Jeremy Britton's WoW article that predicted 50+ wins for the Warriors via WP48 (actually 57.6 wins, to be exact) got a lot of play around here. I think those numbers are inflated, because WP48 fails to account for a player's influence on his team's defense. If a team gives up 110 points per 48 minutes with a certain guy on the floor, and 100 points per 48 minutes when he sits, I think it's fair to ding his defensive numbers. You can't do so perfectly, of course -- there's a lot of noise in these numbers -- but an imperfect adjustment strikes me as a better solution than no adjustment at all. So for funsies, I figured I'd do some rough estimates of the Warriors' '10-'11 win total using a couple other metrics that make those defensive adjustments.
I estimated the minutes allocation thusly...
SF: Dorell Wright (30), Reggie Williams (18)
...and then factored in each guy's '09-'10 results via Basketball Prospectus's Win Percentage, Basketball Reference's Win Shares, and Basketball Value's Adjusted Plus-Minus. (In the case of Brandan Wright, I used his '08-'09 numbers.) I go into the gory details here, for those (few to zero) who are curious.
By Win Percentage, the above lineup would total 42.5 wins.
By Win Shares, the above lineup would total 40.5 wins.
By Adjusted Plus-Minus, the above lineup would total 38.6 wins.
All three metrics peg a healthy Warriors team right around .500.
In What Ways Might These Estimates Be Pessimistic?
Lee might be a more effective player alongside a center. Several players -- Curry, Biedrins, maybe Monta -- seem like good bets to play better. Other players -- Lin, Udoh, Amundson, someone else -- could factor into the rotation and remove weak links Bell and Gadzuric. With good coaching, the defensive weaknesses of guys like Curry and Monta might be reduced.
In What Ways Might These Estimates Be Optimistic?
A couple guys -- Reggie and Brandan Wright spring to mind -- might not perform as well as their early career numbers suggested they would. Nellie (or whoever) might resort to more smallball than the above lineup accounts for. Other players -- Lin, Udoh, someone else -- could factor into the rotation and stink. Most importantly, the Warriors' top seven will not play nearly as many total minutes as these estimates suggest... we are not likely to get 82 games of work from Curry and Monta and Lee and Biedrins and Reggie and both Wrights. And as things stand, any missed time by a top-seven guy will result in increased minutes for a pretty bad player.
Well, "conclusion" is a strong word... this is just a fun silly exercise. But to me, 40 wins sounds like a more reasonable estimate of the Warriors' potential than 50+, and injury issues would make even 40 wins a tall order. This is a bad defensive roster, a far worse one than WP48 can account for, as most of the guys who had a positive impact on team defensive performance last year -- Turiaf, CJ, Morrow, Tolliver -- are now gone. The offense will be good, but terrible defense and a terrible bench is a tough combo to overcome. I think the Warriors will be a good bit better. I still don't think they'll reach .500 this season.