http://www.dailyherald.com/sports/bulls.asp - all about the statistical ratings on players:
Just as box scores will never tell the full story of what happens in a game, statistics don’t always reveal the true value of a player.
But a pair of NBA statistical analyses that appeared during the summer produced a result so unexpected, it cried out for further investigation.
Two stats wizards set out to determine the defensive abilities of each NBA player. One was Dan Rosenbaum, an economics professor at North Carolina-Greensboro, for the Web site 82games.com. The other was by ESPN.com’s John Hollinger in his book “Pro Basketball Forecast.”
They came to the same surprising conclusion: Bulls rookie Ben Gordon was the second-best defensive shooting guard during the 2004-05 season.
That news came as a shock to everyone, including the authors. Gordon’s defense improved during the course of last season, but it’s likely no league observer would come to a similar conclusion.
Told of the results, Gordon said with a smile, “That’s an interesting study. It’s about time I hear something in my favor.”
Of course, the two rating systems are complicated. Essentially, they tried to compare how a team played defense when a player was on the floor to when he was on the bench, with several other factors woven in.
Both authors addressed the Gordon issue in their results. A common explanation was that Gordon was frequently in the game at the same time as Chandler and Kirk Hinrich. Hinrich did not appear near the top of either defensive ranking.
Rosenbaum found that the Bulls played good defense when Gordon was in the game without Chandler, but poor defense when Chandler played without Gordon. Statistically speaking, that means Gordon should have been the more effective defender.
Another theory is because Gordon was such a strong offensive player last season, the Bulls usually outscored the opponent when he was on the floor. Then again, Milwaukee’s Michael Redd is a talented scorer, but he ranked as one of the worst defensive shooting guards in both studies.
The Bulls preferred to tread lightly on this subject. They didn’t want to insult Gordon’s defense by trying to explain away the conclusions of those defensive studies.
They also wanted to keep the statistical analyses in perspective. The team doesn’t believe, and neither do the authors, that such a study can provide a definitive answer on such an objective topic.