Tuesday, February 15, 2011

2011 mid-season team notes on player efficiencies

My analysis, cross-posted, of the individual player rating stats I crunched for the first-half of the conference season, and what it might mean for each Big Ten team. The rating system and its explanation can be found here. Without further ado, here's my school-by-school notes.

Jaw-droppingly good! McCamey's been pretty good still, but not the senior superstar most expected. Mike Davis is playing as well as he ever has, but the real surprise is despite Bill Cole's solid performance, Jereme Richmond is just flat-out demanding more minutes with his very good numbers. Richmond is the future of the Illini, and it'll be interesting to see how next year's stellar class fits in with him.
I'm concerned... DJ Richardson continues hit open jumpers and not do much else, and Brandon Paul shoots a lot without much efficiency. However, the regression of Tyler Griffey and Meyers Leonard in conference play has to concern Bruce Weber. If Davis or Mike Tisdale aren't playing aggressively, who does he go to?
I can haz more PT? Joseph Bertrand has posted good efficiency numbers is his very limited minutes, and probably deserves some more time. However, he'd have to take minutes away from Cole or Richmond for that to happen this season. Otherwise, I think the perception of this being a disappointing season for the Illini is a little overstated by their fans. The Big Ten is a great conference this year, and it's hard to win a lot of games with seniors who never really displayed dominance as a team.


Jaw-droppingly good! Uhhhhh, maybe "jaw-droppingly average?" Verdell Jones maintaining his effective performance despite injuries bears mention, as does Jordan Hulls' giant jump in efficiency despite increased usage. Christian Watford's average performance as a featured part of the offense has been pleasant for IU fans, as has his relatively quick return from injury. Jeremiah Rivers would be really good if only he could keep the turnovers under control.
I'm concerned... Maurice Creek was, unfortunately, the disappointment of the season, as he would've been valuable if he'd been 80% the player he was as a freshman. Creek was pretty obviously less than 50% before his injury. Bobby Capobianco & Derek Elston's regression has also been disappointing, but maybe that's just how Crean develops big men. After all….
I can haz more PT? Tom Pritchard has bounced back nicely from a disappointing sophomore season, and is really the guy IU needs to play heavy minutes if they are to continue to surprise quality opponents (and the Big Ten has nothing quality opponents). Victor Oladipo does need to play more, as he's the best per-possession player for the Hoosiers, but I do like having Will Sheehey start – he seems to have quick hands and an aggressive attitude from the opening tip that's catching. And if he picks up a foul or two early, it's not crippling for the team. Matt Roth also is playing decently in-conference.

Jaw-droppingly good! Melsahn Basabe is the surprise of the conference, but Bryce Cartwright should be mentioned, too. The fact that Fran McCaffrey was able to bring in two Big Ten-level starters over the summer should serve notice to the rest of the league- don't sleep on Iowa!
I'm concerned... Matt Gatens and Eric May have not been the improved players I expected them to be, and Zach McCabe and Devyn Marble haven't been all that great, either. Still, Marble at least looks to be a future starter for the Hawkeyes, and May is recovering from injuries.
I can haz more PT? Jarryd Cole and Basabe shouldn't lose any minutes, but Devon Archie and Andrew Brommer have been nice surprises off the bench. Outside of Marble, I don't see any need for increased PT for any one player, but it's been surprising how fast McCaffrey has made this a dangerous team with an entirely different playing style.

Jaw-droppingly good! Darius Morris' improvement has been jaw-dropping indeed. He has the look of a future NBA point guard, and no Big Ten team relies so heavily on one player to create offense. Maybe others have been surprised, but I think Novak's improved performance this year was to be expected. After all, he's finally playing in position, & is no longer forced to match up against guys like Blake Griffin!
I'm concerned... Stu Douglass, Jordan Morgan, and Tim Hardaway weren't looking all that great efficiency-wise, but post-number-crunching they each have had breakout games, so who knows. Evan Smotrycz is currently to be the least efficient player in the rotation. Blake McLimans hasn't seen much time, but registering zeroes is never a good sign.
I can haz more PT? Jon Horford should see a few more minutes, in my estimation, as Jordan Morgan was the worst starting center in the conference. However, Morgan's got the size and runs a mean pick-and-roll with Morris, but keep an eye on Horford this season and next. Otherwise, the fact Michigan is even discussing a possible NCAA berth this late in the season should redeem Beilien for last year.

Michigan State

Jaw-droppingly good! Still Draymond Green. Simply the best per-possession and per-game player in the conference, and a very, very large part of all of MSU's close wins. Kalin Lucas appears to be playing at the best of his career, and Delvon Roe is second only to Sullinger and JaJuan Johnson in the middle.
I'm concerned... Three top-ten players, and this is still a mediocre team in the conference. Durrell Summers seems to be the most hurt from Korie Lucious' dismissal, as Lucas' assists seem to go mostly to the bigs, while Lucious found Summers and Appling for open shots. That said, Summers (and Appling) needs to step it up in a serious way if MSU is to have any life in the post-season.
I can haz more PT? Granted, my system favors reserve big men, but Derrick Nix and Adriean Payne seem to be the best of that bunch. Unfortunately, Green and Roe seem to do best at the 4 and 5-spots, and not the 3 and 4. If Nix can integrate himself into the line-up and get major minutes while not decreasing Roe and Green's effectiveness, MSU may be able to rally. Chris Allen's dismissal and Russell Byrd's injury are also really being felt right now by Sparty fans.

Jaw-droppingly good! For a guy who I never expected to play, Trevor Mbakwe has been truly jaw-droppingly good. Right now, he's playing at the three-spot and still dominating. It bears mentioning that point guards Al Nolen and Devoe Joseph were playing quite efficiently before the injury and apparent losing-of-the-marbles, respectively.
I'm concerned... Blake Hoffarber is the worst point guard in the conference, but it's obviously not his fault. Really, the lack of depth at this position is a real concern, as the departed transfer Justin Cobbs wasn't great last season, but he was a lot better than the out-of-his-depth Maverick Ahanmisi.
I can haz more PT? Al Nolen needs to get healthy. Rodney Williams and Blake Hoffarber's efficiencies are suffering as they play out of position. Chip Armelin strikes me as the guy who really needs to start getting more minutes, even though he can't shoot from distance, he really just makes things happen.


Jaw-droppingly good! Juice Thompson has been quite the leader this year despite shouldering insane minutes, and guards Alex Marcotullio and JerShon Cobb have been pleasant surprises as well.
I'm concerned... Drew Crawford has really faded in conference play, posting per-possession numbers equivalent to the other worst rotation player, Davide Curletti. Shurna has also taken a step back, but it's hard to call his performance disappointing as he struggles through injuries and remains productive.
I can haz more PT? I've long been a Mike Capocci advocate, and so to see him play a crucial part in almost upsetting Ohio State was satisfying. However, I can't figure out why Bill Carmody doesn't give his starting forwards more rest as they invariably seem to break down with the heavy minutes foisted upon them. You can ask Juice Thompson or Craig Moore to play 95% of your possessions, but Shurna and Coble take a lot of abuse in the post, and when valuable per-possession players like Peljusic and Capocci are just riding the pine, I can't figure out why he doesn't spare his key players some punishment. Furthermore, it has become apparent that Carmody ended NU's NCAA hopes when he chased away Kevin Coble, instead of being patient with a talented young man who never had basketball as his life's priority. I realize Northwestern has never had it so good, but they are no threat to ever make the NCAA's as currently led by Carmody. If perpetual NIT snubs are good enough for the NU administration, so be it.

Ohio State
Jaw-droppingly good! Um, Jared Sullinger. Amazing. However, I should note David Lighty –the one-time afterthought in another amazing recruiting class- has become a really solid multi-position player. Also, Aaron Craft has been shockingly good for a freshman point, but it's easy to rack up assists when there's this much talent surrounding you. We'll see next season if he's more like Bobby Hurley or Greg Paulus.
I'm concerned... Thad Matta plays Lighty, Diebler, Buford, Craft, and Sullinger heavy minutes, and Lauderdale and Thomas only in rotation. This may get him into trouble in the postseason if the Buckeyes run into foul trouble or injuries, as only Jordan Sibert gets any minutes on the perimeter.
I can haz more PT? DeShaun Thomas is the one guy on the team who really looks like he deserves more minutes than he gets. You could make an argument for Sibert or Smith to get more minutes, but until OSU looks vulnerable (and even post-Wisconsin, they really don't), why would you argue with Matta?

Penn State
Jaw-droppingly good! Jeff Brooks. Efficient, productive, and when he was out for a home game with Michigan, Penn State missed him big-time. Jackson and Battle have both been good, and Andrew Jones finally returned to form, somewhat. Tim Frazier looks to be the star of next year's team.
I'm concerned... Zero depth here, as the bench is terrible. Billy Oliver, Cameron Woodyard, and Jemaine Marshall are putting up walk-on numbers. Oliver, for example, is about half as efficient the 10th player on last year's squad – (the redshirted) Sasa Borovnjak.
I can haz more PT? Um, Taran Buie may not have been great in the pre-season, but he was another player at least. If he could convince DeChellis that he'd shaped up and return, it would help this team out a lot. As it stands now, he may not ever come back.

Jaw-droppingly good! For all of the wailing that Boiled Sports and Hammer and Rails has done about E'Twuann Moore, he's the clearly the best off-guard in the best conference in the country – performing at a much higher rate than Talor Battle. I think they expect him to be some fantasized version of Michael Jordan or something, but honestly – what more can he do? JaJuan Johnson might be the best center in the league at the end of the season, but he's currently taking a backseat to Sullinger, which, y'know, who isn't? Lewis Jackson has really stepped up his production, as has Ryne Smith. I know Boilers hate to hear this, but with a healthy Hummel, this likely would have been a championship squad.
I'm concerned... The lack of quality depth inside is less dire than I worried it might be, as Carroll and Bade are putting up average per-possession stats. However, they are doing this in less than half of the available minutes at the four-spot, meaning that Kelsey Barlow and DJ Byrd are filling in for the majority of those minutes.
I can haz more PT? Matt Painter's done a pretty great job, and I don't have anything really to comment on. Maybe Barlow could use a few more minutes and Smith could use a few less, and I'm curious to see how Carroll develops, but this is a good deep team.


Jaw-droppingly good! Jordan Taylor's growth is now on an Evan Turner-like scale, except that Turner was a least a legit starter from the time he stepped on campus. Jon Leuer's got relatively low efficiency for the impact he has on the game, and it's been a while since I've such a tough, yet skilled big man. He reminds me a lot of Alan Henderson. And Keaton Nankivil is really opening eyes with his surprising performances, right now- he's the best B10 power forward not named Green, Brooks, or Mbakwe.
I'm concerned... Ryan Evans and Rob Wilson are both good athletes, but are putting up truly terrible numbers. The regression is not such a big deal this season, but who's gonna start at forward alongside Bruesewitz next season?
I can haz more PT? Nothing obvious here, except I'd like to see Jared Berggren get some more possessions as he's the likely starter for UW next year, as far as I can tell. Bo Ryan is squeezing his top players for their production, and he is getting results.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

2011 Ratings- Conference Halfway Point

The full spreadsheet can be found here. The what and why is here.

Quick notes: The Big Ten is definitely better than in recent years. The efficiency ratings are up across the board, and this despite the loss of a *lot* of key players. I did include six players in my ratings that may not play again this season (Nolen, Joseph, Watford, Lucious, Creek, and Hart), but none of them are real outliers who would've affected the data. And quick btw- check out MSU's presence in the ratings- one wonders how they're playing so poorly, until you look at Korie Lucious' numbers and see that he was playing pretty well in the Big Ten game (11.7/.3017). It's little wonder that the Sparties have crashed with only the disappointing Summers and Appling (and walk-ons) to rely on otherwise on the wing.

The Highlights
Overall per-game mean: 10.7
Overall per-game median: 9.8
Overall per-possession mean: .3069
Overall per-possession median: .3017

Top 10 per-possession
1. Draymond Green, MSU (.6523)
2. Trevor Mbakwe, Minnesota (.5742)
3. Jordan Taylor, Wisconsin (.5415)
4. Jeff Brooks, Penn State (.5305)
5. Derrick Nix, MSU (.5283)
6. Jared Sullinger, OSU (.5171)
7. Delvon Roe, MSU (.5141)
8. Jereme Richmond, Illinois (.4963)
9. Darius Morris, Michigan (.4933)
10. Keaton Nankivil, Wisconsin (.4903)

Top 10 per-game
1. Draymond Green, MSU (33.0)
2. Jeff Brooks, Penn State (29.6)
3. Trevor Mbakwe, Minnesota (28.7)
4. Jared Sullinger, OSU (28.5)
5. Jordan Taylor, Wisconsin (28.3)
6. JaJuan Johnson, Purdue (27.5)
7. Etwuann Moore, Purdue (24.8)
8. Darius Morris, Michigan (24.6)
9. Kalin Lucas, MSU (23.1)
10. Delvon Roe, MSU (22.2)

Freshman 15 - First team
Jared Sullinger, OSU (28.5/.5171)
Jereme Richmond, Illinois (15.9/.4963)
Melsahn Basabe, Iowa (20.2/.4879)
Aaron Craft, OSU (17.6/.3643)
Victor Oladipo, Indiana (12.1/.3807)

Second team:
Adriean Payne, MSU (3.7/.4156)
Deshaun Thomas, OSU (6.2/.3138)
Chip Armelin, Minnesota (5.0/.3183)
Terone Johnson, Purdue (9.3/.3196)
Josh Gasser, Wisconsin (12.1/.3918)

Third team:
Travis Carroll, Purdue (4.7/.2834)
Jordan Morgan, Michigan (8.9/.2516)
Will Sheehey, Indiana (5.4/.2816)
Tim Hardaway, Jr., Michigan (12.1/.2689)
Jershon Cobb, Northwestern (12.9/.2842)

[HM: Jon Horford, Michigan (3.7/.2939)]