There Are Three Types of Lies – Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics (Part 2)

“Statistics: the only science that enables different experts using the same figures to draw different conclusions.” (Evan Esar)

In Part 1 we looked at the stats relating to minutes, field goals and free throws. If you haven’t yet read Part 1 then you should do so here.

For Part 2 we will look at turnovers, blocks, steals and fouls.

It should be noted that the following stats are for league games only. Both the Cup and Trophy games have been excluded because we tanked. All stats for Nate Britt are averaged over only 3 games.  The game against Leeds Force (14/01/18) has not been included in the stats as Part 1 only took into account games up to 07/01/2018.

The tables in the article can be manipulated to view however you want. For example, if you wish to view it alphabetically then you can do so. If you wish to view it to allow you see the player who has the highest foul count then you can do so.

Personal Fouls

A straightforward stat to start us off – the average number of personal fouls a player takes per game.

PlayerNumber of Fouls
Kieron Achara1.4
Nate Britt2.7
Earl Brown2.4
Jonny Bunyan1.8
Bantu Burroughs0.9
Ali Fraser2.1
Kofi Josephs1.6
Nestor Lascuncion0.2
Boris Matrakov0.5
Gareth Murray1.3

The number of fouls a player receives per game isn’t that exciting a stat. Sometimes players can take a while to get used to the referees in the BBL and as such their foul rate starts high and gradually decreases as they play more games. This could be true in the case of Britt. Players like Fraser and Achara who generally defend the opposing players and score the majority of their points in the paint are likely to commit more fouls than say a player like Murray in the SF position. However Murray’s foul stat is interesting. He may log the most amount of minutes in the team but the number of fouls he commits is the lowest in the team when comparing him to players who, on average, play more than 10 minutes a game.

Blocks

When we look at the defensive capabilities of a player, we often look at the number of blocks and steals. A block stops a FG attempt from the opposing team but will not necessarily give your team possession. Blocks may be valuable when controlling the paint on defense, but it still gives the opposition hope in scoring a basket. For example, a team with a dominant shot blocker in the paint may be ineffective against a team that likes to take three point shots. However we all love to see them and I’m sure we all remember that block from Brown!

PlayerNumber of Blocks
Kieron Achara1.4
Ali Fraser1.0
Nate Britt0.7
Boris Matrakov0.6
Earl Brown0.4
Gareth Murray0.3
Bantu Burroughs0.1
Kofi Josephs0.1
Jonny Bunyan0.0
Nestor Lascuncion0.0

It will probably come as no surprise that Achara leads the team in blocks followed by Fraser. Achara has consistently been our best defender over the last couple of season (shown by winning our Defensive Player of the Year award) and is one of the best blockers in the BBL.

Steals

Some fans love to watch blocked shots and players controlling the paint. Other fans love to see the smaller guards have a bit of hustle about them and come away with the steals.

PlayerNumber of Steals
Nate Britt2.3
Earl Brown1.1
Kieron Achara0.9
Jonny Bunyan0.7
Kofi Josephs0.7
Ali Fraser0.6
Gareth Murray0.4
Bantu Burroughs0.3
Nestor Lascuncion0.1
Boris Matrakov0.1

Britt leads the team in steals and is over 1 steal per game more than Brown who is second. Steals have value. Not only do they give your team possession, they often lead to fast-break scoring opportunities. Usually there are plenty of points, rebounds and assists in the game and most players contribute. However some things only happen because certain players make them happen. If you subbed a player with someone less skilled in that particular component of the game, the numbers wouldn’t go to that player. Steals are an example of this.

Turnovers

Turnover rates (based on number of possessions) for players can highlight a skill that’s not always obvious. Players who have a lot of possession can often have a larger number of turnovers. However this doesn’t necessarily mean their ball handling is poor. They may be providing an extra benefit because a low percentage of their possessions end in turnovers. We may look at turnover rates later in the season but the table below focuses on average number of turnovers only.

Are turnovers a sign of the opposing team playing good defense? Are they a sign of players not communicating with their teammates and therefore passes go astray?

PlayerNumber of Turnovers
Kieron Achara1.9
Nate Britt2.7
Earl Brown2.5
Jonny Bunyan0.9
Bantu Burroughs0.2
Ali Fraser1.6
Kofi Josephs1.3
Nestor Lascuncion0.2
Boris Matrakov0.3
Gareth Murray1.3

Britt has the highest turnover rate in the team. Is this a surprise considering the amount of ball handling he does along with Brown? This is where turnover rate would come in useful. The difference in turnovers between Britt / Brown and the rest of the team seem fairly significant. Perhaps a surprising stat is that of Bunyan. It is easy to see where one of his main weaknesses lie when watching games – ball handling, particularly on a full court press. I thought his turnover numbers would be higher. Opposing teams know this weakness and use it to their advantage when Bunyan is on court.

Part 3 coming soon.