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Dumpy's Statistical Analysis: Seattle at NJ, November 13, 2006

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Dumpy’s Statistical Analysis
November 13, 2006: Seattle 119, New Jersey 113

Team Statistics

Possessions. The number of possessions (i.e., each time a team brings the ball up court) is a way to measure the pace of the game. For games involving running or trapping teams, the number of possessions will be high, possibly more than 100. For more methodical teams, the number of possessions may be closer to 80. Possessions can (generally) end one of three ways: on a field goal attempt that is not rebounded by the offense (this includes successful FG attempts); on a turnover, or through some free throws. Since this is an estimate based upon various statistics, and because the number of possessions should be approximately the same for both teams, we also present the average estimated number of possessions.

Seattle 87.9
New Jersey 89.9
Average 89.9

Offensive Rating. A team’s offensive rating is just the number of points scored per 100 possessions. The opponent's offensive rating can be considered the team's Defensive Rating. For the past few seasons, the average team offensive rating in
the NBA has hovered around 105.

Seattle 132.5
New Jersey 125.8

Wow. Maybe it’s time to double check those formulas.

Assist Percentage. The assist percentage measures the frequency that successful field goals have been assisted.

Seattle 52.3%
New Jersey 65.9%

"Big Four" Factors. The four primary factors that determine the outcome of a basketball game are: field goal percentage, offensive rebound percentage, turnovers, and the ability to get to the line and hit free throws. Offensive rebound percentage is measured as a percentage of rebound opportunities; turnovers are measured as a percentage of possessions; and free throws are measured by the percentage of time the team got to the line in relation to field goal shot attempts.

Seattle New Jersey
FG% 48.4% 50.6%
OREB% 45.5% 27.8%
TOV% 11.1% 11.1%
FTA/FGA 31.9% 33.3%

And the effective field goal percentage:

Seattle 52.2%
New Jersey 55.6%

Let’s shuffle through the mailbag today.

Dear Dumpy (not your real name);

I was mocked when I predicted that the Nets would be a .500 team. My super-secret psycho-historical team statistical rating system calculated that the Nets would suffer a rash of significant injuries and be done in by their paltry bench, but no one believed me. Well, who is laughing now?

The prescient John H.

- - - - -

Dear John,

Well, I have to disagree. The numbers clearly show that the Nets lost once again because of their inability to compete on the boards. They gave up 45% of the offensive rebounds; that is pathetic. Their other numbers all look pretty solid.

Sincerely,

Dumpy

- - - - -

Dear Dumpy (not your real name);

Just read a draft of your stat analysis. What are you, an idiot? Obviously, it is the LACK OF A BENCH and THE INJURIES TO JEFFERSON AND BOONE that are the CAUSE of the rebounding problem. You discount my brilliance, but you can’t compete with reality. I’m right, I’m right, I’m right—admit it.

John H.

- - - - -

Dear John,

Gotta disagree on this one, buddy. The Nets just came out of the gate sluggish, that’s all. Gave up about fifteen offensive rebounds in the first half, by my count. In the second half, the Nets were just as effective on the boards, and guess what? Their superior effective field goal percentage and ability to get to the line allowed them to nearly catch up. I’d just chalk this one up to jetlag, and I’m encouraged that the players and coaching staff were obviously able to assess and fix the problem during halftime.

Dumpy

- - - - -

Dear Dumpy (what IS your real name, anyway?)

Whatever. At least I stick to a deadline. It’s what, 24 hours after the game? I mean, no one really cares any more.

John H.

- - - - -

Dear John,

Like I'm really gonna tell you. Write back in a few weeks, John, and we'll chat a bit more about your "theories."

Dumpy

Scoring Possessions. This figure is an estimate of the number of times a team scores at least one point on a possession.

Seattle 55.3
New Jersey 51.6

Field Percentage. This figure is an estimate of the percentage of times a team scores a basket on possessions where no free throws are awarded.

Seattle 56.3%
New Jersey 51.8%

Number of plays. This figure is an estimate of the number of times that a team both gains and loses control of the ball, either when the opposing team gains control or when a shot goes up.

Seattle 112.6
New Jersey 101.8

Play percentage. This figure is an estimate of the percentage of a team’s plays on which it produces a scoring possession.

Seattle 49.1%
New Jersey 50.7%

Look at this. The Nets actually scored on a higher percentage of plays than Seattle, despite losing by six. The number of plays was the difference, a figure that is affected by offensive rebounding. You can see the Nets ran 102 plays in about 90 possessions, while Seattle was able to run about 113. Offensive rebounds.

Individual Statistics

Seattle Supersonics

Player Scoring Poss'ns Poss'ns. Floor% Offense Rating Points Prod. Points Scored % Tm Poss Plus/ Minus
R. Allen 9.2 16.3 56.0% 119.4 19.5 22 21.1% -1
L. Ridnour 13.2 17.8 74.2% 166.8 29.8 32 23.6% 11
C. Wilcox 10.4 13.2 78.6% 156.4 20.7 22 17.5% 5
R. Lewis 9.9 15.5 63.9% 151.4 23.5 27 22.1% 1
J. Petro 2.6 4.6 56.1% 115.7 5.3 4 15.9% 16
N. Collison 3.5 9.1 38.6% 79.1 7.2 6 14.3% -4
D. Wilkins 2.0 4.1 49.8% 113.4 4.6 2 13.7% 2
E. Watson 3.5 8.1 43.3% 90.2 7.3 4 29.2% 0
E. Wilks 0.0 0.0 0.0% 0.0 0.0 0 0.0% --
R. Swift 0.0 0.0 0.0% 0.0 0.0 0 0.0% --
D. Farmer 0.0 0.0 0.0% 0.0 0.0 0 0.0% --
D. Fortson 0.0 0.0 0.0% 0.0 0.0 0 0.0% 0

New Jersey Nets

Player Scoring Poss'ns Poss'ns. Floor% Offense Rating Points Prod. Points Scored % Tm Poss Plus/ Minus
J. Kidd 10.6 15.2 69.9% 162.6 24.6 20 19.9% 8
V. Carter 14.2 23.4 60.8% 142.2 33.3 38 29.3% 2
A. Wright 4.7 9.5 49.3% 105.1 10.0 10 14.0% -12
J. Collins 2.2 3.7 58.9% 123.2 4.5 1 9.8% -8
N. Krstic 8.8 15.1 58.1% 117.2 17.7 21 26.7% -5
B. Nachbar 1.8 5.0 37.2% 83.7 4.1 4 17.2% -6
M. Williams 4.0 9.5 42.1% 96.9 9.2 11 22.8% 5
C. Robinson 0.5 1.2 41.1% 96.1 1.1 0 3.9% -7
M. Moore 3.1 4.8 64.8% 132.5 6.4 8 17.0% -1
H. Adams 0.0 1.0 0.0% 0.0 0.0 0 35.6% -6
M. Ilic 0.0 0.0 0.0% 0.0 0.0 0 0.0% --
J. Boone 0.0 0.0 0.0% 0.0 0.0 0 0.0% --

I’ll point out the 123.2 offensive rating by none other than Jason Collins, higher than Krstic, Wright, and Nachbar, among others. How is this possible? Remember, it is easier for role players to have high ratings if they contribute through offensive rebounds and assists, don’t commit many turnovers, and don’t miss many shots. In Collins’ case, even though he didn’t hit a shot from the field, he had more offensive rebounds than shots, two assists, and didn’t turn the ball over. Krstic may have scored 21 points, but also had two offensive rebounds, two assists, two turnovers, and six missed field goal attempts. Again, this doesn’t indicate that Collins was "better" than Krstic overall; the ratings have to be read in the context of a player’s role. Long term, if Collins could consistently go two-for-four with those same ancillary numbers, he’d be quite valuable, given what the Nets expect from that position.

Also, Carter’s possession percentage fell under 30% for the first time since opening night. Part of that has to do with the turnovers (none last night), which impact the number of possessions used by a particular player.

Finally, nice job by Mikki.

These individual statistics are estimates based on the premise that teammates should share credit for points and scoring possessions based upon their individual contributions to each play. They are derived from the research of Dean Oliver, and more can be read in his book, "Basketball on Paper."

Glossary for Individual Statistics:

Scoring Possessions: A scoring possession is awarded to an individual when he contributes to a team scoring possession. If multiple players contribute, then credit is split among teammates based upon a formula.

Possessions: Number of team possessions used by a particular player.

Floor percentage: The percentage of a player’s possessions on which there is a scoring possession.

Offensive Rating: Points produced by an individual per 100 possessions, as calculated by a complex formula.

Points Produced: The number of points a player generates through various offensive contributions, including assists, field goals, free throws, and offensive rebounds.

Points Scored: Number of points actually scored by the player in the game, which is included here for comparison to points produced.

Percentage of Team Possessions: How often a player uses a team possession when he is in the game. With five players on the court, an average value would be 20%.

Plus/Minus: How much the team outscores the opposition when the player is in the game.