Durant scores bad on this stat, but that's because so and so, how can you trust this stat for any other player when you can always make so and so arguments for them too.

For example, your numbers above make acy the most impactful player on our team. Now, that's clearly not the case so nobody takes it seriously. At the same time, Amir has similar numbers and we say, wow, amir is really good. But that's only because we have a pre-conceived opinion that amir is really good and acy not so much.

The ultimate litmus test is if we were to show these stats to somebody who doesn't watch our games and has no idea who the players are, how will we be able to explain to them why we choose to trust amir's numbers but discount Acy's?
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