Today Dave Berri posted a short piece refuting the popular (and generally accepted) wisdom that Hedo Turkoglu has been a disappointment. He argues that Turk's performance shouldn't be seen as anything less than a player performing marginally worse than the previous year, citing a reduction in wins produced from 4.9 last season in Orlando to 3.6 this year in Toronto. In short, an average player declining about on par with his age. And he's dead on there. But what this table can't quantify is the effect of watching Hedo coast through game after game playing at about 60% effort and generally being invisible on the court. Or at least he is on the offensive end; on the defensive end he gets a lot of camera time as the opponent goes at him (or Calderon) on set after set. The point is, the disappointment is in the feeling that he cut the cheque and kicked his feet up on the desk to start enjoying early retirement.
Turk aside, what else is there to be learned from the Raptors' wins produced this year? Well, firstly that Chris Bosh is good at NBA basketball. In fact he's 4.2 wins better this year than he was last year, which is pretty freaking good considering he produced 7.3 wins total last year, and he was pretty freaking good that year too. It should also be noted that wins produced uses total minutes played in it's formula, and Bosh has played nearly 400 fewer minutes this season than last. Had Bosh played 3000 minutes, as he nearly did last year, he would have produced 13.7 instead of 11.5. Considering their current position in the East, Bosh's few nagging injuries and recovery games have really cost the Raptors as much as Bosh's badly timed meet and greet with Antawn Jamison's elbow. As to whether 13.7 wins is deserving of a max contract, let alone 11.5, I'll leave that to another time.
Also, free Amir. Second best wins produced per 48 minutes on the court, 3rd in total wins produced, but sadly couldn't earn more of those minutes due to foul trouble and Andrea Bargnani, who we'll get to shortly. The problem with Amir is that his potential and occasionally stellar play are offset by his seeming inability to maintain a high energy level without fouling. It's the worst gamble for an NBA GM to make, giving a contract to a big man with talent that can't stay on the floor. There are too many drawbacks, from the effect of getting teams into the bonus early, to the fact that your expensive player is on the bench while his less effective backup is in the game, to the effects on lineups and matchups and suddenly irrelevant gameplans. Amir is a quagmire, but he's still one that I hope we re-sign.
Andrea Bargnani. Finally, a statistic that reflects how little your inefficient offense makes up for your atrocious defense. One of Berri's main points in his writing is that offensive statistics, particularly points per game, are overvalued in contract negotiations. Seems to be the case here, because Andrea Bargnani really doesn't produce much else. Especially damning for this particular statistic is the fact that each player's score is adjusted by position, which makes the weighting of something like rebounds more significant (as, really, it should). And then there's the startlingly realization that Bargnani actually played more total minutes than Bosh this season, and yet has not produced a single win. Not even a fraction of a win. He did, it must be said, improve on last year's -1.5 wins produced, but sadly did not make the coveted even mark. For reference purposes, a wins per 48 minutes score of 1.000 is considered average. Bargnani produced -0.012 wins per 48 minutes this season, which is a geeky way of saying that Bargs is like a saboteur that slowly poisons your team until you wake up one day in early April and your team is out of the playoffs despite having a more talented roster than some of those above you.
Jarret Jack. Pleasant surprise, no? Nice bump in production, well worth the money. However, he has killed Jose Calderon, who has dropped 4 wins. Essentially Jarret did to Jose what Jose did to TJ Ford, though TJ and Jose enjoyed periods of shared productivity, which was what produced the two headed point guard monster. Not so this year, where one is playing well and the other poorly. Same result this offseason, with one getting dumped? My money would be on Jack if Bosh leaves; good contract, could bring something valuable back, and might restore Jose's mojo if he's handed more minutes. Regardless, the sum of the duo is a lot of money spent and production that's about on par with Chris Bosh but needing 1300 more minutes played to get there.
Sonny Weems, a keeper. Produced 2.2 wins this season, still a below average score per 48 minutes but any fan that has watched the team would agree that he has improved over the season and is a bargain. DeMar didn't produce much this year, a reflection of his inability to add things like rebounding, assists, and steals while on the court. As the handle improves, the jumper steadies and he grows into his athleticism, whether these other numbers improve will determine whether he's another average wing in the league, or a potential star. After nearly one full NBA season, we know about DeMar what we knew before it began; he's a lot of minutes away from how good he can be. That being said, he's already more productive than Bargnani. Ouch and yay.
Looking forward to next year, removing Bosh puts the Raptors into prime lottery territory, which is bittersweet news but for the best should he leave. As always things rest on the shoulders of Bargnani though it might be equally true that the team's fate rests on Triano's ability to get through to him. At what point do you cut the cord, for either of them? At least we know that it'll be fun to watch DeMar and Sonny streak up the wings with Jose leading the break and Amir and Bargs trailing in Triano's running offense. They're going to lose a lot of games, but we'll finally get to see what the Raptors have got without Chris Bosh to lean on.