Posted by: Tom Sunnergren
09/29/10 9:45 am EST

Ok, so there are some rumor winds swirling  from Philly.com that the Sixers have made an offer for malcontent Nuggets forward Carmelo Anthony, and that the Nuggets kinda, sorta, maybe like the deal.  The question of the hour is, do they like it, or do they like it, like it.

Let’s say they like it, like it.  I’m going to peer into my crystal ball and tell you how this one plays out (BTW, my crystal ball is a replica of Ed Stefanski’s head).  The trade would be incredibly popular initially with both fans and the less-savvy members of the media (but I repeat myself, zing!), and everybody would sing the praises of Rod Thorn and draw parallels between his acquisition of Jason Kidd ten years ago and the Nets consequent rise to the top of the East and his now acquisition of a twenty-six year old Olympian, near scoring champion and, in the circumspect and well-considered words of Chauncy Billups, “one of the top two or three players in the world.”  Hot damn, this Thorn is a wheelin’, dealin’, riverboat gambler!  He turned Igoudala into Carmelo.  How’s that for alchemy? — the columns would read. 

Expectations would be high.  Through the roof.  They would literally explode through the roof.  After enough roofs were destroyed, people would learn not to keep these expectations indoors.  They’d be left outside to soar, to be free.  And why not?  Carmelo Anthony is the single best player in basketball not named Kobe, Lebron or Durant!  We know that because he scores the most. You can’t win without scoring points, anybody knows that.  And the guy he’s replacing?  Iguodala?  More like “ugly(jumper)odala!”  That guy sucks.  Look at his scoring for crying out loud.  Carmelo scores waaaaaaay more than him.  Carmelo, points, Carmelo, twenty-eight a game, Carmelo, scorer, Carmellllllllloooooo!  That’s how the conventional wisdom would go.   And who could argue with it.  Carmelo does score a lot of points.   And everybody knows the best player is the guy who scores the most.  Period.

Pretty soon though the Sixers would have to start playing games, would lose these games, and this unexpected losing would cause the hype train –fuelled by a month of irrational exuberance– to tragically derail, possibly killing Phil Jasner.  After Jasner was mourned, people would return to puzzling over why the Sixers, the purportedly reborn Sixers, were losing games at such a break-neck pace. It’s the chemistry, Jrue Holliday hasn’t developed, Carmelo isn’t comfortable under the harsh Philly-spotlight, Doug Collins is the culprit, Lou Williams isn’t driving enough, Phil Collins is the culprit (The PA had played too much Genesis in pregame), Evan Turner hasn’t warranted his high pick, the papers would loudly speculate, throwing darts at the mounting losses.  The question that would be on the tip of everyone’s tongue (or the tongues of the few who were still paying attention to an NBA team with a .250 winning percentage) would be an understandable one: What the hell happened?

This, dear reader, is what the hell happened.  The reason the Sixers, despite swapping a scrub like Iguodala for a top player like Melo, would still suck is because Carmelo Anthony – all-star, 2ndteam all-NBA, Olympic gold medalist, NCAA national-champion, Carmelo Anthony– sucks.  And Andre Iguodala is a star.  Yeah, I went there.

Here’s a chart that demonstrates this little known fact. (The bold font indicates head-to-head superiority, red indicates inferiority to others at his position)

Statistic Average SG Iguodala’s Career   Average SF Melo’s Career
Points per shot 0.96 1.00   0.97 0.96
Free Throw Percentage 0.8 0.75   0.76 0.8
Field Goal Attempts 17.5 14.9   16.7 25.4
Free Throw Attempts 4.9 6.6   5.0 10.4
Points Scored 20.8 20.0   19.9 32.5
Rebounds 5.6 7.3   7.6 8.2
Steals 1.8 2.2   1.6 1.5
Blocked Shots 0.5 0.6   0.8 0.6
Assists 4.6 5.8   3.6 4.1
Turnovers 2.8 3.1   2.8 4.1
Personal Fouls 3.7 2.8   4.2 4.0


I’m going to take a moment here to remind you readers of a fundamental rule of basketball: the only way to understand a basketball player’s statistical performance is in relation to others at his position. A center who gets ten rebounds per 48 minutes is not doing a great job of getting rebounds but a point guard who gets ten rebounds per 48 minutes is a world beater.  Each position comes with unique responsibilities and opportunities and these unique responsibilities and opportunities manifest themselves in different average statistical performances.  Iggy and Melo play different positions and despite the fact that the position Melo plays gives players more opportunity to contribute, Iggy contributes more.

Let’s focus on just Melo for a moment though.  There are two problems with him.  He’s an inefficient shooter (this is partly because he’s a bad three-point shooter who insists on shooting three-pointers) and instead of responding to this hole in his game by not shooting so much, he shoots constantly. In the time it takes you to read this sentence, he will have taken three shots.  This takes shots away from other Nuggets who –if they are at least average shooters– would be more likely to turn them into points.  The second issue is he turns the ball over more than he should.

So despite his ability to get to the line, overall Melo is just an average player (I shouldn’t have said he sucked earlier. I got carried away).  A-v-e-r-a-g-e.  This, in a vacuum, is ok.  Average players are actually pretty valuable.  The problem with Melo though isn’t his averageness, it’s that he makes a ridiculous amount of money for it.  Here’s a chart that explains the cost/benefit of employing him over the past five years.

Fiscal Year Wins Produced Cost of a Win* Value of Wins Amount Paid Surplus Value
2005-2006 3.49 $1.347 mil $4.70 mil $3.71 mil $0.99 mil
2006-2007 3.42 $1.478 mil $5.05 mil $4.69 mil $0.36 mil
2007-2008 7.66 $1.610 mil $12.33 mil $13.04 mil -$0.71 mil
2008-2009 4.74 $1.755 mil $8.31 mil $14.4 mil -$6.08 mil
2009-2010 5.98 $1.730 mil $10.36 mil $15.78 mil -$5.43 mil

*This figure was arrived at by dividing total player salaries for each given season by total wins in each given season, or 41 per team.

That negative number on the far right is the difference between what he’s paid and what he’s worth.  It’s quite a gulf, and it’s one that’s likely to widen.  His best career season he produced $12 million of wins for the Nuggets. If we assume he has the best season of his career every year for the remainder of the extension he’s going to sign with whoever(a charitable assumption for Melo), he will be getting paid about fifty million dollars more than he’s worth over the course of the deal.  So he’s a really bad deal.  Oh, and here’s Iguodala – a bargain player and a comparative steal vs. Melo .

Fiscal Year Wins Produced Cost of a Win Value of Wins Amount Paid Surplus Value
2005-2006 11.7 $1.347 mil $15.76 mil $2.058 mil $13.702 mil
2006-2007 11.61 $1.478 mil $17.16 mil $2.202 mil $14.96 mil
2007-2008 11.14 $1.610 mil $17.94 mil $2.805 mil $15.135 mil
2008-2009 12.46 $1.755 mil $21.87 mil $11.3 mil $10.57 mil
2009-2010 13.63 $1.730 mil $23.58 mil $12.2 mil $11.38 mil


So in one corner we have a very good player who’s underpaid, and in the other we have a mediocre player who’s vastly overpaid and will soon be even more overpaid.  I often think (and say and write) that things can’t get any worse for the Sixers.  When they show a willingness to enter into a trade like this, I’m humbly reminded that things can always get worse.  And as I type this, the Nets are apparently withdrawing from the Melo-sweepstakes, so it looks increasingly likely that they will.

Hopefully this doesn’t go through, as it would be yet another instance of the Sixers choosing form over function.

Not only is Iguodala objectively more productive than Melo, he’s cheaper.  A lot cheaper.

But in today’s NBA snitches get stitches and scorers get max-deals.


13 Responses to “‘MELO OUT”

  1. Ransom
    29. September 2010 at 13:44

    While i understand the statistical analysis here, i have to disagree and call this whole thing out as shallow and myopic in scope. To merely say that different positions call for players to do different things is a gross understatement. It neglects the scoring burden that melo is called to handle, and also neglects how spectacularly iggy failed to carry the “star-player” burden since Iverson left. Also it neglect to address team needs into what a player does on the court. What does carmelo anthony do? he scores. What do the sixers not have? a scorer. In terms of analogy, is shaq a good pick-up, maybe maybe not…but if your tallest player is 6’4″ he is an awesome pick up because you desperately need someone tall. For the past couple of years, we the sixers have pegged Iggy as our go to, we have been mediocre at best, he has stagnated in skill level (possibly even taken steps backwards) and meanwhile has “carried our scoring burden” by shooting 34% on shots outside the “chare” half-circle. Yea…34%! On the other hand, regardless of advanced statistics (which in some cases make no sense and have led top team analysts to insist that Kevin Durant is borderline useless) what has melo done? well he’s won a lot of games thats for sure. Considering that denver, other than Iverson sort-of, kinda, maybe…hasnt brought in another legitimate super-star since melo go there, consider their win totals before and after him. Before him, perenial basement dwellers, after him, havent missed the playoffs a single year. And this is in an impossibly tough division mind you. To say that he is bad because he takes and misses long jumpers is downright idiotic. It utterly fails to address the fact that denver’s system (or lack of system rather) demands, or at least strongly suggests, that he takes such shots. Not to mention hanging your argument on his relative inefficiency is weak anyway. We can vilify Melo for shooting 46% for his career, but the fact that Kobe Bryant shoots worse than that for his career is irrelevant to his alleged status as best player in the game? Would we not want Kobe because he was shooting 45%? Besides the fact all this is to ignore what Carmelo does do well. Dude wins games, and i dont care if there isnt yet an advanced statistic that can properly capture this fact. Since he got there, regardless of injuries, other players, whatever, Melo’s team has been above average in an above average difficulty conference and division. Carmelo can lead a team. There is no question he is the leader of a successful team, iguodala…is not, not even close to being close. And lastly, what we all forget about, Carmelo is clutch. Far more so than you may think…since entering the league carmelo anthony has made 48% of his game winning or game tying shots at the end of games. He has taken roughly 30 such shots so its not like he made a couple. His 48% is significantly higher than the numbers for Lebron, Kobe,Ray Allen, paul pierce…really anyone who is commonly refered to as clutch….he is better. Now, with all that said, is Philly the place for Melo? no, of course not. We have a platoon of young, developing players and a lot of wholes in our game to cover. Carmelo has made it clear he wants to be competitive fairly soon. But, would Melo be good for Philly? well lets see, could a team with no: true leader, no go to scorer, no game changer on the offensive end, to crunch time shooter…use someone who does all of those things? let me think about that for a second…

  2. Bru
    29. September 2010 at 16:14

    Totally agree with everything that you just responded with, Ransom. In baseball, you can break down every stat possible and mold together a good team based on those stats, and stats alone. You cannot do that with basketball. Stats can only take you so far. We have watched Iguodala play for the past however many years, and (most of us) have determined he’s a good player who he’s being paid like star. He has PROVED to us he can not lead a team, nor be the best player. To say he’s a star and is underpaid is almost insulting with what I’ve been watching the past few years. This is a league where you need a SUPERSTAR to get far. Sixers will go nowhere as long as Iguodala continues to be our best player and go to scorer. I don’t mind the team now with (hopefully) Turner emerging as the go to scorer and leader of the team, while Iguodala can slide into the defensive stopper sidekick role. That actually makes me excited, and I don’t mind if we dont get Melo. Melo is a superstar though. He took his (average to above average team around him) to a 6 game semifinal series in the 2009 playoffs against the stacked Lakers. Ransom is right, look at what the Nuggets were before they got Melo, and after. Look at how far the Sixers have emerged with Iguodala in the prime of his career as their star player. 27 wins. Granted, some of that has to do with coaching and supporting players. They’re bad, but not that bad. Especially with Andre Miller in 2009 in the depleted East they could barely muster a .500 record. Star players take average teams and make them at least competitive. I love this site and agree with 90% of what you guys say, but to say Carmelo Anthony is average and Iguodala is a star is absolutely absurd.

  3. Frank
    29. September 2010 at 16:40

    Great article. I just simply want to say this, iguodala inherited the “Face of the Team” moniker and all the burdens that come with it the moment that AI-1.0 left for Denver. the problem with that is, we have to take iguodala for what he is, 20 7rbds 5ast 4stls the difference this year is we now have a coach who can find a way to maximize his potential as a 2nd option, with the (hopeful) development and the blossoming of ET. Keep Andre in Philadelphia. Carmelo would end up hurting this team in the long run, just because he would eventually start crying that the media and the fans are too tough on him, and in all honesty, i would only want him here for his hot wife, LaLa

  4. Aaron
    29. September 2010 at 16:47

    get ya facts straight…even tho iggy has produced more wins than melo-who has brought a lottery team to an elite nba team..melo. who is a good player but still hasnt reached expectations, sometimes seems confused with his role, and is still playing for a lottery team..iggy. Thanks

    29. September 2010 at 17:01

    Not only am I disgusted at YOU but I am disgusted at your knowledge of the game of basketball. “We have a very good player who’s underpaid, and in the other we have a mediocre player.” It makes me feel like I am going to throw up all over the lap top I am typing on to even think that you described Carmelo Anthony as “Mediocre.” First off, how can someone who scored 33 points IN ONE QUARTER even be thought of as mediocre. Carmelo is a top 10 talent and arguable a top 5 player in this league and you choose to label him as “Mediocre.” Well quite frankly, I think to call this piece that you call “writing” mediocre–actually that would be an overstatement. I never have once responded to any blog or anything like that but after reading what you just posted, I felt the need to immediately to adress this non sense at once. Have a great life Tom Sunnergren, writing false information to those who buy into your fictional blog postings. I will never read or even THINK about this site again, from now until I am a corpse 6 feet under this Earth.

    In the good words of Aaron Snyder:
    -Bye Bye Now

  6. Philadunkia
    29. September 2010 at 20:08

    Ransom, I’m going to respond to a few of your arguments.
    On my analysis neglecting the scoring burden Melo is called on to handle: Fine. Carmelo has a scoring burden to carry. That’s his role on the Nuggets. He’s a scorer. I’m not arguing that this “scoring burden” doesn’t exist, I’m arguing that he doesn’t carry it very well. If most guys get .97 points a shot, and the guy who shoots the ball for you all the time gets .96 points a shot, you should get another guy to shoot the ball for you, especially if the guy in question doesn’t really contribute much in any other area. By the way, I’m reading between the lines here and assuming that by scoring “burden” you mean that guys who shoot all the time have it harder than guys who shoot only once in a while. This is not true. You don’t shoot worse as you shoot more. You only shoot worse if you take shots that you should not take. If you’re not open, or you don’t like your look, pass the ball. On Iggy failing “spectacularly” to carry the “star player” burden: I think what you mean here is “fail spectacularly to score a lot of points.” This is true, Iggy is not a scorer. But he is a star player (he’s ranked 21st, 24th, 26th, 19th and 14th in the league in win production the last five years). And this production has helped the Sixers. They were 43-59 the season and a third before the Iverson trade, and 70-70 the season and two-thirds after the Iverson trade. They played better with Iggy as their “star” than they did with Iverson –a guy you identified as a sort of legit front man– as their “star.” And the reason they tumbled this past season is Thaddeus Young, Mo Speights, and Elton Brand have not played basketball as well as they’re paid or expected to. On my analysis neglecting the Sixers need for a scorer: I will grant you that we need a scorer, but a scorer who scores inefficiently does not help you win. I would do summersaults if we somehow landed Durant, or someone of his ilk who could score, and score efficiently from all over the court. Carmelo is not that guy though. Furthermore, what the Sixers need much, much more than a scorer is a guy who can rebound the ball. Carmelo is an average/sub-average rebounder (if he played solely at the 3 his rebounding would be a little above average, but considering that he logs minutes at 4 as well he’s a little short in that area). On Carmelo not having good teammates: When his Denver teams have succeeded, it’s been Marcus Camby or Chauncy Billups who have been the chief drivers of wins. So he’s had teammates. General thoughts: Basketball is a pretty simple sport. To win games, you have to make better use of your possessions than your opponent does. Doing things that waste your opponents possessions –rebounds, steals, blocks– is good. Doing things that enhance your opponents possessions –commit fouls, not rebound– is bad. Doing things that waste your own possessions –miss shots, turn the ball over– is bad. Doing things that enhance your possessions –rebound, make shots, get to the line, get assists– is good. As long as your analysis of a player is driven solely, or even primarily by scoring (which even when it is considered in the context of efficiency is just one of the ways a player can help his team), guys like Melo and AI will be overrated, and teams that pay market value for them will get well-less than their money’s worth. And also, as an aside, I like watching good basketball. I like it when guys play the “right way.” I like good defense, and ball movement, and don’t like watching morons heave up forced shots, and as long as we value scoring over all else (and don’t even consider the efficiency with which this scoring is done) we reward people who play basketball this way and create an incentive for others to do it. We cheapen the game. Thanks again though for the close read and the comment.


  7. Labradford Smtih
    29. September 2010 at 21:16

    Listen people, Melo only score so many points because he takes tons of shots (and he misses most of them). If Melo doesn’t take all those shots, someone more efficient would take them. Igy never had roster in the top 3 in league salaries. So you shouldn’t expect his teams to be up there in the conference finals. Melo was given a lot more tallent to work with than Igy ever had. The problem with people who refuse to accept what advanced stats like Wins Produced is telling them are people who only look at the most overused and least valuable stat, individual scoring totals.

  8. Ransom
    29. September 2010 at 23:01

    Tom, I understand some of the points you are driving at in response, however i feel that you are either oversimplifying or overlooking certain things. First of all, to assert that “you dont shoot worse as you shoot more” is just plain wrong. Lets take out the obvious matter of fatigue, which is bound to set in in some capacity on even very fit players if they shoot, and have to get open (to some degree) a lot. Even without that, so you are saying that a player that is known to shoot and score a lot will get no increased defensive attention? or that said extra attention will not contribute to the shots being any harder? You might want to tell coaches about this, it would revolutionize defense if true that double teaming and game planning for a specific player actually make it no harder for them to make shots… That said, it also plays into your PPS analysis. PPS is a handy statistic, but also ignore many factors. For example, the style of play a team employs greatly effects pps, and especially so for the players that shoot the most in said system (tail end of the distribution curve varies wildly with small variances in the mean…). Take Denver’s system, it involves a lot of free wheeling play, it is described by pride by those involved as the “anti-system”…it runs very few legitimate plays and center around the one on one ability of its players more often than not. In such a system, players are going to get, and be advised by the coach to take a lot of longer distance shots (seeing as they dont have a vicious pick and roll game to go to or whatever.) Being the star, melo will be coaxed, by this system into taking more long distance shots…which do come with a lower pps rating obviously. We can work through this with a little common sense as well…if you put Melo in, say, Utah’s system, dont you think his pps would go through the roof? i sure do and im sure many basketball analysts would agree. Also on this pps/scoring inefficiency thing…so kobe bryant is a shitty player cause he doesnt score efficiently? his gf% is lower than melos, and he gets to the line less frequently too…
    To your point about carmelo only contributing in one area (scoring), you have a point…but not completely. He is predominantly a 3, and so his rebounding numbers, while i wish they were better, are certainly adequate, when he rarely plays as a 4 it is usually due to injury to teammate or playing a team like the warriors that mess with small lineups. He is also, for his position a very good offensive rebounder, and especially so in critical games when he puts his mind to it (see this past years postseason, dude manhandled other teams SF’s inside on the glass). I will concede he doesnt assist enough and turns it over too much…he isnt a perfect player no one is saying he is. What he does do that you critically underrate and altogether fail to address is that he puts other teams in foul trouble, he gets to the line nearly as often as anyone in the nba, not to mention the non-shooting fouls he draws. This is a very underrated skill and definitely hurts the other team as the game goes on.
    In terms of teamates, yea, melo has had some good teamates, rarely much depth on teams and a revolving door at the “2nd banana” position. Was his supporting cast better than the sixers last year? ehhh…maybe…its close (especially if you think of the talent the sixers have if not constrained by an idiot like Eddie Jordan). But lets do the common sense test on this one. Take lasts year’s sixers and nuggets teams, respectively, not take iggy and melo off of them. who see the greatest drop off in wins? im going with the nuggets (keep in mind their injury problems all season). Also, i want to clarify that i dont think, in his later years in philly, iverson was a legit star necessarily…just saying.
    As for fitting on a team, like the sixers, sure, i agree the sixers need rebounding and an interior presence as you have said. But i think a go to scorer would help immensely too. Think of the recent dominant teams, they all (with the possible exception of the 04 pistons) has a clear cut alpha dog. The sixers dont have one of them, and i honestly dont see even turner as one…at least not anytime soon. So if we can agree that the sixers probably need an alpha dog to be truely competitive, and i feel like most would agree Melo plays that roll on a perennial 50-60 win team… taaadaaa. Also, melo would help with the interior presence thing cause he can post up as well as any SF in the nba…just saying.

  9. Frankie Buckets
    30. September 2010 at 10:03

    Caemelo Anthony-rebs=Glenn Robinson

  10. Owen
    30. September 2010 at 11:10

    I love Wins Produced but setting it aside, a few other points. Iggy is one of the most durable players in the game. He has played more minutes in the last five years than any player in the league. And he is generally judged by defensive +/- to be one of the very best defensive players in the league. In fact, his overall APM generally is near the top of the league.

    Personally, I would love it if Carmelo gets traded for Iggy. Another great experiment in Wins Produced. But it wouldn’t help the Sixers much. That’s very clear.

  11. Philadunkia
    30. September 2010 at 14:40

    Ransom, thanks for the response. Regarding fatigue, everybody who spends a lot of time on the court has to grapple with it, and I’m not sure I buy that shooters are more affected by it than anybody else.

    And when a good shooter gets hot, yes of course he will get more attention, but that attention means there is a greater opportunity for one of his teammates. As soon as Melo is doubled, that means Linas Kleiza has a wide open look. Find Kleiza (an aside here. It drives me absolutely nuts when Lebron gets hammered by the media for doing exactly this. If somebody has a better chance of making the shot than you do, you pass it to them. You don’t shoot it to just to show how big a man you are, or get in some sort of cross-generational dick-measuring contest with Michael Jordan. Make the right play).

    Regarding systems affecting stats, NBA players’ performances are remarkably static. New systems, teammates, coaches, cities: these things have been shown to have, in most cases, a negligible impact on how productive players are. These guys, to a large extent, are what they are. Denvers system is no exception to this, in fact it’s a perfect example of the rule itself. To paraphrase you, it’s a system-less system that lets guys make their own decisions in the flow of the game. It lets Melo be Melo. This shows us pretty clearly that Melo is a guy who too often chooses to take deep, inefficient shots rather than drive to the hoop or find an open teammate.

    You are right that melo helps his team a great deal by drawing fouls (and hitting the subsequent free-throws), but that’s not enough to warrant a max-deal. I’d also like to emphasize that I’m not arguing that Melo isn’t an incredibly skilled player (I’d actually argue that he’s one of the 5-10 most skilled players in the league). What I am arguing is that he hasn’t demonstrated that he knows how to use these skills in a way that helps his team win. And given the praise, and cash, he gets for his present skill use, I doubt that will ever change.

  12. Ransom
    30. September 2010 at 17:07

    I feel like there are several points upon which we are not going to see eye to eye. I would argue that its not just when Melo gets hot that he receives extra attention, its always. Teams know going in that he is the best player on his team and the best offensive player on his team. With that in mind they structure their defense geared most prominently to stop him. If this doesnt lead to increased fatigue or shooting difficulty, as oppose to that levied upon the non-focal points of the defense, then im sure coaches would stop wasting defensive game plans.
    I could not agree more about lebron james, i have been making that argument in his favor forever it seems. Carmelo, for all his skills, is not a good passer, there are plenty of elite players (all time greats etc. that werent/arent) Is this way he is a little bit (ive made this admittedly very loose comparison before) a younger Kobe Bryant. Now kobe has and has always had better teamates than melo and he handles the ball more so his assist numbers are higher. But anyone watching kobe objectively knows how often he ignore open teamates to shoot over a double team or whatever. Melo is never gonna be an elite passer and will always be a better scorer than passer. That in mind, there will always be plays where he doesnt see the open man his abilities create. That does not, i dont think, eliminate him from elite, top level player contention. He is not a point guard, not is he Lebron james…not being an amazing passer isnt mandatory for excellence.
    I honestly dont know the exact numbers on how star players change, or not, in different systems. I would however say that, a system like Utah’s that involves a lot of cuts, clear outs and shooting big mean would let melo be melo….better. Denvers system involves a lot of one on one and freelancing..idea for melo, except if the defense can key in on him more because he teamates are, for lack of a better description, standing around waiting to play one on one. A system with cuts and shooting big mean, etc, may just lead to melo still iso-ing…but he would have more places to go and more room to operate in.
    I agree with you that Carmelo isnt necessarily using his prodigious skills at 100% efficiency (id like to see him post up even more, rebound better, etc) however to say that he isnt a winner, in light of his effect on a previously god-awful denver team, and his well documented proficiency in late game situations.
    Maybe, according to some metric, somewhere, Melo is worth less money than iguodala, i just find it hard to justify given that the NBA is a lead-star centric system. You now need roughly too alpha-dog-ish stars to win a championship (in addition to top flight role players). Iguodala is not such a player, most would agree that, for all his shortcoming, melo is. Additionally, contract worth is not merely about efficiency of play, its about revenue as well…melo puts more butts in the seats than iguodala and his brick-o-matic jumper can (dunks and all). There is also a clear limit on what advanced stats can really tell us currently in basketball. if its all about efficiency, a rookie Mo Speights would have been the highest payed player on the team. In basketball the eye-test still applies, most of the time if you watch enough basketball, you can tell which players are good and which arent. Iguodala cant shoot, shoots anyway, cant (or doesnt iso), has seen his man on defense wane last season, has no concept of managing a game, and has shown little improvement since iverson left..does not pass the eye test as a “star” (side note: i like iggy, as a 3rd banana, dude would be great.) Carmelo passes the eye test…right or wrong…as a side benefit, he wins games, he isnt heinously inefficient (a la monta ellis) and at the end of the day I personally would take melo over iggy anyday at anytime.

  13. Greyberger
    30. September 2010 at 17:10

    Great article. Few things:

    Anyone who’s interested in judging these players with statistics they understand should read Basketball on Paper already. Dean Oliver looks at the puzzle of inefficient ‘stars’ and whether they really help their team with the example of Allen Iverson.

    He says it’s not that easy to say, ‘Melo is the 7th most efficient player on his team but #1 in using shots, he should pass more/be better’. It is almost _certainly_ the case, contrary to comments above, that taking more shots than usual usually comes with a drop in efficiency. Some players drop faster the more workload they’re given: Chris Andersen is very efficient at 11% usage or whatever but would struggle to add offense on his own.

    There’s a value to taking a lot of the offense because it allows low usage guys to thrive in limited roles. Obviously you want your highest volume player to be efficient as well. But it’s not like Allen Iverson or Carmelo Anthony are killing their teams – Philly and Denver would probably be even more dysfunctional without their sorta-stars. This is one factor to consider along with the non-scoring factors, where Anthony is often said to be weak.

    Regarding WP and WP48, would you ‘love’ it and cite it if you knew that it was the formuala is basically points+boards+steals-shots+turnovers? Or that the results skew so heavily towards frontcourt players, rebounders, and players with low usage that the ratings have to be position adjusted massively?

    Player evaluation with stats is hard. Just because we’ve learned one lesson about value doesn’t mean it’s all been figured out for us. I have no idea how Melo on the Sixers would work, and even though I suspect whichever team signs him will end up with buyer’s remorse I don’t think it’s as clear cut as you make it out to be.

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