by: Griffin Bennett
We all have our favorite line-ups. Some want to see more Wilcox and less Gant. Some want to see more Venoy and less Gaddy. Some even get more specific and never want to see Venoy and Isaiah on the court at the same time. The right answer is that there is no right answer. So much depends on the opponent, style of play, score, defense, etc. Especially on a deep team like the Huskies, you can end up hurting your team by trying too many different line ups and not letting the players gel on the court. For the sake of argument, here’s a look at the who the statistics say should be playing the most.
I fall in love with kenpom.com all over again every year. It breaks down players and teams better than any other site. Using these stats, I’ll try to determine what would be the most effective line-ups and who should be sitting at the end of the bench. Keep in mind that this is based entirely off of efficiency stats and doesn’t take leadership, motivation, experience, and basically any intangibles into account. WARNING: The nerd level of this post may be too high for some readers.
Click here to get an explanation on the stats that I will be referencing. Like most stats, some people love them while others hates them.
PG: Abdul Gaddy – His offensive rating (ORtg) is the second highest on the team at 134.3. That’s a good enough rate to be 23rd most efficient and effective scorer in basketball. If the Huskies want to score, Gaddy needs to get his looks. His assist rate (ARate) is 24.3 while his turnover rate (TORate) is 18.7. Those numbers are good enough to warrant starting point guard time on a contender.
SG: C.J. Wilcox – He is the most effective offensive player on the team so far with a ORtg of 139.6. To qualify for Kenpom.com’s national leaders list, you have to play 40% of your team’s total minutes. Wilcox is currently playing 38.3%. The highest ORtg in the nation is posted by UConn’s Kemba Walker. His rating? 139.6. If Wilcox gains 1.7% more minutes he will be tied for the highest ORtg in the nation! How is this man not starting, or at least playing more minutes! When he’s on the floor he’s taking 25.9% of the team’s shots which is highest on the team. He has the highest effective field goal percentage (eFG%) on the team as well. Can we get the man some more minutes?
SF: Justin Holiday – Posting an impressive 130.4 ORtg, which is good for 47th in the nation, he has been everyone’s MVP so far. Outside of Gaddy and Wilcox, he has the best offensive shooting numbers on the team. Not only does he rate high in shooting, but his defense and rebounding guarantee him a starting spot. his offensive and defensive rebounding % (OR% and DR%) are an impressive 10.0% and 15.9% respectively. Match that with a low TORate of 15.1 and a high steal percentage (Stl%) of 4.0 you can see why he needs to be on the floor as a great all-around player.
PF: Matthew Bryan-Amaning – The stats like him! I never would have guessed. He posts an surprisingly high ORtg of 111.8 but that’s not even the best he has to offer. I know it sounds crazy, but he posts decent numbers in OR% and DR% at 12.5% and 15.0%. BUT WAIT, THERE’s MORE! He has a block percentage (Blk%) of 4.7 and a Stl% of 2.8 which aren’t terrible either. While none of these are chart-topping, he plays an effective game in post.
C: Aziz N’Diaye – If it weren’t for Wilcox, here is your statistical MVP. Aziz posts a impressive 19.1 OR% as well as a 23.4 DR%. Like Wilcox, he plays only 38.3% total minutes, but if he could qualify nationally, he would rank 10th in OR% and 88th in DR%. He also is the team leader in Blk% at 8.3 as well as an astounding free-throw rate of 110.7. He does have his drawbacks, though. He has a high TORate of 19.8 but his fouls committed per 40 minutes (FC/40) is a rediculous 7.8, which is a team high.
Bench: (in order of effectiveness)
1. Isaiah Thomas – His ORtg is the third lowest on the team at 111.2. That’s not good. He does everything at a below average rate and nothing jumps off of the page at you. His most effective stats are his FC/40 at a team low of 1.8 and his fouls drawn per 40 minutes (FD/40) at a team high 6.8 which is good for 76th nationally. That’s about it.
2. Venoy Overton – While his ORtg is slightly better than IT’s at 111.6, his passing numbers aren’t very good either. He leads the team in ARate at 26.8 but he also leads the team in TORate at 22.1. He is sink or swim and too risky to be the starter at point for this team. Luckily, his Stl% is 4.9 which is a team high as well as 39th in the nation.
3. Scott Suggs – After Wilcox, Gaddy, and Holiday, Suggs posts the fourth highest ORtg of 126.5. He posts decent OR% and DR% of 8.0 and 6.8 respectively, but that’s about it for Scott.
4. Terrence Ross – An ORtg of 120.4 isn’t terrible, but only average. He also posts decent OR% and DR% for a guard at 6.9 and 12.2 respectively. Not much more stands out for Ross, either.
5. Darnell Gant – The man is the obvious choice for least effective player. He has a team low 102.7 ORtg with terrible OR% and DR% for a forward at 5.3 and 10.1 respectively. He’s shooting a team high .613 three-point percentage, but he’s only attempted 13 total. He’s also second worst in TORate at 21.8. I was shocked at how bad his numbers looked.
I’m not sure what we can actually take away from this other than maybe some adjustment of minutes. Although Romar will never start this line-up, I want to see if these starting five are ever on the court together. I know that I will be keeping my eye out for it to see if it is effective at all. I think Gaddy and Wilcox need to be playing more minutes. There efficiencies are too high to not be getting more. Aziz, on the other hand, can’t stay on the court long enough to gather enough minutes. His comical 7.8 fouls per 40 minutes needs to lower if wants to play starting minutes.
I know Isaiah doesn’t play a “stat friendly” style of play, but it’s interesting to see how he compares. His ORtg has actually increased from last year from 107.7 to 111.2. I personally don’t think that IT should not start because his intangibles as a leader are so important to this team’s success. With all of the line-up talk, I figured I would make a post about it. Make your own conclusions and maybe use some of this information in your decisions.