Thursday, June 6, 2013

Per Minute Performance: All D v Not All D (1989-90 to 2011-12)

While previously addressed factors, like age, make sense when considering the qualities of superior defensive players--as measured by being voted to an All Defensive team (ADT)--it is also important to look at conventional performance measures (i.e., points, rebounds, etc) to understand other potential correlations. Below is a heat map of a range of performance measures (listed in the bottom columns) standardized per minute of play* for ADT players and non-ADT players grouped by type of position (i.e., PG, wing, post) from every season between 1989-90 to 2011-12.

A heat map is basically a matrix that illustrates, in this case, how well the ADT/ non-ADT position groups performed in a specific standardized category. As the legend in the top right illustrates, superior performance is indicated by red, and from there more moderate performance is indicated by orange-red then orange then yellow . . . down to white, which indicates inferior performance. (In other words, more red = good; less red/ more white = bad.)

Not surprising, Post ADT were the highest in rebounding categories, FGM, FGA, FTM, and FTA. While it may come as a surprise that they ranked so high in FTM as post players are typically not considered successful FT shooters (in terms of %), it likely reflects that playing the post results in them getting fouled more and, thus, getting more FTA than other positions. This is supported by the fact that this group has a relatively low FT% (indicated by "FT_Per"). Post non-ADT performed the best at fouling and were abysmal at FT%, both of which are expected considering the position.

PG and Wing non-ADT (middle two groups) were mediocre to poor across categories except that the PG group was among the highest in TOs and the two groups performed just marginally worse than their respective ADTs in 3FG, 3FGA and 3FG% (all indicated by "ThP" in the place of "3FG"). PG ADT (the second to bottom group) ranked exceptionally high in steals, assists and TOs--again, which all makes sense considering the position is inclined to accrue those stats relative to other positions--and Wing ADTs led in FGM, FGA, points and FTM. 

So what does all this mean? Basically, that over the last 23 seasons, ADT nominees also dominate those offensive categories associated with their position, which suggests that ADT players tend to be well-rounded players (i.e., effective defensively and offensively). Conversely, it could present problems for using nomination to an ADT as an indicator of superior defensive ability if the coaches that vote these players to the ADTs confuse or belie offensive aptitude for defensive skill.

* Statistics are standardized per minute to account for the fact that players that play more minutes accrue more stats so playing time tends to positively affect most measures. (Of course, there are measures that a player does not want to accrue, like TOs, that would also be higher with greater playing time.) Failure to account for performance per minute would likely benefit averages of players in the ADT groups on account of the fact that they are all starters and, thus, average more time than non-ADT players, which is a compilation of starters and (many) non-starters/ low MPG players.

No comments:

Post a Comment