Who are the top ten players in the Big Ten?


Top Ten PlaYazMy “How does Geary Claxton rank” post offered up a simplistic measure for determining the best players in the B10. There are other measures that are typically used. Here are three:The NBA Efficiency ModelThe NBA uses a very simplistic model for player evaluation. They simply give a player one point for each positive result (point, rebound, steal, block, or assist) and subtract a point for each negative (turnover, missed shot, missed free throw).

Using that as a model, here are the top ten performers in the conference (NOTE: for each of these evaluations, I limited my calculations to the top thirty guys in the league in terms of minutes per game).

Rank Player Team NBA NBA/game NBA Rank
1 Gordon, Eric IU 196 21.78 1
2 White, D.J. IU 207 20.70 2
3 Claxton, Geary PSU 194 19.40 3
4 Morgan, Raymar MSU 207 18.82 4
5 Moore, Craig NU 150 16.67 5
6 Butler, Jamar OSU 162 16.20 6
7 Ellis, Jamarcus IU 156 15.60 7
8 Neitzel, Drew MSU 166 15.09 8
9 Hummel, Robbie PUR 148 14.80 9
10 Pruitt, Shaun ILL 143 14.30 10

Game Score

Many, most notably Dean Oliver and John Hollinger, find fault with the simplistic NBA model. They feel that all of these measure should not have equal wait. They modify the NBA model by only assigning half a point to blocks, assists, fouls, and free throw attempts.

Using their model, often called Game Score, the top ten performers are:

Rank Player Team Game Score GS/game GS/Rank
1 Gordon, Eric IU 163.00 18.11 1
2 Morgan, Raymar MSU 151.70 13.79 2
3 White, D.J. IU 136.40 13.64 3
4 Claxton, Geary PSU 134.80 13.48 4
5 Moore, Craig NU 115.60 12.84 5
6 Butler, Jamar OSU 123.80 12.38 6
7 Neitzel, Drew MSU 133.10 12.10 7
8 Crawford, Jordan IU 76.40 10.91 8
9 Harris, Manny MICH 114.10 10.37 9
10 Hughes, Trevon WISC 103.50 10.35 10

Win Score

Lastly there are others, specifically the authors of Wages of Wins, who feel that Oliver and Hollinger were on the right track by assigning weights but were just arbitrary in assigning half weights to certain values. Instead they choose to run a regression analysis to more accurately determine the correct weights. Their conclusions: Points, steals, and turnovers are equal and assigned a weight of 1; field goal attempts, offensive rebounds, assists, and blocks get a .7 weight; made field goals and personal fouls have a .4 factor; and, finally, defensive rebounds weigh in at .3.

Using that formula, called Win Score, here are the top ten in the conference.

Rank Player Team WinScore WS/game WS/Rank
1 Gordon, Eric IU 177.00 19.67 1
2 White, D.J. IU 190.00 19.00 2
3 Morgan, Raymar MSU 192.50 17.50 3
4 Claxton, Geary PSU 172.50 17.25 4
5 Moore, Craig NU 125.50 13.94 5
6 Pruitt, Shaun ILL 133.50 13.35 6
7 Butler, Jamar OSU 132.00 13.20 7
8 Neitzel, Drew MSU 135.00 12.27 8
9 Ellis, Jamarcus IU 121.00 12.10 9
10 Crawford, Jordan IU 82.00 11.71 10

Rather than anointing one as better than the others in this post (I have my own methodology that I’m working on that I’ll cover at a later date), I’m just going to average the three approaches.

Doing that give us this top ten.

Rank Player Team GS/Rank NBA Rank WS/Rank Avg
1 Gordon, Eric IU 1 1 1 1.00
2 White, D.J. IU 3 2 2 2.33
3 Morgan, Raymar MSU 2 4 3 3.00
4 Claxton, Geary PSU 4 3 4 3.67
5 Moore, Craig NU 5 5 5 5.00
6 Butler, Jamar OSU 6 6 7 6.33
7 Neitzel, Drew MSU 7 8 8 7.67
8 Pruitt, Shaun ILL 13 10 6 9.67
9 Crawford, Jordan IU 8 12 10 10.00
10 Ellis, Jamarcus IU 15 7 9 10.33

It certainly looks like Eric Gordon could be on track to win both the Freshman and the Player of the Year in the B10, although I do suspect that DJ White will pick up a bunch of votes for his body of work.

Also, all of the measures seem to be pretty consistent on who the top five are. Things do start to shuffle around a little bit with the second ten though.

It will be interesting to see how things hold up through conference play.