The Efficiency of the 2009-10 Rookie NBA Point Guards

[Note: Originally Posted 09-09-2010 at 01:29 AM by DenButsu]

The Efficiency of the 2009-10 Rookie NBA Point Guards

Using the Player Season Finder at Basketball-Reference, I found that 9 rookie point guards in the 2009-10 season played at least 1000 minutes in at least 27 games, and I took this set as the qualified players.

This is essentially a stacked up comparison of these players’ efficiency in two general areas, assists and shooting, to see who was the most and least efficient in each area. It is important to note here that “most efficient” does not necessarily imply that a player had the biggest impact. Tyreke Evans rightfully won Rookie of the Year, and Stephen Curry, Brandon Jennings and Darren Collison were also rightfully in the hunt. In terms of sheer production they made bigger differences for their teams than some of the players who were more efficient in specific areas of the game. (And it could even be argued that the more limited roles of some of those players, such as Eric Maynor and Ty Lawson, enabled them to play with greater efficiency).

So, keeping all of that in mind, here first are the assist numbers, ranked by assist ratio. (See the front page of this thread for ‘s breakdown of the difference between assist ratio and assist percentage).

Code:
ASSISTS (Sorted by assist ratio)								
						Per 36 Minutes	Total		
Player		Ast Ratio	AST%*	TOV%	AST*	TOV	AST*	TOV	Ast/Tov
Eric Maynor	35.43		31.5	17.5	7.5	2.4	266	85	3.13
Darren Collison	28.81		32.9	18.9	7.4	3.4	432	202	2.14
Jrue Holiday	28.17		24.4	21.9	5.7	3.2	280	156	1.79
Ty Lawson	27.56		24.2	15.4	5.6	2.2	203	82	2.48
Stephen Curry	24.24		24.6	16.5	5.9	3.0	472	244	1.93
B. Jennings	23.43		29.6	13.0	6.3	2.7	470	200	2.35
Jonny Flynn	21.45		24.7	17.9	5.5	3.6	356	233	1.53
Tyreke Evans	20.70		26.1	13.6	5.6	2.9	414	216	1.92
Toney Douglas	19.05		16.6	11.6	3.7	1.8	112	55	2.04

The first thing that jumps out here is that Maynor’s assist ratio pretty much blows everyone else’s out of the water. Not only that, but when you consider that he had the most assists per 36 minutes (7.5) combined with the 3rd fewest turnovers per 36 (2.4), he earned an incredibly efficient 3.13 assist/turnover ratio. He clearly separates himself from the pack not only as the most giving passer, but also the best caretaker of the ball.

Lawson and Jennings provide a pretty good example of the contrast between assist ratio and assist percentage that patsSOXknicks has discussed at length. We can see that while Lawson’s 27.56 assist ratio tops Jennings’ 23.43, Jennings has a higher assist percentage (29.6) than Lawson (24.2). This can likely be attributed to the fact (and patsSOXknicks can surely explain this better than me) that Jennings put in a lot more minutes (32.6 per game to Lawson’s 20.2) and also had a higher usage rate (26.1 to Lawson’s 18.0).

Let’s move on to the shooting stats, which are sorted by ttrue shooting percentage. (Again, an explanation of this can be found on the front page of this thread).

Code:
SHOOTING (Sorted by TS%)												
		Efficiency	Per 36 Minutes									
Player		TS%	eFG%	PTS	FG	FGA	FG%	3P	3PA	3P%	FT	FTA	FT%
Ty Lawson	.600	.559	14.8	5.5	10.7	.515	0.9	2.3	.410	2.9	3.8	.757
Toney Douglas	.571	.545	15.9	5.9	12.9	.458	2.3	5.8	.389	1.8	2.3	.809
Stephen Curry	.568	.535	17.4	6.6	14.2	.462	2.1	4.7	.437	2.2	2.5	.885
Darren Collison	.546	.506	16.1	6.4	13.5	.477	0.8	2.0	.400	2.5	3.0	.851
Tyreke Evans	.529	.473	19.5	7.2	15.7	.458	0.5	1.9	.255	4.7	6.3	.748
Jrue Holiday	.526	.502	12.0	4.7	10.6	.442	1.3	3.2	.390	1.3	1.8	.756
Jonny Flynn	.511	.457	16.8	6.1	14.7	.417	1.2	3.3	.358	3.4	4.2	.826
Eric Maynor	.478	.448	10.8	4.4	10.4	.418	0.6	2	.310	1.5	2.0	.722
B. Jennings	.475	.431	17.1	6.1	16.4	.371	2.0	5.2	.374	3	3.7	.817

Ty Lawson is at the top here, although, with Douglas and Curry following close behind, he doesn’t establish separation from the pack as distinctly as Maynor does in the assists department.

One thing to be observed here is that, since the TS% formula accounts for the value of 3-point shots and free throws, is that guys who are great at getting to the line (Evans), guys who are great at 3-point shooting (Curry), or guys who are solid at both (Lawson, Collison) reap rewards in their TS% for that.

Additionally, we can see a few flip-flops here, with two players with high assist ratios (Maynor and Holiday) falling to the lower end of the TS% rankings, while Douglas, who fell to the bottom of the bunch in assist ratio, has the second best TS%. Here we can start to see some separation between the more “pure” (pass-first) point guards and the more “shooting guard type” point guards.

The players’ true shooting percentages as they relate to their assist ratios are plotted in the chart below:

Generally speaking, the higher and further right a player is, the more efficient he is. From the light blue diagonal line, the further away to the upper left from it a player is, the more of a “shooting guard type” point guard he is, and the further to the lower right he is, the more of a “true, pass-first” point guard he is. Naturally, of course, this means those closer to the line are more balanced between those styles.

As a Nuggets fan, and a fan of good point guard play in general, one of the things I personally will be most looking forward to this season is seeing if players like Lawson, Maynor and Douglas, who were very efficient in certain areas of their game, can maintain or improve that efficiency while at the same time playing bigger minutes in more expansive roles.

It should be exciting to continue watching the development of what probably will go down as one of the best, if not the best, point guard class in NBA draft history.

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