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Most Surprising Players in the East (For Good or Ill)

US Presswire

US Presswire

One month into the NBA season Michael Beasley is the most surprisingly good player in the Eastern conference, according to my analysis. Meanwhile, Luke Ridnour breaks through the phalanx of outer-borough underachievers to take the bottom spot as the most disappointing player in the East.

I used Daniel Myers current Advanced Statistical Plus Minus (ASPM), a box score based player metric, and compared it to my preseason projection of each player’s ASPM based on the last two years of data with an age adjustment (up for younger players and down for older players). The cut off for minutes played to date was 160 minutes, a point that showed players’ numbers begin to stabilize.

Four of the bottom ten surprises are Brooklyn Nets. Not sure if the Knicks should be comforted that they are sporting the Atlantic conference’s worst record and have only one player on the most disappointing list. I am going to vote no.

Here’s the Least Pleasant Surprise list (ASPM is scaled like a Plus/Minus score with average production at 0.00):

Player Projected ASPM 2013-2014
Tm ASPM Diff (Std Dev) Projected/Actual Key Change
Luke Ridnour -0.26 -5.91 MIL -2.59 Mediocre/Atrocious TS%
Garrett Temple -1.29 -6.76 WAS -2.51 Bad/Criminally Atrocious TOV%
Reggie Evans 0.96 -4.29 BRK -2.41 Good/Terrible TOV% and Rebounds
Deron Williams 2.96 -2.25 BRK -2.39 Very Good/Very Bad Across the board
Paul Pierce 2.41 -2.45 BRK -2.23 Very Good/Very Bad Assist% and TS%
J.R. Smith 1.19 -3.27 NYK -2.04 Good/Terrible TS%
Kevin Garnett 2.34 -2.07 BRK -2.02 Very Good/Very Bad TS%
Daniel Orton 0.1 -4.25 PHI -1.99 Average/Terrible TOV%
Jarrett Jack 0.53 -2.93 CLE -1.59 Good/Terrible Across the board
Kyrie Irving 3.29 -0.17 CLE -1.59 Very Good/Mediocre TS%

Note, there are allot of different ways to unpleasantly surprise, but the most common seems to be inefficient chucking. The good news is that shooting may turn around, in the mean time these guys are shortening their GMs’ investment horizons.

Meanwhile Jarrett Jack has been somewhat worse at everything in Cleveland.

One the other end of the spectrum, Michael Beasley has become a productive NBA basketball player. So far, he is doing everything better than last year in Phoenix. Lower turnover percentage, higher rebounding and block percentages and a much higher TS% percentage (3.3 standard deviations, if you want to get nerdy about it).

Jeff Adrien for Charlotte comes in second by improving in rebounds, turnovers and TS%. Rebounds have improved from a 15.4% total rebound percentage to 19.8%.

Then the M-Steez-P, Jordan Crawford hits the list primarily because he has increased his assist percentage from 19.4% to 30.8% without increasing his turnover percentage and increasing his TS%.

Here’s the top ten on the Pleasant Surprise List:

Player Projected ASPM 2013-2014
Tm ASPM Diff (Std Dev) Projected/Actual Key Change
Michael Beasley -3.95 0.71 MIA 2.14 Terrible/Good Across the board
Jeff Adrien -2.94 1.68 CHA 2.12 Terrible/Good Rebounds and Blocks
Jordan Crawford -2.39 1.47 BOS 1.77 Very Bad/Good Assist%, TOV% and TS%
Arron Afflalo -1.18 2.57 ORL 1.72 Bad/Very Good Assist%, TOV% and TS%
Paul George 3.12 6.74 IND 1.66 Very Good/ Super Star TOV% and TS%
Jimmy Butler 1.06 4.22 CHI 1.45 Good/Very Good Blocks and TS%
Rashard Lewis -2.96 -0.24 MIA 1.25 Very Bad/ Mediocre Across the board
E’Twaun Moore -3.43 -0.73 ORL 1.24 Terrible/Mediocre TS%
Josh McRoberts -2.07 0.49 CHA 1.17 Very Bad/Average Assist%
John Henson -1.57 0.98 MIL 1.17 Bad/Good TOV% and Blocks
Nikola Vucevic 0.19 2.62 ORL 1.11 Average/Very Good TS%

A couple of other quick special mentions:

Lastly, a special note for Jeff Green, the player the most like the player we thought you were going to be, riding up and down scoring nights and too little rebounding to a mediocre rating just .006 points higher than expected
  • MDMH1787

    I did not know, but I do find it delightful, that in the NBA the opposite of a “super star” is someone who is “criminally atrocious.” (See Garrett Temple, above).

    • Andrew Johnson

      Ha, maybe a bit of ‘poetic license’ on my part.

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