Monday, October 29, 2012

Golden State Warriors 2012-13 Preview

This will be a short article; I mainly wanted to comment on the huge variability of the outcome of the team due to projected injuries to a couple of players. Obviously, Andrew Bogut and Stephen Curry miss a metric tonne of games due to injuries where last season their combined minutes barely clears the 1000 minute mark. They have, however, collected a large number of 2000+ minute seasons, so it's unclear following this turmoil exactly which direction they'll go. Anyone who purports definitive knowledge while not possessing insider knowledge and a doctorate in medicine should not be trusted.

Well, they have other players on the team who, we're assuming professionals; so how much does this matter? I drafted three scenarios using super secret analytic model of ultimate power. One looked at Bogut and Curry playing the same amount as last season (adjusted from 66 games), and another at 2700 minutes each. Lastly, one with a modest amount of playing time hedging the bet between the two extremes. The results are amazing.

Stephen Curry (mins)
Andrew Bogut (mins)
Offensive efficiency
Defensive efficiency

The efficiency measures are compared to the league average. Both appear to have an amazing effect on one side of the court. They're, strangely enough, the NorCal, bizarro world, poor man's version of Nash and Howard, but as brittle as Mr. Glass. Bogut in a healthy year would single-handedly lift a terrible defense from the doldrums to the league average, which is an Atlas-worthy feat. Curry has a relatively smaller effect on offense, but oddly his defense is more valuable than Bogut's offense. I think that's a bit of a fluke in the numbers I have (is it because for an offensive spark teams play small and put a skilled offensive player at center, while Curry waffles between two positions with decent size?), but it's also because the Warriors' supporting cast is absolutely terrible.

David Lee used to be an exciting player on the Knicks, but now he's exposed as a scoring power forward who gives up his value on the defensive end. Jarrett Jack shouldn't be starting, but if Curry is injured that may happen many times. Richard Jefferson is their offensive spark on the wings, yet he couldn't be trusted with a fourth man role on the Spurs. Harrison Barnes is probably a couple years away from contributing positively. Klay Thompson is promising, but like like the Warriors before him his defense negates his outside shooting. Udoh, traded to the Bucks in a package for Bogut, was a secretly great defensive player. Andris Biedrin's professional game was last seen in 2009. The amnesty was used on Charlie Bell's four-million dollar expiring contract instead of Andris' because they were pursuing free agent center DeAndre Jordan. Wait, that doesn't make any sense....

Barring major developments from their young players, their season completely relies on Bogut and Curry to have any shot at contending for the playoffs in the crowded west. Unfortunately, bad news about Curry's ankles is becoming much too common, and Bogut's reaching an age where injuries will only accelerate in frequency. I have absolutely no way of predicting their season, and as such I'll take something in between the extremes to eliminate the possibility of being jaw-droppingly wrong. With the amazing value of these two when they can play and the depressing supporting cast, every minute helps. It's not quite a way for fans with high blood pressure to follow basketball.

Model (read: rolling some dice) win total prediction:
(rounded up simply because I like round numbers and this feels arbitrary either way)

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