Offensive value and the Bulls

Andres Alvarez of The Wages of Wins Journal recently published a post titled Top Offenses and Top Offensive Players (which I discovered via TrueHoop). Alvarez used the Wins Produced metric to rate last season’s best offenses and offensive players.

The article produced some not-so-surprising results (the Spurs had the league’s “winningest” offense and Chris Paul was the top offensive player) and a few that were surprising (such as Charlotte’s even-worse-than-we-could-have-imagined offensive ineptitude and the fact that Tyson Chandler ranked as the league’s second-best offensive force).

From a Bulls perspective, it was somewhat surprising that Joakim Noah ranked as the league’s seventh-best offensive player behind only Paul, Chandler, Steve Nash, LeBron James, James Harden and Ryan Anderson.

Alvarez writes:

I know we’ll get a little flack from this chart but it’s important to remember that offense is not just about taking shots. Passing the ball, getting the ball and keeping the ball matter too! Players like Joakim Noah, Kawhi Leonard and Tyson Chandler may not jump to mind when we think offense but it turns out their contributions can be quite valuable.

Now here’s where things get a little strange. Alvarez goes on to rank Chicago’s top five offensive players as Noah (by a country mile), Kyle Korver, Omer Asik, Taj Gibson and Derrick Rose.

Seeing Noah and Korver ranked above Rose in offense seems somewhat reasonable. According to Basketball-Reference, they co-led the team in Offensive Rating at 120 points per 100 possessions (Rose was third at 112). Furthermore, Noah led the team in Offensive Win Shares at 4.9 with Rose coming in second at 4.1 (although Rose played 25 fewer games and was injured most of the season).

However, Asik ranked dead last in Offensive Rating — below even Brian Scalabrine — at 97 points per 100 possessions. Omer and Mike James tied for second-to-last in Offensive Win Shares at 0.1. And did I mention Asik has no hands (turnover rate of 25.2) and shot 45.6 from the free throw line?

So I have a slight problem with any metric that ranks Asik as the Bulls’ third-best offensive player.

It does not compute.

Especially when you consider what a devastating defensive force Asik is. If he were really that crucial to the Bulls’ offense as well as the defense…wouldn’t his PER be higher than 13.4? That’s below the league average.

Anyway, it’s more interesting information to toss on the pile. Just not sure I can agree with the notion of Asik-as-more-important-than-Rose-on-offense.

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6 Responses to Offensive value and the Bulls

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    Uh, oh. Gar & Pax better grab their flack-jackets! Here come the predictable responses: “How could Bulls management let such valuable pieces just walk??!!!”. Lol.

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