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Monday, March 1, 2010

Badgers' Plus/Minus And Efficiency

Earlier in the season I highlighted some plus/minus statistics for a couple of Wisconsin's Big Ten games. The data was not too useful on an per-game basis as I mentioned, but now that the season is winding down, there is a lot more data to work with.

A big thanks for this goes out to NuclearBdgr from the Buckyville forum for sharing his tempo-free individual player stats with me. He saved me a ton of time attempting to calculate the +/- and efficiency numbers you will see below. I applied the same "(On court - Off court) = Net" concept I used in January to this new gold mine of data. The results will live permanently on this site's Statistics page and will be updated regularly.

Because the available statistics include individual players' points-per-possession (PPP), I can calculate not only Net +/- but also use the efficiency margin for each player when playing vs. sitting to present a player's tempo-free Net Efficiency.

What I found is that Keaton Nankivil had the "best" numbers on the team across the board in Big Ten play. Wisconsin scores more efficiently when he is on the court by a fair margin. The Badgers are at their best defensively when Nankivil plays too:

During the 209 minutes Nankivil has been on the bench, Big Ten opponents have outscored Wisconsin by 14 points. Breaking it down by offensive and defensive efficiency, you can see why:

Then, when you subtract the data from when Nankivil is off the floor from the data from when he's playing, a crazy high Net +/- Per 40 Mins and easily the best Net Efficiency Margin on the entire team:

Now, I am not going to conclude that Nankivil is the best player on the team, though I will argue that he is pretty darn valuable because of what he represents. Nankivil is a rare commodity for Bo Ryan this season: a skilled, experienced big man ... one who is much more productive than any possible replacement from the bench. For this reason, these numbers are much more kind to Nankivil than to a guard like Jason Bohannon, who plays nearly every minute of every game (so his +/- levels out) and has two other capable guards running the show when he does catch his breath.

Big men need more rest and when Nankivil sits, the Badgers are going small, often bringing in a freshman substitute. Nankivil gathers the highest percentage of offensive rebounds, shoots over 60% from inside the arc and can stretch the defense out to 3-point range. A pretty valuable guy, even if he is a shade under 10 pts, 5 rebs per game.

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