The Most Improved after 41 Games
February 2, 2010 · 18 Comments
One of the interesting aspects (at least, interesting to me) of basketball performance is the consistency we see across time. Relative to what we see in baseball and football, year-to-year performance in basketball is simply more stable.
Although consistency is the general trend, exceptions do happen. Players can decline because of age (when they are old) and injury. They can also get better because of age (when they are young) and when they recover from injury. And changes can occur for other reasons as well (although the “other” reasons seem less systematic).
The players who get “better” are generally thought of as candidates for “Most Improved”. But how do we define “better?” Not surprising, the focus here will be on Wins Produced. Specifically, we are going to look at each player who played 1,000 minutes in 2008-09 and 500 minutes across the first 41 games of 2009-10. And then we are going compare how many wins the player produced in 2009-10 to how many wins we could have expected given the player’s per-minute performance in 2008-09.
Given this approach, the fifteen most improved players are as follows (number of additional wins after 41 games reported):
Corey Maggette: 4.8
Josh Smith: 4.4
Chris Bosh: 3.8
Marc Gasol: 3.2
Baron Davis: 3.1
Gerald Wallace: 3.0