Considering Our Composite Center's Rebounding Against a Team with Short, High Mobility Big Men (SDSU)

  • (Author’s Note–RIP/DFW: I was long a statistical anomaly among QA types, because I actually liked analyzing and trusting small sample sizes others scoffed at for little, tell-tale insights obscured by the blurring mean of large samples. The trick to analyzing small N samples is not to over analyse them, recognize deduction as a legitimate tool that complements induction, resist the temptation of boot strapping oneself into hallucinations, and rely on common sense, rather than flee from it. It is good to use common sense to recognize what small n performances would be likely indicative of large n samples, and which are hopelessly distorted by small n sampling, and then think (but not overthink) about what remains. Why did I like this sort of approach so sacrilegious to doctrinaire quants? Because it moves the element of timeliness of processes front and center in a way large n samples over extended time frames do not do well. Our guys are developing. I want to know where they are right now. Not just the average of their season long performance to date. I am trading off reliability for timeliness, but I am cool with that when I have been watching the process unfold and so already know where we have been. So while this little look at numbers below may seem painfully unsophisticated to most and nearly worthless to those orthodox and religiously faithful to large N stats and their confidence levels, as well as very catholic in their assumptions of normalized distributions imposed on largely unknown distributions of universes, it suggests one tiny little thing that may be worth knowing moving forward.

    While going small with Jamari against small bigs may get you some steals, and some mobile defense, even on his best nights he gives up not only likely gives up offense to Hunter and Cheick, but also rebounding.

    This small N, one game sample under conditions most favorable for Jamari, suggests that size is part of what keeps Jamari from rebounding well, but that he apparently just doesn’t anticipate well against any size of rebounders. And so it is perhaps no coincidence that in a game against a small opponent like SDSU, where Self resorted to Jamari fully 21 minutes, KU was actually out rebounded by SDSU.

    Finally, I am not trying to discover anything new here. Anecdotal observation has long suggested that Jamari Traylor is not a very productive rebounder. What I am trying to do is quantify a little of how much he costs the team even in an optional performance not to diss him, but to point out that Self must view his post defense as the source of his net worth to the team against a short team like SDSU. SDSU shot only 42% from the field. So Self was apparently willing to barely lose, or break even on rebounding against such a short team in order to get a team defense in the paint capable of achieving that 42% FG. Its a series of small insights that might help us better understand Coach Self, why Coach Self wins big doing this sort of thing, despite losing the rebounding count, and why a composite center may be such a powerful weapon with this team of extraordinary shooters.)


    Name/rebounds/PT*30m =30M Standardized rpg

    MICK 3/8*30= 11.25 rpg

    TRAY 6/21*30= 8.57 rpg

    DIALLO 3/9*30= 9.99 rpg

    BRAGG 1/6*30= 5.00 rpg

    LUCAS 1/2*30= 15.00 rpg

    And now for your visual comparison. Standardized Rebounds per 30 Minutes on the Y axis and player names on the X-axis.

    Inglorious Basterds.png

    And finally a little pie chart to give one some idea of the proportional contribution to rebounding against small-big man teams of the individuals comprising the The Big Hydra aka C5 aka The Inglorious Basterds.


    It would also be interesting to do the above charts for the season, but I wanted a snap shot of where the 5 is in a single late December game that would favor Jamari Traylor, so as to establish a baseline for his largest probable contribution against a short team, realizing that against long teams his role in terms of PT and contribution is apt to diminish.

    What interests me here is that against just about about the best match up for Jam Tray and the worst match ups (short, bouncy, high mobility bigs) for Mickelson, Diallo and Bragg, Mick and Diallo still boarded better than Jam Tray, and Bragg suffered about as expected. Lucas performance against short centers is deceptive here, because of from probably significant statistical distortion from how little he played.

    Note: Obviously, Landen Lucas’ contribution is a bit exaggerated by barely having played, but he does tend to rebound as much or more than the rest against the big teams. In any case, there is not much to be learned about Landen in this particular small sample, and that’s that.

  • @jaybate-1.0 Compare and contrast that with Frank, Devonte and Selden’s rebound numbers. Might be interesting 😉

  • @jaybate-1.0 I stayed away from Kenpom and the other stat sites last season because I got to focused on the numbers and became distracted by them to the point of it affecting my judgement about picking my brackets. I picked last seasons brackets solely based on how I thought teams were doing. I trusted my gut feeling and it worked. But, I love stats. Its fascinating.

    For example, KU has not been this balanced as per Kenpom on offense and defense since the 10-11 season. We know what happened that year. KU got overconfident and lost to VCU. Both games we play against Texas this year will be revenge games for KU fans. The stats say we will sweep UT and we should. But there are so many other factors involved in the game that cant be measured by advanced stats. Players mentality, injuries, ref whistles, sweat on the court.

    Kenpom says that right now, OU is going to win the conference based on numbers for this season thus far. I just dont buy that. There is no telling exactly when OU or KU will have an off game an get beat by TX or TCU.

    Again though, I really like seeing KU having such a great balance on both offense and defense. Ive been saying that KU is due for a great year. It seems to cycle in 4 year increments in the Self era and this is the fourth year since our last final four appearance.

  • @jaybate-1.0 That’s purty!

  • @Lulufulu said:

    KU got overconfident and lost to VCU.

    I still say it was fatigue from chasing a Princeton team (Richmond) and the playing an XTReme Conditioned team coached to run long cuts that caught a bulked up KU with insufficient cardio fitness.

  • Another poster put it best: the 2010-11 team was “full of hubris”. Definitely one of my least favorite KU teams.

    I do like this team, but I am not in love. Im not sold yet. The team this year worries me on defense. Our guards are great. Graham needs rest, but he’s the only guy who can consistently create steals. Mason is pretty solid as well. But the 3, 4, 5 positions are worrying.

    Greene I like, but only if we keep him on the interior bodied up with some guys. Against quick guards, I’d prefer not to have him running around screens. Use him as a big 3 or even a small 4 against shorter quicker lineups.

    Traylor, as he showed against SDSU is perfect against shorter lineups. As much as some posters around here like to dog on Traylor (even as they refuse that they’re doing so), they still admit that he shows up when needed. Gee, isn’t that what you want your players to do? Competent backups are important.

    Perry Ellis gets all the love, and no doubt I appreciate his scoring, but he sometimes hurts the team in ways that are completely ignored. I remember a play where Ellis left a wide open Greene for a poor shot, and the issue hit home for me: Perry Ellis can be a bad teammate. He doesn’t pass or defend well. And then when the shots aren’t falling, he mopes around with his head hanging low. Why has Self let Perry Ellis get away with this behavior for 4 years? Jaybate was right in how it was a mistake not to have enough internal competition for Ellis early in his career.

    Wayne Selden, like Perry Ellis, has made great strides in the offseason, but he also has the negative trait of relying on his offense to give him confidence. Wayne played like a boneheaded freshman in that first half against SDSU. As much as I’d like to say he got over the hump, I still don’t feel comfortable trusting Wayne Selden.

    As far as the rest of the lineup goes, I trust each of them will find ways to contribute. The 5 position is what it is. I can only hope that Hunter (our only true big) will be ready by March. Bragg I have faith in. Diallo I pray for.

Log in to reply