Monday, January 4, 2010

Player of the Decade

With the decade closing, there's a Top 10 list for everything. And a Top 1 for everyone. ESPN recently a fan poll that selected Roy Hibbert as the Top Hoya of the Decade, and it seems nearly everyone has disagreed.

To me, the only nominees are Roy Hibbert, Jeff Green and Mike Sweetney. We've got excellent tempo-free and PBP stats on the first two, but none on Big Mike. I've always wanted to fill in some of the blanks on Hoya history (going back to the early days of the Thompson era), and this question is as good a place to start filling in some of those blanks.

I'm not grabbing PBP data, and I'm not doing some of the more complex calculations for Mike, so the numbers may not be exactly right. But they are close enough for what we are doing. I'm going to skip Hibbert's freshman year as I compare -- we can mentally add it in later, but the presentation will look nicer this way (and the years add up)

For your enjoyment:

Year 1

Player   Min%  Poss%  Shot%  TS%  O/D Reb%  ARate  TORate  Blk%  Stl%  BE Rec  ORtg   DRtg
Sweetney  60%   24%    26%   55%   13/17%    11%    22%     3%    2%    10-6   1.07   0.93
Green     84%   24%    21%   61%   11/14%    20%    20%     5%    1%     8-8   1.07   1.00
Hibbert   60%   26%    25%   62%   15/22%    14%    15%     8%    1%    10-6   1.11   0.99

Year 2

Player   Min%  Poss%  Shot%  TS%  O/D Reb%  ARate  TORate  Blk%  Stl%  BE Rec  ORtg   DRtg
Sweetney  71%   26%    27%   65%   13/21%     8%    22%     5%    2%     9-7   1.08   0.94
Green     81%   25%    24%   52%    9/17%    22%    20%     4%    2%    10-6   1.11   0.99
Hibbert   66%   23%    23%   68%   15/18%     9%    14%    11%    1%    13-3   1.16   0.97

Year 3

Player   Min%  Poss%  Shot%  TS%  O/D Reb%  ARate  TORate  Blk%  Stl%  BE Rec  ORtg   DRtg
Sweetney  79%   28%    33%   62%   13/21%     9%    13%    10%    3%    6-10   1.03   0.95
Green     83%   25%    25%   60%    7/16%    21%    21%     4%    2%    13-3   1.16   0.97
Hibbert   65%   26%    26%   63%   12/17%    17%    16%    10%    1%    15-3   1.12   0.93

A couple of adjustments to note before we really dive in:
  • SOS. Esherick followed Pops' lead on scheduling. These are full year stats, so undoubtedly Sweetney's stats are a bit inflated by a much weaker OOC schedule and a weaker post-season slate (or simply lesser number of games). Needless to say, about a sixth or so of the schedule went from cupcake to tough between the two eras.
  • Team Success. This edge goes to Roy and Jeff, but it is important to note a couple of items. One, Mike's two later years were not much worse than his freshman year despite the talent around him getting worse and younger. Much of the record difference is due to close losses and while a post player may be less suited to change that than a perimeter player, I place most of the team differentials on coaching and overall team experience.

Comments and Conclusions, bullet-style, because that's what I do:
  • I'm fairly shocked at how well Hibbert holds up, especially against Mike Sweetney. His big weakness is the time he spent on the floor -- Green outplayed him in minutes massively and Sweetney did in his year 3 as well (note also that Sweets played with a coach who played a bit of the shuttle system when he could).

    But note how Hibbert was just as efficient as Sweetney shooting, though in far less attempts. And while Mike was a better defensive rebounder, Hibbert was a better shot blocker, more likely a better overall defensive player, a better passer and committed far fewer turnovers. Once you figure in strength of competition and some kind of bonus for Hibbert having a freshman year and a whole lotta wins, he stands up nicely.

    I didn't expect that.

  • Another item that blew me away was how efficient all three were at shooting, even with high usage rates (with the exception of Green's somewhat sophomore slump).

    Greg Monroe is going through a similar sophomore slump -- he was at 61% last year and is at 51% this year. But a large cause of that is that he simply isn't getting fouled anymore, I think.

  • Green may get a little too much credit for the team winning. While the 2007-8 team wasn't as good, in my opinion, it was 15-3 in the Big East. Roy and teammates showed it wasn't just Green.

  • Overall, though, I'd take Green. Yes, he's the worst rebounder of the three, the least efficient shooter and never really got his turnovers down. He also wasn't nearly the shotblocker Hibbert or junior Sweets was.

    • Jeff has a massive edge in minutes - I can't overstate this.

    • Only Hibbert's senior year came close to his playmaking.

    • He faced tougher competition than Mike and his own coach would take him as more valuable over Hibbert, I think.

    • He was the most versatile on offense and defense, which meant he could adjust to the talent around him rather than vice versa -- Jeff helped cover up Roy's and other's deficiencies, making everyone better. Versatility can be overrated, because it is cool, but players like Jeff and Ewing, Jr. are essential.

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