Aug 26 2013

Arnett Moultrie is better than you think

We look to the Wages of Wins for some insight on the Sixers sparingly-used sophomore. 



Arnett Moultrie is a poor defender, is raw offensively, has a questionable motor, and reportedly can’t stay in shape. But as a 27th overall pick, the stats say he’s exceeding expectations.

Moultrie spent most of last season at the end of the big league bench – playing Go Fish with Kwame Brown and counting DNPCDs – so when assessing his value, it’s important to emphasize the sample size is small. But some of the data we have suggests that he wasn’t just a passable rookie; he was the most productive player on the team.

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The above table — from The NBA Geek, a Wages of Wins network site — ranks the roster by WP48 (Wins Produced per 48). The 23-year-old rookie had the highest WP48 on last year’s team; higher than Spencer Hawes’, Jrue Holiday’s and Evan Turner’s … combined.

Yes, it’s a small sample size. Minuscule. What we can take away from this, however, is that he was a net positive player, according to WP48. He didn’t deserve to ride the pine.

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Now above are the Sixers’ rebounding numbers from last season, via NBAwowy.com. Arnett Moultrie’s rebound rate was the best on the team.

For some context, Kenneth Faried, praised as an elite rebounder, grabbed 5.9 offensive boards every 100 possessions. Arnett Moultrie pulled down 7.5.

Screen shot 2013-08-18 at 7.40.20 PM

Back to the wins produced, via The NBA Geek. PoP48 is Points Over Par per 48 minutes. The metric essentially translates a player’s WP48 into a +/- figure.

Arnett Moultrie led the team in PoP48 in 2012-13. By a lot. He doubled the PoP48 of the SIxers second best player by this measure, Dorell Wright.

A couple takeaways from this particular metric: (a), Evan Turner and Spencer Hawes were atrocious last season. (b) In Moultrie’s 542 minutes on the floor, he gave the team every opportunity to succeed.

PoP48 and WP48 have their limitations, and their critics, but in a nutshell, the data tells us this: in the little opportunity Moultrie’s had, he’s been tremendously productive.

Not bad for a 27th overall pick.

  • Kevin Herman

    Hopefully Moultrie will get a lot more playing time this year so we can find out more about him.

  • Rob

    Do we know anything about the competition Moultrie faced when playing in games? I didn’t watch a ton of games last year but I recall he played a lot of garbage time. Do we think these statistics are an artefact of the competition against whom he was playing, or is there actually something here? Do we have a sense of whether Moultrie’s inability to stay in shape, for example, would prevent him from replicating these numbers over a meaningful statistical sample?

    I understand there’s value in writing posts that are linkbait, but just because they’re linkbait doesn’t mean they should be ill-thought out. Please flesh this one out some more…

    • egoldwein

      It’s a small, problematic sample size. That’s made pretty clear in the article.

      All this is saying is that some advanced metrics indicate he was very effective in limited opportunity.

    • Wesley Share

      Third sentence: “so when assessing his value, it’s important to emphasize the sample size is small”.

      • Rob

        Understood. But why write an article the conclusions of which are based on sample sizes so small as to not be useful? I can find advanced metrics which indicate I can bench more than Fletcher Cox and run faster than Usain Bolt; they seemingly don’t merit an article until such time as they become replicable, or at least statistically significant.

  • robbybonfire23

    I agree with your premise, Wesley, that small sample findings can be significant. In this situation, what you should look for are outstanding blips, indicating a potential for greatness. A player might have two outstanding games in 10, to go with eight mediocre outings. The two outstanding efforts are much more meaningful ,especially with a young player who is developing. Consistent mediocrity is the curse to be aware of. Tony Wroten looks like he could be on the verge of a break-through, in this regard, but the verdict is a long way from being sealed.