The stats behind benching Josh in Nebraska game

Stats and Stuff

When Bill Self pulled Josh Selby from the lineup during the final fifteen minutes of the Nebraska game, he said that he wasn’t trying to make any coaching points, just trying to win a game.  Self also indicated that Brady and Tyrell represented the best backcourt combination that the Jayhawks could put on the court.  How pulling two of the most exciting players in Division 1 basketball from the floor in Selby and Tyshawn Taylor may be a mystery to some, but a closer look at some mostly overlooked statistics shows that Bill knew exactly what he was talking about.

The first stat, which I call Adjusted Turnover per Game, or ATG, takes the number of turnovers committed by a player, and then subtracts the number of steals and blocks by that player and divides the result by the number of games played, giving a more accurate indication of how the player affects possessions both negatively and positively in one convenient number.  Since the stat is based on turnovers (which are a negative statistic), lower numbers are better.

The second overlooked stat, Negative Possessions per Game (NPG), is a compilation of negative possessions, offset by positives.  NPG takes the number of missed shots and subtracts rebounds, this is then added to adjusted turnovers (turnovers minus blocks, minus steals) before being divided by games played.  Again, since this statistic is based on a negative statistic, the lower the number, the better.  While the mainstream method to compare guards is to compare assist to turnover ratio, that method seems inadequate and skewed against scoring guards.  NPG, on the other hand, factors in scoring percentage, steals, blocks, turnovers and rebounds- far more complete when comparing players- not just guards.

Keep in mind, these charts show ball handling statistics, not scoring.  (Josh leads all guards in points per minute, at .445, while Marcus leads the team with .648PPM, Kieff is second with .559, trailed closely by TRob at .558, compared to Brady’s team low .199PPM.)  Detractors of Morningstar point to the scoring statistics, and admittedly it is frustrating to watch Brady struggle from the field, but scoring stats are only half of the story.  Behind Tyrell, Brady is the most competent ball handler the ‘Hawks have in the backcourt, his NPG & ATG numbers show that, eclipsing those of both Josh and EJ.  There is more to the equation than just his experience and leadership qualities that Self often points to, in justifying Brady’s minutes.  He just takes care of the rock far better than the others.

Just to give a comparison, I went ahead and put together a similar graph for today’s opponent, the 12-4 Baylor Bears-

.Some things to note:  Lacedarius Dunn (while not on par with Josh) is a turnover machine with a 1.38 ATG- (he turns the ball over 1.38 times more than he gets it back from a steal or blocks a shot)- which makes his ball handling very similar to Tyshawn’s, (the difference being that he outscores Ty by almost 2 to 1, with .657PPM).  Baylor’s second leading scorer, Quincy Acy (.418PPM) turns the ball over less than he steals or blocks a shot, making him one of Baylor’s better defensive players and ball hawks, and is definitely someone the Jayhawks need to be aware of on both ends of the floor.  Both of the Jones’es seem to take care of the ball very well, and Freshman Percy has been a standout for Baylor offensively, so far this season.

While I don’t expect Baylor’s defense to come even close to that of Nebraska, there are some important factoids to note; In Baylor’s four losses this season, all on the road, they committed 58 turnovers.  Like Kansas, Baylor is undefeated at home this season, amassing a 10-0 record, and has won 26 out of their last 27 in Waco- the last 15 by a 18.1 point margin.  Tonight’s game is expected to be a sellout, and the Bears are even giving out Growl Towels to the first 7500 through the door to help rally the crowd, so expect Waco to be rocking in an obnoxious green- (at least its’ not day-glo yellow).  Travis Releford is also not expected to play tonight, still nursing that sprained ankle.

  • On a side note, Baylor Forward Quincy Acy is a really good kid.  He went to high school with my stepson Gary, and we’ve had him out to our lake house several times.  Quincy has also honored us by carving his name into the drink rail in our home gameroom, which is one of our little traditions with guests.  We’ll be rooting for Quincy to have a great game in Baylor’s eventual loss.
  • In future statistical analysis, I’ll add the PPM statistic.

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Tags: Baylor Bears Big 12 Bill Self Josh Selby Kansas Kansas Jayhawks Lacedarius Dunn Nebraska Quicy Acy Tyshawn Taylor

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