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JV vs the field - Big Men Production last year

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  • JV vs the field - Big Men Production last year

    Recent talk about JV’s passing (or lack thereof) got me thinking; what are the key indicators for success for big men? A well rounded player should impact offence, defence and rebounding. Finding the balance between all three facets is incredibly hard to find. In an age of specialists, more players are excelling in one dimensional ways in hopes of producing enough to off-set their deficiencies in other ares. Factor in the plethora of ways that a player can impact the offence or defence, and it makes it really difficult to measure success. In the past, I’ve gone the end result production route ( to see how our own JV stands up against the competition in terms of development curve.

    This time, I decided to try and look at things from a different angle. Focusing entire on last year, I wanted to gauge how our young big stands today vs his peers. Trying to show a cross section of how JV produces at each end of the court can be daunting, so trying to simplify to single statistical categories for each was necessary. After much deliberation, I felt that the three key facets of a successful big man are:

    OppFG% - of all the defensive options, limiting the opponents successful FGA might best simple indicator of a big’s performance on defence. Typically, bigs are the last line of defence between the offensive player and the rim, so specifically I am looking at OppFG% within 5ft of the hoop.
    Rebounding% – being in the right place and securing the rebound seems best measured with % of rebounds grabbed per rebound chance
    Scoring efficiency – not all bigs have the same scoring role, but all want to score every attempt, so being able to score on a high % of attempts is a good measure of success at this end of the court. TS% (which also factors in good FT shooting) seems the best for this measure.

    The filters
    For OppFG%, all players must average 10 opponent FGA per game at the rim (within 5ft) – Stats from
    For Rebounding, all players must average 10 rebound chances per game – Stats from
    For Scoring, 35 centers played over 1000 minutes last year (so approximately all starting and back-up centers per team) – Stats from

    OppFG% - 81 qualifying players

    With 81 players meeting the criteria, we have a large cross section of Centers and PFs with a few SF (small-ball options) as well.

    The range on attempts is 24.5 (Anthony Davis) to 10.1 (Robert Sacre), with JV landing at 16.3 (26th of 81). The range on % is 50.4% (Bogut) to 68.8% (Payne).

    As you can (hopefully) see on the chart below (click to enlarge), JV lands at the tail end of the Top 25 who seem to have no plateau group. Immediately following JV, a short hop up gets to DeAndre Jordan (57.7%) who is at the beginning of a large plateau which carries forward to Dwight Howard (58.4%). As the rest rises with a few groupings, you’ll notice some notable players indicated, including Asik, Davis, Chandler, M. Gasol and Dieng (the way out there marker was rookie Adreine Payne at 68.8%).


    Based on this data, JV seems to be “Above Avg” in terms of contesting shots at the rim (58.275% is the true statistical average for this group).

    SIDE NOTE: When each distance measure is looked at, JV is better than average at both the rim and 3 point line. The areas where he is “below” average is from 15-24 feet (broken down at 15’-19’ and 20’-24’).

    Rebounding – 85 qualifying players

    The range on rebound chances per game in this group is 19.3 (Drummond) to 10 (Harrison Barnes), with JV landing at 14.6 per game (20th most chances per game). In terms of rebounds per game, the model holds largely the same with Drummond #1, JV 20th, and Barnes 2nd last.

    In rebound efficiency (% of rebounds grabbed per chance), LaMarcus Aldridge and Russell Westbrook lead the league at 72.2% and 72.00% respectively. Obviously Westbrook isn’t a big, but wanted to really highlight what an amazing rebounder he is. JV clocks in at 59.2%, which puts him in the range (+/- 1%) of Z-Bo, Pekovic, Scola, Nurkic, Hibbert, and Faried. I found this lower than I expected in total rank (48th of 84) but in good company. This then lead me to consider what other factors could impact successful rebounding and I came away with help – who is getting help on the glass and who isn’t.

    Amir Johnson ranks 84th of 85 at 50.2%. Patterson (who doesn’t qualify based on his 8.4 chances per game) clocks in at 64%. This obviously doesn’t match the eye test as no one would consider Patterson a better rebounder than Amir or JV. The subsequent stat that I looked at is Contested Rebound Percentage – what % of rebounds does a player get when an opponent is within 3.5 feet. When I look at these numbers, Amir clocks in at 49%, JV 44.3% and PP 35.9%, eye test confirmed.

    When the 85 qualifying players are sorted by Contested Reb % - Larry Sanders at 56% leads, the 3 qualifying PGs (MCW, Westbrook and Rondo) drop to the bottom, and JV lands at 44.3% (34th best) in a 1% range with Chandler, Asik, Mozgov, Sullinger, Ed Davis, Noel, Justin Hamilton, Dieng, Bogut, T Zeller, T Jones, Duncan, J Hill, and Dwight Howard.

    The true statistical average for these two stats is 59.9% and 41.6% (JV is 59.2% and 44.3%).


    Scoring – TS%
    JV is one of the elite centers with TS%. Tyson Chandler lead the league at 69.7%, and Sacre trailed the 35 centers with 44.9%. JV was 3rd best at 62.3%

    The chart here shows how JV compares to the lot. I highlighted 2 players in particular here, Enes Kanter and Al Horford. Both players make more money than JV’s extension and both have been used as comparables in the past (and will continue to do so). Kanter is specifically interesting since scoring is considered his strong suit, yet trails JV in this aspect.


    While looking at all of these, I also thought it would be worth to mark where JV stands compared to his development comp’s from last year,, Al Horford, Bogut, and Okafor.

    OppFG% 3rd Year
    Bogut 46.8%
    Okafor 55.7%
    JV 57.1%
    Horford 58.2%

    TS% 3rd year
    JV 62.6%
    Horford 59.4%
    Okafor 55.4
    Bogut 53.2% doesn’t have the rebounding stats back beyond last season, but using BBRef Reb% the 3rd year comps are
    Okafaor 19.2%
    JV 19.1%
    Bogut 16.5%
    Horford 16.4%

    So what does this mean beyond the fact that I didn’t accomplish much at work today....well, nothing we didn’t already know really, that JV is a damn good young player. He is elite at scoring efficiently. He is around average in rebounding for his position. He is better defensively than he often gets credit for. Take all those current standings, factor in his age, and he certainly looks like a top player at his position. For $16M after next season, he could be one of the best bargains in the NBA.
    Last edited by Axel; Wed Sep 23, 2015, 02:59 PM.
    Heir, Prince of Cambridge

    If you see KeonClark in the wasteland, please share your food and water with him.

  • #2
    Nice post.

    A note about rebounding. That rebounds per rebound chances stat is largely valueless. Any player who never crashes the offensive glass will end up with very high rates, as defensive rebounding typically rewards players at a 75% rate. Offensive boards happen only 25% of the time, so every offensive board a player attempts will on average drag their conversion rate way down.

    If the NBA provided separate offensive rebounding and defensive rebounding conversion rates they would be great to have. But together they are practically meaningless.

    Consider: player A rarely attempts offensive rebounds, only grabbing 6.8% of available offensive rebounds. He is a poor defensive rebounder, grabbing only 16.3% of defensive rebounds. He grabs 3.4 uncontested rebounds per game (assuming out of 3.4 uncontested rebound chances). He grabs 1.9 contested rebounds out of 5 contested rebound chances, for a contested rebound conversion rate of 38%. His overall conversion rate is 64%.

    Player B crashes the offensive glass, grabbing 11.8% of available offensive rebounds. He's also a tremendous defensive rebounder, grabbing 26.3% of available boards on that end. He grabs 4.8 uncontested boards per game (assuming out of 4.8 uncontested rebound chances). He grabs 3.8 contested rebounds out of 9.8 contested rebound chances, for a contested rebound conversion rate of 39%. His overall conversion rate is 59.2%.

    Who is the better rebounder? Rebounding conversion rate suggests that player A is better. But as you can see, they convert on contested rebounds at nearly identical rates. The difference is that player B manages to put himself in far more contested rebound situations (and more uncontested ones as well) which results in the much, much better overall rebounding numbers. But with his contested rebounding situations far outweighing his uncontested situations, that overall conversion rate drops.

    For the record, player A is Patrick Patterson and player B is Jonas Valanciunas.

    I could present further anecdotal evidence against rebounding conversion rate (some of the best rebounders in the league are pretty far down the list in that stat, Greivis Vasquez and Lou Williams were the two best rebounders on the team) but I felt it better to demonstrate why it is problematic instead.


    • #3
      Oh, and you are misusing the contested rebound stat. It is not how many of their contested rebounds they end up with. But how many of the rebounds they end up with are contested. Also basically useless.


      • #4
        DanH wrote: View Post
        Oh, and you are misusing the contested rebound stat. It is not how many of their contested rebounds they end up with. But how many of the rebounds they end up with are contested. Also basically useless.
        Ah yes, I see that now. So really Reb% is the only player tracker stat for rebounding worth reviewing and it still isn't great. Player tracking offers such high potential but still underwhelms outside of offense. Hopefully the data evolves sooner rather than later to capture better measures for Def and rebounding.
        Last edited by Axel; Wed Sep 23, 2015, 08:38 PM.
        Heir, Prince of Cambridge

        If you see KeonClark in the wasteland, please share your food and water with him.


        • #5
          Lol What a stiff, trade him for Tyrion Lannister so Casey can run his 25th ranked defense his way
          "Both teams played hard my man" - Sheed


          • #6
            For rebounding, the best stats available are still simple ORB% and DRB%.

            Sadly, the data is there for better information (conversion rates on offensive rebound and defensive rebound chances, number of offensive and defensive rebound chances generated per missed shot) but they've just done a terrible job presenting the data on the NBA stats website to the point where it is useless.


            • #7
              The TS% was what jumped out to me. I knew about it before. I know it is some what screwed because he shoots a high percentage from the freethrow line, but that just means you know he can continue to develop an offensive game. I am excited. The more we feed him the more he goes to the line the more he converts at the same percentage as Demar. He is efficient. He just needs to hesitate less and learn to not panic and pass better out of situations. That isn't to say he has is turnover prone it just what he needs to work on to be successful.