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Looking at Adjusted Plus/Minus for the Orlando Magic

If you've been a reader of Third Quarter Collapse for a while, you'll know that this site enjoys utilizing advanced statistics to better grasp and understand the game of basketball so that accurate opinions, predictions, projections, etc. may be opined. Credit should always go to the number of statisticians linked to the NBA that provide the general public with valuable stats. It's their hard work that makes a post like this possible and in this case, credit should to go professor Stephen Ilardi (implementor of adjusted plus/minus) for taking the time to calculate the copious amount of data. 


The numbers below are the adjusted plus/minus of each Orlando Magic player currently on the roster, sans Adonal Foyle and Jason Williams. What's different about these statistics, compared to the ones you'll find at Basketball Value, is the fact that they are tabulated over 6 seasons (2003-2009). Now, that may sound insignificant or pointless, but rest assured, this is information is greatly valued. Why? Well, because it nearly eliminates the amount of "noise" or standard error embedded within the stats. Meaning, that 1 year adjusted plus/minus is open for more flukes and what not than 6 year adjusted plus/minus. Therein lies the value in this type of information. 


So, with the backdrop set, here are the numbers:


Rashard Lewis 4.70
Dwight Howard 3.94
Marcin Gortat 3.16
Vince Carter 2.28
Ryan Anderson -0.67
Jameer Nelson -0.72
Mickael Pietrus -1.58
Anthony Johnson -1.96
Matt Barnes -2.48
J.J. Redick
Brandon Bass -4.47

Good: For the people still doubting Marcin Gortat's value as a player and thinking that general manager Otis Smith engaged in some buffoonery by re-signing him, Gortat's adjusted plus/minus is another example of how good of a center he is. Granted, the sample size is relatively small (835 career minutes) and there's a bit of standard error associated with the number, but even then, Gortat does make a positive impact on the basketball court. As such, it may seem odd that Howard's number is slightly better than Gortat's, but that's partly the reason why. Nevertheless, that's why other metrics are used to encapsulate a player's value, to decipher whether this is an exception "to the rule."


Bad: Jameer Nelson's adjusted plus/minus isn't good, but that speaks more to the type of player he used to be than the type of player he is now. Given that this past season was the first where Nelson played like an above-average player and a legitimate All-Star after four years in the NBA, his stat is more a reflection of the past than it is of the future. That should be noted when wondering why Nelson's adjusted plus/minus statistic is particularly low and slightly negative. Don't be alarmed, yet.


Ugly: Out of all the numbers, Brandon Bass doesn't rate well according to adjusted plus/minus. Part of the reason is that Bass doesn't do many "really good" things, aside from playing above-average defense and shooting efficiently from the field (Offensive Rating of 113 last year). But, as was stated for Howard and will be stated for Bass, that's why other metrics are used to encapsulate a player's value. Nevertheless, and this applies to Ryan Anderson, Matt Barnes, Vince Carter, and Jason Williams as well, it's certainly possible for Bass to perform better in a new context and situation. As such, his adjusted plus/minus number is more relevant to his time with the Dallas Mavericks. Things change, stats change. That's the reality.