Welcome to a new idea here at RR. The goal of Statophile is to produce a weekly summary of advanced metrics – to analyse beyond what’s beyond the basic boxscore. We will also address a few perceptions from readers each week and look to confirm or bust them.

Given this is our first post in the series, we examine the six games played to date.

[Editor’s note: we are developing our own a user friendly guide to these metrics, but in the meantime Basketball-reference.com’s glossary will come in handy. As well, some of the links need ESPN Insider access]

Scoring efficiency and offensive production

The most shocking metric? Linas Kleiza’s 7.3 PER (see definition here). Kleiza is supposed to be one of our key “go to” players on offense and this is a major concern (yes, it’s only six games, but…). Klieza is currently ranked 43rd out of 53 small forwards for PER. This cannot continue. Heck, even Jamario Moon is 3.5 ahead of him. His true shooting percentage is near the bottom on this team and his assist percentage tells us he’s not moving the ball enough.

Andrea Bargnani is solid across the board with the small exception that he needs to move the ball more. Amir Johnson is remarkably efficient on offense so far this year. His usage is very low, but he’s getting the job done when he has the ball. His assist ratio is dismal, largely due to the fact much of his offense is either put backs off offensive rebounds or fast break points. Amir is ranked 12th our of 69 power forwards for PER. However, his 7.1 fouls per 36 minutes is an all-time high. Why do I continue to believe he will improve this metric in order to leverage his efficiency on the court?! I’m finally capitulating – it just isn’t going to happen.

Finally, DeMar DeRozan needs to work on his shot – he has the lowest eFG% (well, besides Evans) on the squad.

His true shooting percentage is ranked 44th out of 63 players at the shooting guard position. (ESPN Insider access required for link – if you have it look how woeful James Harden’s shooting has been this year!).

Rebounding, defense and “hands”

Our power forwards are doing an exceptional job on the boards. On the offensive end, Amir Johnson and Reggie Evans rank first and third respectively out of ALL players. These second chance opportunities are one of the key reasons we’re able to hang around at all in recent games.

However, turnovers continue to be a major concern. Most of Amir’s good work on the glass is largely negated by his very high turnover rate. As someone commented the other day, Jarrett Jack forces it too often. His very high turnover rate confirms this. His TOV% is the top 10 worst among guards.

Confirmed or busted?

Comment: Andrea Bargnani cannot finish at the rim
Analysis: This area has been difficult for Andrea this year, who shooting only 36.4% at the rim. This is near the very bottom for all centres. Previous years, however, he has been closer to the average center. So the jury’s still out, but certainly there is significant room for improvement this year. Verdict? Confirmed for now.

Comment: Sonny Weems is a chucker
Analysis: He does force shots for sure, but his numbers are solid. I bet you didn’t know he was the #1 “long 2” shooting guard in the entire league (games played > 30). He’s started at a solid clip again this year (40%), but somehow struggles with the mid-range shot: shooting 28.6% from 10-15 feet so far this year. Verdict? Busted.

Miscellaneous Notes

  • Our old friend Chris Bosh is neck and neck with Kris Humphries in the power forward PER rankings. They are ranked 26th and 27th respectively.
  • Reggie Evans leads the entire league in total rebound percentage. Bargnani sadly ranks 135th – right there with rebounding legends Jarrett Jack and Daniel Gibson. Surprisingly, Bosh isn’t doing much better – both are out rebounded by Chris Paul, Jamario Moon, Caron Butler, Marcus Thornton, Keith Bogans etc (you get the idea).
  • Our best lineup: The sample size is too small, but watch out for this lineup: Calderon, Barbosa, Wright, Johnson and Andersen or Bargnani. Again, very small samples, but they clicked big time versus the Lakers (+9 in 3 minutes) and the Trailblazers (+7 in < 3 min)
  • DeMar DeRozan’s appears to be the most effective partner the simple +/- rank (yeah, we hate basic +/-, but the sample size is WAY too small for the adjusted +/- measure)

Questions? Submissions for “confirmed or busted”? Email me: tomliston@gmail.com or find me on Twitter.

Sources: basketball-reference.com, hoopdata.com, espn.com

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