Rocketscience: Various Thoughts Heading into the Trade Deadline

A while ago I wrote about various factors that contribute to winning.   Hoopdata has a condensed version of this approach called the “four factors.”   It looks at eFG%, FTR, TOR, and ORR as the four contributing factors to the effectiveness of a team.  As far as I’m concerned (based off my admittedly less extensive research), the TOR and ORR are not important enough to be grouped together with the other two as equals.   So, when playing armchair GM these coming days speculating on trades involving Battier, TWil, Brooks, or anyone else, be sure to look in the right places when evaluating a player’s qualities.

I ran some regressions comparing win% (and just for fun,’s Hollinger Power Rankings) to each of the “Four Factors” to see which are most correlated to winning.  Guess what?  It was eFG% by a landslide.  Here is a summary table:*four factors Rocketscience: Various Thoughts Heading into the Trade DeadlineThe neat thing about looking at differentials is it completely takes into account both offense and defense.   When taking this information and trying to apply it to individual players, it’s more difficult to find accurate defensive numbers ( is perhaps the best that I have found), but looking at offensive numbers is quite easy.

On that note, what are some things that Shane Battier and Chuck Hayes have in common?  For starters, they both have “defense-first” mentalities, having excellent reputations as stoppers.  Also, they are both phenomenal locker room presences, and could possibly become future coaches under the right circumstances.  Something you may not have considered?  They are the most efficient scorers by eFG% on the Rockets, and rank near the top of the league.  Hayes ranks 16th in the league (56.3%), and Battier 19th (55.9%).**  Take those two players off the Rockets, who are averaging a 49.81 eFG% on the season, and the Rockets would go from ranking 12th in the league in eFG% to 20th.***

Sure, Hayes gets blocked over 16% of the time, probably because of his height and playing style.  But one player we may be seeking out of a Battier-to-Celtics trade? Kendrick Perkins, the league leader in getting stuffed, with an incredible 20.4% of his shots getting rejected.

It is likely that we feel pressure to pull the trigger on our expiring contracts to get at least something for their rental value for the rest of the season.   Battier has immense value for a team like Boston, but parting with any of their contributing players is not likely.  Something like Jermaine O’Neal, Avery Bradley, and a pick for Battier may something along the lines of what they are considering.

Whatever happens, I firmly believe that this team will crumble down the stretch if both players are dealt, and will suffer a worse second-half record down the stretch if either player is traded.

*A couple notes:  The “Diff” that you are seeing is the differential between own and opponent averages.  For example, Miami had a 51.56 eFG%, with an opponent 46.56 eFG%, yielding a positive 5.3% diff.  Also, the Hollinger number used for the regressions was actually 31 minus the Hollinger power ranking, just to flip the sign and be consistent with win%.

**25+ min/game minimum

***eFG% drops to 49.005% if you remove Battier and Hayes’ shooting.  I know this is an inexact science, but it is interesting nonetheless.  One potential flaw in this consideration is that Battier is assisted on 76% of his shots and Hayes is assisted on 52% of his shots.  Those are somewhat high numbers, speaking to their roles on the team offensively, and the type of shots they are attempting.  Namely, Hayes gets a lot of open layups and Battier gets a lot of open three-pointers.

Written by Ben Heller, ‘Rocketscience’ is a column devoted to basketball analytics.  Ben Heller can be contacted at .

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