FanPost

Quality x Importance = Court Value (Nerds Only)

I’m looking to quantify the importance of high quality assets over a high quantity of assets. I’m going to present a formula for determining the Court Value of our roster and what impact proposed deals may have on our Court Value. I will be using a formula that I’ve created: Quality x Importance = Court Value or (Q x I = CV) to prove this concept. Let us begin…

Quality x Importance = Court Value (Nerds Only)

First, an NBA roster can be broken up into 3 tiers:

1. Starting 5 (S)

2. Playoff 3 (P)

3. Bottom Bench (B)

QUALITY (Q)

With this in mind, let's first use a 1-10 point system to quantify the quality of the players that were on our roster this past season. (Although these ratings are subjective in nature, I'm going to try to be as objective as possible - I will save all of you time and not exhaust you with my reasoning - just know that there is thought being put into it and that the concept, itself, is what we’re going for here.) Here was our 12-man roster in 2012-13 (we carry 15 players at a time, but the guys that far down have little to no impact on what happens on the floor in a win-now model):

S:

Aldridge: 8

Lillard: 7

Batum: 6

Matthews: 6

Hickson: 6

TOTAL: 33 points

P:

Leonard: 4

Maynor: 3

Barton: 2

TOTAL: 9 points

B:

Babbit: 2

Claver: 2

Jeffries: 2

Freeland: 1

TOTAL: 7 points

IMPORTANCE (I)

Now that we’ve quantified the total Quality of each player in each tier, we need to quantify the Importance of each tier’s role on our roster in order to arrive at its overall Court Value. In order to do this, we need to assign a value to Importance. The amount of time a player spends on the court is both a result of his presumed importance to the coach and is the primary factor his impact on an outcome of a game. Because of this, it is the playing time metric that we will use to determine the value of each role a player fits into.

Our starting 5 played an average of 74.2% of all available minutes last season (178/240 minutes). The next 3 players in playing time played an average 18.3% of all available minutes (44/240) minutes. Babbit, Claver, Pav, Freeland, and Jeffries were the primary players that made up the bottom of our bench this last season. Combined, they played the remaining 7.5% of the available minutes. Because we’re looking at an extreme case of a weak bench in our scenario, we need to adjust those percentages just slightly toward the median roster scenario for an accurate formula. So for our formula, we will use: S = 70%, P = 25%, B = 5%. This is a much more accurate representation of an average NBA team. There will always be anomalies and variables (like our team this last season) that come into play and slightly adjust those percentages up or down, but in formulating our method, we’re simply establishing a mathematics-based baseline from which to work towards a better roster and assess the impacts of future proposed roster moves. Finally, to quantify Importance, let’s assign 1 point for every percentage point of court time that the tier played.

S: 70 points

P: 25 points

B: 5 points

ROSTER COURT VALUE (RCV)

After we've multiplied the Importance of the role by the Quality of the player we arrive at that player’s Court Value. (Q x I = CV). Moving forward, our next formula is for determining the total Roster Court Value of our roster and it looks something more like this: (S x 70) + (P x 25) + (B x 5) = RCV. Below, I’ve gone on and added the totals for all 3 tiers:

S: 2310 points (33 x 70)

P: 225 points (9 x 25)

B: 35 points (7 x 5)

TOTAL ROSTER COURT VALUE: 2570

ILLUSTRATIONS:

In order to illustrate the method, let’s apply it and our 2012/13 roster to three different examples:

[Example One]

For the first example, let’s simply substitute a moderate improvement at center like Omer Asik into our roster for JJ Hickson. Hickson, in our example above has a relatively generous value of 6. He’s got decent rebounding skills, moderate offensive skills, and terrible defense. I think it’s fair to say that a player like Omer Asik would be a very solid 8. This would be a full 2 points higher than JJ Hickson in Quality. If we substitute Hickson’s 6 with Asik’s 8, our total RCV increases from 2570 to 2710: 140 points, or 5.4% higher.

[Example Two]

For the second example, let’s substitute a P player, Maynor, to whom we’ve assigned a 3, for a solid, albeit aging Chauncy Billups. Billups in his hay day would have been an 8 or 9. I’d say at this point in his career, he’s a solid 6. If we replace Maynor, a serviceable PG, with a quality, veteran 6th man in Billups, we would increase our RCV from 2570 to 2645 : A 75 point, or 2.9% increase.

(NOTE)You can see that when comparing the scenario where we replace a slightly less than mediocre Maynor with an quality 6th man in Billups (a 3 point increase in Quality) with the scenario where we replace a solid Hickson with a slightly higher quality Asik (only a 2 point increase in Quality, 1 less than in Example 2), the Asik replacement has a larger affect on our overall Court Value than the Billups replacement. A moderate increase in quality to a starter is quite substantially better than a more significant increase in the quality of a reserve.

[Example Three]

For fun and further practical application of the method, in example three, let’s compare 2 popular proposed off-season scenarios that have consistently been discussed here on Bedge. First, I’ll do a breakdown (again) of our roster last season, and then in each of the 2 scenarios, I'll briefly state the trades/acquisitions that lead to the updated 12-man roster, before presenting a breakdown of the upgraded quality of our roster and applying our Roster Court Value formula in order to compare the impact of each off-season approach.

ROSTER RECAP:

S:

Aldridge: 8

Lillard: 7

Batum: 6

Matthews: 6

Hickson: 6

TOTAL: 33 points

S: 2310

P:

Leonard: 4

Maynor: 3

Barton: 2

TOTAL: 9 points

P: 225

B:

Babbit: 2

Claver: 2

Jeffries: 2

Freeland: 1

TOTAL: 7 points

B: 35

TOTAL RCV: 2570

SCENARIO 1:

- Blazers Get: Marcin Gortat (7)

Phoenix Gets: Freeland (2), #10 (4), Cash (n/a)

- Blazers Sign: Mayo, Maynor, O’Neal, Scrubs

S:

Aldridge: 8

Lillard: 7

Batum: 6

Matthews: 6

Gortat: 7

TOTAL: 34 points

S: 2380

P:

Mayo(or Evans): 7

O’Neal: 5

Leonard: 4 (possibly 5, but let’s avoid messing around with too many variables)

TOTAL: 16 points

P: 400

B:

Maynor: 3

Barton: 2

Claver: 2

Williams: 2

TOTAL: 9 points

B: 45 points

RCV: 2825

RCV DIFF: 255

RCV%: 9.9%

SCENARIO 2:

- Blazers trade Matthews, #10, Cash for McGee

- Blazers sign Evans, Maynor, O’Neal

S:

Aldridge: 8

Lillard: 7

Batum: 6

Evans: 7

McGee: 7

TOTAL: 35 points

S: 2450

P:

O’Neal: 5

Leonard: 4 (possibly 5, but let’s avoid messing around with too many variables)

Maynor: 3

TOTAL: 12 points

P: 300

B:

Claver: 2

Williams: 2

Freeland: 1

TOTAL: 6 points

B: 30 points

RCV: 2780

RCV DIFF: 210

RCV%: 8.1%

After applying the method, it looks as though our Roster Court Value is more impacted by strengthening our weak Playoff 3 roster positions while improving at the 5 than it is by replacing Matthews as a Starter with an incrementally better starter along with improving our starting center.

ASSIGNING MEANING: ((RCVb - RCVa) / RCVa)82 = Wins +/-

Now comes the practically applicable part. I would further hypothesize that if one were to multiply the percentage of the total Roster Court Value difference that results when substituting Roster B for Roster A to an 82 game season, one would arrive at a very accurate +/- win projection for the proposed roster. For example, if we improved each of our starting 5 players to a 10/10 and kept our terrible bench exactly the same in value, we could realistically see a 35 game +/- W increase over this previous season. That’s actually quite realistic, because if you consider 5 All-Stars maximizing the number of minutes possible, and our terrible bench hemorrhaging points in the meantime, a 68 W season is very realistic (33 last season, plus the 35 +/-). (From the extensive testing that I’ve done, this formula has held true over all substitution scenarios.) Let’s apply this principle to our 2 off-season scenarios in example 3 above:

SCENARIO 1: 9.9% x 82 games = +8.1 games, or a 41 win season next year. (Note that if Batum, Leonard, Lillard, or any of our other players increase their quality next season over last season, this number goes up even more.)

SCENARIO 2: 8.1% x 82 games = +6.6 games, or a 39 win season next year. (Again, this is before factoring in any improvements our young players make Year Over Year.)

CONCLUSION

I think we can all agree that our goal this offseason is to improve the overall Roster Court Value of our TrailBlazers - and everything we do should be with maximum RCV in mind. This method that I’ve presented is an effective way to project the immediate impact that a proposed deal (or series of deals) may have on our immediate on-court success. Of course, other things will be taken into consideration when making deals - rebuilding?, player digression?, injuries?, character?, et al. Nothing in the NBA is a sure thing – but this is a reliable way to test an expected impact of a proposed deal.

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