Evaluating Turgeon and the players with advanced statistics

So, let me say that I was prepared to write a post in which I used advanced statistics to rail against Turge's lineup management. It turns out however that it's a bit of a mixed bag.

First the data:

Last year:

  • Dez Wells last year had .162 Win Shares/40 playing mostly at the wing.
  • Nick Faust had .122 win shares/40 with his playing time split between wing and pg
  • Chuck had .108 win shares/40 playing mostly center and power forward.
  • Shaquielle Cleare had .127 win shares/40 playing mostly center
  • Jake Layman had .113 win shares/40 playing the wing
  • Alex Len has .203 win shares/40 playing center
  • Pe'Shon Howard had .075 win shares/40 playing PG
  • Seth Allen had .108 win shares/40 playing combo guard
  • Logan had .141 win shares/40 playing mostly shooting guard
  • James Padgett had .148 win shares/40 playing the PF spot

This year:

  • Dez has .137 win shares/40 through 3 games playing mostly point guard
  • Faust has .071 win shares/40 through 3 games playing exclusively on the wing
  • Chuck has .156 win shares/40 through 3 games at the center position
  • Shaq has -.027 win shares /40 through 3 games at the center position
  • Jake has a RIDICULOUS .245 win shares/40 through 3 games playing the wing
  • Roddy Peters has a surprisingly low .038 win shares/40 through 3 games playing mostly point guard
  • Jonathan Graham is TERRIBLE, and has a -.544 win shares/40 through 3 games playing mostly as a pylon that opposing big men are free to walk right past
  • Evan Smotrycz has .199 win shares/40 through 3 games as a PF
  • Varun Ram has -.066 win shares per/40 through 3 games at the PG spot
  • Damonte Dodd has -.040 win shares/40 through 3 games at the PF/C spot

With a huge caveat that this year's body of work is too small to draw any concrete conclusions, but enough in some cases to direct what the next move should be--I'll throw in a few tidbits...

Not so fast on annointing Roddy, Dez to the wing, Roddy and Nick should split minutes at the PG

I'll defend Turgeon and say that Roddy hasn't done as much as people think to earn the PG spot being handed over to him. The mistake that he is making, is putting Dez at the point instead of Faust. Nick showed he could have a respectable win share as a combo guard last year and I would put him there with Roddy and leave Dez at the wing where you hope that once he gets into things he can improve upon last year's impressive .162 and move closer to the .200 range. When Seth comes back you can re-evaluate but this clearly is the best way to go. Moving Dez to the combo spot, as opposed to the true wing, seems to have noticeably decreased his value, while Nick showed last year that he's capable of playing decent combo minutes.

It's put up or shut up time for Shaq

The big problem on this team is that thus far, Shaq is just not bringing it. He's getting big minutes, and he's not playing well. He's killing the team. Actually, teaming up Chuck and Evan seems to give you the same amount of win shares as you would have had last year with our best two bigs (Len and Padge)--actually a little more. Since Shaq did have the better win share numbers last year when compared with Chuck, you can make the argument that three games is too soon to pull the plug. But Shaq's moment of truth is coming rapidly. The team can't continue to carry his terrible performances.

Smo--better than you think

Smo is a stud. He is a highly efficient offensive player and he is actually the best big on the team right now in terms of defensive efficiency. His 3 point percentage is right at about where we'd expect it through 3 games (.400) and so I think he can continue his .200 win share pace.


Layman is a SUPER stud. Do I think he can keep up his torrid pace? Probably not. His shooting percentage is a bit off the charts right now (.474 for 3 pointers doesn't seem sustainable). But he's looking like a .200+ win share/40 guy.

Turgeon eggregiously mismanaged his bigs last year

Padge was significantly better than Mitchell. So was Shaq. Yet, Mitchell got the most minutes. In essence, Turge got this exactly wrong. The Pecking order for our bigs should have been Len>Padge>Shaq>Mitchell. Instead it went Len>Mitchell>Padge>Shaq. Shaq not seeing minutes could be a big reason why he's struggling this year compared with Mitchell as well.

Expecting Allen to be the savior for this team is dubious

Seth would have to dramatically improve on last year to put himself in position to be anything close to a difference maker. He is not a very efficient offensive basketball player, and his one asset--volume scoring, is virtually worthless on this team which does not struggle to score the ball. However, he was able to match Nick Faust's defensive efficiency numbers last year, and so it sure would be nice to have another perimeter defender in Faust's league out there. He will probably help us on the defensive end, and hurt our offensive efficiency. Whether that improves our overall win probability, is up to you to decide.

Yes, Turgeon cost Maryland games by sticking with Pe'Shon

Pe'shon was the worst guard on the team by a long shot . His defense was only slightly better than Seth's (seth had a 96.7 Deff and Pe had a 95.8). His offense was a full 3 points per 100 possessions worse than Seth's. And remember, the problem on this team was not lack of quality defenders last year. The problem was a lack of quality scorers. Seth was not the most efficient offensive option himself, but Pe was awful. It's not an unreasonable argument to assert that we would have made the tournament last year if Turge had realized that Seth and Padge were his best options.

Overall/Moving Forward

Shaq has taken a big step back in the early going, as have Dez and Nick. And that's really what is causing us to lose games right now. But look at some bright spots. Jake has really emerged, and Chuck is emerging as an ACC level big (a .156 win share is not bad for your second best big). Roddy has sure passed the eye test, and you'd expect him to consistently increase his win shares as the season goes on. The key is getting Dez and Nick right. Especially Dez, because unlike Nick, Dez has the potential to be a .200 win per 40 player.

I think this is the optimal lineup right now:

PG: Nick, Roddy, Ram

SG: Dez, Nick, Roddy

SF: Jake, Dez,

PF: Smo, Chuck, Jake, Dodd, Graham

C: Shaq, Chuck, Smo

The time is now to pull the plug on Faust at the 2. There's absolutely no excuse to come out with Dez at the PG again. However, for the time being, I think Faust is still the best option at the 1 (based on last year's body of work) until Roddy hones in his game a bit more and starts playing more efficiently. I think you stick with Shaq, who proved that he was a more efficient player than Mitchell last year for the time being. Especially since Mitchell is a bit more versatile as your first big off the bench (with an ability to play both the 4 and 5 in a pinch) and playing him at the 5 commits you to having an unorthodox lineup in a way that Shaq at the 5 does not. But Shaq's leash is getting pretty short. He's costing us games right now. If he had played .100+ ball these past three games we'd be 3-0.

CORRECTION: It appears that basketball reference has something weird going on with Jonathan Graham. They have one Jonathan graham with the worst WS/40 of all time, and another Jonathan Graham who is essentially a replacement level big. So it appears that Graham is replacement level--and he should get additional minutes if Shaq continues to struggle. And probably go in ahead of Dodd for the time being.

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