Monthly Archives: October 2010

Last Night’s Numbers – 10/31/10

Welcome to Last Night’s Numbers, a new daily feature where we run through the NBA games from the night before, highlighting one or two numbers I found particularly interesting from each game. Think of it as Kelly Dwyer’s Behind the Box Score from Ball Don’t Lie, except shorter, less informative, less informed, less witty, less enjoyable and less well written. All the stats are from Hoopdata’s box scores, which contain some additional advanced stats not available in traditional box scores. As with all my work here, this is an experiment and subject to changes in format and scheduling!

Atlanta 99 – Washington 95

  • John Wall played a much more effective game last night, scoring 28 points and posting a +3 in his time on the floor. He still took 8 jumpshots from the 16-23ft. range, which is probably too many for him, as he’s unlikely to regularly make half of those shots as he did last night. He did get to the free throw line 10 times which is a good sign for his offensive awareness.
  • Washington struggled rebounding the ball again, grabbing only 44.2% of the available rebounds.
  • Atlanta seemed to move back towards isolations again last night, as only 55.9% of their made field goals were assisted on.

Chicago 101 – Detroit 91

  • Derrick Rose dominated the ball again for Chicago. He shot the ball much better, putting up 39 points on 27 shots and getting to the free throw line 13 times. However, his shot distribution was not ideal with only 6 shots taken at the rim and 14 coming on jumpshots taken from 16ft. and out.
  • Detroit’s Rodney Stuckey was determined not to let Rose be the only ball-domintating lead guard on the floor, taking 13 shots from the floor and attempting 11 free throws. None of Stuckey’s made baskets were assisted on.

Sacramento 107 – Cleveland 104

  • Carl Landry continued his discouraging trend of migrating away from the basket. Landry attempted only 2 shots at the rim, and 9 jumpshots from beyond 10 feet. He made 6 of 9 so maybe he is just determined to make me look like an idiot. I still think the Kings would like to see him doing more damage in the paint.
  • Omri Casspi was unconscious for the Kings, knocking down 6 of 7 three pointers. He was a +12, best on the team, during his time on the floor.
  • Cleveland showed good offensive discipline with 58% of their shots coming either at the rim or on three pointers. For team without a lot of offensive firepower, maintaining this discipline to high quality shots throughout the season is going to be very important.

Denver 107 – Houston 94

  • Denver played their offense into high efficiency shots all night. 66% of their shots were taken either at the rim or on three pointers. They also added 33 free throw attempts for a FTR of 0.354. Many of those shots however came out of 1 on 1 plays, as only 47.1% of their made shots were assisted on.
  • Aaron Brooks had 5 assists for Houston, 4 of which led directly to layups.
  • Luis Scola had another strong scoring game for Houston, dropping 28 points with a 76.9% TS%.

Indiana 99 – Philadelphia 86

  • Indiana took 31 shots at the rim last night, or 35% of their overall attempts. Unfortunately, 16-23ft. jumpers also accounted for 24% of their shot attempts.
  • Roy Hibbert was extremely effective passing the ball for Indiana, with 5 assists in the game, all of which led to layups.
  • One of the few bright spots for Philadelphia was their shot blocking. They totalled 11 blocks, or 12.4% of Indiana’s total shots.

Milwaukee 98 – Charlotte 88

  • Brandon Jennings was terrific for Milwaukee. He posted a triple double; 20 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists. His 20 points came on only 8 shots. 6 of his 10 assists led to three pointers for the Bucks.
  • Charlotte was outrebounded badly, grabbing only 41.2% of the available rebounds. In addition they turned the ball over 18 times, or 19.6% of their total possessions.

Portland 100 – New York 95

  • Portland stole this game by maximizing their offensive possessions. They shot 48.7% from the field and 46.2% on three pointers.
  • Nicolas Batum continued to be an important piece for the Blazers. Although he posted a modest statline of 10 points, 4 rebounds and 2 assists, he was +16 during his 28 minutes on the floor.
  • Danilo Gallinari had another difficult shooting night for New York. He went 2 of 9 from the field and missed all 3 of his three pointers.

New Orleans 99 – San Antonio 90

  • New Orleans had an incredible shooting night. They shot 50% from the field, 82.4% on free throws and 63.7% on three pointers.
  • San Antonio’s front line struggled to contribute offensively. DeJuan Blair and Tim Duncan combined to go 4 of 20 from the field.

Memphis 109 – Minnesota 89

  • Minnesota’s offense was in shambles last night. They shot 10 of 41 on jumpshots from 16ft. and out, and shot 34.9% overall. In addition they turned the ball over 29 times, a whopping 22% of their possessions.
  • Mike Conley had 11 assists for Memphis, 7 of which led to shots closer than 10ft. and 3 of which went for three pointers.
  • The Grizzlies’ starting backcourt, Conley and Mayo, combined for 10 steals in the game.

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Last Night’s Numbers – 10/30/10

Welcome to Last Night’s Numbers, a new daily feature where we run through the NBA games from the night before, highlighting one or two numbers I found particularly interesting from each game. Think of it as Kelly Dwyer’s Behind the Box Score from Ball Don’t Lie, except shorter, less informative, less informed, less witty, less enjoyable and less well written. All the stats are from Hoopdata’s box scores, which contain some additional advanced stats not available in traditional box scores. As with all my work here, this is an experiment and subject to changes in format and scheduling!

Boston 105 – New York 101

  • The Celtics pounded New York on the glass, grabbing 58.6% of the available rebounds and posting an Offensive Rebound Rate of 32.5%. This was a team effort with six different Celtics grabbing at least two offensive rebounds.
  • Turnovers were a problem in the Celtics’ first two games, but they kept them under control last night only turning the ball over on 14.9% of their possessions. There is obviously still room for improvement there.
  • Rookie shooting guard Landry Fields had another solid performance scoring 11 points and chipping in 10 rebounds, 4 assists and 1 steal for New York. Unfortunately, all that effort amounted to -10 for the Knicks.

New Orleans 101 – Denver 95

  • New Orleans did a great job moving the ball and finding open shooters, recording an assist on 60.6% of their field goals. Chris Paul was chief among the Hornets in this respect recording an assist rate of 29.6. However, Wille Green, Jerryd Bayless and Trevor Arize all had assist rates above 24.0.
  • Carmelo Anthony had another well rounded game for Denver. In his first game Melo gave the Nuggets 8 points in the paint and 9 free throw attempts to go with only 3 16-23ft. jumpers. Last night Melo had only 6 points in the paint, 4 free throw attempts and 9 16-23ft. jumpers. He made 6 of 9 on his long jumpers but this is a troubling pattern of shot selection for the Nuggets from a long term perspective.

Memphis 91 – Dallas 90

  • Memphis did a great job protecting the ball, turning it over on only 12% of their possessions. They needed every one of those possessions to pull out the win as they only shot 38.8% for the game.
  • Dirk Nowitzki had another incredibly efficient game scoring 27 points on a 76.5% TS%.

Oklahoma City 105 – Detroit 104

  • The Thunder stole this game at the free thow line, with 44 attempts and a FTR of 0.518. In terms of points scored at the free throw line, they had a 21 point advantage over Detroit in this game (37-16).
  • Kevin Durant took an absurd 13 jumpers from the 16-23ft. range making 8 of them. He maintained a balance though, also attempting 13 free throws.
  • Ben Gordon had it going for the Pistons, scoring 32 points on an 80.2% TS%.

Miami 96 – Orlando 70

  • I hate to point fingers, but I’m pointing a giant foam one at Rashard Lewis today. 0-9 from the field, a 6.3% Total Rebound Rate and a -26 in his 25 minutes on the floor. Yikes!
  • Miami did not play a terrific offensive game, only posting a 105.5 Offensive Rating. They did however dominate the glass, grabbing 56% of available rebounds; protect the ball, turning it over on only 11.5% of their possessions; and control the game on defense, giving up only 7 shots at the rim to Orlando and holding them to 30.5% from the field.

Minnesota 95 – Milwaukee 86

  • Minnesota won this game, largely by crashing the boards. They posted a 40.0% Offensive Rebound Rate, with 9 different players grabbing at least one offensive rebound. This helped overcome a terrible shooting night, as the team shot only 37.7% from the field.
  • Corey Maggette gave himself the green light last night, taking 11 jumpers from 16ft. and out, making only 3 of them. Well done sir! This was indicative of a team wide problem with 30% of their shots last night being jumpshots from 16-23ft.
  • Minnesota had 11 blocks as a team last night. This works out to blocking 12.6% of Milwaukee’s shots. Seems like shot selection was an overall issue for the Bucks.

New Jersey 106 – Sacramento 100

  • New Jersey shot 52.5% from the field, posted a tremendous FTR of 0.767, and dominated the glass grabbing 58.1% of the available rebounds. It’s a good thing, because they also racked up 26 turnovers which worked out to 24.4% of their possessions.
  • Carl Landry took 9 shots outside of 10ft. last night and only 4 inside of 10ft. It worked out okay as he combined to go 7 of 13, but that’s not a sustainable level of efficiency for him on that type of shot distribution. It’s also probably why he didn’t attempt a single free throw.
  • Beno Udrih and Omri Casspi combined to miss all 10 of their three point attempts for the Kings. That’s like Josh Smith bad.

Atlanta 104 – Philadelphia 101

  • Atlanta struggled with turnovers, giving up the ball on 19.4% of their possessions. However, their ball movement was much more effective tonight, totalling 24 assists. This means 66.7% of their baskets were assisted on. In addition, their assists were particularly efficient with 14 of them leading to either a layup or a three pointer.
  • Andre Iguodala had a terrific game for the Sixers, scoring 27 points while chalking up 6 rebounds and 10 assists. He had a fairly efficient shot distribution making 4 of 5 at the rim, 2 of 5 three pointers, and 3 of 7 from 16-23ft.
  • As a team, 33% of Philadelphia’s shots were 16-23ft. jumpers. They shot 6 of 28 from this distance. For a team without strong shooters, they need to find a way to diversify their offense.

L.A. Lakers 114 – Phoenix 106

  • The Lakers shot the ball extremely well against Phoenix, making 12 of 27 three pointers. Pau Gasol did a great job kicking the ball out to open shooters, with 4 assists that led to three pointers.
  • Robin Lopez had a great game for Phoenix, scoring 18 points on 50% shooting and grabbing 14 rebounds. Despite taking 10 shots at the rim, Lopez didn’t attempt a single free throw. Finding a way to initiate and then finish through contact could be a way for Lopez and the Suns to wear down the Lakers’ potent front line in the future.

Toronto 101 – Cleveland 81

  • Cleveland’s problem tonight was poor shooting. 31% of their shots came at the rim, compared to only 14% on 16-23ft. jumpers, a very solid distribution. The problem was they struggled to make either, making only 12 of 26 at the rim and 1 of 12 on those long jumpers. If they had shot last year’s league average from both distances they would have picked up roughly 16 extra points, enough to keep them in the game.
  • Toronto did a great job of rebounding, grabbing 58.2% of available boards. Reggie Evans was especially valuable grabbing 14 rebounds, 5 of them offensive. Evans was a +20 for his time on the floor.
  • Toronto shot a terrific 10-20 on 16-23ft. jumpers. In the future it would be nice to see them settle for that shot less, often as maintaining that percentage is probably not sustainable for them long term.

Indiana 104 – Charlotte 101

  • Danny Granger was the man for Indiana tonight, scoring 33 points on a 66.6% TS%.
  • Tyler Hansbrough was key down the stretch for Indiana, posting a +12 in his 20 minutes on the floor.
  • Charlotte completely controlled the glass, grabbing 56.9% of available rebounds. They also posted a terrific 0.643 FTR. Unfortunately, they couldn’t get stops when they needed them, only turning the Pacers over on 10% of their possessions and allowing them to shoot 45% from the field and 41.9% on three pointers.

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Last Night’s Numbers – 10/29/10

Welcome to Last Night’s Numbers, a new daily feature where we run through the NBA games from the night before, highlighting one or two numbers I found particularly interesting from each game. Think of it as Kelly Dwyer’s Behind the Box Score from Ball Don’t Lie, except shorter, less informative, less informed, less witty, less enjoyable and less well written. All the stats are from Hoopdata’s box scores, which contain some additional advanced stats not available in traditional box scores. As with all my work here, this is an experiment and subject to changes in format and scheduling!

Orlando 112 – Washington 83

  • It was not a terrific start to the season for top pick, John Wall. He shot 6-19 from the field and posted a -31 in his time on the floor. Of his 19 shots, only 5 came at the rim, and a whopping 10 were of the 16-23ft. jumpshot variety. He only made 2 of those 10. In addition he only got to the free throw line only 3 times, for a game FTR of 0.158. The one bright spot was his 9 assists compared to only 3 turnovers. He has all the tools but there is still a lot of room for growth.
  • Washington was absolutely destroyed on the glass, grabbing only 32.1% of the available rebounds during the game. Their starting power forward and center, Andray Blatche and Javale McGee both had Total Rebound Rates for the game under 7%. Orlando is one of the better rebounding teams in the league but this still projects to be a season-long struggle for the Wizards.
  • Dwight Howard had a respectable game offensively, stepping away from the basket slightly to make 4 of 5 shots from less than 10ft. He even knocked down a jumpshot in the 16-23ft. range.

Phoenix 110 – Utah 94

  • Utah’s season is off to an inauspicious start as they lost again, struggling on offense. Utah’s starting backcourt, Williams and Bell, combined to shoot 6 of 24 from the field and 2-8 on three pointers last night.
  • Phoenix’s bench played strong last night. Channing Frye, Goran Dragic, Hakim Warrick, Josh Childress and Jared Dudley combined to go +52 in their 108 minutes played.
  • After struggling mightily on the glass in their first game, Phoenix had two players, Grant Hill and Hakim Warrick reach double figure rebounds in this game. They need to make this a consistent nightly focus in order to have a chance of making the playoffs.

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Last Night’s Numbers – 10/28/10

I’ve been running through ideas for a quick daily feature for this season. What I have settled on the forseeable future is “Last Night’s Numbers.” I am hoping to get this up each morning and run through the NBA games from the night, before highlighting one or two numbers I found particularly interesting from each game. Think of it as Kelly Dwyer’s Behind the Box Score from Ball Don’t Lie, except shorter, less informative, less informed, less witty, less enjoyable and less well written. All the stats are from Hoopdata’s box scores, which contain some additional advanced stats not available in traditional box scores. As with all my work here, this is an experiment and subject to changes in format and scheduling! So without further ado, the first edition of Last Night’s Numbers:

New Orleans 95 – Milwaukee 91

  • David West shot 7-9 on 16-23ft. jumpers. For those of you without a calculator that’s 77.8% on the most inefficient shot in basketball.
  • Chris Paul recorded on assist on 52% of the Hornet’s possessions last night. If he stays healthy he could carry this team to a playoff spot.

Dallas 101 – Charlotte 86

  • D.J. Augustin was -21 during his time on the floor last night. Not to be outdone, Nazr Mohammed posted a -26. If they are going to return to the playoffs they need better production, or a roster upgrade at those positions.
  • Dirk Nowitzki used 14 possessions last night, less than Jason Terry, Caron Butler and Jason Kidd. He was his usual efficient self contributing a ridiculous 1.48 points per possession to his team’s offense.

Cleveland 95 – Boston 87

  • Boston struggled with turnovers against Miami on Tuesday, and the pattern continued last night. Boston turned the ball over on 20% of their possessions against Cleveland. Yikes!
  • J.J. Hickson looked good offensively, shooting 8-11 from the field and 5-6 from the free throw line. That’s a TS% of 77.0%

Denver 110 – Utah 88

  • Al Jefferson got off to an underwhelming start in Utah going 2-6 from the field and posting a -17, worst on the team, in his 31 minutes.
  • Shelden Williams looks like he could be a steal for Denver this season, grabbing 30.5% of the available rebounds last night for a total of 16. For the last few years Denver has claimed to be one big away from being a championship contender. Could Shelden Williams be that big?

Golden State 132 – Houston 128

  • In something that was a rarity last season, Golden State actually outrebounded Houston last night, grabbing 53.5% of the available rebounds. With the addition of David Lee, and some more conventional lineups this could be a season long trend.
  • There were some remarkable scoring performances in this game. Monta Ellis scored 46 for Golden State on a TS% 78.6%. In addition 50% of his field goals were assisted on. This is a good sign of him finding shots within the offense. Only 35.8% of his field goals were assisted on last season.
  • Luis Scola scored 36 for Houston on a TS% of 61.5%. Kevin Martin scored 28 with a TS% of 65.2%.

Portland 98 – L.A. Clippers 88

  • Of Brandon Roy’s 19 shots, only 2 were taken from closer than 10ft. and none were taken at the rim. He did shoot 5-9 on long jumpers, but his 22 points came on only a 48.8 TS%.
  • The Clippers took 32 of their 79 shots from 16ft. and out, making only 7 of them. Two players who did make an impact scoring at the rim were Blake Griffin (6-7) and Eric Gordon (8-9).

Sacramento 117 – Minnestoa 116

  • Rookie DeMarcus Cousins was +18 for the Sacramento Kings during his 27 minutes on the floor.
  • Wesley Johnson, the Timberwolves 1st Round Draft pick was also very effective in this game, posting a +14 in in his 18 minutes on the floor.
  • The Kings won this game at the free throw line, picking up 13 more points there than the Timberwolves. Their FTR (FTA/FGA) for the game was 0.553.

New Jersey 101 – Detroit 98

  • This was another game lost at the free throw line. Detroit shot 16-30, or 53.4% on free throws. If they had made just the league average of 75.9% from last season, they would have picked up roughly 6 points and won by 3.
  • For all the talk about New Jersey’s roster additions this game was one by returning players. Terrence Williams, Devin Harris and Brook Lopez were a combined +26 in their 100 minutes. Jordan Farmar, Anthony Morrow, Travis Outlaw and Derrick Favors had a +/- of 0 in their 100 minutes.

Miami 97 – Philadelphia 87

  • Dwayne Wade rebounded from his difficult offensive night against Boston to score 30 on Philly with a TS% of 59.3%.
  • Chris Bosh was very effective tonight, posting a +25 in his 39 minutes.
  • Rookie, Evan Turner was all but labelled a bust after his summer league and preseason struggles. In his first regular season game he scored 16 points on a 71.4 TS%, and chipped in 7 rebounds and 4 assists to only 2 turnovers.

San Antonio 122 – Indiana 109

  • The offense was humming for both teams as they combined to post a 112 Offensive Rating for the game. Unfortunately, minimal defense was played by both squads.
  • The Pacers turned the ball over on 20.6% of their possessions, with the leading culprits being T.J. Ford (33.8 TOR) and Paul George (27.6 TOR)
  • Manu Ginobili sure looked healthy as made 5 of 9 three pointers on the way to 22 points.

Oklahoma City 106 – Chicago 95

  • Effective frontcourt plays would appear to be Oklahoma’s potential achilles heal this season. Tonight it was a strength as Serge Ibaka (filling in at center for the injured Nick Collison) and Jeff Green combined to +24 in their in their 72 minutes on the floor. Chicago’s Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson were a -10 in their 73 minutes.
  • Derrick Rose looks serious about backing up his contentions of being an MVP candidate. He took 31 shots last night, with 16 of them coming from 10ft. and in, scoring 28 points. I hope he knows that team success plays a large role in MVP voting, and him taking a full third of his teams shots may not be the best way for them to be successful offensively.

New York 98 – Toronto 93

  • Neither team played particularly well, but New York had a balanced attack and scored just enough to win. Danilo Gallinari and rookie Landry Fields combined to make 5 of 11 three pointers which helped quite a bit.
  • 9 turnovers for Amare Stoudemire is almost enough to make D’Antoni’s moustache catch fire.
  • Andrea Bargnani continued to struggle shooting the ball netting 22 points but on a TS% of only 44.9%. Shooting 4-14 on shots from 10ft. and in certainly didn’t help.
  • Toronto’s Amir Johnson committed 4 personal fouls in 13 minutes on the floor. That’s an impressive rate of 12.3 fouls per 40 minutes. Well done sir!

Atlanta 119 – Memphis 104

  • Both Rudy Gay and Joe Johnson were signed to huge contracts this off-season, contracts which have been bashed by analysts around the league. Johnson’s per game pay is $199,079; Gay’s is $165,899. That means the Hawks and Grizzlies combined to pay those two players $364,978 for last night’s work. This doesn’t have anything to do with the outcome of the game, I just thought you might like to feel as bad as I do about your workload to salary ratio.
  • The Grizzliles were outrebounded badly, with Atlanta grabbing 53.5% of the available rebounds. Zaza Pachulia in particular played, well grabbing 21.2% of available rebounds while he was on the floor, including a 20.5 Offensive Rebound Rate.
  • The despite scoring well, the effectiveness of the Hawks new committment to ball movement and motion instead of isolation didn’t materialize tonight. The Hawks only assisted on 47.7% on their baskets, down from 56.24% last season.

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Expected Scoring – Hedo Turkoglu

We are continuing with our preseason Expected Scoring player profiles. Today we’ll be looking at the Phoenix Suns’ Hedo Turkoglu.

If you’ve missed my other posts on the subject, Expected Points uses a player’s FGA from each area of the floor and multiplies it by the average number of points scored on that type of shot to come up with an Expected Point total from that area. The Expected Point total can than be compared to the actual number of points a player scored from that area to arrive at a Point Differential. This point differential is an expression of how a player shot compared to the league average, but I like that the comparison is drawn with actual point totals.  The average values of shots by location that I use (At Rim – 1.208, <10ft. – 0.856, 10-15ft. – 0.783, 16-23ft. – 0.801, 3PT – 1.081, FT – 0.759) were calculated by Albert Lyu of ThinkBlueCrew.

Turkoglu’s career has been in a free-fall since he and the Orlando Magic lost in the 2009 Finals to the Los Angeles Lakers. That summer Turkoglu left as a free agent for Toronto. He never fit in the offense, struggled with injuries, and left the team, the fans and himself eager to part ways. This summer Turkoglu was traded and became a member of the Phoenix Suns.

Joining the Suns was going to require some adjustment on Turkoglu’s part. In Orlando, Turkoglu frequently filled the role of primary ball-handler, spending a lot of time creating shots for himself and his teammates in the pick and roll. In Toronto, he was asked to spend more time playing off the ball and struggled. The situation seems like it will only be exacerbated in Phoenix with Steve Nash and Goran Dragic playing point guard. Each side was optimistic after the trade, but things do not look rosy after Turkoglu’s performance in the preseason. Here are his traditional stats (per 40 minutes) from his last season in Orlando, his one season in Toronto, and the 2010-2011 preseason:

There are a few positives here. Turkoglu will likely spend a lot of time at power forward for Phoenix, and he seems to have embraced this to some extent, rebounding at a career high rate. He also has shown some defensive effort in the preseason, blocking shots and stealing the ball at rate much higher than his career average.

That being said, Turkoglu’s shooting numbers have been atrocious. With FG and 3PT percentages hovering around 30%, Turkoglu is clearly not meeting expectations in Phoenix. He is being asked to contribute primarily as a scorer and shooter as opposed, to creator and he has struggled mightily.

Let’s now break down his scoring efficiency, or lack there of, in a little more depth. Below is a table showing Turkoglu’s Expected Points, Actual Points and Point Differential for each area of the floor from the last three seasons and through this preseason (all numbers are per 40 minutes). If you prefer a spreadsheet to the embedded table photo, here is the link.

Turkoglu is actually scoring at an above expected rate at the rim in the preseason with Phoenix. This is about the only bright spot so far in his time with the Suns. The shots that are going to be most available to Turkoglu in Phoenix are jumpshots and in the preseason he was absolutely miserable shooting jumpers. On all shots from 10ft. and out, Turkoglu is scoring 3.81 less points per 40 than expected. Even with his above average scoring at the rim and on free throws, he still scored 2.72 less points per 40 than expected.

Another piece of bad news for the Suns is that his terrible scoring efficiency numbers in the preseason don’t seem that out of character for him. In only one of his last four seasons has he posted a positive overall Point Differential. He shoots a lot 3PTs, and generally scores at an above expected rate but not by a large margin. Over the last four seasons he has never posted a positive point differential on 16-23ft. jumpers.

Chances are his scoring efficiency will even out over the course of the season. His Point Differential on 3PTs will likely be close to zero or a slight positive. However, his Point Differential on shots close to the basket will likely drop and also end up being closer to zero. The fact remains that it is difficult to imagine him providing efficient scoring overall.

It seems the Suns looked at his skill set, and thought they could reduce some parts (ball handling, shot creation) while their system would increase his efficiency in others (shooting, scoring). Thus far Turkoglu has shown nothing to indicate his ability to be successful in a complimentary role centered primarily around knocking down outside shots. The good news for the Suns is that they have plenty of roster flexibility, and several other players who can step in and fill those minutes effectively. The bad news is that Turkoglu is under contract for another four seasons, at a rough total of 45 million. It behooves both sides to continue to try to make the best of this situation, but come February the Suns might need to be looking for a trade partner to take on Turkoglu.

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Austin Daye, Pistons’ Starting Power Forward?

Last week I posted an Expected Scoring profile for the Pistons’ Austin Daye. I don’t follow the Pistons closely, but watched Daye quite a bit at Gonzaga and did a fair amount of digging into his strengths and weaknesses for the Expected Scoring profile. That’s why I was so surprised to read this morning that Daye may have won the starting power forward job for the Pistons. This is not surprising because of his potential, which is considerable, but because it doesn’t seem to be the position which would best play to his strengths.

Daye has great versatility as a scorer, capable of knocking down shots inside and out. He is long, reasonably athletic and a good rebounder for a small forward. However, his lack of strength leaves visions of consistent abuse he might take on the glass and on defense in a role primarily at power forward. I know the Pistons experimented with him at both forwards spots as well as at shooting guard last season, so I decided to look at the numbers by position and get a handle on this idea.

Daye played 912 minutes last season with Detroit. I dove into the 5-man unit data from Basketball Value and found that only 34.35 of those minutes, or roughly 3.7% of his total minutes played, came at the power forward position. 273.2 of his minutes, or 30%, were spent at shooting guard. So clearly Daye didn’t have a lot of experience at power forward last season, but maybe the results were promising. I looked a little closer at the 5-man unit data from BV and put together some graphs showing the Pistons’ Offensive and Defensive Ratings as well as their Offensive and Defensive Rebound Rates, broken down by what position Daye was playing. If you prefer the spreadsheet, the link is here.

The only scenario where the Pistons were above average defensively was with Daye at shooting guard. With Daye at small forward the team was slightly above average offensively, scoring 106.2 Points per 100 Possessions. However, the team struggled mightily on defensive allowing 116.7 Points per 100 Possessions. With Daye at power forward the team posted a very strong 115.9 Offensive Rating, and an absolutely atrocious 122.2 Defensive Rating. Keep in mind that we are only talking about 34 minutes here, so a very small sample size.

In terms of offensive rebounding the Pistons were terrific with Daye on the floor at any position. Their Offensive Rebound Rates were above 40% with him at shooting guard or at power forward. As good as they were on the offensive glass, they were just as bad on the defensive glass, with Defensive Rebound Rates hovering around 65%. These rebounding numbers would seem to be heavily influenced by Daye’s physical attributes. Tom Haberstroh at Hardwood Paroxysm did some analysis this summer looking at the correlation between height and rebound percentages. Height has a much higher correlation with offensive rebounding, as it appears to be a more random proposition. Defensive Rebounding, which is more dependent on strength and positioning, is not as affected by height.

The second place I looked for information was 82games.com counterpart stats for Austin Daye. 82games tracks a few of a player’s individual stats by position and then compares them to the stats put up by the opponent playing opposite them at the same position. The table below shows the counterpart stats for Austin Daye last season (all stats are per 48 minutes):

There are lots of strange comparisons in this table, likely due to the small sample size in his minutes at shooting guard and small forward. The key number to me seems to be that the smallest differential in PER (Player Efficiency Rating) between Daye and his counterpart came when Daye was playing small forward.

The last thing I wanted to look at was Daye’s statistics compared to an average small forward and an average power forward (all stats are per 48 minutes):

*Points-per-shot = [PTS-FTM]/FGA
*Adjusted Field Goal Percentage = PPS/2
*Net Possessions = Rebounds + Steals – Turnovers

For each comparison, categories highlighted in green are ones where Daye was better than the average player at that position. Comparisons in red are categories where Daye was worse than the average player at that position. Regardless of position, Daye will likely be above average with respect to scoring efficiency, turnovers and blocked shots. In addition, his field goal attempts and points scored will likely catch up with an average player as he assumes a larger role in the team’s offense this season; again regardless of position. The most important areas for me are rebounding and net possessions. Daye is a very strong rebounder at the small forward position, but his numbers are way below average when compared to other power forwards.

Now it’s entirely possible that Daye’s designation as starting power forward is mostly about the title. There should be plenty of opportunities for him to slide to small forward with Tayshaun Prince off the floor. Having him start will give the Pistons an opportunity to keep him on the floor as much as possible and benefit from his terrific scoring efficiency. However, when he is on the floor at the power forward position the team will be at a rebounding and defensive disadvantage. Looking over the rest of the Pistons roster it may be that this is preferrable to some of the other options at that position. (This scenario likely wouldn’t have occurred without the injury to Jonas Jerebko). Or perhaps the coaching staff has thoughtfully decided that the benefit of his scoring efficiency will balance out the disadvantages at the other end of the floor. Or maybe they have seen something in practice or preseason that makes them think Daye has progressed physically or in his skill set enough to have a different experience at power forward this season.  

Daye is a promising young player with terrific potential. One has to hope that being pressed into duty at a position that doesn’t provide the best opportunities for him to be successful, will push him to develop as a player and not stunt his growth. I don’t normally root for the Pistons, but for Daye’s sake I’m certainly rooting for this experiment to be successful.

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Filed under Detroit Pistons, NBA, Statistical Analysis

Wages of Wins NBA Stats Smackdown 2011

Having done some work with David Berri’s Wins Produced system here, I was excited to be invited to join the first Wages of Wins NBA Stats Smackdown. The contest is obviously inspired by the annual Truehoop Stat Geek Smackdown. While the Truehoop participants use a variety of statistical systems to make their predictions, this contest will focus on Wins Produced. The Smackdown will feature three separate contests, with the rules listed below:

Contest 1: Team Records

  1. For Team records submit the playoff seeding chart for the Eastern and Western Conference.
  2. You will receive two points for each team correctly placed and one point if within one seed.
  3. You will recieve four Points for picking a record exactly.
  4. You will receive two Points for each team with the record picked within +/- two wins.
  5. You will receive one Point with the record picked within +/- four wins.

Contest 2: Media Player Awards

  1. This year the awards we’ll look at are MVP, Rookie of the Year, Most Improved Player and Sixth Man of the Year
  2. You will receive three points for picking the correct pick in any category.
  3. You will receive two points for picking the second pick in any category
  4. You will receive one points for picking the third pick in any category.

Contest 3: Wins Produced Player Awards

  1. This year the awards we’ll look at are MVP, Rookie of the Year, Most Improved Player and Sixth Man of the Year
  2. This will use the Wins Produced metric to evaluate each player.
  3. Winner in each category will be total Wins Produced (not Wins Produced per 48 minutes)
  4. For Sixth Man of the Year the criteria will be starting fewer than 60% of their games.
  5. For Most Improved the criteria will be most improvement while playing within 750 minutes of the season before.
  6. You will receive three points for picking the correct pick in any category.
  7. You will receive two points for picking the second pick in any category
  8. You will receive one points for picking the third pick in any category

Andres Alvarez, of Nerdnumbers.com, will be tracking the results and keeping them updated for public viewing at:

http://www.nerdnumbers.com/statsmackdown/

Without further ado, here are my picks:

Team Records

Media Awards

Most Valuable Player

  1. Kevin Durant
  2. Dwayne Wade
  3. Dwight Howard

Rookie of the Year

  1. John Wall
  2. Blake Griffin
  3. Evan Turner

Most Improved Player

  1. Roy Hibbert
  2. Josh McRoberts
  3. Darren Collison

6th Man of the Year

  1. Antawn Jamison
  2. Manu Ginobili
  3. Omri Casspi

Wins Produced Player Awards

Most Valuable Player

  1. LeBron James
  2. Dwight Howard
  3. Chris Paul

Rookie of the Year

  1. DeMarcus Cousins
  2. Tiago Splitter
  3. Blake Griffin

Most Improved Player

  1. James Harden
  2. Trevor Ariza
  3. Mike Miller

6th Man of the Year

  1. Manu Ginobili
  2. Mike Miller
  3. Antawn Jamison

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Filed under NBA, Random, Statistical Analysis