BREAKDOWN – Marvin and Mo By the Numbers

Whenever another team makes a trade in the West I plug the numbers into the Locke system and see if they have improved or not. Let me first say this is very rudimentary compared to John Hollinger or Kevin Pelton’s system. With that said, it has been remarkably good at forecasting what was going to happen.

When the Lakers acquired Gasol I plugged in the numbers and it was scary what came out and low and behold it was true. Same thing happened with the Celtics putting the big 3 together and with Chris Paul going to the Clippers.

This projection is entirely offensive based. I try to guestimate how a team will distribute their possessions based of the previous year’s performance and then plug in how each player does pts per possession used.

One of the more stunning statistical research projects I have done over the years is how little a players performance changes from team to team. The only time they really alter is if they are playing with one of the three or four elite players in the game. If you play with LeBron you look better than you are. When you played with Stockton and Malone or Jordan or Hakeem the same thing happened. Otherwise, players are who they are regardless of teammates. I know hard to buy into but believe me.

Here is the Jazz possession usage from last year:

PLAYER POSSESSIONS USED PTS PER POSS
Jefferson 19 .98
Millsap 17 .98
Hayward 12 .98
Harris 12 .98
Howard/Miles 12 .84
Favors 10 .90
Burks 8 .90
Bell/Carroll 6 .96
Watson/Tinsley 5 .62
Kanter 5 .90

I combined Howard and Miles into one player. They both averaged 10 possessions a game and were not always healthy at the same time. I did the same with Watson/Tinsley and with Carroll/Bell. Raja had a very good year at 1.05 pts per possession and Carroll was .87 but both used about 5 or 6 possessions a game when they played .

This gives the Jazz about 106 possessions a game and that is close if you count an offensive rebound as a new possession. The Jazz scored 98.9 points per those 106 possessions using last year’s numbers.

Now let’s project what happens this year. I dropped Jefferson 1 possession and Millsap 1 and those went to Favors. Hayward increased 2 possessions and those came from Howard/Miles who I put down to 11 in the name of Marvin Williams. Favors increased 3 possessions a game and Kanter increased 1 as well. I dispersed the 6 Bell/Carroll possessions with 3 going to Burks, 1 going to Marvin, 1 going to Hayward and 1 going to Mo.

PLAYER POSSESSION USED PTS PER POSS
Jefferson 18 .98
Millsap 14 .98
Hayward 15 .98
Mo Williams 12 .94
Marvin Williams 12 1.01
Favors 13 .90
Burks 11 .90
Watson/Tinsley 5 .62
Kanter 6 .90
  106  

Again the Jazz come out as 106 possessions and the total this time is 99.6 pts per game an increase of .7 pts as a team. That is an increase of 2 wins in a season.

The loss of Devin Harris at .98 pts per poss is significant and if you go back to two years ago when Mo Williams played point guard in Cleveland and in LA with LeBron or CP3 it was much worse.
For a larger improvement the Jazz will need Burks and Favors to go from .90 to something above the league average. If the two of them were both to get to .95 the Jazz would increase 2 points or almost 5 wins in a season.

The Jazz are better with the addition of Marvin and Mo but for a real significant jump the Jazz will need to get improvement from within. In addition, the Jazz real issue is they ranked 22nd in the NBA defensively and a larger role of Mo, Marvin and Favors may help defensively far more than offensively.