While the rest of the basketball blogosphere was railbirding the discussion between Mark Cuban and the stats community on the usefulness of the individual Wins Produced stat (an interesting/surreal conversation for LAC fans as it materialized from the disdain advanced stats has for former Clipper Chris Kaman), I noticed an interesting point on the Wins Produced per 48 minutes (WP48) chart (via Ari Caroline & Wages of Win):
I’m no statistician, but the centers falling in the upper right side of the chart could be considered the “better” centers in the league, as they receive more minutes and generate more WP48. Conversely, centers in the upper left part of the chart would be the worst centers since they generate very few WP48 while still receiving significant playing time. (And Kaman’s poor WP48 score is what sets off the Cuban/community debate)
But here’s the area of interest for Clippers fans:
Looking at a revised chart that removes the outliers, DeAndre Jordan’s WP48 rate falls quite nicely in line with two other well-regarded defensive centers: Joakim Noah and Tyson Chandler.
Clippers fans have long been ambivalent about DeAndre Jordan, especially after receiving his sizeable contract last offseason. But the WP48 metric seems to have no reservations about placing DeAndre as one of the better centers in the league. Only 3 centers of those qualified posted better WP48 while playing at least as many minutes last season: Dwight Howard and the previously mentioned Chandler and Noah. That’s pretty good company.
And while WP48 has its shortcomings (as all metrics do), I did a little comparison to other notable advanced stats. Jordan was 22nd in PER of all qualified centers (14th when limiting to centers playing at least 26 minutes) and 14th in EWA (12th amongst centers playing 26+ minutes).
There’s no denying it: advanced stats like DeAndre Jordan. And what’s not to like? Last season, DeAndre boasted a gaudy 62.6 True Shooting Percentage (3rd amongst centers) and 18.1 Rebound Rate (11th). All of this while being tied for 47th in Usage Rate (out of a total 55 eligible). This type of efficiency is exactly the kind of thing advanced stats likes to reward.
Maybe we should stop worrying about whether DJ can live up to his contract and start thinking about whether he can elevate his game from one of the better centers in the league into one of the best defensive centers in the NBA.