Saturday, March 14, 2009

Weakened Pondering: Helping to increase your LaMarcus Aldridge appreciation

The stats of LaMarcus Aldridge this season are nearly identical to his 2007-08 campaign. Some of the similarities are sort of startling: his field goal makes and attempts are the same to the tenth decimal place.

But we are interested in more than Aldridge's curious replication tendencies. Despite a rabidly interested fan base he remains relatively misunderstood in Rip City. Often labeled as soft because he has a jumpshot, or derided as a mediocre rebounder even though he is among the League's elite in offensive boards, we at DeceptivelyQuick feel a call of duty to promote the truth.

In December of 2007 I was all excited and linked to this video collection of highlights featuring LaMarcus throwing all kinds of sweet passes. I was convinced that he possessed passing skills that were uncommon in a power forward. For whatever reason we didn't seem to get to see these particular talents displayed too often. He has never even averaged two assists per game, which doesn't exactly help my case.

Enter new basketball statistics. The people I steal from constantly,, have created a different way to quantify passing skills. It starts with the classic assist to turnover ratio, which is commonly accepted as an indicator of how effectively a player can pass. Except that turnovers include all sorts of things besides passing. For example, if a player is whistled for travelling or gets the ball stolen while driving to the hoop a turnover would result. So the geniuses started tracking something called assist: bad pass turnover. Yep, only turnovers resulting from passes are used, creating a stat that we can safely say is more related to how effectively a player passes the basketball.

Where does LaMarcus Aldridge rank in this category? Are you ready to have your mind blown? Then click here. I'll let you take that in for a second.

The Blazers power forward has the highest assist to bad pass turnover rate (7.1) in the entire NBA. This is freakish, and you need to appreciate that. There are no other power forwards or centers in the top 10. There are only three amongst the top 20. The four players immediately following Aldridge are Chris Paul, Tony Parker, Tayshaun Prince, and Jose Calderon.

LaMarcus Aldridge: Respect the game.


Casey Holdahl said...

Props for fighting the good fight.

Also worth noting that, despite being labeled soft and a perimeter dweller, that young LA is currently 15th in the NBA in dunks.

AlanC said...

very cool

joe said...

Among the elite offensive rebounders?


Adam said...

RE: Casey's Comment:

Wow. Oden is #24 in total dunks in the NBA for the season. Not bad for someone who has only played in half the games. I would like to see his dunks/48 mins!

Night Cabbie said...

I love LA (or "the janitor" as I call him), but I have to say I disagree with this analysis. Think about it; LaMarcus is the highest in the assist:bad pass ratio, and yet... he only averages around two assists per game. Rather than indicating that he is an amazing passer that chooses not to showcase his talent, I think the more likely scenario can be illustrated by his teammate Joel PryzzybyzzaQxzyilla. Joel is basically 2nd in the NBA in FGA, and yet he attempts only around 3 per game. Does that mean that he, like LaMarcus, is a genius that chooses not to showcase his skill? Or does it mean that, like LaMarcus, Joel has a great skill in only shooting when it is most advantageous for him to do so.
Don't get wrong, this is still an upside for LA. It means he takes to heart Nate's mantra of not turning over the ball. But it does not mean he's a great passer, it means he's smart enough to only dish the ball down low when its smart to do so. Far more impressive in terms of passing are CP and Nash, who don't have a choice about passing, since they are the QBs, and still average such an amazing percentage. That would be like a Kobe or AI shooting 60 pct from the field.

timothy said...

I think they changed that stats you linked to. Now it says that LMA is third, unless I'm reading it wrong. Either way he is a great, great player and very important to this team. One of my favorite players, and just getting harder every day.

Jack Brown said...

Um yeah, check the date the blog was posted Tim. Still, third in the League is not too shabby!

Anonymous said...

Great Posting. I agree with the Offensive rebounding, 8th in the league is nothing to laugh at. I would have to argue with you on the passing stat though. It is that he is at #3, but half of those assists have gone to 3pt shots. I would think that the kick out pass to an efficient 3 pt shooter (Roy, Outlaw, Blake, Rudy) would bolster this stat, espcially for a team that is 7th in 3pt % and 9th in 3ptm/gm in the league, (Could also explain Horford high rank). #3 is still impressive, but I would point to Duncans 96 assist for close shots as being more indicitave of a great passer or eye for passing lane....