Statistically, Who Should Be 2014-15 All-Stars?
One third of 2014-15 NBA season has just passed, 2015 is knocking the door and thus here we come into the debate of who should be 2014-15 NBA all-stars. You may have already some names in mind but let’s dig dip to who really deserves to be an all-star this season statistically.
In this analysis, we evaluated and compared NBA players’ 2014-15 season performances until 29 Dec, 2014 and extracted out best overall players in terms of both their adjusted plus/minus ratings and efficiency scores. Teams’ success are disregarded because we prefer to focus extensively on players’ performances.
For adjusted plus/minus, we calculated the differences of players’ average plus/minus ratings while on court and its team average points for/against margin.
For the sake of the analysis, we have taken into consideration players’ endurance as well. Both adjusted plus/minus and efficiency scores are multiplied by the player endurance (the ratio of number of game played by a player/total number of games of its team). Therefore, greater the number of missed games by a player, lower its performance score. However, you will also find the results without considering the endurance factor in the later part of the article.
Eventually, we normalized (out of 100 highest point) these two stats and combined them with the 70% of the efficiency score plus 30% of the adjusted plus/minus ratings method. (70%/30% ratio is subjective, we decided to give a little bit greater importance to efficiency rather than plus/minus rating).
And now, let’s discover who really earns to be an all-star based on this final performance score metric. To be compatible of all-stars selection process, we divided players on two groups according to their conferences and we selected first 5 as starters and following 7 players as reserves in these two groups. You can notice that western players have a bit higher performance scores than eastern players. Thus, although two western players, namely Ty Lawson and DeMarcus Cousins, have higher performance scores than two of the eastern all-stars, they stayed outside of this selection; because they have 13th and 14th best score in the west.
Finally we do not mind position limitations while making the selections. If we do this, then Chris Paul (third best guard of the west) would be replaced by Marc Gasol as starter.
The other 6 notable performance scores are: Ty Lawson (62.03), DeMarcus Cousins (62.00), Jrue Holiday (60.72), Klay Thompson (60.68), Gorgui Dieng (60.39) and Draymond Green (60.33).
According to these results, we have 6 first time all stars: Jimmy Butler, DeAndre Jordan, Rudy Gay, Gordon Hayward, Andre Drummond and Nikola Vucevic. The rise of Jimmy Butler is so clear that, it is almost certain that he will be an all-star this season. The other 5 players may not be selected as all-star but their performances in first 3 months are really appreciated.
Without Considering Endurance
In our analysis the endurance is an important factor. Without considering it, Russell Westbrook (missed 14 of 32 games) will be locked to the all-star game as well. This is similar for Chris Bosh (missed 8 of 31 games), for DeMarcus Cousins (missed 11 of 30 games), Ricky Rubio (missed 24 of 29 games), Dwight Howard (missed 12 of 29 games) and of course for Kevin Durant (missed 23 of 32 games).
If we reckon without the endurance, our all-stars would be:
West starters: DeMarcus Cousins (88.51), Anthony Davis (85.62), James Harden (76.79), Stephen Curry (74.87) and Russell Westbrook (74.33).
East starters: LeBron James (70.47), Nikola Vucevic (68.30), John Wall (66.32), Jimmy Butler (66.06) and Pau Gasol (64.54).
West reserves: Chris Paul (71.57), Kevin Durant (69.20), Ricky Rubio (68.30), LaMarcus Aldridge (67.12), Blake Griffin (66.73), Dwight Howard (66.54), Marc Gasol (65.65).
East reserves: Carmelo Anthony (63.97), Chris Bosh (63.63), Kyle Lowry (63.17), Kevin Love (60.89), Paul Millsap (59.77), Dwayne Wade (59.73), Kyrie Irving (59.52).
In this case, DeMArcus Cousins’ performance score is even higher than Anthony Davis which shows how tremendous he plays this season. On the other hand Ricky Rubio played only in 5 games, so his numbers are a little bit unreliable. If we leave him out, his replacement would be Damien Lillard (65.01).
Looking only Efficiency
Finally let’s look at first 24 performers of this season only according to their efficiency scores. In this case, nor endurance neither conference limitations are considered.
According to efficiency scores (highest to lowest):
Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins, James Harden, Russell Westbrook, Stephen Curry, LeBron James, Chris Paul, LaMarcus Aldridge, Marc Gasol, Jimmy Butler, Pau Gasol, Nikola Vucevic, Blake Griffin, Tim Duncan, Kyle Lowry, Dwight Howard, Damian Lillard, John Wall, DeAndre Jordan, Tyson Chandler, Chris Bosh, Kevin Durant, Kevin Love, Carmelo Anthony
Please note that in this list only Tim Duncan is new from the previous ones.