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Advanced Scoring Analysis

August 21st, 2014 News 1 Comment

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Ivy Hunt-Ashram

After examining Arizona’s defense yesterday, today we take a look at the Wildcats’ offense through a statistical lens. The hoops mathematicians at Hoop-Math.com have devised a metric for measuring a player’s value when it comes to scoring the ball, referred to as Points Above Median or PAM.

Hoop-Math.com describes PAM as a simple way to understand how much each player affects his team’s true shooting percentage. True shooting percentage refers to points scored per shot attempt.

PAM calculates how many additional points a player scores when compared with what he would have scored with a baseline true shooting percentage of 0.480 and the same number of shots. 48% is a nominal team median value for true shooting percentage on shots attempted from the floor.

Players with large positive PAM values increase their team’s true shooting percentage above this baseline value more than players with small or negative PAM values.

PAM is easy to calculate. The formula is:

PAM = Points – 2 * 0.48 * (FGA + 0.475 * FTA)

PAM is not a “tempo-free” statistic, in that it does not adjust for pace of team play. Care should be used when comparing players from different teams.

PAM also is not the last word on how much a player helps or hurts his team. PAM focuses exclusively on scoring. There are certain sorts of players, such as guards who shoot a lot while maintaining low turnover rates, who help their teams on offense without registering high PAM totals.

But PAM is a terrific tool to see how a player’s scoring impacts his team’s true shooting percentage, and for comparing different players on the same team. And when combined with play-by-play data, PAM gives a clear picture of how a particular type of shot for a particular player impacts team offense.

Name

FGA

PAM

at rim PAM

at rim PAM in transition

at rim PAM non-transition/non-ORB

at rim PAM Off Reb

2pt J PAM

3pt J PAM

Free Throw PAM

Johnson, Nick

474

77.7

43.3

32.0

10.2

1.0

-50.1

23.8

60.7

Gordon, Aaron

382

21.2

88.1

23.6

56.1

8.4

-65.6

4.8

-6.1

McConnell, T.J.

280

29.4

19.4

11.1

8.2

0.0

-10.2

12.0

8.2

Hollis-Jefferson, Rondae

247

41.0

57.5

16.9

29.9

10.7

-47.0

-3.6

34.1

York, Gabe

221

20.1

7.3

11.8

-2.6

-1.9

-27.4

28.9

11.3

Tarczewski, Kaleb

219

86.2

67.0

13.7

48.6

4.7

-21.3

0.0

40.4

Ashley, Brandon

178

48.4

30.6

7.3

9.8

13.5

-9.7

5.2

22.3

Mayes, Jordin

45

-7.0

3.5

1.3

1.2

1.0

-8.3

-5.4

3.2

Pitts, Elliott

35

6.8

2.2

1.0

0.1

1.0

-0.9

6.1

-0.6

Hazzard, Jacob

17

3.7

1.0

1.0

0.0

0.0

-0.7

3.4

0.0

Korcheck, Matt

12

7.0

5.3

2.1

2.1

1.1

-0.8

0.0

2.5

Peters, Zach

6

-5.8

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

-5.8

0.0

Mason, Trey

3

2.1

1.0

0.0

1.0

0.0

-1.0

2.0

0.0

Conklin, Eric

2

2.1

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

2.1

0.0

0.0

Mellon, Drew

1

-0.9

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

-1.0

0.0

0.1

Johnson, Chris

1

2.1

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

2.0

0.1

Total

2123

334.2

326.2

121.8

204.4

39.7

-241.8

73.4

176.3


If you need some clarification on what exactly this metric measures, think of it as a way of seeing how much more or less valuable a player’s shooting is than the baseline. In other words, a high score means that player was more valuable shooting from that area on the court.

The first thing you’ll notice is that Nick Johnson and Kaleb Tarczewski were Arizona’s best scorers by this metric at 77.7 and 86.2 respectively. Tarczewski’s team leading PAM is a product of high percentage looks at the rim as well as good free throw shooting, while Johnson’s number is buoyed by high attempts at good percentages.

By comparison you can see Aaron Gordon’s relatively low 21.2 rating. Though his at rim PAM was an absurd 88.1 (next highest is Tarczewski with 67), his abysmal free throw shooting sinks his true shooting percentage as well as this metric. He was the only rotation player with a negative free throw PAM.

Another fairly obvious conclusion that can be drawn is that Arizona lost their two best transition scorers in Johnson and Gordon, who lead the team with ratings of 32 and 23.6 respectively. The void they leave in the transition game will provide ample opportunity for Arizona’s newcomers to carve out bigger roles.

What is more surprising is that the Wildcats did not have a single rotation player with a positive two point jumpshot PAM. What this tells you is that Arizona struggled to shoot the ball from midrange, and that they were equally poor across the board.

If someone on next year’s roster can prove to reliably hit the two point jumpshot, they could become a critical part of the offense.

While we don’t need a metric to tell us that Gabe York is a good three point shooter, he rates highly by this formula. Unfortunately Arizona’s only other experienced returning guard, TJ McConnell, did not rate so well.

If Arizona is going to thrive, they need McConnell to become a better outside shooter. York can’t be the only three point threat on the team, or Arizona’s talent down low will be negated by sagging defenses.

Overall, the chart above paints a picture of a team that is in desperate need of a scorer. There are multiple players who could fill that role. Will it be a returning vet? A newcomer or freshman? A healthy Brandon Ashley?

With the Red/Blue game just a couple months away, we can only wait and see.

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One Response to “Advanced Scoring Analysis”

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  1. Jeff

    August 22, 2014
    Reply

    Mind blown. Hopefully, two-point jump shots improve this season, but I imagine most teams have low percentages in that area because they’re generally undesirable shots.

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