FanPost

More Advanced Stats Stuff

Basketball-Reference did a study about which numbers do and don't stay consistent when a player's role increases or decreases. It seems like an interesting study particularly for the Wolves, considering they have many players who could be in that category.

The first reason this study interested me was because of the debate that's gone on around here regarding Kevin Love: will he produce more with an increased role? The study was flawed for me in the sense that it measured increased usage instead of increased minutes (though maybe that study has already been done and I haven't seen it), but it's interesting that 2 of Love's strengths (passing for a big guy and rebounding) are the ones least affected by an increased role. TS% is the most volatile by far, so it should be interesting to see whether Love becomes more or less effective offensively.

The numbers also indicate that offensive rebounding will cease to be a strength that it definitely was in the Jefferson/Love/Rhino days and was to a lesser extent last year. Beasley and Milicic have decent DREB% but are seriously deficient in OREB%, and while Love will make up for that when he's in the game, there might be a lot of 1-shot possessions when he's out of the game.

The difference in TS%, whether good or bad, will be one indication of whether/how much this team improves offensively. Maybe guys like Love, Milicic, Webster, and Beasley will be more productive in more minutes, which would lead to compensating for the loss of Jefferson. Webster's, Love's, and Beasley's ability to hit 3s and finish inside, Milicic's ability to finish inside, and Webster's ability to get easy hoops in transition will be most borne out in TS%.

Another issue will be whether any player can create offense for their teammates. Obviously, the offense is looking to find opportunities via passing, but with that study indicating that AST% doesn't change with a change in role, this is a major question mark. Webster's career AST% is the same as Anderson Varejao's, Milicic's is lower than Jefferson's, Beasley's is the same as Jarron Collins', and Love's is about the same as Yao's but less than half as good as KG's. Of the non-PGs, the best career AST% in the bunch is, um, Corey Brewer (??). One silver lining: last year's team had several players finish with AST% higher than their career averages, which might indicate the importance of system with this stat. Also, even an A-level passer for a big (Vlade Divac) had an AST% in the single digits in his first 3 years that doubled during his prime despite not having the ball in his hands more, which might indicate that it's a stat that improves with age.

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