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.

NBA Rumors: Rubio, Boozer, T-Mac and more

Chad Ford writes about why Ricky Rubio is being so selective in his workouts.

First of all, the idea that Rubio is the only one doing it is silly. James Harden has only worked out for four teams. Even the Knicks couldn’t get him in. Hasheem Thabeet will likely only work out for three. DeMar DeRozan has been really selective, and so has Stephen Curry.

It’s pretty simple as to why Rubio is being selective: He is going to have to pay a lot of money for the privilege to play in the NBA next season. His buyout will cost him something between $5 and $7 million of his own money. That’s a lot of money, especially when you consider that Rubio wasn’t making a ton of dough in Spain. He essentially will be signing over his paychecks for the next couple of years to his team in Spain.

The Kings have an obvious hole at point guard on a young team. It seems to be the place his camp wants him to land. If the Kings draft him, I don’t think there’s any question that Rubio would pay the buyout and come. The question is, will the Kings draft him? I think the odds are in Rubio’s favor, but it sounds like some in the organization still need to be convinced.

Rubio’s future might depend on something he has no control over — is Russell Westbrook a point guard? A statistical study I did a few weeks ago revealed that he was turnover-prone and shoot-first, though obviously as a young rookie, there is room for improvement. If the Thunder think he’s a point guard, then I doubt they take Rubio. They’ll take James Harden, who averaged 4.2 assists during his senior year even though he was taking 13 shots per game.

Read the rest of this entry »

Jeff Van Gundy to stay in the booth…for now

Jeff Van Gundy says that he isn’t going to return to coaching for the foreseeable future.

“Without question, I miss coaching,” Van Gundy said. “I miss the competitiveness, the camaraderie there is no doubt about that. With that being said. I’m just happier with what I am doing.”

He wasn’t afraid to criticize a couple of players in the same interview.

Van Gundy was mostly complimentary of the Knicks’ new regime during an interview for Friday’s NYP TV Sports, but did criticize a couple of players who are weighing down the team’s future.

“Where as Isiah Thomas believed in the post offense, Mike D’Antoni has a much different style, obviously and has little use for [Eddy] Curry,” Van Gundy, who turned 47 yesterday, said.

“Here you have a guy that has a bad heart and a big contract and he would be very hard to move to another team, whose plan he would fit into. And Jerome James Jerome James , I don’t know whose plan he would fit into. And they also drag down your work ethic. You have guys that are out of shape it’s a drag on your team. Because what’s that saying to the other players is that they don’t care as much about the team.”

Van Gundy has developed into one of the top color commentators in all of basketball. I don’t have much use for Mark Jackson, but Van Gundy is knowledgeable and self-deprecating, and along with Mike Breen, the trio makes for good announcing. Van Gundy and Jackson tease each other and argue about hoops, while Breen plays the straight guy. It works.

That said, I’d like to see what Van Gundy could do with a few of the teams on the cusp of success. His brother, Stan Van Gundy, is the frontrunner for Coach of the Year honors with what he’s doing in Orlando, and I think Jeff would have similar success.

Related Posts