Year: 2022


  • The Ultimate PER Guide | Untangling John Hollinger’s Analytics Lovechild

    The Ultimate PER Guide | Untangling John Hollinger’s Analytics Lovechild

    (Image via Bleacher Report)

    Player Efficiency Rating (PER) was the turning point for basketball analytics in the public domain; but with time comes controversy. Lots will claim that PER is an outdated metric, that recent efforts of all-in-one metrics have left PER useless. Let’s say this is true, and for good reason. PER has a limited scope compared to lots of modern metrics, which incorporated Plus/Minus and tracking data that seems to map a player’s value to an objectively greater degree than the box score. Let us be reminded that this is a good thing! More advancements means more descriptive power among these all-in-one metrics, so the science of player analysis has undergone significant evolution since Hollinger’s initial effort. So, as a brief summation, PER is NOT one of the absolute best measures of player impact for the modern era. But like any other subject with a rich history, there is value in going back to appreciate tradition. Let us explore the inner workings of PER. What makes it good or bad, and why should or shouldn’t you use it?

    How PER Works

    PER puts the “E” in “Efficiency” because it was designed as a fairer comparison between high-volume superstars and role players. Like lots of modern impact metrics, PER is a per-possession metric that estimates a player’s effect on his team’s point differential [1]. But instead of using advanced, complex mathematical modeling to accomplish its results, PER is grounded in concept and critical thinking. It works so that each box score statistic (points, assists, etc.) is assigned a weighting, which is personalized to its box score stat such that each weighting reflects the statistic’s point-value. If that sounds a bit confusing, hopefully this example makes things clearer:

    LeBron James committed 196 turnovers [2] during the 2022 regular season. Most basketball fans will agree that turnovers are bad! A turnover means the offensive team lost possession of the ball without having scored. Thus, they lost out on the opportunity to score points in that possession; and basketball is often a game that is won in a matter of possessions. Plus, there’s also the drawback from permitting the opposition a transition possession, which tends to yield more points than typical half-court offense. So we can all agree turnovers are bad, right? But how do we know how bad one is? Well, we have to consider what a turnover is taking away from, and the big thing is those aforementioned points the team could have scored if the ball weren’t turned over.

    Since a variety of outcomes could’ve followed barring one of James’s turnovers, Hollinger decided to use a single placeholder number to sum up all possible outcomes of a possession. This estimates just how many points the Lakers were missing out on because of the turnover. Let’s think about it this way: on average, NBA offenses scored 1.12 points per possession in the 2022 regular season [3]. Hollinger concludes this was the best estimate of how much an offense is missing out on from turning the ball over, not accounting for how the opponent can gain a transition possession, as stated earlier. But since the turnover is deducting that amount of value, a turnover in 2022 is worth approximately -1.12 points! If we apply that weighting to all of LeBron James’s 196 turnovers this year, we can estimate that he cost the Lakers almost 220 points from his turnovers.

    This process is done for all box score statistics (most of which have far more complicated weightings), and the results are summed up to estimate how many points a player is adding (or subtracting) to his team. However, as stated earlier, there is one last adjustment that converts the results to a per-possession basis. Namely, superstars don’t receive any benefits for playing more of the game. This “adjusted” form of PER is what you’ll see on Basketball-Reference or ESPN leaderboards. With that out of the way, let’s discuss the good and the bad of PER, and what its process means for the metric’s ability to evaluate players.

    The Good and the Bad

    Believe it or not, there is some good stuff about PER. Take this as more of an opinion than a fact, but PER has solid (and interesting) critique behind it. The idea that each statistics has a hypothetical point-value behind it is logic that is used to this day, even with the most revered metrics like Estimated Plus/Minus and BBall-Index’s LEBRON; and PER was the first to do it. Let’s also consider the benefit to translating the results to per-possession rather than per-game or across an entire season. PER can be a reasonable tool for identifying hidden gems slotted at the end of the bench, and can act as an indicator of whether a role player is outperforming one of the better players on the team. Back when PER was the gold standard, there was some value it could provide to teams looking to manage their roster and shuffle their lineups. Not at all a bad result!

    However, there are a considerable number of drawbacks to discuss with PER; and unfortunately, these dominate the conversation and are often valid concerns of the metric. Let’s return to the per-possession basis of PER. While there may be benefits, there are also flaws with this approach. There is the matter of fatigue in which players with a heavier load tend to tire out near the end of games, whereas role players can spend more of their time on the court with a fresh set of legs. Superstars also tend to player with better teammates, meaning they have fewer chances to exert their skill; and they often play tougher opponents, whereas role players tend to match up with the opponent’s bench units as well. That is, not all statistics are created equally, and a player’s impact can be reframed and reimaged depending on who else is on the court, which is something PER struggles to account for.

    The other glaring issue with PER is that it lacks a benchmark, or some type of measurement to fall back on to confirm the metric is grounded in reliability. If you’re familiar with other popular impact metrics, you may remember that they are often backed by RAPM, which is arguably the strongest all-in-one metric basketball has to offer. If not, I have written in-depth about RAPM before [4] if you’re interested in learning more about it. (TW: Math.) PER has been around for nearly twenty years, so it’s no surprise that it has been one-upped by more recent metrics, but the larger issue is that John Hollinger has refused to update the metric. PER has been more or less the same since 2005, which excludes the metric from the comprehensive analytical techniques of today. This, paired with the inconclusive nature of the metric’s logic, makes PER one of the less viable options to analyze players.

    Should You Use It?

    The biggest argument against using PER is that there are many better alternatives, which is true. Estimated Plus/Minus, LEBRON, RAPTOR, and BPM, among others, all have more solid bases in accomplishing their goals. We’ve discussed the positives and the negatives of the metric, and are hopefully all able to recognize that both exist. But, again, PER is simply outdated. Hollinger’s refusal to refine his metric has left it in the dust. You’re much better off using the Backpicks (proprietary) or Basketball-Reference models of BPM if you’re looking to view a player’s impact from the perspective of the box score. But does this mean PER is bad?

    I wouldn’t say so. PER has a very intriguing basis, and the logic Hollinger incorporated into the metric shows a considerable understanding of how basketball is played and won. Therefore, PER is still going to be quite a hit-or-miss metric, as lots of them are. But it’s not “bad” to the point that it measures every player off the mark. Heck, there’s the off-chance that PER pins a player down just right! However, it’s not great either, especially considering its peers. So the next time someone tells you PER is the worst thing to grace the Earth, tell them it could be worse. If it helps, tell them to look into Wins Produced from the Wages of Wins Journal. But that’s all from me, folks. I hope this was a somewhat insightful look into PER, and that you’re next perusing of a leaderboard is that much more confident.

    [1] https://www.basketball-reference.com/about/per.html

    [2] https://www.basketball-reference.com/players/j/jamesle01.html

    [3] https://www.basketball-reference.com/leagues/NBA_2022.html

    [4] http://www.cryptbeam.com/2021/03/08/how-do-nba-impact-metrics-work/


  • My Top-10 NBA MVP Candidates (2/27/22)

    My Top-10 NBA MVP Candidates (2/27/22)

    (📸 The Ringer)

    The conflict between performing and storytelling on the basketball court has clouded the MVP race for decades; and like other highly-divisive topics in sports, both sides are represented by two camps:

    Criteria

    Traditionally, the MVP has a very loose criterion that hinges on the voter’s ability to tell a story with their vote. For example, take 2011 Derrick Rose’s MVP. He was clearly not the best regular-season player that year, but the Chicago Bulls sneaked up behind the newly-formed Heatles and snagged the first seed in the East. Sure, the Bulls were successful because of their defense and not their offense, but Rose’s floor-raising efforts and acrobatic, engaging playstyle drew fans to the screens and promoted the league’s popularity. Was Derrick Rose the “Most Valuable Player” in 2011? No; but nominating him as the MVP was good for the NBA.

    Perhaps more recently, there are those who strictly adhere to how “good” a player is when selecting their MVP ballot. This is a basketball-only approach that looks to recognize players based on their ability to affect a team’s chances of winnings: win-loss record, seeding, home-court advantage, all of that. There’s an obvious appeal here: it’s less biased than narrative-based voting when done right; it provides a sturdier baseline to evaluate candidates (not everyone cares who the best player on the best team is when using storylines); and it forces us to look closer at what’s happening on the court and overcome the deficiencies in our thought-processes.

    I flesh out these two approaches to not advocate for one or the other, but to establish my priorities as I assemble this list. Typically, my content has been based around the second approach: trying to use observations and material evidence to support arguments for one player or another. While such an approach is fully appropriate for, say, a player rankings list, I’m not sure the same applies to the MVP Award. Perhaps the “Most Valuable Player” isn’t necessarily providing the most value toward winning, but toward the welfare of the Association. With this in mind, I’ll still reference a player’s actual skill and heavily weigh it in my final ranking, but another priority is how a player has been drawing fan interest and promoting league viewership to provide a more holistic view of who has been the NBA’s Most Valuable Player in 2022.

    —-

    10. Kevin Durant

    The Slim Reaper has missed some time with injury troubles, but has still been playing around MVP levels when he’s on the court. Durant has assembled a masterful offensive skill set throughout his career, pairing his length in driving lanes with all-time shooting ability, which are exactly the types of characteristics you’d wish to see in a player who moves the needle for championship offenses. 

    9. Luka Doncic

    The greatest basketball prodigy since LeBron James started off the season in a bit of a slump, but picked himself up in recent weeks, re-evolving into the dangerous offensive centerpiece we’ve seen him be for the third consecutive season. Doncic can hit defenses quickly with unexpected attacks and passes out of traps extremely well. He’s a similar build to James in that he can quarterback an elite offense surrounded by shooters who leverages his drive-and-kick game to their advantage. Dallas has also made a surprise entrance as a top-five team in the West by SRS. [1]

    8. Chris Paul

    The Phoenix Suns have been the best team in basketball so far, and it would be narratively unjust to go without recognizing one of their players. Among the league leaders in my hand-tracking of shot creation, Paul is a masterful pick-and-roll ball-handler, splitting defenses at will and punishing drop with his lethal mid-range shooting. He drives Phoenix’s offense and manages to play at All-NBA levels while fighting against Father Time’s inescapable aging curve. CP3 is a talent for the ages.

    7. Ja Morant

    My favorite player to watch in 2022 and the sport’s next great athletic freak. Morant has been the figurehead of an exciting Memphis Grizzlies squad while being one of the more improved players in the league, playing around All-NBA basketball this year. At his best, Morant creates easy offense like the game’s very best. His incredibly dynamic scoring and uncanny passing vision formulates one of the most unique offense skill sets in the sport. Morant will do all this and also steal defensive rebounds from your favorite big man.

    6. DeMar DeRozan

    DeRozan is one of very few players who have proved they can still be one of the game’s very best scorers without three-point shooting. He’s been breaking basketball with his mid-range shooting, making 51% of a mind-shattering 14.5 attempts per 75 possessions! [2] DeRozan’s storyline would arguably make him a finalist if I were more partial to narratives, but there’s too weak of a stance based on performance alone. Playoff concerns aside, this player has been a unit on the basketball court, revitalizing a stunted career and shedding loads of doubt from critics.

    5. LeBron James

    The King is still really good at basketball. He’s been having one of his best regular season in years, punishing defenses with the scoring that vaulted his name into the GOAT conversation many years ago. Also one of the best passers in the sport and an adequate floor-spacer whose timeless athletic prowess makes him a strong defensive player even in his nineteenth season. The regular season could be hinting toward the reemergence of Playoff LeBron in a few month’s time.

    4. Giannis Antetokounmpo

    Ah, the wonders of voter fatigue. The Greek Freak was the third finalist on my ballot from last year, and while he’s done an outstanding job of raising the ceiling for a smaller-market team, the league might do better spicing things up a bit. Regardless, Antetokounmpo is arguably the first or second-best player in basketball right now, making the fourth spot my absolute floor for him.

    3. Stephen Curry

    Probably the face of the NBA. Curry is among the league-leaders in merchandise sales [3] and promotes the best TV ratings [4] in the league. His scoring has taken a massive hit from its glorious past, but his ability to bend and break defenses remains. Curry is loved by impact metrics and is having one of the best defensive and passing seasons of his career. Given he had maintained his early-season hot streak, he would be the top player on this list. But for now, he slides back to third.

    2. Joel Embiid

    Embiid is a masterful scorer who pairs punishing brute force in the paint with grateful skill on the block that garnered (self-anointed) comparisons to the likes of Kobe Bryant and Hakeem Olajuwon. He’s still one of the strongest defenders in the league and an improving playmaker. The fans seem to want to see Embiid as a finalist for a second straight season, and such recognition is warranted.

    1. Nikola Jokic

    The claim for the best player in the league in 2022 seems particularly exclusive this season because of the Joker. We’re talking about a player who has legitimate arguments as both the best scorer and playmaker in the sport right now, blending three-level scoring with an unheralded array of passes that stretch defenses to their absolute limits. Jokic has also been a clear positive on defense this season. By the way, Denver outscoring teams by +9.7 points per 100 with him on the floor and have been 19.2 points worse with him off. [5]

    [1] https://www.basketball-reference.com/leagues/NBA_2022.html

    [2] https://backpicks.com/2022-players/

    [3] https://www.nba.com/news/nba-top-selling-jerseys

    [4] https://sbi.co.in/web/sbi-in-the-news/research-desk

    [5] https://www.basketball-reference.com/players/j/jokicni01.html


  • Park-Adjusted Statistics for the MLB

    Park-Adjusted Statistics for the MLB

    (📸 MLB.com)

    The development of sabermetrics in Major League Baseball has coincided with an increased awareness of confounders, one of which is the effect of ballparks and their playing environments. The ubiquitous example is Coors Field in Denver, whose abnormal elevation is known to cause baseballs to travel 5 to 10% farther than at typical sea level. [1] While comprehensive statistics like On-Base Plus Slugging (OPS) and weighted Runs Created (wRC) have spawned improvements that account for such prior knowledge, these principles have yet to be widely applied to traditional box scores. Thus, I set out to develop a subset of “park factors” that can be used to manipulate statistics like batting average and home runs to provide a more level playing field when comparing these measurements between players of varying ballpark conditions.

    The Example

    Colorado Rockies players often have more scrutinized slash lines and power statistics because of the aforementioned data on the elevation effect. Let’s use home runs in the 2021 regular season as the example of park-adjusted statistics to observe the supposed bottom-line effect in home-run frequency between stadiums. To estimate a ballpark’s effect on home runs among all thirty teams, their home-run frequency (measured as home runs per plate appearance) is compared between home and away games. To include a larger breadth of information, a five-year data set was used. (For 2021, seasons 2017 through 2021 were used to calculate park factors.)

    Because the entire league is usually more prone to hit home runs at home than on the road (likely stemming from the home-field advantage), a small adjustment is made to reflect this. Additionally, only half of the measured effect is added to the rating because teams split roughly half of their schedule between home and away games. Therefore, the final measurement we’re left with is the percent increment of a team’s home-run frequency on the road versus at home relative to the league. This park factor can be used on the player level, too. Let’s see how the power-hitting landscape changes when these listed adjustments are applied to MLB batters.

    The Results

    NB: Traded players occupy multiple rows for each team played for.

    NameTeamAdj HRHRLuck
    Salvador PerezKCR5548-7
    Vladimir Guerrero Jr.TOR46482
    Marcus SemienTOR43452
    Fernando Tatis Jr.SDP4342-1
    Shohei OhtaniLAA43463
    Brandon LoweTBR4339-4
    Matt OlsonOAK4139-2
    Mitch HanigerSEA4139-2
    Rafael DeversBOS4038-2
    Tyler O’NeillSTL3934-5
    Nolan ArenadoSTL3934-5
    Pete AlonsoNYM3837-1
    Jose RamirezCLE3736-1
    Kyle SeagerSEA3735-2
    Aaron JudgeNYY36393
    Mike ZuninoTBR3633-3
    Paul GoldschmidtSTL3631-5
    Brandon BeltSFG3429-5
    Jorge PolancoMIN3433-1
    Austin RileyATL3433-1
    Yordan AlvarezHOU3433-1
    Max MuncyLAD33363
    Hunter RenfroeBOS3331-2
    Giancarlo StantonNYY33352
    Joey VottoCIN32364
    Bryce HarperPHI32353
    Freddie FreemanATL3231-1
    Jose AltuveHOU31310
    Franmil ReyesCLE3130-1
    Miguel SanoMIN3130-1
    Nick CastellanosCIN31343
    Teoscar HernandezTOR31321
    Ozzie AlbiesATL3130-1
    Kyle TuckerHOU30300
    Adolis GarciaTEX30311
    Austin MeadowsTBR3027-3
    J.D. MartinezBOS2928-1
    Ryan MountcastleBAL29334
    Mike YastrzemskiSFG2925-4
    Matt ChapmanOAK2927-2
    Jose AbreuCHW29301
    Manny MachadoSDP2928-1
    Patrick WisdomCHC28280
    Juan SotoWSN28291
    Avisail GarciaMIL28291
    Brandon CrawfordSFG2824-4
    Eugenio SuarezCIN28313
    Bo BichetteTOR28291
    Dansby SwansonATL27270
    Jared WalshLAA27292
    Bryan ReynoldsPIT2724-3
    Cedric Mullins IIBAL27303
    Josh DonaldsonMIN2726-1
    Carlos CorreaHOU26260
    Bobby DalbecBOS2625-1
    Josh BellWSN26271
    Ian HappCHC25250
    Justin TurnerLAD25272
    C.J. CronCOL25283
    Rhys HoskinsPHI24273
    Andrew McCutchenPHI24273
    Ronald Acuna Jr.ATL24240
    Kyle SchwarberWSN24251
    Xander BogaertsBOS2423-1
    Jesus AguilarMIA2422-2
    Adam DuvallMIA2422-2
    Joey GalloTEX24251
    Robbie GrossmanDET2423-1
    Will SmithLAD23252
    Eduardo EscobarARI2322-1
    Jonathan SchoopDET2322-1
    Eric HaaseDET2322-1
    Luis UriasMIL22231
    Javier BaezCHC22220
    Yasmani GrandalCHW22231
    Randy ArozarenaTBR2220-2
    Paul DeJongSTL2219-3
    Carlos SantanaKCR2219-3
    Jesse WinkerCIN22242
    Jake CronenworthSDP21210
    Gary SanchezNYY21232
    Trevor StoryCOL21243
    Seth BrownOAK2120-1
    Willson ContrerasCHC21210
    Mookie BettsLAD21232
    Enrique HernandezBOS2120-1
    Randal GrichukTOR21221
    George SpringerTOR21221
    Buster PoseySFG2118-3
    Wilmer FloresSFG2118-3
    LaMonte Wade Jr.SFG2118-3
    Francisco LindorNYM2120-1
    Dylan CarlsonSTL2118-3
    Ryan McMahonCOL20233
    Lourdes Gurriel Jr.TOR20211
    Jazz Chisholm Jr.MIA2018-2
    Austin HaysBAL20222
    Byron BuxtonMIN19190
    Nelson CruzMIN19190
    Max KeplerMIN19190
    Andrew BenintendiKCR1917-2
    Willy AdamesMIL19201
    A.J. PollockLAD19212
    Jonathan IndiaCIN19212
    Ty FranceSEA1918-1
    Jonathan VillarNYM1918-1
    Trey ManciniBAL19212
    Darin RufSFG1916-3
    Cesar HernandezCLE1918-1
    Harrison BaderSTL1816-2
    Chris TaylorLAD18202
    Hunter DozierKCR1816-2
    Brad MillerPHI18202
    Kris BryantCHC18180
    Mark CanhaOAK1817-1
    Sean MurphyOAK1817-1
    Trea TurnerWSN17181
    Wil MyersSDP17170
    Nathaniel LoweTEX17181
    Tyler NaquinCIN17192
    Jeimer CandelarioDET1716-1
    Bobby BradleyCLE1716-1
    Adam DuvallATL16160
    Tim AndersonCHW16171
    Anthony SantanderBAL16182
    Elias DiazCOL16182
    Justin UptonLAA16171
    Luis TorrensSEA1615-1
    Kevin PillarNYM1615-1
    Miguel CabreraDET1615-1
    J.T. RealmutoPHI15172
    Jesus SanchezMIA1514-1
    Trent GrishamSDP15150
    Tommy PhamSDP15150
    Yuli GurrielHOU15150
    Evan LongoriaSFG1513-2
    Alex DickersonSFG1513-2
    Jed LowrieOAK1514-1
    Ramon LaureanoOAK1514-1
    Jorge SolerKCR1513-2
    Corey SeagerLAD15161
    Jarred KelenicSEA1514-1
    Michael ConfortoNYM1514-1
    Ketel MarteARI1514-1
    Kyle FarmerCIN14162
    Ryan JeffersMIN14140
    Andrew VaughnCHW14151
    Jorge SolerATL14140
    Chas McCormickHOU14140
    Nelson CruzTBR1413-1
    Yandy DiazTBR1413-1
    Brett PhillipsTBR1413-1
    Anthony RizzoCHC14140
    Austin SlaterSFG1412-2
    Rougned OdorNYY14151
    Alex VerdugoBOS1413-1
    Michael A. TaylorKCR1412-2
    Ryan ZimmermanWSN14140
    Kolten WongMIL14140
    Carson KellyARI13130
    Akil BaddooDET13130
    Yoan MoncadaCHW13141
    Mitch GarverMIN13130
    Brendan RodgersCOL13152
    Frank SchwindelCHC13130
    Gio UrshelaNYY13141
    Jean SeguraPHI13141
    Yadier MolinaSTL1311-2
    Tommy EdmanSTL1311-2
    Manny PinaMIL13130
    Dylan MooreSEA1312-1
    Luis RobertCHW12131
    Sam HilliardCOL12142
    Gregory PolancoPIT1211-1
    Eric HosmerSDP12120
    Martin MaldonadoHOU12120
    Alex BregmanHOU12120
    Joey GalloNYY12131
    Max StassiLAA12131
    Joey WendleTBR1211-1
    Ji-Man ChoiTBR1211-1
    Odubel HerreraPHI12131
    Didi GregoriusPHI12131
    Tyrone TaylorMIL12120
    DJ PetersTEX12120
    Tom MurphySEA1211-1
    Charlie BlackmonCOL11132
    Dominic SmithNYM11110
    Josh RojasARI11110
    Daulton VarshoARI11110
    Pavin SmithARI11110
    Whit MerrifieldKCR1110-1
    Amed RosarioCLE11110
    Colin MoranPIT1110-1
    Rafael OrtegaCHC11110
    Joc PedersonCHC11110
    Albert PujolsLAD11121
    Manuel MargotTBR1110-1
    D.J. StewartBAL11121
    Omar NarvaezMIL11110
    Mitch MorelandOAK1110-1
    Nick SolakTEX11110
    Danny JansenTOR11110
    Gavin SheetsCHW10111
    James McCannNYM10100
    Christian WalkerARI10100
    Austin HedgesCLE10100
    Ryan O’HearnKCR109-1
    Luke VoitNYY10111
    Lewis BrinsonMIA109-1
    Garrett CooperMIA109-1
    Miguel RojasMIA109-1
    Pedro SeverinoBAL10111
    Maikel FrancoBAL10111
    Garrett HampsonCOL10111
    Jonah HeimTEX10100
    Eloy JimenezCHW10100
    Jake FraleySEA990
    J.P. CrawfordSEA990
    Javier BaezNYM990
    Steven DuggarSFG98-1
    Willi CastroDET990
    Niko GoodrumDET990
    DJ LeMahieuNYY9101
    Brett GardnerNYY9101
    Kyle HigashiokaNYY9101
    Yu ChangCLE990
    Jack MayfieldLAA9101
    Brent RookerMIN990
    Trea TurnerLAD9101
    Cody BellingerLAD9101
    Tyler StephensonCIN9101
    Aristides AquinoCIN9101
    Yoshi TsutsugoPIT98-1
    Ben GamelPIT98-1
    Jacob StallingsPIT98-1
    Dom NunezCOL9101
    Lewin DiazMIA98-1
    Yan GomesWSN990
    Yadiel HernandezWSN990
    Christian YelichMIL990
    Daniel VogelbachMIL990
    Tony KempOAK880
    Taylor TrammellSEA880
    Gleyber TorresNYY891
    Brandon NimmoNYM880
    David PeraltaARI880
    Bradley ZimmerCLE880
    Alex KirilloffMIN880
    Ha-seong KimSDP880
    Thairo EstradaSFG87-1
    Tommy La StellaSFG87-1
    Donovan SolanoSFG87-1
    Kris BryantSFG87-1
    William ContrerasATL880
    Michael BrantleyHOU880
    Aledmys DiazHOU880
    Jason CastroHOU880
    Jason HeywardCHC880
    David BoteCHC880
    Freddy GalvisBAL891
    Michael PerezPIT87-1
    Lorenzo CainMIL880
    Isiah Kiner-FalefaTEX880
    Starling MarteMIA87-1
    Brian AndersonMIA87-1
    Wander FrancoTBR87-1
    Alejandro KirkTOR880
    Brian GoodwinCHW880
    Anthony RizzoNYY781
    Jose IglesiasLAA781
    Mike TroutLAA781
    Taylor WardLAA781
    Kyle SchwarberBOS770
    Jeff McNeilNYM770
    Asdrubal CabreraARI770
    Eddie RosarioCLE770
    Josh NaylorCLE770
    Jordan LuplowCLE770
    Roberto PerezCLE770
    Harold RamirezCLE770
    Willians AstudilloMIN770
    Trevor LarnachMIN770
    Victor CaratiniSDP770
    Marcell OzunaATL770
    Eddie RosarioATL770
    Travis d’ArnaudATL770
    Joc PedersonATL770
    Connor JoeCOL781
    Edmundo SosaSTL76-1
    Adalberto MondesiKCR76-1
    Lane ThomasWSN770
    Rowdy TellezMIL770
    Andy IbanezTEX770
    Cavan BiggioTOR770
    Ke’Bryan HayesPIT76-1
    Yermin MercedesCHW770
    Adam EngelCHW770
    Francisco MejiaTBR76-1
    Phil GosselinLAA671
    Gavin LuxLAD671
    Zach McKinstryLAD671
    Matt BeatyLAD671
    Chad PinderOAK660
    Ronald TorreyesPHI671
    Alec BohmPHI671
    Christian VazquezBOS660
    Christian ArroyoBOS660
    Tucker BarnhartCIN671
    Jose PerazaNYM660
    Ramon UriasBAL671
    Josh VanMeterARI660
    Andy YoungARI660
    Dustin GarneauDET660
    Jake RogersDET660
    Wilson RamosDET660
    Zack ShortDET660
    Oscar MercadoCLE660
    Joshua FuentesCOL671
    Jake MeyersHOU660
    Abraham ToroHOU660
    Mauricio DubonSFG65-1
    Curt CasaliSFG65-1
    Josh HarrisonWSN660
    Luis GarciaWSN660
    Carter KieboomWSN660
    Jace PetersonMIL660
    Jackie Bradley Jr.MIL660
    Eduardo EscobarMIL660
    Travis ShawMIL660
    Willie CalhounTEX660
    Jason MartinTEX660
    Eli WhiteTEX660
    Lars NootbaarSTL65-1
    Jake LambCHW660
    Edward OlivaresKCR65-1
    Anthony AlfordPIT65-1
    Phillip EvansPIT65-1
    Kevin NewmanPIT65-1
    Rodolfo CastroPIT65-1
    Miguel AndujarNYY660
    Anthony RendonLAA660
    Juan LagaresLAA660
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    Adam ConleyTBR000
    J.B. WendelkenOAK000
    J.B. WendelkenARI000
    Jorge LopezBAL000
    Carlos EstevezCOL000
    Jose RuizCHW000
    James HoytLAA000
    Rowan WickCHC000
    Konner WadeBAL000
    Jandel GustaveMIL000
    Dillon MaplesCHC000
    Duane Underwood Jr.PIT000
    Tzu-Wei LinMIN000
    Andres MachadoWSN000
    Keone KelaSDP000
    Anthony BandaNYM000
    Anthony BandaPIT000
    Brady LailSEA000
    Edwin DiazNYM000
    Paul BlackburnOAK000
    Emilio PaganSDP000
    Buck FarmerDET000
    Michael LorenzenCIN000
    Joe MantiplyARI000
    Zack GodleyMIL000
    Sam MollOAK000
    Taylor WilliamsMIA000
    Taylor WilliamsSDP000
    Johan CamargoATL000
    Reyes MorontaSFG000
    Tyler WebbSTL000
    Giovanny GallegosSTL000
    Scott BarlowKCR000
    Yacksel RiosBOS000
    Yacksel RiosSEA000
    Kyle FinneganWSN000
    Corey KnebelLAD000
    Alex ReyesSTL000
    Tim MayzaTOR000
    Lou TrivinoOAK000
    Yency AlmonteCOL000
    Kyle McGowinWSN000
    Hunter WoodTEX000
    Luke FarrellMIN000
    Jimmie SherfyLAD000
    Jimmie SherfySFG000
    Drew AndersonTEX000
    Jake NewberryKCR000
    Ashton GoudeauCIN000
    Justin TopaMIL000
    Aaron SlegersLAA000
    Cody ReedTBR000
    Cole SulserBAL000
    Keynan MiddletonSEA000
    Adam CimberTOR000
    Adam CimberMIA000
    Austin PruittMIA000
    Austin PruittHOU000
    Andrew HeaneyNYY000
    Mike MayersLAA000
    Nick PivettaBOS000
    Marco GonzalesSEA000
    Stephen GonsalvesBOS000
    Hunter HarveyBAL000
    Kendall GravemanSEA000
    Kendall GravemanHOU000
    Joseph OdomTBR000
    Eric YardleyMIL000
    Tyler RogersSFG000
    Chad GreenNYY000
    Nick WittgrenCLE000
    Phillips ValdezBOS000
    Yefry RamirezLAD000
    Miguel CastroNYM000
    Brad KellerKCR000
    Joe JimenezDET000
    Devin WilliamsMIL000
    Paul FryBAL000
    Adam PlutkoBAL000
    Kent EmanuelHOU000
    Wander SueroWSN000
    Stephen TarpleyNYM000
    Luis SeverinoNYY000
    Lewis ThorpeMIN000
    Ryne StanekHOU000
    Keury MellaARI000
    Akeem BostickNYM000
    Stefan CrichtonARI000
    Taylor GushueCHC000
    Daniel Ponce de LeonSTL000
    Jordan RomanoTOR000
    Chris EllisBAL000
    Chris EllisTBR000
    John CurtissMIA000
    John CurtissMIL000
    David HessTBR000
    David HessMIA000
    Carlos RodonCHW000
    Jace FryCHW000
    Spencer TurnbullDET000
    Jake ReedLAD000
    Jake ReedNYM000
    Tejay AntoneCIN000
    Aaron BummerCHW000
    Sam HowardPIT000
    Sam ClayWSN000
    Jesus TinocoCOL000
    Alex McRaeCHW000
    Ryan BoruckiTOR000
    Ryan CastellaniCOL000
    Brad WieckCHC000
    Reynaldo LopezCHW000
    Domingo LeybaARI000
    Victor GonzalezLAD000
    Blake TaylorHOU000
    Scott BlewettKCR000
    James NorwoodSDP000
    Conner GreeneBAL000
    Conner GreeneLAD000
    Brent HoneywellTBR000
    Roel RamirezSTL000
    Ryan YarbroughTBR000
    Dan AltavillaSDP000
    Jordan MontgomeryNYY000
    Dusten KnightBAL000
    Erik SwansonSEA000
    Kevin PadloSEA000
    Bryan AbreuHOU000
    J.P. FeyereisenTBR000
    J.P. FeyereisenMIL000
    Ryan ThompsonTBR000
    Julian MerryweatherTOR000
    Vinny NittoliSEA000
    Josh JamesHOU000
    Tim HillSDP000
    Touki ToussaintATL000
    Sean NewcombATL000
    Jake JewellCHC000
    Tyler BeedeSFG000
    Trevor HildenbergerNYM000
    Jefry RodriguezWSN000
    Sean Reid-FoleyNYM000
    Domingo AcevedoOAK000
    Austin DavisBOS000
    Austin DavisPIT000
    Raisel IglesiasLAA000
    Domingo GermanNYY000
    Gabe SpeierKCR000
    Yoan LopezARI000
    Dinelson LametSDP000
    Austin BriceBOS000
    Sam CoonrodPHI000
    Michael KopechCHW000
    Javy GuerraSDP000
    Framber ValdezHOU000
    Edgar SantanaATL000
    Josh TaylorBOS000
    Brett MartinTEX000
    David PaulinoPHI000
    Erick FeddeWSN000
    Albert AbreuNYY000
    Spenser WatkinsBAL000
    Genesis CabreraSTL000
    Diego CastilloSEA000
    Diego CastilloTBR000
    Jorge GuzmanMIA000
    Ryan BurrCHW000
    Jimmy HergetLAA000
    Jimmy HergetTEX000
    Marcos DiplanBAL000
    Tanner ScottBAL000
    Cristian JavierHOU000
    Tanner RaineyWSN000
    Justin LawrenceCOL000
    Jeffrey SpringsTBR000
    Ralph GarzaMIN000
    Ralph GarzaHOU000
    Trevor MegillCHC000
    Skye BoltSFG000
    Nabil CrismattSDP000
    Evan PhillipsTBR000
    Evan PhillipsLAD000
    Tyler AlexanderDET000
    Brody KoernerNYY000
    Drew SmithNYM000
    Angel PerdomoMIL000
    Jose AlvaradoPHI000
    Jake BrentzKCR000
    Patrick WeigelMIL000
    Dillon TateBAL000
    Daniel ZamoraSEA000
    Ian GibautMIN000
    Nestor CortesNYY000
    Dennis SantanaTEX000
    Dennis SantanaLAD000
    Tayler SaucedoTOR000
    Cody PoncePIT000
    Trent ThorntonTOR000
    Tyler GilbertARI000
    Peter LambertCOL000
    Pete FairbanksTBR000
    Hoy ParkNYY000
    Tanner AndersonPIT000
    Phil MatonCLE000
    Phil MatonHOU000
    Cody StashakMIN000
    Ryan MeisingerCHC000
    Ryan HelsleySTL000
    Jay FlaaBAL000
    Jay FlaaATL000
    Anthony MisiewiczSEA000
    Art WarrenCIN000
    Jarlin GarciaSFG000
    Tyler KinleyCOL000
    Carson FulmerCIN000
    Josh SborzTEX000
    Taylor HearnTEX000
    Eric HanholdBAL000
    Alex YoungCLE000
    Alex YoungARI000
    Josh StaumontKCR000
    Nick AndersonTBR000
    Julian FernandezCOL000
    Brandon WaddellBAL000
    Brandon WaddellMIN000
    Brandon WaddellSTL000
    Jaime BarriaLAA000
    Thomas EshelmanBAL000
    Connor OvertonTOR000
    Scott EffrossCHC000
    Travis BlankenhornMIN000
    Enyel De Los SantosPHI000
    Enyel De Los SantosPIT000
    Trey AmburgeyNYY000
    Shea SpitzbarthPIT000
    Junior FernandezSTL000
    Josh RogersWSN000
    Phil BickfordMIL000
    Sam HentgesCLE000
    Logan AllenCLE000
    Travis BergenTOR000
    Travis Lakins Sr.BAL000
    A.J. MinterATL000
    Kolby AllardTEX000
    Nick NeidertMIA000
    Dillon PetersPIT000
    Miguel Del PozoDET000
    Drew SteckenriderSEA000
    Miguel DiazSDP000
    Pedro AvilaSDP000
    Beau BurrowsDET000
    Beau BurrowsMIN000
    Kyle KellerPIT000
    Zack BurdiBAL000
    Zack BurdiCHW000
    Corey RayMIL000
    Tommy NanceCHC000
    Kirby SneadTOR000
    Robert DuggerSEA000
    Brandyn SittingerARI000
    Conner MenezSFG000
    Jose QuijadaLAA000
    Mitch WhiteLAD000
    Caleb BaragarSFG000
    Wes BenjaminTEX000
    Miguel AguilarARI000
    Seranthony DominguezPHI000
    Thomas HatchTOR000
    T.J. ZeuchTOR000
    Jacob WebbATL000
    Edgar GarciaMIN000
    Edgar GarciaCIN000
    Trevor RichardsTBR000
    Trevor RichardsTOR000
    Trevor RichardsMIL000
    Joey LucchesiNYM000
    Richard LoveladyKCR000
    A.J. PukOAK000
    Daulton JefferiesOAK000
    Dean KremerBAL000
    Keegan AkinBAL000
    Shane BieberCLE000
    Yohan RamirezSEA000
    Shaun AndersonBAL000
    Shaun AndersonMIN000
    Shaun AndersonSDP000
    Michael RuckerCHC000
    Kyle FunkhouserDET000
    Bryan GarciaDET000
    Jorge AlcalaMIN000
    Aaron CivaleCLE000
    Ryan HartmanHOU000
    Andrew VasquezLAD000
    Devin SmeltzerMIN000
    Raynel EspinalBOS000
    Jacob RobsonDET000
    Jason FoleyDET000
    Ryan HendrixCIN000
    Jimmy LambertCHW000
    Stephen NogosekNYM000
    Jon DuplantierARI000
    J.D. HammerPHI000
    Geoff HartliebNYM000
    Geoff HartliebPIT000
    Bernardo Flores Jr.STL000
    David BednarPIT000
    JoJo RomeroPHI000
    Sean PoppenTBR000
    Sean PoppenARI000
    Sean PoppenPIT000
    Otto LopezTOR000
    Cionel PerezCIN000
    Jordan HicksSTL000
    Jack KrugerLAA000
    Matt FosterCHW000
    Zach ReksLAD000
    Gregory SotoDET000
    Jordan SheffieldCOL000
    Kyle CodyTEX000
    Connor SeaboldBOS000
    Patrick MurphyTOR000
    Patrick MurphyWSN000
    Dustin MayLAD000
    Kodi WhitleySTL000
    Anthony BenderMIA000
    Jonathan LoaisigaNYY000
    Reiver SanmartinCIN000
    Seth ElledgeSTL000
    Will VestSEA000
    Justin GarzaCLE000
    Anthony CastroTOR000
    Bryan BakerTOR000
    Daniel CastanoMIA000
    Riley SmithARI000
    Alexander WellsBAL000
    Darwinzon HernandezBOS000
    Michael KingNYY000
    Charlie BarnesMIN000
    Brandon BielakHOU000
    Griffin CanningLAA000
    Drew CarltonDET000
    Tucker DavidsonATL000
    Kevin GinkelARI000
    Tanner HouckBOS000
    Gabe KlobositsWSN000
    Alex LangeDET000
    Clarke SchmidtNYY000
    Adonis MedinaPHI000
    Jose SuarezLAA000
    Trevor StephanCLE000
    Jhon RomeroWSN000
    Ljay NewsomeSEA000
    Jesus LuzardoOAK000
    Jesus LuzardoMIA000
    Zach PlesacCLE000
    Bryse WilsonPIT000
    Dylan LeeATL000
    Tyler WellsBAL000
    Wyatt MillsSEA000
    John SchreiberBOS000
    Hunter OwenPIT000
    Darren McCaughanSEA000
    Adrian MorejonSDP000
    Ronald BolanosKCR000
    Sean GuentherMIA000
    Kaleb OrtBOS000
    Bailey FalterPHI000
    Miguel SanchezMIL000
    Mauricio LloveraPHI000
    James KarinchakCLE000
    Nick NelsonNYY000
    Nate PearsonTOR000
    Ty TiceTOR000
    Ty TiceATL000
    Zach PopMIA000
    Ben BowdenCOL000
    Eli MorganCLE000
    Jeremy BeasleyTOR000
    Mike BaumannBAL000
    Yennsy DiazNYM000
    Tyler IveyHOU000
    Zac LowtherBAL000
    Griffin JaxMIN000
    Mario FelicianoMIL000
    Deivi GarciaNYY000
    Jhonathan DiazLAA000
    Alec BettingerMIL000
    Andre ScrubbHOU000
    Kyle DohyPHI000
    Riley O’BrienCIN000
    Brusdar GraterolLAD000
    Ramon RossoPHI000
    Matt ManningDET000
    Bruce ZimmermannBAL000
    Andres MunozSEA000
    Tyler ZuberKCR000
    Antonio SantosCOL000
    Isaac MattsonBAL000
    Anthony KayTOR000
    Nick MargeviciusSEA000
    Luis MaderoMIA000
    Josh FlemingTBR000
    Jovani MoranMIN000
    Rony GarciaDET000
    Enoli ParedesHOU000
    Peter SolomonHOU000
    J.B. BukauskasARI000
    Casey MizeDET000
    Scott HurstSTL000
    Kyle NelsonCLE000
    Nick SandlinCLE000
    Kutter CrawfordBOS000
    JC MejiaCLE000
    Yusei KikuchiSEA000
    Cristopher SanchezPHI000
    Manuel RodriguezCHC000
    Eduard BazardoBOS000
    Francisco PerezCLE000
    Oliver OrtegaLAA000
    Emmanuel ClaseCLE000
    Seth MartinezHOU000
    Luis GilNYY000
    Thomas SzapuckiNYM000
    Demarcus EvansTEX000
    Dauri MoretaCIN000
    Miguel YajurePIT000
    Tyler PayneCHC000
    Brooks KriskeBAL000
    Brooks KriskeNYY000
    Darien NunezLAD000
    Connor BrogdonPHI000
    Lucas GilbreathCOL000
    Andre JacksonLAD000
    Jake LatzTEX000
    Glenn OttoTEX000
    Joe RyanMIN000
    Ryan FeltnerCOL000
    Kris BubicKCR000
    Shane McClanahanTBR000
    Daniel LynchKCR000
    Reiss KnehrSDP000
    Jackson KowarKCR000
    Jake CousinsMIL000
    Elvis PegueroLAA000
    Kervin CastroSFG000
    Luis OviedoPIT000
    Jose MarteLAA000
    Mason ThompsonWSN000
    Mason ThompsonSDP000
    Gregory SantosSFG000
    Camilo DovalSFG000
    Luis FriasARI000
    Angel RondonSTL000
    John KingTEX000
    Aaron FletcherSEA000
    Kyle TylerLAA000
    Ryan ViladeCOL000
    Max KranickPIT000
    Hans CrousePHI000
    Mac ScerolerBAL000
    Jon HeasleyKCR000
    Paul CampbellMIA000
    Logan GilbertSEA000
    Shane BazTBR000
    Tarik SkubalDET000
    Dylan ColemanKCR000
    Joe BarlowTEX000
    Chris RodriguezLAA000
    A.J. AlexyTEX000
    Stephen RidingsNYY000
    Nivaldo RodriguezHOU000
    Carlos HernandezKCR000
    Angel ZerpaKCR000
    Roansy ContrerasPIT000
    Luis PatinoTBR000
    Joan AdonWSN000
    Spencer HowardTEX000
    Packy NaughtonLAA000
    Codi HeuerCHW000
    Codi HeuerCHC000
    Janson JunkLAA000
    Damon JonesPHI000
    Nick SnyderTEX000
    Aaron AshbyMIL000
    Ryan DorowTEX000
    Brett de GeusTEX000
    Brett de GeusARI000
    Luis GarciaHOU000
    Justin BruihlLAD000
    Randy DobnakMIN000
    Nick AllgeyerTOR000
    Josiah GrayLAD000
    Jonathan StieverCHW000
    Cody WilsonWSN000
    Andrew WantzLAA000
    Austin WarrenLAA000
    Cooper CriswellLAA000
    Alex VesiaLAD000
    Nick MearsPIT000
    Brady SingerKCR000
    Drew RasmussenMIL000
    Alek ManoahTOR000
    Garrett CrochetCHW000
    Reid DetmersLAA000
    Spencer StriderATL000
    Kohei AriharaTEX000
    Hyeon-jong YangTEX000
    Hirokazu SawamuraBOS000

    The above table represents five properties: 1) the player’s name; 2) the team for which the player accrued his statistics; 3) his “adjusted” home run total, which uses his team’s park factor; 4) his raw home run total, which does not use his team’s park factor; and 5) “luck,” which measures the difference between his actual home run total and his adjusted home run total. If we sort the table to reflect the luckiest and unluckiest batters, their listed teams will start to reflect which ballparks have the greatest promotion for home runs and which ones do not. It’s no surprise that there are numerous Rockies players near the top of this list:

    • C.J. Cron +3 (7th)
    • Trevor Story +3 (10th)
    • Ryan McMahon +3 (12th)
    • Elias Diaz +2 (23rd)
    • Brendan Rodgers +2 (30th)
    • Sam Hilliard +2 (34th)
    • Charlie Blackmon +2 (37th)

    Interestingly enough, Colorado has the lowest home-run park factor in 2021, which means the Coors Field environment has the most positive effect on homers compared to other ballparks! Conversely, we can sort to find the “unluckiest” batsmen in the league. Here, we (expectantly) see a whole new crop of players and teams:

    1. Salvador Perez -7 (KCR)
    2. Tyler O’Neill -5 (STL)
    3. Nolan Arenado -5 (STL)
    4. Brandon Belt -5 (SFG)
    5. Paul Goldschmidt -5 (STL)
    6. Mike Yastrzemski -4 (SFG)
    7. Brandon Crawford -4 (SFG)
    8. Brandon Lowe -4 (TBR)
    9. Mike Zunino -3 (TBR)
    10. Buster Posey -3 (SFG)

    The analytical approach does seem to corroborate the traditional ideas about Coors Field while also revealing insights into which ballparks don’t induce more home runs than usual. Here are the top-5 and bottom-5 teams in this 2021 version of the home-run park factor (higher meaning worse home-run environment, lower meaning better):

    • San Francisco Giants (1st)
    • St. Louis Cardinals (2nd)
    • Kansas City Royals (3rd)
    • Pittsburgh Pirates (4th)
    • Miami Marlins (5th)
    • Los Angeles Dodgers (26th)
    • Philadelphia Phillies (27th)
    • Cincinnati Reds (28th)
    • Baltimore Orioles (29th)
    • Colorado Rockies (30th)

    [1] https://www.colorado.edu/today/2021/07/07/its-outta-here-physics-baseball-mile-high


  • NBA All-Star Power Rankings (1/2/22)

    NBA All-Star Power Rankings (1/2/22)

    (📸 ClevelandSports.org)

    Ladies and gentlemen, welcome back to another edition of my NBA All-Star Power Rankings series! Here, I’ll detail the current landscape of the league’s best players and condense my thoughts into one All-Star ballot. Players will be arranged into tiers based on their level of play, which is entirely based on the degree of impact the player provides by helping teams gain higher seeding and home-court advantage for the Playoffs. To add a final disclaimer:

    This list is not my “prediction” of the league’s actual All-Star teams lineups. This is a reflection of my evaluations of players, and where that would place them in the NBA’s award hierarchy.

    Absolutely

    Within the league’s top-25 or so players is a group that has fully established itself as All-Star-caliber (or better). There’s little to no doubt in my mind that these players should be headed to Cleveland in February.

    • Giannis Antetokounmpo (East)
    • Jimmy Butler (East)
    • DeMar DeRozan (East)
    • Kevin Durant (East)
    • Joel Embiid (East)
    • James Harden (East)
    • Zach LaVine (East)
    • Trae Young (East)
    • Mike Conley (West)
    • Stephen Curry (West)
    • Anthony Davis* (West)
    • Luka Doncic (West)
    • Paul George* (West)
    • Rudy Gobert (West)
    • Draymond Green (West)
    • LeBron James (West)
    • Nikola Jokic (West)
    • Donovan Mitchell (West)
    • Ja Morant (West)
    • Chris Paul (West)
    • Karl-Anthony Towns (West)

    Because these are players whom I firmly believe are All-Stars, I won’t belabor any points. I will address the two asterisks next to Anthony Davis’s and Paul George’s names, which were added due to uncertainty surrounding their injury status come February. Davis and George are both currently out with a sprained MCL and a torn elbow ligament, respectively. Both will be re-evaluated in a few weeks’ time.

    Probably

    The “Probably” group includes players I currently believe are All-Star-level, but I may not be entirely sold on their status. A lot of these players will make my final ballot, but whether it be injuries, a lack of signals, or general uncertainty about their playstyle, I distinguish them from those I wholeheartedly believe are All-Stars.

    • Bam Adebayo (East)

    A unique mold of player for the modern game, Adebayo is on track to replicate his All-Star success from the last two seasons. He provides a level of spacing as a threat from the mid-range (39% on 8.6 attempts per 75) to tie into a strong overall scoring package, which he pairs with elite defense that has remained on the perennial DPOY watch.

    • Bradley Beal (East)

    Beal’s outside shooting slumped out of the gate, which was an attribute of his that was crucially valuable to an elite off-ball package. Resultantly, I can’t view him as an All-Star lock, but his passing and shot creation have been trending upward, which boosts his value in a floor-raising role, also helping to mask his questionable defensive play.

    • Jrue Holiday (East)

    Holiday is a player that provides a ton of value that the box score doesn’t capture. Adjusted Plus/Minus models have always looked fondly upon his shooting, passing, and tough brand of point-of-attack defense. After a while, it becomes hard to ignore what the analytics are communicating.

    • Khris Middleton (East)

    Minutes played alongside the Greek Freak have depleted Middleton’s scoring punch so far, (Middleton averages 28.5 points per 75 on 59% True Shooting as the lone star.) but his skills have still carried over: spacing, passing, and shot creation. My only setback is how those skills map to his overall impact; the metrics are concerningly low on Middleton thus far.

    • Jayson Tatum (East)

    After a rapid ascension in 2020, Tatum seems to have stagnated slightly. His shooting and scoring have been in decline, and he doesn’t have the playmaking chops like Lillard to make up for some of that value. He’s otherwise adding some on defense. This is one of many “Playoffs will tell” cases.

    • Damian Lillard (West)

    Lillard feels like an obvious choice most other seasons. The only reason I put him here is his early-season shooting slump. He’s quickly picked up where he left off previously, but his struggles have dented his scoring effectiveness and have slightly offset the continued value he brings as an elite playmaker.

    Maybe

    The league’s talent pool is stacked, and as a result I nearly overwhelmed the nominal threshold of an All-Star player being within the sport’s top-25. Since there’s a numerous amount of other players that provide impact in similar vain to these “probable” stars, the “maybe” talents serve as high sub-All-Stars and potential injury replacements.

    • Jarrett Allen (East)
    • LaMelo Ball (East)
    • Darius Garland (East)
    • Fred VanVleet (East)
    • Devin Booker (West)

    Again, perhaps these players could be viewed as legitimate All-Stars. The 2022 season hasn’t fully taken shape yet, which could mean rearrangement among the previous two tiers. I’m on the absolute fence with some of these players (e.g. Booker and Conley), whether it be more lack of indicators or too little room in the actual ballot.

    Note: I’m omitting the “Not Quite There” tier from previous editions of this series due to the influx of information that comes as the season progresses.

    Final Ballot

    Once again, we reach the trickiest part of this exercise. It was difficult enough to sort the closest calls, but the task extends when putting these players into their All-Star slots. Similar to the previous editions, the ballots are structured to include two teams for either conference: five starters with two backcourt and three frontcourt players, five reserves (same restrictions), and two “wild cards” (no positional restrictions).

    Eastern Conference

    Starters:

    • G: James Harden
    • G: Trae Young
    • F: Giannis Antetokounmpo
    • F: Kevin Durant
    • C: Joel Embiid

    Reserves:

    • G: DeMar DeRozan
    • G: Zach LaVine
    • F: Jimmy Butler
    • F: Jayson Tatum
    • C: Bam Adebayo

    Wild Cards:

    • W: Jrue Holiday
    • W: Khris Middleton

    The two closest calls here were 1) whether to give the last frontcourt reserves slot to Adebayo or Middleton and 2) whether to give the second wild-card slot to Middleton or Bradley Beal.

    Western Conference

    Starters:

    • G: Stephen Curry
    • G: Luka Doncic
    • F: LeBron James
    • C: Rudy Gobert
    • C: Nikola Jokic

    Reserves:

    • G: Damian Lillard
    • G: Donovan Mitchell
    • F: Anthony Davis*
    • F: Paul George*
    • C: Karl-Anthony Towns

    Wild Cards:

    • W: Chris Paul
    • W: Draymond Green

    Given the injuries to Davis and George persist, the roster would be rearranged to bump Draymond Green up to a frontcourt reserve slot, give Mike Conley the vacant wild card slot, and move Kristaps Porzingis into the second frontcourt reserve slot.

    Data from:

    • Backpicks.com
    • PBPStats.com