Sorry, Aaron Brooks Not Most Improved NBA Player

| by David Berri

It will be a few more days before I complete my analysis of the 2009-10 regular season.  That analysis will include updating the Wins Produced model with the 2009-10 team data and evaluating each player’s productivity. So the numbers I have right now will change a bit (not very much, though). 

Given the numbers I have right now, though, I can say that Aaron Brooks posted a 0.037 WP48 [Wins Produced per 48 minutes] this past season. And in 2008-09, his WP48 was -0.004.  So yes, Brooks improved. But not much. And he would not be the Most Improved Player for the 2009-10 season if Wins Produced was the metric of choice.

For the media, though, Wins Produced is not the tool used to evaluate the players.  The story announcing that Brooks had won this award noted the primary metric the media uses to measure player performance: His (Brooks) scoring average went up 8.4 points from 2008-09, the highest increase of any qualifying player.

Yes – and this is not a surprise – scoring is the story. By the way, here is what I said last fall when discussing what we should see from Houston in 2009-10:

Aaron Brooks – who may lead this team in scoring – will be considered one of the best point guards in the game.

Let me close by noting that the article announcing this award argued that Houston failed to prove the doubters wrong this season. This argument rests on the observation that Houston failed to make the playoffs, as many expected.

But this argument misrepresents what was said about Houston when the season started. Before the season started it was expected that Houston was going to be a below average team. I argued, though, that this team should win more than 40 games but struggle to make the playoffs (in other words, not be as bad as expected).This is indeed what happened.  And as a consequence, Brooks got to collect some hardware. 

Okay, I need to get back to those Freakonomics questions. This process is going slow since I am also watching the NFL draft (as I have noted in the past, this is the best day of the year for fans of the Lions).

- DJ

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Our research on the NBA was summarized HERE.

The Technical Notes at provides substantially more information on the published research behind Wins Produced and Win Score

Wins Produced, Win Score, and PAWSmin are also discussed in the following posts:

Simple Models of Player Performance

Wins Produced vs. Win Score

What Wins Produced Says and What It Does Not Say

Introducing PAWSmin — and a Defense of Box Score Statistics

Finally, A Guide to Evaluating Models contains useful hints on how to interpret and evaluate statistical models.