Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Guest Contributor Ray Floriani: Asset Efficiency

by Ray Floriani

LYNDHURST, NJ - Coaches preach about doing positive things and cutting down on mistakes. Outside of the realm of putting the ball in the basket, some of the positives are hitting an open teammate, grabbing a rebound, swiping the ball or rejecting a shot. On the other side, throwing the ball out of bounds simply gives the coach a few more grey hairs. In his 1999 book. ‘The NBA Analyst’ author David Claerbaut discusses a measurement called asset efficiency. Asset efficiency is a relatively easy formula to compute. It simply involves rebounds, blocks, steals, assists and turnovers and is noted as follows:

AE = A + STL + REB + BLK/A + STL + REB + BLK + TO

Claerbaut feels the stat favors "aircraft carriers", a term coined by the late Al McGuire to describe outstanding post players. The author feels teams with a strong inside game fare better due to an increase in rebounds and blocks. Claerbaut felt in his 1998 NBA study there was an .829 correlation between a strong asset efficiency and winning.

The following is a rundown of Big East teams for the 2008-09 campaign. Again, only regular season conference games are included.

Asset Efficiency
Notre Dame.862
West Virginia.844
Seton Hall.829
South Florida.823

In Claerbaut’s study four of his bottom five teams in asset efficiency failed to make the NBA playoffs. Looking at the Big East results I feel the stat gives a better read on the teams in the lower echelon as well. The BE bottom four DePaul, Georgetown, St.John’s and Rutgers all struggled. Georgetown? Well the Hoyas weren’t one of the conference’s four worst clubs but they were a 7-11 team that was shown the door in round one of the BET by St.John’s. Notre Dame led the way in AE but was an 8-10 team in conference play. Why the discrepancy? First the schedule didn’t smile on the Irish. After starting out 3-1 ND had a stretch that included At Louisville, at Syracuse, UCONN, Marquette and at Pitt. All ranked and all in a nineteen day stretch. Unfortunately for Mike Brey’s club, all losses. ND’s numbers in AE were solid due to Luke Harangody’s presence which aided the rebounding numbers. ND also took the best care of the ball in conference with not one player having a negative assist/TO ratio.

Claerbaut talks about rebounding numbers but with the Big East I found teams, as South Florida , Seton Hall and West Virginia for example, helped themselves more with low turnover figures.

What about ‘Nova? I thought the Wildcat's AE would be higher. Blocks (64) and rebounds (667) however, were roughly middle of the road. 'Nova, to my surprise, was near the top of the conference in steals (147), but were mid pack with 267 assists. The dagger was turnovers. Jay Wright‘s club recorded 252 TOs. Only five Big East clubs (Georgetown, Providence, Rutgers, St.John’s and Syracuse) had more. Chalk it up to turnovers for keeping a 13-5 Big East Semi and Final Four Villanova club from having a higher AE. Again, Claerbaut notes AE has a high correlation but not the only correlation in defining an elite team.

1 comment:

stan said...

It's an interesting stat Ray.

As a side note, indeed some may say--superfluous side note--I think the very first guy Al gave that handle to was "The Admiral", David Robinson of Navy.

Al was quite a character and somebody who I always enjoyed listening to. I'm glad the guy over at the Marquette blog named the blog "Cracked Sidewalks"--a line from Al McGuire about where he recruited--places with cracked sidewalks.