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Scoring Help, Huh?

Since it seems like everyone who's in favor of trading Andre Iguodala for Monta Ellis views Ellis' superduper scoring ability as more valuable than Iguodala's all-around game, I thought I'd do a little math exercise to see exactly how much Monta's 24PPG would've helped the Sixers this past season.

An explanation and a few caveats before we get started. This exercise is designed to show the Sixers offensive production based on points scored only. By no means is this a perfect method, there are literally thousands of variables which could change things in either direction.

This is a simple use of math to take Ellis' scoring production on the Warriors, adjust it for pace, and see what impact he would've had on the Sixers scoring if you added him and subtracted Iguodala. This also doesn't take into account the extra points Iguodala created for the rest of the Sixers, nor the points Ellis created for the rest of the Warriors. We're looking at points scored, possessions used and ratios, only. Here we go:

The first chart shows data for plays, points and points-per-play for the Sixers, the Warriors, Ellis, Iguodala and then each team when a play is used by any player other than Ellis or Iguodala. We're using plays here instead of possessions because offensive rebounds throw off possession numbers. Take a look at the numbers:

As you can see, Ellis was a more efficient scorer by a decent margin than Iguodala this past season, even when turnovers are taken into account. That's not really in doubt. The question is whether turning over the offense to Ellis for over 28% of the possessions when he's on the floor will actually help the team offense as a whole.

To make these calculations, first we need to make a couple of assumptions. First, we'll assume Ellis' minutes and usage rate will remain constant. We'll take the actual number of total plays the Sixers ran, and apply Monta's usage rate to come up with the number of plays Monta would've used on the Sixers, then we'll figure out how many points he would've scored on those plays. Then we'll figure out how many possessions were left for the rest of the team (minus AI9), assume they would score at the same rate on those plays, and add it all up to see how many extra points Ellis would've given the team under these circumstances. Here's the chart:

Tying it all up in a nice bow, if you removed Andre Iguodala and replaced him with Monta Ellis, everything else remained exactly the same, and Ellis maintained his production levels and usage rate, the Sixers would've scored 21 more points this past season. As a point of comparison, if you swapped Andre Iguodala for Stephen Curry, with the exact same methodology, the Sixers would've scored 95 more points last season.

Obviously, this doesn't even come close to taking the entire picture into account on the offensive end. You could make the argument that the other Sixers would be more productive with Ellis on the floor because Ellis would take all the "bad" shots. On the other hand, you could make the case that Iguodala makes his teammates better through his playmaking abilities. There's plenty of data to back up this, you can start here (the Sixers were better offensively when Iguodala was on the floor. Golden State was worse offensively when Ellis was on the floor).

So 21 points, give or take. That's the scoring advantage adding Ellis represents under these conditions. Anyone care to venture a guess as to how many points adding Ellis and removing Iguodala would cost the Sixers on the other end of the floor?
by Brian on Jun 10 2011
Tags: Andre Iguodala | Basketball | Monta Ellis | Sixers | Trade Rumors |