Where Nuggets players rank in two advanced statistical categories

Earlier today Joel posted this on his Twitter page and I thought it was quite interesting. Below is a graphic of where all current Nuggets players rank in player efficiency rating (PER) and win shares per 48 minutes played (WS/48). These are two of the more popular advanced statistical categories that aim to quantify just how valuable and productive a player is individually and with respect to his team. The following rankings might surprise you.



  • JaVale McGee is, overall, the most impressive player on the team in terms of these two statistical measuring sticks. He’s No. 1 in PER and No. 2 in WS/48. So what does this mean, exactly? It’s tough to say. We all know JaVale was highly productive in his roughly 19 minutes per game last year, especially in terms of scoring points and blocking shots. But there’s a reason Karl chose to bring him off the bench, as he’s still miles away from understanding the nuances of playing team defense. Nevertheless, if you weren’t already excited for what Shaw might be able to do with JaWilt McChamberlain, this graphic should do the trick.
  • Kenneth Faried and J.J. Hickson rank no lower than fourth in each of the above categories. In term of PER, Hickson ranks second on the team only behind McGee. There’s been a ton of talk this offseason about trading Faried (who looked great in Thursday’s Team USA minicamp scrimmage, by the way) yet we easily forget just how young and statistically robust he still is. Faried only average 28 minutes per game last year yet ranked 14th in the league in rebounds per contest. And in terms of rebounding per 48 minutes Faried ranked eighth in the NBA, tied with Zach Randolph and ahead of guys like DeMarcus Cousins, David Lee, Roy Hibbert and Greg Monroe. Conversely, Hickson ranked fourth in the league in rebounding per 48 minutes and seventh overall in rebounds per game. Both of these power forwards have serious defensive shortcomings, but in terms of energy and rebounding, you can’t find a better tandem in the entire league.
  • Andre Miller ranks in the bottom half of the roster for each of the above categories despite having logged the fifth most minutes on the team last year. This is interesting because, judging by his numbers, Dre Miller is a pretty solid player. He’s not horrendous at anything and does well in the points and assists brackets. But hey, numbers don’t lie and the numbers are saying Dre Miller just ain’t that good. Then again, this isn’t exactly news.
  • Randy Foye. Good god. Just… I don’t even know where to begin. The dude averaged 27 minutes per game last year in Utah yet shot below 40 percent from the field (oddly enough, he shot a higher percentage from behind the 3-point line) and collected only 1.5 rebounds, two assists and .8 steals per game. Additionally, as you can see above, he ranks in the bottom three of everyone on the team in PER and WS/48 — all despite playing close to 30 minutes per game last year!!! This is exactly why some people were a little perturbed about the Nuggets signing him this summer. Yes, Foye can hit the 3-pointer, but at what cost to the team? Outside of stretching the floor he’s well below average (to be nice) in most statistical categories.
  • If you didn’t already know, Kosta Koufos was a fan favorite amongst stat nerds. His .171 WS/48 and 17.2 PER would have ranked him first and sixth respectively in the above categories. Meanwhile, Andre Iguodala would have not fared well compared to the rest of his former teammates, as he would have ranked near the bottom quarter (.097 WS/48 and 15.2 PER) in both columns.
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Kalen Deremo

Kalen was born in Durango, CO, in 1988 and graduated from Metropolitan State University of Denver in 2013 with a degree in journalism. He's now an itinerant hoping to travel as much as possible before eventually succumbing to the "real world." Aside from writing Kalen likes movies, music, spicy food and the great outdoors. Edward Abbey is his current idol.

Latest posts by Kalen Deremo (see all)

  • Scott


    • hazyb

      alright that cracked me up…

  • Gregory Houston

    The good news: JaVale McGee is, overall, the most impressive player on the team in terms of these two statistical measuring sticks.

    The bad news: JaVale McGee is, overall, the most impressive player on the team in terms of these two statistical measuring sticks.

    • Evan Woodruff

      dude you look like a girl

      • Gregory Houston

        you kinda do…

  • Scott

    Just some quick thoughts on the USA camp:

    Ty had 7 pts and 9 assists in 21 minutes, with a made 3. Those are some real quality stats considering he had Kyrie Irving leading the team and coming off the bench. I don’t expect Ty to make the team, sadly, due to the PG heavy roster but he could really be a dark hose for 12th man.

    Kenneth had 11 points and 7 rebounds in 15 minutes. That is really nice considering the very little playing time. He also had a sick rejection with one of his patented chased own blocks. I believe Kenneth has a stronger chance to make it rather than Ty because there is very little PF depth on the upcoming squad as KLove is the only real presence (he and Anthony Davis might just play C). Hopefully the coaches look at Kenneth as the player he is for us, a spark plug who goes hard every play and will give you energy and rebounding.

    • dynamo.joe

      You know who did NOT make it based on yesterday’s game? DeMarcus Cousins. Poor play and a poor attitude. Classic Cousins, really.

      • Bricks

        Aww . . . po’ witttle DeMarcus need a binkie?

    • ryanvdonk

      what this really shows is that if he actually have teammates who are threats from downtown ty’s assist numbers will go up quite a bit. also should open the lane a bit more for drives as the wings won’t collapse on him every time. i wonder if anyone kept track of missed open shots, cause it seemed to be at least 3+ times a game that Ty drew in the defense and kicked it out to a wide open brick.

  • dynamo.joe
  • toluene hawk

    Poor Quinc bence…

  • Bricks

    God help us at SG.

    • Gordon

      I reallllllly hope this front office is going to clear the logjam at PF/SF and PG to get us a solid SG.

      • Robin GRAVES

        What’s wrong with Fournier?

    • Paul Highum

      If they aren’t going to make a trade, I pray they let Fournier start.


      • hazyb

        I’m starting the Free Fournier campaign right now.

    • Evan Woodruff

      WILSON CHANDLER (Once Gallo gets back)

      Also take these stats with a heavy grain of salt.

      • Bricks

        Chandler will start at SF till Gallo gets back, no SG.

        • Evan Woodruff

          okay coach.

  • Clive Lee

    “[Andre Miller] not horrendous at anything”

    Defense, 3-point shooting, and ball-hogging especially at the end of games and throw up a wild shot… that only worked for him once in his entire career.

    • http://www.roundballminingcompany.com/ Kalen

      Haha, this is very true. My bad.

    • ryanvdonk

      …running, jumping, giving effort, being the most undersized power forward in the league.

      • dynamo.joe

        It’s true, he is the tiniest point forward in the league.

  • dagus1976

    I hate the idea that we should trade Faried because Hickson had a great statistical year last year. As if having two energy and rebounding guys is such a bad idea. It reminds me of the Pelicans trading Noel on draft day because they already have Anthony Davis. So dumb.

    • Poz303

      I like the JJ Hickson signing. I post on another site as well and everyone there knew I would be happy at the news.

      Attending and watching lost of Nuggets games last year, one thing stood out. When the MANIMAL was on the bench the team struggled rebounding. JJ fixes that. And we all know how important rebounding is, just ask the Spurs how valuable it would have been in game six.

    • PlatoPlaysBasketball

      We should trade Randolph for a backup 2/3, packaged with miller. The ideal fit would be an above average defender who can knock down open jumpers, but I would be happy with a defensive only player. Then we can have a competition between whoever we pick up and J-Ham for backing up chandler until Gallo gets back, and it allows us to sign Green on the roster, plus creating a sense of balance on the depth chart while allowing for competition for playing time at the SG/backupSF/PF positions. Shouldn’t be too hard to find an average SF/SG who plays okay defense, perhaps bringing back afflalo?


      • herpderpnuggets

        were you trying to post a trade, you just sent a link to the trade machine but nothing else. I do think that bringing back afflalo would be pretty cool now that iggy is gone, but that means we would have a bit of a jam at SG unless fournier picks up the backup PG minutes. Dont know who else we could get for miller and randolph…not a lot of a market for them

      • MacKenzie Pantoja

        Miller is worth less than his contract. He’s not a trade asset, he’s a guy you trade away for cap space. It’s not happening

  • Poz303

    And we gave up KK for DA?

  • Poz303

    Kalen, what might be interesting is to compare Nuggets starting 5 and then perceived back-ups average PER and WS/48 against other teams average in western conference and NBA, where would that rank the Nuggets? Not sure how useful that would be (and time consuming) but would be interesting :)

    • Evan Woodruff

      Somebody please do this.

  • Andrew

    Interesting stuff, Kalen. Though, as you point out, none of it is earth shattering. Am I the only one out there that is pumped about this team this year? I honestly think they have a chance to be dam* good. I liked Koufos, and thought he should be starting over Moz, but I think under Shaw, Moz might be the better center. I’m really excited about our entire team, though I share everyone’s desire to dump Andre Miller and Arthur for an SG that can defend and shoot. If we get that, I honestly believe Shaw will have these guys balling and the Nuggets will win at least one playoff series…maybe even get to the WCF. There is no team out there that will be able contain both Ty and then Nate the whole game. They will wear any team out. Likewise, Nuggs will be hoovering rebounds all game long, blocking shots and giving teams fits. The big “if” is whether Shaw can really work his magic with team d and coaching up the bigs. I think he can. I’m more excited about this team than any since C Bill left town. GO NUGGS!

    • Poz303

      I was actually thinking about that this morning. I think this team has improved offensively, my biggest concern is we don’t have a lock-down defender at SG. Don’t even care if they are not a scorer but someone who could slow down the Hardens, Westbrooks and Kobe’s of the NBA.

      I hope Shaw can put in place a good team D (like Pacers) and, like you said coach up the bigs and Fournier.

      With regards to A.Miller and D.Arthur, they are great depth but as currently constructed, they will have limited opportunities on the current roster. If they can live with that, no need to move them but I have a feeling Miller won’t be satisfied, not sure about DA.

      • PlatoPlaysBasketball

        We need to get rid of either DA or AR15, preferably AR15, because its clogging up roster space more than anything. Green should be on this team, he was a steal at pick 46, and he has potential to be an excellent scorer in the NBA. Miller’s contract this year is worth 5million, far too much for us to be paying, and luxury taxes get even higher soon.

        And in regards to slowing down the quality SGs around the league, that’s what Chandler is for. He is an excellent defender, and Fournier has the size and more importantly, intelligence, to guard a number of small-average wings for stretches while Chandler takes the bigger tasks. The key is to trade above assets for a SF, just someone to spell Chandler and provide average individual and good team defense until Gallo returns. When he gets back, our team looks solid, for defensive lineups we can use Fournier/Chandler/Gallo/Arthur/Mozgov. That lineup is scary in terms of spacing and defense.

        • herpderpnuggets

          we gotta give hamilton a chance to prove what hes worth though….these lineups would impede that.

        • Bricks

          If Chandler’s guarding the stud SGs, who’s going to guard a quick, long-range shooting SF while Wil’s playing out of position? A starter-worthy SG solves this problem.

          • PlatoPlaysBasketball

            And who guards the dynamic point guards? Lawson? Robinson? God knows it won’t be miller. Our roster on paper is defensively inept any way you slice it. We have to either trade for more defense, sacrificing a piece of our high octane offense that is looking even better than last year, or keep things as is and hope that Shaw’s system is strong and our young players rise to the challenge. Both require more hoping than reasonable expectation unfortunately.

  • Charliemyboy

    Kalen, these stats do say something, but I’m not sure what. I’m not crying about Iggy anymore, but if he was on the bottom, why did he command so much money? There are intangibles that are so hard to quantify. I’m not sure JaVale makes significant difference, for example, when we play GS. And just observation demonstrates that Faried is an extreme game presence most of the time. When he is off the floor the whole approach of the team is lacking… no one can make up for the hustle. What is the stat that gives the difference in score, using 100 as a base, when a player is on the floor? The problem with these stats in individual games is matchups, I think. Certain players play better because other players are on the court; eg, JaVae and Miller. I think the key just has to be how do we stop the other team and individuals, first.

  • Ckwizard

    Nice to see my video game line up is the top five in PER, Alley OOP!

  • Robin GRAVES



    Yet more proof. (not that I needed any more)