Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Scorers

One simple measure of a player's offensive ability is point total.  Mark Lyons leads the Cats with 234 points.  Solomon Hill is second with 218.  Point totals, however, do not take into account that some players play more minutes or take more shots than others.  Better measures of scoring proficiency factor in those variables.

I want to start by looking at points scored per minute played for the Cats. It turns out, at least for the top five, that point totals and points per minute produce the same rankings.  Mark Lyons comes in first at 0.5 points per minute, or about one point for every two minutes of playing time.  Numbers two through five are Solomon Hill, Nick Johnson, Kevin Parrom, and Brandon Ashley.  I should note that I have excluded players who have played less than 100 minutes (Chol has 124; York has 50).   Viewed this way, it's pretty clear why the rotation has shaken out the way it has:

Of course, some guys take more shots than others.  In terms of raw attempts, Mark Lyons leads the way with 168 attempts, and Solomon Hill is second with 144.  In fact, the top five in field goal attempts, with one exception, are the same five as in points per minute.    The only difference is that Grant Jerrett ranks no. 5, while Ashley drops to no. 7.  Mark Lyons is easily the most trigger happy guy on the team, followed by Johnson, Hill, Parrom, and Jerrett as shown below.

At this point, for the most part it looks like those players who shoot a lot score a lot, and that is certainly the case.  Another way to look at this problem, though, is to ask who makes the most of each shot they take?  For each player, how many points are scored per field goal attempted?  Seen this way, things are shaken up a bit:

Brandon Ashely is by far the most efficient shooter on the team, scoring 1.68 points for every shot taken.  Solomon Hill is second at 1.51, and Kevin Parrom ranks third at 1.43.  The remainder of the top five are Lyons and Johnson, in that order.

It's important to note that Brandon Ashley is leading the team in this category and doing so as a freshman.  He is very efficient on the offensive end.  And from the prior graph, keep in mind that he ranks seventh in field goal attempts per minute.  In other words, he does not shoot often, but when does good things happen.  Does this mean that Ashely should shoot the ball more?  Perhaps.  I think it depends on whether these points are scored more often because he is  creating his own shots or benefiting from assists.  Whatever the answer is, I think the Cats would benefit from getting him more attempts.

Tomorrow, I will look at the same trends for the entire Pac-12.  One thing to look forward to from that post is that not only is Brandon Ashely an incredibly efficient score for the Arizona Wildcats, but he currently ranks second in that category compared to every player in the league.

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