"My rule was I wouldn't recruit a kid if he had grass in front of his house.
That's not my world. My world was a cracked sidewalk." —Al McGuire

Monday, December 10, 2007

Individual Performances against Wisconsin

Before even getting into this post, I think that it's important to consider the impact of sample sizes on calculating numbers. This will show up when we review through the information. It is because of the sample size that it becomes somewhat dangerous to post game stats of players. This type of information is best presented when a full range of games are included. However, I still like to individual game recaps because they provides a nice snapshot of how each player performed for the game.

We're going to split the individual stats into two basic groups. The first group is how good a player is on the offensive end and the role that player consumes in the offense.

Offensive Action

  • Possessions - A possession is basically any situation where the action ends on that end of the floor. The equation is: FGA-OR+TO+0.475xFTA. (This will be important to note below)
  • Offensive Efficiency - This is not the Dean Oliver statistic. It's a view of Total Points per 100 Possessions. That book is on backorder and has not arrived yet. Regardless, I consider 100 as an average view of Offensive Efficiency.
  • Points Per Weighted Shot - This is (Total Points) / (FGA + (0.475 * FTA)). A PPWS of 1.00 is average and 1.300 is doing quite well.
  • Usage - The total number of possessions that this player consumes during the game. It may sound obvious, but a team wants a highly efficient or high PPWS player to have a high usage.

Remember about 30 seconds ago when I said that sample size was kind of dangerous? That is Dwight Burke in a nutshell. So if 100 is about average, and the team is somewhere around 110-112 per game, how on earth does Dwight Burke end up with an Offensive Efficiency of Eight Hundred and Seventy Two? Well, it comes down to possessions. Each Offensive Rebound cancels out a possession (since the player continues the action on the floor). Dwight had seven offensive rebounds. That's right, and it's pretty darn good, but his numbers are a statistical outlier. His PPWS figure is a much better indication.

I also struggled a lot with the numbers for Dominic James. I watched the game, and it was clear that he was outstanding against UW. However, his numbers are kind of pedestrian. He's about average for PPWS and below average for Offensive Efficiency, and this is all while consuming almost 30% of total Marquette possessions.

I think this gets to the heart of one of the fundamental questions regarding statistics and sport. Do the statistics provide a better indication of true value, or do other intangibles factor in that discount the stats? I don't pretend to have the answer or an opinion, but I will certainly take a different look at James' play the next time I watch the UW game.

Finally, there are plenty of good seats aboard the Lazar Hayward bandwagon. This guy is a stud. Every week we can pretty much lock him in for Offensive Efficiency of 130+, PPWS of 1.28, and 11-13% usage. It is going to be a lot of fun watching him grow his role in the MU offense for the next 2.5 years.

All-Around Contribution
The second group to look at is all-around contribution. For this, I've presently settled on the following stats. I mean, have you seen the equations for Hollinger's PER Rating (scroll down)?
  • Efficiency - This is the NBA Efficiency Rating, and it is meant to track all-around contributions for a player.
    • The formula is (Points + Rebounds + Assists + Steals + Blocks) - ((Field Goals Att. - Field Goals Made) + (Free Throws Att. - Free Throws Made) + Turnovers)
  • Efficiency Per Minute - This takes the NBA Efficiency Rating and divides it by the number of minutes per player. This is, quite frankly, a statistic that I made up. However, I like it because it takes an all-around view of a player (NBA efficiency) and tracks it on a per-minute basis.

Once again, Burke = stud. I mean, the guy got 11 points and 9 rebounds (7 offensive) in 17 minutes of play. So is this a statistical outlier or a view of things to come?

The James numbers appear to be more in-line with expectations. Here he is, well above the averages on a per-minute basis (and this is for 34 minutes). Perhaps this is where his real value is measured.

Notice again that Hayward is above average. Looks like the bandwagon just got a little bit more crowded.

McNeal, Matthews, and Cubillan were somewhat disappointing. McNeal and Cubillan have been outstanding so far this season. Unfortunately, no one is quite sure what is going on with Wesley Matthews. As we'll cover sometime later this month, Matthews has actually been a more efficient contributor than McNeal and James over the last two seasons. Let's also not forget the significant three by Cubillan and the huge OR and FT's by Matthews.

Just for grins, I pulled a similar comparison for Butch and Trevon Hughes. Butch actually had a pretty good game, but Hughes may have single-handedly cost UW the game. yeesh, that's terrible....


Anonymous said...

Now THAT is some detailed analysis. You gotta love McNeal, but it seems he becomes somewhat disruptive offensively if he's not getting his share. This occurred a couple times late in the Wisconsin game when he put up some rather questionable attempts. Matthews is just not hitting his shots. Of the three, he is the one who rarely take a bad shot -- and that is true again this year. However, he's in a shooting slump. He'll be fine.

Anonymous said...

Me thinks the Marquette AD will be calling you for a newly created position!

Thanks Suga!

Anonymous said...

I have actually been to more UW games than MU games this year...hey, I live in Madison. Trevon Hughes has looked real good this year so far, but Dominic James really made him look pedestrian. I think the turning point in the game was when the crowd got on James after the double technical. You could see it on the floor - the entire team moved a little quicker. This is the difference between an experienced team and a younger one.

Anonymous said...

This is a really cool addition to the website. It's nice to have an objective view of the players and their game performance. Stilll the statistics do show that there are important intangibles beyond pure numbers (ie. it's interesting that Butch's stats were better than DJ's even though no one would argue James had a greater impact on the game).

Keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

No offense to Mr. Suger, but this type of statistical over-analysis is precisely what is wrong with the sports world today. In my opinion, it is one of the things which leads unskilled high school kids to believe they can go right to the NBA and why the NFL Pre-Draft Combine promotes the likes of Mike Mammula (excuse the spelling) being drafted in the top of the first round. I would imagine that Al McGuire is spinning in his grave.

Anonymous said...

Great work, Sugar. The mental gymnastics is very much in order in comparison to many of the posts that we see on the other MU boards.

Keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

I think your analysis would be a big eye opener to 'unskilled high school kids' who think they can jump to the NBA. I imagine 'unskilled' players could not have very high scores even if they consistantly lead the team in various categories because there lack of all around skills would show up in your scoring.

Using your system for two teams in a game does not necessarily show the winner, correct? Its best use is to compare relative performance?