Using EPM to judge the 2010 All-Star picks

For an explanation of Efficiency Per Minute, click here.

Over the past few weeks, I have been listing the top EPM players at each position and discussing a few of the surprises. I decided to take the next step and plot EPM versus minutes per game, figuring that the results might shed some light on who is playing the best basketball this season. After all, if you’re playing big minutes at a high level, you’re one of the best players in the league.

Below are five charts that show the EPM and MPG of the top 30 players (in terms of total minutes played) at each position. The higher the EPM, the better. The players in red were All-Stars this season.

Click on the chart for a larger view.


In terms of 2010 All-Stars, we (the fans and coaches) pretty much got it right. You could certainly make an argument for Russell Westbrook, but he wasn’t going to get a nod over Jason Kidd or Chauncey Billups. In the East, Rose was the next best point guard after Rajon Rondo. It’s interesting — according to the chart, nine of the top 11 point guards (Paul, Nash, Billups, WIlliams, Kidd, Evans, Westbrook, Davis and Curry) are in the Western Conference. Keep in mind that EPM is not pace-adjusted so teams that play up-tempo (like Golden State) will have players with slightly (+8%) inflated numbers.


Once again, it looks like the All-Stars were right on. There looks to be a pretty big dropoff in talent after Wade, Bryant, Roy, Johnson, Iggy, Ginobili and Ellis. Who is the next great young shooting guard? O.J. Mayo?


This graph illustrates just how much better LeBron James is than the competition, at least from a statistical standpoint. It looks like the All-Star picks were pretty solid.


Here’s where I’d start to make some changes to the All-Star picks. Granted, these numbers include games played after the All-Star break, but Carlos Boozer probably should have replaced Zach Randolph (or Pau Gasol) and Josh Smith should have gotten the nod over Kevin Garnett. The fans voted for KG to start.


Marc Gasol has been more productive in bigger minutes for a better team, yet Chris Kaman still got the nod. David Lee’s numbers were significantly better than Andrew Bogut’s, but the Knicks stink, while Bogut has the Bucks in the hunt for a playoff spot. Bogut could have also replaced Al Horford; Josh Smith is statistically playing better ball this season.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

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