A Look at PORPAG for the Big Ten, and Its Relation to Michigan

Submitted by the_white_tiger on February 10th, 2011 at 8:05 PM

Note: I know Brian mentioned it on the front page, and I know he linked to it in the sidebar, but I was intrigued with the prospect of a more Michigan-centric analysis of this sabermetric-ish basketball statistic provided here. I'm not a statistician by any means, nor am I a basketball expert, not even close, but I'll try to provide that Michigan-centric look at PORPAG.

PORPAG (points above replacement per adjusted game) is much like VORP in that it attempts to quantify the value of a player (offensively only, it's simply not feasible to gauge the defense of a player) by comparing their value to the value of a theoretical replacement player. The formula provided in one of the articles above is this:

(OffRtg – 88) * %Poss * Min% *65

The numbers are for the entire season, and this is the list of the top 60 players in the Big Ten for PORPAG (via the excellent analysis at The Only Colors, sorry that it's formatted poorly):

Rk

Player

Team

Yr

Poss%

Min%

ORtg

PORPAG

 1

Jordan Taylor

WIS

Jr

0.262

0.882

131.8

6.28

 2

Jon Leuer

WIS

Sr

0.295

0.827

120.4

4.90

 3

Jared Sullinger

OSU

Fr

0.268

0.780

123.6

4.61

 4

Talor Battle

PSU

Sr

0.286

0.939

112.8

4.13

 5

JaJuan Johnson

PUR

Sr

0.270

0.866

115.5

3.99

 6

Darius Morris

MICH

So

0.289

0.860

112.6

3.79

 7

John Shurna

NW

Jr

0.256

0.731

120.3

3.75

 8

Jon Diebler

OSU

Sr

0.125

0.861

139.1

3.41

 9

Demetri McCamey

ILL

Sr

0.255

0.815

114.4

3.40

 10

Blake Hoffarber

MINN

Sr

0.196

0.862

119.3

3.28

 11

Jeff Brooks

PSU

Sr

0.211

0.783

120.0

3.28

 12

E'Twaun Moore

PUR

Sr

0.270

0.831

111.0

3.20

 13

Jordan Hulls

IND

So

0.165

0.753

128.0

3.08

 14

Keaton Nankivil

WIS

Sr

0.172

0.651

132.2

3.07

 15

Michael Thompson

NW

Sr

0.210

0.895

114.0

3.03

 16

David Lighty

OSU

Sr

0.216

0.778

115.8

2.90

 17

Christian Watford

IND

So

0.287

0.673

111.1

2.77

 18

William Buford

OSU

Jr

0.232

0.733

111.9

2.52

 19

Draymond Green

MSU

Jr

0.254

0.732

109.4

2.47

 20

Kalin Lucas

MSU

Sr

0.263

0.778

106.1

2.30

 21

Zack Novak

MICH

Jr

0.135

0.858

119.7

2.28

 22

Trevor Mbakwe

MINN

Jr

0.231

0.729

108.3

2.12

 23

Ryne Smith

PUR

Jr

0.114

0.563

139.9

2.07

 24

Luka Mirkovic

NW

Jr

0.202

0.617

113.9

2.00

 25

Josh Gasser

WIS

Fr

0.144

0.640

122.6

1.98

 26

Matt Gatens

Iowa

Jr

0.188

0.752

110.2

1.95

 27

Bill Cole

ILL

Sr

0.117

0.499

141.6

1.94

 28

Mike Davis

ILL

Sr

0.183

0.777

110.0

1.94

 29

Ralph Sampson

MINN

Jr

0.196

0.723

109.6

1.90

 30

Drew Crawford

NW

So

0.235

0.734

104.6

1.78

 31

Mike Tisdale

ILL

Sr

0.207

0.634

108.9

1.70

 32

Tim Hardaway

MICH

Fr

0.240

0.707

104.0

1.68

 33

David Jackson

PSU

Sr

0.187

0.736

107.2

1.64

 34

Tim Jarmusz

WIS

Sr

0.095

0.579

134.9

1.60

 35

D.J. Richardson

ILL

So

0.160

0.737

109.2

1.55

 36

Lewis Jackson

PUR

Jr

0.183

0.611

110.3

1.55

 37

Melsahn Basabe

Iowa

Fr

0.229

0.599

104.9

1.44

 38

Aaron Craft

OSU

Fr

0.166

0.699

107.7

1.42

 39

Mike Bruesewitz

WIS

So

0.142

0.514

118.2

1.37

 40

Jordan Morgan

MICH

Fr

0.207

0.590

105.5

1.33

 41

Durrell Summers

MSU

Sr

0.217

0.741

101.0

1.30

 42

Victor Oladipo

IND

Fr

0.240

0.447

107.2

1.28

 43

Jereme Richmond

ILL

Fr

0.222

0.518

104.1

1.15

 44

JerShon Cobb

NW

Fr

0.176

0.571

105.9

1.12

 45

Alex Marcotullio

NW

So

0.154

0.501

111.0

1.10

 46

Delvon Roe

MSU

Jr

0.158

0.606

106.5

1.10

 47

Brandon Paul

ILL

So

0.232

0.523

102.2

1.07

 48

D.J. Byrd

PUR

So

0.147

0.482

112.2

1.06

 49

Jarryd Cole

Iowa

Sr

0.158

0.566

105.7

0.98

 50

Andrew Jones

PSU

Sr

0.137

0.765

102.1

0.92

 51

DallasLauderdale

OSU

Sr

0.127

0.447

112.4

0.86

 52

Stu Douglass

MICH

Jr

0.163

0.698

99.9

0.84

53

Al Nolen

MINN

Sr

0.190

0.443

103.3

0.80

 54

Verdell Jones

IND

Jr

0.293

0.555

94.3

0.64

 55

Rodney Williams

MINN

So

0.169

0.605

97.6

0.61

 56

Tom Pritchard

IND

Jr

0.090

0.436

111.6

0.57

 57

Evan Smotrycz

MICH

Fr

0.193

0.474

98.0

0.57

 58

Keith Appling

MSU

Fr

0.149

0.529

99.3

0.55

 59

Colton Iverson

MINN

Jr

0.228

0.449

96.0

0.51

 60   

Bryce Cartwright

Iowa

Jr

0.261

0.751

92.0

0.49

A cursory glance shows what Brian alluded to in the front page post, Darius Morris is the sixth most valuable player offensively in the Big Ten, behind Wisconsin's excellent Jordan Taylor, a future top-5 pick, and three seniors. Another glance shows that Tim Hardaway Jr. is the third-most valuable freshman according to PORPAG, behind Sullinger and Wisconsin's role player, Josh Gasser (this statistic loves the Badgers, they have the 1st, 2nd, 14th, 25th, 34th, and 39th best PORPAG players, part of this is probably due to the slow deliberate pace at which they play, and the fact that everyone's non-conference schedule is included in this compilation of this stat, so a team like Wisconsin would be given an advantage over a team like MSU. Still, Wisconsin's numbers are impressive here, near miss against Iowa notwithstanding).

Michigan's players are here:

 

Rk

Player

Team

Yr

Poss%

Min%

ORtg

PORPAG

6

Darius Morris

MICH

So

0.289

0.860

112.6

3.79

21

Zack Novak

MICH

Jr

0.135

0.858

119.7

2.28

32

Tim Hardaway

MICH

Fr

0.240

0.707

104.0

1.68

40

Jordan Morgan

MICH

Fr

0.207

0.590

105.5

1.33

52

Stu Douglass

MICH

Jr

0.163

0.698

99.9

0.84

57

Evan Smotrycz

MICH

Fr

0.193

0.474

98.0

0.57

Morris stands out as the headliner and his production is well-doucmented and very impressive, but Novak is a little bit of a surprise, with his high ORtg balancing out his relatively low usage rate (which is the lowest for all six of these players). Another encouraging bit is that no other Big Ten team has 3 freshmen on the list, in fact Ohio State is the only team with two, so this incoming class has paid great dividends for Michigan thus far. Hardaway takes a lot of shots and doesn't have a great ORtg, but his recent emergence and potential seems to suggest that he has and he will improve substantially by taking fewer and better shots. Morgan's also a bit of a surprise with how effectively he's played -- as evidenced in his game last night with 27 points on 13 FG attempts -- in overcoming his previous, offseason injuries. Douglass and Smotrycz are solid performers, and Smotrycz in particular will improve as his game develops a little bit and he gets more of a feel for the college game.

So what does this mean? For this season, probably not a whole lot. We know where Michigan's at right now; the consensus seems to be that Michigan needs to finish 4-2 from here on out and win a Big Ten Tournament game to be competitive for an NCAA bid. KenPom has this covered:

Basically Michigan has around a 15% to 20% chance to get to .500 in conference play, which seems realistic, Michigan would need to beat Indiana and MSU at home and Iowa on the road, as well as steal one @ Minnesota, @ Illinois, or at home against Wisconsin, and that seems to be a bit of a stretch. Michigan's played well as of late, and hopefully they can make a push to  sneak onto the bubble and make it in to the tourney, but I don't know if this team can win those games or make a substantial run into the Big Ten tournament.

The biggest thing that stuck out to me is Michigan's promise for the future. Yes, I know we heard that after getting into the dance in '09, and yes, I know we collapsed in '09-'10, but this team doesn't lose anybody from this year's team. That's incredible. Michigan is the 11th least experienced team in the whole country out of 345 teams, and all of this production is coming back with an extra offseason of practice and development. If anyone can improve like Morris did this past offseason (I'm looking at you, Tim Hardaway), which is admittedly pretty insane, Morris is one of the most improved players in the whole country, but a leap like that would place Michigan solidly in the upper half of the conference, if not higher. Looking at the PORPAG numbers for next year (keeping the curent numbers, taking out all of the seniors and assuming Jared Sullinger decides to go pro), each player's ranking would look like this:

  • Darius Morris -- #2
  • Zack Novak -- #8
  • Tim Hardaway -- #16
  • Jordan Morgan -- #22
  • Stu Douglass -- #30
  • Evan Smotrycz -- #34

Of course this doesn't account for improvements, regressions, attrition, incoming freshmen, or anything of the like, but these rankings are eerily similar to what Ohio State has this season. I'm not suggesting Michigan will be where the Buckeyes are this year, the Wolverines' defense is currently seventh best in the conference (as per KenPom's adjusted defensive ratings), but with all of the departures of senior talent from the Big Ten, Michigan could make their move and rise up to the top of the conference.

This is the biggest thing about looking at the PORPAG numbers (and obviously they don't tell the whole story, of course), Michigan's future is looking great. It might seem kind of stupid to look ahead to next year while this season is still in full swing, but next year is looking excellent for the Maize and Blue. It's been entertaining to watch this year's team grow and improve, and the stretch run will doubtlessly be as exciting as it was two years ago, and heck, even this year's numbers look decent right now. Basically this team has a bonafide star in Morris and a bunch of solid role-players, but the recent 4 out of 5 streak and the recent performances of Hardaway and Morgan suggests that they've made a leap in the improvement process. This season has exceeded almost everyone's expectations thus far, it's hilarious to read the season preview magazine that projected Michigan to finish last in the conference and only made a cursory mention of Darius morris competing for the point guard spot. A NIT finish would be a reasonable finish, a definite improvement from last year, and an NCAA bid would be a pleasant suprise. Michigan's built a strong nucleus though, and these PORPAG numbers show that Michigan's young players are playing well and the program is trending upwards. The rest of this year, and for next year and the years after, Michigan should move up to where they should be in the conference. Now is definitely not the time to fire Coach Beilein.

Comments

Genzilla

February 10th, 2011 at 8:23 PM ^

In addition to these players and they're hopeful improvement, we should also have a bulkier Horford and 2 solid freshman guards that can come in and bring some energy off the bench.  I think the development of Horford as well as the addition of the 2 freshman in addition to all the other players means we could be top 4 in the Big Ten.

the_white_tiger

February 10th, 2011 at 8:34 PM ^

True, I think Horford in particular will be the player that we need to see improvement from; Morgan and Smotrycz are picking up too many silly fouls and having a solid five that can play minutes if Morgan's in early foul trouble will be critical next year. People keep saying that we need to recruit another big man in this class, but we have two projects at the five and Horford in particular has enough potential to become a role player at the very least.

Tater

February 10th, 2011 at 8:27 PM ^

The only projected "loss" that I'm not buying is TSIO.  They always seem to find another one (or two)-and-done whenever one leaves.  I have no idea who they are "in on" now, but I'm pretty confident in saying that they will find another elite replacement for Sullinger because they now have a reputation as being "one-and-done friendly" but don't have any of the suspiscions that follow John Calipari, for example, around.  

I'm not convinced that whatever it is they are doing follows NCAA rules, but they have been very successful at attracting one-and-dones while staying off of the NCAA's radar.  I do agree, though, that Michigan should be much improved next year relative to the rest of the conference.  

Since the conference is a bit "down" on the top end right now, courtesy of the swoon in EL, I definitely agree that Michigan could very well return to the top half of the conference next year.  

 

vaneasy2338

February 10th, 2011 at 8:31 PM ^

I could easily see Hardaway being all-conference in two years. Hard worker, extremely athletic. Actually it's hard to believe he was rated as a three-star.

One thing I wanted to bring up about the NCAA bid because I haven't heard it mentioned: if we go 4-2 down the stretch, our last 10 games W-L record will be pretty good. The committee places a high emphasis on finishing strong, and if we get to 9-9 in the conference we will have accomplished that.

Correct if I'm wrong but we were 1-6 at one point so that means to get to 9-9 in the conference we will be 8-3 in the last 11 games.

Michigania

February 10th, 2011 at 8:40 PM ^

A very nice diary, but I think you left out mentioning Horford and his likely rise. Horford is physically immature right now, just as Darius Morris was last year. One offseason will come bringing many gifts and Horford's physically maturity will be the biggest....even bigger than Hardaway's, because Hardaway's has already started and will continue to grow this current season.     And take a look at Horford's brother in the pros, and you can maybe better imagine how much fuller he is gonna be.

the_white_tiger

February 10th, 2011 at 9:18 PM ^

Agreed, I think Horford is very important to this team. If he can win the Morris-Robinson offseason improvement award, he'll provide enough depth and size inside for us to truly make a run at a very solid season. If (and probably when) he matures into a player with starter caliber, we're in good shape.

elaydin

February 10th, 2011 at 9:06 PM ^

The problem with this is that Illinois, MSU, OSU and Indiana have very good recruiting classes coming in. 

It also adjusts for playing time.  There are some talented players on UI, MSU and OSU that are sharing time with veterans.  For example, Deshaun Thomas and to a lesser extent Aaron Craft have very good ORtgs.

That being said, it's hard to argue that Michigan won't be better.  Just not quite to the extent the analysis would indicate.

smwilliams

February 11th, 2011 at 1:32 AM ^

So here's a team-by-team breakdown of returning players, ESPNU 100 Recruits (2009-2011) not included in the chart (chart includes "contributors" designated as players who play 40% of available minutes) and losses...

WISCONSIN
Jordan Taylor-PG-SR(#1)/Josh Gasser-G-SO(#25)/Mike Bruesewitz-PF-JR(#39)
ESPNU 100 Recruits: 1(2011 PF #17 Jarrod Uthoff)
Losses: Jon Leuer(#2)/Keaton Nankivil(#14)/Tim Jarmusz(#34)

Observations: Will most likely be their usually pesky selves. Leuer is a big loss, but they seem to plug in slow, physical, big guys like they are coming off an assembly line. Can't see them not falling a bit.

OHIO STATE
William Buford-SF-SR(#18)/Aaron Craft-PG-SO(#38)
ESPNU 100 Recruits: 6(2010 SF #3 Deshaun Thomas/2010 SG #24 Lenzelle Smith/2011 PG #6 Shannon Scott/2011 C #3 Amir Williams/2011 SF #13 Sam Thompson/2011 SF #14 LaQuinton Ross)
Losses: Jared Sullinger(#3)/Jon Diebler(#8)/David Lighty(#16)/Dallas Lauderdale(#51)

Observations: Thad Matta has built a John Calipari-esque program. They rely on one-and-dones and next year will probably be no exception. Craft, Buford, and 4 talented recruits equal another Top 25 team. If Sullinger returns, I can't see them slipping out of the Top 5. Don't be fooled though, Diebler and Lighty are huge losses.

MICHIGAN
Darius Morris-PG-JR(#6)/Zack Novak-SF-SR(#21)/Tim Hardaway Jr.-SG-SO(#32)/Jordan Morgan-C-SO(#49)/Stu Douglass-G-SR(#52)/Evan Smotrycz-PF-SO(#57)
ESPNU 100 Recruits: 2(2011 SG #21 Carlton Brundidge/2011 PG #16 Trey Burke)
Losses: None

Observations: Bringing back the most overall talent next year. Do the young kids make the leap? Morris is a potential Big 10 POY. I can't imagine them not contending for the Big 10 Champ. if Horford develops, Evan Metrics takes his game up a notch and puts on some muscle, and Hardaway doesn't succumb to Manny Harris syndrome.

NORTHWESTERN
John Shurna-PF-SR(#7)/Luka Mirkovic-C-SR(#24)/Drew Crawford-SF-JR(#30)/JerShon Cobb-SG-SO(#44)/Alex Marcotullio-G-JR(#45)
ESPNU 100 Recruits: 0
Losses: Michael Thompson(#15)

Observations: I see the NCAA Tournament drought ending next year. They bring back virtually their entire core. An older, more veteran version of Michigan (though they don't have the potential Blue does). They play a specific style and don't deviate from it. Middle of the pack team but one that should be in the field next year.

INDIANA
Jordan Hulls-PG-JR(#13)/Christian Watford-PF-JR(#17)/Victor Oladipo-SF-SO(#42)/Verdell Jones-SG-SR(#54)/Tom Pritchard-C-SR(#56)
ESPNU 100 Recruits: 2(2009 SG #16 Maurice Creek/2011 PF #4 Cody Zeller)
Losses: None

Observations: The mystery team. Terrible once again this year, but they have some nice young players. May be ready to make the leap if Watford and Hulls progress and if Zeller can provide an immediate impact right away.

MICHIGAN STATE
Draymond Green-PF-SR(#19)/Delvon Roe-PF-SR(#46)/Keith Appling-SG-SO(#58)
ESPNU 100 Recruits: 4(2009 C #10 Derrick Nix/2010 PF #9 Adreian Payne/2011 SF #5 Branden Dawson)
Losses: Kalin Lucas(#20)/Durrell Summers(#41)

Observations: If the young guys aren't ready to step in, this is going to be a 3-man team consisting of Green, Roe, and Appling. Roe is a banger. They could fall really hard next year losing Lucas, Luscious, and Summers in one year. As Brian said, they were playing the nondescript awkward dudes Michigan has played in past years.

MINNESOTA
Trevor Mbakwe-PF-SR(#22)/Ralph Sampson III-C-SR(#29)/Rodney Williams-SF-JR(#55)/Colton Iverson-PF-SR(#59)
ESPNU 100 Recruits: 2(2011 SG #23 Andre Hollins/2011 SG #26 Joe Coleman)
Losses: Blake Hoffarber(#10)/Al Nolen(#53)

Observations: My guess is they hover in that #25-Bubble range all year, but Hoffarber is a big loss. I don't see a "dominant" player on here which usually gets you mediocrity (see Michigan: The Amaker Years).

PURDUE
Ryne Smith-SG-JR(#23)/Lewis Jackson-PG-SR(#36)/D.J. Byrd-SF-JR(#48)/Terone Johnson-SG-SO(#67)/Kelsey Barlow-SF-JR(#71)
ESPNU 100 Recruits: 0
Losses: JaJuan Johnson(#5)/E'Twaun Moore(#12)

Observations: Well, I have faith Painter has some less-heralded recruits that are ballers, but I don't know. Lewis Jackson is really good, but when you lose 2 of the Top 10 players in the conference after already losing a possible POTY candidate to injury, you might not be very good.

IOWA
Matt Gatens-SF-SR(#26)/Melsahn Basabe-PF-SO(#37)/Bryce Cartwright-PG-SR(#60)/Roy Marble-SG-SO(#62)/Eric May-SF-JR(#63)/Zach McCabe-SF-SO(#69)
Losses: Jarryd Cole(#49)

Observations: The inefficient, less talented version of Indiana. They have youth on the side, but their players aren't exactly stellar. I see a bottom two finish again next season.

ILLINOIS
D.J. Richardson-SG-JR(#35)/Jereme Richmond-SF-SO(#43)/Brandon Paul-SG-JR(#47)
ESPNU 100 Recruits: 6(2009 PF #31 Tyler Griffey/2011 SF #18 Mycheal Henry/2011 PF #16 Mike Shaw/2011 C #11 Nnanna Egwu/2011 PG #18 Tracy Abrams)
Losses: Demetri McCamey(#9)/Bill Cole(#27)/Mike Davis(#28)/Mike Tisdale(#31)

Observations: Lots of introductions will be necessary next year. Four high profile recruits replace four senior contributors including quasi-stud McCamey. If those 4 Freshmen can play right away and play well, the Illini could sneak into the field, but I'd put more money on a downturn next year and possible lower third finish.

PENN STATE
Tim Frazier-PG-JR(#68)
ESPNU 100 Recruits: 1(2010 SG #29 Taran Buie)
Losses: Talor Battle(#4)/Jeff Brooks(#11)/David Jackson(#33)/Andrew Jones(#50)

Observations: Ouch.

This rating isn't the be-all and end-all of deciding who will be good and who won't, but it does provide an important data point.

Purdue, Illinois, and Penn State lose the majority of their team with no absolute can't miss guys coming in.

Ohio State will probably be very, very good again because they find those absolute can't miss guys every freakin' year.

Wisconsin will be in the Top 25, Top 3 Big 10 and get bounced in the first weekend of the tournament again.

Michigan State and Minnesota have to replace their alpha dogs and rely on other people to fill those roles. Michigan State has more impact young players ready to step up while Minnesota will be a deeper team overall.

Iowa will be young and not so awesome again.

Michigan and Indiana will make significant jumps.

Penn State will be the DePaul, Wake Forest, Auburn of the Big 10 next year.

And that's my breakdown.

Shit, I forgot about Nebraska.

Ummm, they'll be okay.

smwilliams

February 11th, 2011 at 8:10 PM ^

With labor uncertainty looming and a rookie scale a strong possibility, it's possible you'll see a lot of borderline prospects jump early.

I know this is going out on a limb and a lot of people won't agree, but I like Michigan's chances to finish Top 3 and maybe even win the Big 10 next year.

jmblue

February 11th, 2011 at 2:10 AM ^

This statistic loves the Badgers, they have the 1st, 2nd, 14th, 25th, 34th, and 39th best PORPAG players, part of this is probably due to the slow deliberate pace at which they play, and the fact that everyone's non-conference schedule is included in this compilation of this stat, so a team like Wisconsin would be given an advantage over a team like MSU. 

Huh?  Entering today, Wisconsin was 8-3 in Big Ten play and MSU was 5-6.

the_white_tiger

February 11th, 2011 at 7:23 AM ^

Their performances against poorer teams are looked upon more favorably than MSU's performanmces against Texas, Duke, etc., because strength of schedule is not accounted for. Draymond Green is the highest Spartan at 19th and despite their recent struggles, I think they are a bit better than what PORPAG says, and Wisconsin's a little worse than what PORPAG says. That's not to say MSU's better than Wisconsin, it's just that Michigan State's schedule was much tougher.