Projecting the 2012-13 Timberwolves using Wins Produced

Fellow hoopsters,

I have gotten fairly addicted to reading about the Wins Produced metric lately on Wages of Wins and The NBA Geek. Frankly, advanced stats have always been quite interesting to me given how often the "eye test" deceives us. I am also a die-hard Wolves fan (been reading Hoopus for at least three years now). I would like to use this metric to predict how many games the new-look Timberwolves will win next season.

Here are the ground rules (taken from Arturo's Stats Site, skip this if you know about WP already):

This article uses Wins Produced (WP) and WP48 (Wins Produced per 48 minutes) to evaluate player’s performance. This measure uses three key components to evaluate a player:

  • The player’s per minute box score statistics
  • The player’s team’s per minute box score statistics
  • The average performance at the player’s position (PG, SG, SF, PF or C)

A full explanation can be found here. To give a general scale, an average player has a WP48 score of 0.100. The very best players in the league usually have a WP48 over 0.300. To put this in perspective; an average player who plays a full season at 40 minutes a game would generate around 6.83 wins for their team. In contrast, a player posting a 0.300 WP48 would generate about 20.5 wins at 40 minutes a game over an 82 game season.

Want to see how many games the Wolves are going to win next season? Jump it.


My assumptions:

  • I used last season's WP48 numbers unless otherwise noted below. I also took into account how many games I thought each player would play in 2012 based on LY or past seasons.
  • I assumed a few personnel moves here - it's my best guess at the offseason: Sign Courtney Lee, Roy, Schved, Steamer. Trade Wayne for Dante Cunningham. No Batum.
  • I estimated Minutes/Game based on past seasons and how I thought players would fit into the lineup.
  • Alexey Schved will be a below average NBA player in his first year as he learns the ropes (WP48 = 0.050).
  • C-Lion will improve slightly, still below average (WP48 = 0.050).
  • Dante Cunningham and Steamer will come down to earth a bit (both boasted WP48 LY above 0.180, very impressive).
  • Brandon Roy will be slightly below average (WP48 = 0.080, in between his good 2010 and injury-ravaged 2011 campaigns).

See below for the Timberwolves' 2012-2013 Wins Produced projected breakdown:

Player Pos MPG G 2013 WP48 2013 WP
J.J. Barea 1 15 50 0.032 0.5
Ricky Rubio 1.1 32 60 0.161 6.4
Luke Ridnour 1.6 17 70 0.111 2.8
Malcolm Lee 1.8 10 75 0.046 0.7
Alexey Schved 2 16 65 0.050 1.1
Courtney Lee 2 25 75 0.100 3.9
Brandon Roy 2 17 50 0.080 1.4
Wes Johnson 2.7 10 77 0.023 0.4
Chase Budinger 3 27 75 0.133 5.6
Derrick Williams 3.5 24 78 0.050 2.0
Dante Cunningham 4 12 70 0.150 2.6
Kevin Love 4.5 35 72 0.205 10.8
Nikola Pekovic 5 30 66 0.171 7.1
Greg Stiemsma 5 18 70 0.150 3.9

A few notes on these results:

  • 49 WINS?!?!?!?! would be the most since 2003-04 and would all but guarantee a playoff spot (that winning % would have been good for 5th or 6th this year).
  • This improvement is accomplished by removing crappy players (Darko, Beas, A-Dolph, Wellington, Brad Miller) and adding solid players (Chase, C-Lee, Steamer, Dante Cunnbomb, etc)
  • K-Love, Pek, and Ricky (even at 60 games) will carry us (almost 50% of the wins produced). Chase, Lee, and Steamer will be very solid contributors.

Overall, I actually think this is fairly realistic, if not a little on the high side.

What say you? Should we break out the playoff bubbly?

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