Efficiency Per Minute: Power Forwards

For an overview of this statistic (and the point guard numbers), click here. I ran the numbers for power forwards, and here are the top 10 in EPM:

Chris Bosh (0.767)
Kevin Love (0.719)
Carlos Boozer (0.702)
Pau Gasol (0.684)
Dirk Nowitzki (0.649)
Josh Smith (0.635)
Anthony Randolph (0.631)
Amare Stoudemire (0.629)
Zach Randolph (0.628)
Kevin Garnett (0.620)

Next 5: Murphy, Blair, Landry, Odom and Scola.

Kevin Love has the highest rebound rate of any power forward in the league, but is only playing 29 minutes per game…One thing’s for sure — Anthony Randolph wasn’t getting enough minutes prior to his ankle injury. He’s obviously very talented, but doesn’t seem to be mature enough to handle the ups and downs of an NBA season…Josh Smith really stuffs the stat sheet. Not only does he post a 15-9, he also averaged 4.0 assists, 1.6 steals and 2.1 blocks per game…Marreese Speights, Tyrus Thomas, Paul Millsap and Andray Blatche came in 16th, 17th, 18th and 21st, respectively, though Speights has only played 670 minutes this season playing behind Elton Brand…Who are the bottom five PFs playing at least 25 minutes a night? 1. Jared Jeffries, 2. Boris Diaw, 3. Jonas Jerebko, 4. Yi Jianlian and 5. Rashard Lewis. Those last three names are actually pretty surprising.

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Efficiency Per Minute: Small Forwards

For an overview of this statistic (and the point guard numbers), click here. I ran the numbers for small forwards, and here are the top 10 in EPM:

LeBron James (0.827)
Kevin Durant (0.672)
Carmelo Anthony (0.644)
Corey Maggette (0.642)
Gerald Wallace (0.569)
Danny Granger (0.547)
Andrei Kirilenko (0.534)
Ersan Ilyasova (0.526)
Paul Pierce (0.492)
Kris Humphries (0.492)

Next 5: Deng, Gay, Hill, Marion, S. Jackson

Corey Maggette is one of the best in the league at getting to the line, so while seeing his name amongst the other top small forwards is a little odd, he is very good offensively (and plays for the Warriors, who really push the pace)…Ersan Ilyasova’s presence in Milwaukee more than makes up for the loss of Richard Jefferson, and has allowed the Bucks to stay competitive this season…Kris Humphries is averaging 7-5 in just 16.5 minutes per game, and should probably be getting more run…Neither Trevor Ariza (0.378) nor Ron Artest (0.375) are having particularly efficient seasons…Who are the bottom five SFs playing at least 25 minutes a night? 1. Shane Battier (the no-stats MVP), 2. Tayshaun Prince, 3. Richard Jefferson, 4. Corey Brewer and 5. Al Thornton.

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Efficiency Per Minute: Shooting Guards

For an overview of this statistic (and the point guard numbers), click here. I ran the numbers for shooting guards, and here are the top 10 in EPM:

Dwyane Wade 0.672
Kobe Bryant 0.610
Brandon Roy 0.545
Manu Ginobili 0.545
Joe Johnson 0.522
Andre Iguodala 0.512
Mike Miller 0.488
Jason Richardson 0.465
Jamal Crawford 0.462
Vince Carter 0.452

Next 5: Martin, Harden, Morrow, Terry, D. Wright

The top 5 are the same as Hollinger’s PER rankings…Mike Miller? Hell yeah. He’s averaging 10-6-3 and is shooting 56% from the field and 56% from long range. That’s some serious efficiency…Before you ask, Monta Ellis (0.486) is listed with the point guards. He’d be #8 on the SG list, though remember, these numbers are not pace-adjusted…O.J. Mayo is #17, which doesn’t account for what he brings to the table defensively. He’s also hurt by the fact that he plays a ton of minutes (38.5), while a guy like Vince Carter puts up similar numbers in 31 minutes a game…Top rookie? James Harden, averaging 10-3-2 in 23 minutes per game…Who are the bottom five SGs getting 25+ minutes? 1. Charlie Bell, 2. Anthony Parker, 3. Rasual Butler, 4. Brandon Rush, and 5. Thabo Sefolosha.

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Efficiency Per Minute: Point Guards

Man, has it been that long? Almost four years ago, I started discussing Efficiency Per Minute (EPM), which is essentially the NBA’s efficiency statistic divided by the number of minutes that a guy plays. Please note that I have no idea if I invented this statistic, but I probably didn’t. Anyway, it doesn’t matter, because I don’t see anyone else using it at the moment.

I’ve always liked efficiency because it adds up all the quantitative positives that a player can post (points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks) while penalizing the player for missing a lot of shots or a lot of free throws, or turning the ball over. EPM takes this a step further because it allows us to compare a player getting 25 minutes per game with one that plays 35 minutes a night. John Hollinger’s PER is nice in that I don’t have to sit down and crunch the numbers, but I always found it odd that, every season, he arbitrarily sets the average at 15.00.

There are a couple of things I don’t like about EPM. First, there are always an inordinate number of centers and power forwards at the top of the EPM rankings because they’re generally closer to the basket when they shoot (resulting in more makes and fewer misses) and their secondary function (rebounds) are easier to get than a guard’s secondary function (assists). So while it is a good tool to compare players that play the same position, it’s not great for comparing a center to a point guard…but I doubt that a tool like that even exists.

Secondly, it’s not pace-adjusted. PER is. The amount of work that would go into applying a pace to each player’s numbers is mind-boggling, especially those players that change teams within a year, and I don’t think that the powers-that-be at The Scores Report want me to put that kind of time in on this topic. So keep that in mind when looking at these numbers. Lastly, I don’t like how the number looks — it’s always 0.XYZ, but it’s not a percentage like batting average, which is easily understood.

That said, I still like EPM. As futile as it is to create one number that encompasses a player’s entire game, EPM does as well as any. Defensively, it only rewards steals and blocks, so there is a large part of a player’s skill set that isn’t accounted for, but that’s true of any widely-used statistic in the NBA.

Over the next few days, I’ll run down the top 10 players at each position. I set the cutoff at 675 minutes played, figuring a player would have to play 15 minutes per contest for 45 games to make the list. Let’s start with the point guards.

Point Guards:
Chris Paul 0.723
Steve Nash 0.667
Deron Williams 0.599
Chauncey Billups 0.587
Rajon Rondo 0.572
Jason Kidd 0.542
Tyreke Evans 0.519
Gilbert Arenas 0.514
Baron Davis 0.512
Luke Ridnour 0.511

Next 5: Westbrook, Calderon, Robinson, Lowry, Rose

It’s hard to argue with the way that the first five are ranked, and the top 5 are exactly the same as how Hollinger’s PER ranks them…In a real-world ranking, Derrick Rose would certainly be higher, but if you look at his numbers, he’s only averaging 5.8 assists and 0.8 steals, and both averages are on the lower end of the elite PGs. The fact that the Bulls are the 6th-worst shooting team probably doesn’t help his assists, either…Clearly, Ridnour is high, but he is having a great year and is benefiting from playing limited minutes (22.0) largely against opponents’ bench players. But he’s shooting 47% from the field, 39% from 3PT and 92% from the charity stripe, so he has been a very efficient shooter. He and Kyle Lowry would be guys to target as placeholders for teams looking for an upgrade at the point…There is reason for Knicks fans to be optimistic about Sergio Rodriguez (0.464, PG21). He only played about 14 minutes a game this season, but he has been productive…Who are the least effective point guards playing more than 25 minutes a game? 1. Rafer Alston, 2. Derek Fisher, 3. Chris Duhon, 4. Steve Blake and 5. Kirk Hinrich.

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What kind of point guard is he?

We hear it all the time. NBA analysts call one point guard “pass-first” and another “shoot-first.” Or they say one guy is “turnover-prone” while another “takes care of the ball.” But really, what makes a player a “pass-first” point guard? How carefree must he be with the ball to be considered “turnover-prone”?

Taking an analytical approach to these questions, I decided to bust out an Excel spreadsheet and try to come up with some answers. Below you’ll see a graph that attempts to classify the top point guards in the league. But first, a little background…

I chose to categorize each player based on two stats. First, to determine if he’s “shoot-first” or “pass-first,” I calculated the shot-to-assist ratio for each player. The bigger the number, the more of a “shoot-first” mentality the player has. Second, to determine whether or not a player is “turnover-prone,” I calculated each player’s assist-to-turnover ratio. I thought about using turnovers per 48 minutes, but I like the idea of including assists so that playmakers are rewarded for the positive as well as the negative. Next, I calculated each player’s Efficiency Per Minute (EPM) to see if there is any correlation between these other statistics and the overall efficiency of the player in question.

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