Could Kentucky Really Beat the Toronto Raptors?
The other day, Wages of Wins favorite Charles Barkley (if Magic Johnson is the God of advanced stats, Barkley is the Jesus, or at least the Zeus – Jordan has to be some kind of supernatural deity, too), anyway,
Charles Barkley asserted that this year’s Kentucky Wildcats would beat this year’s Toronto Raptors, and they’d maybe beat Charlotte, too. We know, of course, that being a really, really (and in Barkley’s case add two more reallys) good basketball player doesn’t always mean you’re any good at analyzing other basketball players (See Jordan, Michael and Thomas, Isiah). But is Barkley right in this case?
Let’s start by looking at the team we have much more data on, the Toronto Raptors.
The following chart lists all Raptors players who have played at least 500 minutes this season. It shows their current WP48 (0.099 is average), their Rookie WP48 so we can get an idea of how much each player has improved (or, in some cases, declined) since his rookie season, and College Draft Relative Win Score, which compares each player in his draft year against the average drafted player at his position since 1995 (average is 7.18). With these three numbers, we can get as close to comparing apples to apples as possible. I guess it’s kind of like comparing a ripe apple with a picture of it before it was ripe to an unripe apple.
When we look at this year’s Raptors, we can make a few interesting observations:
- The team’s “stars,” Andrea Bargnani and DeMar DeRozan, are very, very bad. So bad in fact that they’ve inspired past posts: Andrea Bargnani: The Centre who plays like he’s 6 inches shorter, DeMar DeRozan is killing the Raptors
- The team’s two most productive players this season, Ed Davis and Amir Johnson, play the same position and thus, don’t see the court together very often
- Jose Calderon is a very good point guard
- The team has nothing even remotely resembling a decent shooting guard or small forward
- Of Toronto’s players who played in college, Ed Davis, Aaron Gray, and James Johnson were above average in college. Davis and Gray are above average in the NBA. Johnson, who was slightly above average in college, is slightly below average in the NBA. DeMar DeRozan, Jerryd Bayless, and Linas Kleiza were below average in college. All three are below average in the NBA.
- Four Raptors have actually declined in productivity since their rookie seasons.
Now let’s take a look at this year’s Kentucky Wildcats...
Get the rest of this article over at Wages of Wins Journal.