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Atlanta Hawks Off-season Graded by Wages of Wins

"I am a star. I'm a star, I'm a star, I'm a star. I am a big, bright, shining star. That's right."
"I am a star. I'm a star, I'm a star, I'm a star. I am a big, bright, shining star. That's right."

Vivek of took a shot at grading the Atlanta Hawks Summer. Clearly Vivek was not impressed as he gave the moves a C. I thought "Okay, no biggie, we are in transition and I could justify that low of a grade as well", but then I read his analysis.

From Vivek:

Clearly the Hawks had a huge overhaul this offseason. Only Josh Smith, Al Horford, Zaza Pachulia, and Jeff Teague are returning Hawks from last season. I have to say that this overhaul, while generally praised by most around the NBA, was very poor. The Hawks lost their best player from last season, Marvin Williams, and their fourth best, Joe Johnson and received no player that can make up such a difference.

Wow. It was hard to read any further. Marvin Williams = Best Player? I'm not sure Marvin's immediate family would have made such a brash, supportive statement. I think we've found Marvin's biggest fan. Be careful Marvin, in the movie Misery that was not a good thing. Shaking off the disbelief I pushed forward in the article looking for his explanation.

Vivek continues:

Kyle Korver was probably their best addition, but the chances of him playing substantial minutes on a team loaded with guards seems low, so his impact might be diminished. With the additions of Devin Harris and Lou Williams, the Hawks have a huge glut of average point guards; and had to get rid of a star forward and an above average shooting guard to do so. That seems like quite a paltry return for their “rebuilding effort.”

There is more in the article like discussing pursuit of Chris Paul and his assumption that the Hawks still must deal Josh Smith because of his trade demands, but the heart of the article has to be his unhappiness at the dealing of Marvin Williams, "star forward." I was hoping he would justify his position with numbers, but instead he rattles off his appraisal of Marvin as if it was a simple given like the sky being blue or water being wet. I hunted for the numbers that he could be basing his argument on and to my surprise there is a statistical measure that Marvin lead last year's team of full time players in: Win Shares/48 minutes. Joe Johnson came in third in this category, so it is close to his appraisal of Joe. Kyle Korver also has a strong WS/48 number, so I think it must be his measuring stick.

Now that I know what he's basing it on, let's evaluate his claims. Win Shares are a tricky subject. If the team doesn't win then you can't get many Win Shares. No one coming from New Jersey was going to do well in this stat. Deron Williams had 0.99 WS/48 last year compared to Marvin Williams 1.56 WS/48. If you believe Marvin is the superior player because of that stat you need to actually watch some games. On the other side the Hawks have been somewhat successful in wins. Marvin gets a certain share of that from just being on court and I'd argue that his WS gets inflated because he doesn't fail, he disappears. He didn't handle the ball much so he didn't get many turnovers. He didn't create his own shot, so he only shot when wide open. Even with these advantages his WS/48 number would rank in the 50s league wide which I wouldn't think equate to star forward. Vivek's argument is feeling less number-based, but where it really falls apart is in his evaluation of Louis Williams. Vivek seems to have no problem proclaiming that all we got was a pair of mediocre backup point guards. Devin Harris had a rough season in Utah and there is no denying that his numbers have been down significantly since he was an All-Star in 2009, but Louis Williams had the 20th best WS/48 in the league last year. You'd think that'd be seen as a good thing by By the narrow statistical basis used to proclaim Marvin as a the best Hawk, Vivek should have concluded that Louis Williams and Kyle Korver are upgrades for the team.

When you evaluate the off-season of the Hawks it is very possible to arrive at a C because it is a work in progress, so it is hard to fault Vivek for the grade. However I have to give him an F for his analysis. For a site that claims to be all about the numbers he didn't seem to apply them consistently or without bias. Probably should have ignored the article, but really didn't everyone deserve to hear the one about Marvin Williams being the best Hawks player? There are a lot of websites out there trying to be funny that didn't produce anything as hilarious as that this summer.