Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Statistical Breakdown of the RMR

This year the Jazz had only three players on their Utah Jazz roster who participated in the Rocky Mountain review: shooting guard / shooting forward (as opposed to small forward) Morris Almond, 50% prospect/50% project center Kyrylo Fesenko, and 19 year old Rookie Kosta Koufos. Our squad also featured a former NBA player in Yaroslav Korolev (a lotto pick by the LA Clippers). Following that we had two guys who had games of destiny during the 6 game review (Kevin Lyde and Tyrone Brazelton). Lastly, solid, but unspectacular back-up power forward Hiram Fuller had some good moments over the period of the Rocky Mountain Review. That said: here are their per game averages! (These may differ from the website slightly because their stats are for up to game 4, where these include all 6 game stats)

Player Pos. Mpg Ppg FGM-FGA FG% FTM-FTA FT% 3PTM-3PTA 3TP% Off. Rpg Tot. Rpg Apg Spg Bpg TOpg PFpg
M.Almond SG/ SF 28 18.5 5.8-13.0 44.9 6.2-7.7 80.4 0.7-2.0 33.3 1.0 2.7 0.5 0.8 0.3 2.2 2.0
K.Koufos C/ PF 19 8.7 2.7-7.0 38.1 3.3-3.7 90.9 0.0-0.0 0.0 2.0 5.7 0.7 0.3 1.0 1.2 2.3
T.Brazelton PG 15 7.5 3.0-6.3 48.0 1.0-1.0 100.0 0.0-1.0 0.0 0 1.8 1.8 0.5 0.0 1.3 1.5
Y.Korolev SF/ SG 14 6.0 2.2-5.0 44.0 1.0-1.4 71.4 0.6-1.0 60.0 0.6 2.2 0.2 0.6 0.4 1.4 2.2
H.Fuller PF 16 5.0 1.8-5.0 36.7 1.3-2.0 66.7 0.0-0.0 0.0 2.2 4.5 0.8 0.2 0.3 0.7 2.5
K.Fesenko C 17.5 4.5 1.7-3.7 45.5 1.2-2.2 53.8 0.0-0.0 0.0 2.3 4.8 0.8 0.5 2.2 2.7 2.3
K.Lyde C 6.5 3.2 1.5-2.5 60.0 0.2-0.3 50.0 0-0 0.0 1.8 4.0 1.2 0.3 0.3 1.3 0.8

Morris Almond: As we can see, Morris Almond played the most minutes per game, took the most shots, and finished the review with a grand total of 3 assists. (Which looks exponentially worse when compared to his 78 total shots attempted) He also managed to pull down nearly 3 rebounds per game and almost 1 steal per game. His last three games of the review were much better than the first three -- averaging 22.3 ppg (47 fg%), 3.0 rpg, 0.67 apg, 1.0 spg and 1 made three a game. (All better than his Review averages) During that span he also went to the line 29 times (a shot under 10 FTA / game), which is exactly what we want to see. Statistically speaking he had a strong showing on the scoring side of the ball, he didn't get many assists -- but that doesn't mean he didn't evolve into a guy who can cognitively percieve that someone else on his team has a better shot than he does. During the first two games he would die with the rock instead of passing it off, but as early as the game against Iran (RMR Game 3) he was passing the ball up to guys who had open shots and good looks. Unfortunately they just didn't go down, and perhaps if Almond was playing with NBA level shooting talent he would garner more assists. After all, he's more likely to pass the ball to guys that can put the ball in the basket instead of guys who suck. His defensive stats were not that great, but that said, his defense did improve over the course of the Review. I think that if given the opportunity, put in a system where he's no greater than the 4th best player on the floor, and given the ball only when open, he can be a valuable NBA player -- not unlike Rip Hamilton.

Kosta Koufos: This rookie had some ups and down in this review, looking very shaky in the opening game, then having a double double in the next, then the next one finishing with only 4 points and 5 boards, and so forth. One of the main criticisms I have of his game (as supported by statistical evidence) has been that for a guy who was touted (before the NBA Draft) to have a strong offensive game (particularly shooting the ball) his FG% was horrible. He was a killer at the Free Throw line (leading the team with a 90.9%), but from the field he shot only 38.1%. That is really bad. That's Kenny Anderson bad. What is worse is that he continued to shoot the ball at a very high rate: 42 total shots, 96:40 total minutes played -- that's 1 shot ever 2.3 minutes on the floor. For a point of reference, Carlos Boozer -- the focal point of our offense who scores over 21 ppg @ nearly 55% -- gets 1 shot every 2.2 minutes on the floor. What's the difference? Six (6) whole fucking seconds!!! Seriously dude, pass the ball a little bit, huh? After the first three games I felt like Kosta's stats were an inflated sham, as he would end up making a shot off of the work of someone else, while missing all of his shots that were created by himself (post ups, jumpers). Furthermore, his rebounding stats would get bumped up each game by a sequence where he'd tip the ball to himself, or get a cheap tip-in. He did lead the team in RPG with 5.7, and did solid work on the defensive glass -- thanks to the solid defense of Fesenko who changed many a shot that ricocheted right to the Big Greek. In the last three games Kosta played much better, shooting 47.6 fg%, being a consistent offensive force (10.3 ppg) who also made a solid effort on defense (5.0 rpg, 1.67 bpg). I was amazed at how poorly he shot (1-3, 3-11, 2-7, 3-8, 3-6, 4-7), and may have been a little biased against him, but I think that his performance indicates that down the line (2-3 seasons) he'll be a solid NBA player.

Kyrylo Fesenko: Everyone on planet earth hates this guy -- and I fail to see why. The Utah Jazz have a glaring hole when it comes to interior defense. Fesenko is a 7'1 beast who weighs over 300 pounds and is agile and strong like a Siberian tiger. He is a limited player who does not try to do anything crazy. (1 shot ever 3.8 mins on the floor) The only things he is good at is playing interior defense on guys without fouling them (or letting them score easily); changing countless shots during the course of the game; and being a big enough of a force to send back over 2+ bpg. How is this not precisely what the Jazz need for a guy to come off the bench, run around, hit people, and play big for 10-12 mpg? The major criticism of him is that he has a questionable work ethic (based upon unsubstantiated rumormongering by media members who are not privy to jazz practices, and opinion by possibly jilted ex-coaches), and that he has 'regressed'. I just don't know how true that is, unless you had unreasonable expectations for him. Compared to how he performed in last seasons RMR (2007-2008 stats can be found here), some early conclusions can be made.

2007 16.3 4.8 58.8 45.0 1.3 4.3 1.0 0.5 1.3 1.7 3.8 0.342
2008 17.5 4.5 45.5 53.8 2.3 4.8 0.8 0.5 2.2 2.7 2.3 0.956
Diff +1.2 -0.3 -13.3 +8.8 +1.0 +0.5 -0.2 +0.0 +0.8 +1.0 -1.5 +0.617

The first thing that jumps out at you is his offensive production. He's scoring at a much lower % from the field, and even though he is playing 1.2 more mpg, his over-all scoring is down. (not shown: he's getting to the line 1.2 times less per game as well) To me these all indicate that he's not playing with a good point guard. Last season the Jazz were run by Dee Brown and Brian Chase -- two guys much better than who we had running things this season. A PG is able to get his big man good shots. No point guard = no easy shots. While Fes' FG% looks horrible, do keep in mind that if you eliminate his last game (arguably his worst), his FG% for the tournament was 64.2%! His FT% went up markedly, by nearly 10% -- which shows that he put the time in and improved that. Over all, though, his offensive stats were much less than what some people expected of him. It's probably a good thing that we're not needing another scorer on the team -- especially not from our back-up center.

On the defensive side of things everything went up, expect for steals (which stayed the same -- but how many more spg do you expect from +1.2 mpg?). He boarded more, and probably would have had more if he wasn't the primary defender for: bigmen, anyone driving, and people taking any shots in the paint. (He would have to run out to challenge shots, preventing him from getting easy boards) Two big facts happen to be that he fouled a lot less, while playing more minutes, and his blocks went up. What does this mean? That his block to foul metric is much better than it was.

Last season he accrued only 0.342 blocks : 1 foul -- which means that he'd have to foul 3 times in the span it would take him to get 1 block. This season it was a completely different story, as he was getting nearly as many blocks (13 total) as he did fouls (14 total). This is an improvement of +0.617, which is pretty huge. What is this metric all about? Well, David Robinson (a pretty good blocks guy in his career) blocked 2954 shots in his life, and fouled 2835 times. This gives him a score of +1.042. By comparison, this RMR Fes' score was +0.956. David's score is for 34.7 mpg, while Fes' score is for 17.5 mpg.

34.7 / 17.5 = 1.983. If you take that modifier and enhance Fes' stats by it you get a kid who with that kind of playing time is capable of blocking over 4 shots a game without fouling out. You know, something that is ridiculously Mark Eaton-esque. Do the statistics indicate that Fesenko has regressed from last season? Absolutely not. Therefore, idiots who look at differential stats and not inferential stats should shut the hell up. Additionally, for anyone that cares to look at who's better (Fes or Kosta), one is clearly a better offensive weapon. The other is a much better interior defender -- and my metric supports this:

Fesenko (0.956 blocks/fouls) > Koufos (0.428 blocks/fouls)