In a little-noticed, two-month-old study by statistician Dan Rosenbaum, three Nets are rated in the top 10 at their positions...one of which is a huge surprise. Rosenbaum uses a variety of statistics over the last three seasons, but relies primarily on plus/minus statistics.
Rosenbaum, whose statistics are used by agents, teams and the players association, ranks Jason Collins as the NBA's fourth best center, Jason Kidd as the NBA's fourth best point guard and [!!] Vince Carter as the NBA's tenth best small foward.
Rosenbaum only listed the top 10 and the bottom 10 in the published analysis.
On the opposite side of the ledger, Rosenbaum ranks Marc Jackson and Cliff Robinson as next to last in the center and power forward ranking.
Rosenbaum is a huge fan of Jason Collins...saying, "Collins is a consistently great defender; I don’t remember ever hearing him discussed as an elite defender in this league, but only a select few players have been more effective defensively than he has been over the past three seasons."
Of Carter, he notes that while he is accused of "not giving full effort on the defensive end, but [his] teams have played better defense " when he is in the game.
Defending his methodology, Rosenbaum notes, again citing Collins, "If, for example, the Nets consistently defend better when Jason Collins is on the floor, regardless of who is on the floor with him, then we would have to conclude that Collins was a good defender. And it doesn’t matter if he ever got a steal, block, or defensive rebound. Or what his reputation as a defender is.
"Defensive statistics, votes for the All-Defensive team, and accolades in the press are nothing more than indicators that a player may be a good defender. "
As for those players who lead the league in defensive categories like steals and blocks, Rosenbaum dismisses them as "stats whores".
It's the second time Collins defense has been cited in a detailed statistical analysis. In a New York Times analysis, done around the same time as Rosenbaum using the same data, Collins was called the biggest defensive difference maker in the league. The difference when Collins was on the bench vs. when he was on the floor was 13.2 points per 48 minutes, tops in the league this season