This season I will continue with my Marginal Win Score statistics, but to make the statistics somewhat easier to digest, I’m going to try to present them into three statistical categories, so that people unfamiliar with Win Score can see where the final Win Score for each player is derived. The three categories are: “Scoring” Stats (Points – FGAs – 0.5FTAs); “Help” Stats (Rebs + Stls + 0.5Ass + 0.5Blks); and “Hurt” Stats (TOs + 0.5PFs). In this way, each reader can see visually how the player is contributing to wins and losses.
I specifically segregated scoring because fans love to see that category. In general, a player has a good scoring night if he scores more points than the number of “scoring attempts” he uses. The Milwaukee Bucks under Coach Skiles have had a hard time in this category.
“Helping” Stats are the statistics most people would consider “hustle” stats (with the exception of assists). “Hurting” Stats are turnovers and fouls. As you can see from the breakdown, as long as a player is judicious with his scoring attempts and is careful with the basketball, he should not pile up a whole lot of negative statistics. Then the question becomes, how many positive statistics did he sweat for?
Here is the breakdown from last nights Bucks-Nuggets game:
The 2011-12 NBA average in each of the three categories is: Scoring Stats (+2.7); Help Stats (+62.5); and Hurt Stats (-25.8), for an NBA Win Score Average of 39.40.
The Bucks Averages through 4 games are: Scoring Stats (+0.75); Help Stats (+65.0); and Hurt Stats (-25.2) for a Win Score Average of 40.25. This is somewhat misleading because the Bucks really beefed up on the hapless Washington Wizards.
The Bucks Opponents through 4 games are: Scoring Stats (-4.25); Help Stats (+66.0) and Hurt Stats (-28.1) for an excellent Defensive Win Score of 33.62.
The Bucks continue to struggle with scoring, their positive average notwithstanding (they have posted negative scoring stats in three of the four games). Their struggles continue for three reasons. They don’t dunk enough. They are not hitting their three point shots. And last but most importantly, they do not get to the foul line. Without dunking, hitting 3s, or getting free throw attempts, it is almost impossible to shoot proficiently in the NBA. That’s a fact. It is simply unlikely that you can hit above 50% on jump shot attempts. As for the other stats, the Bucks are getting outrebounded, but they make up for it somewhat through their steals. They are good at forcing turnovers. And they do not give up easy baskets. They would rather you burn them with jump shots, which is a good strategy.
Stephen Jackson has not had a “positive” scoring night all season, yet he has no qualms about using a ton of scoring attempts. He shoots too much, he is loose with the basketball, and he is not a great contributor in any other way. That is why he is and has long been a huge “loss” producer.
As Brandon Jennings scoring goes, so go the Milwaukee Bucks. Jennings has had positive nights in Bucks wins, and negative nights in Bucks losses. It seems fairly clear after three seasons that Jennings will never be a traditional “playmaking” point guard. He will always be a two guard at heart. That, is why the Bucks get so few easy scores. They don’t have anyone to set them up. Last night Jennings produced 3 assists in 37 minutes. Udrih did him one better in only 12 minutes.
Andrew Bogut is really struggling with his scoring, for three reasons. One, since his gruesome elbow injury, he is much less aggressive when it comes to dunking the ball. Two, he uses his left hand way too much and he isn’t that great with it. He will not go right, even when the defenders are clearly giving him the right hand shot. Finally, he is a poor foul shooter. He rarely even breaks 50% at the line. When you are such a poor foul shooter, you must compensate with slam dunks, ala Shaq. Bogut used to do this, but no longer does. That said, Bogut is still a productive “Help” stat player and a good defender, and for those reasons he is a win producer. But if he could just be a better scorer, he could take things to another level.
It may be Leuer time. In two of the three games in which he has seen substantial time, rookie Jon Leuer has played exceptional basketball. He is a very efficient scorer, and he is throwing in a surprising amount of “Help” stats.
Shaun Livingston is an enigma. He has the capacity to be a sort of very poor man’s Jason Kidd, but then he will turn in performances like he did last night where he shoots poorly and basically does nothing in the “Help” Stat category.
Ditto for Ersan Ilyasova.
Carlos Delfino has started off as though he is planning to have a huge season. Look at his beautiful stat line. Efficient scoring (generally via the three point shot), tons of “Help” stats, and minimal “Hurt” stats. His defense is also aggressive, though spotty.
Larry Sanders looks like one more in a long, long line of utterly useless Bucks first round draft picks.
So far, the Bucks are having trouble in two areas. One, they do not rebound well. They must rebound better, and that is everyone. (You see what a major difference Ricky Rubio makes for the Twolves because he is an exceptional defensive rebounder). Second, the Bucks must get to the foul line. They are giving away free points by settling for jump shots. As I pointed out above, free throw shooting is one of the necessary components to effective scoring. And since the Bucks have a limited capacity in the other two areas (dunking and three point shooting), they must make a better effort to get to the line. 11 free throw attempts in a game will never get it done.
On the bright side, the Bucks continue to play very good defense, and they are very careful with the basketball.