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Dumpy's Statistical Analysis: NJ at Phoenix, November 24, 2006

Dumpy’s Statistical Analysis
November 24, 2006: Phoenix 99, New Jersey 93

For historical purposes, here are the statistics for the game against Phoenix, but we all know that they will do little to enlighten us. This was a game of three acts: First act, in which the Nets fall behind by about 20. Second act, in which the Nets and Suns trade baskets for about two quarters of play. Third act, in which the Nets reserves mount a furious comeback that falls short in the waning minutes. You average all that out, and you get the following.

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. But let’s not fool ourselves; you are all here to check out Marcus’ and Hassan’s offensive ratings. Be patient; they’re here.

New Jersey 97.4
Phoenix 93.2
Average 95.3

Not even close to the season high, 105 in the opener against Toronto.

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.

New Jersey 97.6
Phoenix 103.8

As we did last game, let’s look at the Nets’ defensive rating by quarter:

1st Quarter 176.1
2nd Quarter 74.4
3rd Quarter 101.1
4th Quarter 76.3

OK, so the Nets got beat up in the first. Forget that for a minute: Over the last three quarters, the Nets actually played pretty good defense. Maybe part of that was due to the Suns losing interest and their edge, but they sure as heck were trying during the final ten minutes of the game when their lead was evaporating.

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

New Jersey 33.3%
Phoenix 63.9%

The second time the Nets obtained an assist ratio under 50%. Their record in such games is now 0-2. On the other end of the spectrum, the Nets have managed an assist ratio of at least 70% on four occasions, during which they are 3-1. Coincidence? What do you think?

"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.

New Jersey Phoenix
FG% 43.8% 48.6%
OREB% 39.6% 21.1%
TOV% 21.0% 17.8%
FTA/FGA 27.0% 36.5%

And the effective field goal percentage:

New Jersey 43.8%
Phoenix 53.4%

As noted above, these numbers have nothing to do with why the Nets lost. Still, there are a couple of interesting points to make. First, it is pretty clear that the Nets have solved their offensive rebounding problems from earlier in the year. During the first five games of the year, they averaged around a 15% offensive rebounding rating. In the games since, they are hovering around 30%. In addition, for the fourth straight game they out-rebounded the opposition. On the negative side, though, turnovers continue to be an issue. As we saw earlier in the season, last year, the average NBA team committed turnovers on about 15% of their possessions. Three of the last six games, the Nets have been above 20%. Also, we note that the Nets failed to hit a three-point shot, going 0-for-11 from behind the arc. To say that this could have affected the outcome is a pretty obvious conclusion.

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

New Jersey 47.6
Phoenix 46.1

Phoenix averaged more points per shot due to the three-point shooting.

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.

New Jersey 44.4%
Phoenix 43.7%

Unfortunately , Phoenix went to the line 13 more times.

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.

New Jersey 118.6
Phoenix 101.8

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

New Jersey 39.8%
Phoenix 45.3%

Individual Statistics

New Jersey Nets

Player Scoring Poss'ns Poss'ns. Floor% Offense Rating Points Prod. Points Scored % Tm Poss Plus/ Minus
J. Kidd 4.8 12.1 39.3% 76.1 9.2 7 20.9% -22
V. Carter 10.4 20.0 52.1% 104.1 20.8 23 31.3% -19
J. Collins 1.2 3.8 32.4% 64.5 2.5 2 7.7% -7
R. Jefferson 2.9 10.3 27.9% 59.3 6.1 6 16.7% -22
N. Krstic 4.8 10.9 43.9% 86.0 9.4 9 20.6% -16
A. Wright 1.0 2.1 46.5% 84.0 1.7 1 4.7% 13
B. Nachbar 0.9 4.4 21.3% 50.8 2.2 2 10.8% 5
M. Williams 12.1 17.6 68.7% 139.2 24.6 27 47.3% 16
M. Moore 4.0 8.1 48.9% 97.5 7.9 8 19.9% 6
H. Adams 3.4 5.4 62.9% 125.5 6.8 8 19.8% 16
C. Robinson 0.0 0.0 0.0% 0.0 0.0 0 0.0% 0
J. McInnis 0.0 0.0 0.0% 0.0 0.0 0 0.0% 0

Phoenix Suns

Player Scoring Poss'ns Poss'ns. Floor% Offense Rating Points Prod. Points Scored % Tm Poss Plus/ Minus
S. Nash 12.6 23.1 54.7% 127.2 29.4 26 28.6% 11
R. Bell 5.9 11.0 53.8% 138.9 15.3 18 13.8% 8
S. Marion 7.4 15.3 48.6% 101.9 15.6 16 20.7% 10
B. Diaw 2.6 9.3 28.1% 63.2 5.8 4 13.3% -3
A. Stoudemire 10.8 17.6 61.2% 125.9 22.2 25 23.3% 8
K. Thomas 0.6 0.6 100.0% 200.0 1.2 2 1.6% 8
M. Banks 3.7 9.1 41.2% 85.2 7.7 8 35.1% -4
J. Jones 0.0 3.1 0.0% 0.0 0.0 0 15.9% -3
J. Rose 0.0 1.5 0.0% 0.0 0.0 0 11.3% -5
S. Marks 0.0 0.0 0.0% 0.0 0.0 0 0.0% 0
P. Burke 0.0 0.0 0.0% 0.0 0.0 0 0.0% 0
J. Jones 0.0 0.0 0.0% 0.0 0.0 0 0.0% 0

The numbers speak for themselves. Nice jobs by Marcus and Hassan (and to a lesser extent, the energetic Mikki Moore). Not so nice jobs by RJ, Twin, Nenad, J-Kidd, and Boki. Note that Marcus handled nearly 50% of the team possessions when in the game, by far the highest of the season by any Net (next highest: Vince at 37% during a recent game). RJ is definitely still hurting, but still played Diaw to a draw. Also, I added Jeff McInnis to the bottom of the player chart just to prove we still loved him.

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.