Over break I thought it would be a good idea to look at things that help teams win games. To do this I gathered all the team's basic box-score stats plus opponents stats (points, FG%, and 3PT%) from the past 4 years and looked at the correlation they had to the number of wins each team finished the season with. Here's what I came up with:
Based on this the most important aspect of basketball is defense. It's interesting that points against has a much higher correlation then points for. I believe this is because everyone has off games scoring the basketball but there are no off games on defense because defense is all about athleticism, instincts, being smart, and giving a good effort. It's like the saying in baseball that speed never slumps. Defense never slumps because the other teams can't take those things away.
Solution number 1: find players who are above average defenders
This solution should be obvious even without any analysis and I think it's part of the reason why Brewer has recently been starting.
The next 2 important things are FG% and defensive rebounding. FG% is pretty straight forward, teams that make shots generally wins games. Along with FG%, 3PT% has a decent correlation because each make is more important (an extra point) but teams take less attempts which keeps it from having a higher correlation. Defensive rebounding is also important because teams need a defensive rebound to stop the other team from scoring after misses. What's interesting about rebounding is offensive rebounding has a negative correlation to winning, I think this is because good teams make shots and making shots means less available offensive rebounds. This doesn't mean we should stop getting offensive rebounds it just means as the team improves our offensive rebounds should start to decrease.
Solution number 2: keep Kevin Love
I admit I'm in the group (maybe it's just me and chuckd) who isn't a fan of Love, I think he plays more of a women's style game, will never be a guy we can rely on to win games, and is terrible at solution 1 (defense). That being said he is so good at solution 2 I think he's not only worth keeping, but he could actually help win games given he's our 4th or 5th best player.
The last 2 things that have a highish correlation (about 0.5) to winning are turnovers and assists. Plain and simple we need guys who pass the ball to OUR team. Everyone knows this and have been complaining about it all season so I won't say anything else.
Solution number 3: get Rubio here ASAP
The position that contributes to assists and turnovers the most is PG so we need to get our future PG here next year so we see what we have and hopefully he is the solution to this problem.
I plan on posting my trade machine solutions to these problmes when I figure out who I think our best options are. I know most of these things can be seen without mathematical analysis but I thought I would put this out there anyway and see what you think.