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‘Melo’s MVP Numbers… Or Not

Posted by Neil Paine on November 3, 2009

From the files of, "Gosh, the wacky things you find in the plus/minus data"...

On the surface, it looks like Carmelo Anthony is having a flat-out ridiculous first week of the 2009-10 NBA season. Check out his conventional stats -- a league-leading 37.7 PPG, a league-leading 36.4 PER, a league-leading +13.89 statistical plus/minus, a monstrous 132.3 ORtg while using 34.4% of Denver's possessions when on the court, et cetera, et cetera. Oh, and this outrageous facial on poor Paul Millsap:

In other words, by both the standard and not-so-standard box score metrics, Anthony's first week has been one to remember; he's just going out and lighting guys up on a routine basis, like when he dropped 42 on Memphis Sunday night. But look at his plus/minus numbers:

Category Value
MinOnCourt 116.13
PossForOnCourt 229
PossOppOnCourt 232
PointsForOnCourt 277
PointsOppOnCourt 276
OffRtgOnCourt 120.96
DefRtgOnCourt 118.97
OverallRtgOnCourt 2.00
MinOffCourt 27.87
PossForOffCourt 53
PossOppOffCourt 52
PointsForOffCourt 67
PointsOppOffCourt 46
OffRtgOffCourt 126.42
DefRtgOffCourt 88.46
OverallRtgOffCourt 37.95
OverallRtgOnCourtMinusOffCourt -35.96

That's right, Denver has been significantly worse when Anthony is on the court! Obviously this is a super-small sample, but just take a look at all of Anthony's units if you don't believe me (data courtesy of BasketballValue):

Players Min Poss oPoss Pts oPts ORtg oORtg eDiff
Anthony, Carmelo - Billups, Chauncey - Carter, Anthony - Hilario, Nene - Martin, Kenyon 53.2 102 103 124 122 121.6 118.5 3.1
Afflalo, Arron - Andersen, Chris - Anthony, Carmelo - Lawson, Ty - Martin, Kenyon 9.2 17 19 21 19 123.5 100.0 23.5
Andersen, Chris - Anthony, Carmelo - Billups, Chauncey - Lawson, Ty - Martin, Kenyon 8.8 16 15 17 26 106.3 173.3 -67.1
Afflalo, Arron - Andersen, Chris - Anthony, Carmelo - Billups, Chauncey - Martin, Kenyon 7.5 15 15 20 19 133.3 126.7 6.7
Afflalo, Arron - Andersen, Chris - Anthony, Carmelo - Hilario, Nene - Lawson, Ty 5.8 13 14 17 16 130.8 114.3 16.5
Anthony, Carmelo - Billups, Chauncey - Hilario, Nene - Lawson, Ty - Martin, Kenyon 5.7 12 12 17 15 141.7 125.0 16.7
Anthony, Carmelo - Billups, Chauncey - Graham, Joey - Hilario, Nene - Martin, Kenyon 4.9 11 10 13 9 118.2 90.0 28.2
Afflalo, Arron - Anthony, Carmelo - Billups, Chauncey - Hilario, Nene - Martin, Kenyon 4.0 10 8 15 8 150.0 100.0 50.0
Andersen, Chris - Anthony, Carmelo - Billups, Chauncey - Carter, Anthony - Martin, Kenyon 3.1 8 8 6 8 75.0 100.0 -25.0
Afflalo, Arron - Anthony, Carmelo - Hilario, Nene - Lawson, Ty - Martin, Kenyon 3.0 5 6 9 8 180.0 133.3 46.7
Andersen, Chris - Anthony, Carmelo - Billups, Chauncey - Carter, Anthony - Hilario, Nene 3.0 5 6 4 8 80.0 133.3 -53.3
Afflalo, Arron - Anthony, Carmelo - Billups, Chauncey - Lawson, Ty - Martin, Kenyon 2.5 4 4 4 7 100.0 175.0 -75.0
Andersen, Chris - Anthony, Carmelo - Billups, Chauncey - Hilario, Nene - Lawson, Ty 1.9 3 4 1 6 33.3 150.0 -116.7
Andersen, Chris - Anthony, Carmelo - Graham, Joey - Hilario, Nene - Lawson, Ty 1.4 3 3 2 0 66.7 0.0 66.7
Afflalo, Arron - Andersen, Chris - Anthony, Carmelo - Billups, Chauncey - Hilario, Nene 1.3 3 2 5 0 166.7 0.0 166.7
Andersen, Chris - Anthony, Carmelo - Graham, Joey - Lawson, Ty - Martin, Kenyon 0.7 1 1 0 3 0.0 300.0 -300.0
Allen, Malik - Andersen, Chris - Anthony, Carmelo - Billups, Chauncey - Graham, Joey 0.1 0 1 0 2 200.0
Allen, Malik - Andersen, Chris - Anthony, Carmelo - Billups, Chauncey - Carter, Anthony 0.1 1 1 2 0 200.0 0.0 200.0

In 3 games the Nuggets have outscored Utah, Portland, and Memphis 344-322, with Anthony scoring like a beast and putting up MVP-caliber offensive numbers... And he's been on the floor for exactly +1 of that +22 point differential. Yep.

The moral of the story? Well, this case -- just like the controversy over Kevin Durant's plus/minus a few weeks back -- is yet another example of how gaudy box score numbers don't always translate to great team performances on the scoreboard. Simply put, there's no way to justify someone like Anthony as the most valuable player in the league if his team actually plays better when he's riding pine.

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47 Responses to “‘Melo’s MVP Numbers… Or Not”

  1. Giannicolus Jones Says:

    What about the opponents? Do they other teams send their best defenders to the bench to get rest once Carmelo sits? That could explain part of it, and then you'd have to credit Anthony for tiring out the defense.

  2. Charrua Says:

    Is the point that Anthony is more replaceable in Denver than other top guys or that somehow Fabricio Oberto (+ 35.11) is a better player? I find the first one quite likely, the second, not so much.

  3. DJ Says:

    Hah.. George Karl has put AC (Anthony Carter) in the starting lineup during JR's suspension. Let's just say that two guards have been having a field day at the Nugget's expense. I don't think the Nuggets have been ahead in the first quarter yet. Basically Melo keeps them in the game until Karl decides to take out AC. It will even out.

  4. Brian Says:

    How is Melo's +/- at +13.89, if PointsForOnCourt = 277 and PointsOppOnCourt = 276 ???

    Ummm, that doesn't make sense.

  5. Neil Paine Says:

    +13.89 is his statistical +/-.

  6. Kevin Pelton Says:

    I tend to suspect this is the latest episode of Small Sample Size Theater.

  7. Jason J Says:

    +4 v. Memphis
    +4 v. Portland
    -7 v. Utah

    Lawson, Afflalo, and Birdman all had double digit + against Utah. Looks like a case of the second team getting it done for Denver that game.

  8. joeyjojojuniorshabbadu Says:

    its fine to present this data, but its only a clue, and by itself not a very interesting one. can anyone think of exactly what melo is doing to hurt his team this year? because it seems like scoring 37 pts on 23 shots with a TOV% of 6.4(!), an assist % of 22 is a very great thing. add in his rebounding, which has been strong so far for a SF, and his 3.7 fouls per36, which may indicate he is actually playing some defense, and im just not sure what makes this performance so far fools gold. what is going on here?

  9. Frontrange Says:

    This is stupid . .if you want to defend advanced stats, don't cherry pick poor data that undermines the whole point of your case. Anthony has so clearly been the most important player on the Nuggets during the first week of the season that highlighting this statisical oddity destroys credence for the entire science of advanced stat analysis.

    It is fine (and appropiate) to ask questions as to why this might occur, but to claim that Anthony's gaudy box scores are not representative of his dominant play (and his contribution to the Nuggets beating two good team under difficult circumstance . .that is missing their second best offensive player) is foolish.

  10. Nima Says:

    I suspect this is some sort of joke post. If I had to guess, there are plenty of past MVPs who had 3 games in a row where their +/- was negative, let alone +1. The overall rating probably has a std error of 65 or something obscenely huge.

    The way you tell if someone is a good player when the statistics don't exist yet is by watching them play. Watch Melo play defense. Watch him play offense. Get some sense for who he's going up against, and how well he plays them.

    Relying on statistics can be great for analysis of large enough samples, but this is just ridiculous.

  11. Justin Kubatko Says:

    Sorry to pile on, but I have to agree with the consensus: this is much ado about nothing. There are many issues with using raw plus/minus to evaluate players, not to mention the extremely small sample size involved. This an interesting anecdote, nothing more.

  12. Eric B Says:

    This article is ridiculous. Numbers can explain many things when the formulas are precise enough to account for all of the factors, but these formulas very apparently fall short of explaining reality. Turn on the TV and watch the games. Tell me that the Nuggets would have beaten the Jazz and the Trailblazers without Melo on the floor dominating on the offensive end and contributing in every other category. I might be more convinced by the plus/minus statistic if it becomes more of a trend, but after three games I'm not buying it. "Denver has been significantly worse when Anthony is on the court." Really? I think I trust the judgment of the coach who's been in the leauge for decades and would adamantly disagree with you. Take Melo out of the game and there is no one on the Nuggets or any other team in the league so far this season who can fill his shoes. Good job getting a rise out of a lot of people with this dumb article though.

  13. Anon Says:

    If anything, I think that the only way you could possibly say Melo's performance so far has been fool's gold is to observe what he's doing defensively. But given the small sample size of the +/- data (Melo has only spent 28 mins off the court in the Nugs' games) and the fact that Denver hasn't been playing great D so far anyway, and has won their games with sheer offensive firepower with Melo at the forefront(26th in def. eff., 2nd in off. eff.), I'd say Melo's play has been the biggest reason for Denver's 3-0 start.

  14. Anon Says:

    Typo in the above post: Denver is 24th in defensive efficiency.

  15. Bryan Says:

    This is a case of people who haven't watched the games making a ridiculous argument based on the numbers. As was previously mentioned, Karl is starting a back up pg at the two. He's been getting lit up on defense and is an offensive liability, the Nuggets have been in a hole every game because of this.

    How anyone who watched the game against Portland when the Nuggets game plan was: "pass to Melo and let him go to work," and they rode him to victory, can say his performance has not been "MVP" caliber is both baffling and absurd.

  16. Johnny Utah Says:

    You guys need to understand something here... Statisticians like Neil here do not know the game of basketball. All they know are numbers. They do not see what isn't on a stat sheet and really have no business analyzing the game at all. This absurd article is proof. Go back to the library, Neil. The basketball court clearly isn't for you.

  17. Joel Says:

    Based on this plus/minus stuff, Lamar Odom should've been the MVP last season. That alone should tell you that this plus or minus is in no way indicative of a players true value to a team. Neil is it? Ask any and everybody who actually understands basketball (i.e. coaches, players, analyst, general manager's) and they will tell you you're crazy. Simple as that.

    I'll enter the absurd, just as this article did, and say that it is a conspiracy amongst these statthletes (with hollinger coaching) to undermine and belittle any player not named lebron james to make lebron look better than what he is.

  18. NuggDoctor Says:

    I've watched every Denver Nuggets possession of the season so far, twice, and to conclude using any sort of statistical evidence that Carmelo Anthony has not been the most dominant force in any of those games is comical. This article proves to me that advanced NBA statistics are just like any other statistics; they can be manipulated for the sole purpose of their manipulator.

  19. Scuba Says:

    I think this is certainly insight into George Karl's coaching adjustments with the absence of J.R. Smith. Carmelo is +2.0 when he's on the court, but two of his top three lines come with dual point guards (#1 with Billups/Carter, #3 with Billups/Lawson) which bring down his differential significantly. The #2 line with Melo/Martin and the 3 top bench guys Birdman/Lawson/Afflalo is +23.

    The Nuggets starters would be much better off with Afflalo in the lineup over Carter, but then Carter would need to log minutes with the bench, which would significantly weaken their numbers. Karl is willing to weaken his strong top line a little in exchange for having a strong second line who can beat up on the opposition's second line (see Paul Millsap's post-new contract -16 vs. Nuggets). Saying that the Nuggets are better with Melo off the court is a shallow interpretation of the data and should come with a big ol' asterisk. I also believe that his +/- should turn around big time once J.R. comes back from his suspension.

    P.S.
    I really like your work and use this site all the time; is there a way that you can you put in a request to put +/- in players' game logs in their profiles? The information is readily available on ESPN, but its difficult to look at a baller's +/- on a game-to-game basis.
    Thanks

  20. Mike B Says:

    Enough is enough with this stuff. I'm really starting to believe that plus/minus is meaningless. It's a TEAM game people. When Anthony is on the court, he's with 4 other guys, who in turn are playing against 5 other guys. There are a ridiculous number of factors that could possibly contribute to one individual's plus/minus. Rather than seeing it as the sum total of a player's contribution, it really should be seen as the cumulative result of an endless series of combination against combinations, which is meaningless when compared to the ultimate plus/minus, i.e. the final score of the game. I agree with the commenter above; if plus/minus is used to somehow denigrate players who are obviously incredibly important to their team (e.g. Anthony, Durant), I'm going to have a very hard time taking it seriously.

  21. Tsunami Says:

    While I agree that it is a small sample size, how can people say +/- is meaningless? It's no more meaningless than arguing that someone should be MVP after 3 games, or arguing that Team X is superior to Team Y after 3 games. And +/- as a stat is not meaningless - that's like saying, scoring more points than your opponent is meaningless.

    When you are on the court, your job as a team is to score more points than the other players on the team.

    What is interesting to me is the way people view the "meaninglessness" of a small sample size of +/-. And it is here that I think Neil gets it.

    The "meaninglessness" of +/- after 3 games is simply that the Nuggest probably WILL BE Better in the future with Melo on the court (given his individual statistical success), not that his small sample size is incorrect in evaluating Melo's team contribution play through 3 games.

    And to the person that same Lamar Odom would have been MVP based on +/-, that award still goes to LeBron James (oh yeah, the guy that DID win MVP) http://www.82games.com/0809/ONSORT6.HTM

  22. Tsunami Says:

    These people hyperventilating about +/- sound the same people that say "there is no way Houston is a worse team with Tracy McGrady playing than with him not"

    Anyone watch Houston destroy Utah last night in Utah?

  23. DSMok1 Says:

    It's fun watching people who don't like +/- ridicule results like this...

    All Neil's doing is measuring what actually happened. When Anthony was in the game, they were equal to the competition. When he was out of the game, the Nuggets dominated.

    BTW, Anthony Carter was on the court ONLY with Anthony so far... so they are highly collinear. I would chalk up this anomaly to that.

  24. DSMok1 Says:

    "And to the person that same Lamar Odom would have been MVP based on +/-, that award still goes to LeBron James (oh yeah, the guy that DID win MVP)"

    +/- has to be adjusted to make sense--who was he playing against? Dwayne Wade deserved the MVP based on APM, and Lebron number 2. Odom was up there, though...

  25. Joe Schaller Says:

    Nice topic Neil. Somewhat overlooked in comments is the fact that the Nuggets have been very successful despite what small +/- samples show about individuals.

    Tsumani mentions Houston's dismantling of the Jazz last night which I watched in a little amazement. In contrast to the Nuggets the Rockets have NO STARS. Nine players in double figures including Chuck Hayes! Adelman looks like a genius with the teamwork on display. Ya gotta love the underdog.

  26. Joe Schaller Says:

    Sorry, that was eight Rockets in double figures, not nine.

  27. Neil Paine Says:

    Thanks for the comments, all. I should have said that this was in response to MVP talk already surrounding Anthony. It's ludicrous to talk about MVPs 3 games into the season anyway -- Anthony's crazy numbers are as much a small-sample phenomenon as his surprisingly mediocre +/-. As I was saying to Justin, this post started when I went to BasketballValue.com and looked for Melo's +/- to see how great it would be, given his boxscore numbers. That it hasn't been very great was a huge shock, and it prompted me to write this. Nowhere did I say that Anthony was a poor player, or what have you. I just said that the Nuggs played much better when he wasn't in the game, and (in response to MVP chatter), how can you be the MVP when your team plays better while you're on the bench? That's all I was saying. The samples are ridiculously small right now, so Melo's +/- is sure to get better over the coming weeks, his boxscore numbers are sure to decline (he can't keep up this pace forever), people will forget about this post, and all will be right with the world again. But I'm always surprised at how worked up people can get about a simple observation...

  28. Frontrange Says:

    Fine. . MVP talk is way premature for Anthony, no ?. He hasn't proven that he can dominant games at this level for any significant amount of time (although last year's playoff was a nice run). But the reason you pinched a nerve with Anthony is because the stat community generally dislikes his game and has denginerated his contributions over his career. People get defensive about that, and given that Anthony's team have been pretty good over his career at every level (NCAA Championship, making the playoff every year in the Western conference), people should be asking what are we missing in the evaluation of high volume shooters like Anthony. How did a team with Iverson and Anthony manage to win 50 games? How did a team that won only 17 games b-4 Anthony go to the playoffs the next year with Voshon Leonard, Earl Boykins, and Rodney White and Jon Barry all prominently involved. Why didn't the loss of Marcus Camby and Eddie Najera (two high +/- guys) have a more measurable negative affect on the Nuggets?

    I am willing to believe that role player like Battier were (are?) undervalued, but could it be that guys who can create their own shot against the toughest defenders in the league are undervalue but the stat geeks?

  29. Anon Says:

    "Why didn't the loss of Marcus Camby and Eddie Najera (two high +/- guys) have a more measurable negative affect on the Nuggets?"

    I think that a healthy Nene, the rise of the Birdman, and J.R. Smith's improved play would have something to do with it.

  30. Matt Says:

    "I think that a healthy Nene, the rise of the Birdman, and J.R. Smith's improved play would have something to do with it."

    Yet before the start of the season everyone were saying Camby >>> healthy Nene; Birdman is washed up, and no JR Smith did NOT improve, if you want to look at raw numbers like the writer here, he actually got worst.

    Writer also forgot to mention the Anthony Carter factor. Carter is arguably the worst player in the NBA, and they come off the bench at the same time.

  31. Boss Says:

    And the plus/minus idiocy strikes again.

  32. Roy Johnson Says:

    It is articles like this which make me think this site is more of a Math site than Basketball site. If I want to know all these math stats, I will go back to college. Please stop using numbers to base for facts.

    I bet Neil is one of those people, that if he is in a room with 5 basketball fans, and they start talking about which is the best team in the NBA, the 5 fans will pick the best team just based off simple facts known by alot of fans (W-L, best players, PPG,)..... but then Neil will say something like "according to my plus/minus numbers and the players with the best PER........etc,etc".

  33. Tsunami Says:

    I bet a room of 5 casual basketball fans will say that the best players in the NBA are Allen Iverson, Amare Stoudemire, Kobe Bryant, and T-Mac, and Neil will point out that reputations shouldn't supersede actual performance.

    Points per game as a stat counts in 1 thing - fantasy basketball. If you don't like to think, then don't waste time posting on this site Roy.

  34. Earthquake Says:

    Yo Tsunami. If you are in the game with Anthony Carter, and he gets abused because he sucks, you lose +/-. It's not you who is the reason the opposing team scored, its Anthony Carter. So why say "hey, the nugs dominate with melo out" instead of saying "hey, maybe it's because Anthony Carter is on the floor with melo that his +/- dips". C'mon guys, watch some basketball. Watch and learn.

  35. Empirical Earl Says:

    "I just said that the Nuggs played much better when he wasn't in the game, and (in response to MVP chatter), how can you be the MVP when your team plays better while you're on the bench? That's all I was saying."

    This is the presumption that is upsetting everyone and is, as has been stated above, empirically wrong. When you "watch" the games, Melo has been Denver's best player, and was definitely the "main reason" the team won in Portland. A player who is the "main reason" a team beats a division rival on the road is at least the MVP of that game for that team.

    It is also faulty logic to say that the MVP talk is absurd this soon when the talk is about how Melo has carried over his play from the playoffs last season to this season - and what if, just if, Melo has finally put the pieces all together to become one of the top 5 talents in the NBA. The talk is reasonable. He's playing extremely well, if he can keep it up, then he needs to be in the conversation for MVP.

    Finally, the part about making judgments from +/- is that it does not consider context in the slightest. Say - Player X is a power forward that gets 20/10 and shuts down his man defensively. Unfortunately, the other team has a stud shooting guard that helps his team out score Player X's team while he is on the floor. Player X ends the game with -5, but his team won due to strong bench play when neither he or stud SG was on the court. Player X has done nothing wrong - he played well offensively and defensively, and his team won. But then someone comes along and points to his +/- and says he did a terrible job.

    It doesn't make sense.

    It's a stat with too many unknown variables.

  36. Terri Says:

    What about great players making their teammates better? Why isn't Anthony making Carter better? And if Carter sucks so bad, why is Coach Karl playing him 20 mpg with his best player? Shouldn't someone else be playing? And if it's all Carter's fault, why does Anthony's worst lineup by +/- not even have Carter in it? Your explanations for Anthony's +/- aren't supported by the facts, but you're so desperate for Anthony's true overrated nature not to be revealed that you've lied to yourself and everyone here.

  37. Matt Says:

    Terri, you will find that Anthony actually HAS MADE CARTER A BETTER PLAYER.

    Compare Carter's career with Anthony, to the rest of his career. Yeah that's right.

    And FYI, Karl has a man love obsession with Carter. Every coach has them. Everyone knows that.

    pwned.

  38. Terri Says:

    You're really going to try that circular argument on me? Really? Mark Jackson would say you were better than that. So let me get this straight-Carter is the worst player NBA right now. He is also better than ever before, thanks almost entirely to the calming influence of Carmelo Anthony. So he was so bad before playing with Carter, he was like the worst player in the history of basketball. And yet this was a man who played 7 NBA seasons before he even met Carmelo Anthony. A man who was playing in the NBA when Anthony was in freaking middle school. So you're saying simultaneously that Carter is the worst player in the NBA, the only reason Anthony's +/- is so bad, and also that he was much worse before playing with Anthony, despite the fact that Hall of Fame coach Pat Riley was playing him 24 mpg 7 years before Carter and Anthony even knew each other? WTF? That's circular, dude. You can't have it both ways.

  39. Tsunami Says:

    "It doesn't make sense.

    It's a stat with too many unknown variables."

    You start to decrease those unknown variables as the season goes on, though. Everyone here agrees it is a small sample size, but you can't disregard it. So many fans hate advanced statistics but they basically don't reaffirm their long standing beliefs about players. +/- is a nice tool to weed through all the crap.

    And for all the people saying, "we watch the games and it's obvious that this player or that player is dominant" - maybe so, but maybe your subjective view of the NBA isn't exactly accurate.

  40. Matt Says:

    I don't really understand what you're saying.

    Anthony Carter career stats without playing without Anthony:
    4.5 ppg, 3.5 apg, 37.0% FG

    Anthony Carter career stats playing WITH Anthony:
    6.6 ppg, 5.1 apg, 44.5% FG

    If you can tell me how that is not making a player better, then I don't know what not. And maybe AC is not the worst player in the NBA, but he is darn close. Bottom 1-5 probably. Bottom 10 without a doubt. Hell name me worst players in the league.

    And yes, Carter does affect Carmelo's +/- stats. Apart from the Indiana Pacers game tonight, the Nuggets have trialed every 1st quarter when Carter was in the game and have cut deficits when Arron Afflalo/Ty Lawson enter the game for Carter at that point. That is when Carmelo was also playing hence why he gets a - stat at that point, and when he comes off the bench.

    Now this article is just silly. You're telling me that the Nuggets would start 4-0 if Carmelo didn't play and provide the 35 whatever ppg he averaged?

  41. Empirical Earl Says:

    Sample size is irrelevant. The variables are: who you [the player] are playing (both the team and the individual match up); are you have a good shooting night; are your teammates having a good shooting night; is the other team shooting well or poorly; etc.

    A player can play well and lose, or play shitty and win. The point is - there are multiple factors that a player can not control or affect that will be erroneously represented in a simultaneous broad and non-tangible stat like +/-.

    Points ARE something. They equate to a quantifiable entity. Melo scored 41 out of 97 points v. Portland. That's 42% of tangible contribution.

    And I agree that an empirical judgment is subjective, but I'd rather debate the minutiae of actual game tape vs. legitimacy of a player's contributions in a stat that can not be placed within a reasonable context.

  42. Dave Says:

    If anything, you have convinced me that looking at these kind of statistics is worthless when it comes to evaluating a player. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that Carmelo is the Nuggets' MVP and one of the best players in the league.

  43. matuldi klinsmann Says:

    OK Neil & Tsunami,

    LeBron and MJ is above all.Are you satisfied?

  44. Jason J Says:

    I don't remember a Neil Payne post bringing this sort of rancorous enthusiasm without the words "Kobe", "Isiah", or "Win Share" in it before now.

    FYI Melo was +9 last night. To recap that's:

    +4 v. Memphis
    +4 v. Portland
    -7 v. Utah
    +9 v. Indiana

  45. Ryan M Says:

    Instead of trying to use +/- stats on an individual player, i think it would make it way more interesting to find out what five players play best together based on positions. Why don't you take all that time you have and find out who the best five starters would be for the Denver Nuggets and email George karl!

  46. Frontrange Says:

    The defenders of the +/- in this case are missing the point . . you should be ? why this doesn't pass the laugh test and what are we missing as opposed to blindly defending it. Question some of your assumptions.

    1) +/- intellectually is very appealing 'cause it should catch all actions on the court and the end result is demonstrative of win/loss, so where could there be errors?

    2) +/- is famously inconsistent from season to season. One of the reason Hollinger defends PER is predictibility over time. If it represents true individual ability why the large std deviation?

    3) Role players are much easier to find than stars (virtually by defination). Just because a role player can statistically be shown to contribute significantly to a team's ability to win does not equate to greater value. Some skills, while very valuable to winning are not hard to find. That is: effort, picking, blocking out, rotations are pretty easy things to do. Thus a player that does them well like Najera (or Dantay Jones) are not that hard to replace. Gaudy +/- from these types of players are just not as valuable as bringing hard to replicate skills to the table such as height (thus overpaying big men) and the abilty to create high % shots no matter what the defensive is. Anthony is very effective at creating high % scoring opportunities even when the defense is focused on him (FT and good FG%), there just aren't a lot of guys with that skill.

  47. Nate T. Says:

    This is just a ridiculous article.

    Of the 192 total minutes of basketball the Nuggets have played ... Melo has been on the floor for 146 of them aka 76% of the time.

    Pretty obvious that Melo can't pitch a shut-out over that course of time when the majority of points are being scored.

    I'll take 4-0 over +/- any day of the week.