Saturday, January 5

Easy-B's Questionable D?

I read this article today and decided to investigate some of its claims:

In the piece they argue that Brice Johnson is a defensive liability who shouldn't get playing time in conference until he proves himself. They also cite his 8.9 PPG scoring as coming largely on dunks (ok, this is an overstatement, but they're not as in love with his offensive production as I am, which is an extremely high bar to set).

Ok, first let's look over his shots by location:( Johnson has taken 27 dunks/layups and 44 'other' types of shots (other meaning likely not from transition). To me he isn't getting all his offense from dunks (some of which he is creating with offensive rebounds* and not out of transition) and he is an extremely valuable offensive player, something most of you have already grown tired of hearing me say. The article above seems to indicate that a lot of his offense comes on fast breaks and any player on the court would be capable of collecting those points. This backs up the fact that KenPom's numbers have him at the 2nd highest Offensive Efficiency on the team (1.33 to Bullock's 1.38).

Furthermore, advanced stats show that Brice is the best defensive rebounder on the team, collecting 25% of opponent misses (second is McAdoo at 18%). Many people forget, but this is a valuable defensive skill and can serve as a "pro" to balance out the "cons" of his slender frame and poor post defense.

Basically, I just wanted to take a moment to point out how advanced stats can help to prove or disprove common wisdom and what we see as we watch basketball. Brice Johnson isn't a defensive force, but he rebounds the ball very well and his offense is more valuable than might be evident at first glance. I do think any McAdoo-Johnson pairing should be used sparingly when playing a team with a strong offensive post presence and I'd be floored to see Johnson as the only 5-man on the floor. That said, I don't think Johnson should expect his time to shrink as the team enters the ACC portion of the schedule. In fact given how this team is under performing past UNC squads on offense and Roy's inner desire to shirk the 3 ball, Easy-B should see more P.T.

*Johnson has 16 offensive rebounds on the year, if a third of these were immediate layup/dunk put backs the numbers go to 22 fast break dunks and 49 others

No comments: