In Which, I Invent "Used Post Minutes Per Game" (spoiler: the Terps do not use their post players very often)

A lot has been made of what kind of offense Mark Turgeon is running. If you are interested in this question, I suggest you go see Doug Newton's fantastic fanpost breaking down our basic motion principles that I do consistently see on a game in game out basis.

I'm not going to pretend to be an expert in the X's and O's and so I will spare you my breakdown of what kind of system the Terps are running and whether it fits my aesthetic preferences. However, I will note that there are some really simple indications that Maryland is simply not utilizing their post players enough.

Usage Rate %

A player's usage rate is quite simply, the percent of possessions that a player is "used" while he is on the floor.

However, as noted by my use of scare quotes, the term "used" is quite a loaded term in this statistic.

If you are interested in the more precise definition, usage rate is defined as follows:

the formula is 100 * ((FGA + 0.44 * FTA +TOV) * (Tm MP / 5)) / (MP * (Tm FGA + 0.44 * Tm FTA + Tm TOV)).

Where FGA is "field goal attempts"; FTA is "free throw attempts"; TOV is "turnovers" and MP is obviously "minutes played."

Thus "usage rate" estimates how often a player is used by essentially asking what percent of the field goal attempts, free throw attempts, turnovers and minutes played a player accounts for compared to his team's totals in those categories while that player is on the floor).

Tm UM(tall)/Game (Team's "used minutes" of players 6'7" or over per game played)

For the purposes of this analysis, we are not interested in a playing time independent statistic. We are interested in estimating just how often a team actually uses it's big guys. We wouldn't want to overvalue a team that uses a big guy at a high rate for only a few minutes per game (like we do with Jonathan Graham, or Damonte Dodd for example) So I have decided to come up with an estimate of the number of "used minutes" that a player has contributed by multiplying a player's total minutes by a player's usage percentage.

The formula looks like this:

"Used Minutes" = Usage Rate * MP

I then divide the used minutes by the number of games to control for teams that might play more or less games.

Tm UM (post)/Game

Of course being over 6'7" doesn't qualify you as a post player, and so I've excluded Jake Layman and Evan Smo from the discussion as neither has had more than a handful of touches in the post during their entire stay at Maryland. In order to calculate Tm UM(post)/Game you do have to have some familiarity with the team, and subjective arguments are inevitable. Additionally some players who are less than 6'6" are actually post players. There is a lot of finesse in this statistic. More than I would like. I'm sure I'll be criticized for it but at least I'm being upfront about what I'm doing here.

The used minutes of Maryland Players post players under Mark Turgeon


Players over 6'7" considered: James Padgett, Alex Len, Ashton Pankey, Barend Weis, John Auslander

Total Used Minutes: 157.04+ 79.492+88.264+38.586+11.316=374.698

Total games: 32

Tm UM(tall)/gm=11.709

This is the same as Tm UM(post)/gm.


Players over 6'7" considered: Alex Len, James Padgett, Shaq Cleare, Chuck, Jake Layman, John Auslander

Total Used Minutes: 228.912+ 94.13+ 69.85+ 130.2+121.887+ 2.992=647.971

Total Games=38

Tm UM(tall)/gm=17.05

Tm UM (post)/game (if you excuse Jake Layman (who never plays in the post): 13.84

2013-2014 (through FSU game)

Players over 6'7" considered: Chuck, Shaq, Smo, Graham, Layman, Dodd, Auslander

Total Used Minutes: 64.584+33.798+110.58+ 16.06+ 102.249+9.592+.515=337.378

Games: 17

Tm UM (tall)/gm=19.845

Tm UM (post)/gm (If you exclude Layman and Smo) 7.14. 7.14!!!!!!!

Thus, the three year average of post utilization under Mark Turgeon is only 10.89 used post minutes per game (assuming you exclude Smo and Jake).

Consider the top 5 by SRS this year analyzed under the same statistic:

2013-2014 Arizona Wildcats: 22.14

2013-2014 Iowa State: 13.58

2013-2014 Iowa Hawkeyes: 22.74

2013-2014 Oklahoma State: 11.85 (OK State has three guards witha WS/40 of .248 or higher)

2013-2014 Ohio State: 17.281

Or how about the teams that have dusted us this year already:

2013-2014 Pitt: 13.335

2013-2014 FSU: 14.231


Because I do not have time to see what the average Tm UM(post)/gm is, you will have to take my impression that the Terps do not get it into the post often compared to other teams with a grain of salt. Certainly though there does seem to be a trend in the teams that we would like to be, or who have already creamed us, in that they get the ball into the post at a significantly higher rate. Also, I am not asserting any correlation between Tm UM(post)/gm and SRS, or how good a team is in general. So what's the point?

Well, many people complain about how bad our bigs are, and cite that as a reason why we can't expect this team to do very well. I think the real significance of my finding is, that we do not play them, and when we do, we do not use them. How can you expect any post player to develop when you do not play any of them for big minutes, and even when they are on the floor, you do not give them the ball.?

And there's reason to believe that we would improve our offensive efficiency if we used them more. Shaq, is our most efficient shooter by eFg (which takes into account that a 3 pt basket is worth more than a 2pt basket). Use him more than 13 percent of the possessions he is on the floor! Give him more opportunities to be on the floor! Before we clear out and play street ball, or jack up a three--why not try two or three different plays to get the ball into your most efficient shooter? At this point what do we have to lose? We already know that we do not play efficiently enough on the perimeter to be even a passable offensive team. Perhaps just the attempt to develop a post game would change the calculus on this team and get us going.

(also, I would suggest that when you have a lottery pick playing center, and the rest of your team are non-nba talents, that you should be at the top of the league in this metric, not middling).

Anything deemed inappropriate will be deleted by an admin or moderator with the power to do so. The views of the above FanPost do not represent the beliefs of Testudo Times or Testudo Times' authors, nor are they the work of them.

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