Wayne Winston, the author of Mathletics and Mark Cuban’s personal stat guru, became instantly popular in these parts when he argued on TrueHoop last week that a) Kevin Garnett was the most productive player of the last decade; and b) Lamar Odom was more important to the Lakers success last season than Kobe Bryant.
Winston, the author of the new book Mathletics, relies on an adjusted plus/minus formula that seeks to find which players and which line-up combinations work the best (or don’t work at all, such as any line-up Cleveland used against Orlando in the playoffs that involved Ben Wallace).
Laker fans (and others) responded so emotionally that Winston felt the need to clarify his findings in this post on his personal blog, waynewinston.com. What’s interesting for our purposes is Winston’s list of the 10 most productive players of the last decade, according to his formula. Here are their average adjusted plus/minus (per 48 minutes) marks per season over the last 10 seasons:
And lookie who pops in at number 10. Winston explains that ‘Sheed averaged about a +10 rating every year from 2001-06, so he’s dropped off considerably in the last three seasons for his overall decade average to be +7.5. But still—Sheed’s presence here suggests that his unique combination of long-range shooting from the four spot, defensive rebounding and heady post defense makes him more valuable to his team than traditional box score stats suggest.
Winston then tosses us this tidbit:
By the way, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen are #17 and #18 for the decade, so it looks like this year’s Celtics have 4 legitimate Hall of Fame Candidates (although they are all probably past their prime).
Obviously, putting together a team with all four of these guys in their primes would have been nearly impossible under the salary cap. But it’s refreshing that the Celtics have stocked their team with guys who understand the game is about winning above all else.