Friday, December 7, 2012

5 Players Who Are Killing Their Team

Win-based metrics are based upon the principle that possessions, like at-bats in baseball, are the chief commodity a team utilizes to win a game. When a shot is taken, successfully or otherwise, that resource is gone forever. The theory follows along a logical trajectory: getting offensive rebounds help, giving them up hurt, getting steals help, turning the ball over hurts...
From this point of view, we conclude that the best players are those that create extra possessions and make efficient usage of the ones they expend, and the worst are those that haphazardly 'blow' possessions while doing little to create more or stifle those of their opponent. Here are five of the NBA's worst offenders thus far.

1) Andrea Bargnani - (FG% .395  4.5 Rebs 1.8 To's  WP48 -.118)
The Raptors made some nice moves this off-season, but this team will have an extremely difficult time getting out of the cellar as long as it commits heavy minutes to its former number one overall pick. Bargnani, a perennially poor win producer, shoots a low percentage for a big, gets savaged by opponents' front courts, and doesn't have the athleticism or skill to rack up the steals and blocks necessary to supplement the softness of his game.

2) Michael Beasley - (FG% .381   4.1 Rebs  2.6 To's  WP48 -.133)
We can't totally blame the Suns for taking a look at Beasley. At 6'10, Beasley is a fairly remarkable athlete with real ability to put the ball in the hoop. However, Phoenix is nothing more than the latest in a line of suckers, watching as Beasley tanks their team. Rather than live off mid-range jumpers and put backs, the former KSU star hoists threes, which is shoots at an atrocious clip of 27%,  turns the ball almost three times a game and makes no defensive contributions to speak of. Jared Dudley and P.J Tucker can play, and need to replace Beasley in the Suns' rotation posthaste if they have any hope of competing this season.

For the love of God, get under the basket!

3) Demarcus Cousins - ( FG% .432  9.7 Rebs  2.7 To's  WP -.008 )
The Kings roster is full of problems, but none is more serious, nor more insidious than the presence of Cousins in the middle of their lineup. Cousins certainly looks the part, and if one doesn't scrutinize his statistics too closely, they look pretty good too. A second peek reveals that Cousins misses way too many shots for a 7-footer, is a turnover machine, and for some reason, almost never blocks shots or shuts down his counterpart in the middle. Cousins has such enormous talent that is hard to categorically write him off as a player, but his bad habits have not improved since his entry into the league- if anything they've gotten worse.

4) Monta Ellis - ( FG% .393   3.2 Rebs  2.6 To's   WP -.020 )
In the immortal tradition of Allen Iverson, Gilbert Arenas, and Stephon Marbury, Monta Ellis shoots A LOT. Monta Ellis does not, as it so happens, make a lot. The Bucks have the potential to be a pretty good team,  but as long as Ellis is permitted to take almost four 3's a game while hitting only a ridiculous 21% of them, that probably isn't going to happen. In a general sense, I like when players like Ellis get traded because it illustrates how little mainstream basketball talkers know about what wins games. Do the Warriors look like they miss this guy yet?

5) Byron Mullens ( FG% .374  8.4 Rebs  1.8 To's  WP - .011)
First-year GM Rich Cho is one of the best in the business and has done a great job returning the Cats to respectability. Charlotte would be a whole lot more respectable were Mullens not second on the team in minutes played so far this season. Mullens is a big man who lives on the perimeter for no discernible reason. His 37% shooting is among the league's worst, which is even more egregious when you realize that he does get some dunks and put-backs. If the team felt that they could deal with Mullens' chucking during last year's disaster season, that is one thing, but as this roster continues to mature and improve, they can't put up with that.

It didn't go in.

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