Saturday, 20 August 2011

ALL-DEFENSIVE TEAMS USING DEFENSIVE WIN SHARES

Many readers will be aware of a statistical measure called win shares which, through the aid of relatively complex formulae, calculates how many of a given team's wins an individual player is responsible for. For example, the Chicago Bulls won a league-best 62 games in 2010-11 but how many of those wins can we attribute to Derrick Rose? Well, according to the win shares calculation, the answer is 13.1 (meanwhile, Deng contributed nearly 10 wins, Noah 7, Boozer 6, and so on). Rose's 13.1 win shares ranked 5th best in the NBA during 2010-11. LeBron James ranked 1st in the League with 15.6 win shares.

To confuse things slightly, we can also distinguish between offensive and defensive win shares (i.e. those wins that were due to a player's offensive or defensive contributions). Not surprisingly, in 2010-11, the league leaders in offensive and defensive win shares were LeBron James and Dwight Howard, respectively.

Defensive win shares is an excellent measure of a player's defensive ability. Therefore, using defensive win shares as the only indicator, I calculated the All-Defensive Teams for 5-year periods of time throughout NBA history (I originally intended to do this per decade but decided it would be unfair on players whose peaks overlapped two separate decades, e.g. between 1985 and 1995).

I used defensive win shares as it removes our current reliance on statistics such as steals and blocks per game, both of which can be dubious indicators of defensive ability since some players gamble for steals and blocks.

The following caveats need to be borne in mind:

i) Players are listed as either guards, forwards or centers. No attempt is made to distinguish between point guards and shooting guards, for example.

ii) The formula tends to slightly overrate big men, so you'll see guards with lower total defensive win shares than forwards and centers.

iii) I used defensive win shares totals over each 5-year period. Hence, Michael Jordan has lower than expected defensive win shares in the 1990-95 or 1995-2000 time periods due to missing a large quantity of games due to retirement.

iv) Defensive win shares are written in brackets.

Here are the results. Which era do you think would dominate defensively?

2011-2015 (1st Team / 2nd Team)
C - Dwight Howard (23.1) / Joakim Noah (22.2)
F - Tim Duncan (21.1) / David West (18.4)
F - LeBron James (21.0) / Josh Smith (19.8)
G - Andre Iguodala (16.7) / Russell Westbrook (14.9)
G - Chris Paul (16.5) / Mike Conley (16.1)

2005-2010 (1st Team / 2nd Team)
C - Dwight Howard (31.4) / Marcus Camby (22.7)
F - Tim Duncan (29.5) / Kevin Garnett (25.0)
F - LeBron James (26.2) / Shawn Marion (21.1)
G - Kobe Bryant (18.3) / Manu Ginobili (17.9)
G - Jason Kidd (21.5) / Dwyane Wade (17.5)

2000-2005 (1st Team / 2nd Team)
C - Ben Wallace (36.9) / Jermaine O'Neal (22.9)
F - Tim Duncan (34.1) / Kenyon Martin (20.8)
F - Kevin Garnett (29.5) / Shawn Marion (26.2)
G - Allen Iverson (18.9) / Eddie Jones (17.9)
G - Jason Kidd (25.6) / Doug Christie (16.9)

1995-2000 (1st Team / 2nd Team)
C - Dikembe Mutombo (25.3) / Alonzo Mourning (24.2)
F - Shawn Kemp (23.3) / Grant Hill (22.0)
F - Karl Malone (22.6) / Scottie Pippen (20.3)
G - Gary Payton (18.9) / Michael Jordan (16.6)
G - Mookie Blaylock (17.4) / Eddie Jones (16.8)

1990-1995 (1st Team / 2nd Team)
C - Patrick Ewing (35.1) / David Robinson (34.3)
F - Karl Malone (27.6) / Charles Oakley (22.3)
F - Scottie Pippen (28.5) / Dennis Rodman (25.0)
G - Mookie Blaylock (18.1) / Clyde Drexler (17.9)
G - John Stockton (20.6) / Michael Jordan (17.4)

1985-1990 (1st Team / 2nd Team)
C - Hakeem Olajuwon (33.1) / Mark Eaton (25.5)
F - Karl Malone (27.5) / Charles Barkley (20.1)
F - Terry Cummings (20.5) / Larry Bird (19.1)
G - Michael Jordan (21.0) / Clyde Drexler (18.9)
G - John Stockton (21.0) / Fat Lever (20.6)

1980-1985 (1st Team / 2nd Team)
C - Jack Sikma (24.0) / Robert Parish (23.4)
F - Larry Bird (28.2) / Greg Ballard (21.6)
F - Julius Erving (22.4) / Buck Williams (20.1)
G - Sidney Moncrief (19.1) / Michael Ray Richardson (18.0)
G - Maurice Cheeks (18.6) / Dennis Johnson (18.0)

1975-1980 (1st Team / 2nd Team)
C - Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (28.4) / Sam Lacey (21.4)
F - Elvin Hayes (25.3) / Truck Robinson (18.3)
F - George McGinnis (21.1) / Julius Erving (17.5)
G - Paul Westphal (13.9) / Don Buse (12.4)
G - Gus Williams (16.3) / Dennis Johnson (13.4)

1970-1975 (1st Team / 2nd Team)
C - Dave Cowens (34.4) / Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (32.5)
F - Elvin Hayes (35.6) / Paul Silas (25.8)
F - John Havlicek (27.2) / Dave DeBusschere (21.8)
G - Jerry Sloan (23.8) / Jo Jo White (21.7)
G - Walt Frazier (25.2) / Norm Van Lier (22.0)

1965-1970 (1st Team / 2nd Team)
C - Bill Russell (38.3) / Wilt Chamberlain (32.5)
F - Dave Debusschere (19.7) / Bailey Howell (17.5)
F - John Havlicek (23.7) / Billy Cunningham (18.6)
G - Jeff Mullins (13.3) / Sam Jones (13.2)
G - Hal Greer (17.3) / Jerry Sloan (12.8)

1960-1965 (1st Team / 2nd Team)
C - Bill Russell (65.9) / Wilt Chamberlain (33.5)
F - Tom Heinsohn (24.7) / Bob Pettit (21.6)
F - Tom Sanders (23.7) / Red Kerr (16.3)
G - Sam Jones (24.2) / Guy Rodgers (19.6)
G - K.C. Jones (25.4) / Bob Cousy (17.0)

1955-1960 (1st Team / 2nd Team)
C - Bill Russell (29.4) / Maurice Stokes (17.7)
F - Bob Pettit (18.0) / Red Kerr (15.6)
F - Dolph Schayes (19.5) / Tom Heinsohn (17.0)
G - Tom Gola (14.7) / Frank Ramsey (11.8)
G - Bob Cousy (23.3) / Bill Sharman (13.6)

1950-1955 (1st Team / 2nd Team)
C - George Mikan (28.8) / Larry Foust (17.2)
F - Dolph Schayes (25.0) / Mel Hutchins (15.4)
F - Vern Mikkelsen (24.5) / Jim Pollard (22.1)
G - Paul Seymour (15.3) / Andy Philip (11.8)
G - Slater Martin (17.2) / George King (12.6)

1946-1950 (1st Team / 2nd Team)
C - Stan Miasek (13.0) / John Mahnken (11.6)
F - Bones McKinney (12.3) / Howie Dallmar (9.2)
F - Joe Fulks (14.2) / Max Zaslofsky (10.8)
G - Bob Feerick (12.0) / Andy Philip (10.2)
G - Fred Scolari (12.2) / George Senesky (10.2)

8 comments:

  1. Even though I think there is a better defensive metric I agree with the list quite often. I would like to see smaller periods though (2-3 years)

    ReplyDelete
  2. I was tempted to do it for every NBA season but it would be an awfully long article. I think grouping it in 5-year time periods works quite well. I was surprised to see Malone appear so often, especially ahead of defensive specialists like Dennis Rodman. However, on the whole, I am really pleased with the results.

    ReplyDelete
  3. guess the 60-65 Celtics would have over anybody's all stars. That would explain those 11 rings in 13 seasons..

    ReplyDelete
  4. Allen Iverson huh? .. That in itself would seem to render the results dubious. Defensive Win Shares groups teammates, so that good defensive teams will garner high defensive win shares and dratings for every player in the lineup- which explains why Allen Iverson (a player who never even made 1 single Defensive Team, be it 1st 2nd or 3rd Team) would still find himself ranked as the #2 guard in Dwinshares 00'-05'.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Yeah, there are a few players whose selections surprised me... Iverson, Bird, Cousy. Iverson and Bird got a lot of steals and played for good defensive teams, but were not known as good man-to-man defenders. They played very well within their respective systems though, which allowed them to gamble for steals effectively.

    ReplyDelete
  6. 1960-1965 has the entire dynasty Celtic lineup!!! Well they should be considering that their offense was either dead last or second to the last during this period.

    ReplyDelete
  7. What is your take on the NBA's current use of the plus minus statistic and it's association to a players defense?

    ReplyDelete
  8. Jordan(17.4) 90-95 played 153 games less than Stockton (20.1)
    equal amt of games as Stockton Jordan's DWS goes to 27.8



    Jordan (16.6) 95-00 played 131 games less than Payton (18.9)

    equal amt of games as Payton, Jordan's DWS goes to 25.4


    Jordan missed 65 games in 85-90.
    Stockton missed 4 games and they tied. thats crazy!

    ReplyDelete