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Best Wing Players in the NBA by the Numbers

About a month ago I took a look at 10 of the top point guards in the league according to 5 different advanced stats (PER, win shares/48 minutes, wins produced/48 minutes, Roland Rating and 1-year adjusted +/-).  I showed the raw values for each player in each stat, then at the end rank-ordered how each player ranked in each stat versus the other point guards under consideration.  The end result gives an interesting rough-and-ready ranking of what "the numbers" say about who is really playing the best this year...not always the same thing as our perceptions. 

So, now I'm back to do the same thing with the elite wings in the NBA.  I expanded a bit (last time 10 wasn't enough candidates...it left notable snubs like Chauncey Billups), so I'll be looking at 27 of the top shooting guards and small forwards in the NBA.  For the sake of space I'll show only the top-15 for each individual stat, but for the rank-order table at the bottom I'll put all 27 in there.  Without further ado...

PER: Hollinger's stat, probably the most popular of the "advanced stats", favorable (compared to other advanced stats) to volume scorers and players that generate a lot of free throws; Generally ranks those considered "great" by the general public well, though also will tend to have role players with good scoring-per-minute very highly.


PER
LeBron James 26.6
Dwyane Wade 25.2
Kobe Bryant 24.3
Kevin Durant 24.17
Kevin Martin 22.37
Manu Ginobili 21.61
Carmelo Anthony 21.38
Eric Gordon 21.12
Paul Pierce 19.53
Monta Ellis 18.98
Rudy Gay 17.96
Joe Johnson 17.94
Danny Granger 17.8
Andre Iguodala 17.68
Ray Allen 17.29

Win Shares: From Basketball-reference.com, emphasizes shooting/scoring efficiency; loves points per shot (thus values FTs drawn).  To account for different minutes played, we're going to look at Win Shares per 48 minutes played.


WS48
LeBron James 0.232
Dwyane Wade 0.214
Paul Pierce 0.203
Manu Ginobili 0.2
Kobe Bryant 0.187
Kevin Durant 0.185
Kevin Martin 0.181
Ray Allen 0.177
Eric Gordon 0.157
Andre Iguodala 0.142
Luol Deng 0.139
Richard Jefferson 0.131
Jason Richardson 0.127
Rudy Gay 0.124
Danny Granger 0.122

Wins Produced: Dave Berri's controversial stat (most likely to be trashed on an APBRmetric board) is also the one seemingly growing fastest in popular usage; wins produced values what he defines as possessions, so loves rebounds, steals, and blocks and doesn't like TOs; doesn't value shot creation, but does value assists.  We'll look at Wins Produced per 48 minutes.


WP48
LeBron James 0.347
Dwyane Wade 0.299
Landry Fields 0.285
Andre Iguodala 0.257
Manu Ginobili 0.237
Kevin Durant 0.223
Paul Pierce 0.218
Kobe Bryant 0.206
Ray Allen 0.193
Andrei Kirilenko 0.186
Rudy Gay 0.158
Carmelo Anthony 0.143
Eric Gordon 0.142
Kevin Martin 0.139
Gerald Wallace 0.128

Roland Rating: 82games.com's Roland Rating is based upon a combination of PER and +/- stats.  It looks at the individual PER of each player, the PER of their primary defensive assignment, and subtracts the 2 for a 1-on-1 value then they combine that 1-on-1 value with a team-impact based on-court/off-court +/- stat to get the rating.  Tends to produce fewest "what???" rankings, because players that rank out highly in both the 1-on-1 and team stats are almost universally who we consider to be among the best in the game...though the order at the top isn't always what you'd expect. (Note: 82games hasn't updated this since Jan. 19, so these results are only current to that date)


Roland Rating
LeBron James 15.2
Manu Ginobili 12.6
Dwyane Wade
11.6
Paul Pierce
11.3
Rudy Gay
9.6
Kevin Durant 9.4
Kobe Bryant 8.9
Eric Gordon 8.2
Carmelo Anthony 7.9
Joe Johnson 7.9
Ray Allen 6.9
Kevin Martin 6.6
Andre Iguodala 5.1
Landry Fields 4.8
Danny Granger 4.3

2-year Adjusted +/-: This is Basketballvalue.com's APM calculation.  As I mentioned above APM is so incredibly noisy that a single year (or less) doesn't give conclusive answers (and too often the answers are nonsensical for my tastes).  Even 2 years may be too short for an APM calculation.  I like longer APM calculations, 4 years or more, to really clean up the noise and give a robust effect.  Nevertheless, we're talking about this year so we'll have to make due on both issues with the 2-year compromise.


2 yr APM 2 yr APM SE
LeBron James 15.05 2.71
Kevin Durant 12.38 3.9
Dwyane Wade 11.01 3.27
Luol Deng 7.6 3.62
Gerald Wallace 6.98 3.33
Landry Fields 6.87 4.33
Paul Pierce 4.91 3.44
Manu Ginobili 4.83 2.92
Vince Carter 4.8 3.27
Carmelo Anthony 4.63 3.11
Ray Allen 4.17 3.54
Danny Granger 3.34 3.02
Kobe Bryant 2.86 3.7
Ron Artest 2.83 3.26
Rudy Gay 2.77 3.72

Overall Rank orders: Giving each of our 27 guys a '1' through '27' ranking based on where they ranked in each stat, here is a summary of how each guy did.  I'll add an average across the 5 stats (with standard error) to give us a seat-of-the-pants-advanced-stat-cross-section-view ranking order:


PER WS48 WP48 Roland Rating 2 yr APM
Average Std. Error
LeBron James 1 1 1 1 1
1 0.00
Dwyane Wade 2 2 2 3 3
2.4 0.24
Kevin Durant 4 6 6 6 2
4.8 0.80
Manu Ginobili 6 4 5 2 8
5 1.00
Paul Pierce 9 3 7 4 7
6 1.10
Kobe Bryant 3 5 8 7 13
7.2 1.69
Ray Allen 15 8 9 11 11
10.8 1.20
Eric Gordon 8 9 13 8 16
10.8 1.59
Carmelo Anthony 7 17 12 9 10
11 1.70
Rudy Gay 11 14 11 5 15
11.2 1.74
Kevin Martin 5 7 14 12 26
12.8 3.68
Andre Iguodala 14 10 4 13 23
12.8 3.09
Landry Fields 25 18 3 14 6
13.2 3.99
Luol Deng 20 11 17 19 4
14.2 2.99
Joe Johnson 12 19 16 10 17
14.8 1.66
Danny Granger 13 15 23 15 12
15.6 1.94
Andrei Kirilenko 16 16 10 17 19
15.6 1.50
Gerald Wallace 21 21 15 18 5
16 2.97
Vince Carter 23 20 20 16 9
17.6 2.42
Jason Richardson 18 13 18 22 20
18.2 1.50
Richard Jefferson 26 12 19 21 21
19.8 2.27
Monta Ellis 10 22 21 20 27
20 2.77
Jason Terry 19 23 26 23 18
21.8 1.46
Ron Artest 27 24 25 26 14
23.2 2.35
Michael Beasley 17 26 27 25 24
23.8 1.77
Stephen Jackson 22 25 24 27 22
24 0.95
Tyreke Evans 24 27 22 24 25
24.4 0.81

Conclusions:

Every stat, no matter how it was measured, agreed that LeBron James has been the best wing in the NBA this year.  In fact, LeBron and Dwyane Wade measured out 1-2 overall among wings across the body of stats examined here.

Behind the Miami boys is a group of 4 guys on the next tier: Durant, Ginobili, Pierce and Kobe.  While Kobe and Durant are super-duper stars, it's interesting that Ginobili and Pierce measured right there with them this year.

Ray Allen is right behind Kobe, and highlights the next Tier that features eight guys (down to Luol Deng on the list).  This tier is an interesting mix of big names and guys that may be having a bigger impact than their names would suggest.  New Knick Carmelo Anthony is on this tier with Ray, along with several young scorers (Gay, Gordon, Martin) and a couple of more versatile glue/defensive type players (Iguodala, Deng and Fields).

I'm not going to spend much time with the rest, though it is interesting that guys like Joe Johnson and Monta Ellis are maybe further down the list than you might expect.  The take-away for me is that while Miami (obviously) is built around 2 super-wings, the Celtics (and I guess, now, the Knicks) are the only other teams with two wings from among the top 3 tiers. 




 

Comments

By: Kyle McKeown
On: 2/28/2011 11:55:00 AM
I hate that Kevin Martin is presented in a good light here, but I love that Luol Deng is shown to be super awesome. I hate that Vince Carter's +/- ranking significantly improves his O-rank. Dude is old, and a chucker.

Thanks, Dre. Had a lot of fun looking through this.
 
By: Chris Liss
On: 2/28/2011 12:24:00 PM
This list looks about what I'd expect. Ginobili and Pierce have always been underrated. It's interesting to note the margin by which LeBron is better under every metric, too. It's not even close between him and anyone else. Landry Fields is a bit surprising, though.
 
By: The Professor
On: 3/1/2011 6:26:00 AM
I like you guys' examples, and to me they highlight exactly why it's necessary to look at these players from all of these different angles. To me, it's telling that the best-of-the-best tend to measure out well however you choose to analyze. Look only at the box score stats? LeBron's the best. Look only at the +/- stats...LeBron's still the best. Same with the other top 5 or 6 guys...they do pretty well in every stat.

Then, you get to guys where there might be some disagreement. Maybe they're more specialized, or more of a role player. You can see how different stats measure those players differently.

For example, Kevin Martin does great at the efficiency/scoring-based box score stats (makes sense, as he makes a lot of FTs and 3s) but he absolutely blows at the impact +/- stats. Could be an indication that scoring efficiency alone isn't a be-all/end-all and that maybe the other aspects of his game aren't enough. Or, it could be an indication that a team isn't using him right. Requires more interpretation, but to me you start from a better information base.

Meanwhile, someone like Luol Deng looked pretty average in the box score stats but his +/- impact was huge. This tends to make me think that things like his 1-on-1 defense, for example, could be impacting games without showing up in the box scores. Or that the Bulls are relying on some aspect of his presence for their team to work properly, making him more important than his traditional stats might be showing.
 
By: The Professor
On: 3/1/2011 6:31:00 AM
Re: Landry Fields...looking at his breakdown, he seems like a reasonable candidate for the Bruce Bowen category. Not stylistically, but more-so as a role player that can be playing well and impacting the game without the traditional box score contributions. It's obvious that his 3rd value in wins produced is due in large part to one of the main criticisms that stat receives...it over-emphasizes rebounding and position-adjusts, so the fact that Fields is a good rebounder for a wing gets him a huge boost in wins produced (perhaps, many would argue, too much). On the other hand, his +/- ranking is similar, which makes me think it's not all fluke. Hollinger always used to say that a player like Bowen, who had important roles that impacted the game without the box score, wouldn't measure out well in PER. Maybe Fields (though his specific role is different) is another example of this type of player.
 

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