Friday, April 29, 2005

Recapping '05 and Lookin' Ahead -- Vuhjinyuh

Some seasons are best left in the past...and this is definitely one of them. But hey, I'm not a UVA fan, so I think I can stand to look back.

Virginia finished the season 14-15, 4-12--dead last in the ACC. This after an 8-1 start and a brief visit to the top 25.

They weren't very good at the offensive end (8th in the ACC in offensive efficiency), and to make matters worse, they had the conference's worst defense.

Of course, none of their problems stopped them from beating NC State in Raleigh, which was the Cavs' only road conference win. Sigh...

A look at how UVA compared to other ACC teams in the Four Factors should give you an idea why they had such a poor season:

AdjFG%: 9th
TO Rate: 4th
OReb Rate: 10th
FTA/FGA: 9th

Holy smokes, Virginia did something well! While the team's turnover rate was admirable (Singletary and Reynolds were both steady), it obviously wasn't enough to overcome the rest of the team's problems. Virginia missed a lot of shots, as indicated by its low adjusted field goal percentage, and because the team was terrible on the offensive glass, it didn't get many second chances.

See, this is how you lose a bunch of games: Virginia shot 46.6% (adjusted!) in conference games, while its conference foes shot 54.1%. Toss in an inability to get offensive rebounds with a terrible field goal percentage and you've got a recipe for disaster. Ouch, dudes.

At least the Cavs were bad enough to get Pete Gillen fired (excuse me, to compel him to step down), and that, if nothing else, is worth celebrating. Dave Leitao has plenty of work ahead of him.

Some of the following numbers defined.

Cavaliers 2004-2005
PlayerO Rtg% PossMin/GPPGFG%3FG%Floor %Pts Prod/GPPFGA
Devin Smith11123.2%31.816.544.835.40.4814.31.14
Elton Brown10024.4%28.612.847.814.30.5112.21.01
JR Reynolds10417.1%32.310.736.334.70.4410.11.02
Sean Singletary10221.4%29.910.538.532.10.4511.41.01
Gary Forbes9922.6%22.49.446.629.90.478.81.05
Jason Clark11812.7%26.26.761.700.586.81.26
TJ Bannister9116.2%22.64.32918.80.425.90.97
Adrian Joseph10015.5%144.239.834.10.433.80.98
Jason Cain9614.4%11.92.648.9250.482.91.06

After two decades of service, Elton Brown is finally leaving Charlottesville. Now he can sit back and let that pension kick in. Brown was the best rebounder on a poor rebounding team, and not much else sticks out about him.

Devin Smith was the team's most consistent offensive threat (Jason Clark only played in 13 games), but alas, he too is graduating. Smith's departure is likely to be more painful for UVA than Brown's, though both players were good in areas in which the rest of the team stunk.

JR Reynolds and Sean Singletary will be the foundations of Leitao's first couple of Virginia teams. Both guys had some pretty exciting individual performances this past season, but neither of them were consistent from the field. Virginia desperately needs those guys to score with greater efficiency, because they will probably be heavily relied upon next season.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Are you lookin' at me?!

"I will [bleep] you up, man. Seriously, don't [bleepin'] look at me like that. "

(Dig this.)

New team slogan:

White Sox 2005: Smartball, F*** Yeah!

Friday, April 22, 2005

Recapping '05 and Lookin' Ahead -- Nawf Klina

Only two words are required to recap the season for UNC: national champions.

I felt a pang of jealousy right after the Heels won the title, something I wouldn't have felt had any team other than Carolina won the championship. But I'm over it. I think.

The Tar Heels had a great offense, to be sure, but I'm not sure they received enough credit for their defense, which was also among the nation's best.

With a major exodus of players, both sides of the ball are going to suffer next season.

Set your face to stunned. And then take a look at these numbers:

Tar Heels 2004-2005
PlayerO Rtg% PossMin/GPPGFG%3FG%Floor %Pts Prod/GPPFGA
Sean May12327.5%26.817.556.700.6016.91.26
Rashad McCants12324.1%25.916.048.942.30.5414.31.23
Jawad Williams12620.3%
Ray Felton11322.2%31.712.945.5440.5014.91.19
Marvin Williams12520.3%22.211.350.643.20.5810.41.28
Jackie Manuel10913.9%21.85.54927.80.536.11.08
Melvin Scott11313.8%
David Noel11512.2%16.93.954.8350.554.41.17
Reyshawn Terry11220.44.52.354.2600.481.91.36
Quentin Thomas6518.2%6.30.845.533.30.301.41.06

This is what happens when you've got so much talent that you can comfortably spread the ball around. Guys like Jawad and Marvin Williams weren't asked to take on a heavy burden, and that allowed them to post some very impressive looking numbers in relatively smaller roles (compared to the roles of May, McCants, and Felton).

So here's the problem: the first seven guys in the table? They aren't going to be back. The worst-case scenario ended up coming to fruition for Carolina, and Roy Williams will have to replace all of his superstars.

Sean May should've been the conference's player of the year, but I suppose he'll settle for that national championship ring. May averaged an impressive 26 points and 16 rebounds per 40 minutes (both figures led the ACC). Because of the talent around him, he was only asked to play about 27 minutes per game. He used a significant chunk of his team's possessions while he was in the game, but he was still one of the most efficient scorers in the conference. While not quite the threat to block shots that other centers in the ACC were last season, May was the best rebounder of the bunch.

If your team is good enough to have a guy like Marvin Williams (20 pts and 12 rebs per 40 min) coming off the bench, you know you've got something special. Williams adjusted to the college game immediately, and despite his evolving skills, remained the team's sixth man. I don't blame him for taking his game to the NBA--not because of playing time issues (there are none), but because he's shown that he's ready.

The guys at the bottom of the table--Noel, Thomas, Terry--will probably have much bigger roles next season, if only out of necessity. With seven guys leaving, Roy Williams doesn't have a lot of alternatives. Terry and Thomas obviously didn't play a whole lot, so their numbers have to be taken with a large grain of salt. I wouldn't pay too much attention to Thomas's numbers, especially.

Fortunately, Carolina's recruiting class is awesome, featuring three McDonald's All-Americans (just like Duke's class). With roster spots opening up in the last couple of weeks (May, Marvin Williams, Felton just recently announced their intentions to leave), Williams and his staff are looking at making some additions to the class.

North Carolina will look much different next season, and while it's too much to ask for them to play like a top ten team, it's definitely premature to suggest that the Heels won't be competitive or NCAA tournament-caliber. But here's hoping.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

"Smartball" -- Day 17

In case you weren't aware of this (and I can't blame you if that's the case), Ozzie Guillen has dubbed the White Sox's style of play smartball. You know, winning with pitching and defense, "manufacturing" runs through stolen bases and (groan) early-inning bunts, getting your uniform dirty, what have you. A major tenet of Ozzie's plan is stealing bases, which is one reason why the Sox acquired Scott Podsednik. Guillen wants the White Sox to be aggressive on the basepaths, even if that means running into outs here and there.

And run into outs the Sox have. After Wednesday's game, the White Sox are 10-16 (63%) on stolen base attempts this year, which means they're doing more harm than good.

The offense continues to falter (still dead-last in the majors in OBP and walks; hitting .259/.285/.425 as a team) but the pitching continues to be fabulous--and that's why the White Sox are 11-4. The team's ERA is the best in the AL, and the Sox have managed to win a lot of low-scoring games.

With the Sox's inability to get on base, they really shouldn't be risking baserunners on a lot of stolen bases, but that's "smartball" for you.

Despite themselves, the Sox are winning. And (while I like to pick at Guillen) it's a helluva lot of fun.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Recapping '05 and Lookin' Ahead -- Duke

Hey, I'll admit it. I thought this was (finally!) the year in which Devils' lack of depth would catch up to them. Turned out to be wishful thinking. Duke wasn't an elite team, but it wasn't nearly as beatable as I thought it would be, either. The Blue Devils finished 27-6 (11-5), winning another ACC tournament title (after other schools kindly dispatched UNC and Wake for them), and earning another #1 seed (albeit undeserved) in the NCAA tournament.

After underestimating the Blue Devils all season, I decided to pick them to reach the Final Four. Oops.

Despite the presence of Shelden Williams--who, if any Duke player was going to win the award, should have been ACC Player of the Year--the Blue Devils were very much perimeter-oriented. About 40% of Duke's total field goal attempts were three-pointers...only NC State posted a higher percentage. JJ Redick attempted 300 threes by himself.

Here are the numbers:

Blue Devils 2004-2005
PlayerO Rtg% PossMin/GPPGFG%3FG%Floor %Pts Prod/GPPFGA
JJ Redick12624.5%37.321.840.840.30.5019.81.23
Shelden Williams11722.2%33.615.558.200.5815.11.24
Daniel Ewing10823.9%34.515.342.734.70.4715.41.07
Lee Melchionni11516.4%21.77.740.639.60.467.11.14
DeMarcus Nelson9920.2%19.26.24031.90.486.60.96
Sean Dockery11812.3%
Shav Randolph10016.1%18.94.439.323.10.495.20.89
David McClure10515.7%7.41.743.633.30.512.10.94
Reggie Love11012.1%10.21.646.900.532.30.94

Redick's ORtg looks great (among ACC players, only Jawad Williams had a better ORtg), especially considering the amount of possessions he used, but keep in mind that ORtg tends to be a little bit biased toward jump shooters like JJ. Redick led the ACC in scoring (but also led the ACC in minutes played) and was therefore a shoe-in for ACC Player of the Year. He averaged a meager 3.5 rebs/40 minutes and 2.7 assists/40 minutes, but he's here to shoot, right?

I don't mean to sound down on Redick's season. He had a great year, giving the Devils a lot of points scored in an efficient manner. He hit 40% from behind the arc and made over 93% of his free throws.

I love me some Shelden Williams. Pretty much the only worthwhile forward on the team (I don't really count Shav because he's obviously still searching for his position, whatever it may be.), SheWill was superb at both ends of the court. As you can see from the chart, he scored the ball at a good percentage; he also gobbled up a lot of rebounds. Only Sean May averaged more rebounds per 40 minutes. Williams also averaged 4.4 blocks per 40 minutes, which is, you know, better than good.

Daniel Ewing was the third member of the Triumvirate. Ewing's shooting percentages weren't the best, but he had a low turnover rate (below 21%) as the team's default point guard. Like Redick, Ewing was required to carry a heavy possessions burden. An ideal setup would have Ewing using fewer possessions, but Duke couldn't afford to do that in 2005.

Lee Melchionni had a solid year, though he wasn't of much use if his jump shot wasn't falling. I don't think the Devils could have asked for more than what they got from Melchionni this past season.

Rough rookie campaign for DeMarcus Nelson, who missed plenty of free throws to go with his missed field goal attempts. Rumor has Nelson transferring to another school, so we'll see how that works out.

Dockery was an afterthought at the offensive end, so he made the most of his opportunities to score. Even with Ewing gone, I'm not sure if his role will expand next season. Incoming point guard Greg Paulus could be an instant-impact player who will play a lot of minutes alongside JJ Redick.

I try not to go too long in between Shavlik Randolph jokes, but I'll lay off of him here. Coach K has apparently convinced him not to transfer, and honestly, I think it's better for Shav if he stays in Durham. He is rightly concerned about playing time next season.

Duke's recruiting class is, naturally, one of the best in the nation, and it includes three McDonald's All-Americans. Depth doesn't look to be as much of an issue next season. Ewing is the only impact player the Devils are losing to graduation, and Redick/Paulus/Dockery should be able to fill the void. Assuming Shelden Williams sticks around, Duke's frontcourt will be impressive. Boateng and McRoberts are supposed to be big time, and I expect at least one of them to be productive immediately. It won't be difficult to match Shav's production, that's for sure.

With relatively little departing, it's hard to see much in the way of regression for Duke next season. The Devils ranked in the top half of the ACC in each of Dean Oliver's Four Factors (Shooting, Offensive Rebound Rate, Turnover Rate, Getting to FT Line). While they weren't spectacular in any one category, that could change next season.

More height on the front line (McRoberts is 6'10" and Boateng near 7'0") could mean better rebounding. More low-post talent could also lead to an increased team FG% as more guys will be capable of getting good high-percentage shots. Turnovers could be a problem if Paulus is running the point; other than that, it's hard to find much to worry about.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Comparing the Departing PGs

Chris Paul, Raymond Felton and John Gilchrist have each announced their intentions to move on to the NBA, and while we're still waiting on something official from Jarrett Jack, I'm throwing him into the discussion anyway. I doubt Jack will end up returning to Atlanta (unless he's a Hawk or something).

Recent message board discussion/debate has left me wondering...which of these four guys possesses the best skill set? Which has the best pro prospects?

First, a look at the traditional numbers from this past season:


These numbers are self-explanatory. In looking at these, I give a slight edge to Chris Paul's numbers. Paul was important to the Deacs for scoring as well as dishing the ball to teammates, and he did both things very well. His assist-to-turnover ratio was the best among the departing PGs, and he also did a good job generating turnovers through steals.

Felton averaged the most assists per game, but that's not very surprising considering the guys around him. I was particularly impressed with the way Felton shot the three-ball this season, though his free throw shooting wasn't ideal. Felton had the highest raw number of assists among ACC players, but as indicated by an A:T ratio that isn't quite as good as Paul's or Gilchrist's, he commited his fair share of turnovers as well.

Jack's point guard-related numbers look the worst, but he moreso than the others was expected to provide scoring for his team. Even so, his shooting percentages were excellent, and as I've noted previously, made him an efficient points producer. Interestingly, Jack collected a lot fewer offensive rebounds than the other three guys. He grabbed 9 offensive boards, while the others each grabbed at least 22. Considering Jack's height (compared to the others), that strikes me as really strange. His A:T ratio is down from 2003-2004 (when it was 1.8), so he's probably a better passer than his '05 numbers suggest.

Gilchrist had the worst shooting percentages, but appears to have had a pretty steady hand. This is reflected in the low TO/G and solid A:T ratio.

This next table compares the players' averages on a per-40 minute basis rather than a per-game basis. I prefer this sort of comparison since it mitigates playing time biases (not that these guys got significantly different amounts of PT).

Chris Paul33.418.35.47.9
Ray Felton31.716.35.48.7
Jarrett Jack34.
John Gilchrist32.

You can see basically the same trends as in the previous table. Paul and Jack were the most proficient scorers, Gilchrist the most proficient rebounder, and Felton the most proficient dime-dropper.

Now the fun part. This last table compares some of the new statistics I've been looking at this season. Most of the numbers explained here. What you haven't seen yet:

True Shot Percentage (TS%) -- A John Hollinger creation. Defined as

Points / (2 x (FGA + 0.44 x FTA))

Pass Rating -- The Assist Part of Dean Oliver's Points Produced formula divided by Individual Possessions. Credit to Ryan for this one. The 'Assist Part' of Oliver's formula estimates how many points a player produced through assists. Dividing that figure by individual possessions gives (obviously) a per-possession figure. The result is multiplied by 100 for easier comprehension.

PlayerO Rtg%PossMin/GAdjFG%TS%TO RtPass RtgFlr%PPFGA

Again it's evident to me that Chris Paul has the best all-around numbers. A really impressive offensive rating, an excellent turnover rate (for a point guard), a good pass rating, efficiency from the's all here. I think it's worth noting that Paul is the only underclassman of the four.

Paul also did an excellent job getting to the free throw line (0.59 FTA/FGA; the highest ratio among the other three guys was 0.45), and when he got there, he made more than 80% of his attempts. Paul's ability to penetrate and draw contact is superior to the ability of these other guys to do the same.

You can really get a sense for Felton's propensity for turnovers by looking at his TO Rate. Felton turned the ball over on more than a quarter of his individual possessions, but that's still a number I could live with...the Heels certainly had no issues. Felton played on one of the most up-tempo teams in the conference (and in the country, for that matter), so he was bound to turn it over a fair amount. More possessions, more opportunities for errors.

He matched a bunch of turnovers with a bunch of assists, and as you can see by his Pass Rtg, he generated the most points via assists of any of the point guards. That is, after all, what you want out of a point guard--someone who makes lots of passes that are turned into points by teammates. If Felton lowers his turnover rate and gets better at the free throw line, he'll be one formidable player in the NBA.

I wonder if an NBA team will try Jarrett Jack at 2-guard. He's tall enough to make that transition, and he's shown that he's a good shooter. He is arguably the best shooter of the four departing ACC point guards. If I'm a pro franchise with an already-established PG, I'm not necessarily looking past Jack, because I wouldn't have any problems with playing him alongside my incumbent PG.

Gilchrist is the most interesting guy going into the draft, if only because his future seems the most uncertain. Gilchrist had a rocky year in College Park, earning a seat in Gary Williams's dog house and becoming the target of a lot of criticism from fans. Gilchrist has earned the "team cancer" label, and many Maryland fans aren't worried about life without him. But I'm thinking they probably should be (I'll get into that when I recap Maryland's season in the coming days).

Gilchrist's stats aren't gaudy, and they won't make you say "I'd definitely take John over Felton or Jack," but I am very impressed by both his turnover rate (sub-20%) and his assist-to-turnover ratio. Gilchrist's ORtg is still comparable to Jack's and Felton's despite his lower shooting percentages. If his shooting percentages were better, we'd be talking about an ORtg comparable to Paul's.

If I were looking at drafting these guys, this is the order in which I'd take them:

1) Chris Paul -- Simply a great player. It doesn't matter to me that he's undersized. Efficient scorer, good ball handler and passer.

2) Ray Felton -- Carolina was a better team when he was in the game, and while that impact is difficult to quantify, it has value. A good passer who could score more often if asked.

3) John Gilchrist -- Low turnover rate. Gilchrist shot 47.6% from the field in '03-'04 and I think that's a little closer to his "true" shooting ability than the percentage he posted this season.

4) Jarrett Jack -- Love his size, and his career assist-to-turnover ratio is about 1.6:1, clearly better than the 1.3:1 mark he posted this year. His FG% was probably an aberration, though. He'll be solid even at with lower FG% (and I don't expect his FT% to dip much), but not quite as valuable as the other three.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Recapping '05 and Lookin' Ahead -- C-L-E-M-S-0- ... N!

Bless you, Oliver Purnell. You left a good gig at Dayton for the chance to coach in the ACC, even if that meant coming to Clemson--the hair-graying, shots-by-the-bunch-missing, turnover-committing doormat of the ACC. It's been two years for Purnell at Clemson...I wonder if he longs for the ol' A-10.

It was another difficult and frustrating year for Clemson, though they did manage a non-losing record. The Tigers (16-16, 5-11) played good basketball in the ACC tournament, beating Maryland easily and coming very close to knocking off North Carolina. They earned an NIT berth but lost in the first round to Texas A&M.

The season did at least mark a step forward from the 10-18 campaign of the year prior. They're still a ways from legitimately competing for an NCAA bid, however.

I like to think of the Tigers as the poster childern for offensive inefficiency, though I suppose that honor technically belongs to some other team.

Clemson did have some strength(s)...its offensive rebound rate (37.8%) ranked among the best in the ACC.

Unfortunately, Clemson shot just 60% from the free throw line. While the Tigers did a serviceable job of getting to the line, they were among the worst in the ACC in the FTM/FGA category. Only three Clemson regulars--Shawan Robinson, Vernon Hamilton, Cheyenne Moore--made at least 70% of their free throws. Moore led the team at 86% but had just 28 attempts.

Sharrod Ford was the usual suspect at the line, racking up 181 FTAs (26% of the team's total attempts). Had Ford been able to make free throws at a rate closer to 70-75% instead of his actual 59%, he'd have been even more dangerous in the post. As it was, opponents were more inclined to make him work for his points at the line.

Clemson's offense was also hindered by a boatload of turnovers. Clemson was the most turnover-prone team in the ACC, giving the ball away on 25% of its possessions. Vernon Hamilton's individual turnover rate was 32%.

Explanation of the numbers in the table.

Tigers 2004-2005
PlayerO Rtg% PossMin/GPPGFG%3FG%Floor %Pts Prod/GPPFGA
Sharrod Ford10526.6%29.115.351.3%00.5314.41.08
Shawan Robinson10820.9%26.110.840.9%40.4%0.4410.41.12
Cliff Hammonds10817%30.310.142.4%35%0.469.91.10
Olu Babalola9820.1%206.936.6%25.4%0.467.00.94
Vernon Hamilton8818.3%25.56.742.1%25%0.427.30.98
Cheyenne Moore9320.2%19.46.535.7%28.9%0.386.50.96
Akin Akingbala10020%15.55.859.2%00.515.51.18
James Mays9416.7%15.84.347.2%100%0.494.40.96
Sam Perry9218.7%14.74.148%00.474.50.98

[note: stats do not include Texas A&M game, as Clemson's athletics website hasn't seen fit to update the basketball team's season stats]

Graduates/Transfers: Sharrod Ford (Sr.), Olu Babalola (Sr.), Jimmy Hudson (transfer)

Ford's offensive rating took a hit from his FT shooting and the high percentage of possessions he used. In this case, Ford didn't have much help, so there was nothing detrimental about his use of 26.6% of the team's possessions. The Tigers certainly wouldn't have wanted Hamilton or Babalola using more possessions.

The Tigers will miss Ford dearly next season, as Ford carried the scoring and rebounding loads for the Tigers. He was the team's best rebounder and was responsible for about 25% of the team's offensive rebounds. He was the only Clemson regular with a turnover rate below 20%. And he averaged 3 blocks/40 minutes. I think the loss of Ford's rebounding could be particularly damaging next year.

Shawan Robinson was excellent from beyond the arc (and he was a very good FT shooter), but he's got to shoot better from inside the arc. Improvement in that area will make his O Rtg look quite good.

Hammonds was also a serviceable jump shooter...the rest of those guys had little business shooting the ball from deep. Hammonds was a freshman this past season, so that's encouraging for Clemson.

It is important to note that Clemson had seven freshmen this past season: Hammonds, Jimmy Hudson, Troy Mathis, James Mays, Cheyenne Moore, Matt Morris, and Sam Perry. That's a lot of inexperience, and it was apparent on many occasions. Clemson's prospects depend on how those guys mature. Hammonds has a good season under his belt...the rest of those guys, well...

The ACC will be weaker next season; of course, that doesn't mean the road will be any easier for Clemson. Replacing Ford's contributions and simultaneously making the offense better looks to be a difficult task.

When a 6-2 start is depressing.

The White Sox have jumped out to a quick start this season, winning its first three series of the season (including one against Minnesota, and that's always a good thing).

I'm enjoying the view from first place (however brief it may be), but this first week hasn't done anything to calm my fears about Chicago's lineup. Despite the success so far, the team's bats have been every bit as bad as critics of Ken Williams's offseason moves said they would be.

To date, the Sox rank 27th in the majors in batting average, dead last in on-base percentage, and 24th in runs scored.

Laughably-yet-not-surprisingly, the White Sox rank dead last in the majors in walks, having drawn just 10 free passes in 8 games. That's good enough for the worst BB/Plate App. ratio in the majors.

I know, I know--it's a small sample, there are a ton of games to be played, etc. What can I say, I'm always concerned about somethin'. The good news is that no one in the lineup has come out of the gates smokin', so the offense will improve...the question is how much it'll improve.

Edit: I meant to add that the Sox are already 4-0 in one-run games. That's the kind of fortune that the good ol' Sox are never able to sustain.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Recapping '05 and Lookin' Ahead -- Georgia Tech

The Jackets followed up their awesome run to the NCAA title game in '04 with what many felt was a disappointment in '05. Coming off of the Final Four appearance, the Jackets were placed in the top ten in both the Coaches and AP preseason polls. I thought those lofty rankings were ridiculous at the time, and while you might could argue that injuries kept Tech from playing to its potential (I wouldn't buy it), it's apparent they weren't nearly that good.

All that aside, the Jackets did manage an 8-8 conference record and nearly won the ACC tournament title. That's not too shabby. They became a trendy Elite Eight pick thanks mostly to such obviously tangible factors as "leadership" and "tournament experience," but of course never sniffed the tournament's second weekend.

The bottom line? Good defense, but a nothin'-special offense. You can see what I mean by going here.

Don't sound the alarms just yet, but the Jackets are losing a whole heap (mon).

Graduating seniors include BJ Elder, Will Bynum, Luuuuuuke! Schenscher, Isma'il Muhammad, and Anthony McHenry. Freshman Zam Frederick is transferring, while Jarrett Jack will almost certainly declare for the NBA draft. Yikes.

Take a look at what Tech loses with these seven players:

% of Team Min: 77
% of Team FGA: 80.4
% of Team Tot Rebs: 63
% of Team Scoring: 80.5

Here are the individual numbers (explained here):

Yellow Jackets 2004-2005
PlayerO Rtg% PossMin/GPPGFG%3FG%Floor %Pts Prod/GPPFGA
Jarrett Jack11422.2%34.115.551.4%44.2%0.5115.21.30
BJ Elder10223.6%26.312.639.9%34.1%0.4411.11.01
Will Bynum10324.2%27.312.539.8%31%0.4611.91.06
Luke Schenscher10820.2%2610.053.9%25%0.5410.01.13
Isma'il Muhammad9423.1%23.38.447.3%00.488.80.97
Anthony Morrow11419.8%12.65.739.6%36.5%0.455.01.09
Ra'Sean Dickey10821.7%115.162%00.554.51.27
Anthony McHenry9611.3%23.93.841.7%18.8%0.454.50.96
Jeremis Smith10512.8%16.42.937.8%20%0.513.80.91
Mario West11013.3%
Zam Frederick8519.4%6.71.629.7%27.8%0.371.90.77
Theodis Tarver8211.7%
[note: Jeremis Smith played in only 14 games]

Ken Pomeroy has already discussed Isma'il Muhammad's issues, so I won't bother.

I know Schenscher had a tendency to frustrate Tech fans, but his numbers were pretty good, particularly for a seven-footer. He bolstered Tech's defense and wasn't a liability at the offensive end. That's significant for a center.

Many teams sacrifice offense for the sake of playing a center who'll make a difference at the defensive end. Georgia Tech didn't have to worry about that sort of dilemma.

Jarrett MVP without a doubt. On a team lacking efficient scorers, Jack was that and then some. He led the ACC in PPFGA thanks to impressive shooting from the field and a great free throw percentage (86.6%). In the above link to Pomeroy's post, he suggests that had Jack gone down to injury rather than Elder, the Jackets never would have been in a position to make the NCAAs. It's hard to disagree with that assertion.

Jack was one of my favorite players to watch. I hope he decides to put off the NBA for one more year.

Bynum and Elder were guys who could score a lot of points on any given day (Bynum had a spectacular 30+ point performance against UNC in the ACC tourney), but in general they didn't score efficiently.

If you look at some of the guys who got the bulk of Tech's minutes--Elder, Bynum, McHenry, Muhammad--it becomes more apparent why the Jackets didn't have a particularly efficient offense.

Back in February, when I looked at the league's points-per-minute leaders, I suggested that Ra'Sean Dickey might deserve some more PT. Dickey was one of Tech's most productive players on a per-minute basis, leading the team in Rebounds/40 Min and coming in second in Points/40 Min. That's impressive. Tech will need him to be a bright spot next year.

Georgia Tech has an excellent class coming in (and there's plenty of playing time to go around, that's for sure). But it's unlikely that all four of those guys are immediate impact players, so the Jackets are bound to struggle.

Anthony Morrow and Ra'Sean Dickey will need to be the cornerstones of the lineup next season and they'll only be sophomores. Assuming Jack is indeed gone, I think Paul Hewitt will have worked a miracle if he gets Tech into the NCAAs in 2006.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005


Jim Caple wrote a pretty good piece about some of the baseball franchises that have waited a long time for a World Series title. Here's the pertinent part for White Sox fans such as myself:

At least Cubs fans can take some solace that an entire nation recognizes their pain and sympathizes. Few remember or know that the White Sox have been just as much of a disaster. The White Sox have played in fewer World Series (one) since the Great Depression than the Cubs (five). The last time they played in the World Series, Ted Williams not only wasn't frozen, he was still playing left field for Boston.

How bad has it been for the White Sox? The last time they won the pennant, in 1959 at the height of the Cold War, frightened people ran into the streets in a panic because the city sounded the air-raid sirens to celebrate and many people thought Chicago was being attacked by the Soviets.

When winning the pennant inspires fear, you know a team is cursed.

And yet, George Will never writes about their suffering.

Roger Bossard has been on the White Sox's grounds crew since 1967 but he's been around W. 35th Street since long before then. His father, Gene, was the head groundskeeper before him, and he can remember lugging water hoses around the field as a kid. He's been around so long he can remember when his father and Sox manager Eddie Stanky would freeze baseballs to cut down on the opposing team's offense. "I would ask my dad, 'What's going on?' And he'd say, 'Don't worry about it, son.'"

He ordered 700 yards of replacement sod overnight after Disco Demolition night in 1979 ("In 39 years, I've only had one day I wasn't happy to go to work and that was after Disco Demolition"), mowed the outfield grass on both sides of 35th Street, watched the Sox wear those shorts pants and today's near bell-bottoms, saw them win ugly in 1983 and lose ugly many other years but he's still waiting to paint a World Series logo behind home plate.

When Bossard does, he knows Chicago's south side will have a party that will put Disco Demolition to shame.

"People forget, there was a time when the Sox used to get the attention," he says. "There was a time when the Cubs didn't draw anybody and we did. But it's not like that anymore. The north-siders get all the attention now. We're a south-side team, a blue-collar team. And we have to win.

"In 1959, I was a youngster, but I can remember when we won the AL championship. Old Richard Daley was mayor and the air-raid sirens went off. I think literally the reaction would be three times that if we won now. Jerry Reinsdorf, who really is such a tremendous fellow, I'm sure he would give up three or four of the Bulls' championship rings just for one for the Sox. Because baseball is his first love.

"That's how important it would be for him and that's how important it would be for everybody."

If White Sox fans don't show a lot of sympathy for other supposedly cursed teams, it's because the Sox's eternal struggle has been ignored outside of Chicago (although, that's not all bad...). The endless lamentations for the BoSox and the Cubs tend to get a little irksome.

One thing is for sure: the last 80+ years have been a whole lot longer for the city of Chicago than they have for the city of Boston.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Recapping '05 and Lookin' Ahead -- Florida State

FSU was supposedly on the rise...they made the NIT in 2004, and coach Leonard Hamilton did a good job on the recruiting trail. But the Seminoles finished this season 12-19, 4-12. So now what?

The 'Noles had some pretty good wins (at Minnesooooota, vs. Wake, at NCSU) as well as some perplexing losses (Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, Florida International). The FIU loss followed back-to-back road wins against Minnesota and Ole Miss.

Adam Waleskowski and Anthony Richardson are graduating, while Von Wafer has inexplicably decided to enter the NBA draft. Wafer is a good shooter, but he doesn't provide much value elsewhere. It's impossible to know what behind-the-scenes issues are at work here...whatever the case, it's a shame that Wafer isn't likely to play another college game.

Here are the individual numbers from 2004-2005:

Seminoles 2004-2005
PlayerO Rtg% PossMin/GPPGFG%3FG%Floor %Pts Prod/GPPFGA
Von Wafer10922.7%26.112.543.7%39.6%0.4611.01.15
Al Thornton10726.1%189.154.3%28.6%0.548.51.13
Adam Waleskowski10321%21.78.449.2%42%0.477.91.19
Alexander Johnson8526.8%17.56.845.5%33.3%0.436.71.0
Anthony Richardson11519.9%15.66.450.8%32.6%0.536.11.22
Todd Galloway9416.5%25.96.143%35.8%0.416.81.11
Jason Rich9618.3%19.55.441%22.2%0.465.80.94
Isaiah Swann8224.6%
Diego Romero10015.6%14.23.848.2%35.3%0.493.81.09
Andrew Wilson1149.5%213.535.4%35.5%0.453.81.04
Ralph Mims10418.6%9.22.834.8%25%0.473.00.98

Leonard Hamilton certainly spread the minutes around, but did he do so in the best interests of the team? It doesn't look that way.

Todd Galloway was second on the team in Min/G, I guess because Hamilton felt that was FSU's best option at the point. While Galloway did lead the team in assists (and had one of the few Assist:Turnover ratios on the team greater than 1.0), he was extremely turnover-prone. Galloway turned the ball over on nearly 33% of his individual possessions, which is awesome in a horrible sort of way. He also posted an ugly Offensive Rating despite using a below-average amount of the team's possessions.

It really hurt FSU's offense to have inefficient guys like Galloway, Johnson, Rich and Swann playing over 15 MPG each. Alexander Johnson's workload was obviously way too high. There aren't a lot of guys who should be taking 27% of a team's possessions, and Johnson definitely ain't one of those guys. Johnson turned the ball over a lot and didn't shoot very well whether it was in the post or at the free throw line.

Rich and Swann were freshmen, so the Seminoles can hopefully chalk up some of their offensive woes to inexperience. I don't think either of these guys should have played as much as they did.

I have one big question after perusing the numbers: Why the heck didn't Anthony Richardson play more?

One of the more efficient scorers on the team, Richardson's performance warranted more than a meager 16 minutes-per-game. Of the forwards in the above table, only Diego Romero received less playing time than Richardson. A regretful move on the part of Leonard Hamilton.

With Richardson and Wafer leaving, it's difficult to imagine better days in the immediate future for Florida State. FSU was a pretty good shooting team in '05, but it was hindered by a lot of turnovers and rather unimpressive offensive rebounding.

The turnovers will be an issue again next season. Galloway and the freshmen guards were error-prone, as was Alexander Johnson.

FSU will probably rely on Johnson to do more scoring in '06, so we'll see how that works out...

The team FG% is likely to slide next year, as departers Wafer, Waleskowski and Richardson had three of the four highest adjusted field goal percentages among Seminole regulars in 2005.

Sorry, 'Noles fans--I'm afraid it'll be another trip to the cellar in 2005-2006.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Recapping '05 and Lookin' Ahead -- Miami Hurricanes

Miami finished the year 16-13 with a loss to Souf Klina in the NIT, but the team had a much better season than that end result suggests. The Hurricanes held their own in their first year in the ACC, finishing 7-9. At one point, the Canes were 16-9 (7-7) and very much in the NCAA at-large picture. They finished the regular season with three consecutive losses, including a devastating defeat at the hands of UVA in the ACC tournament, sealing their NIT fate.

Here are the individual numbers from the season...

Some of the numbers explained here.

Hurricanes 2004-2005
PlayerO Rtg% PossMin/GPPGFG%3FG%Floor %Pts Prod/GPPFGA
Guillermo Diaz11625.8%34.318.645.6%36.3%0.5217.11.13
Robert Hite11823.1%33.417.341.7%38.1%0.5015.11.08
Anthony Harris10126.3%29.612.438.2%33.1%0.4413.10.97
William Frisby10720.6%23.88.744.7%36.4%0.518.81.05
Anthony King11312.8%28.86.353.2%00.576.91.07
Gary Hamilton10313.5%
Raymond Hicks10415.2%6.41.750%57.1%0.481.71.11
Eric Wilkins7312.6%10.51.536%00.371.60.77
Antoine Mayhand6713.3%5.70.819.2%
Glenn Batemon7116.5%3.50.522.2%00.370.70.54
Brandon Okpalobi5610.5%9.70.520.7%

As you can see, Miami wasn't particularly deep, as only six guys got significant playing time, with a couple of others getting about 10 minutes per game. The team was very guard-oriented--the Diaz-Hite-Harris trio combined to use about 75% of the team's possessions when they were in the game together, and they took care of most of the scoring. Of the 561 three-pointers attempted by Miami this season, the trio took 514 of them (92%). They also took 67% of the team's total field goal attempts. That thar is a chunk.

Here's the strange thing about the Hurricanes: Miami had an Offensive Rebound Rate of 39.3%, which was third-best in the ACC behind Wake and UNC. You wouldn't expect such a guard-centered squad to be a good rebounding team, but that's what Miami was. Carolina and Wake were well-known for their frontcourt play...Miami's own players didn't even know they had a frontcourt (rimshot).

Miami ranked dead last in the ACC in the FTA/FGA and FTM/FGA categories, which is much more indicative of the kind of team the Hurricanes had. I'd expect a team that grabbed a lot of offensive boards to 1) have some good low-post players; 2) draw fouls and get to the line, because that's what good forwards do; yet neither of those things were the case. It would seem that Miami's forwards rebounded and did little else. It seems completely counter-intuitive for a team so good at grabbing offensive boards to be so poor at getting to the free throw line. I guess those offensive boards were kicked out to the perimeter more often than not.

The numbers in the table support the notion that Miami's forwards did little other than rebound. Frisby, King and Hamilton grabbed the bulk of the boards for Miami, and all three played more than 20 minutes per game. But look at their respective %Poss numbers. Only Frisby had would could be called a normal usage of possessions while he was in the game; the other two guys were afterthoughts who clearly weren't relied upon at the offensive end.

Remember that the guard trio used 75% of the team's possessions when they were on the court together, and considering they each played at least 29 minutes per game, they were on the floor together a lot. That left just 25% of the team's possessions to be spread among the other two guys on the court. So it's no wonder that King's and Hamilton's %Poss are so low.

Anthony Harris, my man, we gotta have words. You're the biggest possession-hog on the team, and your production doesn't justify the usage of 26% of your team's possessions. Your offensive rating was poor, and your PPFGA was [not good]. Your field goal percentages suggest that you aren't a great shooter, so here's a thought: shoot the ball less. Take fewer shots and you'll become more efficient. Those forwards you like to neglect might deserve a few more touches...and a little more credit.

Rumors have had Guillermo Diaz considering a possible jump to the NBA, and that'd be a major loss for the Hurricanes. But I think he'll be back, and if the 'Canes can get some added depth out of a pretty solid recruiting class, they should be better in 2005-2006.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Opening Day 2005

This day couldn't arrive soon enough.

A pox on your season, Twinkies. -- Hoops Edition

Back during football season, I had fun looking at the many Fire[Insert college football coach here].com sites that have been created by disgruntled fans.

Some of the sites were well done and even humorous (like, which has been taken down in lieu of Texas's Rose Bowl bid), but most of them were hastily designed pieces of crap.

It would seem that the selection for hoops coaches is somewhat less vibrant...although I'm sure I missed some, I didn't encounter too many college basketball coach-related sites. Here's what we got as of today: -- Rest easy, dear Wahoos, for the mission is accomplished. Gillen stepped down after another sad season in Charlottesville. This website may be the lamest on the internet. Check out where the "Cav Lowlights" link takes you... -- You've gotta give the Vols fans credit. Despite being football fans first, second, and third, they managed to reserve some excess angst for basketball...enough to start a website, even. The site protests, "Knoxville's basketball reputation is at stake!!!" which is clearly a very serious issue, as indicated by the use of the dreaded triple-exclamation points. But seriously--what reputation? We are talking about men's basketball here. -- Naturally. This site posts the contact info for several Indiana University administrators. You too can tell Chancellor Whats-His-Face that he dosn't knoe anything abuot baksetball! Ah, the power of the internet. -- Another very basic site that employs some unnecessary punctuation. Frankly, I'm surprised Snyder has survived long enough to make it to the angry website phase. -- A site almost as pretty as the man himself. Wait--can I say that without sounding gay? Eh, whatever. This site's creators have some sarcasm to spare. And some merchandise to sell. You can purchase a t-shirt for your dog. You know, just in case forcing your 4-year-old son to wear a shirt isn't enough. -- Ha ha. Good one, guys. Hang mean you're serious? You want to fire Tubby Smith? There must be some interesting logic behind this sentiment. Ah, here we are: "He has now loss to louisville twice. He barley beat msu and now he losses to georgia." Well, I'm convinced. I'm not sure what "barley" beating someone is, but I can tell you that it is not good. No sir. -- It's nice to see that the good ol' lunatic fringe (they hate it when you call them that) has put together a website with which to register its displeasure at the current horrible state of affairs in Raleigh. Seriously, if NC State makes it to the NCAAs for the fifth straight season in 2006, that'll just be the last damn straw! The message on the front page says everything you need to know: "Sweet 16! Thank you, Herb." The mob has dispersed for today, but they'll be back tomorrow. It's a terse message, but I would imagine that it is difficult to type while having one's foot lodged in one's mouth.

So there you have it. The end has already come for Gillen and Peterson, and I have little doubt that others mentioned here are not long for their current positions.