Sunday, February 6, 2011

Offensive-Minded Stats from January

I like keeping track of monthly progress for Iowa's players because it lets me know the ups and downs of the season, that the season average doesn't provide. Monthly averages are undoubtedly small sample sizes. Teams play seven or eight games in a month, and there is a lot of room for random variation in there. However, I think it is still fun to look at, and see if we can see who was on a hot streak and who was not. So, let's take a look.

First, minutes per game:

Obviously, May was injured in January, so it's not a surprise that his playing time took a little dip. As a result, Marble's playing time went up a bit. For the third month in a row, McCabe's playing time has decreased, that might have something to do with a 33.78% effective FG% in January. Finally, looking at the post players, Basabe, Archie, and Brommer all saw their playing time go up in January, as Cole's decreased. Cole didn't have the greatest of January's either.

Points per game:

Hello Basabe! In January, the true freshman was an offensive force. He jumped from 7.43 points in November, to 9 points in December, to 14.5 points per game in January. After Melsahn though, pretty much everybody else's points per game went down in January. Marble's, however, increased from December, as his playing time went up.

Points per minute:

Points per game is good and all, but points per minute allows us to see who does the most with their minutes on the court. As we can see, Marble did score more points per game in January, but he actually put the ball in the basket at a little lower rate than the had in previous months. Not that there is anything wrong with that, considering this was Big 10 play, and the competition was much harder. But, once again, Basabe! His jump in points was real in January. He went from 0.40 points per minute in December to 0.55 points per minute in January. Fran found a gem in Basabe, and I can't stress this enough. Be thankful that we have this kid for three more years.

Effective FG%:

Basabe's increase in points was helped by the fact that he shot 60.29% effective FG%. That's a little above his true talent level. Right now he is about a 54% shooter (that should increase as he gets older), so it shouldn't be shocking to see Basabe's offensive totals drop off a little bit in February. Not a whole lot though, because he isn't far off from shooting 60% overall. But, I would probably expect like 12 to 13 points per game, as opposed to 14.5 (Big drop off, I know).

Cartwright continued to chuck up shots in January. I believe his November total is a lot closer to his real abilities, so hopefully his February will see an uptick too. Gatens dropped off a little bit, but not because of his three point shooting. In January he made 41.86% of his three point attempts (his best monthly total this season). However, he only made 38.64% of his two point field goal attempts. He made 35% in November when he was injured and 70% in December when he was on a hot streak. Hopefully February will be right in the middle of those totals.

Points per scoring attempt:

Points per scoring attempt looks at how many points a player averages per field goal attempt and free throw possession (0.475 * free throw attempts). It's similar to effective FG%, in that it tells you how efficient a person is at scoring.

Not surprisingly, Cartwright is the most inefficient scorer on the team (except McCabe had a terrible January, though). He takes a lot of shots to get his 10 points per game. Gatens was less efficient in January than he was in December, but he was still pretty good. May was bad in December and January, but so far in February he is averaging 1.39. Let's hope that keeps up.

The story of this chart, though, is undoubtedly Basabe. He has been over 1 the whole season, and was at his highest in January. He's a very efficient scorer, and his effective FG% would agree also. Aside from turnovers, Basabe does pretty much everything right.

Usage Rate:

Usage rate measures when a player ends a possession by either shooting the ball, getting an assist, or turning the ball over. What's interesting, is that Basabe became the player who "used" the most possessions for Iowa in January. Cartwright's usage rate remained very high. These aren't total surprises, considering Cartwright is the best assist man on the team, both him and Basabe have had some turnover problems, and both of them take a lot of shots per game.

Gatens' usage rate remained stable, as he ends most possessions with a field goal attempt. Every post player not named Basabe, saw their usage rate drop in January. Also, May's usage rate dropped, and I'll give you a hint. It's not because he is turning the ball over less.

Field goal attempts per game:

Let's continue with May. He has seen his amount of field goals attempted per game drop every month. Now, remember his minutes per game were cut. Did that make the difference? Nope. When you look at May's field goals attempted per minute from December (0.31) compared to January (0.24), you can see he is clearly taking less shots per game. Surely, this just means he has been less aggressive because of that groin injury he had. Hopefully February is when he gets healthy and starts taking more shots. Iowa should be better for it.

I think we also found the reason for Basabe's increase in usage rate. He went from 6.83 shots per game in December to 8.50 in January. Cartwright stayed steady averaging a little over 11 shots per game. Gatens saw a slight decline, but nothing huge. Overall, it looks like Basabe and May are the real story here.

Free throw rate:

Moving on to free throws. Unsurprisingly, Cole came down off of his unsustainably high free throw rate (free throw attempts per field goal attempts) in December of 0.86. However, he continues to be one of the best Hawkeyes at getting to the free throw line compared to how much he shoots the ball.  Basabe is Iowa's other best player at getting to the line. He was coming off of a bad December at the charity stripe where he didn't get there as often and, as you will see later, he couldn't buy a basket when he did get there.

As for the wing players, Marble and McCabe's free throw rates, just like their overall games, fell off in January (though, Marble had two spectacular games). If May returns to form, his free throw rate should go up. It's not surprising Gatens isn't good at getting to the free throw line. He's a shooter, and I usually cringe when he tries to take it to the hoop. I would like Cartwright's rate to go up, but that might actually mean he needs to take less shots per game (and also make more of them). He tends to be a chucker sometimes.

Free throw percentage:

Now, let's look at what they do when they get to the free throw line. Basabe not only drew a lot of fouls, but he also made 80.95% of his free throws in January, officially knocking that December free throw slump off his back. It'll be interesting to see February, because his first two months were kind of low. I'm hoping he can make at least in the low 70's.

Cole hit 60% again in January, which is okay. I guess. Gatens was true to form, hitting 95.24% of his free throws in January. May hit 80%, but he almost totaled his entire January free throw attempts (5) against Michigan State (4). So, small sample size.

Marble and Brommer continue to be the worst free throw shooters on the team. Well, outside of Archie, but he doesn't shoot that often, let alone get fouled.

Percentage of points from two point field goals in the paint:

Apparently, Devon Archie made a shot outside of the paint (according to play-by-play data anyways). That's big news, I guess. Every post player not named Basabe saw a bigger percentage of their two point field goals come outside of the paint. Melsahn saw his percentage pretty much stay the same December through January. May's percentage went up slightly, but nothing real exciting. I always love seeing the split between the perimeter and post players. As post players are all at the top, while the perimeter players are toward the bottom of this chart.

Percentage of points from three point field goals:

Since none of the Hawkeyes big men play outside of the arc, these are just the perimeter players. Gatens saw a little bit of a decrease in how many of his points were coming from downtown (he saw his points from two point field goals and free throws increase by about 3% a piece from December to January). May continues to get a lot of his points from three point range this year, which is still surprising. McCabe's three point field goals tumbled again in January. It probably wasn't helped by the fact that he shot a lousy 16.67% (3-18) from long range in January.

Okay this post is long enough. I'll have another one with non-scoring related stats soon. The most important change in January was obviously Basabe's offensive explosion, and him becoming the big guy in the offense. I'll be interested to see how that works out in February.

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