Atlanta Hawks: How much have injuries really hurt them?

Jerry Stackhouse figures he’s probably been on a team that’s had as many injuries, though he can’t recall exactly. “Over 17 years I’m sure it happened somewhere along the line,” he said, chuckling.

But Stackhouse says the bad run of injuries isn’t really a topic of conversation among Hawks players: “We say there’s more room over there on the bench. We aren’t all on top of each other. But other than that, we don’t really talk about it. This is the NBA.”

That’s what you expect players to say, especially with a team that’s as veteran as the Hawks. Injuries are a part of the game, no one feels sorry for a team that’s riddled with them and so the Hawks have to keep on grinding. They are professional athletes, supremely confident, and so they believe they can win anyway.

The circumstances are different for coach Larry Drew and general manager Rick Sund. Ask them to evaluate the team so far and they are sure to talk about the injuries. It makes sense because neither Sund nor Drew has a guaranteed contract for next season (Drew has an option) and their future with the team could depend how this season plays out. Can’t blame Drew and Sund for making sure the team’s injuries are part of that evaluation, like any of us would make sure our bosses know when circumstances outside of our control impacted our job performance. The process is just a lot more public for Drew and Sund.

Both men are always sure to note they are not making excuses, but of course that’s how some will take it. Most people don’t want to hear about how injuries contribute to a team not meeting expectations. That’s especially true for fans, who expect their team to win anyway.

My take has been that the Hawks have been pretty good in spite of the injuries especially with their intangibles. I think there’s little question the Hawks have shown some real growth in that area, from the 101-point beatdown from Orlando, to showing more moxie in the last year’s playoffs, to staying competitive this year in spite of the injuries. That’s not to give them too much credit for competing under trying circumstance but I don’t have to tell my blog people that’s not always been a given.

It’s difficult to objectively evaluate a team that’s had this many injuries. How much have the Hawks really been impacted by injuries? Do they have it any worse than the other teams in their peer group? I tried to find out in a way that goes beyond the “x amount of players have missed y amount of games,” an exercise that brings to mind that the Hawks included Pape Sy (never forget) in that count two seasons ago.

Inspired by a Basketball Proespectus blog post by Kevin Pelton last season, my goal was to quantify Atlanta’s injuries in a meaningful way and compare them to the other playoff teams in the Eastern Conference. (Pelton, ambitious as ever, evaluated all 30 teams in his analysis.)

Like Pelton, I looked at the games missed by players and also multiplied that number by their average minutes. To further measure the quality of players lost to injury, Pelton used WARP, a linear-weights formula he developed. I went with Basketball Reference creator Justin Kubato’s Win Shares to make a “Win Shares lost” projection based on average minutes played multiplied by win-shares per minute and games missed.

(Follow the links if you are interested in the details of how WARP and WS are calculated.)

“Win shares lost” is not the same thins as saying the injured players’ teams would win that many more games if they’d never missed time because obviously their minutes were replaced by players of varying quality. But it gives a sense of the quality of the players that have missed games with injuries. Also, this analysis doesn’t take into account players who remain in the lineup but are less effective because of injuries, the impact of having multiple injuries at one position, etc.

(Chart includes games through last Thursday.)

Team Players Games Minutes+ Win shares^
Hawks 8 107 20,287 5.54
Bulls 7 78 14,531 5.678
Heat 5 29 4,066 2.82
Magic 6 29 4,396 1.30
Sixers 5 38 4,788 3.54
Pacers 3 49 3,459 1.34
Celtics 10 84 21,386 3.76
Knicks# 6 50 8,395 2.55

+ Minutes per game when healthy * games missed
^ Win shares per minute * minutes per game when healthy * games missed
# Does not include Baron Davis’ injury before he played for the team.

You can see the Hawks have lost more games to injuries than any other East playoff team. They’ve also “lost” among the most minutes and win shares to injuries. Using these criteria, you could argue that only the Bulls have been hurt more by injuries than Atlanta among East playoff teams, which makes Chicago’s season even more impressive.

Again, these numbers can’t measure all of the factors that determine how much injuries affect these teams. But I think this analysis makes it clear the Hawks’ injuries have been significant in relation to their peer group.

Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat

316 comments Add your comment

Grandmaster JeJe (GM)

March 26th, 2012
7:19 pm

FIRST

FIRE LD
FIRE SUND
FIRE WOODY
FIRE GEARON

Grandmaster JeJe (GM)

March 26th, 2012
7:19 pm

“The Grizzlies have raised their game. Now Memphis fans have to raise their game. That was the gist of a four-hour meeting Saturday of team owner Michael Heisley, his top executives, and several Memphis business and community leaders. ”

Has ASG ever had a meeting like this?

da Man

March 26th, 2012
7:24 pm

Hawks are winning the ship!!!!!!

Slimjr

March 26th, 2012
7:29 pm

-Mismatch-

“That’s what you expect players to say, especially with a team that’s as veteran as the Hawks. Injuries are a part of the game, no one feels sorry for a team that’s riddled with them and so the Hawks have to keep on grinding. They are professional athletes, supremely confident, and so they believe they can win anyway.

The circumstances are different for coach Larry Drew and general manager Rick Sund. Ask them to evaluate the team so far and they are sure to talk about the injuries. It makes sense because neither Sund nor Drew has a guaranteed contract for next season (Drew has an option) and their future with the team could depend how this season plays out. Can’t blame Drew and Sund for making sure the team’s injuries are part of that evaluation, like any of us would make sure our bosses know when circumstances outside of our control impacted our job performance. The process is just a lot more public for Drew and Sund.

Both men are always sure to note they are not making excuses, but of course that’s how some will take it. Most people don’t want to hear about how injuries contribute to a team not meeting expectations. That’s especially true for fans, who expect their team to win anyway.”

The players say on thing and management say another? Funny how perception works amongst us Humons…..

Slimjr

March 26th, 2012
7:30 pm

Slimjr

March 26th, 2012
7:31 pm

Knicks are up now! C’mon Woody! 7-1?

Slimjr

March 26th, 2012
7:35 pm

Brittney Sykes in the McDonald’s High School All American Dunk contest tonight on ESPN ll..She’s only 5′9″,HUH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I got to see this!

Slimjr

March 26th, 2012
7:45 pm

Lin and Amare are out tonight..They are saying Amare’s injury is pretty serious! Shoot….

Lin will play on Wednesday…Wow….

steve brown

March 26th, 2012
7:50 pm

Room on the bench, room on the court. Injuries allowed Teague and particularly Smith to mature and showed realm value of Zsa Zsa. Drafting too many similar players was an error, if Williams can stay healthy he might grow as well. Bayless and others knock James’ finishing ability. I wonder how JJ stacks up against Lebron in the clutch basket category?

Buddy Grizzard

March 26th, 2012
8:00 pm

Good stuff, MC. For the Hawks to be 10 games over 500 and only the 7th team to reach 30 wins despite the adversity is truly impressive. Still not hopping the LD CoY bandwagon, however.

vava74

March 26th, 2012
8:10 pm

steve brown
March 26th, 2012
7:50 pm

Check http://www.82games.com

BEFORE JJ went on a tear during March he was FIFTH in ppg in the clutch with .471 shooting average from the field.

The stats which are available are only up to the 15th of February.

vava74

March 26th, 2012
8:10 pm

I am curious to see updated stats.

drmaryb.[*_*].

March 26th, 2012
8:31 pm

FTPB

Grandmaster JeJe: interesting that you thought my comment regarding brevity -vs- novels were pertaining to you. Not even close … If you’re nothing – you’re brief. LOL at yourself honey bear, you never crossed my mind.

I was referring to the whole page posters that say the same thing for 5 years straight or, fall into that vein. I’ve been guilty of being long winded, (I can improve on that) however, I rarely say the same thing twice. I just enjoy all the different writing styles and fresh opinions.

Like the bloginator says: I looks like you already said that. Even the software get’s tired of posting duplicitous comments. LOL
_____________

I think the injuries have allowed other player to shine. Since you do anything about being hurt, it sure is nice to see others step up and keep this thing rolling.

Drew and Sund should just stop pointing to the obvious: INJURIES and applaud the team for it’s winning ways. If their team goes farther in the playoffs Drew should be extended, but Sund should pack his “lame duck” duffle bag and, be on his way. The ASKG should all leave the State of Georgia, tie their long reaching arm behind their backs, and hire a REAL GM to build a champion with no limits.

Let the Real GM either extend or replace Drew without interference from them.

Let’s Go Hawks!!!!!!!!!
_____________

Sorry to hear about Amare’ … Call Joe whatever names we like, he plays hard hurt or hobbled and shows up to play every night, neary a peep or complaint. I’ll take Joe’s contract over Amare’s all day long. Forget about three years from now, “I wanna’ be rich” and win a championship this year. The hella with next year, I might be dead by then$n. LOL

lewis

March 26th, 2012
8:41 pm

hawks havn’t dipped off too much this year because zaza has proven to be a beast

and to think how much I hated him last year

doc

March 26th, 2012
8:44 pm

dawgnole carry over, did the bulls in a one point win and the spurs struggle in a three point win the same night we struggled to a three point win against all dregs or did they win. oh did the clips struggle against the hornets or lose? dude a win is a win and prbably on the court in the nba most games are struggles.

i see you are now an honorary member via the gold admiral member of the charlie sheen winners club.

Rev in Tampa

March 26th, 2012
8:44 pm

“But I think this analysis makes it clear”

I phrase that shouldn’t be used in that article. But nice work MC. Given three years of research I couldn’t have come close to equaling your analysis.

Grandmaster JeJe (GM)

March 26th, 2012
8:47 pm

“Grandmaster JeJe: interesting that you thought my comment regarding brevity -vs- novels were pertaining to you. Not even close … If you’re nothing – you’re brief. LOL at yourself honey bear, you never crossed my mind.”

Sounds good!

Seems like everyone is hating on me these days for telling the truth, albeit with EMOTION.

Cheers Miss Mary

drmaryb.[*_*].

March 26th, 2012
8:52 pm

* since you CAN’T do anything about being hurt …

Grandmaster JeJe (GM)

March 26th, 2012
8:54 pm

DawgNole,

Keep tearing it up on here. LMAO. Tell the world the truth

Swatguy

March 26th, 2012
8:56 pm

Many pundits predicted the Hawks to falter and many thought would miss the playoffs. That was before the season started and the injuries. LD(and staff) are doing a great job. Sund has done a masterful job bringing in Green, Mac, Rad, Ivan, Stacks and Pargo. Amazing really. If we find ourselves healthy at the end of this season, we can make that run, a run for the ring.

drmaryb.[*_*].

March 26th, 2012
9:01 pm

Do You!

Grandmaster JeJe

You know you’re my boy! Do your thing … They did it, its your turn now. Last I checked, this was a public forum where all opinions are welcome and appreciated.

If they don’t like you tell them to:

GET YOUR SCROLL ON – bruh.

Another GM

March 26th, 2012
9:05 pm

When they “run” into the Heat or Bulls the season will be over. I have really enjoyed the last few games and wish the GM and ASG had made a couple of moves that could have put this team into a position to win a title, but that was just asking to much out of these clowns.

Georgina

March 26th, 2012
9:13 pm

i dont think the ball stagnates as often. this will be a really good chance for teague to go off if drew doesnt hold him back & he decides to be aggressive. he seems more intent on outscoring the opposing point guard when he does show aggression. http://bit.ly/GDYGvu

Melvin

March 26th, 2012
9:15 pm

I guess it’s safe to assume that Slimjr is a Knicks fan….LOL

Slimjr

March 26th, 2012
9:15 pm

Knicks up 57-56 with 5:47 left in the 3rd..A nail biter?

Cmon Woody!

drmaryb.[*_*].

March 26th, 2012
9:15 pm

One more thing!

I get real emotional when we lose. Especially, if I’m in a bad mood or the office phone bill goes over $600.00 for the month! But, hey I’m female – I’m supposed to, I’m a girl.

I appreciate all styles of communication: emotional or not, it’s all good! Do You man.

drmaryb.[*_*].

March 26th, 2012
9:19 pm

Hey, slimjr. … I love my Knicks too! My dad was born @ Manhattan General Hospital. Penmanship or Wordsmith – ing?

“odd how folks condemn wins if they arent done in the right fashion. win’s count and i dont think the spurs or bulls are giving last nights back against lesser opponents any more than we should here” -doc-

> Well, I NEVER heard Kobe apologize for any wins. Nor, have I heard the last season Bulls apologize for their 61 wins amidst the MVP chants for DRose on the road nor at home in Chicago. So, neither should the competing Hawks. __________

“anyway this is a blog with a lot of different styles including pompous, dmb, gdad or anal, do as you wish. me i slept well last night.” -doc-

> Surely doc, who has been defending his inability to spell or spell check for the past two days and beyond, has not resorted to throwing uninvolved parties under an old broken down Greyhound Bus?

If I am not mistaken, doc refers to Grand-Daddy and DMB as garnering a “pompus” or “anal” writing or communication style? I find this quite laughable, considering the source – to say the very least. If I have mis-interpreted doc, then I surely digress.

To doc’s credit, however, the smart phones aren’t so smart when auto-fill, auto-correct, touch screen keyboards and

doc

March 26th, 2012
9:21 pm

dmb he mistakes caps for content.

Wink

March 26th, 2012
9:25 pm

Injuries have not hurt them as much as their play.

Management has hurt more than any injury, including Al Horford

If Drew & Sund were worried about job security, then Sund should have requested funds to secure players and Drew better management of available talent.

Remember, after Horford got hurt the Hawks held the fort together.

Their play against over 500 teams is their biggest downfall.

Failure of Drew to keep the bench chemistry together when Hinrich came back destroyed the momentum the bench had developed.

Sund miserable GM work did nothing to improve team personnel

Frankly, they are looking for an excuse to fall back on, once the Hawks don’t get out the first round…….PERIOD!

DawgNole

March 26th, 2012
9:29 pm

doc
March 26th, 2012
8:44 pm

dawgnole carry over, did the bulls in a one point win and the spurs struggle in a three point win the same night we struggled to a three point win against all dregs or did they win. oh did the clips struggle against the hornets or lose? dude a win is a win and prbably on the court in the nba most games are struggles.
__________________

Not sure what you’re arguing about. All I did was caution a poster (might’ve been Najeh, who’s as knowledgeable as anyone on here) against assuming the Hawks had an easier path because the schedule lightens up a bit. I pointed out that we’ve STRUGGLED against the dregs–and we have. Again, I didn’t say we LOST to them–or that a win isn’t a win. In the final analysis, take a look at the Hawks’ 45-year history in ATL. Have they won any championships? Afraid not. Have they made it past the third round of the playoffs? Nope. Have they made it past the second round of the playoffs? Nada. Those are the things (championships especially) that define success when you’ve been around as long as the Hawks have been in ATL. And until the team wins a title, I’ll continue to be extremely cautious about predicting victories–even over the scrubs. You’d be well-advised to do the same if you truly are a fan.

drmaryb.[*_*].

March 26th, 2012
9:31 pm

doc LOL! You cracking on GM-JeJe caps and you NEVER use any at all? Two kettle pots pointing? Bow out doc, while you can … Leave the lid on that can with all your iphone typos galore. LMAOROFKTCSMH

Slimjr

March 26th, 2012
9:35 pm

drmaryb.[*_*].

March 26th, 2012
9:19 pm

“Hey, slimjr. … I love my Knicks too! My dad was born @ Manhattan General Hospital. Penmanship or Wordsmith – ing?”

Whats up pretty drmaryb(she got leggs)! Wow pops was born in the Big Apple? Nice..

Carmelo is try to carry em now like iso does…Only up 4 go into the 4th!

I misspelled Human, Humon on purpose tonight, hehehehe..

Update, MRI shows that Amare’s gone for a longtime with a bulging disk!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! dam……

Slimjr

March 26th, 2012
9:41 pm

drmary, how long do you believe Amare’ will be out with this bulging disk? Is it a possible season ending injury?

Slimjr

March 26th, 2012
9:47 pm

Its Ironic, the Hawks lose their Allstar big and now 11 weeks later the Knicks lose theirs.

TMACfan

March 26th, 2012
9:47 pm

TMAC has had a ton of that bulging disk stuff, it’s not a good thing.

Runner-

March 26th, 2012
9:47 pm

Great write up MC.

As to address the comment on why ASG has never done anything like what the Memphis team has done, it is Memphis’ only team and they have the full backing of the whole city. The Falcons with Arthur Blank are that type of model for the city of Atlanta, not the Hawks.

Maybe if a native Atlantan or someone who actually cares about the city were to buy the Hawks things would be different, but until the passion is shown by the owners, very little passion will be shown by many average fans out there.

TMACfan

March 26th, 2012
9:49 pm

On another note, the 76ers and the Celtics now have the same record. This playoff race is confusing.

SteveW

March 26th, 2012
9:52 pm

Well, I said I wasn’t buying into the Knicks yet – let’s see where Amare and ‘Melo end up with injuries. And also see how Lin does when he hits the physical wall late March, early April.

Nailed that on both accounts.

But the way LD has been playing our top guys, one of them may go down. Hope not.

And Miami has been whitewashed two straight. Are they laying low for the playoffs already? Or are they not quite as good as advertised?

ESPN is saying Amare quite possibly season ending injury – but a second opinion with a Dr. in Miami. Woody is talking about surgery and rehab for him. But we’ll wait for the final verdict. Could be back in 5 games, who knows?

Slimjr

March 26th, 2012
9:53 pm

JR Smith with 9 rebounds! That’s what Joe needs to do, help the bigs rebound the ball…

Slimjr

March 26th, 2012
9:55 pm

Dam SteveW, you jinxed da Knicks man!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thanks a lot dude….LOL!

Grandmaster JeJe (GM)

March 26th, 2012
9:56 pm

DawgNole

Not sure what you’re arguing about. All I did was caution a poster (might’ve been Najeh, who’s as knowledgeable as anyone on here) against assuming the Hawks had an easier path because the schedule lightens up a bit. I pointed out that we’ve STRUGGLED against the dregs–and we have. Again, I didn’t say we LOST to them–or that a win isn’t a win. In the final analysis, take a look at the Hawks’ 45-year history in ATL. Have they won any championships? Afraid not. Have they made it past the third round of the playoffs? Nope. Have they made it past the second round of the playoffs? Nada. Those are the things (championships especially) that define success when you’ve been around as long as the Hawks have been in ATL. And until the team wins a title, I’ll continue to be extremely cautious about predicting victories–even over the scrubs. You’d be well-advised to do the same if you truly are a fan.

ETHER!!!! Damn. Plus you are ARTICULATE.

you dtno tpe like thsi with hideuos typos and memaingless bableb

SteveW

March 26th, 2012
9:56 pm

30-20 – Not bad with Al down – certainly better than anybody on the blog predicted, after Al’s injury.

MC – Any word on Al? According to the initial prognosis – he may be back in less than a month. 3 months minimum from the Jan. 19th (I think) surgery.

Grandmaster JeJe (GM)

March 26th, 2012
9:58 pm

doc
March 26th, 2012
9:21 pm

dmb he mistakes caps for content.

LinkReport this comment

GOOD JOB! Zero typos!

If you think I lack content, you clearly are AN ANAL MINDED MORON

Slimjr

March 26th, 2012
9:58 pm

SteveW, Miami is laying low.. They are going to crush folks come playoffs..That team is loaded like a glock…

Oh did I mention they have the Chief Gangster and his agents on their side too?

DawgNole

March 26th, 2012
10:02 pm

Runner-: “Maybe if a native Atlantan or someone who actually cares about the city were to buy the Hawks things would be different, but until the passion is shown by the owners, very little passion will be shown by many average fans out there.”
_______________________

Passionate ownership would help, but the team also sorely needs keen basketball minds and wise draft picks to build a real winner–and ultimately a champion. A shame that we’re still talking about the strategy for building a champion 45 years after this “project” began.

drmaryb.[*_*].

March 26th, 2012
10:02 pm

drmaryb.[*_*].

March 26th, 2012
9:19 pm
_________

Ha Ha .. So now the blog troll hi-jacks my I’d to copy and paste my stuff FTPB to a recent post from today. Ha Ha!

The troll is too funny and has way too much creativity on his hands. That is too funny, but it’s all good in the blog hood.

G-Nite fellas, time for my beauty rest. See yawl tomorrow.
Great comments all day long. Poster of the day is: Mr. Davenpoop.

Hawks Blog Legend Worldwide Clyde

March 26th, 2012
10:02 pm

Rev in Tampa

March 26th, 2012
10:05 pm

I guess it was too much to expect charlotte to beat boston or for toronto to beat orlando. I’m surprised indiana beat miami. Looks like chicago will lose to denver. Glad milwaulkee played tonight. Looks like they will lose to woody.

SteveW

March 26th, 2012
10:05 pm

One thing it seems to me on this blog – No matter if the Hawks won the NBA Championship this season, some would still complain.

They would say things like:

- Why did it take so long?

- It was a weak year for other teams – It was a fluke

- Well, what does it matter, we’re going to lose Josh anyway

- We’ll never repeat

- We have no young players in the pipeline

And on and on.

Sometimes I think we have fans of other teams who just happen to post on a Hawks blog. We’re 30-20 with an injury to an All Star, and have played well against some good competition recently. It’s a fact, no matter how negative we want to be.

Slimjr

March 26th, 2012
10:05 pm

“A shame that we’re still talking about the strategy for building a champion 45 years after this “project” began.”

DawNole, your quote is a “CLASSIC” dude.. It is beyond belief that this franchise has not even been to a freaking Eastern Conference Final???????????????? Forget Championship? WOW!