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PERing Like A Kitten

As I've mentioned in the past, I'm no statistician and I'm not a basketball stat-geek like John Hollinger or the Knickerblogger.

However, I do have an appreciation for stats in sports and I value the added insight you can get from stats. In particular, the PER stat seems remarkably telling when evaluating a player's offensive production. At the very least, it gives a starting point when you want to enter into discussions about ranking players. Again, this is an offensive stat only and ignores defense, leadership, and other intangibles. But since its the offseason, why not look at the C's PER stats from last year and pontificate on their meanings?

Here is the list (see details here)

Paul Pierce -- 21.72
Raef LaFrentz -- 17.23
Al Jefferson -- 16.58
Gary Payton -- 15.1
Antoine Walker -- 14.96

Ricky Davis -- 14.93
Tony Allen -- 14.65
Mark Blount -- 12.5
Marcus Banks -- 12.3
Delonte West -- 12.28
Kendrick Perkins -- 11.14
Brian Scalabrine -- 11.02
Curtis Borchardt -- 9.35

So here are some things that jump out the most to me.

1. Paul Pierce is easily our best player.
I know, I know. Well DUH! However, with all the talk about Paul not being the right fit for this team and his attitude needing adjusting, the one constant is that the guy can flat out play. He didn't even really get going till sometime close to the all star break since he had trouble initially adjusting to Doc's system. I wonder how well he'll do after his second training camp and a year of practice with it. Of note, Paul ranked 17th overall in PER last year.
Compare with: Shawn Marion (21.59), Larry Hughes (21.52), Ray Allen (20.86)

2. Raef LaFrentz and Al Jefferson are 2 and 3.
It is comforting to know that the 2nd highest paid guy and the future of the franchise are ranked so high. They technically play the same positions (4/5) but they couldn't be more different in every other way. One is a finesse player and long range specialist while the other is a low post banger with a soft touch around the hoop. But baring unforseen circumstances, we're going to see both of them around for a while and I'm pretty happy about that.
Compare with: Kenyon Martin (17.42), Dwight Howard (17.16), Rasheed Wallace (16.32)

3. Ricky Davis and Tony Allen are just about even.
Talk about a battle for the starting spot! I always considered Davis the better offensive player, but if this stat is any indication, Allen is not far behind. Plus, he was just a rookie that hit the wall hard last year. If he keeps improving, he could become a better all around player than Davis hands down. And that is saying something since I think Davis could have a shot at the All Star game this year (there, I said it).
Compare with: Rip Hamilton (15.94), Ben Gordon (14.85), Michael Finley (14.26)

4. Blount really is bad.
What more can be said about this than has already been said? Stonehands had the highest turn-over ratio on the team (shocking!). Just look at the comparisons.
Compare with: Mikki Moore (12.66), Adonal Foyle (12.63), Rasho Nesterovic (11.96)

5. Our top 2 point guards are near the bottom in PER.
This is the most troubling. In the case of West, I'm hoping it has something to do with lack of playing time skewing the numbers. (Side note, that should be somewhat considered in the PERs of Al and Perk too) However, this does add weight to the arguement that we need to add a veteran point guard. Then again, that's easier said. At least Banks plays top-notch defense (and West is no slouch), but he's going to have to make further strides this year if he's going to be around much longer.
Compare with: Earl Watson (13.07), Troy Hudson (12.05), Carlos Arroyo (11.40)

Other Notes: Walker is a stat man's worst nightmare. His fans will point out that his intangibles make up for a lot of sins. I'll always love him, but this is one reason why I'm glad he's not on our team anymore. Gary looks about right. His lack of defense and running pull him down more in my book, but when he ran the offense in the half court, it worked more often than not. Scalabrine better bring some huge intangibles. I guess this is why Hollinger hates his signing. By the way, guess who was dead last on the PER list: Old friend Waltah (8.05).

So there you have it. Enough stats to get you all talking for a while. I can't wait to see what PERs our rookies and young players produce this year.

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