Lies, damned lies, and statistics (was Re: Well, THAT was intense)

Kim Malo kmalo17 at
Tue Apr 21 20:06:53 UTC 2009

At 02:57 PM 4/21/2009, Phil Maymin wrote:
>For a slightly different conclusion, there is this stats-based blog:
>KG is one of the most productive players in the game, and big baby one of
>the LEAST (I was surprised too).

Why? it's only one definition of productive / unproductive. There are 
a zillion others you can set up to say something different. It's 
never the stats themselves, it's how you use them, and as the saying 
goes, I can squeeze them until they'll scream anything I want them to.

Look at what he's basing it on and tell me what his chosen metrics 
really have to do with Big Baby's positive productivity on the court. 
Of courese he scores low.

Shooting is  probably based on entire season and Baby's shooting % 
only picked up when he stopped trying to shoot inside and getting 
stuffed, and switched to the midrange jumpers, while it still took 
him a while to settle in and get comfortable with taking and making 
them regularly. Yes, it's a legit part of his productivity now but it 
underwent a major shift that way during the season vs being part of 
it all season.

Rebounds. He doesn't get as many rebounds as you'd like, but in part 
because he's usually outside the paint on offense. While he doesn't 
have the lift inside, which also affects his defensive boards. And 
let's face it, he goes after them, but he doesn't GO AFTER them in 
the same way Leon does, which is why Leon's rebounding is so much 
better on a per minute basis even if the flat number difference 
doesn't look that big a difference. And also helps other people get 
boards because there's always a Celtics hand in there tapping away so 
long as Leon is on the court. Leon gets just shy of a rebound more 
per game in about 4 min less per game, but on a per 48 min, gets 4.5 
more. This is the one productivity stat with some legitimacy, 
especially given position. I can always tell which one is on the 
floor between Glen and Leon without even seeing the player simply by 
the flow of the action on the boards. But even then he's hardly 
bottom of the league.

Steals. Not his game. Not any PF game and the one who has it as a 
significant part of his game is the exception rather than the one 
without gaudy stats being a productivity problem. In fact I'd almost 
worry about a PF with a lot of steals because I wonder how many 
points get scored from his being off his man who is unlikely to be a 
major ball handler while going after those steals.

TO? shrug, again I think that early season jitters tilt the stats. He 
makes TO, but he's not a turnover machine. He makes about half as 
many as TO, who can be a legit TO machine, in more MPG.

Baby's production comes from other things like carving space, his 
surprisingly improved although still far from wowing me defense, his 
setting thunderous picks, that outside shot providing a key outlet 
that can prevent a shot clock based turnover even if he doesn't 
actually hit the shot, his nimble feet letting him make that bulk 
that he uses well a factor all over the court, etc. etc. He also for 
a young player is not afraid of the spotlight and tends to do better 
under pressure, including on semi-weaknesses like rebounding. That's 
no small thing, especially for this team, given our injuries.

I'm certainly not one of his biggest fans, but he's genuinely 
impressed my by legitimately working on improving his game vs just 
getting by with size and athleticism as he always has before and 
tried to do last year. I didn't think he was capable of the self 
discipline to work that hard and I'm glad to be proven wrong.

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