Sunday, August 31, 2008

2008-09 Returning Top 25 PPWS Players

Inspired by Ray Floriani's article over on the College Chalktalk Blog, I decided to take a look at those returning Big East players with the best PPWS numbers. PPWS, Points Per Weighted Shot abbreviated, divides the number of points scored by the number of field goal attempts (and a prorated number of free throw attempts). Factoring in free throw points and prorating free throw attempts suggests how efficiently the player posts points when he shoots the ball. While John Gasaway argued that PPWS may be more accurate for identifying inefficient rather than efficient scorers, given enough games I think it can be useful for finding those second and third option scorers in a team's offense. A first option scorer with a high PPWS is quite a player, and is most likely that team's most prolific scorer. I started to post the Top 20 returning players with the highest PPWS (limited to those who played 35% or more of the minutes at their position), but I found 6 tied at 19 last season. So the list includes 25 players...

John GarciaSHU1.2763.851.049.329.0
Jerry SmithLVL1.2661.572.625.218.5
Ryan AyersNDU1.2458.160.838.830.0
Hasheem ThabeetUConn1.2356.080.388.063.0
Kyle McAlarneyNDU1.2058.391.014.712.4
Wesley MatthewsMU1.1952.470.562.949.7
Dante CunninghamVU1.1956.674.862.840.7
Deonta VaughnCin1.1955.081.930.625.9
Arinze OnuakuCuse1.1861.878.150.022.4
Alex RuoffWVU1.1753.878.531.226.6
Paul HarrisCuse1.1651.193.572.053.8
Kristof OngenaetCuse1.1453.457.548.332.8
Will WalkerDPU1.1455.256.518.213.0
Austin FreemanGTU1.1454.
Jerome DysonUConn1.1350.038.845.137.8
Weyinmi EfejukuPC1.1352.356.339.329.9
Dominique JonesUSF1.1251.090.934.327.9
Craig AustrieUConn1.1247.058.847.042.6
Jeremy HazellSHU1.1252.276.029.923.0
Andre McGeeLVL1.1154.247.521.714.5
Sam YoungPitt1.1154.182.130.519.3
Luke HarangodyNDU1.1150.376.744.434.1
Gilbert BrownPitt1.1150.562.844.933.7
Dar TuckerDPU1.1154.659.228.416.5
Dwayne AndersonVU1.1153.758.031.620.0

2007-08 First and second team All-Big East players are highlighted in yellow, while 2007-08 All Big East Rookie Team members are highlighted in lime. [Note... FTR% and FTM% are stats used by Ken Pomeroy to indicate the relationship between free throws and field goals. FTR% is the percentage of free throws to field goal attempts (Pomeroy designates this as FTRate on his Team Scout Report pages) -- useful for determining the frequency by which players get to the free throw line. FTM% divides FTMs by FGAs -- useful for determining the frequency by which players convert their free throw opportunities.]
John Garcia and Jerry Smith provide a useful illustration on how two players can efficiently score through very different ways. Garcia, a center for Seton Hall, hits a high percentage of his (entirely 2 point) field goal attempts and gets to the free throw line pretty consistently (about once for every two FGAs.), even if he is not especially accurate when he gets there (note his FTM% is much lower than his FTA%). An area, which if he could improve, would be very helpful to the Pirates. Jerry Smith, a Lousiville wing guard, by contrast also scores FGAs at a fairly efficient rate (eFG% at 61.5 nearly matches Garcia's), but gets to the line far less frequently. That Luke Harangody (#1), Sam Young (#2), Dominique Jones (#3), Deonta Vaughn (#4), Paul Harris (#7) and Kyle McAlarney (#8) ranked in the Top 10 returning scorers (by points scored, rank shown in parenthesis), while simultaneously ranked in the Top 25 by PPWS, demonstrates that those six combined prolific and efficient scoring as part of their offensive contributions to their respective teams. Those six were clearly first/second scoring options for their teams; we can expect the same again this season.
Other notes & observations:
1. John Garcia would appear to be one of those "players to watch". The often injured front court player for the Seton Hall Pirates not only scored efficiently (see Ken Pomeroy's Seton Hall Scout Report page), but also ranked very highly for offensive and defensive rebounding. The problem it appears (aside from durability) is Garcia's propensity to foul. Garcia picked up 4 or more fouls in 4 of the Pirate's last 5 games last season. Overall he fouled out of 6 of Seton Hall's 32 games. The Pirates generate their offense out of the back court, no doubt giving Garcia the advantage of being often overlooked.
2. Like John Garcia, Ryan Ayers, Wes Matthews, Dante Cunningham, Arinze Onuaku and Alex Ruoff benefit from not being the first or second option on offense. Given the state of their respective teams, their roles (offensively) will most likely remain the same next season.
3. Connecticut HC John Calhoun and much of Husky fandom are looking for a break through season from Hashemm Thabeet. His defensive numbers have been very good (and getting better) over the past two seasons. These offensive numbers suggest he has something to contribute (beyond tap backs...) offensively as well. Thabeet was, as suggested by his Poss% and Shot% (16.1 and 13.1 respectively -- see Pomeroy's Scout Report Page for Connecticut) a role player (4th or 5th option on offense) last season. Look for that to change in 2008-09.

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