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Wolfpack Hoops Stats Through Six Games

Ken Pomeroy has released his 2005-2006 numbers, which are up-to-date through Friday. Of note, NC State's offense ranks 10th in the ACC while its defense ranks 3rd. Nothing very surprising about that.

By clicking on "Offense Summary," you can look at the offense broken into the Four Factors. This shows us which areas have been problematic for the Wolfpack's offense this season.

Conference ranks: 10th in AdjFG% (same thing as Effective FG%, or eFG% for short), 4th in Turnover Rate, 12th in Offensive Rebounding Percentage, 2nd in FTM/FGA.

The shooting percentage should come around since it is a typical strength of the Wolfpack offense. I'd like to point out that this is one area in which the value of the NC State offense is often masked. NCSU's field goal percentage is lowered by the high volume of three pointers it attempts, because those are lower-percentage shots (duh). But those threes have more value than twos--value that FG% doesn't account for. That's why you have to adjust field goal percentages in order to understand a team's true shooting ability. Last year, for example, both NC State and Boston College shot about 45.5% from the field. Unadjusted, the teams look even. When you compensate for three pointers [AdjFG% = (FGM + (0.5 x 3FGM)) / FGA ], however, the better shooting team becomes clear. NCSU's adjusted percentage was 53.2%, while BC's was 49.3%.

A good adjusted shooting percentage is one the reasons why NC State usually has one of the most effecient (and thus best) offenses in the country. Just thought I'd toss this out there since Sendek's scheme is coming under a lot of undeserved-but-typical criticism in the wake of the Iowa game.

Anyway, what I really want to talk about here are the individuals, not the whole. Below are two tables listing some up-to-date statistics for each player. I've used many of these numbers before, but you may be a little fuzzy, or you may be encountering them for the first time. For definitions, see the following:

Reb%, TO%, O Rtg
%Poss = The percentage of the team's possessions a player uses when he is on the court. An average player would use 20% (100% divided by 5 players) while in the game. Higher percentage reflects more involvement in the offense.
%Min = Simply the percentage of team minutes the player has played. NC State has played six games (6 games x 40 minutes = 240 team minutes). Evtimov has logged 171 minutes, and thus has played 71.3% of the team's minutes (171/240).
Pts/40, Rebs/40, etc. = Points, rebounds, etc. per 40 minutes.
AdjFG% = See the above paragraphs.

Got all that? All right, then...

Wolfpack 2005-2006PlayerO Rtg% Poss%MinPPGPPFGAFG%3FG%FT%Reb%Ilian Evtimov12116.971.311.81.284442.191.76.2Gavin Grant9924. Bennerman10318. Atsur10619.574.610.81.3151.236.771.45.3Courtney Fells7413.514.61.50.6733.3007.6Tony Bethel8819.438.85.21.0134.836.41005.7Brandon Costner64

18.2 McCauley12023.720.44.81.29502572.213.0Cedric Simmons11622.671.313.31.3262.5069.813.0Andrew Brackman9319.556.
A quick note about usage (%Poss): a general rule of thumb is that the more possessions a player uses, the less efficient he is. Only very good players can maintain efficiency at high usage levels (like Julius Hodge, for instance). I consider high usage to be over 25% of possessions, but most players will not approach that mark. In the very rarest of instances, a player will use over 30% of his team's possessions. Last year, Julius Hodge used 28.3% of NC State's possessions while he was on the court, which is the basketball equivalent of carrying a piano on your back. Julius worked well under the circumstances, wouldn't you say?

It goes without saying that you don't want your more average players using too many possessions, because the more they use, the more their lackings are exposed. Guys like Hodge make the players around them better because they allow those players to use fewer possessions, which increases their efficiency and keeps them from being stretched past their limits.

Now that Hodge has moved on, the others have to pick up the slack, perhaps more than they feel comfortable picking up. Ignoring the fact that just six games have been played this season, we can use Engin Atsur as an example. Last year, Atsur used 15% of NCSU's possessions and had a solid Offensive Rating of 113. This year--with Hodge gone and more possessions up for grabs--Atsur's usage is up to 19.5%, and his O Rtg has fallen to 106. So he's using more possessions and has become less efficient as a result.

Though it is hard to determine anything after six games, Hodge's absense is probably a big part of the Pack's early--and continuing?--struggles. Gavin Grant is picking up much of the slack, and while his skill set is similar to Hodge's, Gavin is not nearly as efficient (indicated by his O Rtg; I consider an "average" O Rtg to be 100). It doesn't help that Bethel and Brackman are each playing poorly so far.

The PPFGA illustrates who's been shooting well and who's been shooting poorly. Anything near or below 1.0 is bad; above 1.2 is good.

To get a feel for Rebounding Percentage, check out this list of the Big Ten's best rebounders from a year ago. Evtimov continues to rebound at a pathetic rate for a forward. Cedric's percentage was down around 11% prior to the Iowa game--that's how much of an impact his performance against the Hawkeyes had on his rebounding numbers.

Let's move on to per-minute numbers.

Wolfpack 2005-2006PlayerPts/40Rebs/40Asts/40Blks/40TO%3FGA/FGAFTA/FGAAdjFG%Ilian Evtimov16. Grant14. Bennerman11. Atsur14. Fells6.95.70012.30.67033.3Tony Bethel11. Costner8. McCauley19.69.80.820.8215.10.401.855.0Cedric Simmons18. Brackman14.28.30.592.419.90.320.4355.4
Per-minute numbers are preferable to per-game numbers, though I did include points/game in the first table.

You might be a little surprised by Evtimov's low Assists/40 number, but actually this isn't much lower than his '04-'05 number. For all the recognition he gets for his passing, he really doesn't dish out a lot of assists. It's an early-season quirk, but it's still funny to see that Ced has been dishing assists more prolifically than Evtimov.

This chart does a good job of illustrating Grant's well-rounded game. In addition to points/rebs/asts, Gavin also gets to the line at a good rate (FTA/FGA). Gavin is an important player because he can do so much, but he needs to play with more restraint (use fewer possessions, take better shots). As he gets more efficient, so too will the offense.

Like the team figure, individual TO% is simply turnovers divided by possessions. A team's point guard often has a higher TO% because he has the ball in his hands more. For example, Jarrett Jack had a TO% of 25% last season.

Fresh off terrible performances, Bethel and Atsur have high turnover rates. Those should come down considerably as the season goes on (I hope).

It's just 49 minutes of work, but Ben McCauley's numbers suggest he deserves more action. I like that he's been more interested than Costner in scoring inside the arc, which is reflected by his 3FGA and FTA ratios, as well as his Reb%.

So that is what's doing through six games. I'll be tracking these and other numbers all season for every ACC team. I'm happy to provide a copy of my spreadsheet to anyone who wants it. You can leave a comment or shoot me an email.