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Abbott: Anthony Davis Delivered "More Useful Work" Than Damian Lillard

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A national writer asserts that Anthony Davis did "more useful work" for the New Orleans Hornets this season than Damian Lillard did for the Portland Trail Blazers this season.

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Henry Abbott of TrueHoop writes that advanced statistics PER and Value Added suggest that Anthony Davis did "more useful work" for the New Orleans Hornets this season than Damian Lillard did for the Portland Trail Blazers during their rookie seasons.

The real and true evidence-based argument for Lillard would be the sheer weight of his total contributions. Respect the brute power of big numbers! Lillard may not have helped as much per minute, but he helped for about 1,300 more minutes.

All true. And precisely why Hollinger developed a measure called Value Added. This is where you basically take a player's PER and then multiply all that by minutes played.

You can probably see the punchline coming. With fewer than two-thirds of Lillard's time on the court, with a measure that most experts say would favor Lillard's game to his own, Davis still has the better total Value Added on the season. And it's not all that close -- Davis is 35th in the league, Lillard 46th.

If we're talking about which player delivered the most useful work to his team this season, there is no case for Lillard over Davis.

This argument was previously put forth by Ethan Sherwood Strauss for ESPN.com.

The two main advanced statistics, Player Efficiency Rating (PER) and Win Shares, both dramatically prefer Davis on a possession-to-possession basis. Based on PER, Davis is leading Lillard 21.8 to 16.6, an enormous advantage. In Win Share average, Davis nearly doubles Lillard .159 to .091.

Sure, but what about total contributions? Well, Davis leads there, too.

On account of his stellar play after the All-Star break, AD has zoomed past Lillard in Value Added (283.5 to 250.0), a PER-derived stat that compares a player's total value against what a replacement would provide. Likewise, Davis leads in Estimated Wins Added (9.4 to 8.4) and Win Shares (6.1 to 5.7). Even though Lillard has played more than 1,000 extra minutes, he still trails Davis in these categories after the value from all the minutes gets added up.

Here's how the Blazers (qualified by minutes played) rank on Value Added per ESPN.com.

  • LaMarcus Aldridge: 358.2
  • J.J. Hickson: 319.0
  • Damian Lillard: 253.0
  • Nicolas Batum: 220.4
  • Wesley Matthews: 128.9
  • Meyers Leonard: 28.5
  • Ronnie Price: 0
  • Luke Babbitt: -11.2
  • Will Barton: -15.0
  • Eric Maynor: -23.4
  • Sasha Pavlovic: -33.7
  • Victor Claver: -35.3

-- Ben Golliver | benjamin.golliver@gmail.com | Twitter