Friday, January 31, 2014

2014 All-Stars and snubs, by PER

Now that the NBA All-Star teams have been announced, here's a look at how the 23 players selected (not including the injured Kobe Bryant) have performed this season, as measured by Player Efficiency Rating (PER) and minutes played per game. I've also included 11 players who've been often mentioned as "snubs", at least from the original announced list.

(Having trouble seeing the chart? Click here.)

Some takeaways:

  • Is this why they call Joe Johnson "Iso-Joe"? I tweeted this yesterday:

  • But hey, at least they took someone who's young, up-and-coming, on a great team, and throws down thrilling dunks. Give the people what they want, Joe!
  • Ignore Roy Hibbert in the bottom left. PER understates defense, and Hibbert is running away with the Defensive Player of the Year vote, at least at the halfway point.
  • The only semi-plausible reason I've heard for excluding Anthony Davis is the time he missed due to injury. But the thing is... he's played more total minutes than Dwayne Wade, DeMarcus Cousins, Tony Parker or Chris Paul. If he's not Adam Silver's pick to replace Kobe, I'd be shocked. Then again, Joe Johnson.
  • I honestly feel for Cousins, Goran Dragic, and Mike Conley being left out, and I double-feel for Kyle Lowry, who should be sticking pins in a Johnson Nets voodoo doll right about... now. The only consolation is that voters tend to remember the snubs the following year if they maintain their torrid play. Those young guys are likely to be rewarded, just a year late.
  • I understand Lance Stephenson is on an exceptional team, and that he's often the offensive fulcrum for the Pacers. I would've had no problem with him over DeMar DeRozan, though it's close and I'm OK with it either way. But I wouldn't take Lance over Lowry, who's been a better scorer and floor general, and is probably about equal defensively.
  • Ty Lawson, anyone? Anyone? 
And finally, just a friendly reminder...


  1. I'm not familiar with a lot of stats and I'm not necessarily lobbying for JJ. But if we can ignore PER for Hibbert and instead look at his impact on D as reason for his All Star nod, is there a way we can ignore PER for JJ and look at some other impact that he has? Is there any attribute that he has, like Hibbert's D, that is incremental to his team's success?

  2. Hey Jaime, thanks for your question. I'd say that JJ's biggest strength (this year, but also throughout his career) has been his versatility. He can shoot the 3, drive to the basket, and be an excellent secondary ballhandler. Whatever you need on offense, he can do pretty well. Same thing on defense: thanks to his combination of quick hands, positioning, and size, he can guard some point guards and almost all SG / SF. So yes, I do think he has value that doesn't necessarily show up in a single-format stat like PER.

    The problem is that this year, that hidden value only moves JJ from "average" to "somewhat above average". He's playing fewer than 34 mpg, a pretty severe drop from his prime when he was always among the league leaders with 39-41 mpg. And JJ hasn't had as much ballhanding responsibility as in previous years either. Hibbert is relatively low in mins played too, but bigs tend to play less in general, and his defense has been so dominant that any offense he provides is just gravy. (IND is giving up a preposterous 96.5 points / 100 possessions, while the league average is 105.7 pts / 100 possessions. Brooklyn, incidentally, is at 108.1 pts given up / 100 poss, which is 22nd in the league.)

    So if it was close between JJ and someone like Lowry, I could see giving JJ the nudge because he's more versatile. I just don't think the gap was close enough for that to matter.

  3. The case for Kyle Lowry:

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