What kind of point guard WAS he?

My post from a few days ago was relatively well-received at reddit, and one of the readers there said that he’d like to see the same graph for some of the all-time great point guards.

So with a little help from Basketball-Reference.com, I compiled a list of (all?) the Hall of Fame point guards: Oscar Robertson, Lenny Wilkens, Bob Cousy, Jerry West, John Stockton, Isiah Thomas, Magic Johnson, Dennis Johnson, Tiny Archibald, Calvin Murphy, Pete Maravich and Walt Frazier. Unfortunately, the NBA didn’t start keeping track of turnovers until the 1977-78 season, so there’s no assist-to-turnover data for the first four (Robertson, Wilkens, Cousy, West) and the data for Archibald, Murphy, Maravich and Frazier is incomplete, so I could only use their post-1977 numbers.

I also compiled a list of the top non-HOF point guards who are both retired and still active: Jason Kidd, Mark Jackson, Steve Nash, Gary Payton, Rod Strickland, Maurice Cheeks, Terry Porter, Tim Hardaway, Andre Miller, Muggsy Bogues, Kevin Johnson, Derek Harper, Stephon Marbury (yes, Stephon Marbury), John Lucas, Norm Nixon, Mookie Blaylock, Sam Cassell, Avery Johnson, Baron Davis, Nick Van Exel, Allen Iverson, Chauncey Billups and Mike Bibby. All of these players have at least 5,400 career assists, which seemed to be the cutoff for players I was interested in using for this study.

Lastly, I added seven of the top current point guards who have yet to break the 5,400-assist barrier: Tony Parker, Stephen Curry, Russell Westbrook, Rajon Rondo, Derrick Rose, Deron Williams and of course, Chris Paul.

I first tackled this subject two years ago, and settled on the shot-to-assist ratio to determine whether a player is “pass-first” or “shoot-first.” The higher the number, the more of a “shoot-first” player he is. To determine whether or not a player is “turnover-prone,” I calculated each player’s assist-to-turnover ratio. The higher the number, the better the player is at taking care of the ball, relative to what he’s asked to do as a playmaker for his team. The graph takes a gentle downward slope because assists are part of both calculations. (Note: While I do like FGA/A as the criteria for shoot-first/pass-first, I am not completely sold on A/TO as the criteria for turnover-prone. Perhaps (A+FGA)/TO would show shoot-first guards in a better light? Maybe I’ll try that next year.)

Read the rest of this entry »

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

Murphy to Celtics; Bibby to Heat



The top two teams in the East just got a little better.

Marc Stein tweeted that Murphy told him personally that he’s going to Boston.

Murphy helps take some of the sting out of the loss of Kendrick Perkins in the Jeff Green trade. Murphy can rebound and shoot the three, so he’ll help space the court for the Celtics and give Doc Rivers another capable crunch time option with a little more length than Glen Davis.

I’m surprised Murphy didn’t pick the Heat, who seemingly have more available minutes at center, though maybe he wanted to get back to his Irish roots. The C’s are also in line to talk to Corey Brewer after his surprising buyout by the Knicks. He’s considered an elite wing defender and his on/off stats at 82games back that up.

Meanwhile, Mike Bibby is reportedly heading to the Heat. He’s well past his prime, but he’s still an upgrade over Mario Chalmers and Carlos Arroyo. I’m not sure why Miami hasn’t played with a Wade/Miller backcourt much this season, though Miller has been pretty bad as he’s been working his way back from injury.

Bibby gives the Heat an experienced player who won’t be afraid of the moment. He’s a good shooter who should be able to take advantage of open shots created by LeBron and Wade’s penetration. Good signing by Pat Riley.

Warriors buy out Murphy; Bibby next?

Atlanta Hawks Mike Bibby shoots a jump shot in the first half against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden in New York City on November 27, 2010. The Hawks defeated the Knicks 99-90. UPI/John Angelillo

Tim Kawakami of the Mercury News reports that the Warriors have agreed to buy out Troy Murphy.

As insisted by Warriors owner Joe Lacob, one source said, Murphy agreed to sign only with an Eastern Conference team.

Exact details of the agreement were not available, but it is believed that the percentage subtracted by the Warriors will correspond relatively to the pro-rated salary Murphy can be expected to receive from his next team.

Murphy won’t make as money in this as he could’ve (when you’re bought out for 100%, everything else you sign for is extra money), but he won’t lose money, either.

Kawakami cites monetary savings, team chemistry and fostering a good relationship with Murphy’s agent, Dan Fegan, as reasons for the Warriors to get this done.

Both Miami and Boston have expressed interest in Murphy, who as recently as last season averaged a double-double (14.6 points, 10.2 rebounds) for the Indiana Pacers. It was no fluke, either. Murphy also averaged a double-double in the 2008-09 season.

He can help both Boston and Miami, but I’d argue that the Heat need him more. He’s a career 39% three-point shooter, so he can make opposing bigs pay for helping in the lane on LeBron James and Dwyane Wade. He’s not a terribly good defender, but he has a high basketball IQ and rebounds well. I just wonder what kind of shape he’s in after riding the pine in New Jersey this season.

Any team that signs him can only offer the veteran’s minimum, so it’s about the best fit for Murphy. It appears that there are more minutes available in Miami, but with a last name like Murphy, isn’t Boston the place to be?

Mike Bibby is another buyout candidate and according to the Washington Post, his agent will be meeting with the Wizards this week to discuss terms.

The two sides have had preliminary discussions, according to two league sources, but no formal proposals have been made. Bibby makes $5.8 million this season and is on the books for $6.4 million next season. Bibby would have to sacrifice a lot of money and get waived by Tuesday in order to be eligible to join a playoff team this season.

Portland, Miami and Boston are reportedly interested in signing Bibby if he can reach an agreement.

He’d also be a good fit in Miami, where he could easily start at point over Mario Chalmers and/or Carlos Arroyo. He’s a career 38% three-point shooter and is hitting at a 44% clip this season.

If the Heat can add both Bibby and Murphy, Pat Riley will cement his status as Executive of the Year for 2010-11.

Hawks put away Bucks, 95-74

Milwaukee was cold from the field in Game 6 and that trend continued on Sunday, as the Bucks hit just 33% of their shots (an just 21% of their threes) in Game 7. The Bucks’ defense kept the game from getting out of hand, but without Andrew Bogut, Milwaukee had to hit its shots to keep it close.

Still, the Bucks trailed by just 12 early in the fourth quarter, but the Hawks buckled down and outscored Milwaukee 19-10 over the final ten minutes of the game. Joe Johnson struggled (4-of-14 from the field, 8 points), but the Hawks got good games from Jamal Crawford (22 points), Al Horford (16 points), Josh Smith (15 points) and Mike Bibby (15 points), who combined to shoot 25-of-43 (58%) from the field.

This series probably would have ended differently had Bogut been healthy, but give the Hawks credit for playing well with their proverbial backs against the wall. They played great defense in the last two games, and have all the tools to be a great defensive team. But Atlanta’s problem is focus. The Hawks have a tendency to vary their level of effort depending on the score of the game, and often come apart at the seams when the chips are down. They’re good, but they’re not good enough to turn it on and off whenever they want.

Do they have a chance against the Magic? Sure, but the Hawks are going to have to play an entire series the way they did in their four wins against the Bucks. Against the Bucks, if the Hawks played well, they’d win. That’s not necessarily the case against the Magic.

As for the Bucks, this was a disappointing end to a great season, but like Scott Skiles said in his “wired” segment before the game, when the team was sitting at 18-25 during the season, had anyone asked if they’d take an opportunity to play in a Game 7, they would have jumped on it. The fact that they pushed a far more talented Hawks team to seven games without Bogut is a moral victory.

Looking ahead to this summer, veterans Luke Ridnour, Kurt Thomas and Jerry Stackhouse are free agents. Ridnour played well enough this season to potentially earn a starting gig next season, though he’d likely struggle against the other starting-caliber point guards in the league. Thomas and Stackhouse may come back to give the Bucks a steady veteran presence off the bench, though GM John Hammond would be wise to keep the purse strings as tight as possible.

The big free agent decision may be John Salmons, who could opt out of the final year of the contract ($5.8 million). Despite posting 18-4-4 in the series against the Hawks, Salmons may have played himself out a few million dollars with a woeful shooting performance (8-of-31, 26%) in Game 6 and Game 7, when the Bucks needed him most. Salmons turns 31 in December, so the Bucks should proceed with caution. I can see a three-year deal worth $21-$24 million, but Milwaukee shouldn’t break the bank trying to re-sign him.

From Salmons’ point of view, he should give the Bucks a hometown discount, because he wouldn’t even be in the position to sign a lucrative new deal this summer if Hammond hadn’t traded for him at the deadline and Skiles hadn’t given him the freedom to be the Bucks’ main scorer on the wing.

Milwaukee projects to have a ton of cap space next summer (2011), so assuming the deal lasts at least two years, whatever contract they sign Salmons to will cut into that projected cap space.


Photo from fOTOGLIF

Line of the Night (1/11): Joe Johnson

The Hawks beat the shorthanded Celtics, 102-96, in Boston, and are now 3-0 against the C’s this season. Johnson hit 14 of 25 shots (including 5 of 7 threes) to score 36 points. He had a rather thin line, with just three rebounds and one assist, but the Hawks needed him to score last night, and that’s what he did.

Another interesting thing to note about the Hawks is that Jamal Crawford is getting a ton of minutes at point guard at Mike Bibby’s expense. In six January games, Bibby is averaging just 25 minutes per game to Crawford’s 29. More importantly, in crunch time against the Celtics, the Hawks went with Crawford, not Bibby. At this point in Bibby’s career, Crawford is simply better able to get his own shot. He’s not a much of a distributor, though he’s capable of hitting the open guy when he doesn’t have a shot (which doesn’t happen very often).

Related Posts