By RICHARD CHEEKS
I had already isolated the efficiency values for the postseason, so I did the same for games 1-10, 11-20, and 21-31 this evening. I also isolated the schedule strength for the same groups of games, and used the schedule strength for the segment to estimate the adjusted efficiencies for each segment of the season
The results in the graphic do not do anything beyond show how we all know the season went. The “YES” indicates players that got enough minutes to really matter, but even with some of them, the sample size of minutes and games played in any ¼ segment of the season is so small that the numbers are much more volatile. The “YES” group are sorted on average NGE for the full season, values that are not shown in this table.
As a frame of reference, in the last 12 seasons, the teams that compete, and usually win championships have adjusted NGE values of 0.3 ppp or higher, and none of UK’s values this season ever exceeded that threshold for championship basketball. The first 10 games came closest, and the final surge during the tournament was still well under true championship form. However, this season, only two teams were in that rare range (Louisville and Florida) and they both stumbled in the postseason, which opened the door for teams like UK and UConn to fill a void.
Individually, Cauley-Stein, Johnson, and Randle were the most consistent players this past season. Lee’s postseason surge was quite unexpected. Poythress was solid most of the year, but the final 1/3 of the regular season, his game slipped considerably.
Look at the Harrison’s and Young. These three players ended almost 60% of the team’s possessions on the year. Randle finished 20% of all possessions. That only left about 20% of all possessions for the other players. If the Harrisons and Young reduced their consumed possessions by 10%, and that was then distributed to Johnson, Poythress, and Willie Cauley-Stein the team’s adjusted efficiency would rise by 0.06 ppp for the season, and that is the difference between what we got and what we hoped to get from this group.
Some food for thought about this great game.