Monday, February 26, 2007

The Price Of Turnovers

Last week, Big Ten Wonk examined how effective B10 teams are when they don't turn the ball over. Which team scores the most points on possessions that don't end in a turnover? Letting no good idea go unborrowed, I crunched the same numbers for ACC teams.

Possessions are calculated like this: FGA + (0.475 x FTA) - OReb + TO
By just subtracting turnovers from each team's possessions total, then, we're left with turnover-less possessions.

Points per turnover-less possession (conference games only):
Boston College    1.40
North Carolina 1.39
Georgia Tech 1.37
Florida State 1.36
Duke 1.35
NC State 1.32
Virginia 1.31
Maryland 1.31
Virginia Tech 1.29
Miami 1.26
Clemson 1.25
Wake Forest 1.24
So every time the Wolfpack turns the ball over, it costs us 1.3 points. Every time Gavin dribbles the ball off his foot and out of bounds, 1.3 points go down the tubes. Every time Gavin has a lazy pass intercepted, that's 1.3 points we can never get back. Every time-- Okay, okay.

(By the way, Gavin, you owe us 66 points for your 51 turnovers in ACC games. You can't really pay us back, though...does anyone know the points/wind sprints exchange rate?)

All of this leads to another question: whose overall offensive efficiency is helped/hurt the most by turnovers?

The next table is sorted by turnover rate in conference play. The second column (TOLeP_Rk) is each team's rank in points per turnover-less possession (TOLeP being my awkward abbreviation for turnover-less possessions). The third column (OE_Rk) is each team's rank in offensive efficiency (points per possession, which includes turnovers).

Conference games only:
                   TO%   TOLeP_Rk   OE_Rk
Virginia Tech 15.8 9 3
Miami 17.0 10 6
North Carolina 18.9 2 1
Clemson 19.9 11 11
Florida State 19.9 4 4
Maryland 20.1 8 7
Virginia 20.5 7 9
Boston College 21.0 1 2
Duke 22.8 5 8
Georgia Tech 22.8 3 5
NC State 23.0 6 10
Wake Forest 23.0 12 12
Take turnovers out of the equation and Virginia Tech's offense is revealed as one that's actually quite pedestrian--relative to the rest of the ACC, anyway. The 1.29 points per turnover-less possession scored by the Hokies is just 9th-best in the league. But because the Hokies take care of the ball better than anyone else, their overall offensive efficiency is very good: 3rd-best in the ACC.

It's a similar story for Miami: nothin' special on turnover-less possessions--Miami is the worst shooting team in the conference--but ball security allows them to have an offense that ranks in the conference's top half.

On the flip side, there's NC State. Turnovers have made what is an otherwise decent offense into one of the worst in the league. And this is only tangentially related, but you want to know how much we suck at the secondary offensive factors--how much they drag us down? We're #1 in effective field goal percentage in conference play...and 10th in offensive efficiency. Thanks to turnovers and anemic offensive rebounding, the best shooting team in the ACC has one of the three worst offenses in the ACC.

Wake Forest and Clemson: well, they aren't any good regardless of whether or not they're turning the ball over. If you want to look at the glass as being half full, you can say that although Wake turns the ball over more than anybody else, it costs them fewer points (per turnover) than anybody else. So there is that.

"Talking out of turn...that's a paddlin'. Looking out the window...that's a paddlin'. Staring at my sandals...that's a paddlin'. Turnin' the ball over...ooh, you better believe that's a paddlin'."