Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Looking at the Top five 6th men so far . . .

According to, or at least a poll on their website, the Top 5 sixth men candidates are:

  1. the LA Lakers' Lamar Odom,
  2. Chicago's Ben Gordon,
  3. Philly's Lou Williams,
  4. Portland's Rudy Fernandez
  5. and Utah's Andrei Kirilenko.

Predictably, as of right now, Odom is number one with 33% of the over 9,000 votes. Coming in second is Portland's rookie Fernandez at 26% of the vote. Next is AK-47 with 21%. Ben Gordon and Lou Williams round out the top 5 with 10% each. I think I've already made myself pretty clear when looking at how dumb some people are, so let's not even bother with the results of this vote. Let's, instead, look at how these guys are actually playing right now.

Player Lamar Odom Rudy Fernandez Andrei Kirilenko Ben Gordon Lou Williams
  Odom appears better than he actually is Rudy, like all Tblazers, comes with a lot of hype AK-47 is under the radar like the Jazz usually are Gordon is fantastic at scoring the ball, but doesn't do much else Lou is the worst of the bunch
Team LA Lakers Portland Trailblazers Utah Jazz Chicago Bulls Philadelphia 76ers
ESPN Vote 33% 26% 21% 10% 10%
MPG 26.0 27.0 32.7 26.8 23.0
Games 3 3 3 4 4
PPG 8.3 14.0 14.0 14.3 12.5
FG% 45.0% 48.3% 53.6% 41.3% 39.6%
3PT% 0.0% 40.0% 50.0% 43.8% 23.1%
FT% 77.9% 88.9% 73.3% 85.7% 69.2%
Shooting Worth * 1.25 1.45 1.50 1.24 1.04
Shooting Frequency ** 3.85 2.83 3.50 2.30 1.92
APG 2.33 1.33 3.00 3.00 2.50
A:TO 1.4 2.0 1.5 1.33 1.25
RPG 5.67 2.00 8.67 1.50 1.50
SPG 0.33 1.00 2.33 0.50 0.25
BPG 0.33 0.0 1.67 0.0 0.0
B+S/PF *** 0.33 1.00 1.71 0.29 0.33
PFPG 2.0 1.00 2.33 1.75 0.75
TOPG 1.67 0.67 2.00 2.25 2.0

N.B. These stats may look different than what you see on or because these stats are not rounded to the tenth place, but the hundredth place -- they are derived from the total value over the number of games as usual, but to two decimal places. For example, rounds Lou Williams fouls per game to be 0.8, where as he has 3 fouls in 4 games, which is actually 0.75.

* Shooting worth was previous my erroneously named "points per shot" stat. This is derived by dividing the total number of points scored (not just from FGA, but also FTM) by how many total FGA the player has made. This 'worth' inflates the scores of players who get to the line and make their free throws, while penalizing players who need a lot of shots to score. The higher the number the better. For example: Lamar Odom has scored a total of 25 points (10+9+6) and shot the ball  20 (6+5+9) times. This is then 25/20, for a shooting worth of 1.25 points for each shot.

** Shooting frequency is what I used to call "shots per minute", which is wrong; this stat is how many minutes needed to take a shot. Or in plan English, "Player ______ shoots the ball every x number of minutes on the floor". The lower the number the more frequently the player shoots. Again, with Odom being the example he has shot the ball 20 times this season. He has played a total of 77 (29+23+25) minutes this season. Here we divide the total number of minutes played by how many shots were taken. In this case (77/20) we get 3.85. That means that Odom shoots the ball once every 3.85 minutes played. (or every 3:51, if you want to figure out how many seconds 0.85 minutes is). If we compare this to Kobe's shooting frequency (which is calculated out to 1.83 <-- 97 minutes played / 53 FGA) we can see that this is not a very high number at all.

*** Blocks + Steals / Personal Fouls is another "Amar stat" that is very easy to understand. It's simply the total number of blocks + the total number of steals all divided by the total number of personal fouls. [The equation is: (blocks + steals) / PF ] It's a stat that attempts to gauge how effectively a player gambles on defense by how often they are tagged for fouling. If you just stand there on defense you probably are not going to pick up a lot of fouls. If you try to go for steals, or challenge shots you have a higher chance of getting called for a foul. So in a way, this monitors activity on defense as a product of how well they avoid fouling. I'd love it if the NBA officially recorded deflections though . . . they don't. So this is the best I can do. The higher the number the better. So, using Odom as an example here: so far he has 1 block and 1 steal. He has fouled 6 total times this season (1+2+3). So this becomes 2 / 6, or 0.33. He has more fouls than steals and blocks combined. He may be playing good defense, but he's not recording defensive stats for it.

So yeah, it doesn't take a Rocket Surgeon, or John Hollinger, to figure out which one of these five guys is actually playing the best right now. It's Andrei Kirilenko who is 1st or 2nd in all the categories. But if you like Hollinger's PER stat, here are the breakdowns: Rudy Fernandez 24.66; Andrei Kirilenko 23.97; Ben Gordon 15.90; Lou Williams 15.66; Lamar Odom 12.49. The same size of 3 or 4 games is really small though, but right now it's an easy call. I will be watching this race as the season goes on though . . .