With rumors all around, it is time to stop the conspiracy theories and start to analyze what the different options bring to the table. Certainly there are various financial reasons to make particular moves or another, but this article will focus on what the most commonly mentioned trade pieces bring to the court. The individuals under examination in this article are Washington’s Antawn Jamison, Indiana’s Troy Murphy and Phoenix’s Amare Stoudemire.
In order to grasp what these players would really bring to a title contender in Cleveland, it is also necessary to see how their style of play contrasts that provided currently by Zydrunas Ilgauskas and J.J. Hickson. These two individuals are the main pieces of any package in a trade offered by Cleveland, with Z expected to return back to the team in a buyout. So how much better are these players than what the Cavs have right now? What are these differences and what do all of the statistics show us in the end?
There are four main statistical categories shown below. The first two have to do with the ability of these players to score and how efficient they are at doing so over a pretty strong sample size. After that, the two categories deal with all of the other facets of the game of basketball including defense, rebounding, turnovers, assists, etc. Following each category, I will recap what the different numbers mean in comparing the players below and at the very end, our resident NBA expert Andrew recaps what it all means.
Numbers listed below are in order of the statistics listed for shot location at HoopData.com. In order, these statistics list the number of shots attempted at the rim, from within 10 feet, from 10 feet up to 16 feet, from 16 feet up to 23 feet and then behind the three point line. Additionally, included in the line below are the field goal attempts per 48 minutes for each player. All of these statistics cover the past three seasons of information, establishing a decent barometer and a legitimate sample size of information.
Jamison = 26%, 18%, 9%, 22% and 24%
Attempts 22.0 FGA per 48 minutes
Murphy = 24%, 6%, 5%, 25% and 41%
Attempts 15.5 FGA per 48 minutes
Stoudemire = 44%, 19%, 10%, 16% and 2%
Attempts 20.2 FGA per 48 minutes
Ilgauskas = 34%, 11%, 10%, 42% and 3%
Attempts 18.6 FGA per 48 minutes
Hickson = 62%, 14%, 7%, 16%, 0%
Attempts 13.7 FGA per 48 minutes
Avg PF in 2010 = 37%, 14%, 11%, 27% and 11%
Attempts 16.5 FGA per 48 minutes
Jacob’s Take on Shot Selection: After grading J.J. Hickson’s performance the other day, I knew what I was getting into with these numbers. Any one of these players is a much more prolific mid-range shooter than Hickson, who takes nearly two-thirds of his shots at the rim. The player closest to his style of play would actually be Stoudemire, who usually hangs around the basket but also has a very efficient two-point jumper. Murphy loves the three-ball and both he and Jamison arguably take too many long twos, the least efficient shot a player can take. In the end, it will be nice to get a player with the ability to finish strong at the hoop but also with Z-like range from deep, and the ability to dominate a game from any spot.
The numbers listed below show the shooting efficiency at various locations, courtesy of the available numbers at HoopData.com. Shot selection only means so much when different players have different abilities to make various shots. Listed below in order is field goal shooting percentage from within 10 feet, from 10 feet to 23 feet and then behind the three point line. Additionally, included in the line below are the efficiency field goal percentage, true shooting percentages and free throw rate. Once again, all of these numbers cover the past three years of statistics.
Jamison = 57.7% within ten, 35.5% other twos, 34.5% from three
EFG = 49.3%, TS = 53.6% and FT Rate = 31.1%
Murphy = 58.2% within ten, 43.3% other twos, 41.9% from three
EFG = 55.6%, TS = 59.5% and FT Rate = 27.3%
Stoudemire = 63.1% within ten, 46.8% other twos, 19.5% from three
EFG = 56.8%, TS = 63.3% and FT Rate = 53.1%
Ilgauskas = 55.8% within ten, 39.8% other twos, 41.9% from three
EFG = 47.6%, TS = 51.9% and FT Rate = 25.3%
Hickson = 62.2% within ten, 27.8% other twos
EFG = 53.8%, TS = 56.8% and FT Rate = 32.9%
Avg PF in 2010 = 57.8% within ten, 40.0% other twos, 32.23% from three
EFG = 50.3%, TS = 54.8% and FT Rate = 32.6%
Jacob’s Take on Scoring Efficiency: Now we really get into what everything means for these players. First, it is alarming to see how astoundingly mediocre Antawn Jamison is in terms of efficiency. On a team that already has so many outside shooters such as LeBron James, Jamison would hardly break even considering he is just about on par with any average power forward in terms of efficiency. At least Hickson is better than average near the basket, a product of developing such good chemistry with LeBron. Stoudemire trumps everyone at all two point shots, and since Z and Hickson hardly ever attempt threes, this is the primary need for this position from these players. That essentially eliminates Murphy, who just happens to be the premier long-range shooter for a big man.
There are four numbers listed below next to each name. The first one is their current defensive rating, as popularized by John Hollinger at ESPN and available at many sites such as Basketball-Reference.com. Following that number are the offensive and defensive rebounding rates, defined as the percentage of possible rebounds captured by that player. The final number combines blocks, steals and charges taken and places it per 48 minutes. All of these numbers, besides the final one, are career numbers because of the difficulty in reproducing such statistics.
Jamison: DRt = 109, ORR = 7.6%, DRR = 17.1% and Def/48 = 2.21
Murphy: DRt = 106, ORR = 7.8%, DRR = 24.5% and Def/48 = 2.04
Stoudemire: DRt = 105, ORR = 8.9%, DRR = 20.0% and Def/48 = 3.31
Ilgauskas: DRt = 102, ORR = 12.5%, DRR = 19.1% and Def/48 = 3.08
Hickson: DRt = 103, ORR = 8.1%, DRR = 18.9% and Def/48 = 2.50
Avg PF in 2010: ORR = 9.4%, DRR = 19.3% and Def/48 = 2.97
Jacob’s Take on Defense/Rebounding: It is a mild concern that all these players have worse defensive ratings than Hickson or Z. The only problem with these numbers are that they are taken out of context since Hickson, a guy notorious for being out of position defensively, has the extreme fortune of playing alongside such talented defensive stars as Anderson Varejao and LeBron. Thus, the other numbers are just as important in analyzing individual contributions outside of a particular team defensive style. Murphy is the superior defensive rebounder but lacks playmaking skills on that side of the ball. Stoudemire once again emerges as the one with the best offensive rebounding abilities, closest to Z, and has the best chance of picking up the extra steals, blocks and charges.
As resourceful as all of the numbers above are to the overall contribution of these players, they fail to combine everything into one conclusive summary. This final category will recap all of these statistics as well as include two final categories for turnovers and assists. The first two numbers are turnover rate and assist rate, based on the number of possessions played. Usage rate then combines assists, turnovers, field goal attempts, etc. to measure how involved a player is in their offense. The final statistic, PER, is one of the best measures of overall contribution in basketball and is the brainchild of John Hollinger. All of these statistics cover only this season because of the difficulty to reproduce such numbers and all are from HoopData.com.
Jamison: TORt = 6.71, ARt = 5.83, Usage = 24.18 and PER = 17.84
Murphy: TORt = 9.59, ARt= 13.05, Usage = 18.29 and PER = 17.90
Stoudemire: TORt = 12.95, ARt = 4.82, Usage = 25.45 and PER = 20.30
Ilgauskas: TORt = 10.25, ARt = 8.00, Usage = 19.36 and PER = 12.92
Hickson: TORt = 12.76, ARt = 4.33, Usage = 17.90 and PER = 14.41
Avg PF in 2010: TORt = 12.67, ARt = 10.65, Usage = 19.04 and PER = 14.04
Jacob’s Take on Intangibles: Incorporating some more numbers to the equation, we see that Murphy is quite similar indeed to Ilgauskas in terms of usage rating. This shows how both live out on the perimeter, but are both quite good at rebounding at only one end of the court. Jamison and Stoudemire currently both have very high usage ratings, but it is interesting to see the differences from there. STAT has the higher PER, overall shooting efficiency, defensive numbers but also struggles with his turnovers much like Hickson. In the end however, it will come down to what adjustment Danny Ferry wants to make with this team. Stoudemire would clearly be the home run, Murphy seems like more of the same and Jamison is an intriguing scorer, although not that efficient or electric anymore.
Andrew’s Final Recap: I think there are a couple things that really jump off the page at me and kind of confirm what I’ve been trying to tell people without citing the statistical research you provided here.
First of all, this shows what a myth it is that Amare will need too many shots in Cleveland while Jamison will be able to fit right in. Amare doesn’t take that many more shots than Z does, and he actually shoots less than Jamison does. Not only that, but Amare is actually smarter with his shot selection than Jamison is. That one surprised me a little bit actually. I didn’t realize Jamison shot as many 3’s as he does. Of course, his ability to stretch the floor is what makes him such an offensive force, so he has to shoot to keep defenses honest, but still, that was interesting to see.
Almost every other number far and away illustrates how much better Amare is than any of the other trade prospects. And remember, I’m still a big proponent of getting Jamison, but these numbers point out precisely what I tried to say in my Amare piece over the weekend…..while JJ Hickson is an ok basketball player, Amare is on a whole different level and that’s why it is 100% OK to give up Hickson for a player like Stoudemire.
Finally, I think a lot of people will be surprised when they see how Amare’s defensive and rebounding ratings compare to the other players. The numbers say he’s a better rebounder than I expected. As for his defense, while it may surprise some that JJ Hickson’s DRtg is better than Jamison’s, I think that’s still a slight byproduct of the quality team defense the Cavaliers play. I do take satisfaction in seeing that Amare’s defensive rating is better than Jamison’s, because I’ve been taking exception to the common assertion that Amare is a much worse defender than Jamison. I think the difference there is just perception because Jamison puts more effort into it than Amare does.
Otherwise, in general I think these numbers speak for themselves. I think it’s obvious that Amare is by far the best player of the bunch and that’s why I support Danny Ferry’s decision to make him priority #1 in the trade market.
(Thanks to Denny for the image at the very top. The other photo of Stoudemire is via AP Photo/Matt York)