Player comparisons are back on Basketball Reference. Yes!!!! In honor of their return, we here at We’re Bucked are taking a look at the comparable players for each Buck expected on the roster in 2011-12 (i.e., players under contract and restricted free agent Mbah a Moute). Keep in mind that the parallels drawn are purely numerical, and they make no attempt to account for each player’s on-court style. As noted in a blog post on the same site,
It is important to note that this method does not attempt to find players who were similar in style of play. Rather, it attempts to find players whose careers were similar in terms of quality and shape. By shape, I mean things like: How many years did he play? How good were his best years compared to his worst years?
Now that may sound like a drawback, but when the wacky matchups start, so does the fun! For example, Larry Bird best matches up with… Kevin Garnett. Huh now say what? Yes, the two had their differences; Bird was such an uncanny scorer and passer, while Garnett defended as if his life depended on it, but at the same time, it’s not the worst comparison ever — both rank among the NBA’s all-time great defensive rebounders.
In any case, you can see the craziness that ensues when players are matched by their win shares for each season and a vague sense of the position they play. The similarity rankings are only included for players with 3 or more seasons, and of the two types, we’ll use the one that matches them up by their first x seasons, where x is the number of seasons played by the active player. Since he was unmatched, but also one of the Bucks’ top performers, I found a match for Brandon Jennings manually. So without further ado, here are your Dopplegänger Bucks:
Center: Joe Barry Carroll (Andrew Bogut)
Replacing Andrew Bogut and his gritty defense with a player nicknamed ‘Joe Barely Cares’ should be grounds for sacrilege, no? Using numbers — most of which are offensive — to gauge a player’s overall effectiveness in terms of win shares could be a mistake. They don’t tell you about the other immeasurable nuances that a quality big man adds to the value of a team: boxing out, hedging on pick-and-roll defense, weak-side help defense.
Forward: Fabricio Oberto (Ersan Ilyasova)
This one actually seems fair. But Ersan probably doesn’t end up of the 2011-12 Bucks anyway, so perhaps we should move along?
Forward: Michael Brooks (Luc Mbah a Moute)
If you don’t remember Michael Brooks from the early 1980s (or if you weren’t born yet), you’re not alone. Brooks’ career essentially consisted of four years as a part-time starting forward for a crappy San Diego Clippers team.
Forward: Kurt Rambis (Stephen Jackson)
Who wants to go into the locker room and tell Stephen Jackson that his career doppelgänger was the bespectacled one? Anyone? Anyone?
Maybe he’ll take consolation in the fact that Rambis looked like Clark Kent.
Guard: Jerry Sichting (Carlos Delfino)
Guard: John Crotty (Shaun Livingston)
Guard: Jim King (Keyon Dooling)
Guard: Gus Williams (Brandon Jennings)
This whole exercise has been quite depressing. If these player pairings are in any way/shape/form correct, then I have vastly overrated the prospects of Milwaukee’s 2011-12 squad.
I made the match manually for Jennings, which makes me a bit suspicious of my own bias, but the win shares really do compare more evenly than with any other player.
Gus Williams, after those early years with Golden State, went on to Seattle to
1) win an NBA title,
2) make an All-NBA First Team,
3) have his number retired by the Sonics.
If he does any of the three with the Bucks, would anyone not be thrilled to pieces?
Though I do suppose Brandon would be disappointed if his career hair trajectory took him from gumby fade to this.
But wait a second. We left off Beno Udrih. That’s probably not such a hard feat when he’s one of a half-dozen candidates to be the Bucks’ backup point guard this season. So who does Mr. Udrih pair up with?
Hold on a minute, that can’t be right.
Are you sure?
Guard: Bobby Simmons (Beno Udrih)
Good luck sleeping tonight with that image burned into your brain. I’m suddenly feeling more receptive to axing Beno with the potential amnesty clause in the new CBA.