Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Scoring Efficiency?

Andrew Perma wrote an interesting column over at RealGM.com examining the top 50 scorers in the NBA by scoring efficiency. It got me wondering how efficient are the Grizzlies players using the same standard of points scored divided by shot attempts.

The results were somewhat surprising. The most efficient player (granted with a very small set of numbers to choose from) was Michael Conley. Remember that these figures aren't taking into account the value of assists either. Strictly viewing the shot attempts and the points Michael is the best scorer on the team averaging 1.4737 points per shot attempts. To put this in perspective, the best three point guards among the top 50 scorers in the league were Steve Nash (1.48), Deron Williams (1.40) and Chris Paul (1.34). Now I don't know if Conley will ever score enough to be in the top 50 of the NBA so don't read too much into that but the optomists can take some joy if they want to.

Following Conley were Stromile Swift (1.4653) and Hakim Warrick (1.4623).

The least efficient scorer is Darko Milicic. He averages just above 1 point per shot attempt. Again this is not an overall evaluation of the player since defensive stats are not included in any respect. This simply states that Darko hasn't been very good at putting the ball in the hoop yet this season. Following Darko were Tarence Kinsey, Brain Cardinal and Casey Jacobsen.

In 9th place in scoring efficiency is Rudy Gay. His 1.271 mark would place him in the middle of the pack of the top 50 scorers in the league. Rudy either needs to get to the foul line more or hit more three point shots. Personally I expect as Rudy begins to get respect from the officials we are going to see him at the line a lot more often as the season progresses.
The team's ranking top to bottom are as follows:

Mike Conley 1.4737
Stromile Swift 1.4636
Hakim Warrick 1.4414
Kyle Lowry 1.4171
Mike Miller 1.3963
Pau Gasol 1.3297
Andre Brown 1.3125
Juan Carlos Navarro 1.2794
Rudy Gay 1.2710
Damon Stoudamire 1.0859
Casey Jacobsen 1.0727
Brian Cardinal 1.0625
Tarence Kinsey 1.0526
Darko Milicic 1.0339

Calculating the team's average gives us a total of 1937 shots and 2503 points or 1.2922 pts per shot attempt.

What makes the team scoring efficiency interesting is in an historical perspective. Last season the Grizzlies were considered a run and gun, no defense team and the scoring efficiency was 1.2920. Nearly identical to this seasons. The 2005-06 season, the era of Fratello and the dead ball syndrome was 1.2340. The team scored less and were less efficient when they did score. One wouldn't expect that outcome. Previous seasons were as follows with the team's win total in parenthesis:

2006-07 (22): 1.2920
2005-06 (49): 1.2340
2004-05 (45): 1.2217
2003-04 (50): 1.1912
2002-03 (28): 1.1857
2001-02 (23): 1.1281

What can we conclude from these numbers. Not much. Maybe this tells us is that scoring efficiently isn't as important as playing defense, rebounding or TOs. I determined opponents scoring efficiency to see if it had a more direct relationship to winning.

2006-07 (22): 1.2946
2005-06 (49): 1.1755
2004-05 (45): 1.2024
2003-04 (50): 1.1802
2002-03 (28): 1.1787
2001-02 (23): 1.1688

Again no clear correlation between a more efficient defense producing more wins. So basically I did all of this work to come to the conclusion that while interesting to talk about scoring efficiency has absolutely no correlation to winning and so it really has little relevance to a discussion of either a team or a players individual contributions.

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