Trade Deadline Winners and Losers, by Real Plus-Minus


Feb 4, 2015; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Miami Heat guard Norris Cole (30) brings the ball up the court around Minnesota Timberwolves guard Mo Williams (25) in the first quarter at Target Center. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

After yesterday’s trade deadline armageddon in which roughly 9% of the NBA was traded, one wonders how much of the landscape in the NBA has shifted. For a brief at-a-glance, I dusted off my Real Plus-Minus projection machine which beat Vegas last year in win projections and has been performing quite well this year (bbstats entry here),  missing games by an average of 8.8 per 82 vs 9.15 for Vegas.

My projection machine has a couple of nice quirks, including:
-Estimating impact of Usage% changes to a roster’s performance
-Estimating impact of player minutes based on position (i.e. minutes are distributed more evenly by position rather than evenly by roster)

Things it does not handle well:

-Actual roles a player will play on a team
-Contract length and size, player age, or anything else that might make a decision more financially reasonable
-Players returning from injury

I didn’t put in actual player recent minutes or injuries…just wanted to see a RPM quick at-a-glance to see what kinds of asset value moved where during the All-Star Break only.

Here are the team results in “Wins Per 29 added” since each team has roughly 29 games left:

Miami being the big winner here and Oklahoma City the big loser, assuming their player changes get similar minutes on their new teams. Which players are at fault for these changes?

Results by 2015 single-year Real Plus Minus:

Crazily enough, the two players RPM saw giving the biggest impact this season so far were Thad Young and KG, a trade that didn’t seem to have a huge impact.

Moving Dragic doesn’t appear to have a huge change on Miami’s RPM since his numbers this season have trended downwards. It’s quite likely his figure will move up as he enters a more prominent role on Miami. So then where did Miami get most of their value add?

1) Shipping away -4.34 RPM Granger
2) Shipping away -4.09 RPM Cole

On the other end of the spectrum, we have OKC who dumped some negative (Ish Smith, Reggie Jackson, the somehow-decent-this-season Kendrick Perkins) and gained a couple of the worst Real Plus Minus performers, Enes Kanter and DJ Augustin. My trade machine is fortunately not seeing the bigger picture in OKC in which Durant/Westbrook/Ibaka are all finally playing strong minutes, which is making them scary good.

And as always, use Real Plus Minus at your own risk!