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Dumpy's Statistical Analysis: Milwaukee at NJ, November 15, 2006

Dumpy’s Statistical Analysis
November 15, 2006: New Jersey 100, Milwaukee 87

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.

Milwaukee 97.1
New Jersey 92.1
Average 94.6

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.

Milwaukee 91.9
New Jersey 105.7

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

Milwaukee 54.8%
New Jersey 75.7%

"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.

Milwaukee New Jersey
FG% 40.8% 55.2%
OREB% 15.9% 25.8%
TOV% 21.1% 24.3%
FTA/FGA 28.9% 38.8%

And the effective field goal percentage:

Milwaukee 45.4%
New Jersey 59.7%

Just a totally dominant performance by the Nets across the board. The 91.9 defensive rating is the fifth time in seven games that they achieved a rating under 101, and quite a response to the pitiful 132 rating suffered against Seattle. Again, this number represents the ratio of points scored by the opponent per 100 possessions, so it is a better indicator than total points given up.

Among the individual factors, the Nets shot the ball much better, got to the line more frequently, and, not to be overlooked, out-rebounded the Bucks 25.8% to 15.9%. Once again, these numbers represent the percentage of total possible offensive rebounds snagged by each team. This is the first time since opening night that the Nets out-rebounded the opposition, and they are now 2-0 in those games. Moreover, the Nets have had their two highest rebounding ratios of the season in the two games since their pitiful 4.9% rebounding percentage against Washington. The only negative in this game was the turnovers, and was the only thing keeping this one from becoming a total rout. It was the highest turnover rate of the season, and the first time since opening day that the Nets had a TOV rating over 17.3%. However, on the plus side, the Nets did have their highest assist ratio of the season. I’ll also mention that this was the highest field goal percentage of the season as well.

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

Milwaukee 39.5
New Jersey 46.8

Higher shooting percentage, more foul shots, more offensive rebounds.

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.

Milwaukee 35.1%
New Jersey 45.3%

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.

Milwaukee 104.8
New Jersey 100.4

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

Milwaukee 37.7%
New Jersey 46.7%

Reflecting the Nets’ strong defense.

Individual Statistics

Milwaukee Bucks

Player Scoring Poss'ns Poss'ns. Floor% Offense Rating Points Prod. Points Scored % Tm Poss Plus/ Minus
M. Williams 10.3 21.8 47.4% 104.8 22.9 26 28.2% -9
M. Redd 9.9 24.9 39.8% 93.4 23.3 25 31.6% -1
B. Skinner 0.0 2.8 0.0% 0.0 0.0 0 6.8% -3
R. Patterson 6.7 12.3 54.1% 117.7 14.5 15 19.2% -13
A. Bogut 0.9 6.2 14.6% 32.5 2.0 0 11.9% -8
D. Gadzuric 2.2 3.1 73% 158.4 4.9 6 8.5% -10
E. Ilyasova 3.7 10.5 35.1% 72.4 7.6 6 24.6% -10
C. Bell 4.0 10.9 36.9% 89.2 9.8 9 16.8% -12
S. Blake 0.3 2.1 13.6% 29.9 0.6 0 23.0% 1
D. Noel 0.0 0.0 0.0% 0.0 0.0 0 0.0% 0
D. Markota 0.0 0.8 0.0% 0.0 0.0 0 42.8% --
C. McCray 0.0 0.0 0.0% 0.0 0.0 0 0.0% 0

Only Patterson and Gadzuric had productive games for the Bucks, and Gadzuric had a very limited role on offense.

New Jersey Nets

Player Scoring Poss'ns Poss'ns. Floor% Offense Rating Points Prod. Points Scored % Tm Poss Plus/ Minus
J. Kidd 10.7 17.3 61.7% 153.1 26.4 25 23.2% 19
V. Carter 6.6 16.3 40.6% 85.4 14.0 15 22.5% 7
J. Collins 2.5 6.5 39.3% 81.4 5.3 4 10.4% 10
A. Wright 4.9 8.2 60.0% 121.3 9.9 11 10.9% 5
N. Krstic 9.1 16.2 55.8% 125.4 20.4 22 24.9% 7
B. Nachbar 2.5 7.4 34.1% 86.4 6.4 7 23.9% 3
M. Williams 3.3 7.5 44.2% 104.8 7.8 4 17.7% 5
C. Robinson 4.2 8.7 48.3% 104.1 9.1 12 19.0% 9
M. Ilic 0.0 1.0 0.0% 0.0 0.0 0 0.0% 0
H. Adams 0.0 0.0 0.0% 0.0 0.0 0 0.0% 0
M. Moore 0.0 0.0 0.0% 0.0 0.0 0 0.0% --
R. Jefferson 0.0 0.0 0.0% 0.0 0.0 0 0.0% --

Totally dominant performance by Kidd. Also, Antoine Wright was very solid despite his limited role in the offense. One thing that really stands out to me is that Marcus used just 17.7% of the team possessions while he was in the game. This wasn’t due to an error-free game, either; he did his usual two turnovers in around 20 minutes. No, the key was that he took just five shots in the game. His 17.7% possession percentage was his lowest of the season; his 104.8 offensive rating was his HIGHEST of the season. There is definitely a correlation here. Reading into the numbers, I’d guess that Marcus just refrained from taking some of the lower-percentage shots that he’s been taking recently, and as a result he made a greater contribution to the team. If we use Kidd as a benchmark, it is interesting to note that this was just the second time that Marcus used a lower percentage of the team possessions (when on the floor) than J-Kidd. The other time? The victory against the Wizards. Perhaps Marcus is starting to develop a better sense of what his role should be on the offensive end. We’ll continue to look at this.

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."

Just what the heck does this mean, anyway? How much credit does Kidd get for a Carter basket when he is awarded an assist? How much credit does Carter lose on a basket when the play started with an offensive rebound? How many assists or points does it take to counter a turnover? What does it really mean when a player scored 20 points but "produced" just 17? What has happened to the other three points? Dean Oliver doesn’t tell us. All he does is explain that the formulas work to assign credit to different players; he fails to describe the practical effect of his formulas. This is one of the faults I find with his research, and one of the reasons why his principles are hard to grasp. But all is not lost. Since I’ve automated the calculations, this is something I’m going to try to take a look at relatively soon—stay patient!

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.