Commentary

Can Gerald Wallace regain form?

Analyzing player production versus preseason expectations

Originally Published: March 18, 2012
By Bradford Doolittle | Basketball Prospectus
Gerald WallaceKent Smith/NBAE/Getty ImagesGerald Wallace has been a disappointment on the court this season.

By our count, 27 active NBA players were moved in the days leading up to, and including, the trade deadline. If there is one common thread to this select group, it's that they are underachievers. The traded players have accumulated 47 fewer wins above replacement player than was projected for them this season. Just eight of the 27 have met or exceeded their preseason forecast, and the leading "overachiever" -- Nick Young -- has beaten his prediction by just 0.99 WARP.

What does this tell you? Teams tend to hold onto players that are producing well and meeting expectations, while shipping away guys that are disappointing or simply getting old. This made putting together our modest three-player Projection vs. Production group for today a bit of a challenge. We look for one overachiever, one underachiever and one guy who is hitting his projection on the nose. Today, we're limiting our pool to those 27 guys moved last week, so as it turned out, the "overachiever" pool was awfully dry.

Our projection system SCHOENE forecasts a full suite of our favorite metrics, but the bottom-line number to watch for is WARP, which measures how many more wins a player adds to his team's total than a freely available guy plucked off the scrap heap. While no single number can capture everything that happens in an interdynamic team sport like hoops, WARP points you in the right direction. When you see a WARP number that surprises you -- and remember, we know when to be surprised because we've predicted all these WARP scores -- the next step is to ask why. All the WARP numbers you see in this article have been prorated to 82 games, just to give the results an air of normalcy in this abbreviated NBA season.

Better Than We Thought

Nick Young, Los Angeles Clippers
Projected WARP: -0.9; current WARP: 0.1


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