Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Raptors run-down (Part 1 of 3)

In honour of a basketball/raptorball convo from the post-golf league bar, I thought I would take last night's game vs. Charlotte to attempt to disprove the notion of looking at the standard PTS/FGA measure of performance for evaluating single-game production.
The raptors beat the mighty bobcats last night, and a quick glance at the box shows Bargs led with 30 followed by Derozen with 20. The typical reader (and most of my favourite "experts") would quickly say that those two must have led the winning team since they account for 54% of the total points scored. You would be right to look at their shot attempts and say that they both shot fairly well (50% fg, 100% from the line, and bargs was 33% from 3) but to measure production you would have to look a little closer.

If it was a race to see who hits the most shots in 48 minutes, then you would look at points scored. If it was a shooting contest you would look at shooting percentage. Luckily for these two, most people think of the game this way, that points scored should equal wins. But since you are a long time follower of all sports, you would know that any game includes much more than accounting for whatever measure of scoring is included in that game (points, goals, runs, etc).

The stat that should immediately jump out is the minutes played. DD led with 38, followed by AB with 34. That is a lot of minutes. After this you might look at the rebounding numbers. Three for AB, 4 for DD, none of which were offensive, which means no possessions created. If you make the basic assumption that each of these guys should grab rebounds at a proportional rate to their minutes played then basic math would estimate that they would account for 3 offensive boards (of the team 10) and 8.5 d-boards (of the team 28). This doesn't even factor in that TO got outrebounded by the worst rebounding team in the league. You have to make the assumption that the largest amount of the differential falls back on the guys who played the most - DD and AB. But anyways, their lack of offensive boards means they are not gaining possessions through rebounding, and their deficient defensive rebounding means that the other team is. Even if you assumed that the other three Raptors were stealing all the available boards, you would still have to consider that CHA had 8 more rebounds than TO.

To quickly summarize the non-points aspect of the game I'll compare Ed Davis to those two, since he did not score much, but did some other things well in more limited minutes (this happens a lot with Ed)

ED - 7 rebounds (2 off, 5 def) in 21 minutes. DD+AB 7 reb in 72 mins
ED - 2 assists in 21 mins, DD+AB 3 asst in 72 minutes
ED - 1 foul in 21 mins, DD+AB 8 fouls in 72 mins
ED - 1 block and 1 TO in 21 mins (aka he gained one possession, and lost one possession)
AB+DD - 0 blocks and 4 turnovers in 72 mins (they create 0 possessions, but managed to lose 4)

The clearer picture of AB and DD (both last night, and typically most nights) is that they both shoot a lot, because they are both playing a lot. They don't cerate for their teammates, since they get minimal assists. They do not/can not play defence since neither rebounds and both commit too many fouls. What I see on the game film in my head is the ball stopping nearly every time one of those guys touches it, compounded by no contribution to team defence. It is probably acceptable shooting nights like these the "validates" the rest of the below average shooting nights that they have with the justification that "I know AB/DD is capable of efficient shooting, remember the game vs. Charlotte?" This is clearly faulty logic evidenced by both TO's record and each of AB and DD's stats compared to league averages at their positions. Someone once told me not to overvalue short term performance; everything comes back down to your average eventually.

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