December 28, 2009

Why the Pacers Can’t Keep Pace

Filed under: Uncategorized — wwinston @ 10:08 am

The Pacers have played 6.57 points worse than average this year (all numbers in this post are adjusted for ability of Pacers opponents). Things do not have to be this bad. The performance of the Pacers is a lesson in the shortcomings of box score statistics. Troy Murphy of the Pacers has the 45th best PER rating in the league, indicating he is a way above average player (15 is an average PER). PER ratings are based on box score stats.  Murphy’s adjusted +/- rating, however, is a horrific -18. This means that after adjusting for who Murphy played with and against, Murphy hurts the Pacers performance by 18 points per game. Tyler Hansbrough has an Adjusted +/- of -13 and Solomon Jones an adjusted +/- of -22. On the other hand Brandon Rush has an Adjusted +/- of +10. Mike Dunleavy +13, and Luther Head an amazing +25. Reducing the playing time of the players with the poor Adjusted +/-  and increasing the playing time of the players with the better Adjusted +/- should really improve the Pacer’s performance.  For example, we see that when Rush and Hibbert are on the court and Murphy and Solomon Jones are out the Pacers are an amazing 9 points better than average. The following table demonstrates how much Murphy hurts the team and Head has helped the team.

Murphy

Murphy

Head

Head

Player in

In

Out

in

out

Ford

-16.7963

-2.17161

2.474052

-12.8705

Granger

-16.4396

3.727427

2.830269

-5.70186

Hibbert

-18.281

6.660624

16.88156

-10.1716

DJones

-18.3558

1.178503

4.202831

-10.4855

Watson

-9.72213

-0.43644

3.519457

-7.3027

Foster

-2.3567

-0.12969

11.69779

-3.58569

SJones

-21.8713

-7.70466

0.745643

-22.4891

Dunleavy

-6.1493

4.388095

34.21783

-7.0998

Head

6.199217

5.850368

5.961168

dnp

Murphy

-13.3469

dnp

6.199217

-16.4467

Hansbrough

-11.8575

-3.21532

3.509672

-10.4462

Rush

-14.3547

1.988147

0.65076

-7.41243

For example, after adjusting for strength of opponent, Hibbert in with Murphy out results in Pacers playing 6.67 points better than average. With Murphy and Hibbert in the Pacers play 18.28 points worse than average. Hopefully, the coaches can figure out what Murphy is doing wrong.

            Given the paucity of good Eastern Conference teams it is not too late for the Pacers to make a move towards the playoffs. They simply need to be smarter about the combinations they put on the court.

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