Monday, April 7, 2014

The arbitrary award Part II

... aaaaaaaaaaaand we are back! If you for some reason missed out on part one, it's here (that's also the part where I have the better jokes).
To summarize, yesterday brought us several tiers of iMIP (imho MIP) candidates based on Player Efficiency Rating (PER) data. The tiers are:
'Very good third year growth curve' (Alec Burks, Brandon Knight, Marcus Morris), 'Extremely good third year growth curve' (Markieff Morris), 'Pops principles' (Patty Mills, Marco Belinelli), 'Starters becoming All-Stars' (DeMar DeRozan, Goran Dragic, Isiah Thomas, Paul George), 'All-Stars becoming Superstars' (Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins - and yes, I am aware that Cousins isn't an All-Star on paper...) and 'the reason why PER is not perfect' (Brandan Wright, who shows that your PER goes through the roof when you live one foot away from the basket).
Somehow I forgot to mention 'the guy that came from the D-League' James Johnson, who has one of the best highlights of the year.
I will now underline some of the stats that are related to PER to show you how these players improved.
You can click on the images to get larger ones. I sometimes move the names a tiny bit for readability.
For each pair of images, you will find in the left panel the 2013 statistics and how they changed in 2014. in the right panel, you will see how this data in general correlates to PER. It will start with those stats with a high correlation (or in case of turnovers a high negative correlation) with PER and then we will move our way down. Sounds complicated? You'll see it's not.

True Shooting Percentage (TSP): For those of you that don't know: A 3-point shot gives you more points than a 2-point shot. And making a free-throw is also better than missing it. TSG boils this all together. As you can see, all our iMIP candidates kept their TSG at least at the same level and some of them increased it even drastically. Brandan Wright for example now leads the league with a TSG of 70.3%. Taking only shots that are directly at the basket probably helps (just ask Tyson Chandler). Another thing you will probably notice is that the left planel has a negative correlation. The reason carries the mythical 4 words 'Regression to the mean'. Players that shot by chance better or worse than expected last year are now regressing back to their average. The next stat is...

...Usage Rate (USG): how much is a player involved into offensive play. You can see that almost all iMIP candidates have basically an increased usage rate. Interestingly, USG and TSP are completely uncorrelated. But most of the title candidates have players with both high USG and high TSP. If you have two players with high USG and low TSP - you are basically the Detroit Pistons. But to summarize, if you want to be considered as an iMIP, you should either increase your usage rate without losing your scoring ability or increase your scoring ability without becoming useless. Sounds easy, but just ask 2009 Trevor Ariza.

Assist Percentage: An estimate of the percentage of field goals a player assisted while he was on the floor. Decrease for Goran Dragic (who already had a high assist percentage), but most other guards increased their percentage. On the right panel, you can see that the correlation between Assist percentage and PER is already lower.

Turnover percentage: Careful, now lower is better in the left panel. Once again, you can see especially guards that learned to take care of the ball. Also, you can see the reason why Kendall Marshall is probably not an NBA Starter (at least not yet). And at a last stat...

... Total Rebound Percentage. Not the typical stat to improve if you want to be considered as iMIP. But it's interesting to see that both Spurs increased their percentage in 2014.

I have to admit that I can still not decide whom I would pick as iMIP (that's what happens when you stare to long at your screen...). But I hope I could give a little overview of what statistical changes happened to players between this and last year.
Feel free to let me know if you agree or disagree (I'll probably start to pay some people to fill the comment section)

Have a nice day everybody! I'm looking forward to the Playoffs,

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