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  • What does Ujiri look for in a player?

    I started a thread in late April asking: What exactly does a Masai Ujiri team look likes?

    At that time Raptors were swept from playoffs and my assumption, which turned out to be more wrong than right, was big changes were coming. Well changes did come but not directly to the foundation of the team as I had thought and hoped.

    On the coaching front, Casey is still in charge but yet another overhaul of the assistants occurred. With Greer reportedly set to be in charge of the defense, I await if we are getting real change or just lipstick on a pig.

    With the players, the core remains. Unquestionably right now the core is JV, DD, DC, and KL.... and maybe PP. The only starter to go is, of course, Amir and Carroll takes over for Ross who is now a bench player.

    Where the major shake up occurred was to the bench. As mentioned Ross is coming off the bench. Lou, Vasquez, Hansbrough, and Chuck are all gone with Joseph, Biyombo, and Scola in.

    The kids, Bruno and Bebe, remain with 2 new additions in Wright and Powell.


    So all this got me thinking back to that thread linked above.... I don't believe we have yet seen what a Masai Ujiri team looks like - barring significant strategy and philosophy change on Casey's part this coming season (please note I started the sentence with 'I believe' meaning it is my own opinion). There is no question Ujiri is living up to the 'patient' label he has been given and admitted to being. There is an evolution happening with this team it is just that many of us over analyze the whole process on a daily basis that we might not often recognize it (speaking in generalities and maybe more to myself here).


    So while the team continues to be a work in progress, something popped out at me that just about all players he has brought in has in common: they are, just about, all highly rated advanced stat players, in particular, on WS/48.

    *Note: I am ignoring players obtained by Bargnani and Gay trade (hopefully for obvious reasons) except PP and GV because they were resigned*

    All stats in following table from Basketball-Reference.com, RealGm.com, or Sports-reference.com


    Player acquired Previous or in season WS/48
    Tyler Hansbrough July 15, 2013 .154
    DJ Augustin July 22, 2013 .112
    Austin Daye August 1, 2013 .108
    Julyan Stone September 18, 2013 .128
    Nando De Colo February 20, 2014 .101
    DeAndre Daniels June 26, 2014 .160
    Lou Williams June 30, 2014 .087
    Bebe June 30, 2014 .235
    Kyle Lowry July 10, 2014 .197
    Patrick Patterson July 11, 2014 .147
    Greivis Vasquez July 15, 2014 .096
    James Johnson July 15, 2014 .150
    Greg Steimsma September 3, 2014 .072
    Delon Wright June 25, 2015 .289
    Norman Powell JUne 25, 2015 .140
    DeMarre Carroll July 9, 2015 .154
    Cory Joseph July 9, 2015 .149
    Luis Scola July 13, 2015 .126
    Bismack Biyombo July 16, 2015 .156

    **Bebe, Powell, and Wright are WP/40**

    The league average is about .100 and just about every signing was for a player that was at minimum average. Only exceptions were Vasquez (.096 - Raps had Bird Rights and no cap space), Steimsma (.072 - need for big and they are tough to find... he did post .170 in rookie year), and Lou Williams (.087 - it was all about Bebe but his last 3 years in Philly prior to ACL he was .130, .141, and .170).


    Looking at current Raptors roster, the only 4 players who were not at .100 (i.e. approximately league average) were Bruno and Bebe (excused due to lack of minutes) and DeRozan and Ross (9th and 12th on team).

    DeRozan had .090 and Ross was .054.

    (To DeRozan's credit he was .141 in 2013-14 but was .066/.055/.054/.075 his first 4 seasons)


    If I was Ross I would not be looking to buy any Toronto real estate. If I was DeRozan and wanted to stay in Toronto, I'd return to 2013-14 form tout de suite.



    Anyways, hopefully someone out there finds above interesting.
    Last edited by mcHAPPY; Wed Aug 12, 2015, 11:09 PM. Reason: Fixed stat - thanks Mindlessness

  • #2
    Matt, just a correction but you're using WS/48 for most of the players, not WP/48.

    WP/48 is a stat but it's available on boxscoregeeks.com, not basketball-reference.com.

    EDIT: On the actual observations. It certainly does look like the Raptors use advanced statistics quite a lot, this was known under BC, looks like they've continued the trend under Masai.

    I wonder what that bodes for DeMar especially, as his resume isn't very uh, inclusive, about advanced statistics.

    Maybe he continues the trend from 13-14, I wouldn't be surprised if he does pop back over .100, just maybe not to the extent it did in 13-14, but somewhere close?

    What happens then? We keep him? If they do use adv. stats and he does pop back over .100, they'll negotiate his salary as such wouldn't they?
    Last edited by Mindlessness; Wed Aug 12, 2015, 11:11 PM.

    Comment


    • #3
      Mindlessness wrote: View Post
      Matt, just a correction but you're using WS/48 for most of the players, not WP/48.

      WP/48 is a stat but it's available on boxscoregeeks.com, not basketball-reference.com.

      EDIT: On the actual observations. It certainly does look like the Raptors use advanced statistics quite a lot, this was known under BC, looks like they've continued the trend under Masai.

      I wonder what that bodes for DeMar especially, as his resume isn't very uh, inclusive, about advanced statistics.

      Maybe he continues the trend from 13-14, I wouldn't be surprised if he does pop back over .100, just maybe not to the extent it did in 13-14, but somewhere close?

      What happens then? We keep him? If they do use adv. stats and he does pop back over .100, they'll negotiate his salary as such wouldn't they?
      Thanks for heads up.

      I initially started using Boxscoregeeks.com but switched because couldn't get all the players.

      The results are essentially the same regardless of which stat you use. Ross looks a little 'better' at .061 using WP/48 and DD slips to .073.

      Comment


      • #4
        You've got this all wrong. It's WS/48" (Wingspan per 48 inches of height).

        Comment


        • #5
          I would add that all of MU's acquisitions seem to be character guys. I don't recall any whining (a tiny bit after the playoff sweep last season, but I am willing to allow that), I DO recall lots of cohesiveness. Nobody talking out of school, no backstabbing, and almost all seem willing to put in the effort and all are pretty much two-way players.

          And, as mentioned above, wingspan :-)

          Waiting eagerly for pre-season.

          Comment


          • #6
            Mindlessness wrote: View Post
            Matt, just a correction but you're using WS/48 for most of the players, not WP/48.
            I have noticed the same. Here's a partial list of WP48 for players both the year prior to joining Raps, and in their first year with Raps. And yes, .100 is the average NBA player. The odds of bringing in this many great (from a WP48 point of view) players by accident is very, very small. So WP48 is correlated with Ujiri's strategy, whether he uses it or not.

            Lowry: .202 / .205
            Lou: .096 / .147
            Patterson: .070 /.141
            Vasquez: .156 / .154
            JJ: .216 / .268
            Carroll: 0.245 / ?
            Joseph: 0.211 / ?
            Scola: 0.140 / ?
            Biyombo: 0.232 / ?

            P.S. Note that the few he brought in that were below average had a massive jump.

            Comment


            • #7
              Mindlessness wrote: View Post
              Matt, just a correction but you're using WS/48 for most of the players, not WP/48.

              WP/48 is a stat but it's available on boxscoregeeks.com, not basketball-reference.com.

              EDIT: On the actual observations. It certainly does look like the Raptors use advanced statistics quite a lot, this was known under BC, looks like they've continued the trend under Masai.

              I wonder what that bodes for DeMar especially, as his resume isn't very uh, inclusive, about advanced statistics.

              Maybe he continues the trend from 13-14, I wouldn't be surprised if he does pop back over .100, just maybe not to the extent it did in 13-14, but somewhere close?

              What happens then? We keep him? If they do use adv. stats and he does pop back over .100, they'll negotiate his salary as such wouldn't they?
              My understanding:

              Ujiri looks beyond hype. He looks at the whole picture and believes what he sees with his own two eyes and probably doesn't pay much attention to what those think outside of his inner circle. This is how he was able to unload Melo for such a good deal. This is how he's been able to find gems later in the draft.

              He is an executive that makes moves based on value. There are too many stats stuffers in the NBA who aren't efficient. There are also stats stuffers out there who sneak into the realm of slightly above average efficiency due to issues in advanced metrics, such as Corey Maggette who clearly never cared about helping his team win over "getting his". Don't know if anyone remembers this blast from the past:

              Kevin Garnett called Maggette out for his me-first play earlier this season, yelling sarcastically, "Way to get your numbers" in Maggette's direction after a Celtics win over the Warriors.

              This is why a good set of eyes and also the right coach is needed to get the job done right. Because if you can't see a good player with your own two eyes then all the fancy stat analysis is going to go to waste. Similarly, you need a captain at the wheel who understands his players. Corey Maggette, again for example, was one of the toughest slashers in the league. He got to the line like nobodies business and was very talented. Only problem was that he had this lone wolf vibe to his game where the stats on his line matter more than the sum of everything. The right coach could possibly break that view and get the most out of him.

              Comment


              • #8
                Puffer wrote: View Post
                I would add that all of MU's acquisitions seem to be character guys. I don't recall any whining (a tiny bit after the playoff sweep last season, but I am willing to allow that), I DO recall lots of cohesiveness. Nobody talking out of school, no backstabbing, and almost all seem willing to put in the effort and all are pretty much two-way players.

                And, as mentioned above, wingspan :-)

                Waiting eagerly for pre-season.
                That sure wasn't the case last year.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Not sure if people are aware but JV was 14th in entire league in WS/48

                  In another season or two it wouldn't surprise me if he is the only player left from Colangelo era.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Definitely an interesting take on how Masai operates.

                    One exception would have been the potential Ennis/Prince trade for Salmons that Phoenix ended up screwing up. Prince had a WS/48 of .038 at the end of the 2013/2014 season. He got Lou/Bebe but that was not his preference at the time.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      planetmars wrote: View Post
                      Definitely an interesting take on how Masai operates.

                      One exception would have been the potential Ennis/Prince trade for Salmons that Phoenix ended up screwing up. Prince had a WS/48 of .038 at the end of the 2013/2014 season. He got Lou/Bebe but that was not his preference at the time.
                      Much like getting Bebe wasn't about Lou, I don't think getting Ennis was about Prince.

                      Ennis WS/40 was .180

                      ....and I'm pretty sure his passport knocks it up to .310

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        mcHAPPY wrote: View Post
                        I started a thread in late April asking: What exactly does a Masai Ujiri team look likes?

                        At that time Raptors were swept from playoffs and my assumption, which turned out to be more wrong than right, was big changes were coming. Well changes did come but not directly to the foundation of the team as I had thought and hoped.

                        On the coaching front, Casey is still in charge but yet another overhaul of the assistants occurred. With Greer reportedly set to be in charge of the defense, I await if we are getting real change or just lipstick on a pig.

                        With the players, the core remains. Unquestionably right now the core is JV, DD, DC, and KL.... and maybe PP. The only starter to go is, of course, Amir and Carroll takes over for Ross who is now a bench player.

                        Where the major shake up occurred was to the bench. As mentioned Ross is coming off the bench. Lou, Vasquez, Hansbrough, and Chuck are all gone with Joseph, Biyombo, and Scola in.

                        The kids, Bruno and Bebe, remain with 2 new additions in Wright and Powell.


                        So all this got me thinking back to that thread linked above.... I don't believe we have yet seen what a Masai Ujiri team looks like - barring significant strategy and philosophy change on Casey's part this coming season (please note I started the sentence with 'I believe' meaning it is my own opinion). There is no question Ujiri is living up to the 'patient' label he has been given and admitted to being. There is an evolution happening with this team it is just that many of us over analyze the whole process on a daily basis that we might not often recognize it (speaking in generalities and maybe more to myself here).


                        So while the team continues to be a work in progress, something popped out at me that just about all players he has brought in has in common: they are, just about, all highly rated advanced stat players, in particular, on WS/48.

                        *Note: I am ignoring players obtained by Bargnani and Gay trade (hopefully for obvious reasons) except PP and GV because they were resigned*

                        All stats in following table from Basketball-Reference.com, RealGm.com, or Sports-reference.com


                        Player acquired Previous or in season WS/48
                        Tyler Hansbrough July 15, 2013 .154
                        DJ Augustin July 22, 2013 .112
                        Austin Daye August 1, 2013 .108
                        Julyan Stone September 18, 2013 .128
                        Nando De Colo February 20, 2014 .101
                        DeAndre Daniels June 26, 2014 .160
                        Lou Williams June 30, 2014 .087
                        Bebe June 30, 2014 .235
                        Kyle Lowry July 10, 2014 .197
                        Patrick Patterson July 11, 2014 .147
                        Greivis Vasquez July 15, 2014 .096
                        James Johnson July 15, 2014 .150
                        Greg Steimsma September 3, 2014 .072
                        Delon Wright June 25, 2015 .289
                        Norman Powell JUne 25, 2015 .140
                        DeMarre Carroll July 9, 2015 .154
                        Cory Joseph July 9, 2015 .149
                        Luis Scola July 13, 2015 .126
                        Bismack Biyombo July 16, 2015 .156

                        **Bebe, Powell, and Wright are WP/40**

                        The league average is about .100 and just about every signing was for a player that was at minimum average. Only exceptions were Vasquez (.096 - Raps had Bird Rights and no cap space), Steimsma (.072 - need for big and they are tough to find... he did post .170 in rookie year), and Lou Williams (.087 - it was all about Bebe but his last 3 years in Philly prior to ACL he was .130, .141, and .170).


                        Looking at current Raptors roster, the only 4 players who were not at .100 (i.e. approximately league average) were Bruno and Bebe (excused due to lack of minutes) and DeRozan and Ross (9th and 12th on team).

                        DeRozan had .090 and Ross was .054.

                        (To DeRozan's credit he was .141 in 2013-14 but was .066/.055/.054/.075 his first 4 seasons)


                        If I was Ross I would not be looking to buy any Toronto real estate. If I was DeRozan and wanted to stay in Toronto, I'd return to 2013-14 form tout de suite.



                        Anyways, hopefully someone out there finds above interesting.
                        It actually is very interesting, waiting to see how the new players fare this season. And I still have faith that derozan returns to 2013/14 form and doesn't take his sweet ass time with it. But as an aside, could you by any chance pull up markieff's number. Just to add fuel to the fire that is the "markieff to raptors" discussion as of late.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          mcHAPPY wrote: View Post
                          Not sure if people are aware but JV was 14th in entire league in WS/48

                          In another season or two it wouldn't surprise me if he is the only player left from Colangelo era.
                          Not really surprising. JV was the only guy on the Raptors that had the ability to completely change the flow of the game. Obviously he didnt do it consistently, but he impacted the game....one of the better examples was against Houston and how he shut down Harden from getting to the rim and killed all their shooting from it

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            So with the extension soon to be signed (knock on wood) it is a good time to highlight the resign of JV fitting with the idea of this thread.

                            JV led the team last season in WS/48 with .189. For the WP/48 fans among us (ie. boxscoregeeks.com) that is .188.



                            I am super interested to see how things play out with Ross and DD. As stated previously they were 12th and 9th on the team in WS/48 last season. Vasquez, who was 11th, was already sent packing.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Kind of doubt that Masai and his team use 1 stat to determine whether or not to acquire players.

                              Comment

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