Thursday, March 20, 2008

Analysis: Keys for the Hoyas

Check out Georgetown's team stats this year. Compare them to 2007. Note the offensive and defensive ratings. Note how 2007 was a better offense and 2008 was a better defense. Note the key to winning last year was offense. Take a look at those Georgetown team pages again, scrolling down to the individual stats. Note 2007, when every player who played at least 30% of the time had at least an average offensive rating, and the three of the top four by Possessions used were 114.8+. Note this year, when after Hibbert (who's only really efficient instead of awesomely so this year), the two most-used players (Summers and Sapp) are only a little above average offensively. There's a bigger gap in Poss% until the next tier of Wallace, Freeman, and Ewing, who are all good offensive players, but who only shoot on about 18% of possessions-below-average use.

Those are the overall stats, but what's happened recently is probably more important. So, I took the individual splits for the last 5 and last 10 games and averaged them. No, this isn't an ideal statistical method, but it gives us a good snapshot weighted towards recent performance. Let's run some numbers:

Player   %Min  ORtg  %Poss
Summers 75.0 96.2 23.2
Hibbert 68.9 120.1 26.7
Ewing 60.1 99.5 19.7
Wallace 89.7 129.8 17.1
Sapp 64.5 112.3 20.3
Freeman 63.8 111.2 16.9

There's an extra column there, which I'll return to later. Note the recent trends:
--Sapp is shooting less, and shooting better. He's shooting 52.8% on 2's and 46.3% on 3's, up from 47.6% and 40.7%, respectively. Part of this may be hot shooting, but I think part of it is excellent shot selection.
--Ewing is shooting more, and shooting worse. He's 64% for the year inside the arc, and 46% lately. Outside the arc, the same: 22.5% recently, and 29.5% on the year. Any time PE2 shoots from outside, it's a gift to the other team.
--Among the six key players, the key to the Hoyas' offensive performance will be DaJuan Summers. He uses a lot of possessions and doesn't use them very effectively. His FG% has been fine, better than average lately, but an already low 3FG% of 33.7 has been even lower, 30.3%, lately. Plus, he's turned the ball over 26.2% of the time lately, up from 18.8% on the year. Note a reduction in turnovers was one of the keys to the Hoyas' tourney run last year.
--Wallace and Freeman are both playing well offensively, but are participating slightly less than their already below-average %possessions.
--Among the lesser-used players, Macklin and Rivers both have fantastically high (38.6% and 37.5%, respectively) recent turnover rates, and have really bad ORatings because of it. Those either need to stop or they need to sit on the bench if at all possible. Otherwise, you're just giving away possessions, and it's hard to win in the tourney when that happens. Just ask Kent State, which turned the ball over on 43.6% of first half possessions today to fall behind 31-10.

Ok, minutes. Jeff Green last year played 83% of the time, or about 33:20 per game. Who's been getting that time? Ok, Freeman of late has been getting a bit of it, but he's been playing about 25:30 a game. That leaves 8 minutes unaccounted for. Another key difference: Jessie Sapp is playing less, to the tune of about 7 minutes a game. Instead of 8 minutes to make up, that's 15 minutes. And the lion's share of that time, about 10 minutes, has been going to Patrick Ewing, Jr. From a size perspective, that's better than giving the minutes to Freeman. From an offensive efficiency perspective, well, see above.

Summary: to do well in the NCAA tourney, the Hoyas need a high usage player other than Roy Hibbert who does well offensively. Most likely, that's DaJuan Summers. If he plays well, the Hoyas can advance far. If not, then the Hoyas may well not advance to the second weekend.

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