John Hollinger wrote today that he cannot figure out why Brandon Rush of the Pacers will average 30 minutes of Playing Time , the reason being his PER rating is poor (below 10. ) Hollinger, on the other hand gives Troy Murphy a PER of 17.7, well above average.
As we have often stated, the box score misses a lot. When we look at how the score of the game moves and adjust for the strength of players Murphy and Rush play with we find Rush has an Adjusted +/- of around 0 and Murphy has a -7 Adjusted +/- which means we estimate that Troy Murphy in for 48 minutes is 7 points worse than an average NBA player. So we believe Murphy must be doing some bad things that do not show up in the box score and in all likelihood Rush does many good things that do not show up in the box score. Jim O’Brien must also believe that Rush has “hidden virtues.”
While Adjusted +/- is not perfect, we can gain insights into why the system rates Rush ahead of Murphy by looking at the following numbers:
For exmaple, we find that when Granger is in the Pacers play 2 points per game worse with Murphy in than Rush in. When Hibbert is in, the Pacers are 12 points per game better with Murphy out than with Rush out. A bad PER does not necessarily mean you hurt the team and a good PER does not imply that you surely help the team! Adjusted +/- sorts through all these differences in team performance to obtain an estimated per minute value for a player/