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GOP_Tiger
LSU Fan
Baton Rouge
Member since Jan 2005
8938 posts

538 Player Projections for 2021-2022
The 538 website uses a metric that they named RAPTOR to evaluate an NBA player's contribution to winning. It's a complex metric that uses advanced stats (such as estimating a player's defensive ability by using the shooting percentage of an opposing player when the player is the closest defender to the opponent). If you want to see how a player scored last season, you can see that here. Five Thirty Eight then uses that RAPTOR score with the number of minutes played last season to estimate Wins Above Replacement (WAR) for players last season.

What's also interesting is that their computers also project how many WAR a player will generate over the course of his career, based on his numbers to date, by comparing the careers of similar players. They will also use college stats to project rookies' WAR. And now, 538 has updated those numbers for the upcoming 2021-2022 season.

LINK

Zion Williamson: 6.8 WAR last season up to 8.5 WAR this season
Brandon Ingram: 4.9 WAR last season up to 5.1 WAR this season
Jonas Valanciunas: 5.4 WAR last season down to 4.7 WAR this season
Devonte Graham: 4.8 WAR last season down to 4.5 WAR this season
Nickeil Alexander-Walker: 1.2 WAR last season up to 2.5 WAR this season

Josh Hart: 2.8 WAR last season up to 3.6 WAR this season
Kira Lewis: 0.5 WAR last season up to 1.5 WAR this season
Tomas Satoransky: 2.2 WAR last season down to 1.9 WAR this season
Naji Marshall: 0.9 WAR last season up to 1.4 WAR this season
Garrett Temple: 2.7 WAR last season down to 1.0 WAR this season
Jaxson Hayes: 1.3 WAR last season down to 1.0 WAR this season
Willy Hernangomez: 1.3 WAR last season down to 0.7 WAR this season

Didi Louzada: -0.2 WAR this season
Trey Murphy: 0.1 WAR this season
Herb Jones: 0.2 WAR this season

Keep in mind that WAR also reflects estimated minutes played. I could have done this post with the projected RAPTOR ratings instead of the projected WAR, but you can look at those yourself, if you like.
This post was edited on 9/5 at 3:12 pm


GOP_Tiger
LSU Fan
Baton Rouge
Member since Jan 2005
8938 posts

re: 538 Player Projections for 2021-2022
Some others of interest:

Eric Bledsoe: 0.6 WAR last season up to 1.8 WAR this season
Steven Adams: 3.0 WAR last season up to 3.3 WAR this season
Lonzo Ball: 4.7 WAR last season up to 6.1 WAR this season

Their computers really like Lonzo. They still expect him to be an all-star. But, of course, last season, their projection had been 6.4 WAR for him, and he only got 4.7. That said, I think a lot of what this board disliked about Lonzo is stuff that can't easily be measured by a computer.


GOP_Tiger
LSU Fan
Baton Rouge
Member since Jan 2005
8938 posts

re: 538 Player Projections for 2021-2022
Some notes after looking at some of the data:

I don't think their computers watched summer league or used those stats.

They see Jaxson as regressing defensively, which is why they have him pegged to drop -- surprising.

Garrett Temple is projected to have a big drop in his defensive performance, which is NOT surprising.

Willy's performance has been on an upward trend for the last three seasons, so I wonder why 538 thinks it will go down this season.
This post was edited on 9/5 at 3:22 pm


GOP_Tiger
LSU Fan
Baton Rouge
Member since Jan 2005
8938 posts

re: 538 Player Projections for 2021-2022
What's also interesting to see the players comps for each person on our roster. Kira, for example, has a 60% match to Monta Ellis in the 2007 season.

Zion, of course, doesn't have any good comps, because there's never been anyone like him. The closest match is only 24% to Elton Brand in 2001.


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brmark70816
LSU Fan
Atlanta, GA
Member since Feb 2011
7119 posts

re: 538 Player Projections for 2021-2022
It's an interesting projection and I can see how they manipulate data. I prefer old school and the eye test. But this has value.

Did you see Ingram? They have him peaking this year and next, then a steady decline. His numbers really never go that high. His defense must pull him down quite a bit.

This might be the year to make a call on him and Zion. If they aren't working, sell high and reload around Zion (one last gasp)..


GOP_Tiger
LSU Fan
Baton Rouge
Member since Jan 2005
8938 posts

re: 538 Player Projections for 2021-2022
Ingram had the lowest defensive RAPTOR score on the team last season -- lower even than Bledsoe's. We all know that SVG tried to help fix BI's defense, and we all know those efforts not only didn't work, but destroyed their relationship.

Willie Green is known as a defensive coach, and I think that improving BI's defense is his single biggest opportunity to impact the team's record. Ingram has to significantly improve defensively if the Pelicans are ultimately going to evolve into a contender.

EDIT: To think about it another way, 538's computer thinks that Lonzo Ball will be a better overall player than BI this season.

EDIT 2: What's really interesting about Ingram is that his RAPTOR defensive rating went way down last season. As in, all the work that SVG put into improving BI's defense actually backfired. Or, perhaps more charitably, BI was ill-suited to play SVG's style of defense.
This post was edited on 9/5 at 8:25 pm


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40
GOP_Tiger
LSU Fan
Baton Rouge
Member since Jan 2005
8938 posts

re: 538 Player Projections for 2021-2022
Let's look at the total impact. If we take Zion, BI, Hart, Jaxson, Kira, NAW, Naji, and Willy; and if we compare their combined WAR from last season, we get 19.7. The projected total for those players this season is 24.3

This highlights something that I think we all know at some level, but that it's easiest to forget: the single biggest reason to expect our record to improve is just that Zion is going to mature and improve. But it's not just Zion -- the rest of our returning players are (as a whole) expected to improve as well.

Now, let's add up the combined WAR last season of Lonzo, Bledsoe, Adams, Redick, Melli, and Wenyen (9.3), and let's also add up the projected WAR of Graham, Sato, Temple, JV, and the rookies (12.2 -- yes, I added in the negative value for Didi).

If we add the values for last season from our current and former players, we get a combined WAR of 29, whereas our projected combined WAR for this season is 36.5.

In other words, if you ignore things like player fit, coaching, and execution in the clutch, and you estimate strictly on the quality of our players, 538 would project us to win 7.5 more games this season than we did last season. And, of course, there were betting sites that actually did make 38.5 wins the betting line, so 538's numbers don't seem all that crazy overall.


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Milesahead
LSU Fan
Baton Rouge
Member since Sep 2007
455 posts

re: 538 Player Projections for 2021-2022
While I am sure their projections can be debated, excellent posts. Thanks for the contributions


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CelticDog
LSU Fan
Member since Apr 2015
35463 posts

re: 538 Player Projections for 2021-2022
quote:

They see Jaxson as regressing defensively, which is why they have him pegged to drop -- surprising.


fansided current redraft 2019 has Hayes taken #25.
they note his not being in the right place on D.
much to like. runs. athletic.
they wonder when or if the light goes on. maybe top 5 in class when it goes on.


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CelticDog
LSU Fan
Member since Apr 2015
35463 posts

re: 538 Player Projections for 2021-2022
quote:

And, of course, there were betting sites that actually did make 38.5 wins the betting line, 


and today I saw a projection of pels 9th in west. the bad half of 7 10 scrum. they got memphis 10th.


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10
cgrand
New Orleans Pelicans Fan
HAMMOND
Member since Oct 2009
28609 posts

re: 538 Player Projections for 2021-2022
quote:

Jaxson Hayes: 1.3 WAR last season down to 1.0 WAR this season

if hayes (and NAW) don’t dramatically improve this team is going nowhere


GOP_Tiger
LSU Fan
Baton Rouge
Member since Jan 2005
8938 posts

re: 538 Player Projections for 2021-2022


If NAW and Hayes fail, then TM3 is our last hope for the future.


CelticDog
LSU Fan
Member since Apr 2015
35463 posts

re: 538 Player Projections for 2021-2022
quote:

if NAW and Hayes fail, then TM3 is our last hope for the future.



I figure nickeil is close.

I can't pretend or hope hayes figures it out for this season opener.
his little incident worries me.




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Billy Mays
New Orleans Pelicans Fan
Mandeville
Member since Jan 2009
23659 posts

re: 538 Player Projections for 2021-2022
quote:

Their computers really like Lonzo.


Not surprising. The computers completely disregard the human factor.

Any human being watching basketball can view Lonzo's mentality/skill profile on the floor and understands he's probably already peaked as a player.

This post was edited on 9/9 at 10:48 am


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