"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

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Marquette and Priorities - Part Five

This is a Five Part series looking more in-depth at Marquette and the Priorities on the court.

  • Part One - What does it take to make the Final Four?
  • Part Two - Which of the Four Factors is more important than the other three combined? (spoiler: it's eFG%)
  • Part Three - Marquette is not good enough on eFG% to have a top 20 offense/defense
  • Part Four - What goes into eFG% for Top 20 teams?
  • Part Five - Are Paint Touches the root cause?
In Part One of this series, we presented the idea that a team needs roughly a top 20 offense and a top 20 defense to make the Final Four. In Part Two, we shared that eFG% is 63% of the total contribution to efficiency. In Part Three - we showed how #mubb has not been good enough at eFG% and argued that this was due to prioritization of the program. In Part Four, we looked at the components of eFG%, what a top 20 eFG% team looked like, and then compared MU to that profile.

If you've hung in this long, thanks. But even if this is the first time reading any of the series, this is the key one to read.

Part Five - Are Paint Touches the root cause of Marquette's problems?

Originally, I joked about calling this, "Paint Touches Are Bullshit", but that's maybe a bit harsh.

Thanks to the nice guys at Paint Touches (the blog), I ran some numbers looking at Paint Touches (the stat)
  • Key finding #1 - there's no relationship between Paint Touches and efficiency when you include the other factors
  • Key finding #2 (and this is maybe the most important point) - there's no relationship between Paint Touches and eFG%. None.
  • Key finding #3 - There is a relationship between Paint Touches and TO% and OR%. There's also no relationship between FTR and PT
In other words, if Marquette has been concentrating on Paint Touches, they have been inadvertently neglecting the most important part of efficiency. Now, are Paint Touches bad? NO! More Paint Touches improve TO% and OR%, and therefore help drive success. But Paint Touches have nothing to do with the most important part of efficiency.

One important caveat - I only have the total game data for Paint Touches. It is entirely possible that Paint Touches are more important on a per-possession level. But I don't have that data.

Go and read the Paint Touches story on the origin of, well, Paint Touches. Paint Touches are simple, easy to communicate, encourage team play, and somewhat improve how the team performs. They seem to be related to success... but they aren't really.

Every time you hear an announcer say "Paint Touches", think "that has nothing to do with the most important part of efficiency". Or you can just think, "Paint Touches are bullshit".

Summary (and a final note)

Through this series, we've looked at what it takes to get to the next level, how eFG% is the most important part of efficiency, and how Marquette consistently is not good enough at eFG% to get to that next level. What if Paint Touches are exactly the thing that have been helping MU as well as holding Marquette back?

As a final note, despite the lengthy nature of these posts, I really do think Buzz is an amazing coach. This analysis should be considered more constructive that critical. Honestly, I just believe that he's unaware. If there's any luck, this analysis will get to him and I'd be happy to be challenged on it.

No comments: