The following quote from DeMar DeRozan captures the problem with player analysis in the NBA:
‘He takes a hell of a lot of pressure off me and vice versa,’ DeRozan said of Gay. ‘A lot of people get into the analytic stuff — we don’t pay no attention to that because we know how much we can help this team. As long as we play on the defensive end, we don’t have to worry about scoring — nothing, none of that — because we can score the ball at will.’
DeRozan is treating basketball like five games of one-on-one. In his view, long as he and Gay score and prevent their defensive assignments from scoring as much, both players are helping.
But basketball in the NBA is not about playing five games of one-on-one; it’s one game of five-on-five. In one game of five-on-five, factors like shooting efficiency, rebounds, and turnovers matter. And since you’re not playing by yourself, your shots are taken from your teammates. So even if DeRozan and Gay outscore their defensive assignments, they may not be helping their team win if they are:
- Shooting poorly (hence wasting shots their teammates could have taken) and/or
- Not gaining or keeping possession of the ball
Unfortunately for the Raptors, both DeRozan and Gay are average to below average with respect to shooting efficiency and average to below average when it comes to gaining or keeping possession of the ball (click the links to see more detailed stats at The NBA Geek). So perhaps they should consider spending more time worrying about their scoring (especially the part about scoring efficiently) — especially given that both players are not known for their defense prowess.
– DJ (with some help from Devin)