[Editor's note: defintions for these metrics can be found here. As well, some of the links need ESPN Insider access]
Scoring efficiency and offensive production
Sonny Weems continues to impress with his 57.6% TS%. He ranks 3rd in FG% for shooting guard (yes, he’s playing more and more at SF, but still is pegged as a SG by most sites). Linas Kleiza had a better week improving his PER to 9.2 from 7.9 (see definition here). This remains “too low” versus my expectations for him. His true shooting percentage remains near the bottom on this team. New edition Jerryd Bayless is worse, but not that much than Jarrett Jack (see further analysis below). However, for all the knocks on Bayless’ inability to pass, his assist percentage isn’t that far behind “pass first” PG Jose Calderon. Problem is his turnover percentage is quite high.
Rebounding, defense and “hands”
Our offensive rebounding prowess continues with Reggie Evans and Amir Johnson setting the pace on the offensive glass. They are ranked second and third respectively out of ALL players. Add Joey Dorsey’s (who doesn’t “qualify” due to limited minutes) and its no wonder why we’re top six team in Offensive Rebound Rate and top 8 in rebound differential. This has been key for the team to stay close in big games.
The addition of Peja Stojakovic allows us to relax on consistently beating up on Andrea Bargnani’s lack of rebounding (well, not entirely, but he had such a big week so we’ll give him a break). Peja hauls down an eye-popping 3.9% of all available rebounds. Heck, PJ Carlesimo catches more from the bench.
The Drew Gooden and Amir Johnson Contract vs Performance Debate
As Tim W points out, Amir Johnson’s contract has received a ton of criticism, yet Drew Gooden’s similar deal doesn’t seem to get much attention. Tim provides some insightful data and we carry the analysis a bit further:
Yes, yes, I know your “per 36 minutes is useless because Amir fouls…” argument. It was just easier to compare apples to apples and per 36 was easier to pull. But I could have adjusted to a “per 24 min” as well – and the analysis would be the same. Both players are capable of averaging around 24 minutes a game. The percentages will remain the same however in either case. (You could argue against this analysis IF you felt Drew was capable of consistently putting up 30+ minutes and Amir could not due to his foul rate.).
Amir is ahead in almost every category. He has the same point production rate despite taking 4.5 less field goal attempts. He’s that much more efficient in the field and much better at the line as well. Oddly, Johnson retrieves more offensive rebounds than defensive, but overall they are on par. Johnson is a much better shot blocker. And, no surprise, fouls at a much higher rate.
And the final metric that matters? Amir Johnson is 23 years old (players generally get better from here) while Drew Gooden is 29 (an age were their numbers start to regress).
Jarrett Jack versus Jerryd Bayless
We’re fortunate to have several excellent comments on our site. Here I’ll refer you to rob’s great breakdown of Jack versus Bayless.
So far this year, Bayless has certainly trailed Jack in several categories.
What we can say is Bayless is not that fair behind Jack. In fact, both his assists per 36 minutes and Assist percentage numbers are slightly ahead, but so is his turnover rate. Both have not been shooting well his year.
Regardless, we know this deal wasn’t done based on this year’s numbers. Bayless, at age 22, looks to provide the Raptors with more upside at a lower price (and shorter contract), while Jack will provide some experience as a solid backup to Paul as the hot Hornets look to make a run this year.
Lineup of the Week
The lineup data continues to be tough to analyze, especially with so many combinations due to several injuries. So I’ll cherry pick Calderon, DeRozan, Kleiza, Johnson and Andersen who went +7 in the second quarter and +6 in the fourth quarter against Houston. Note the Calderon/DeRozan/Johnson combination has appeared frequently in my “best lineup” analysis this year. Johnson and Calderon were +29 and +27 in that game only. We don’t want to put much stock in one game and “raw” +/-, but those are impressive numbers.
- Amir Johnson’s 9 for 9 from the line against Boston put him over 90% for the year. He’s career numbers are around 68%. His previous best from the line was 4 for 4 in both April 12, 2006 and April 8, 2008.
- Andrea Bargnani’s posted a hot 61.8% effective FG% this week to lead the team to three wins. He averaged 28.3 PPG and 5 boards a game (want more, but I’ll take it).
- The Raptors are 5th worst for opponent’s field goal percentage at 47.6%. Rebounding is one thing, but we need to force more difficult shots in order to win more games.
Sources: basketball-reference.com, espn.com