Sometimes Regular Stats Will Do

I was watching the Knicks-Hawks game yesterday, and before it started the commentators were of course talking about Amar’e and Carmelo.  One of them, I think Doris Burke (not 100% on that), said that both shoot a decent percentage.  I guess I can’t say I’m surprised; they’re both big-name players and assumed to be among the best playing right now, so people tend to say nice things about them.  Other analyses suggest otherwise, particularly for Carmelo, but we don’t even have to go there.  As Burke was talking, they splashed up a table with both players’ main stats (points per game, of course, field goal percentage, rebounds per game, etc).  And there it is for everyone to see: Carmelo is shooting about 45%.  Is that actually good?

According to ESPN, Carmelo is 71st out of 113 qualifying players, or below average.  To be fair, Carmelo improves if you consider points per shot, but only to 43rd.  That’s only tied for 6th among all qualifying small forwards, putting him a hair above average for his position (the list has 17 names, and he’s only .01 and .02 points ahead of the 8th and 9th guys).  We don’t even need to talk about Wins Produced or plus/minus on this one; a quick look at the numbers Burke directly references tells you this was a bad call.  I guess you could argue that she really meant ‘decent’, as in average, when she said that, but then you would have to apologize to Amar’e, who shoots at a much better rate (51% FG% and a higher point per shot than Carmelo despite not taking threes or being as good from the line).

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3 Responses to Sometimes Regular Stats Will Do

  1. EntityAbyss says:

    So how long do we wait until we admit that melo’s shooting doesn’t improve his teammate’s effiencies?

    • Alex says:

      Their offensive efficiency (according to hoopdata) is actually up with him in the past 8 games. But they’ve also played some iffy teams; Cleveland twice, the bipolar Hornets and Hawks, the swiftly crashing Jazz. Of course, they’ve also had Billups playing great ball for half that time, and there are other changes on the team. I think the more damning evidence is that the Nuggets didn’t get any ‘big pieces’ in the trade but haven’t missed a beat; if Carmelo was increasing their shooting, they should have crashed when he left.

      I think the analysis Pelton did was probably the right way to do it, but I’d like to see it for more than three years with some test of significance attached. I’d also use effective FG% instead of true shooting and maybe analyze free throw attempts separately; I still don’t think Carmelo is helping anyone once they get on the free throw line.

      • EvanZ says:

        “I’d also use effective FG% instead of true shooting and maybe analyze free throw attempts separately; I still don’t think Carmelo is helping anyone once they get on the free throw line.”

        I think it would make sense to look at eFG and foul rate. You’re right to say that Melo (most likely) doesn’t help anyone once the get to the line. But it could be that he helps them get to the line. Not saying that’s the case, but it’s possible.

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