Money ball (basketball version)

  • Speaking of Moneyball what would happen if College coaches started emphasizing shot %, and signature quality’s per position while recruiting instead of ESPN top 100 and recruiting analysts? How could one go wrong if you recruited the best lights out shooter at each position? Throw away the athletic or fast twitch muscles, how high one can jump, wingspan, the ESPN rankings, ceiling, and go strictly with scoring by position with some height taken into consideration (by position). Considering how much college athletes improve over the coarse of 4 years as seniors could that be the Key to winning titles every year?

    Base off of the data I have at hand (ESPN) I selected 2 Senior guards that heaved up 200 3pt attempts and had the best shot %'s. Sean Armand a 6’4" G from Iona who scored 17.5 ppg with 4.1 ast. Langston Galloway a 6’2" G from Saint Joseph’s Hawks who scored 17.7 ppg 1.6 ast.

    For the Senior PG lets say you go with a guy that can feed your 2 and 3 guards. I went with Jason Brickman a senior from LIU Brooklyn Blackbirds who averaged 10 ast per game and 11.3 ppg with one of the best shot % out of the senior point guards. High assist rate taken into account.

    For our PF we would be talking about someone who could play 30 minutes per game and would have to be 6’9 or taller, a senior with a great shot%, rebounding ability taken into consideration. Ryan Watkins played for Boisy State scores 11.9 ppg and 10.8 rpg with a high shot %.

    For our center we would be talking about someone who could play 30 minutes per game as well and would have to be 6’11 or taller, a senior with a great shot%, and rebounding ability taken into consideration. Shayne Whittington from western Michigan is our guy with 16.1 ppg and 8.9 rpg with a good shot %.

    I suppose I took a little more than shot % into account but basically I took seniors that had the right quality’s at each position with close to the highest shot % with the height to go up against any DIV1 player. The outcome would have been a NCAA title run if you ask me. These 5 would have murdered everyone in their path. I am pretty sure that these guys were over looked and under recruited. ESPN rankings whiffed on these guys. And HCBS could have signed them all…

  • PHOF for fresh-think.

    Add a defensive criteria of lowest points/minute allowed and the dog hunts.

  • Self’s probably not too far adrift of your criteria, esp. with the likes of Ellis and Frankamp, coming out of high % high school shooting.

  • @Statmachine

    I think it’s an innovative idea, but basketball is different than baseball in a very key respect - baseball occurs in a vaccuum. That is not the case in basketball.

    There are lots of guys that shoot high percentages, but if you put them on a different team, their percentages tumble. Why? Because in basketball, the types of shots you get will affect your percentages. has done some excellent work on this (mostly Zach Lowe, who, even if you don’t like the NBA, does some exceptional work on the stats side of basketball).

    But let me take an example that fits well here. Let’s look at Trevor Ariza, a solid role player for the Washington Wizards. The last 3 years he shot less than 42% from the field each year and 30%, 33% and 36% from the 3pt line. This year those numbers went to 46% from the field and 40% from three. Those are significant jumps. So why the low numbers the last three years prior to this season? Well, Ariza played for New Orleans for two years, then Washington last year. Those NO teams asked Ariza to create his own shot. He had to work off the dribble. As a result, he shot poorly, both from the field and from 3. His numbers nudged up last year with Washington before surging this season. Why? Well, last year he played part of the season with John Wall (Wall missed over a quarter of the season with injuries). This year he played the entire season with Wall. That means instead of creating his own shots off the dribble he got shots when others left him to help on Wall drives. That means lots of open threes in the corner and easy cuts to the basket.

    So while I believe that looking for guys that can shoot a high percentage is a good idea, I think you also have to consider how they get their shots. I don’t know much about the guys you listed, but it makes me wonder. Could Armand and Galloway have succeeded while needing to get their own shots as opposed to getting those shots off of kick outs from a great slasher drawing double teams? Are Armand and Galloway set shooters? Did they benefit from playing with strong post players? Get lots of open looks on kickouts from great slashers? Do those guys need multiple screens to get open to have that percentage? Can a guy like Watkins or Whittington set those screens to free up Armand and Galloway? If so, would taking them away from the basket cut into their shooting percentage because they aren’t around the basket for easy put backs to boost their numbers?

    What about floor spacing? Are Watkins and Whittington the type of players that basically just hang around the basket, because if that’s the case all of a sudden you will have four people in the lane at all times (Watkins, Whittington and their defenders) meaning those drive and kick opportunities will diminish and there will always be help nearby when Watkins or Whittington goes to work inside.

    I would bet that if you combined those five guys at least three of them would see their shooting percentages drop by at least 3 points because they would not be getting the same types of looks.

    I think @jaybate 1.0 adds an interesting component as well. Often times these types of players are “hidden” on defense by guarding the other team’s weakest offensive player. But if you find a bunch of guys that shoot the lights out and guard the weakest link on the other end, you will not have a viable defensive unit.

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