Thursday, August 27, 2009

25 Top PPWS Returning Players

True Shot or PPWS?
John Hollinger developed the True Shot statistic as a way of expressing a player's overall shooting capability with a single value. True Shot folds the player's free throw proficiency into his field goal efficiency (2FGA & 3FGA), expressing all three elements of shooting as a single number. If eFG% can, with a single number, provide a sense of the player's ability to convert field goal attempts (2s and 3s), True Shot provides a sense of a player's ability to convert field goal attempts into points, whether those points come with successful 2s, 3s or free throws. The specfic calculation varies slightly from DI to the NBA, and from author to author, the idea (and elements) however, remain the same. Points Per Weighted Shot (PPWS) is the same calculation with one difference -- True Shot calculations multiply the player's points scored by 50, while PPWS does not. True Shot then is expressed as an implied percentage (ie xx.x), while PPWS looks more like...well points per shot (ie x.xx). True Shot's advantage is that it provides a "normalized" representation of the conversion metric, consistent with eFG%, 3FGM%, and FTM%, which makes it easier to compare the values. I like PPWS because it can tell me at a glance how many points a player can score every time he takes a shot. He will either convert from the field, or at the line (or not). The PPWS calculation (for DI)...

PPWS = Pts / ((0.475 * FTA) + FGA)

Want the True Shot? Just multiply Pts by 50 before dividing. For True Shot, anything above 60 is very good, while 50 is the threshold for "good". By the same token, a PPWS of 1.20 or greater is very good, below 1.00, and the player is not at all efficient at converting his field goal opportunities. Freshmen will typically have PPWSs ranging from the mid 80s to the high 90s, though some of the best will record PPWSs > 1.00 (see Greg Monroe below -- a PPWS of 1.22).

Top Guns
I have listed (about) 25 Big East players, returning for 2010, who recorded the highest PPWSs in 2009. The player had to log => 40% of the time in his position. I included the player's eFG%, field goal attempts (FGA), 3 point attempts (3PA), free throw attempts (FTA), minutes (MIN), points (PTS) and percentage of available shots taken while the player was in the game. The players highlighted in dark green were the focal points (to use Ken Pomeroy's term, the "Go-to Guys") for their team's offense. Light green suggests a prominent (but not overwhelming -- per Pomeroy a "Major" or a "Significant" Contributor) role, a player who may share the 1st option on offense role with another player, or one who is the 2nd option on offense.

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Providence's Marshon Brooks and Corey Stokes out of Villanova will get more recognition when they are logging more minutes. For Brooks, playing in a rotation with (senior) Weymini Efejuku and (sophomore) Brian McKenzie last season, the door is wide open as the Friars lost 3 starters and McKenzie aside, the team has few bench players when the Class of 2009 moved on. Coach Davis has some replacements coming in, but a shallow bench leaves few to challenge him for the starter's nod. Stokes will play in front of freshman Dominic Cheek, but expect Cheek, and when he returns, senior Reggie Redding, to push Stokes for time. Lazar Hayward, fresh off of a bronze medal (a teammate of Corey Fisher on the USA team) run at the World University Games this past summer, will get as much offensive responsibility as he can handle when he takes the court for Marquette. With the departure of the 3 Amigos and front court player Dwight Burke, Hayward is the only experienced volume scorer returning this season. Marquette will have a handful of JUCOs and true freshmen to compete for the vacated starting spots, but the newcomers will initially complement Hayward's offense. Jeremy Hazell's Pirates will have something they have not had in a few seasons -- legitimate 2nd and 3rd scoring options to draw some of the defensive attention that Hazell has drawn. Hazell will most likely scale back (or at least stay about where he is) his shooting, but with more space to work in, expect him to become even more efficient at scoring. Between them Louisville's wings, Jerry Smith and Preston Knowles have accounted for over 93% of the minutes, converting shot to points very efficiently as 3rd/4th options in the offense, complements of the attention Williams and Clark drew from opposing defenses. The Cardinals may need more from these two in 2010. Whether they play together or in sequence, they will most likely be expected to take more liberties with their shooting.

I was a bit surprised to see no less than 4 Hoyas, Greg Monroe, Jason Clark, Austin Freeman and Chris Wright, among the 25 (27 actually, I used 1.07 as the cutoff point for list), about 1/8 of the list then comes from a single team. With four players (3 starters) drawing a PPWS of 1.07 or better, how could Georgetown have a raw offensive rating (per Ken Pomeroy) of just 106.4? The guys over at the Hoya Prospectus Blog partially answered that question in their August 14 post on turnovers during conference play. Of the 4 on the PPWS list, only Freeman appeared to value the ball. Monroe and Clark were worse than the team average, while point guard Chris Wright with a turnover rate of 22%, was just below the team's average of 23% for conference play. That 23% turnover rate ranked the Hoyas #14 among conference teams. Ouch.

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