Statophile Volume 17 | “The Regend” and “The Ninja” Edition

“The Regend”

What does Reggie Evans mean to the Toronto Raptors? The most quoted stat is:

Ideally, its the best metric as ultimately it comes down wins and losses. But how much of this is his impact (opposed to strength of opponents, small data set, etc…)?

How do the Raptors perform overall with Mr. Evans in the lineup?

Most of these differences are intuitive – the Raptors: shoot a bit worse, have less assists and blocks while significantly outrebounding their opponents and holding them to a lower FG% with Evans in the lineup. However, its a bit of a mystery on why the team gets to the line 23% more when Evans is active.

What about Reggie Evans’ adjusted +/- or other on/off court metrics?
Adjusted +/- doesn’t help us much as he’s hasn’t played enough over the last two seasons. However, in his 611 minutes played this season, the Raptors’ Offensive Rating is about 3 points worse when he’s on the court than off. His Defensive Rating is also worse: about 1.5 points on versus off. This may be largely attributable to Evans starting 65% of his games played and our starting lineup usually has a difficult time against most teams in the league. has specific metrics on how he compares to the opponents he guards:

No big surprises here either – Evans DOMINATES his competition in rebounding, but falls far behind in scoring.

How about Wins Produced?
Reggie Evans’ agent needs to write David Berri a fan letter.

Source: “MVP candidates” and metrics are directly from

Hmm… as much as I’m a fan of Reggie Evans, I think the “eye test” suggests he’s not in the same category as Love, Howard, Wade, Paul and James as WP48 suggests (obviously his Wins Produced is much lower as he’s been out most of the season). The Wins Produced fans swear the metric doesn’t “overvalue” rebounds, so what can we attribute his robust score to? (Hint: I cannot reconcile why Evans has MVP-like WP48 otherwise, but here is Berri’s argument against WP overvaluing rebounds.)

So its difficult to reach a conclusion based on his limited minutes this year. I would argue the “eye test” suggests the team plays a little harder with him in he lineup (perhaps increased FTs and overall defense is a small by-product of his teammates’ increased aggressiveness) and the atmosphere at the Air Canada Centre sure changes. That is, Mr. Evans brings a lot of intangibles as well. Even a stats guy can admit that.

However, a large problem remains. We have a PF in Amir Johnson (signed to a long term deal) and one of the best up and coming PFs in the league in Ed Davis. Many of us would like to resign Reggie Evans – but how do we create room for him?

“The Ninja”

A quick take on James Johnson, who’s been a nice “surprise” for the Raptors. But is it a surprise?

Looking at “per 36 minutes” numbers suggests he’s pretty much exactly the same player – its simply he wasn’t been given the minutes in Chicago. His numbers with Chicago this year were certainly worse, but likely a product of very inconsistent minutes and him trying to force it somewhat when he did get his chance. Perhaps we’re still in a bit of a “honeymoon” period, but the numbers are encouraging. Even more encouraging? Helping hold stars like Kevin Durant to 6 for 21 shooting (which doesn’t get captured well in most advanced metrics).

This also takes be back to the Wins Produced metric. When Mr. Colangelo traded our late round 1st pick for James Johnson, Devin Dignam (a Wins Produced fan, author at NBeh?, and a classy guy – even if we don’t always agree) wrote:

Another problem I have with this deal is the fact that Johnson hasn’t been very good thus far. Last year he posted a WP48 of -0.006 and produced -0.1 wins; this year he has posted a WP48 of -0.077 and produced -0.2 wins.

I replied to the post and asked (among other things):

Can a player increase his WP with more experience and a change in scenery (like Afflalo)?

My favourite response to my seemingly valid questions was from Ben Gulker, a Wins Produced disciple and a Detroit Pistons fan:

Your attempt to be dismissive of this post using (AA as an example appears to me to be very little more than ignorance on several fronts, but on what Wins Produced has to say about young players in particular.

Hmm… well, my “ignorance” seems to be winning so far.


From the The Wins Produced Calculation guide, we see:

Since a team employs five players per 48 minutes, the average player must produce per 48 minutes 0.100 wins.

Thus, using their own WP48 metric, James Johnson (so far) has indeed improved significantly with a change in scenery and consistent playing time. Lesson: don’t be a jerk when someone asks a reasonable question and never rely on one metric to draw conclusions. Not a bad rule of thumb for comments as well – just because someone has a different opinion, it doesn’t mean they are necessarily ignorant (if we had all the answers, wouldn’t we be hired to make $3 million a year as a GM?)

Adjusted +/- and on/off court metrics

While the data is quite limited this year, “the Ninja” also has a positive impact on the team’s Offensive Rating (~ +1) and a nice impact on its Defensive Rating (> +3).

Time will tell, but so far he’s looking much better than that potential ~25th pick.

Questions? Email me: [email protected] or find me on Twitter.

One great event. One great charity. The Team Up Foundation’s one4one event featuring all the athletes from the Toronto Maple Leafs, Raptors, Marlies and FC all in one place. Enjoy complimentary cocktails, entertainment, food, and mixing & mingling with your Toronto teams at the hottest sports bar in North America! See for details.

I write at this site for free (and have personally covered 100% of costs for events like Summer League and the MIT Sloan Conference) and serve as a volunteer for this Team Up Foundation event. I’m hoping some of our readership will join me in supporting this cause in turn. I grew up in a neighbourhood where, if it wasn’t for many volunteers, rinks, courts and fields would not be in good enough condition for kids to play and stay away from trouble. And there was a lot of trouble to get into. This is why I’m trying to give back in kind. Not your thing? Doesn’t have to be – find a passion and give back. And support others that do.

To Top