Please, ignore some weak writing and the mistakes.
Many NBA fans who’s really care about it’s game and the history are using Offensive and Defensive Win Shares to measured a specific player’s impact on his team.Via this method, they can see at how, for example, LeBron carries the Heat team in his shoulder in his last championship runs, or how great Bill Russell’s defense impact in Boston Celtics’s Dynasty as well.
Unfortunately, Defensive Win Shares, while showing several players in the place that they deserves, it is probably a system that’s not the best in term of showing on how great defensively a player, or how big his impact on the team as well.It placed players that was considered to be average defender, or even the poor one, on a very high place (and vice versa).Bob Cousy, for example, currently placed in the 39 position of the DWS, despite being considered by his contemporaries and himself to be a player that was not even cared for defense.People also wondering whether Dirk Nowitzky has larger impact than, let’s say, more ferocious defenders like Alonzo Mourning and Mark Eaton whose got placed below him.Meanwhile, some great defender like Bill Sharman didn’t even make to the top 250 players...
Did the system’s really flawed?This article’s dedicated to showing at how defensive win shares counting players on eras with counted defensive stats (post 1972-1973 season) or without them.
First, let’s see how this system counting defensive win shares prior to 1973-1974 season (where blocks, Defensive Rebounds and steals still not counted).Based on the process to counted defensive share provided by basketball-reference.com, here’s the All-Defensive teams in the 1955-1960 based on defensive shares.
1955-1960 (1st Team / 2nd Team)
C - Bill Russell (29.4) / Maurice Stokes (17.7)
F - Bob Pettit (18.0) / Red Kerr (15.6)
F - Dolph Schayes (19.5) / Tom Heinsohn (17.0)
G - Tom Gola (14.7) / Frank Ramsey (11.8)
G - Bob Cousy (23.3) / Bill Sharman (13.6)
Based on this alone, we can already see something wrong’s going on here.Bob Cousy, like i said before, was a poor defender by his own account (especially in 50’s).Yet he’s ended as the first defensive team G!Meanwhile, Bill Sharman got far behind Bob Cousy in the defensive shares, despite had reputation as an excellent defender in contrast to Cousy.Tom Heinshon being in the second team also disputable, as he considered himself to be a not so elite defender (although he also said that he and Russell were the one that provided defense for Celtics).
How about the next five years?Here’s the first/second defensive teams.
1960-1965 (1st Team / 2nd Team)
C - Bill Russell (65.9) / Wilt Chamberlain (33.5)
F - Tom Heinsohn (24.7) / Bob Pettit (21.6)
F - Tom Sanders (23.7) / Red Kerr (16.3)
G - Sam Jones (24.2) / Guy Rodgers (19.6)
G - K.C. Jones (25.4) / Bob Cousy (17.0)
While Bob Cousy’s not the best defensive guard in the league anymore, and began to cared for defense more, he’s still not by any mean the best in the league, yet he’s still included in the defensive team in his twilight years.What’s making it sounds even more ridiculous is that he’s already retired in the 1963, yet he’s still made more Defensive Win Shares than anyone not named K.C. Jones!Sam Jones and Guy Rodgers position are also disputed, as there are clear cut superior defenders like Jerry West, Hal Greer and Al Attles.
We can already concluded at how well the defensive win shares work in this era, but i’ll included another next 5 years defensive teams for more prove.
1965-1970 (1st Team / 2nd Team)
C - Bill Russell (38.3) / Wilt Chamberlain (32.5)
F - Dave Debusschere (19.7) / Bailey Howell (17.5)
F - John Havlicek (23.7) / Billy Cunningham (18.6)
G - Jeff Mullins (13.3) / Sam Jones (13.2)
G - Hal Greer (17.3) / Jerry Sloan (12.8)
Still no Jerry West instead of Sam Jones here, and Bailey Howell’s position is completely absurd, as he was considered to be a bad defender in his prime, and he would retired after 1971 season.
Based on these data and facts, we can easily say that DWS is a bad system to calculating at how great player was in defense in the era without counted blocks and steals, as well as not being the best in measured a player’s defensive impact on his team as it giving some bad defenders high win shares.
How about the era with counted block, steals and separated rebounds?Let’s see at how the defensive win share work compared to the stats provided by mysynergysports.com in the present NBA.
First, let’s see a comparison between player in the same team and same position, but with big minutes difference (in this case, LeBron to Battier) by DWS and mysynergysports’s stats.
Note:The Data is accurate as of 1-3-2013
LeBron’s DWS: 1,5
MP PPP FGM FGA PPM
1151 0,86 85 239 0,207
Battier’s DWS: 0,4
MP PPP FGM FGA PPM
692 0,87 82 216 0,312
MP- Minutes Played
PPP – Points Per Defensive Play.
PPM- Defensive Plays per minute
%TO – Percent Turnover of Defensive Plays.
%Score – Percent Score of Defensive Plays.
FGA can also be considered as defensive plays, as it also included defensive plays that made the offensive player committed turnover or got stolen away.
So, while LeBron looks better in both system, mysynergysports’s stats doesn’t make Battier got nearly as humilliated as the DWS showed.However, it should be noted that Battier’s Defensive Plays per minute suggested that he’s alot more focused in his defense than LeBron (although mysynergysports doesn’t give the stats to a helping defender for plays like isolation.But in isolation, both players looks similar, as LeBron’s involved in 39 plays to Battier 36, so it may neutralized the effect.)
Now, let’s use another comparison that has similar minutes on the same team but with different position (in this case, Dwight Howard and Kobe Bryant).
Dwight Howard’s DWS: 1,8
MP PPP FGM FGA PPM
1116 0,63 43 141 0,126
MP PPP FGM FGA PPM
1202 0,75 97 296 0,246
This one made both system contrast each other.Kobe with much lower DWS’s actually much more involved in defensive plays than Dwight Howard!The facts that both players are playing at similar MPG and Howard got critized for being soft this year also made any chances to redeem Howard got nullified.
So, while not as obvious as the pre- counted defensive stats, DWS is still very flawed to the root for current NBA with recorded and refined defensive stats.
For me, these facts already debunked the ultimate fact:Defensive Win Shares is a flawed system for measuring players impact defensively, and even more flawed for measuring players defensive capacity.Personally, I won’t even considered this system seriously anymore, but you?