Tuesday, December 05, 2006

On Duke and Offensive Efficiency

Recently (ok, last post) I suggested that all that is keeping Duke from being a very efficient offense is the absurdly large number of turnovers. This suggestion has been strongly called into question by several observers, so I've decided to look a little closer at it. Having played eight games, Duke's schedule splits nicely into 4 games against "good" opponents (Air Force, Marquette, Indiana, Georgetown) and four games against "not so good" opponents (Columbia, Georgia Southern, UNC-Greensboro, Davidson). Here's the relevant shooting numbers for the games against the "not so good" opponents: .552 2pt FG%, .459 3pt FG%, .652 FT%, .578 eFG%, 1.20 PPWS. Here are the same numbers against the "good" opponents: .416 2pt FG%, .421 3pt FG%, .809 FT%, .484 eFG%, 1.11 PPWS.

This says several things. First, the team is capable of shooting the ball very well and scoring efficiently - a .578% and 1.20 PPWS are very good numbers (top 20 in the country), even against less competitive competition. Second, the team has struggled in games against talented big men - not surprisingly, the Devils struggled to finish 2pt shots when DJ White and Roy Hibbert and Jeff Green were manning the post. Which calls for a little perspective - Indiana in in the top 60 in the country in 2pt FG% defense and block percentage, while Georgetown is 20th in block percentage (though only 98th in 2pt FG% defense). Hibbert, White, Green, and Indiana's Joey Shaw are all in the top 200 in the country in block percentage. It's not surprising that Duke's 2pt FG% is much lower in those two games (.333) than in any other, even the loss to Marquette (.375). These two sets of stats, taken together, suggests that Duke is still in the process of learning how to execute their offense to get good shots against better defensive teams. Note that the 3pt%, while it drops, is still very good against "good" opponents. Note also how successful free throws have been against those opponents. The overall free throw and 3pt numbers say that this is a good shooting team that needs to learn how to a) finish close shots when defended and b) move the ball to get easier 2pt attempts. Is it a great offense? No. But it is a good scoring team, and I stand by my statement that cutting down turnovers to be in the 20-22% range (rather than the 26-28%) range, would yield at least 6 extra points a game, if not more (Duke scores 1.07 points per overall possession, and 1.39 points per non turnover possession). Given that Duke games have been generally hovering between 60 and 70 possession, getting 6 more points would be significant - our overall offensive rating would jump to somewhere in the 113-118 range, which is very good.


Anonymous said...

Keep up the great work, guy. I appreciate all the thought and detail you put into it.

Paul Rugani said...

Thanks for the support! Glad to have you reading.