Sunday, January 11, 2009

Predicting Chamique Holdsclaw




So how good will she be for the Dream?

Of course, everyone is looking forward to seeing Chamique Holdsclaw in an Atlanta Dream uniform. Fans have visions of sugarplums as well as visions of Chamique Holdsclaw's 2002 and 2003 seasons dancing in their heads and that 2009 will be somewhat similar to those two seasons. Everyone hopes for an invigorated Chamique.

On the other hand, Chamique stopped being a starter in 2006, coming off the bench for the Sparks all season. In 2007, she played for a few games and then retired. She played briefly in 2007, and then retired. She played in Poland for the 2007-08 offseason and is on the Wisla Can-Pack Krakow roster for the 2008-09 season.

Playing in Europe, however, isn't the same as playing in the United States. Projections on Chamique's return will have to be based on what she's done in the WNBA, and not what she's done overseas.

I used Justin Kubatko's "Simple Projection System" from Basketball-Reference.com.

a) I adjusted all seasons to total seasons based on 13 games.
b) I ignored Holdsclaw's 2007 statistics and predicted how Holdsclaw's 2007 season should have gone.
c) Based on those results, I projected 2008 and 2009.

The final results are below.

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(PER was projected using a different system, since PER is not dependent on minutes played.)

So what do we get? We get a general decline over the three years. Hardest to project is "Games Started" because it depends on the role the coach assigns the player. I don't believe that Holdsclaw has ever played a full season, so 27 games looks correct. The numbers at least pass the smell test.

On last year's awful 4-30 teams she probably would have started full-time. She probably would have added a good three wins to the Dream, but it would still have been an awful season (there's only so much one player can do).

She would have been either the first or second best player on the team depending on good you think either Erika de Souza or Betty Lennox are. Undoubtedly, she would have been the most popular player on the team.

Does she "still have it"? Well, she won't be a starting All-Star anymore in terms of pure talent, but she could make the All-Star Bench. Her minutes will start to decline because once a player reaches 30, it seems that the little light on the palm from Logan's Run turns red. But we will be definitely glad to have her.

1 comment:

pilight said...

The Claw is capable of just about anything. She might be MVP, or she might flake out and quit 1/3 of the way through the season.

However, she would have unquestionably been the best player on the Dream last season, numbers be damned. I expect she'll be the best we have this year.