stat sprocket: How Many Minutes? How Many Wins?

Discussion in 'Pistons and Basketball Articles' started by dba, Jul 29, 2006.

  1. dba

    dba All-Star Moderator 1x Fantasy Champion Forum Donor

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    How Many Minutes? How Many Wins?
    by the stat sprocket

    There has been a lot of banter about whether the Detroit Pistons should have been tired going into the playoffs. There can be no doubt that they played like a tired team through much of the Cleveland and Miami series. And of course being tired has multiple causes, probably as many mental ones as physical ones. It’s tough to feel good and have energy regardless of some objective physical standard that says you’ve had enough rest if your last six shots have clanged off the front of the rim, or your last three have been shoved back into your face by Shaq. The mental causes are tough to measure, but we can get some handle on the physical ones by taking a look at how many minutes the team played during the regular season and how that compares to other teams.

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    All of the starting five are in the top 50 in terms of total minutes played during the course of the season. They range from 44th to 61st in minutes per game. The average starter played 35.3 minutes per game which ranks 57th across all players. Including McDyess to produce a top six, only 80 NBA players average more minutes per game. So, yes, the starters are near the top of the ranking, but how does this compare to other teams and how productive were those minutes in terms of producing wins?

    Keep in mind here that we’re only looking at teams and players at the end of the regular season. This analysis tells us how things were going into the playoffs and does not account for the impact of an every other day schedule of intense games for several weeks in a row. That’s tiring even to watch.

    Comparing the Top Six Team by Team

    The table below compares minutes played by the top six players across all NBA teams. Detroit’s top six played in 487 player games for 16,045 minutes, averaging 32.9 minutes per game. No other team’s top six played as many. The last three columns of the table tell the tale.

    Diff vs Detroit – The number of minutes less played by the top six players by team
    Diff in 48m Games – How many fewer full 48 minute games the minutes difference equates to
    Diff in Avg Games – How many fewer average games (average for top six players across the league) the difference in minutes equates to

    In Portland, the top six played 5,064 fewer minutes than Detroit’s top six. This equates to an average of more than seventeen extra full 48 minute games per player over the course of the season. It equates to over 27 average games based on the top six player average minutes per game of 31.1. By Portland’s standard, the Pistons’ top six played 109 regular season games.

    Between injuries and expanded bench roles, the Miami top six effectively played nearly thirteen fewer games than did the Detroit top six. The Detroit top six played effectively more than fifteen additional games than the top six for nine NBA teams (Utah through Portland).

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    Click below to read the stat sprocket's analysis!
    [break=Minutes Analysis]

    Concentration of Minutes and Winning

    When we compare winning to number of minutes played by the top six, we do not see much of a relationship. Some teams can win in the regular season by concentrating minutes among a small group of players – Detroit, Phoenix, New Jersey, and the Clippers being the chief examples. Others win with far fewer minutes from the top six – Dallas, San Antonio, and Miami. Coincidence or not, the two NBA finalists’ top six players played a lot fewer minutes than did Detroit’s or Phoenix’s.

    The highest winning percentages seem to be from teams whose top six played between 13,500 and 14,300 minutes during the regular season. The Pistons’ top six played over 2,100 more minutes – seven more 48 minutes games, nearly twelve more average games.

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    Finally, let’s see if there might be a way to get at some measure of efficiency – how teams produce wins from minutes played by the top six. In the following table I divide minutes by six to get the average for the top six players from each team. Each of the top six from San Antonio played on average 2,293 minutes during the season. Then I divide that by the number of wins to see how productive those minutes were in producing wins. San Antonio and Dallas were the most efficient teams in the league at producing wins using the top six.

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    So, a lot more minutes got played in Detroit than anywhere else. In many cases we’re talking differences that equate to playing a 90 or 100 game regular season. Add that on top of the two prior years, which were if anything worse (the starters played more minutes per game during Brown’s last year than Flip’s first), and you get a team on its last bit of strength going into the 2006 playoffs.

    All statistics from www.dougstats.com.
     
  2. max

    max All-Star

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    Another top notch article.

    Also have to factor in getting harrassed every summer to play on the International team. Billups was almost drafted.


    I would love to see something similiar breaking it down over the past 5 years or so. I know you can't get into that much detail. Or maybe even comparing how historically short bench teams like the 80's Celtics compared to ours. I don't know where one could find things like this.
     
  3. TheeTFD

    TheeTFD All-Star

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    I don't think it answers to why our shots stopped falling against Miami or even Cleve. It just proves we are the hardest working and almost the most efficient at winning.
    Nice try DBA.
     
  4. dba

    dba All-Star Moderator 1x Fantasy Champion Forum Donor

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    I'm curious about that too. I was thinking it would be good to do the last three seasons for the Pistons compared to the bad boys three season run, either of the three Bulls' championship runs, the Shaq/Lakers run, or three years from the Celtics/Lakers runs during the 80s. All I can show here is that the Pistons played a lot more basketball last season than any other team. The equivalent games calc is pretty amazing.

    @ TheeTFD - No doesn't explain why the shots so suddenly stopped falling. If there had been a gradual drop off, then there might be an argument. But, I think this does go a long way towards understanding why it was so hard for the team to break out of the slump once Cleveland stepped up the D.
     
  5. max

    max All-Star

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    I will dig around as well. One thing that really sticks out for me is how the 80's Celts match up since they have that rep of an extremely short bench.
     

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