Saturday, October 20, 2007

Analysis: Possessions used

If you haven't had a chance yet, be sure to cruise over to Basketball Prospectus, where Ken Pomeroy and John Gasaway are starting to post some nice articles.

I'm particularly excited about this new site, because now I don't have to work so hard for new material. Instead, I can cherry-pick topics that they've worked through and apply them to the Hoyas.

Example - Effective Usage

Pomeroy took a look at the likelihood that a player will be able to make a great leap forward in possessions used from one season to the next. This can become important when you want to identify efficient role-players that may be able to become efficent stars the next season. As it turns out,
Once a player demonstrates himself to be a role player, it's unlikely he'll ever be a go-to guy and, therefore, a superstar. It's not quite a law in college basketball, but players who are not very involved in the offense tend to stay that way. Any major changes in a player's usage are usually the result of filling the hole left by a departing possession eater.
Remembering that using 20% of available possessions is average (there are 5 players on the floor at any time), let's take a look at possession usage and efficiencies for G'town the last 3 seasons (the JTIII Era).

2005 2006 2007
Min % Poss % O. Rate Min % Poss % O. Rate Min % Poss % O. Rate
Bowman, Brandon 83.4% 24.2 112.4 71.2% 24.6 101 - - -
Cook, Ashanti 80.7% 20.3 102.3 77.4% 18.1 113 - - -
Owens, Darrel 63.2% 14.1 124.8 67.1% 15.7 127.2 - - -
Green, Jeff 84.6% 23.8 111.5 81.3% 25.4 102.7 83.2% 24.9 114.4
Wallace, Jon 75.9% 14.9 98 77.0% 15.6 116.2 80.5% 18.9 119.7
Hibbert, Roy 39.6% 25.3 89.2 60.1% 25.6 120.9 65.9% 22.8 130.8
Crawford, Tyler 17.6% 19.7 102.1 10.7% * * 19.7% 16.2 98.2
Reed, Ray 40.4% 15.9 82.8 - - - - - -
Ross, RaMell 19.9% 17.6 102.1 - - - - - -
Sapp, Jessie - - - 40.1% 12.2 96.5 82.1% 18.7 107.9
Egerson, Marc - - - 17.3% 19.7 94.1 60.2% 17.6 114.2
Summers, DaJuan - - - - - - 65.9% 22 101.8
Ewing, Pat Jr. - - - - - - 36.2% 17.7 109.9
Macklin, Vernon - - - - - - 24.4% 15.8 119.5
Rivers, Jeremiah - - - - - - 29.3% 12.5 77.9
*Crawford did not play enough minutes in 2006 (92 total) to generate meaningful stats.

It looks like the Hoyas follow Pomeroy's thesis quite well. For those players with at least 2 full seasons under JTIII, the largest change was for Jessie Sapp, who went from 12.2% to 18.7% of available possessions used. This is to be expected, as he stepped into Ashanti Cook's role directly, absorbing both his minutes and responsibilities. Most every other player used roughly the same percentage of possessions from year to year, within uncertainties (see the original article for more on this). Some other notes:
  • Jon Wallace has been able to increase both his Poss % and OR every year. A significant drop in either stat during his senior season would likely be a problem for the Hoyas.
  • Darrel Owens developed the reputation as an incredibly efficient player amongst stat-heads, but it should be noted that his selective use of possessions likely played a large role. While many of us were frustrated that he didn't "shoot more", it is not unreasonable to suggest that he wouldn't have been as good if he had. He was the quintessential efficient role-player.
  • Sapp was able to be more efficient while he used more possessions, which was critical in the team's success last year (it just seemed like he was a hucker [technical term] because Cook spoiled us with his senior season).
  • Macklin, a favorite for breakout candidate, looks to be hard pressed to make that leap due to his low possession usage, and the lack of an obvious hole to fill (I expect Ewing and Summers to take up most of Jeff Green's role). Macklin did used ~20% of available possessions in the post-season (BET and NCAA), but in very limited minutes.

Well, that's all for now. Feels good to shake off some of the rust from the long off-season.

Edited to add - Table updated for greycat


  1. Nice job. Why didn't you include the Min% to note the year-to-year progression in playing time? I may do something like this for the Villanova team. A good deal of discussion about whether a number of bigs Coach Wright has recruited will play a larger role in the Wildcat offense (Pomeroy seems to suggest that won't happen).

  2. As you wish. It should have also been noted that Egerson left after 1st semester of 2007, with Summers and Ewing picking up most of that (see previous posting).